Spain to send decommissioned Leopard tanks to Ukraine that first need an ‘ITV’

Spain is to send Leopard tanks to Ukraine that were decommissioned more than 10 years ago.

 

As confirmed today, Thursday, January 26, by the Ministry of Defence, Spain will send Leopard 2A4 model tanks to Ukraine that were decommissioned over a decade ago. They will reportedly need a complete ‘ITV’ test before being deployed.

This decision by the Spanish government comes as a result of German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, giving in to international pressure. He finally succumbed yesterday, Wednesday 25, and agreed to make the German-patent armoured vehicles available to Kyiv.

Spain had initially stated that it was distancing itself from a proposal last Sunday 22 by the Prime Minister of Poland to form a ‘small coalition’ to supply Ukraine without the involvement of Germany.

The tanks were originally transferred to Zaragoza in 2012 with the intention of transforming them into special sapper and bridge-launching vehicles, a plan which ultimately never materialised. When they were purchased from Germany in the 1990s, the Leopards were already second-hand.
According to the sources, it will take at least a month to tune them up. The same sources pointed out that the training of the Ukrainian military in handling these vehicles will require another two months.

Spain currently has 108 Leopard 2A4 armoured vehicles, half of which are in operational use with regiments on the border with Morocco, in the Melilla region of Alcantara 10, and Montesa in Ceuta.

The other half is the one that remains stored on the outskirts of Zaragoza and some of these units are said to be in a ‘lamentable state’, so they cannot be sent to the front.

Last Summer, the Ministry of Defence rejected the possibility of sending these tanks to the Ukrainian front lines because the cost of repairing them for operation was ‘profitable’.

Previously, in 2016, officials from the government of the Czech Republic were in Spain verifying the state of operation of the Leopard 2A4s stored in Zaragoza. They failed their tests and the Czech army refused the purchase.

About 40 of the Leopard 2A4 tanks that can be reused will be sent to Ukraine after undergoing a tune-up in the so-called ‘fourth step’, which implies comprehensive maintenance of the vehicle.

Margarita Robles, the Defence Minister, confirmed today that her department has already contacted the military industry to study the possibility of fine-tuning the Leopard 2A4 tanks stored at the Casetas base. However, she did not specify how many tanks would be sent to Kyiv.

“We have already contacted the industry because there is a series of Leopard 2A4s in Zaragoza that has been out of use for a long time and we are going to see which ones could be put into operation to plan that delivery”, the minister detailed.

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Written by

Chris King

Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news. Got a news story you want to share? Then get in touch at editorial@euroweeklynews.com

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