Poland requests 44 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany following donation of its T-72s to Ukraine

The Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak has requested Germany to deliver 44 Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) to equip one battalion following the donation to Ukraine of 240 T-72 MBTs from its military inventory, but Germany is ready to give only 20 tanks.
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German army Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank. (Picture source Army Recognition)

A few weeks ago Poland took the decision to give 240 Soviet-made T-72M1 tanks as part of military aid to Ukraine following the invasion of the country by Russian armed forces. At the time, Germany had announced its support for Poland by a possible delivery of Leopard 2A4 tanks to compensate for the donation of their T-72 tanks to Ukraine.

Citing information from the Polish Minister of Defense Mariusz Blaszczak, currently, Germany is now ready to send only 20 Leopard 2A4 tanks to Poland.

According to the military balance 2021, before the war, Poland has a total of 808 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) including 137 Leopard 2A4, 105 Leopard 2A5, 5 Leopard 2PL, 232 PT-91 Twardy, and 329 T-72A/T-72M1. These new leopard 2A4 could easily be integrated into the Polish armed forces that already use them.

Poland has ordered 250 American Abrams M1A2C tanks also called M1A2 SEP V3 as well as 119 second-hand M1A1 Abrams tanks, but M1A2 SEP v3 tanks are scheduled to begin coming off American production lines in late 2024, and delivery to Poland will begin in early 2025.

To cover its loss in combat tanks and the delivery time of the U.S. Abrams M1A2 and M1A1 tanks, Poland wishes to quickly acquire its German Leopard 2A4 tanks in order to not weaken the operational capabilities of its armed forces.

According to a military source, Germany would still have in stock a batch of 78 Leopard 2A4 tanks that could be delivered to Poland. The Leopard 2A4 was the first operational tank in the Leopard 2 family and 695 tanks had been produced between 1985 and 1992. The tank was put into service in Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, and Turkey and it is still used by many of its countries.

The Leopard 2A4 is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun which has been developed by Rheinmetall and fires two types of ammunition, APFSDS-T, and HEAT-MP-T. The APFSDS-T has an effective range of over 2,000 m and the HEAT-MP-T has a high degree of effectiveness against both soft and hard targets.

The hull of the Leopard 2A4 has spaced multilayer armor and is divided into three compartments: driver at the front, fighting in the center, and the powerpack at the rear.

The Leopard 2A4 is motorized with an MTU MB 873 diesel engine, which provides 1,103 kW of engine output. The MTU MB 873 diesel engine is a four-stroke, 47.6 liters, 12-cylinder multi-fuel, exhaust turbo-charged, liquid-cooled engine. The Leopard 2A can run at a maximum road speed of 72 km with a maximum cruising range of 550 km.