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Ukraine's 59th Motorized Brigade Now Equipped with Former Belgian Army Leopard 1A5 Tanks

According to a video published on Social Network on January 12, 2024, Ex-Belgian Army Leopard 1A5 Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) are now in service with Ukraine's 59th motorized brigade. At the moment, 30 Leopard 1A5 tanks have been delivered by Germany to Ukraine and about 130 more will be delivered in the future.
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Former Belgian Army Leopard 1A5 MBT Main Battle Tanks are now in service with Ukraine's 59th motorized brigade. (Picture source Social Network)

On Monday, August 7, the Army Recognition editorial team reported that 30 ex-Belgian army Leopard 1A5 Main Battle tanks (MBTs) were shipped from the Belgian firm OIP Land Systems located near the city of Tournai, to German company Rheinmetall before heading to Italy to be refurbished and upgraded before being sent to Ukraine.

Citing information published by the German Ministry of Defense, Ukraine has already received from Germany 30 Leopard 1A5 tanks. Ukrainian army also operates Danish Leopard 1A5 that were refurbished by the German Company FFG.

The German company FFG, known for its expertise in military vehicles, reportedly has a stock of 100 Leopard 1A5 MBTs, previously in service with the Danish army. In 2010, FFG purchased these tanks from Denmark for transformation and resale. Out of these, 40 ex-Danish Leopard 1A5 MBTs were earmarked for delivery to Ukraine.

The Belgian Leopard 1A5 is a modernized version of the original Leopard 1A5 equipped with a new fire-control system, incorporating a thermal imaging system. The installation of the new fire-control system provides the Leopard 1 with a high-performance thermal imaging device in a day/night sight with an integrated laser range finder.

The Belgian Leopard 1A5 keeps the design, armament and armor of the original Leopard 1A5 with the engine at the driver position at the front, the turret in the middle and the engine compartment at the rear. The Leopard 1A5 typically operates with a crew of four: the commander, gunner, loader, and driver. The driver is seated in the hull, at the front, with a set of periscopes for visibility. The commander and gunner are situated in the turret, with the commander responsible for overall vehicle and combat situation awareness, and the gunner handling the targeting and firing of the main gun. The loader, also in the turret, manages the ammunition and assists in the reloading process.

The hull of the Leopard 1A5 is a classic tank design, characterized by its well-sloped glacis plate to enhance deflection of incoming rounds. It is constructed primarily from welded rolled homogeneous armor, providing a balance of weight and protection. The frontal armor is specially designed to offer better protection against kinetic and chemical energy projectiles.

The turret of the Leopard 1A5 is a distinct and recognizable feature. It is a cast design with a well-rounded shape, which helps in deflecting anti-tank rounds. The turret houses the main armament, the 105mm rifled gun, and is equipped with advanced fire control systems that were part of the upgrades in the 1A5 variant. The gunner and the commander are both located in the turret, with the commander positioned behind and to the right of the gunner. The turret also features storage for ammunition and the secondary armament systems, typically machine guns.

Ukraines 59th Brigade Now Equipped with Former Belgian Leopard 1A5 Tanks 925 003
Belgian army Leopard 1A5 Main Battle Tank. (Picture source Army Recognition Group)

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