Rheinmetall is to deliver 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine

Officials from Denmark, the Netherlands and Germany together with representatives of Rheinmetall signed an agreement on June 27, confirming that the Danish and Dutch governments will finance the development of the Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks (MBT), worth a number in the low three-digit million euro range.

In April 2023, the two sponsors announced their intention to jointly acquire MBTs from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) – encouraged to support Ukraine’s ongoing counteroffensive against Russian invasion forces in the south and east of the country.

Rheinmetall will deliver the first vehicle in January 2024, while the last is expected to be shipped later this year. Rheinmetall will deploy upgraded 2A4 MBTs that will consist of the stockpiles of the user countries.

The deal is the latest in a series of actions the Dusseldorf-based tech firm has taken to support Ukraine’s war effort. Meanwhile, Rheinmetall is the belligerent country’s sole source of large shipments of new medium and large caliber ammunition, including 20mm cartridges for the Marder IFV’s autocannon and 105mm and 120mm tank ammunition for the main armament of the Ukrainian Army’s Iard and Leo. Leopard 2 MBT. A first batch of 35mm ammunition for the Gepard anti-aircraft tank will soon be ready for shipment as well.

Military needs of Ukraine

Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy continued his call for F-16 fighter jets and long-range missile defense systems after news of the Wagner uprising broke last weekend.

This also comes shortly after a batch was provided by the UK Ministry of Defence Storm Shadow Long Range Precision Strike Missiles in May.

Ukraine has stressed that it needs advanced Western aircraft that can match Russian Sukhoi jets and long-range air defenses to defend personnel and infrastructure. Ukraine does not specify that it needs 2A4 on its wish list, although the donation is still welcome. So what encouraged the Danish and Dutch sponsors to provide Leopard 2A4s?

The European mobilization is trying to produce at a level that meets the demand, especially when it comes to ammunition, both for Ukraine and for its own stockpiles.

Leopard MBTs are a standard land platform across Europe that the Ukrainian military is trained to use. By pooling the common equipment and resources for this platform “from the reserves of the user countries”, the time and cost of delivering and shipping the donation will be faster and more affordable for both sponsors and the OEM.

Restructuring of NATO

NATO is to undergo a major overhaul that will redefine its military structures, according to the UK government. What we can expect from NATO’s transformation in the weeks before the Vilnius summit is a model structure that looks more closely at the needs of each member country’s military needs.

Pooling equipment and resources, as Denmark and the Netherlands have done in today’s deal, may be one way Europe can continue to mobilize to support Ukraine and its own defense efforts. Closer integration and interoperability is expected.

NATO must ensure that it implements a strategy that pre-empts construction and production as opposed to using tactics in response to circumstances, such as injecting cash into domestic supply chains or gradually donating various different military systems to Ukraine, such as this costly effort that it will not effectively support Ukraine’s current military objectives.

These changes will redefine the way NATO operates, confirming the UK government’s claim that these plans will be the “biggest transformation of NATO in decades”.

Read the original at Defence247.gr

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