Germany are supplying 25 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks to Ukraine through a deal with Rheinmetall worth “a figure in the upper-two-digit million-euro range”, with delivery due to take place in 2024, according to an announcement from the German defence company on 14 November.
The Cold-War era systems are currently being overhauled and readied for use by Rheinmetall in its plants in Unterlüß and Kassel.
According to figures announced by the Federal Government of Germany from 13 November, the day before the Rheinmetall announcement, Germany has already donated 30 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks, and has plans with Denmark to joint finance a further 105 of the platforms.
The Leopard 1A5 was an early-80’s an adaptation of of the Leopard 1, a design that had its origins in the 1960’s, with full scale production beginning in 1965. Later, the Armed forces of many countries began to replace their Leopard 1 tanks with third generation Leopard 2 tanks, and the cold-war era vehicles were often put into storage. The tanks being donated operate to a lower standard than tanks produced today, but European militaries have them in abundance and while they are not entirely obsolete they can make a contribution to ground forces in Ukraine.
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Rheinmetall has previously supplied a total of 80 Marder infantry fighting vehicles, and it is ready to supply a further 20 of the vehicles when it receives orders. The Dutch and Danish governments together have ordered 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks through Rheinmetall to be supplied to Ukraine next year.
According to the Kiel Institute’s Ukraine Support Tracker, the pledge of military support to Ukraine from Germany between 24 January 2022 and 31 July 2023 was valued at €17.1bn ($18.6bn). On 11 November Germany committed in the next year to doubling the military aid to Ukraine given in 2023, contributing a further €8bn ($8.5bn) in 2024, according to reports from Deutsche Welle.