Ukraine has a new weapon in its fight against Russia — Cold War-era German battle tanks.
The New York Times reported that Germany sent 10 decommissioned Leopard 1A5 tanks to Ukraine last month.
The tank was designed by Porsche — more well-known for luxury cars — and manufactured by Krauss-Maffei in West Germany.
The Leopard tank entered service in 1965 and was last deployed by the German army in 2000. The 1A5 model was developed in the 1980s.
Since then, many of the German tanks have been stored in warehouses across Europe until the German government approved in February for them to be donated to Ukraine.
More than 100 were to be donated once they were refurbished, the Times reported.
Despite its age, experts and German officials told the Times the Leopard 1A5 could be a useful weapon.
Lt. Gen. Andreas Marlow, who oversees Germany’s training program for the Ukrainians, said the model had night-vision capability and a weapons-stabilization system and, unlike many of the older battle tanks being used in Ukraine, could be driven backward.
Marlow said the Leopard 1A5 was also easier to master, maintain, and fix than its modern descendant, the Leopard 2A6.
“In the end, if someone is a professional, it doesn’t matter how old he is,” a Ukrainian tank commander identified only by his call sign, Bassist, told the Times.
Christian Mölling, a military expert at the German Council on Foreign Relations, said: “Those Leopard 1 tanks are really not a bad option.”
Since February, Ukrainian tank crews have been training in Germany on operating the Leopard 1A5 and other major weapon systems it has donated to Ukraine.
The tank crews train six days a week for six weeks before returning to Ukraine.
The Times reported that Germany had trained 6,300 of the 10,000 Ukrainian troops it planned for 2023.
Germany’s commitment was part of a broader EU pledge to train 30,000 Ukrainian soldiers by the end of 2023, The Brussels Times reported.
Source : BusinessInsider