What distinctions exist between the M1 Abrams tank and the Leopard 2 and Challenger 2?

The United States, Germany, and additional Western allies are on the verge of joining Britain in sending heavy tanks to Ukraine, a move that could prove decisive for Kyiv’s war effort.

Washington is anticipated to send 30 of its quick-moving M1 Abrams tanks to Ukraine, while Berlin will initially provide at least 15 Leopard 2 tanks and allow other NATO nations, including Poland, Finland, and Denmark, to deliver their own to Ukraine.

Britain was the first NATO nation to say it will send fourteen Challenger 2 tanks of the next generation to Ukraine.

And on Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron stated that he had requested his defense minister to ‘work on’ the notion of sending some French Leclerc battle tanks to Ukraine.

Ukraine has been unable to capitalize on battlefield victories due to the fact that they possess the same Soviet-era T-72 tanks as Russia; therefore, the introduction of Western tanks could be a game-changer for Kyiv after 11 months of conflict.

Kyiv has appealed for Western tanks for months, claiming its forces lack the firepower and mobility to breach Russian defensive lines and regain lost territory.

This article examines how Western tanks compare against Russian tanks and what this could signify for Ukraine’s war effort.

LEOPARD 2

The 55-ton German Leopard 2 tank combines firepower, armor, speed, and maneuverability, making it suitable to a wide variety of combat conditions.

Krauss-Massei Wegmann, the tank’s maker, has marketed it as “the world’s most advanced battle tank” due to its 120mm smooth bore gun and digital fire-control system.

The $5 million tank has a crew of four, a range of 342 miles, and top speeds of approximately 45 miles per hour (68 kilometers per hour). In service since 1979, its original form is now one of four primary variations.

According to military observers, the Leopard 2 is diesel-fueled, unlike the M1 Abrams, which is fuelled by jet fuel, and is easier to operate than the large US tanks, resulting in shorter training sessions.

Rheinmetall AG, a German defense firm that manufactures the 120mm smoothbore cannon on the Leopard 2, claims that the tank has been deployed by “more nations than any other,” with 3,500 units provided to 19 different countries. These items have been shipped to more than a dozen European nations including Canada.

As a result of their enormous quantity, Leopard tanks are regarded as the greatest option for Ukraine, as they could be quickly deployed there.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates that operating crews and support staff would require three to six weeks of training to achieve basic proficiency.

Director of the Panzer Museum in Munster, Germany, Ralf Raths, stated that experienced Ukrainian tank operators would likely be able to learn to operate the Leopard 2 rapidly, and training could be condensed to focus on critical information.

Yohann Michel, a research analyst at the International Institute for Strategic Studies, stated that Western deliveries of Leopard 2s could provide Ukraine with needed high-caliber munitions to replace its own dwindling Soviet-era stockpiles, thereby creating a new route for Western firepower to reach Ukraine.

M1A2 Abrams

In the coming weeks, the United States is set to send an M1A2 Abrams tank to Ukraine to aid in their combat effort.

The five-million-pound tank is armed with a 120mm smooth-bore cannon that is manually loaded by one of the four crew members and has an effective range of almost 2.5 kilometers (4km).

The 26-foot-long tank is also equipped with a target acquisition system with hunter-killer capabilities, two 7.62mm machine guns, and an additional 12.7mm machine gun.

In the following weeks, the United States is anticipated to send an M1A2 Abrams tank to Ukraine to aid in their combat effort.

Chobham composite armour, comprised of steel and uranium, provides additional protection against all known anti-tank weaponry.

The 71-ton Abrams tank, which was originally manufactured in 1990, has a range of 265 miles and a top speed of around 42 miles per hour.

It also has caterpillar tracks, which improve its performance across the country.

The tank, which is fueled by jet fuel, is deemed less suited than the Leopard 2 and Challenger 2 tanks of Germany and the United Kingdom because to its high fuel consumption and maintenance requirements.

Colin Kahl, the chief policy adviser at the Pentagon, stated last week that the Abrams tank is a “very complex piece of equipment.” He emphasized that it is costly and difficult to train on.’

Challenger 2

In the coming weeks, Britain will deploy 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine and train Ukrainian forces to operate them.

The $5 million Challenger 2, armed with a 120mm rifled gun and a 7.62mm machine gun, is a tank meant to engage in tank-on-tank combat.

According to the British army, it is the only guaranteed 24-hour, all-weather, mobile tank with protected precision direct fire and anti-tank maneuverability.

Britain stated it will deploy 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine and train Ukrainian forces to operate them in the coming weeks.

During the Gull War, an earlier variant of the tank scored the longest-distance tank kill in history by demolishing an Iraqi tank from three miles distant.

The 27-foot-long Challenger 2 has a crew of four, a range of 340 miles on-road and 160 miles off-road, and top speeds of approximately 37 miles per hour (59 kilometers per hour), making it marginally slower than the German Leopard tank.

British military leaders have hailed the 75-ton Challenger 2 as a modern tank that is “much better protected, more reliable, and faster” than Soviet-era Russian tanks.

Since 1994, the diesel-powered, 62.5-tonne tank has been in service with the British Army and has been deployed in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, and Iraq.

Leclerc

The £14 million Leclerc main combat tank possesses a 52 calibre, 120mm smoothbore tank gun as well as 12.7mm and 7.62mm machine guns.

According to Military Today, the terrifying 63-ton tank is capable of engaging six targets approximately 2 kilometers away within one minute with a 95 percent strike probability.

On December 6, 2018, a French Leclerc tank from the 501st Tank Regiment headquartered in Mourmelon-le-Grand participates in an exercise on a shooting range in Suippes, northeastern France.

First manufactured in 1990, the 32-foot-long Leclerc tank is controlled by three personnel: a tank commander, gunner, and pilot.

The superior protection against mines and rockets is provided by a modular armour system that may be adapted to the threat.

The armor is composed of a mixture of steel, ceramics, and Kevlar.

The tank has a maximum speed of 44 mph and a range of 342 miles thanks to its 8-cylinder diesel engine.

The tank is also equipped with a battlefield management system that informs commanders of the tank’s location, remaining ammo, and fuel.

Soviet-era T-72

Russia and Ukraine have depended heavily on T-72 tanks from the Soviet era, of which hundreds have been lost in 11 months of warfare.

The 45-ton tank, which has a range of 290 miles, is equipped with a 125mm smooth barrel gun, a 7.62mm machine gun positioned on the roof, and a 12.7mm machine gun.

The T-72, which was manufactured in 1973 and has three crew members, is less nimble than the Leopard 2 and other comparable Western tanks due to its inability to quickly reverse direction.

Russia and Ukraine have relied heavily on Soviet-era T-72 tanks (pictured), of which hundreds have been destroyed in 11 months of fighting.

Director of the Panzer Museum in Munster, Germany, Ralf Raths, stated, “Imagine a boxer who cannot move freely in the ring, but can only move in one direction.

It is the case that the other boxer, who can move in all directions, has a significant edge over the Leopards.

In Ukraine, the T-72 is by far the most frequent type of Russian battle tank, but Moscow does possess more sophisticated tanks.

Russia has deployed approximately 1,000 of its superior T-90 tanks in Ukraine, compared to approximately 5,000 T-72s.

The £4,000,000 Theoretically, the T-90 is one of the best tanks in the world, as its increased armour and missile protection systems make it more difficult to destroy than the T-72.

A Ukrainian soldier is shown next to a destroyed Russian main battle tank T-90M Proryv on May 9 in Staryi Saltiv, Kharkiv region.

Numerous T-90M Russian tanks have been destroyed by rocket launchers and Javelin anti-tank guided missiles since the Russian invasion.

The T-14 Armata, Russia’s most modern tank, could be deployed to Ukraine, but this would be a high-risk move for Vladimir Putin, British intelligence officials told in a briefing last week.

The tank has been in development for eleven years, and the program has been plagued by delays, fleet size reductions, and claims of manufacturing issues, according to the British Ministry of Defense.

As a larger and heavier tank than other Russian tanks, the T-14 would also offer logistical difficulties for Russia.

The Ministry of Defense stated that even if Russia deploys the tank, it would be “primarily for propaganda purposes” because commanders are “unlikely to trust the vehicle in combat.”