France may be the next country to send tanks to Ukraine, but officials fear they will be a ‘poison cup’

French Leclerc tank

A Leclerc tank at a training ground in Sissonne, France, November 2012.Francois Nasinbeni/AFP via Getty Images

  • Western powers have pledged to deliver dozens of tanks to Ukraine in recent weeks.

  • France is also considering sending Leclerc tanks to Ukraine.

  • Some French officials worry that the country’s tanks will create new logistical problems for Kyiv.

some western countries and Already pledged tanks to Ukrainethere is growing speculation that France may send Leclerc main battle tanks.

French defense officials, however, question how useful Leclerc will be. Because Ukraine already faces the challenge of incorporating multiple Western tanks, including his M1 Abrams from the US, Challenger 2 from the UK and Leopard 2 from Germany.

These designs are more complex than the Soviet and Russian designed tanks owned by Ukraine before the war, so Ukrainian crews will have to learn new equipment, tactics and maintenance. These concerns appear to outweigh previous concerns that the supply of tanks to Ukraine could provoke conflict within NATO or trigger Russian retaliation.

French defense official: ‘No political opposition’ Said News Service Agence France-Presse of the Week. “We wonder if Leclerc will be a poisoned goblet. The aim is to make it useful and effective.”

French Leclerc Tank Champs Elysees in Paris during Bastille Day

Leclerc tank on the Champs Elysées during the Bastille Day parade on July 14, 2018.Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images

Ukraine will object. Desperate for any tank they could get their hands on, the Ukrainian Army was happy to get his Leclerc, one of the most advanced tanks in the world.

Designed for speed and firepowerLeclerc uses a French-designed 120 mm smoothbore cannon and advanced sensors to engage targets on the move. The latest version of the Leclerc allows him to reach speeds of 50 mph and destroy targets 2.5 miles away, said a French tank regiment commander. Le Monde.

Like other French weapons over the years, the Leclerc differs slightly from its foreign counterparts.

Weighing approximately 57 tons, it is smaller and lighter than the 80-ton M1A3 Abrams, the 64-ton Challenger 2, and the 62-ton Leopard 2. Possibly less armored than the late model Abrams and Challenger 2. , but mounts a charge of explosive reactive armor to deflect anti-tank bullets.

It is also unusual that the Leclerc has a crew of only three, rather than the typical four of Western tanks. (Russian tanks such as the T-72 and T-90 have three crew members.) Like Russian tanks, the Leclerc uses an autoloader to load the shell into the shell.

This allows the vehicle to be smaller, but the autoloader is more prone to malfunction. This also means that she has one less crew member to monitor and maintain, resulting in three more crew members.

French Leclerc tank Hohenfels Germany

French Leclerc tank during exercises in Germany in November 2019.US Army/Pfc. Michael Ybarra

Assessing the Leclerc’s performance is somewhat difficult given the tank’s limited combat record. When it first entered service in France in 1991, it was considered the most expensive tank in the world, which may have prevented its export prospects.

Outside France, only the United Arab Emirates purchased Leclerc (some later donate to jordan). The UAE operates 258 of his vehicles, some of which have seen combat during its intervention in Yemen’s civil war. Some argue that it outperformed the M1 Abrams tank used by Saudi Arabia in that conflict.

Around 862 Leclercs were built before production ended in 2008. There are 222 in operation in France, 50 of which his recently XLR version.

The Leclerc’s lighter weight may make it more maneuverable than other Western tanks heading to Ukraine. Meanwhile, yet another tank model means the Ukrainian military will have to contend with yet another set of tactical and logistical changes.

In the same way that Britain only sends 14 Challenger 2s, if France only sends a small number of tanks, it needs a lot of overhead for its relatively small combat capability.

French Leclerc tank Kosovo Yugoslavia

French troops and a Leclerc tank in Mitrovica, now Kosovo, June 1999.Patrick AVENTURIER/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Also importantly, unlike Abrams and Leopard 2, there are only three countries operating the Leclerc. If there are problems with French deliveries, Ukraine will have difficulty finding other sources of vehicles and spare parts.

Nonetheless, the Leclerc will be a formidable, and possibly superior, opponent for Russian tanks such as the T-72 and T-90. At least France would give Ukraine real tanks.

The AMX-10RC, recently pledged by France to Ukraine, It’s called a “light tank”. In reality, this is an armored car with a large cannon, but lightly armored and not designed to fight enemy tanks.

sent to france Caesar self-propelled 155mm howitzerthe same as Crotale Mobile anti-aircraft missile.Ukraine could also accept more advanced French-Italians SAMP-T/ Mamba air defense system. However, aside from Rafale and his jet fighters, symbolically and militarily, the most powerful weapon France can offer is the Leclerc tank.

Michael Peck is a defense writer whose work has appeared in Forbes, Defense News, Foreign Policy magazine, and other publications. He holds a master’s degree in political science.follow him twitter When LinkedIn.

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