Free the Leopards

The following proposal is madness. I’ve been told so in no uncertain terms by people knowledgeable of the matter who’s opinions I highly respect. It runs against both the common discourse as well as what the authorities and officials with detailed classified knowledge about the issues at hand has said in their communiques. It also comes with a hefty price tag, and I have no proposal what should be cut in order to make it fit in under an already unhealthy Finnish budget. But with all that said, isn’t it for these kinds of out-of-the-box craziness that non-aligned defence analysts are valued?

Leopard 2A4 on the prowl during exercise KONTIO22 late last year. Despite their age, the 2A4 still plays a key role in the Finnish Defence Forces. Source: Maavoimat FB

As I think most serious defence analysts are in agreement on, the War in Ukraine has shown the value of armoured protection in general and tanks in particular on an increasingly lethal battlefield. As such, it only makes sense that a very valuable kind of support for Ukraine would be tanks. Tanks, like other high-tech systems such as fighters or warships, age, and while older equipment can be both useful and effective, modern equipment is usually significantly more so. Modern tanks also benefit from more readily available spares and munitions. As such, handing Ukraine modern tanks instead of trying to buy up every available T-72 makes sense.

Of the modern tanks available in Western forces today (M1 Abrams, Leopard 2, Ariete, Challenger 2, Leclerc, and K2 Black Panther), most are either high-maintenance and supply intensive (M1 Abrams), available in very limited numbers (Ariete, Challenger 2, K2 Black Panther, Leclerc), or using non-standard munitions (Challenger 2). As such, the Leopard 2 is the obvious choice (the Leopard 1 is a Cold War-relic that isn’t particularly relevant to the discussion on modern tanks, though the Leopard 1 in later versions certainly can take down a T-62 in a fight).

Finland has the Leopard 2 in two different (MBT) versions, the older Leopard 2A4 and the newer Leopard 2A6. As opposed to what some has reported, both are very much in use and occupy a key role in the Finnish wartime forces as the main armoured spearhead (again, a key capability when it comes to throwing out an attacker that has gotten over the border). The exact numbers are somewhat uncertain for the 2A4, as a number of older hulls have been bought for the express purpose of being cannibalized for spares, and a number has been converted to specialised roles such as bridge-layers, self-propelled anti-aircraft guns, engineering vehicles, and so forth. However, it is safe to say that the number of operational Leopards in Finnish service sits at roughly 80 Leopard 2A4 and 100 Leopard 2A6.

If European countries start sending Leopards to Ukraine – and by now it is starting to be evident that as with most German red lines, this one will become void at some point – the talk in Finland is that Finland would participate, but that the number of tanks would be very limited and that the support would likely focus on training, spares, and similar support missions. Because Finland “can’t send many tanks“.

And here is where I call a foul. Finland can send a significant number of tanks, but it would be expensive and we would take a national security risk.

The short version is that we could send all Leopard 2A4, which would mean the tank part of an under-strength armoured brigade (your order of battle will vary, in Poland 58 tanks is a battalion, in the US 87 tanks is a brigade). The Leopard 2A4-force was slated for a mid-life upgrade already a decade ago, but that was eventually scrapped due to cost and the opportunity to buy second-hand 2A6NL from the Netherlands at throwaway cost. The word then was that they would replace the 2A4 which we couldn’t afford to upgrade, but as it turns out the Finnish Defence Forces decided to instead double the armoured force.

Here we run into a particular quirk of the Finnish Defence Forces: The Army doesn’t like to talk. This isn’t just restricted to tanks, but in general they don’t discuss their wartime formations, and as such they don’t talk about their plans for the future as that would lead to people getting ideas about the current situation. While I can understand that from an OPSEC-perspective, it also leads to situations of serious questions about civilian and budgetary oversight, and for the Army it is significantly harder to “sell” their needs compared to the Navy or the Air Force who rather clearly communicate their equipment needs (which granted are more straightforward, as the number of platforms and their capabilities are to a certain extent simpler). The Army has a hard time saying “Trust us, anything less than 180 main battle tanks and we’re open for invasion” when we apparently were okay with 100 for quite some time after the T-72s all went to scrapheap and the 2A4 was the sole tank in the fleet.

However, I will go out and say that I agree with the current discourse that a single brigade’s worth of tanks is significantly too few for a country the size of Finland, and even two brigades is a questionable minimum. However, defence budgets are tough, so let’s say we are at the rough equilibrium where we can balance the costs of operating 200 tanks with the combat capability needed. Until someone open up the calculations and capabilities a bit more, that sounds like a reasonable equation. If we send the Leopard 2A4s somewhere else, they would obviously need to be replaced, and for once we have something approaching a reasonable cost-estimate. The Norwegian project to acquire new tanks sport a budget of approximately 1.8 billion Euros (19.3 Bn NOK) for 72 new tanks. Say an even 2 Bn EUR for 80 tanks and a solid replacement on a one-to-one basis for Finland. The original plan for the Norwegian deal was deliveries from 2025, but that would have included contract signing last year, and it is safe to assume delivery times might have gone up a bit. As such, shipping away the Leopards now and at the same time ordering a replacement would leave our tank force cut by ~45% for 5-8 years.

So why would Finland send tanks to Ukraine? Why can’t anyone else do so? The whole point was that the Leopard 2 is in widespread use, right?

Numbers are deceiving, and not all Leopard 2s are the same. The 2A4 is the oldest current version, and is in relatively widespread use, while the 2A6 represent a new standard with among other things a more modern gun. The 2A5 sit in-between the 2A4 and the 2A6, while the 2A7 is significantly more modern and only now really starting to roll off the production lines in any serious numbers. However, not all 2A4s are the same either, as most countries do a certain amount of local changes. This can range from mounting your favourite 7.62 mm machine gun to developing national standards calling for their own designations (looking at you, Swedish Strv 122). The Finnish 2A4 is rather close to the German baseline, sporting new and enlarged storage compartments, modified side skirts, and a number of minor detail changes.

As such, while you can certainly mix and match – in particular as long as you stay with the same version – maintenance and spares will obviously be easier the closer you stick to a single national variant. In other words, taking ten vehicles here and ten vehicles there isn’t necessarily the most efficient way (although vastly better than getting ten Challenger 2 and ten Leopards).

One of the more heavily modified Leopard 2 versions is the Spanish Leopard 2E which feature among other things changes to the turret armour layout. Source: Ejército de Tierra Twitter

And then the numbers aren’t as overwhelming as some would like to make them out to be. There are twenty countries operating the Leopard 2 (21 if you count UAE and their four Wisent 2 AEVs). If we look at the 2A4, in addition to Finland, Spain, Norway, Poland, Greece, Turkey, Chile, Singapore, Canada, and Indonesia operate the tank in any sizeable numbers. Scratch the countries in Asia and South America, because so far the Ukraine aid has been a decidedly North American and European affair. Then you can remove Greece and Turkey, since neither will part with any armour before it literally is falling into pieces. This leaves Norway, Spain, Poland, Canada, and Finland. Poland and Norway are as much of frontline states as Finland, and while Poland already has shipped serious amounts of tanks to Ukraine the roughly 50 2A4s are the only tanks in Norwegian service. Spain indeed has been interested in sending the tanks, but found them to be in too poor condition to be of use. Canada has 42 used in a training role, so these might be of use.

(You can of course argue that Greece and Turkey should behave and come together for a common cause, but we are looking at realistic options here. Germany industry also has some tanks, but these are in varied status. E.g. Rheinmetall has 22 Leopard 2, which can be delivered by 2024 at the earliest)

Going to the 2A5 and related versions (including modernised 2A4s), we are looking at Switzerland (strictly “neutral”), Sweden (120 tanks of the unique Strv 122 version, sole tank in use), Poland (frontline state), Singapore (in Asia), Canada (just twenty 2A4M), Indonesia (in Asia). For 2A6, we have Germany, Spain, Finland, Greece, Portugal (just 37 tanks), Canada (just twenty tanks), of which Spain has a serious number (219) of their Leopard 2E-version which could provide a serious number. Germany obviously would be the big player, but they are in fact situated at less than 150 tanks currently, and can hardly be expected to be the leader for this project (or generally when it comes to hard security in Europe).

As such, Finland is – while not completely unique – one of the few countries that could send a sizeable number (more than a battalion) of tanks in good condition, of a single configuration, without giving up most or all of our most modern tanks.

The counter-argument is obviously that we aren’t a NATO-member (yet), which makes things tricky. I agree on that, and that is indeed the key question which only the top-diplomats can currently answer – how safe does the current status as applicants make us feel? How much of a risk would we take by halving our tank force for half a decade?

At the same time, there is a number of other issues affecting Finnish security that would support the decision to send tanks. Ukraine’s success on the battlefield has measurably increased Finnish security in that the forces on the other side of the border are getting shot to pieces somewhere else. Similarly, the war dragging on would in itself be destabilising for the region, as a more desperate Russian political leadership might lash out in unexpected actions, or groups or parts of society inside Russia might start acting in ways counter to Finnish interests and security. On the opposite, further Ukrainian success on the battlefield would likely cause yet more Russian forces to leave their garrisons for a battlefield away from our borders. I believe that most of my readers would agree that a decisive Ukrainian victory on the battlefield in the near-future would be the most preferable outcome for Finnish security (and that is from a strictly realist point of view, there certainly is a moral aspect here as well, but that is a more complex question which would require too much space for me to open up in detail in this post).

A key issue for the FDF would be the question of personnel where we suddenly would train half the number of wartime tank battalions for a few years. This would need careful planning to ensure that there are available officers and NCOs with experience once the new tanks are brought into service. But considering the high tempo of operations during recent years and the fact that the 2A4 and 2A6 gun tanks are only one part of an armoured force that include a number of platforms (at the same time, I realise that going from the 2A4 to a MT-LB might not be a career development to everyone’s liking…) it might be possible to work out a reasonable solution to this issue as well.

As mentioned, the Leopard 2A4 are by now approaching a decade since the planned MLU was cancelled, meaning that they will need either a serious upgrade or a replacement within the next five to ten years in either case. As such, the option of shipping them off to secure Finnish interests in another country is not as outrageously expensive compared to what the eventual budget for them will be in either case (2 Bn EUR is still a huge amount). However, there is the issue with the new replacement tank being several years away. Here, it is notable that Finland has likely never been safer since before the Bolsheviks managed to secure power after the Russian civil war, meaning that we possibly have been offered a unique window that allow for the risk-taking required (if indeed the risk of sending them is seen as greater than the risk of Ukraine not getting a brigade worth of Leopards and how that would benefit Finnish security). It is also notable that even if the war ended tomorrow and Russia started rebuilding their forces, missing the officers and NCOs who have been killed or wounded on the battlefield will cause issues for any rebuilding program.

Trying to use the momentum of the Norwegian tank program might be one solution to decrease the time to get a replacement up and running. Here the K2NO is out on winter trials. Source: Torbjorn Kjosvold, Forsvaret

What could be the next steps if those with access to the folders with red stamps on would decide that the risk of sending Leopards would be smaller than the risk of not doing so? The government and leading opposition parties would have to get together (we are close to a parliamentary election, and this kind of radical decision would need broad parliamentary support to survive), and take the decision to prepare the shipment of the Finnish Leopard 2A4 fleet to Ukraine, publicly announcing it to put pressure on Germany to allow for the export, and decide on additional funding outside of the ordinary defence budget to fund the 2 Bn EUR replacement program. Next step would be to call Norway and the suppliers for their program (Hyundai Rotem and KMW), and ask to be let in on the program. In the best of words, we would be able to just rip off the Norwegian evaluation and ask if everyone would be happy to include an option for an additional 80 or so tanks to Finland according to the same terms and conditions of the Norwegian contract in the same way Estonia has tagged along on Finnish buys of radars and artillery (if we talk really nice to the Norwegians, we might even reach some compromises when it comes to delivery slots despite that causing some delays for them. After all, a strong Finnish Defence Force is a good thing for Norwegian security as well). If there is something with the Norwegian requirements we can’t agree to, we might have to run our own procurement competition, but in either case it should offer plenty of valuable experiences from both bidder and buyer points of view to start the discussion with them – ensuring we hit the ground running in a procurement program where speed would be of the essence.

As such, it’s not that Finland can’t deliver a serious number of tanks to Ukraine – it’s that we aren’t prepared to pay the costs and take the risks such a decision would include. And I for one does not know for certain if that is the correct decision or not.


70 thoughts on “Free the Leopards

  1. TJAU216

    Based on the numbers in your old post about the Finnish war time army and some other open source discussions, we need 32 Leopard 2s for each of the Mechanized Battle Groups, 16 per Motorized Battle Group and 16 per Battalion in the readiness brigade formed by the Karelian brigade. These numbers are now off by one organizational reform, but these are all operational forces so they should have been outside the latest reform. Thus the army needs 144 MBTs for the operational forces. The remaining at most 54 tanks probably form three independent tank companies of 16 tanks each.

    The latest AEMI and GEMI reports still included 100 Leopard 2A4s, but Finland has lied/bent the truth in these reports before. I think we could slash the independent tank companies and send 50 Leopard 2A4s to Ukraine without seriously affecting our combat strength. Giving any more would be a problem as then units trained to fight as combined arms forces would be without their tank component. I think this would be a great compromise for maximizing our own security via the destruction of Russian army and having our own military be strong.

    1. Smorkerr

      As an American it may sound easy for me to say, but the US is also making risk decisions with munitions and equipment that I fully support.
      What I am looking at is a fully involved Russian Army cannot take more than a small part of Ukraine (and has lost a lot of what they did not have before). Against NATO, air-power and the artillery trains they would face? Impossible. As noted, its a 6-8 year window at best for Finland to face a Russian threat and it may be never, the Army is getting trashed and their equipment is not only gone, they have no mfg ability to restore (corruption and cost cutting). In order to fix it they would have to change the system in Russia and its going to be one despot after another.
      What the US does have to do is keep an eye on China and that is a sea war and while we have issues there, we can afford to send Armor and munitions to Ukraine and have a very small if any risk.

  2. JakobSD

    Always been confused by the A4’s in Finland. Kept reading allover the internet that they are in storage. Still I kept seeing them on social media (following lot’s of different units in Finland) in every exercise that was taking place.

    Nice to read here that they are still in active use. Confirms what I’ve been seeing for the last few years in the exercises.

  3. The_GRETA

    How about a deal where Finland gets old M1 Abrams tanks from USA as a replacement for the Leo A4’s. There is a massive number of them in storage in USA. Most have the 105mm gun, but even with the 105 the Abrams will be effective against older Soviet designs.

    1. Smokerr

      No, the ones in storage are not predominantly the 105 mm gun type. Those went out early on. While the M1’s are a almost bewildering array as the Leopards, its really 3 Generations. The 2nd Generation was prominent during the first and second Iraq Wars. The 3rd is Sep 3 with upgrades and a different Auxiliary Power Unit.
      But yes we could send M1 to Finland and I would be happy to do so. Its seriously heavy and I don’t think suited to Finish conditions though I don’t think any modern MBT is (LeClarc and K2 more so)
      note: I don’t know if any of the 105 mm hulls were even kept.

      1. Smokerr

        A bit of follow up shows that the M1’s were upgraded to M1A1 with the 120 mm smooth bore. Happy to share them with our fine friends and allies next to the bear.

  4. @spritlampa

    Finland and Poland has over 220 Leo2A4 that could be delivered, in a short term the the loss could be covered by allied armoured units. In the medium term Fin could do the same deal as Poland and buy surplus ex USMC M1A1 FEP, a big upgrade from the Leo2A4. The value of the polish deal for 116 M1s is $1.4 billion of which almost $200 million will be allocated in the form of American military assistance. A deal that one could suspect is for replacing the Leos. For Finland it might be enough with 58 tanks and it could be some financial support from EU in this case

    1. J

      EU should buy those A4 Leopards from Finland and Poland. It’s nonsense to send 10 tanks from different countries and maybe get 80 tanks but different versions. There is money, but there are weak politicians playing bullshit games while people are dying. 200 tanks should be the first goal here. I hope there are negotions going or everybody fails. Finland could get US troops and tanks from Germany while waiting new tanks. Or something else, but now everybody should hurry everything that is needed to Ukraine. I don’t know if politicians really understand that. So far they’ve been a sad dark joke. Sweden should put together a group for CV90 owners and give those to Ukraine. 100-200 of those would be nice, if there is not going to be hundreds of Bradleys. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for politicians to be against Russia. Economically they are free from it now, so why not send some vehicles before they have to think sending their own men. This should be easy decision, but they can’t make even that. Darkest thing is to laugh at russians in their easily blowing up T72s and BMBs and then just forget that ukrainians have to use the same crap, if nothing is done quickly in weeks.

      1. Jorge Gawlik

        I whole heartedly agree with you. As a Canadian, I would hope that we send as many as we can , instead of governmental lip service. ⁹

      2. Smokerr

        Agreed and happy to support US forces in Finland. I would suggest one of the Light Divisions though and a whole boatload of Javs. One guy by the side of the Forrest trail, boom, no more armored advance.

  5. Lasse R

    As a Finnish taxpayer, I’m all for ordering 50 new 2A7s and sending the 2A4 stock to Ukraine. The risk exists, but I don’t think Russia wants to go test how firm the unofficial US/UK security guarantees are. Or which St Petersburg suburbs are within M270 range.

  6. Kari K

    This could be coupled to NATO membership. Release of 2A4’s only after T&H have ratified. Maybe Sweden would like to join on that deal too.

    Also agree on having EU finance those deliveries somehow, maybe that is easier for Scholch…

    And definetely tagging along with Norway or Poland for replacement asap.

  7. J S

    first: war is also about symbols. Sending froul Leopars is a symbol. In practical level, it would be much more usefull to send AMOS (advanced mortar system) AMVs that can be produced in Finland. The replacemnets are on our own hands. Also they are needed in Ukraine.

    The main issue is what else is needed for panzer brigade to function and how to apply it all with Leo’s. At least close AA-support isa must.

    1. Smokerr

      Actually the most immediate and long term impact (pun intended) would be to send ATACMs to Ukraine. That would force the Soviet depots back 200 miles and they would no longer be able to conduct the war along with finishing off the Karch Straights Bridge.

  8. The_GRETA

    OK then, how about a NATO base inside Finland? If Finland gives away Leos and then US Marines, or some other force, form a base in Finland, the end result will be +-0 change in balance of power.

  9. Lasse R

    What about 2A4 to 2A6 Ringtausch? Finland buys 2A6s from Portugal who’s as safe as can be, sends 2A4s to Ukraine. Finland gets single-version modernized fleet, Ukraine gets tanks.

    Similar deal for Poland (e.g. leased Abramses) and have them go all-in as well.

    And for my third wish, dear Fairy Godmother, make Turkey pick a side.

  10. Debuneko

    Mad proposals, I haz them:

    It has been long rumored that Poland was not happy with cooperation with Germans. They’ve recently acquired both U.S. and South Korean tanks. Therefore, given the right incentives, they might be willing to get rid of Leopards altogether. Finland could buy their A5s (105 pieces) and ship all of its A4s to Ukraine. Later, as Poland gets more Abrams and K2s, it could also donate its A4s to Ukraine and possibly be compensated by the European Peace Facility. Poland would gain money, Finland would gain a tank upgrade, Ukraine would receive a workable amount of Leopards, instead of few.

    Another even more bold proposal would be Japanese Type 90 tank. Japan will resize its tank force into total 300 pieces of Type 10, currently having 100+ pcs of Type 10 and 341 pcs of Type 90. I believe the general design philosophy of Type 90 (and Type 10) suits Finnish needs better than Leopard/Abrams. Finland could possibly get 100+ Type 90 in short order, and gradually increase the number if needed (for reserve and/or spare parts).

    Type 90 has the same Rheinmetall L44 gun as Leopard 2 A4/A5. Its hydropneumatic suspension could come handy in hilly Finnish terrain. It has an autoloader, which has its pros and cons. Japanese have discussed about an upgrade path for Type 90, which would have consisted of some very advanced tech from Type 10, so acquiring Type 90 would not necessarily be a dead end. Japanese legislation nowadays allows export of weapons. What’s there not to like?

  11. Wonderer

    Also I have been wondering why Finland is not sending their BMP-2s, MT-LBs and soviet artillery? I assume Finland should anyway move to more NATO standard equipment and during transition period other Western NATO countries could borrow CV90s, Bradleys and so on. Until Finland has replenished those given units.

    1. PvtJoker

      ~100 IFVs, ~500 APCs, ~ 700 mlrs/artillery pieces.

      Who would borrow that?

      That is around half of our armored formations and artillery battallions!

      Finland is doing its part just by keeping Russia out from Finland.

      But we have given huge amounts of aid to Ukraine compared to most hiding behind us.

      I am for giving the A4s if we get immediate replacements.

      Even better, Germany and Sweden will send most of theirs and order new ones.

      US will station more armor in Germany and Sweden.

      Lesson learned, you cant even trust everyone in NATO.

      A federal EU led by Germany and France is not in the interest of Finland.

      1. Wonderer

        I was thinking USA for example. Instead of giving Bradleys to Ukraine, could those be given or borrowed/leased to Finland for BMPs? USA will anyway give those away, so does it matter if it is Ukraine or Finland? And in the years to come we could return those when our CV90 fleet increases, if needed.

        I would assume that BMPs would fit better Ukraines arsenal?

    2. A big problem not discussed here is the Finnish joukkotuotanto, or troop production within the conscript system.

      Even if we get replacements for all of our MT-LB’s, BMP-2MD’s and Soviet artillery today it will take a long time to train the needed troops to use them, while the troops that were trained for the old equipment either need to be fully retrained for the new equipment in serious of extensive refresher training that takes them away from their civilian life or written off completely due to their wartime skills becoming obsolete.

      We are talking potentially of years of training and refresher training as new batches of conscripts come in and only some of them, a minority, get trained on the BMP, MT-LB or Soviet artillery equipment. If there are, for example, two companies of BMPs trained each year it’s going to take around 5 years to train the new crews for the replacements, not counting the time it takes to train the professional training crews to use the equipment beforehand.

      This same applies to MT-LB replacements and artillery. Increasing the number of conscripts trained on these systems is also hard, because of the number of professional trainers available (and where do they go after the initial surge?) and the fact that other units have to keep being produced too. Training for new leg infantry, XA-180, or mortar units can’t stop just because we got some Bradleys for our BMPs.

      With tanks it’s somewhat easier, considering that 100 Leopards need a lesser amount of crew and maintenance personnel trained than a BMP-2 mechanized infantry unit, even if re-training 2A4 reservists to a new Leopard platform, for example, does take its own time too.

      1. Pvt.Joker

        Well I did imply it in my answers, presuming people reading this blog understand this.

        But a good clarification and reminder also not to presume especially now when everyone is talking about defence.

  12. Pvt.Joker

    A logistical and training nightmare under the threat of war, very small time window.

    If we give any vehicles up we need immediate and permanent replacements.

    Best for Ukraine is if they get the most modern version of the Leo 2 and they can change over to the Bradley.

    If we do this purely in terms of Finland we trade A4s for A5s-A7s and BMPs for CV90s, with the same gun we use.

    What will we get for an MT-LB in a trade?
    It is not worth much on paper but we need around ~500 replacements to have mechanized formations.

    Giving up half of our artillery and mlrs is an even bigger obstacle.

    I am sure we can trade them for systems that our allies have in storage but will they give them up it is another matter.

    Just trainining in these new systems as fast as possible would take a lot of resources.
    Allies would need to share in the cost of this operation.

    Others need to step up before lecturing to Finland.
    We keep our border secure and stand guard for the western civilization.

    Threats and accusations are starting to gain strentgh from Russia towards Finland.
    Finland is being accused of killing millions in a genocide.

    One and possibly a second Russian army corps, based on the new districts, being formed on Finnish borders in the future.

    Our current force numbers are the bare minimum if Russia does not fall, and its fall is not guaranteed even if it is beaten in Ukraine.

    I dont want to gamble with the security of Finland.
    Russia is an existential threat to Finland.

    Great powers need to support Ukraine more, responsibility increases in proportion to the power you hold.

    1. Pvt.Joker

      Finland has use for every system it has but I am willing to continue signicant assistance to Ukraine.

      I was a bit surprised we still have 152mm guns, I would send those, a good system.

      Pohjanmaa class is late, to save some money in this fiasco we can send the Rauma class to Ukraine.

      Possibly also the coastal RBS 15 batteries.

      We can also promise the Hämeenmaa class will follow after the first Pohjanmaa class vessels are ready.

      Including some modern sea mines and training based on our doctrine and tactics.

      1. Pvt.Joker

        If Sweden is really considering sending Gripens then there should be no problem sending Rauma class equipped with RBS 15.

  13. Wonderer

    My point is not to weaken Finland, but to provide familiar equipment to Ukraine. For example Sweden is now sending CV90s to Ukraine.

    I would have sent/borrowed/leased those to Finland. And then from Finland BMP2s to Ukraine.

    1. Pvt.Joker

      The forces need to be trained to use the new systems, training is the most important part of the capability.

      Second issue is logistics, replacing the majority of the existing operational forces within the time window of weeks/months would weaken, no, decapitate FDF warfighting capability for a period of 1-2 years at minimum.

      Impossible to lease one system to replace the existing and then order another to replace that, permanent limbo.

      Any replacement needs to be permanent, it is the system we have chosen to go to war with, what we train with and the system we build the logistics for.

      If we get an US ABCT for the duration I would reconsider my position.

      The trade to existing FDF systems is the option that would work best within a small time window.

      A5-A7s for A4s, CV90s for BMPs, maybe older CV90s for MT-LBs.

      Bradleys might work as we have experience with the M270.
      But we need to get what the tankers want to use, they actually prefer the MT-LB over the M113.

      The artillery replacements would need to number closer to ~400 even if they where new.

      We cant gamble with this, Germany and US still not sending tanks, we are not even in NATO.

      I would support a NATO intervention and striking Russia, but obviously most of the westerners dont.

      As long as that is the case I think we need to keep our own defense as the first priority.

  14. Mark

    As an American, reading the current news I am a little sad that Biden always seems to get things 80% right, then continuously fails to commit further. In this case, IMHO he is overly concerned about aggravating Russia. Olaf Scholz seems similar. It is extremely frustrating that the two most critical political leaders are prolonging this war. Because in the end denying Ukraine the material needed to take the offensive does exactly that. Kudos to Poland, Finland et all in trying to do what can be done.

    1. Mark

      I should say though that I agree 100% with the position that Ukraine needs a uniform tank fleet, with a logistics tail that is manageable (to operate and repair). The Abrams is vastly inferior in that regard to the Leopard 2. So politics aside, Ukraine needs a large Leopard 2 tank fleet , and a large F16 fleet, both for the same reasons.

    2. Pvt.Joker

      There are ways for US to help if they really want Leopards to Ukraine.

      There are many ways to play this, here is one model.

      US gives a sweetheart deal to Canada, changing over to Abrams.

      This frees up ~80 Leopards, A4s, A6s and all the spare parts and supporting vehicles.

      The 20 A6s go to Finland, Finland pays what Canada paid to Netherlands.

      Finland gives ~40 A4s in return, 20 for the A6s and 20 as aid to Ukraine.

      ~100 Leopard A4s, spare parts, supporting vehicles and trainers headed for Ukraine.

      This can happen now.

      1. Pvt.Joker

        2A4M CAN might interest Finnish armored engineers, or not, and swapped to Finnish A4s giving a more uniform fleet.

        But the engineer and recovery vehicles from Canada are especially needed to field this brigade.

        US could also offer more Abrams to Poland for the A4s.

        If US is serious about arming Ukraine both deals can happen tomorrow.

      2. Debuneko

        Smart thinking there.

        Another modest proposal: Finland sends to Ukraine 110 BMP-2M, 32 BMP-1TJ/TJJ, 320 MT-LB/MT-LBV, and possibly also other Soviet era weaponry. In turn, the United Kingdom sends to Finland Warrior IFVs – at least a similar amount that Finland gave, so 462 vehicles minimum. Other countries, possibly the European Peace Facility, will pay the U.K. to make the deal fair for them.

        The U.K. is about to give up Warriors anyway, Finnish defence would improve, and Ukraine would receive familiar vehicles it can put to use immediately. A short conversion training would be needed for BMP-2M, since it has a hunter-killer system.

  15. Pvt.Joker

    We would need every remaining Warrior vehicle and spare part with a realistic plan to operate them in to 2040s, then it might work.

    1. Wonderer

      I think some BMP-2s are going now with the new package and replacements are coming from Sweden in the form of CV90s.

      1. Pvt.Joker

        Giving some would be idiotic, all or nothing.
        They need large uniform fleets to equip brigades.

        Sweden does not have CVs with the gun we have so I have doubts.

        My guess is 152mm guns, possibly 130mm if we still had those, both are good systems.
        Older 122 mlrs are a possibility also.

        In general many of these aid packages are like a herring salad as we say in Finland, logistical nightmares.

        This is only harming the Ukrainians and those trickling in the aid.

        Logically those that are not frontline states should give more and order new equipment.

        Germany could only keep what it needs for training and order new.

        Same with US and Canada behind the Atlantic.

        Spanish tanks to Germany for overhaul and upgrading to keep replacements rolling in to Ukraine etc

        Asking Finland to give more based on the claim that Russia will fall is arrogant when NATO cant even get Finland accepted in and major member states are part of the time appeasing Russia.

        Destroying Russia should be the end state we are aiming at, I dont expect that should be stated out but actions should be towards that goal.

    2. Debuneko

      Perfect is the enemy of good. BMP-2M will be obsolete in a decade. Despite its good mobility, MT-LB(V) is already obsolete. What would be needed, is a platform numerous and good enought to fill the gap until a new vehicle – perhaps from the FAMOUS2-program – can be fielded. Second-hand Bradleys or Warriors would be able to fill that gap at least for a decade. Second-hand CV90s are available only in small numbers, if at all.

      If the bar is set too high, Finland won’t be able to support Ukraine and will itself be left with aging and too diverse tracked vehicle fleet of Soviet origin, with worsening spare parts issues.

      1. Pvt.Joker

        Yes, a good motto that I also try to follow.

        I agree with you 100% in principle.

        All my criticism is pointed towards weak politicians and commanders that dont spell out this logistical reality to them.

        But in the FDF system based on reserve forces the procurement has to be mid to long-term at minimum.
        The training cycle is different compared to standing army.

        The Warrior could be a mid-term solution, new Bradleys a long-term.

        Warriors also could be the economical solution if there are enough hulls and spares left to replace the BMPs & MT-LBs.

        I know Brits planned to take out most of the turrets and use them as APCs.

        The engineer, command and artillery observation models make the fleet look interesting for us at first glance, kicking the tracks.

        I know they have mostly had a good reputation from the British users.

        Our tankers would need to evaluate how much life they have left in them.

        For the Leopards there are many different ways to get them to Ukraine.

        I have presented some that make sense from a Finnish perspective.

  16. Smokerr

    There is a major misconception on the M1 Abraham and fuel use. Since the M1A2 they have had an under armor Auxiliary Power Unit (10KW). This powers the tank when not moving and immediate combat not expected.
    The APU has been in 3 forms. The first was training tanks that simply had a Cummins Generator mounted on the back. The next was a small turbine that was carved out of a fuel tank area. The most recent one is a single piston diesel engine that is located in a storage box on the back.
    The so called fuel thirsty era is over. In a typical 24 hour operation cycle it uses less fuel than all but the Leopard A7 which now has an APU.
    A Turbine is most efficient at full power use and with upgrades to the M1 Turbine, its about equal range to a modern MBT (UK.Germ/France).
    The US gave Poland a number of Abrams as a starter group to train the Poles. The US has thousands of M1 stored. Other than weight there is no reason the US can’t supply M1.
    Any tank has its power-pack hidden under armor, very little is accessible. The various external bits most likely have to have the power pack removed to access (alternators, water pumps, turbo chargers, some fuel injection stuff). Those still require a move back to a repair shop and you put in a replacement power pack, its just faster.
    The Turbine is the same though its got things like external oil pumps and fuel pumps.
    Break something internal on a diesel and it goes way back to get fixed, overhaul is a too and shop intensive process and it matters now if you are doing the whole engine or a broken crank, connecting rod or cam shaft.
    Maint wise forward of the Power Pack they all are sophisticated target and computer systems and a Leopard is as complex as an M1. The vision target systems may be a bit less sophisticated on an A4 but the same is true on an M1A2.
    I do not understand why the US will not send M1 and even more critical, send the ATACMs missiles and that will have an immediate impact on Russian operations as they push command and war stocks back 150 miles and the Russians do not have the setup to run trucks to the front, they are all into rail as close as they can get.

  17. Pvt.Joker

    I think M1A2 would have a better cost benefit ratio, logistical footprint vs capability.

    IMHO Ukraine needs enough operational forces to cover 3-4 strategic directions at the same time.

    Having only 2-3 brigades concentrated towards Donbas is very risky and a potential disaster.

    Ukraine needs 6-8 fully equipped armored/mechanized brigades by spring to go on the offensive in one direction and cover others against invasion.

    1. Smokerr

      M1A2 with an APU would be fine, pick the area to focus on, you have like 5 different fronts and terrain. Its not the spare parts so much as spare parts in an area. Leopard A4 (just because of the available numbers) could be assigned areas more suited to it.
      Not question Ukraine needs 6 or 8 modern Tank Brigades and that is something around 600 tanks. That also means associated APC/IFV of which the Bradly is quite lethal as would be the 30 and 40 mm types from other countries.

      1. Pvt.Joker

        Abrams brigade as a strategic reserve west of Dnieper, the goal to building it up to a division with fully US equipment by the end of 23.

        Challeger battallion to guard Kyiv.

        Two Leopard equipped armored brigades east of Dnieper, both combined with two mechanized brigades equipped with T series tanks to form two armored divisions.

        Form an marine division equipped with retired AAV-7s to the Kherson-Crimea front with separate tank battallions.

        3-4 jäger brigades for the Belarus and Luhansk fronts equipped with
        Bv 206 and separate tank battallions.

        This could be realistic by summer.

  18. Smokerr

    A clarification on the K2 Availability. South Korea is stripping delivery of the K2 to its Army to get them to Poland. Clearly for South Korea its about arms sales and not security (lets face it, Korea is not tank country and the role of tanks there for the South Koreans is to provide protection from North Korea artillery, ergo, their older tanks will do that.
    Poland can give up its Leopards as they are moving to and getting both the M1 and the siphoned off K2. Production of the to be determined K2PL is a long way off. Poland has a starter set of M1’s while the US pulls hulls out of storage and upgrades them to the Sep3 Standard.
    A good argument can be made for long term K2 as more suitable to Finland (and Norway) than any other tank.
    That said, neither country nor Sweden is tank country and you have to wonder about the usefulness of a tank in all 3 countries.
    Alaska is much like the three and it was a hoot to see tanks running alongside the main road on a trail as they could not go cross country (too many trees and bogs). In order to get sight distance they cleared huge filed to the North of Anchorage (the logs were piled in berms and they ran back and forth on the ends shooting at targets a mile away)
    So maybe the US MPF vehicle would be better fit for the Scandinavia Countries. Yes its a 105 mm gun, but at the ranges? Reported still to go through a Russian tank. Ukraine does not report major tank battles, tanks are supporting infantry and the 105 has a great HE round as well as various other types.

    1. Pvt.Joker

      Finland is not tank country like Ukraine or Poland but we still need them to go on the offensive.

      They will maneuver to deliver the decisive blow when the time comes.

      Finns like fully matured systems so K1A2 might be interesting in theory.

      1. Smorkerr

        If you are not tank country for defensive you sure are not for offensive operation. In theory you can park an MBT in cover on a corner or behind a hill on a road or forest trails and hit the first thing that comes along and not long if not immediate before the road is blocked. Throw down artillery to keep it form being unblocked. Get a bunch of Javs in the woods and…….
        Assume Finland is part of NATO, you hold the Russkies on your frontier and Poland attacks where the weight of metal is spread out and you can conduct offensive operations.
        Granted its not my country but I think the Winter war showed that Finland is not a place to attack and any deterrent would be more than sufficient let alone facing a gutted Russian Army for X number of years.
        Not to be taken for sure, but its entirely possible Russia spirals into internecine war (think Wagner Group vs the Russian Army) and Western Russia caves in on itself while the Eastern parts go on their merry way.
        Have a go plan for any future case, but the Russian forces that were on the border are gone and may never return.

  19. Pvt.Joker

    You can conduct offensive operations in Finland.

    We use MBTs, IFVs and different types of infantry together, changing roles based on terrain.

    Our movement is not restricted to roads even if armored units are more limited in their maneuvers.

    We have infantry battalions equipped with a large quantity of tracked articulated vehicles that can maneuver even in wilderness.

    Also if we are under attack ourselves I dont see why we would need to restrict our offensive operations within some geographical area.

    1. Smorkerr

      No disrespect, but I saw the US Army try to use Tanks in Alaska as noted. Yes they could run up and down prepared trails as well as the maneuver area they clear cut to allow them to play up North.
      But I know what the general ground conditions are all around the State of Alaska. I have seen D8 Cats sunk in swamps.
      In our case sure they could run an M1 up the Alaska Haul road, then you turn left or right (Russia or Canada) and you are into a river or a swamp and……..
      I have looked into the German retreat out of Finland in WWII. They followed the roads and no once could get around them.
      In Winter conditions once the ground is frozen, you can. But, those D8s were moving to a destination in winter conditions and fell through (all that swamp has a tendency to have bio mass that is warmer than normal)
      The last place NATO would want to try to conduct an offensive operation is in Scandinavia. Its brutal trying to operate in the conditions be it summer or winter. Logistics are almost impossible.
      I am not saying Finland should not be defended, but its best defense are mobile troops not armor and supporting and conducting armor in that region other than on a road is virtually impossible.
      Certainly air strikes out of Finland would be a great use of air power.

      As a side note, we no longer have armor up here, the Stryker Brigade was a bust and our remaining Infantry is now a light airborne type (ie, not the 82 or the 101st but they do train to jump)

      1. North remembers

        The terrain and general topography in Finland varies a lot depending on which part or area in the country you go. Accordingly the tactics and weaponry used to defend those areas varies too.

        Tanks are the iron fist of FDF and they are relevant in many but not all environments. Northern Lapland is mostly tundra with sparse roads and rail for logistics support. Southern Lapland has a mixture of forests and swamps. In WW2 the Germans kind of struggled in Lapland as the conditions and poor infrastructure hampered operations and their units were not familiar with waging war in that kind of environment. The Finns did not have mechanized units in that area to speak of (biomechs called horses were available in quantities).

        The FDF has been rigged for defense that is sure but to conduct the task succesfully, offensive capabilities are needed. Artillery plays a key role in Finnish doctrine and mobility of the troops and units is the keyring there. I recommend watching ”Maavoimien uudistettu taistelutapa” from 2015.

        US and UK mechanized troops have trained with our Leopards in Niinisalo, Finland. These exercises have been quite beneficial for all participants.

        The decision to send Finnish Leopards to Ukraine is a political one and hopefully it will favor a large shipment of tanks and relevant substitution in form of more modern tanks. Finland could send A4 -models plus a couple of A6’s fitted with mine-clearing equipment.

  20. Smorkerr

    Now we are sending M1 (eventually if and when they find or mfg an export version) and everyone else is sending Leopard 2.

    Stay tuned as to who, what and the numbers and model.

  21. Pvt.Joker

    Yes, you eventually need a road for logistics to keep an offensive going but we know how to maneuvre outside the main roads.

    We can use our knowledge of the terrain to suprise the enemy, often even with armor, and always using motorized units.

    No disrespect but I dont think we will be asking permission from NATO if we get an opportunity to bag a division or an even an army corps.

    Army or air force, offense is the best defense.

    1. Smokerr

      “It was also announced that the 1st Infantry Brigade would divest its Strykers. Following these changes, the brigade would test several new vehicles to include the Cold-Weather All-Terrain Vehicle (CATV) to replace the former Strykers. ”

      A CATV is a rig known as a 4 Wheeler/ATV/Quad Bike , we use those to hunt with. One person 4 x 4 though you can load a person on the back (or half a moose!)

      1. Pvt.Joker

        BvS 10 Beowulf, Cold-Weather All-Terrain Vehicle, is a replacement to the Bv 206 tracked articulated all-terrain vehicle.

        But I am sure they use ATVs also like we do in Finland.

      2. Smokerr

        Yep, we have those or had those up here as well. Great winter vehicles. Summer time you are highly restricted by lakes, swamps and streams, rivers etc. Its not that you can’t do it, its is that its terrain restricted and predictable (not that the Russians are going to have that ability for along time if ever)
        I used to cut wood on Ft. Rich. This is the Google map link. They have huge areas miles across there they clear cut to get open areas so they can maneuver and even land helicopters (I have surveyed in a swamp via helicopter drop off, ungh). Yes the work in the woods but if you want to fire a Jav you need to be able to see a mile. You can’t do that in the woods. A Gustov is probably a better weapon in as woods fight.
        I don’t doubt that the Finish forces have ways to overcome some of that, but the biggest asset a tank brings is being a mobile bunker (same for South Korea).
        Many of our passe are not that high but I could block any one of them with a battalion and most of that is to keep forces from going around the edges. Once they are on the open mountains, artillery gets them.
        Finish forces obviously know where any of the roads are (what 5 or 6?) and can block those. The rest is a woods fight. Tanks can’t keep knocking trees down and the US found out what happens in Jungle fighting the Japanese, they sneak up close and blow you up. You also have zero sight distance. A US MPF (tracked and turreted 105 mm assault gun just being brought into service) would be more use.
        If the Russians were stupid enough to attack Finland, you just have to hold them by the beard and let a NATO group take them out from Poland.
        In the end it does not matter who runs the counter offensive, its getting all of Finland back and you cut that road up to Murmansk and its no more supplies for the Russkies.
        The US has agreed to defend Finland during the NATO join period and then they get full NATO help.
        Finland is no longer alone. My hat is off to Finland for staying independent though that awful cold war period.
        You can now count on a massive amount of support and frankly the Russians would be beyond stupid to take that on when they could not even beat a not well organized Ukraine. All credit to Ukraine but they are a medium level force at best, its how awful the Russian are that helped the Ukrainians hold and then recover.

      3. Pvt.Joker

        Russians already have tracked articulated all-terrain vehicles.

        Also many of their older equipment like the MT-LB work fine in Finnish terrain.

        Also helicopters and air assault are big part of their doctrine.

        We cant make plans based on the assumption that they will remain (this) incompetent forever.

        Their doctrines and tactics are often sound enough on paper, the execution has lacked proper level of training and equipment.

        For example they dont have the modern digital comms to command and control their BTGs as planned, or in general provide the targeting data from sensor to shooter in a timely manner.

        Also one reason Finns in this blog wont go on details how we maneuver combined arms in units in our terrain, you just have to take our word for it.

        Russians already have tracked articulated all-terrain vehicles.

        Also many of their older equipment like the MT-LB work fine in Finnish terrain.

        Also helicopters and air assault are big part of their doctrine.

        We cant make plans based on the assumption that they will remain (this) incompetent forever.

        Their doctrines and tactics are often sound enough on paper, the execution has lacked proper level of training and equipment.

        For example they dont have the modern digital comms to command and control their BTGs as planned, or in general provide the targeting data from sensor to shooter in a timely manner.

        Also one reason Finns in this blog wont go on details how we maneuver combined arms in units in our terrain, you just have to take our word for it.

  22. Pvt.Joker

    Russians already have tracked articulated all-terrain vehicles.

    Also many of their older equipment like the MT-LB work fine in Finnish terrain.

    Also helicopters and air assault are big part of their doctrine.

    We cant make plans based on the assumption that they will remain (this) incompetent forever.

    Their doctrines and tactics are often sound enough on paper, the execution has lacked proper level of training and equipment.

    For example they dont have the modern digital comms to command and control their BTGs as planned, or in general provide the targeting data from sensor to shooter in a timely manner.

    Also one reason Finns in this blog wont go on details how we maneuver combined arms in units in our terrain, you just have to take our word for it.

    1. Smokerr

      Air assault has proven to be a disaster which is what the US experience in Vietnam against Ack Ack. Helicopters are very usable behind the lines but not over or beyond and its going to get worse as the UAV weaponry comes to the fore (which also is anti helicopter)
      As for maneuver in Finland it no secret. The Russians will know more about it than most Fins. There is no secret sauce. What does work is combined arms but as its proven throughout history, there are only so many attack routes unless you live on a flat plain like Poland or Ukraine.
      What works is you cut supply routes. As the Russian Air Forces have shown in Ukraine, they don’t have the capability to stop NATO, they can’t even finish off Ukraine’s Air Force.
      Clearly Finland uses conscription to make up for a smaller population as well as a lengthy border.
      In reality there are limited axis of attack into Finland and the reverse is true.
      Bottom line really is does Finland have an immediate threat and how long before a threat can materialize? I am not going to portend to know what the Finish Defense forces feel they need nor what numbers they feel they need them in (they could be right or wrong).
      What we do know is there is a window that Russia is no possible threat (5-10 years). Depending on what happens in Russia that could extend beyond that.
      Russia is not going to reform under the current regime, they can’t, its not how the system was built nor works. There is no force that would change that. The most likely outcome sans Putin is another dictator.
      The single most effective effort against Russian threats is full support to Ukraine. That is where the Russian Army is getting chewed up and the longer that goes on the worse it gets for Russia and the safer all of Europe is.

      1. Pvt.Joker

        “As for maneuver in Finland it no secret. The Russians will know more about it than most Fins.”

        We classify this as fishing but the intent might be lost in translation.

        “Air assault has proven to be a disaster which is what the US experience in Vietnam against Ack Ack. Helicopters are very usable behind the lines but not over or beyond”

        Then why is such a large part of US forces, army and marines, air assault or airmobile qualified?

        The same in Russia, they are actually expanding air assault brigades in to divisions.
        I guess they did not get demoralized enough in Hostomel..

        “What does work is combined arms but as its proven throughout history, there are only so many attack routes unless you live on a flat plain like Poland or Ukraine.
        What works is you cut supply routes.”

        That is the reason the potential of air assault and airmobile operations has to be taken seriously in Finland.

        We have a good air force, air defenses and local defenses but the threat is real and especially close to the front the airspace is always contested and local control possible with good planning.

        And your continued claim that Russia cant be a threat within 5-10 years is a very perilous one.

        We cant and wont make plans based on that.

        Many Finns in this blog are by know chaining themselves in to the Leopards and wondering your motives.

        We are paranoid like that.

  23. Good post. Fully agree.
    But I think we need to start prioritizing made-in-the-EU stuff over foreign stuff. We cannot rely on Ds keeping the White House in 2024 or 28 and Israel and Switzerland will not allow for reexport of their gear. South Korea does and we have to be practical about it, so buying the K9 is fine, but we should not buy more systems. We should rather band together with the others who are supplying L2 to Ukraine, about increasing the capacity of EU defense supply chains, so a made-in-the-EU replacement for the L2s can be made faster.

    1. EMK

      You consider Germany a reliable supplier?

      I wouldn’t trust to get even spares to L2 from Germany – let alone new units – should Russians decide now is a good time to invade Finland.

      In my mind one of the main lessons of the war in Ukraine has been the undisputable unreliability of Germany (and to some extent, France).

      Germany in particular is behaving in despicable manner. It’s free loading when it comes to hard security. At the same time it is claiming a moral high ground by using pacifistic rhetoric and basically burying it’s head in the sand. Neither Germany nor France has no longer any credibility as a leading nations in the EU. They are weak, spineless, clueless, pompous idiots who think too highly of themselves.

      1. Smorkerr

        Germany is a strange aspect and it takes mining various sources to come up with a composite of what is going on. But the end result is unreliable.
        Merkel and Scholz both are beholden to Russia under the guise of peace through trade but in fact it was the money to back them from the trade. Both Merkel and Scholz have iffy pasts i regards to appeasement or outright complicity.
        Until Trump the US was far more solid but its hard telling what the republicans would do now. Trump will be in jail but there are still the Whacko like De Santis.
        Finland etc need to do the best they can with what they have with what can only be termed the Eastern Aliance withing NATO, those countries on the border (mostly) with Russia and the understanding what Russia would do if they thought they could get away with it.
        Right now Russian can’t do anything and may never be able to again but the plans need to be in place for 5+ years from now.
        All humanity aside, chewing up the Russians in Ukraine benefits all of the EU.

    2. BB3

      Given that Finland already uses the CV90 series and given that the CV90 series is made in Sweden and optimized size and weight-wise for the high North and tight quarters generally – I’m perplexed as to why Finland, Sweden and Norway in particular aren’t acquiring at least some lightweight CV90-120Ts:

      They are more lightly armored, but pack the same punch as the L2s and other MBTs and are cheaper and more fuel efficient to boot. And they seem better suited to moving through the woods and hiding in ambush there as well – something that’d be made easier by the Swedes moving to develop hybrid power trains for their CV90 vehicles – which will make them quieter/ stealthier in operation in addition to likely increasing their range:

      And, since the Finnish army already uses the CV90 series of vehicles – logistics, training, supply tail issues would be minimized as would security of supply and reinforcement/ resupply from Sweden, etc.

      1. BB3

        I forgot to mention the other big benefit which is that they are cheaper than L2s and other MBTs – meaning Finland and Sweden etc. could afford to acquire more to supplement their MBT fleet or even distribute same among more armored/ mechanized units including reserve units.

  24. Mark

    Now that tanks are finally freed up, a decent high level summary of adding modern air power to the equation is here, note the (imho realistic) defined mission statement of “achieve local air superiority to support combined arms advances”:

    “As a result, there may be an opening for Ukraine to utilize high performance aircraft like the F-16 to achieve a measure of local superiority in support of offensive operations to restore movement to the battlefield. The attrition war of the last several months favors Moscow, since it has numbers on its side and the Russian leadership is more than willing to trade Russian lives for Ukrainian ones. Against this backdrop, the promised western tanks will provide the type of ground component needed for Ukraine to even the odds. And adding advanced air capabilities would represent a significant force multiplier. It would transform the current status quo – which Ukrainian pilots have likened to flying “suicide missions” against Russian jets – and level the playing field, making the skies over Ukraine safer for Ukrainian fighters and other aircraft by suppressing Russian air defenses.

  25. Pvt.Joker

    Now that Leopard 1s are also free I suggest building the “Leopard Division(s)” composed of 2 mechanized brigades equipped with Leopard 1s and 1 armoured brigade equipped with Leopard 2s.

    Israel was selling some 105mm ammo just recently, anyone know what types and are they usable with Leo 1?

    1. Pvt.Joker

      The Belgian arms dealer seemed to have Austrian SK-105 Kürassiers for sale.
      AMX-13s also?

      What is the best ammo available for the CN 105-57 rifled gun?
      Naturally they would need a modern sensor, comms and thermal camo for their ambush role.

      But if the MT-12 Rapira still has use then these could also be useful with good tactics.

  26. BB3

    So .. to summarize the comments here: Ukraine definitely needs tanks and other mechanized equipment and someone should definitely supply same ASAP .. but it should be someone else and not our country because we’ve either given enough or we really need it. Most every other country is selfish, but not us .. and don’t you dare criticize us, because we’re the only ones who really understand/ appreciate our unique needs, vulnerabilities and obligations. And yeah we sure hope someone steps us, but we gave at the office so get the hell off our porch and quit calling us asking for contributions!

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