Leopard 2 tank: how it compares to Challenger 2 and M1 Abrams tanks as Germany sends reinforcements to Ukraine

Germany is set to send reinforcements to Ukraine, as well as allowing German-built tanks to be sent to Ukraine from other countries, after pressure from NATO nations

Germany has committed to sending Lepoard 2 tanks to Ukraine, days after a meeting between NATO allies ended in a stalemate. The new agreement will also see German-made reinforcements from other countries permitted to be sent to Ukraine for its fight against Russia.

The move comes after noted reluctance from Chancellor Olaf Scholz. However, the German leader has now authorised 14 Leopard 2 tanks to be sent to Ukraine, after pleas from President Volodymyr Zelensky.

The announcement of German tanks being sent to Ukraine came as the US also announced plans to send M1 Abrams tanks to help in the fight against Russia. 31 of the powerful units are due to be sent to Ukraine, with Zelensky saying that the German and US commitment marked a “important step on the path to victory”.

But what exactly is the difference between Leopard 2 tanks and M1 Abrams tanks - and how powerful are they compared to each other? Here’s everything you need to know.

What is a Leopard 2 tank?

Germany is set to send 31 Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine after stalling on a decision to equip the country. (Credit: Getty Images)

The Leopard 2 tanks is a German-manufactured unit which was first introduced in 1979. They have been used throughout Europe over the years, including in Kosovo and Bosnia, as well as further afield in Afghanistan and Syria.

The unit itself features a 120mm smooth bore gun with two coaxial light machine guns also attached. Hitting a top speed of around 42mph, the Leopard 2 tank is able to hit within a range of 311 miles.

The tanks are seen to be key to Kyiv progressing in the next phase of war according to Zelensky. Ukraine have little stock of tanks themselves, with the ones the country does possess being of Soviet-age technology.

Zelensky has now successfully campaigned for the updated Leopard 2 tanks, which are widely available throughout Europe. Not only does Germany possess the stock to send to Ukraine, but neighbouring Poland will also now be permitted to send the tanks over the border.

(Credit: Kim Mogg/NationalWorld)

What is an M1 Abrams tank?

An M1 Abrams tanks is a US-built tank which was originally introduced to the US Army in 1980. The units are manufactured in Lima, Ohio.

M1 Abrams tanks have been seen during the Gulf War’s Operation Desert Storm. (Credit: Getty Images)

The tanks were most famously used during 1991’s Operation Desert Storm during the Gulf War. The M1 Abrams has been noted for its mobility, control, firepower and armour in warfare.

The US is set to send 31 of the tanks to Ukraine. President Joe Biden said: “Putin expected Europe and the United States to weaken our resolve.

“He expected our support for Ukraine to crumble with time. He was wrong. He was wrong. He was wrong from the beginning and he continues to be wrong.”

What is a Challenger 2 tank?

The German and US commitment to sending units to Ukraine comes after the UK previously committed to sending 14 Challenger 2 tanks to the eastern European country. The announcement came before a meeting of NATO allies in Germany, with the UK applying pressure to answer Zelensky’s pleas.

Britain has committed to sending 14 Challenger 2 tanks to Ukraine. (Credit: Getty Images)

A Challenger 2 tank is a British-manufactured unit which has been used in conflicts such as Iraq, Kosovo and Bosnia. They were first introduced by the British Army in 1994.

The tanks feature a 120mm rifled gun and are manned by four people while in operation. The British Army has previously said that the Challenger 2 tanks are robust in their use in conflict, and has “never experienced a loss at the hands of the enemy”.