STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN — The news that Germany gave the “green light” for Leopards to be delivered to Ukraine is already passed. Today, media and experts are speculating which country can give what tanks to Kyiv. However, future NATO member Sweden has its Leopard version.
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Logically, the eyes are directed toward Stockholm. Sweden has officially announced that its Stridsvagn 122 main battle tank may be sent to war. But, say the authorities in Stockholm, “we are not yet ready to transfer some of our tanks”. These are the words of the Minister of Defence, Mr. Paul Jönsson, to a reporter from Svenska Dagbladet.
“Preparation for the provision of tanks from Sweden is not currently underway, but this may happen in the next stages,” commented Mr. Jonsson. As far as is known, the Swedish army has about 120 such machines.
Stridsvagn 122 is a modification of the German Leopard 2 tank. Moreover, it is probably the best upgraded Leopard 2 currently in service in the world. The tank has been in service since 1997 and only the Swedish army operates it.
This is a third-generation tank. One of the most powerful tanks with horsepower on par with its Western competitors – 1,500 horsepower. For comparison, the Russian T-90M has 1,125 horsepower. It develops a maximum speed of 68 km/h, which is a similar parameter to the speed of the American Abrams M1A2.
Stridsvagn 122 fuel consumption and operational range are quite impressive. The T-90M, Leopard, Abrams, and the British Challenger 2 travel a shorter distance [450-550 km] with a full fuel tank – between 1,550 and 1,900 liters of fuel. While the Swedish Stridsvagn 122 travels 550 km with 1,200 liters of fuel in the tank.
Undoubtedly, the smaller tank means less weight and greater maneuverability. And that’s right – the Swedish tank weighs 62.5 tons – less than the Abrams and Challenger, and as much as the Leopard 2.
The armament of the Stridsvagn 122 did not differ significantly from its Western competitors. The tank’s main gun is the 120 mm Rheinmetall L/44 smoothbore gun. Secondary armament for close combat includes two 7.62mm machine guns. By Western standards, the tank’s crew is four. FYI, the Russian T-90M is a three-man crew.
Why Swedish Leopard?
Swedes are a practical nation. Very good manufacturers of vehicles, be it for civilian or military use. The Swedish Stridsvagn 122 was designed to wage war in snowy and forested areas. I.e. mobile, practical, and fast precisely under such weather and environment. Perfectly suitable at the moment for Ukraine.
The Stridsvagn 122 was created in Sweden to overcome the shortcomings of the original German tank. This includes reinforced armor, an advanced CBRN defense system, passage through deeper water, rapid target detection, identification and lock-on, and targeting multiple targets at once.
The last 24 hours
We recall that on the evening of January 24, German media learned from sources that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has already decided to transfer Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine and will announce this on January 25.
The Prime Minister of the Netherlands announced that the country may buy back 18 Leopard 2 tanks leased from Germany and transfer them to Ukraine within the tank coalition.
There were also rumors that the US was considering providing Ukraine with about 30 Abrams tanks. Sky News Arabia quoted the number as 10.
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