MOSCOW, January 26. /TASS/. German-made Leopard 2A6s bound for Ukraine will pose a rather serious threat to Russian troops, but these vehicles have certain vulnerabilities, ex-head of the Main Automotive and Armor Directorate of the Russian Defense Ministry, Colonel-General Sergey Mayev, told TASS.
"The Leopard 2A6's greatest weaknesses are the poor protection of the sides and the upper hemisphere," he said.
Mayev said the Leopard 2A6 was the best tank in Europe and its delivery to Ukraine was a very serious threat, so it would be crucial to devise countermeasures.
Mayev speculated that in combat, the Leopard 2A6 would be used in small groups as the strike core of attacking units. He also believes that "they should be destroyed as far away from the frontline as possible, as soon as they cross Ukraine’s border." If these tanks approach the line of engagement and are as close as 3-5 kilometers away from the frontline, they should become the number one targets that Russian firepower pursues, using weapons like anti-tank missiles fired from tank guns.
Leopard 2A6 features
Mayev stressed that the Leopard 2A6 tanks had good night vision devices, so they should be blocked in the same way that Russian aircraft do by releasing IR decoy flares. As for the weakly protected sides and the upper hemisphere, these shortcomings must be used effectively. Loitering ammunition and strikes from above are strongly recommended.
Another drawback of the Leopard 2A6, according to General Mayev, is its weight, which exceeds 60 tons. Such vehicles may prove vulnerable in off-road conditions. This feature must be kept in mind when battling them.
"Not a single armored vehicle, be it the Leopard, Abrams, or any other Western tank, will be able to withstand simultaneous high-accuracy strikes by artillery, multiple launch rocket systems, anti-tank missile systems, front-line, army and long-range aviation - in other words, a combined fire impact," Mayev assessed.
On January 25, the United States announced its intention to provide 31 M1 Abrams tanks to Kiev. The German government confirmed that it would send 14 Leopard 2A6 tanks to Ukraine from the Bundeswehr reserves and issue re-export permits to other countries. The defense ministries of Norway and Slovakia also announced their intention to dispatch tanks to Ukraine. Earlier, the decision to provide Kiev with tanks was announced by Britain, France and Poland.