Today we have had news about the Leopard 2A4 tanks that Spain will deliver to Ukraine to contribute to its defense.
According to a report by the Spanish Ministry of Defense, Minister Margarita Robles has visited the arms factory of GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas in Alcalá de Guadaira (Seville), where six Leopard 2A4 are being conditioned for their delivery to Ukraine. The Ministry has indicated that "they will probably be sent to Ukraine at the end of next week after the last shooting tests at the training ground". Likewise, they will soon be delivered to GDELS- Santa Bárbara Sistemas another four Leopard 2A4 for conditioning and delivery to the Ukrainian Army, since the donated tanks will be 10 in total, such as announced the government a month ago.
Robles' visit to GDELS has allowed us to see the state of these six tanks and the work that has been done on them. The most striking is that the six Leopard 2A4s have been painted in the standard green color of the Army. As can be seen in the photo that appears above these lines (published by the Boletín Tierra no.202 in 2012), the 53 tanks stored in the facilities of the Logistics Support Group No. 41 (AALOG 41) in Casetas (Zaragoza) until now wore NATO camouflage in three colors (black, green and brown).
Here we see one of the Leopard 2A4s that will be delivered to Ukraine still sporting the three-color NATO camouflage on the turret but with the barge already painted in the standard Army green. The reason why these tanks are painted like this in Spain is to simplify maintenance tasks. Of course, it is much cheaper and easier to paint a tank with one color than three.
The Ministry of Defense has also released a video (you can watch here) in which we can see what appears to be the GDELS paint shop. Inside is a Leopard 2A4 with the turret still camouflaged and with the typical masking of the painting processes.
Here we see several of the Leopard 2A4s already painted green. The tanks would look as good as new if it weren't for the worn track lugs.
The wear of the chains can be better observed in this photo by Efe. For the rest, the state of the tanks seems very good. A curious detail is that the two links of the chain and the crampons that the tanks wear on the front have also been painted green (the crampons are used to attach them to the chain and improve traction on snowy or icy terrain).
This image published by the Ministry of Defense shows the exhaustive work that GDELS has done to fine-tune these tanks (remember that these tanks were leased from Germany in 1995 and later purchased). Do you see any detail that catches your attention? Let's enlarge the photo a bit:
The chain teeth are shiny. It looks like a good job has been done to tidy up these tanks.
There is a question that will interest many, especially OSINT experts (open source intelligence), in view of the future appearance of these tanks on the battlefields of Ukraine: how to Will the Leopard 2A4s donated by Spain be able to be distinguished from those donated by other countries? If they had been delivered with NATO camouflage, identification would be more difficult, since of all the countries that deliver Leopard 2A4s to Ukraine, Spanish and Polish tanks had this common feature. The Finnish Leopard 2A4s are also camouflaged, but not with the NATO scheme, but with their own camouflage that has stripes with angular shapes painted in three colors: two shades of green and black.
Of the Leopard 2A4s delivered to Ukraine, there are two other countries that have delivered their tanks painted in green: Canada and Norway. It is a color very similar to the one used by the Army of the Spain. On these lines we can see a photo of Metziker in which we see a Leopard 2A4NO of the Telemark Battalion of the Norwegian Army. The green color is a little lighter than the Spanish one, but with the dirt that tanks pick up on the battlefield, it will be very difficult to distinguish between the two colors.
However, there are details that will distinguish the Spanish Leopard 2A4s from the Norwegians and Canadians, unless the Ukrainians make their own changes to these tanks. In this photo we saw here a few days ago we can observe two distinctive features of the Norwegian Leopard 2A4: the additional compartments and the basket behind the turret, behind the smoke grenade launchers, and the winch with a cable on the left rear of the turret.
In this photo of the Canadian Leopard 2A4 that we saw a month ago, we can see that these tanks have a rectangular basket that occupies the entire width of the rear part of the turret.
In this image published here a few days ago we can see the back of the turret of a Spanish Leopard 2A4. Like the Polish Leopard 2A4s, the Army tanks carry the standard turrets of that model, with no baskets or compartments protruding behind the smoke grenade launchers. It will be a characteristic element to distinguish the Spanish tanks, in addition to the green color with which they have been painted. Curiously, if the NATO camouflage had been maintained, the Spanish and Polish tanks would be difficult to distinguish.
Image sources: Ministry of Defense of Spain / Forsvaret / Efe / Metziker / Cpl Fraser Matthew Worth.
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