France may perhaps be the upcoming region to send its tanks to Ukraine, but officers be concerned they could be ‘a poisoned chalice’

A Leclerc tank at a instruction area in Sissonne, France in November 2012.FRANCOIS NASCIMBENI/AFP through Getty ImagesWestern international locations have committed to present dozens of tanks to Ukraine in latest months.France is also looking at sending its Leclerc tanks to Ukraine.Some French officers are worried that their tanks would produce new logistical troubles for Kyiv.With numerous Western nations by now pledging tanks for Ukraine, speculation is mounting that France may perhaps send its Leclerc principal battle tanks.But French defense officers problem how useful the Leclerc would be, as Ukrainians already confront the obstacle of incorporating various Western tanks, which includes the US’s M1 Abrams, Britain’s Challenger 2, and Germany’s Leopard 2.These types are additional complicated than the Soviet- and Russian-intended tanks that Ukraine experienced just before the war, therefore demanding Ukrainian crews to discover new devices, techniques, and maintenance. Those fears look to trump past anxieties that giving tanks to Ukraine could inflame disputes inside NATO or provoke Russian retaliation.”There is certainly no political objection,” a French defense official told information support Agence France-Presse this week. “We are just questioning whether or not the Leclerc would be a poisoned chalice. The intention is to be helpful and effective.”A Leclerc tank on the Champs-Elysees in the course of the Bastille Working day parade on July 14, 2018.LUDOVIC MARIN/AFP by means of Getty ImagesUkraine would beg to vary. Desperate for any tanks they can get, Ukrainian troops would gladly choose the Leclerc, 1 of the a lot more superior tanks in the environment.Designed for velocity and firepower, the Leclerc can use its French-designed 120 mm smoothbore cannon and highly developed sensors to engage targets whilst on the transfer. The latest version of the Leclerc can achieve a speed of 50 mph and wipe out a goal as significantly as 2.5 miles away, the commander of a French tank regiment explained to Le Monde.As with other French weapons by means of the many years, the Leclerc is a minor distinctive than its foreign counterparts.Weighing in at all around 57 tons, it is lesser and lighter than the 80-ton M1A3 Abrams, the 64-ton Challenger 2, and the 62-ton Leopard 2. It is almost certainly considerably less properly armored than a late-product Abrams or Challenger 2, though it does mount Explosive Reactive Armor costs to deflect anti-tank rounds.Story continuesAlso unconventional is that the Leclerc only has a a few-person crew instead than the 4 common in Western tanks. (Russia tanks these types of as the T-72 and T-90 have a crew of a few.) The Leclerc, as properly as Russian tanks, use an autoloader to feed shells into the cannon.Even though this makes it possible for the automobile to be more compact, the autoloader is more susceptible to malfunction. It also usually means a single much less crewman to stand look at and perform upkeep, which potential customers to much more work for the a few-man or woman crew.A French Leclerc tank during an workout in Germany in November 2019.US Military/Pfc. Michael YbarraAssessing the performance of the Leclerc is fairly difficult offered the tank’s restricted beat file. It 1st entered French services in 1991, when it was regarded the most highly-priced tank in the globe, which might have hampered its export prospective customers.Other than France, only the United Arab Emirates obtained the Leclerc (some of which it later on donated to Jordan). The UAE operates 258 autos, some of which observed fight when it intervened in Yemen’s civil war. Some declare it performed much better than the M1 Abrams tanks that Saudi Arabia has used in that conflict.Some 862 Leclercs were designed in advance of production ceased in 2008: France operates 222, and 50 of all those have been recently slated for improve to the XLR variation.The Leclerc’s lighter pounds might make it additional maneuverable than the other Western tanks headed to Ukraine. On the other hand, however a further tank design signifies the Ukrainian army will have to offer with still yet another set of tactical and logistical improvements.If France only sends a modest variety of tanks — just as Britain is only sending 14 Challenger 2s — then it would have to have a lot of overhead for a somewhat smaller combat ability.French troops and Leclerc tanks in Mitrovica, in what is now Kosovo, in June 1999.Patrick AVENTURIER/Gamma-Rapho by means of Getty ImagesAlso significant is that unlike the Abrams and Leopard 2, there are only a few nations that work the Leclerc. Must troubles occur with French deliveries, Ukraine would have issues discovering other resources of vehicles and spare components.Even so, the Leclerc would be a formidable — and possibly outstanding — opponent of Russian tanks these types of as the T-72 and T-90. At the minimum, France would be giving Ukraine a authentic tank.The AMX-10RC, which France recently pledged to Ukraine, has been known as a “gentle tank.” In reality, it is really an armored car with a major cannon but light armor, and it isn’t really designed for slugging it out with enemy tanks.France has also sent Caesar self-propelled 155 mm howitzers, as effectively as Crotale cell anti-aircraft missiles. Ukraine may possibly also receive the more advanced French-Italian SAMP-T/Mamba air-protection program. But other than Rafale jet fighters, the most effective weapon — symbolically and militarily — that France could present would be Leclerc tanks.Michael Peck is a defense author whose get the job done has appeared in Forbes, Protection News, International Coverage journal, and other publications. He retains a master’s in political science. Adhere to him on Twitter and LinkedIn.Browse the unique article on Company Insider

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