Ukrainian officials say 300 state-of-the-art Western tanks, especially those with the speed, agility, protective armor and firepower of Leopards and Abrams, will allow them to turn the "tide" of the war, giving their forces the "armored punch' needed to break through Russian lines in Donetsk, Luhansk and Zaporizhia, wresting territory from the Russians while being able to reach as far as Crimea.
The exit from the "dormant" dream of Europe's collective security has already been marked by a sharp increase in the defense budgets of the states and a gradual increase in defense orders, which had been put on hold for many years.
Moreover, a real full-scale war (Ukraine), finally closed the question that was relevant a few years ago: whether there is room for tanks on today's battlefield. And contracts for the supply of tanks became the answer to this question.
Of course, the first place goes to Poland, which has announced the most ambitious plans to have a huge number of tanks in service, which seems to have been calculated according to the most pessimistic forecasts of the Cold War. Specifically, the country ordered 250 M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 tanks and another 116 units in the M1A1 FEP version, in addition to 180 Korean K2 and another 820 local K2PL versions.
That is, in total, only Poland ordered 546 tanks, and together with the production of its own, can raise their total number to 1,366 new vehicles, which, together with about 240 Leopard 2 in various versions, will form an "armored fist' 1,600 tanks.
Italy is also considering purchasing the Leopard 2A7+. The Chief of the Italian Army, Pietro Serino, sees the need for 125 units, although some Italian publications write of an intention to buy 250 Leopard 2A7+. Most likely, according to the first scenario, additional tanks will be purchased while keeping their own Italian Ariete tank in service, according to the other scenario, the Leopard 2A7+ will simply replace them.
Foreign media reports another future operator of the Leopard 2A7: Norway, which has ordered 54 tanks with the possibility of expanding the number to 72. Also, the Czech Republic which expresses a desire to order 50 vehicles of this type, in addition to 14, received by circular deliveries of the Leopard 2A4.
At the same time, Romania ordered 54 Abrams tanks. The difficult choice must be made by Lithuania, which has also announced a desire to have 54 tanks in service and to form a mechanized Division from existing brigades.
In total, if we count only new vehicles, without taking into account the modernization of the existing armored fleet, this is about 337-474 tanks that Lithuania, Romania, Norway and Italy plan to buy.
Large scale modernization from Greece
But in this process, it is necessary to add large-scale programs for the modernization of existing vehicles, for example, Greece plans to modernize 183 Leopard 2A4 to the A7 level.
The proposal includes the radical modernization of 183 Leopard 2 A4 tanks to the top level Leopard 2 A7 (alternatively the Trophy is also proposed with an additional cost of around 600 million euros for all tanks) and 190 Leopard 1 A5 with new sights as well as the creation base factory in Greece.
The cost of the modernization based on what the ES requested of 183 Leopard 2 A4 tanks and 190 Leopard 1 A5 tanks amounts to 1.3 billion euros, while if Rafael installs the Trophy on the 183 tanks, an expenditure of 600 million euros has been estimated. A total of 1.9 billion euros.
At the same time, slightly different processes are taking place in countries far from Russia. For example, the United Kingdom is modernizing its own armored fleet, but this is done by reducing the total number of vehicles to 148 Challenger 3 units. A similar program with modernization, but also a reduction in the number, is also taking place in France with the Leclerc.
In addition, many European countries will likely place their orders for tanks in the coming years. It is very likely that we will wait for this decision from the other Baltic countries, as well as Bulgaria and Slovakia.
Modernization of Leopard 2 tanks in Finland and Sweden is also expected. That is, with a high degree of probability, existing orders are only the beginning. For example, the Netherlands can recall how they once had 455 Leopard 2s in service at one time.