The lessons of the war in Ukraine are numerous, and sometimes severely undermine certain paradigms that are powerfully anchored in Western general staffs and defense ministries. Two of these lessons directly concern the fleet of tanks and heavy tracked armored vehicles, considered just a few months ago as too vulnerable, heavy and expensive for a questionable relative operational effect. It is now clear that not only are battle tanks and tracked infantry fighting vehicles essential for offensive and defensive maneuver, including in urban theater, but that despite this key role, they remain vulnerable, even for the most efficient and best protected among them, and that it is therefore necessary to have a certain mass not only to obtain the desired operational effect, but also to absorb attrition and continue the maneuver.
If the issue of tanks and IFVs transmitted to Ukraine has focused media attention, it has also partly masked the efforts made by many countries in Europe to modernize and expand their heavy armored fleet, while contracts for acquisition of Leopard 2, Abrams, K2 and other CV90s, have continued to be announced in recent months. Latest information to date, and beyond the pharaonic contracts announced by Warsaw which plans to acquire 1000 K2 tanks in addition to 250 M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams already ordered alongside 1400 VCI Borsuk , Romania which has announced its intention to acquire 54 tanks American M1A2 Abrams to modernize an armored battalion, while Germany is negotiating with Bern the re-acquisition of mothballed Leopard to strengthen the Bundeswehr, and probably compensate for the Leopard 2A6s which are sent to Ukraine by Berlin.
Yesterday, it was Rome's turn to announce its intention to acquire 125 heavy tanks which will play the role of transitional capability alongside 125 modernized C-1 Ariete, as well as an unspecified number of new combat vehicles heavy infantry, in order to replace the Ariete and the 200 VCI Dardo now considered obsolete in the face of the reality evident in Ukraine. The objective of the Italian authorities is to quickly equip their army with 250 heavy tanks and probably 200 to 250 modern IFVs in order to respond to the threat, before joining a new generation armored program, the Franco-German MGCS program having been cited, to ultimately recapitalize the heavy component of its land army. However, two European countries stand out in this collective effort. On the one hand, Great Britain, which remains entangled in a blind Ajax program to acquire 589 heavy tracked infantry fighting vehicles , and which will only have 148 Challenger 3 heavy tanks, even if the latter will the subject of intense modernization making it probably one of the best tanks of the moment . On the other hand, France, which despite a major Programming Law in preparation, will only have 200 partially modernized Leclercs, and which has not, for the moment, planned to acquire combat vehicles heavy tracked infantry.
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