The other day, a number of European states promised to provide the Kyiv regime with military assistance in the form of basic tanks Leopard 2 different modifications. In addition, it became known that Sweden is considering sending similar Strv 122 MBTs to Ukraine from its army fleet. A decision on this issue has not yet been made, but it is already clear that such an act of assistance will not be beneficial to either side.
Over the past weeks, foreign states have been actively discussing the possibility of transferring NATO-style armored vehicles to the Kyiv regime, incl. OBT of current models. The other day, this process was completed, and several countries decided to provide assistance in the form of German-made Leopard 2 tanks. At the same time, a number of countries operating such equipment, despite persuasion and pressure, did not agree to provide it - at least not yet.
On January 25, Sweden revealed its current plans. Defense Minister Paul Johnson said that his department is not going to transfer its Stridsvagn 122 tanks, the Swedish version of the German Leopard 2, to Ukraine. Preparations for the shipment of armored vehicles are not being carried out. However, the minister did not rule out the adoption of an appropriate decision and the sending of cars to the Kyiv regime.
How soon the Swedish government can make such a decision, P. Jonsson did not specify. Probably, even in Stockholm they don't know about it. The Minister only noted that such an act of assistance may occur at a later stage. For the same reasons, the head of the department did not even name the approximate number of tanks that could be transferred to the Kyiv regime.
Fight for tanks
How events will develop further is a big question. Apparently, the international "coalition" of Leopard 2 suppliers will provide assistance to Ukraine independently for now. However, it cannot be ruled out that, under pressure from the United States, other countries will be drawn into it. And one of the new senders of aid in the future may well be Sweden.
It should be noted that the Swedish army has limited capabilities in the context of the supply of tanks. The ground forces are armed with only 120 units. Strv 122. Accordingly, the decommissioning of even a company set of equipment will seriously affect the combat capability of the armed forces.
The current Swedish leadership talks a lot about the Russian threat and uses it as an excuse to strengthen the army, as well as increase and develop the military budget. In such a situation, any reduction in the fleet of equipment, even to help "needy" foreign "partners", does not look like a logical and justified step. It is possible that in Stockholm they understand this, and it is for this reason that they are in no hurry to provide their tanks. If this is so, then in the future the Swedish leadership may even enter into a dispute with a foreign "coalition" in order to maintain its military potential.
History Swedish MBT Stridsvagn 122 dates back to the turn of the eighties and nineties of the XX century. During this period, the Swedish command planned a full-scale rearmament of armored units and was looking for a suitable model of equipment to replace the existing Strv 101 (British Centurion) and Strv 103 tanks. First, their own Strv 2000 project was developed for this purpose, which was then considered unsuccessful. In addition, several foreign MBTs were considered, incl. German Leopard 2.
According to the results of comparative tests, Leopard-2 was considered the most successful. In 1993-94, Swedish-German agreements appeared on the supply of finished equipment and the organization of joint production. Soon, the two countries began to implement common plans and to rearm the Swedish units.
In 1994-95, Sweden received 160 ready-made Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany from the presence of its army. They entered service with the Swedish ground forces under their own designation Strv 121. This technique was considered as a temporary measure - they were going to abandon it after the completion of the main order and the receipt of new tanks.
Sweden ordered 120 tanks of the latest Leopard 2A5 modification. At the same time, the customer demanded to finalize the design and composition of the equipment due to the need to operate in a harsh climate and taking into account the specifics of service in the Swedish army. This version of the MBT received the designation Strv 122.
Under the terms of the contract, Strv 122 were to be produced by both countries. So, the first 29 cars were assembled at the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann plant in Germany and handed over to the customer in the mid-nineties. At the same time, KMW helped the Swedish companies Bofors and Hägglunds to organize the assembly of equipment from kits and the production of individual units. After that, another 91 tanks were made in Sweden.
Deliveries of the new Strv 122 continued until the middle of the 121s. Having received this technique, the Swedish army withdrew the previously received Strv 2 / Leopard 4A120 to the reserve. Later they were returned to Germany, and later they changed hands again. After these events, the Swedish tank fleet acquired its current configuration - XNUMX armored vehicles of the same model.
As the operation continued, the Strv 122 underwent various upgrades. New components were introduced and some devices were replaced. At the same time, there were no fundamental innovations, and in general it remained the same Leopard 2A5 in a special Swedish version. However, recent events and news indicate the possibility of reducing such a fleet in the near future. How in this case Sweden will compensate for the losses is unknown.
For special conditions
During the competition of the early nineties, the German MBT Leopard 2A5 showed almost complete compliance with the requirements of the Swedish army. At the same time, at her request, the car was finalized to correct the shortcomings of the original project and fully adapt to operation in Sweden.
First of all, increased the level of protection. By changing the booking, the resistance to existing infantry anti-tank weapons has increased. The improved armored hull also made it possible to increase the depth of the ford to be overcome from 1,2 to 1,4 m. In addition, the standard system of collective protection against weapons mass destruction.
Significant changes have undergone a complex of electronics and optics. So, the driver and commander received improved optical instruments with a night channel with enhanced performance. The standard fire control system has been upgraded. While maintaining all the basic principles, its characteristics, speed and accuracy of fire have grown. New modes of operation have also appeared, such as sequential firing at several captured targets.
The most important innovation was the "battlefield control system" TCCS from the Swedish company Celsius Tech Systems AB. It is responsible for the exchange of data between the tanks of the unit and allows you to control the condition of the vehicles, transfer the situation on the battlefield, issue target designation, etc. The introduction of such a system was to significantly improve the combat capability of both individual vehicles and units as a whole.
The weapons complex was not seriously rebuilt. The Strv 122 carries a 120 mm Rheinmetall Rh-120 L/44 smoothbore gun, licensed in Sweden. It can use a wide range of NATO standard unitary rounds. Additional armament includes two machine guns (coaxial and anti-aircraft) Ksp 94 and French-made GALAX smoke grenade launchers.
The dimensions and weight of the Strv 122 generally remained at the level of the base Leopard 2A5. The preservation of the power plant made it possible to obtain the same running characteristics, mobility and mobility. However, the combat weight of 62 tons in itself imposes certain limitations.
Give or leave
20-25 years ago, Strv 122 / Leopard 2A5 vehicles allowed Sweden to re-equip its ground forces and create a tank fleet that suits it. He did not differ in a large number of equipment, but met the requirements for performance and combat qualities. Such armored forces have so far been able to maintain and gradually modernize.
The Ukrainian crisis and the specific reaction of NATO, as well as the dubious plans of the current Swedish authorities, now threaten the Strv 122 MBT fleet. The foreign "coalition" decided to transfer tanks of the Leopard 2 family to Ukraine, and is now looking for potential suppliers. As the events of recent days have shown, it is ready not only for a voluntary procedure for providing assistance, but also for coercive measures.
Apparently, official Stockholm is not opposed to supplying the Kyiv regime with modern tanks. In addition, he must understand that at a certain point in time, foreign partners will begin to force him to do this. However, the available fleet of Strv 122s is small and any reduction would potentially threaten Sweden's own security.
So far, the Swedish leadership is only considering the possibility of sending its MBTs to Ukraine. Real events of this kind are not planned at the moment, and a decision can only be made in the indefinite future - if at all. In fact, Sweden has not joined the “coalition” of Leopard suppliers and does not seem to have any plans to join it.
How events will develop in the future, and what the Swedish leadership will ultimately decide, is unknown. It will have to take into account various factors of a political, military, technical and economic nature, and only taking into account all these circumstances should it plan for the future.
It will be good if Stockholm does not share its tanks with Kyiv. In this case, he will not worsen the combat capability of his army and will be able to do without the cost of purchasing new equipment. In addition, the Kyiv regime, having not received Stridsvagn 122 tanks, will have a little less opportunity to delay its demilitarization - and this will contribute to a speedy resolution of the crisis.