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Gustav C. Gressel

Gustav C. Gressel

Jan 21
13 tweets

1/ While πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ defence minister did not say no yesterday, rather not yet, I think the #Leopard Plan as we conceived it in September 4 @ECFR is dead. Why? A longer thread.…

2/ The #Leopard2 is arguably the most prolific tank in Europe. However surplus and reserve tanks make up only a small part of the force. They could be used to start training and introduce the tank into πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦ services, but to achieve a real effect in a long war, more ...
3/ ... deliveries over the long run would be necessary. This is still possible as the Leoprd is still in production, theoretically 3 sites (πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¬πŸ‡·πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡¦) could produce it and there are πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί funds for joint procurement, hence states could replace donated vehicles. But will they?
4/ 1️⃣ trust: if you stard procuring new 2A7 to replace existing vehicles donated to πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦, you make a commitment to operate a πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ tank for another 30 years. After recent escapades there will be much greater reluctance to do so. In an existential security crisis, πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ acted irrationally
5/ Public mood in many countries shift against πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ and it will be a hard time to convince taxpayers to put down ~€8 million each for new πŸ‡©πŸ‡ͺ vehicles. 2️⃣ coordination: Yes, πŸ†2 is in production, mut that production is stretched to 3 years per tank to maintain production ...
6/ ... at minimal orders. To shorten delivery times and decrease costs, larger "en bulk" orders would be necessary. Such en bulk orders would need to be coordinated amongst user nations, if there were a clear plan for deliveries and replacement.
7/ Somebody needs to do that and it is pretty clear that @Bundeskanzler Olaf Scholz is both unwilling and incapable to do so, even if he finally would allow countries to donate tanks. Will other leaders coordinate procurement for a defence good not manufactured in their country? I doubt.
8/ 3️⃣ time: Allthough this is a long war, unlikely to end in 2023, πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί politicians are very reluctant to commit to measuures that take more than a few months to implement. I remember the debate about Marder IFV, where rennovating older phased out vehicles that would ...
9/ ... have taken till 2023 was seen as useless, because "the war will have ended then" (πŸ€ͺ🀑 I told you then it won't). Refurbishing a some of old surplus Leopard 2A4 will take equal time, meaning politicians will not even try because they think it won't pay off.
10/ and then of course miss these vehicles later. Still, there will be Leopards in πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡¦, but their effect on the war will not be that big. For some time, πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² will work around that problem, searching for T72 and ammo in the rest of the world as long as they find them.
11/ Then proceeding to deliver M1 #Abrahams. This takes more time and greater costs than Leopards, but is still feasable. A lot of the arguments against Abrahams are not all too convincing, especially if you regard this as a long war.
12/ But beware of a new burden sharing debate. MBT could well be provided by πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί. πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² is hard pressed to deliver #ATACMSforUkraine, #F16 etc. Republicans will say πŸ‡ͺπŸ‡Ί again consumes security at πŸ‡ΊπŸ‡² expense, and Biden will have few convincing arguments against.
13/ This of course will fall on all our heads, not just Olaf's. But ... I can't change that now.
Gustav C. Gressel

Gustav C. Gressel

Senior policy fellow @ECFRWiderEurope @ECFR, PhD, specialised on security, defence, military | NATO, EU, Eastern Europe
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