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Ukraine will soon receive new hybrid tanks built on powerful Cold-War-era equipment

Aditi Bharade   

Ukraine will soon receive new hybrid tanks built on powerful Cold-War-era equipment
  • Ukraine is set to receive a hybrid air defense tank from Germany.
  • It consists of a Skyranger turret mounted on a Leopard 2 chassis, per arms manufacturer Rheinmetall.

Ukraine's war effort may soon get a boost from a new hybrid tank that merges a Cold War-era tank chassis with an advanced air defense system.

Rheinmetall, a German arms manufacturer, revealed in a media release on Monday that the new design consists of a Skyranger turret mounted on a Leopard 2 chassis.

Björn Bernhard, Head of Land Systems at Rheinmetall, hinted to German media outlet Bild that more such hybrid tanks could be in the works.

"There are still a lot of Leopard 1 battle tanks on whose chassis we could put the Skyranger turret with the 35mm machine gun," Bernhard told Bild.

According to Rheinmetall, the new system "offers an optimum combination of mobility, protection, flexibility and precision to meet the growing requirements of challenging threat scenarios in the near and closer range."

Rheinmetall's spokesperson told Business Insider in an email on Tuesday that the company had been commissioned to deliver its mobile Skynex air defense systems to Ukraine.

"Rheinmetall expects further orders for Skyranger and Skynex air defense systems and will adjust its production capacities accordingly," the spokesperson said.

Amalgamations of newer military hardware with aspects of older technology have been rolled out on the Ukrainian battlefield. Ukraine has been deploying the "FrankenSAM," a hybrid air defense system that combines US missiles with Soviet launchers.

The new tank design comes as both Ukraine's and Russia's militaries have been grappling with the overwhelming presence of exploding drones, which fly into military vehicles and explode or burst into flames.

Even the most powerful tanks need to be protected by cage armor. Both armies have adopted the practice of welding "cope cages" to tanks to try to prevent drone attacks.

Russia has also taken to installing metal tent-like structures on tank roofs to protect against anti-tank fire. Also called "turtle" tanks, the metal sheets cover the tanks so extensively that they can barely turn their guns, as seen in a video uploaded by the open-source intelligence Telegram channel CyberBoroshno.

However, makeshift armor is not always effective. Video footage posted on May 6 by the 8th Separate Mountain Assault Battalion shows Russian tanks sporting "cope cages" being hit and destroyed by Ukrainian drones.

Meanwhile, Ukraine's supply of Leopard 2 tanks from Germany is also dwindling.

Sebastian Schäfer, an economist and member of Germany's Green Party, wrote a letter to weapons manufacturers, urging them to improve the repair process and supply of parts for the damaged tanks, per German outlet Der Spiegel in a report on January 2.

Rheinmetall didn't immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

June 18, 2024, 4:00 a.m. — The article has been updated with responses from a Rheinmetall spokesperson.


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