First, it was the United Kingdom. Then it was the United States. Then it was Germany. Could France be the next country to send main battle tanks to Ukraine?
The past few days have been full of security aid announcements for Ukraine. But the tank announcements might not be over.
After seeing the United Kingdom, the U.S., and Germany sending main battle tanks to Ukraine, France is now thinking of following suit and sending its Leclerc tank to support the Ukrainian military.
French Leclerc Tanks & Logistical Nightmares
Reports from France indicate that the French government is willing to send Leclerc tanks to Ukraine.
Paris has already committed to sending a number of AMX-10 tank destroyers to Ukraine.
Using wheels and not tracks, these weapon systems could be considered light tanks. But Ukraine’s military has been asking for more and even made a series of satirical videos targeting the U.S., Germany, and France and asking for heavy tanks.
France appears to be willing to send Ukraine Leclerc main battle tanks but wants to ensure that they would help rather than hinder the Ukrainian military’s operations.
Ukraine is set to receive a yet unspecified number (every day, more countries chip in tanks) of Leopard 2 tanks, 31 M1 Abrams tanks from the U.S., and 14 Challenger 2 tanks from the U.K.
Although the tanks will provide the Ukrainian military with an important qualitative advantage over their Russian adversaries, maintaining and supporting several different types of main battle tanks in combat conditions is no easy task.
Indeed, the Ukrainians are facing a logistical mountain that will require sound planning in order to maximize the potential and effectiveness of the new weapon systems.
But the Ukrainian military already has had to deal with a kaleidoscopic arsenal of several different types of weapon systems firing several different types of ammunition. In general, the Ukrainians have managed to do that well. So, if France does decide to contribute the Leclerc main battle tank to the fight, the Ukrainians will find a way to use the tank effectively.
French Fighter Jets to Ukraine?
But the French government is reportedly considering sending fighter jets to Ukraine too.
In addition to Leclerc tanks, French parliamentarian Thomas Gassilloud suggested that France is considering sending fighter jets to Ukraine, most likely Dassault Mirage 2000 multirole fighters.
“Regarding deliveries to Ukraine, we must study requests on a case-by-case basis and leave all the doors open,” Gassilloud said.
“So we will see in the coming weeks what happens next as things are moving fast. The Danes and Eastern Europe countries are thinking about it,” the French politician stated, adding that one of the primary conditions behind any shipments of weapon systems to Ukraine is that they don’t jeopardize the operational capabilities and effectiveness of the French Armed Forces.
Sending fighter jets to Ukraine would require a considerable logistical effort, including training the pilots and maintainers on the new types and supporting the aircraft in combat conditions.
Expert Biography: A 19FortyFive Defense and National Security Columnist, Stavros Atlamazoglou is a seasoned defense journalist specializing in special operations, a Hellenic Army veteran (national service with the 575th Marine Battalion and Army HQ), and a Johns Hopkins University graduate. He is currently working towards a Master’s Degree in Strategy and Cybersecurity at the Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). His work has been featured in Business Insider, Sandboxx, and SOFREP.