Challenger 2, M1A2 Abrams, Leopard 2 DATE UNKNOWNS CREDIT MOD Crown Copyright, BFBS
Challenger 2, M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 battle tanks are preparing to head to Ukraine (Picture: MOD).
Land vehicles

Challenger 2 vs Leopard 2 vs Abrams and more: Comparing tanks earmarked for Ukraine

Challenger 2, M1A2 Abrams, Leopard 2 DATE UNKNOWNS CREDIT MOD Crown Copyright, BFBS
Challenger 2, M1 Abrams and Leopard 2 battle tanks are preparing to head to Ukraine (Picture: MOD).

Ukraine has repeatedly urged its Western allies to send tanks as the country fights against Russia's invasion.

Following the news of the UK agreeing to send 14 Challenger 2s, the US and Germany are set to also deliver heavy tanks to Ukraine, with other countries such as France also not ruling out tank support, in what could be a pivotal move in Kyiv's war effort against Moscow.

Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelensky has called for hundreds of tanks to help repel an expected spring offensive.

The expected deployment of Leopard 2s, Challenger 2s and the US's Abrams has been dismissed by Russia, which predicted they would "burn" on the battlefields of Ukraine.

"I am convinced that many specialists understand the absurdity of this idea," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said.

"Simply because of technological aspects, this is a rather disastrous plan.

"The main thing is, this is a completely obvious overestimation of the potential (the supply of tanks) would add to the armed forces of Ukraine. It is yet another fallacy, a rather profound one," he added.

France has also not ruled out sending its own Leclerc tanks to Ukraine, with French President Emmanuel Macron having asked his defence minister to "work on" possibly sending their tanks.

But how do the tanks compare and what can they offer to Ukraine?

Technical specifications

Challenger 2


Leopard 2



























62.5 tonnes

55-62 tonnes

73.6 tonnes

57 tonnes

Estimated cost per tank:





Main Armament:

L30A1 120mm rifled gun

Rheinmetall 120mm/L55 Smoothbore gun

120mm Smoothbore cannon

120mm Smoothbore cannon

Secondary Armament:

7.62mm co-axial chain gun, 7.62mm pintle mounted general purpose machine gun

2x 7.62mm coaxial light machine guns

2x 7.62 machine-guns and 12.7mm machine gun

12.7mm coaxial M2HB machine gun, 7.62mm machine gun

Max speed:





Vehicle range:

340 miles

311 miles

265 miles

342 miles

The British Challenger 2

The Challenger 2 main battle tanks are heading to Ukraine to help its forces in their defence against the invasion by Russian forces.

It would mean Russia would be fighting an undefeated platform – not once has the Challenger 2 been destroyed at the hands of an enemy.

The tank has a glistening service record in Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq.

Weighing 62.5 tonnes without cargo or passengers, the Challenger is twice as heavy as the first tanks in the First World War, and a good 10 tonnes heavier than the Russian T-14 Armata.

Watch: Why Challenger 2 tanks are not enough and why Ukraine wants Leopard 2s.

Challenger 2 Specifications:

  • Crew: Four – a commander, driver, gunner and loader/operator.
  • Main armament: L30A1 120mm rifled gun
  • Secondary armaments: 7.62mm L94A1 EX-34 chain gun, a regular General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG), 7.62mm L37A2, on one of the hatches on the turret
  • Armour: Chobham/ Dorchester Level 2 classified
  • Length: 8.2m/27ft or 12.5m (44ft) gun forward
  • Height: 2.5m/8ft
  • Top speed: 59km/h (37mph) on road, 40km/h (25mph) off-road
  • Range: 547km/340 miles on roads, (257km/160 miles when travelling cross country)
Watch: Germany's Leopard 2 balances glassful beer on its gun.

Leopard 2 tank

The Leopard 2 battle tank is widely regarded as the best of its kind in the world and is currently being used by 19 countries.

European nations operating the German-made tank include Canada, Denmark, Finland, the Netherlands, Norway, Austria, Poland, Spain, Sweden and Turkey.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz agreed to send its Leopard 2 battle tanks to Ukraine after a formal request from Poland, and after the leaders of dozens of major Commons committees also asked Germany's defence minister to allow Ukraine to defend itself.

Mr Scholz said Germany is "acting in close co-ordination" with its allies.

In a statement, the government said it will initially provide Ukraine with one company of Leopard 2 A6 tanks, which comprises 14 vehicles, from its own stocks.

The Ukrainian government has said that tanks, and especially the German-made Leopards, are vital if it is to prevail over the Kremlin's invading forces.

The goal is to provide Ukraine with a total of two battalions – 88 tanks – together with other countries.

Watch: All you need to know about the Leopard 2 tank.

Leopard 2 specifications:

  • Crew: Four – a commander, driver, gunner and loader/operator
  • Main armament: 120mm/L44 Smoothbore Cannon with 42 rounds
  • Secondary armaments: Two 7.62mm coaxial light machine guns, 16 smoke grenade dischargers
  • Range: About 500km (311 miles)
  • Top speed:70km/h (43mph)
  • Armour: 3rd generation composite armour
  • Powered by a 1500hp/1,100 kW diesel engine
  • Weight: 55 tonnes
  • Height: 3m/9.8ft
  • Length: 7.7m/25ft

The number of available Leopard tanks has led to many seeing them as the best option for Ukraine – meaning they would be easily deployable.

Ukraine has reportedly suggested it needs 300 tanks, while Western analysts have suggested that 100 could probably shift the balance of the war.

The International Institute for Strategic Studies has estimated that three to six weeks of training would be needed for operating crews and support staff to reach basic proficiency.

Abrams tank

Along with its numerous military aid packages the US is also expected to send 30 of its fast-moving M1A2 Abrams tank to Ukraine to also assist with its war effort. 

Similar to Germany, the US had been hesitant in the delivery of tanks, the US cited extensive and complex maintenance and logistical challenges with the high-tech vehicles.

The Abrams, like the other Western armoured vehicles, is state-of-the-art and is more powerful than many Soviet-era tanks fielded by both Russian and Ukrainian forces.

Watch: Why does Ukraine need Western tanks in the war against Russia?

M1A2 Abrams Specifications:

  • Crew: Four – a commander, driver, gunner and loader/operator.
  • Main armament: 120 mm Smoothbore cannon, range of effective fire in excess of 2.5 miles (4km).
  • Secondary armament: Two 7.62 machine guns, 12.7mm machine gun.
  • Length: 8m/ 26ft.
  • Armour: Chobham composite armour, made up of steel and uranium.
  • Range: 426km/ 265 miles
  • Top speed: 67km/h/ 42mph
  • Weight: 73.6 tonnes
  • Height: 2.4m/ 7.8ft
  • Length: 9.77m/ 32ft

Any issues with terrain are usually handled for the most part by its caterpillar tracks which helps it perform well as it moves across the country.  

However, the US tank is powered by jet fuel, making it less suitable than the German-made Leopard 2 and the UK's Challenger 2 tanks due to its high fuel consumption and maintenance needs. 

Watch: Why has Ukraine pushed for German Leopard 2 tanks over US Abrams?

Leclerc tank

After the UK, US and Germany committed to sending tanks, the door has been opened for other allies to do so.

Discussions are still being had as to whether France will supply their Leclerc main battle tanks.

France had already agreed to send AMX-10 RCs armoured combat vehicles but had stopped short of committing to the delivery of the Leclerc.

Reportedly Paris has argued that, unlike the German Leopards, which are used across Europe with around 2,000 available, there are only about 200 Leclercs, which are also no longer produced.

Challenger 2 tank (left) races a French Leclerc tank 23082021 CREDIT MOD Crown Copyright
A Challenger 2 tank (left) racing a Leclerc tank (right) along the runway of Tapa camp as part of a capability demonstration in 2021 (Picture: MOD).

Leclerc tank Specifications:

  • Crew: Three
  • Main armament: 120mm Smoothbore Cannon
  • Secondary armaments: 12.7mm coaxial M2HB machine gun, 7,62mm machine gun
  • Range: 342 miles
  • Top speed: 71 km/h (44 mph) on the road, 55 km/h (34 mph) off-road
  • Armour: 3rd generation composite armour
  • Weight: 57 tonnes
  • Height: 2.5m/ 8ft
  • Length: 9.87m/ 32ft (6.88m/ 23ft without a gun)

French sources have said that the Leclerc is heavy on maintenance, which means it would be difficult to create a logistical chain in Ukraine.

Also given Paris would only be able to provide a small number, it could be argued that their value on the ground would be limited.

Reports have said that their government is continuing to study the request and a decision would be made soon.

Join Our Newsletter


Prince William thanks UK troops for 'defending our freedoms'

Iraq War: Hearts and Minds - a very British tactic

LIVE Army v Navy Inter Services men’s football