Since several Western countries have already provided Ukraine with tanks, rumors are growing that France may send its Leclerc main battle tanks.
But French defense ministry officials doubt how useful the Leclerc will be, since the Ukrainians have already had trouble with several Western tanks, including the American M1 Abrams, the British Challenger 2 and the German Leopard 2.
These designs are more sophisticated than the Soviet and Russian-designed tanks Ukraine had before the war, requiring Ukrainian crews to learn new equipment, tactics, and maintenance. These concerns seem to outweigh previous fears that supplying the tanks to Ukraine could ignite disputes within NATO or provoke Russian retaliation, Business Insider reports.
The Leclerc can use its French-designed 120 mm smoothbore cannon and advanced sensors to hit targets on the move. The latest version of the Leclerc can reach speeds of up to 50 miles per hour and hit targets up to 2.5 miles away, a French tank regiment commander told Le Monde.
Like other French weapons, the Leclerc is slightly different from its foreign counterparts.
Weighing about 57 tons, it is smaller and lighter than the 80-ton M1A3 Abrams, the 64-ton Challenger 2 and the 62-ton Leopard 2. It is probably less heavily armored than the latest Abrams or Challenger 2 models, although it mounts reactive armor charges to repel antitank rounds.