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Sunday, June 23, 2024

Finland hid Leopard 2A4 from Ukraine and converted it into a bridge

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Finland-based defense company Patria has been awarded a new contract by the Finnish Defense Forces Logistics Command. The contract includes converting a Leopard 2A4 tank into a Leguan, a type of self-propelled bridge. Six of these exclusive machines will be produced and deliveries are expected to take place between 2026 and 2028.

Finland hid Leopard 2A4 from Ukraine and converted it into a bridge
Photo credit: Twitter

Contract value is 23.6 million euros [excluding taxes]. Spanish portal Infodefense reported that this is not the first time that the Finnish army has ordered a self-propelled bridge on a tracked chassis. It previously did the same for the periods 2005-2008 and 2018-2022.

As highlighted in the portal, the Leopard 2A4 used in the production of these self-propelled bridges will be sourced from Finland’s own reserves. The delivery schedule also depends on how quickly the KNDS conglomerate can produce the folding bridges, which are later attached to the tank’s hull.

Spain's Leopard 2A4 tank is the most accurate in Europe
Photo credit: 19fortyfive.com

Additionally, Leguan can install one 26-meter bridge or two 12-meter bridges each based on its functionality.

100 tanks

According to the existing literature, interesting contradictions are noted by various Ukrainian sources. The region, a neighbor of the Russian Federation, under direct threat from the Kremlin, and the center of the new Leningrad Military District, appears to have a surplus of tanks. These tanks could be converted into self-propelled chain bridges. Interestingly, the terms of both agreements extend to a deferment period of two to four years.

The 2023 Military Balance Guide provides a further glimpse into the military capabilities of the Finnish Armed Forces. Their arsenal includes 100 Leopard 2A4 tanks kept in reserve and 100 Leopard 2A6 tanks actively deployed in combat units. In addition, the engineering unit is equipped with nine SISU Leguan self-propelled bridges.

Ukraine is unhappy

One might wonder whether the Finnish military command believes that converting some of its tanks into engineering vehicles does not necessarily affect the defense balance. This interesting question was raised by Ukrainian media.

Following this idea, the media asked: “Why didn’t Finland find some ‘spare’ tanks and donate them to Ukraine?” They raised this issue in the context of Finland’s contribution being suppressed. “Tank Union” It is intended to support the Ukrainian military. Instead of actual tanks, Finland just offered a few Leopard 2R engineering machines.

leguan bridge

The Leguan bridge layer system has been carefully designed to provide configuration flexibility. Two 26 meter bridges can be formed, corresponding to a maximum width of 40 meters. Alternatively, two 14 meter bridges can be formed, corresponding to a maximum width of 20 meters.

Finland hid Leopard 2A4 from Ukraine and converted it into a bridge
Photo credit: Patria

Equipped with a 26-meter bridge and a 14-meter bridge, the system can overcome obstacles up to 32 meters. Remarkably, no additional attachments were required to transition the bridge length from 26 meters to 14 meters, demonstrating its ease of use and practicality.

The dimensions of this bridge layer are surprisingly compact: 15 meters long, 4 meters wide and 4 meters high. Each section of the leguan features interconnected plates 1.55 meters wide. Combined, these sections have a total width of 4 meters.

The operation of the bridge layer is very simple and requires only one handler. Whether you are the driver or the commander, you can effectively build bridges. Use the provided control elements and easy-to-use graphical user interface. [GUI].

The Leguan bridge system has a built-in self-diagnostic program to ensure high reliability. Additionally, it incorporates horizontal laying technology that ensures a minimal silhouette during missions, promoting both stealth and efficiency.

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