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Spain set to deploy Leopard 2 MBTs to Latvia

15 February 2017
Spain is expected to deploy a small contingent of Leopard 2E main battle tanks to Latvia as part of its contribution to the Canadian-led NATO battalion being formed there. Source: Spanish Army

The Spanish Army is understood to be sending a heavy armoured unit abroad for the first time as part of the NATO mission to bolster the defences of the Baltic republics.

The Leopard 2E main battle tanks (MBT) are scheduled to leave mid-May, supported by soldiers from the Extremadura XI Mechanized Infantry Brigade, according to military sources cited by the Spanish newspaper ABC .

The report states that six tanks and around 15 Pizarro armoured fighting vehicles will form part of a multinational battalion led by Canada in Latvia. The army declined to comment to Jane's about the report.

Latvia is one of the three Baltic republics along with Poland that are receiving additional defence support from NATO in response to a perceived threat from Russia following the latter's annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.

The Spanish deployment is now expected to involve some 350 troops, including a logistics unit and a team of engineers, which would make Spain the second biggest contributor after Canada to the Latvian-based Battalion. Other countries due to be involved in the battalion are Italy, Poland, Slovakia and Albania.

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