Defense forces confirm Estonian bridges can handle British tanks (2)
The Estonian Defence Forces confirmed that the Challenger 2, the heaviest tank used within various defense forces across Europe, handles well in Estonian terrain and that bridges thus far have been able to withstand the weight of the heavy tank.
Lt. Col. Veiko-Vello Palm, commander of the 1st Infantry Brigade, told Estonian daily Postimees that the Challenger 2 battle tank was comparable in weight to other tanks used in the West and while it was indeed the heaviest tank in Europe, its weight was still comparable to that of the German Leopard 2 or American Abrams tank.
"Forestry trucks with trailers can be found on Estonian roads and bridges which are noticeably much heavier in terms of gross weight than any tank, and one certainly cannot conclude that one or anther tank isn't suitable for us," said Palm.
According to the commander, the tank is designed primarily for use in open terrain, and here the weight of all Western battle tanks was comparable; the key was nonetheless suitable ground.
The British Challenger 2 weighs approximately 62.5 tons, while the M1 Abrams used in the US weighs 61.3 tons and the German-used Leopard 2 weighs 59.5 tons.
The UK recently confirmed to the Wall Street Journal that it will be deploying a battalion-sized unit to Estonia next spring which will likely include tactical drones, Challenger 2 main battle tanks and Warrior armored infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) in addition to 800 troops.