"In the finest traditions of the German automotive industry, it's engineered with precision to eclipse its competitors. However, at 62 tons and 32 feet in length, the Leopard tank might not have the subtle grace of an Audi or BMW.
But this isn't the view held by the soldiers of Ukraine’s 21st Separate Mechanised Infantry Brigade, who deployed one during a night-time ambush near Kupiansk in Kharkiv Oblast last month.
In their noisy, old Soviet-era tanks, the opposition would've heard them approaching from quite literally a mile away.
But with the Leopard’s engine being only slightly louder than a diesel van, they managed to move up almost unnoticed.
“Before launching our attack, we managed to get as close as 200 metres from the Russian front,” mentioned Commander Vitali from the Brigade’s Third Tank Squad, who has been operating the Leopard since summer.
“Our previous tanks wouldn't have allowed for such a stealthy approach; they're audible from two or three kilometres away due to their loud noise.”
Tanks are a gamechanger for Ukraine
NATO has donated 70 of these tanks to Ukraine to support its continued counter-operations. While Britain has contributed 14 Challenger tanks, the Leopard is more prevalent, given that Ukraine's European partners have a larger surplus.
“It's overall a superior tank – simpler to operate and maneuver, and offers enhanced internal protection,” Comdr Vitali remarked. “We've yet to encounter a direct hit, but with this tank, our odds of survival are significantly improved.”