Germany and Slovenia have agreed on a deal to transfer Slovenian Army M-55 tanks, a derivative of the Soviet T-54/55, to support Ukrainian government forces as aid. Slovenia will be compensated with German military transports and wheeled lorries. The transfer comes as NATO countries’ supplies of T-72 tanks have worn thin, with former Warsaw Pact states and many Yugoslav successor states all having send the bulk of their units to the Ukrainian Army, which before February fielded the largest tank force in Europe. The T-54/55 first entered service in the Soviet Army in the 1940s, with the M-55 variant that forms the backbone of Slovenian armoured units benefitting from a NATO standard 105mm main gun, superior armour protection and an improved powerplant. The usefulness of the M-55 to Ukraine remains somewhat questionable due to the calibre of its main gun, as it will not be compatible with the munition types in the country other than those delivered with the vehicles themselves. Delivery of the vehicles will leave Slovenia without any tanks in its armed forces, with no replacement expected as the country’s small armed forces transition to operate free of main battle tanks.
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