UAE to donate 80 French-made Leclerc tanks to Jordan: report

The amount is said to be enough to equip two of the four tank battalions in Jordan's 3rd Armored Division

An Emirati Leclerc tank. Photo: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leclerc_tank

According to a post published by French blog Blablachars, the United Arab Emirates, which has deployed the Leclerc Main Battle Tank (MBT) for more than 20 years, has decided to donate 80 of the tanks to Jordan. 

The blog claims that the amount is enough to equip two of the four tank battalions belonging to Jordan's 3rd Armored Division. This large unit is in fact made up of two brigades: the King Hussein 40th Armored Brigade, consisting of the 2nd Tank Battalion and the Prince Ali Bin Al Hussein 4th Tank Battalion; and the Prince Hassan 60th Armored Brigade, consisting of the 3rd Royal Tank Battalion and the 5th Royal Tank Battalion. These two brigades were transferred to the Jordanian central command in 2018, Blablachars said. All these units are equipped with older tanks such as the Tariq (Centurion), the M60 A1, the Al Khalid (Chieftain), or the Al Hussein (Challenger1).

Regarding recent developments in the Middle East, Blablachars notes that despite Jordan's peace with Israel, the country is in an unstable environment with Syria and Iraq, which have many tanks including modern ones like the T-90. The reported UAE decision, which is said to have been helped by the good relations between the leaders of the two countries, was boosted by the normalization between Jerusalem and Abu Dhabi and the peace agreement between the two countries.

The blog claimed that the tank transfer from the UAE to Jordan could allow the creation of new synergies for the upgrading of the Leclerc MBT in the three countries where they are in use. There are now a little over 300 in the United Arab Emirates, 80 in Jordan and 200 in France.

The Army Recognition website notes that the Leclerc MBT is the backbone of the UAE armed forces and has been in service since 1994. In 1993, the UAE signed a $4 billion contract with the French Company Giat Industries (now Nexter Systems) for the purchase of 436 combat vehicles, including 388 Leclerc MBTs, two driver training tanks, and 48 armored recovery tanks based on the Leclerc MBT chassis. In 2003, France's Giat Industries signed a contract to upgrade hundreds of Leclerc tanks it supplied to the UAE.  Recently, the UAE deployed 70 Leclerc tanks to combat operations in Yemen as part of the Saudi-led coalition.