Norway Selects German Leopard 2A7 as its Next Main Battle Tank

February 3, 2023
Norway Selects German Leopard 2A7 as its Next Main Battle Tank

The Norwegian Ministry of Defense has officially confirmed the selection of the German Leopard 2A7 as the country’s next main battle tank, putting an end to the speculation that had surrounded the matter for months. The government has opted for the German tank over the South Korean K2 Black Panther, with the Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram indicating that his agency is interested in procuring 54 of these tanks.

Key Points:

  • Norway selects German Leopard 2A7 as its next main battle tank
  • The government has decided to purchase 54 of these tanks, with an option to buy 18 more
  • The decision is a political announcement, and the industry deal has yet to be signed

Reasons Behind the Selection of the Leopard 2A7

Norway’s program for new tanks is valued at 19.7 Norwegian crowns, which roughly translates to $1.93 billion. The country has already announced that it will be donating some of its older Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine, which highlights the importance of ensuring that the new tanks are delivered on time to maintain the training level and capabilities of Norway’s armed forces.

The manufacturing of new tanks, including Leopards, has come into sharp focus, particularly as European nations have pledged their older stocks to help Ukraine. The German manufacturer of the Leopard 2, which is the standard main battle tank for most of Europe, has faced increased competition from South Korea’s willingness to transfer technology and localize production in European countries.

Production Capacity of the Leopard 2A7

Nicholas Drummond, a strategic advisor to the German tank’s manufacturer, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, in the UK, stated that the company still has plenty of slack in its production capacity in Germany. According to Drummond, bottlenecks lie in the supply chain rather than the manufacturing process itself.

The Four-Week Arctic Assessment

One year ago, Norway had conducted a four-week Arctic assessment to evaluate both tank contenders, including extensive mobility and firing trials, alongside harsh climate conditions and snow-covered terrain. The Ministry of Defense had stated in a press release that the officials were looking to guarantee that the contestants possessed technical features that would ensure their survival against Russian forces’ armored vehicles.

The Norwegian government’s decision to select the German Leopard 2A7 as its next main battle tank is a significant development, and the industry deal is expected to be signed soon. The tank’s manufacturer, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, has the production capacity to handle the order, and the recent Arctic assessment highlights the tank’s technical capabilities in harsh weather conditions. With the delivery expected in 2026, Norway will be well-positioned to maintain the training level and capabilities of its armed forces.

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