Norway to buy 54 next-generation Leopard 2 tanks

Norway to purchase 54 next-generation Leopard 2 tanks


Norway will buy 54 new next-generation Leopard 2 tanks, with an option on 18 more, to replace its tanks of the same model but of an older type, the Norwegian government announced on Friday.< /strong> 

In construction for several years, this Leopard 2A7 order will renew the existing fleet of 36 aging Leopard 2A4s, some of which are to be donated to Ukraine. 

The order, placed with the German defense group Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, is part of the envelope of 19.7 billion crowns (1.8 billion euros) already adopted by Parliament. 

< p>The exact price of the contract, however, has not been disclosed.

“We find ourselves (…) in one of the most difficult security situations since the Second World War”, underlined the first Minister Jonas Gahr Støre at a press conference held in the snow at the Rena military camp.

“We have a serious situation due to the Russian invasion (of Ukraine, editor's note). I call it a new 'Iron Curtain',” he said.

Norway was torn between next-generation Leopards and South Korean-designed K2 Black Panther tanks.

This choice will align the Norwegian tank fleet with that of its Nordic neighbors, including Sweden and Finland, which hope to join Norway in NATO, and Germany, said argue the government.

The first deliveries should take place from 2026 and extend until 2031.

Of the 52 Leopards that Norway had purchased from the Low in 2001, only 36 are still in service.

Oslo promised, at the end of January, to give some of them to Ukraine, without specifying the number or the date of delivery.

For his part, the chief of staff of the Norwegian army, Eirik Kristoffersen, had come out against the purchase of new tanks, saying he preferred to devote this money to the acquisition of other weapons like missiles and long-range shells.