Germany vs South Korea: Norway Picks Partner for Major Tank Procurement
Norway's current fleet of 52 Leopard 2A4NLs dates back to the 80s is approaching the end of its service life and has exhausted all potential for upgrade. However, the new tanks will only arrive in 2025 at the earliest.
The Norwegian Armed Forces are preparing for a major tank procurement to replace their ageing fleet of 40-year-old Leopard 2 models.
Two contenders are vying for the tender: the choice is between the Leopard 2A7 by the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) andthe K2 Black Panther by South Korea's Hyundai Rotem. The former is an upgraded version of the tanks Norway operates today that largely date back to the 1970s. The latter was developed in the early 2000s, is based on modern solutions, and is also considerably lighter.
The price ceiling has been set at NOK 19.3 billion ($2.2 billion) and the new tanks will not be delivered until 2025 at the earliest, the military newspaper Forsvarets Forum reported
. The project also includes integrated logistics support, educational materials and support systems. While the outgoing centre-right coalition has not earmarked money for the new tanks in the proposed state budget, the signing of the contract is nevertheless planned for 2022.
Norway's current fleet of 52 Leopard 2A4NLs was acquired from the Netherlands in 2001 and have since been adapted to Norwegian requirements that include, among other things, new radios, weapon racks and Battlefield Management Systems.
Norway initially planned to upgrade 38 of them to modern standards, but this option was considered inadequate in a military review, which instead suggested to purchase brand new tanks. In the meantime, however, Norway will still have to find a temporary solution, such as temporary life extension.
“The existing tanks are nearing the end of their technical and operational life. In order to maintain capacity until new tanks are delivered, procurement of critical components and spare parts will be carried out,” the proposal for next year’s defence budget said.
The new tanks will be part of Brigade North, which will be further developed with four battalions and associated support departments.