BELFAST — Germany has awarded Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) a production contract for 18 new Leopard 2A8 main battle tanks to replenish the same number of Leopard 2A6 vehicles supplied to Ukraine.
The agreement follows the country’s parliament approval of funding on Wednesday of around €525 million ($563 million) for the acquisition, according to the Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr (BAAINBw).
Deliveries on the 18 tanks are to begin in 2025 and all are scheduled for handover to the German army by the end of 2026. The contracts includes an option for an addition 105 tanks. Bloomberg previously reported the total cost of the procurement, should the option for more vehicles be exercised, would stand at €2.9 billion ($3.2 billion).
The Leopard 2A8 tanks will be based on the 2A7V variant, complete with integration of Rafael’s Trophy Active Protection System. “The troops thus receive a state-of-the-art and high-performance system that combines protection, effectiveness and mobility in an excellent way,” noted a BAAINBw translated statement.
Germany currently has a fleet of 321 Leopard tanks, excluding those held in storage, according to the Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).
After much reluctance over whether to provide heavy weaponry to Ukraine over fears of escalation, Germany finally announced in January 2023 that it would do so, approving an initial supply of 14 Leopard 2A6 vehicles (four more have since followed) and providing re-export permissions for other European Leopard operators to do the same. Berlin also said in February 2023 that “at least” 100 Leopard 2A5 tanks from its own stocks and those of Denmark and the Netherlands would be gifted.
Additionally, IISS noted that “a small number” of German Leopard 2A4 tanks are being delivered to Czech Republic and Slovakia, to replace those sent by each country to Ukraine.
Separately, KMV said in a Thursday statement that it had been “commissioned” by the German government to produce twelve new PzH 2000 howitzers for the German artillery force, an option included in a previous agreement, originally signed in March 2023.
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Author: Tim Martin
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