Newest Leopard 2A7 beat Korean K2 in the battle for snowy Norway

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OSLO, NORWAY — Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks will be provided to the Norwegian Army. The Norwegian government ordered 54 Leopard 2A7s.

Photo credit: Norway MoD

Norway has decided to supply the Leopard 2A7 AMT from Germany to meet the Norwegian Army’s main battle tank [MBT] needs. The Leopard 2A7 tanks to be delivered will replace the Leopard 2A4 tanks that have been in the Norwegian Army’s inventory for many years.

Norway’s government said Friday that the country will buy 54 of the Norwegian version of the Leopard 2A7 and has earmarked $1.96 billion for the purchase. The first of the tanks will be delivered in 2026 and will be phased in by 2031. The deal includes an option to buy 18 more tanks.

“In today’s security environment, close defense cooperation in Europe is becoming increasingly important,” Prime Minister Jonas Gar Stort said in a statement. “By buying German tanks, we ensure that Norway has the same types of tanks as our Scandinavian neighbors and close allies,” he used the phrases.

The purchase comes after a debate by Norway’s defense chief over whether the NATO member, which borders Russia, should now be buying new tanks, given the impact of technological developments such as drones on the battlefield in Ukraine. For some time, Norway has been considering whether to choose the Leopard 2 or the South Korean K2 Black Panther.

Hyundai Rotem was pushing

South Korea was determined to win the Norwegian market. On September 29, Korean Hyundai Rotem issued a press release announcing that a cooperation agreement has been signed with the Norwegian company Kongsberg Defense & Aerospace AS. According to reports, Hyundai Rotem is interested in the possible integration of remote weapon systems and digitally integrated systems of Kongsberg in the K2 tanks and K808 wheeled armored vehicles.

Almost a week later, Hyundai Rotem continued with attractive promises to Norway. In order not to wait until 2025, which is the requirement to receive the tanks, the Korean manufacturer is ready to deliver the first 24 tanks to Norway right next year. They will be brand new and off the assembly line immediately, as long as Oslo accepts K2 as the winning bid.

Photo credit: Norway MoD

Some talked about not buying

In some Norwegian media, comments have already appeared, which are aimed at refusing to acquire a new battle tank. The comments are not rumors, involved senior military personnel from the Norwegian command and have their own logic to come out now.

General Eirik Kristoffersen, the chief of defense of the Kingdom of Norway, says that “the parties must reach an agreement”. What are the countries? On one side are the politicians and on the other the military.

The reason for the desire to cancel the program to acquire a successor to the well-worn Leopard 2NO is a change in the priorities of the Norwegian ground forces. The emphasis will be on mobility and firepower, not on defense like tanks.

Leopard 2A7

Leopard 2A7 is the German answer to the South Korean K2 MBT. Leopard 2A7 is manufactured by the local manufacturer of armored combat chain and wheeled weapons Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. It is known that, like its South Korean competitor, Leopard 2A7 began its existence in 2014, with the first 14 units delivered to the German army. Denmark is expected to receive 44 tanks of this type this year. According to conflicting information, in the period 2016-2019, Singapore received 45 Leopard 2A7 tanks [according to SIPRI], but in Singapore denied [according to the Singapore Defense Ministry].

Photo credit: KMW

The tank weighs 66 tons, the crew consists of four people. Leopard 2A7 is not suitable for urban combat conditions, unlike the latest version developed specifically for the German army Leopard 2A7 +. The Leopard 2A7 is powered by a Steyr Motors M12 TCA UI, which provides 1,500 horsepower. The tank is protected by the Swedish mobile camouflage system – Saab Barracuda [MCS], as well as by the heat transfer reduction system [HTR CoolCam].

The tank has several optimizations, such as optimized or new ultracapacitors in the chassis and dome, digital intercom system SOTAS IP, a new fire protection system, optimized thermal imaging modules, and other optics. The main weapon of the Leopard 2A7 is the Rheinmetall Rh-120mm smoothbore tank gun designed and manufactured by the West German Rheinmetall-DeTec AG company. Depending on customer preferences, the tank can be equipped with 2 × 7.62 mm German-made MG3A1 machine guns or 2 × 7.62 mm Belgian-made FN MAG machine guns.

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