The Norwegian Government has decided to acquire 54 main battle tanks (MBT) of the Leopard 2 type from German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, with an option to purchase an additional 18 units. The first MBTs are expected to be delivered in 2026. This represents a clear strengthening of Norwegian defence capability and national preparedness. Today’s MBTs were bought used in 2001 and are ready for replacement.
“New main battle tanks are of great importance to the Armed Forces, significantly strengthening the Army. In today’s security situation, European defence cooperation is becoming increasingly important. By procuring German tanks, we ensure that Norway has the same type of tanks as our Nordic neighbours and close allies. We are also forging closer security policy ties with Germany,” says Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
“Ensuring everyone’s safety through national preparedness is one of the most important tasks we have as political leaders. The government prioritizes defense and preparedness. Securing Norway new tanks is an important part of this preparedness. This investment increases our combat power on land, will strengthen the Norwegian Army significantly, while also offering great opportunities for Norwegian defence industry and work force through industrial cooperation,” says Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum.
The army has compared two strong candidates, and tests confirm both are excellent, modern vehicles meeting all requirements for a modern MBT capacity. Other factors considered and influencing the assessment include industrial cooperation opportunities, operational cooperation, logistics and life-cycle support. Based on an overall assessment of all relevant factors and conditions, the Government has concluded that the German alternative with Leopard 2 is the best for Norway.
“Main Battle Tanks are the Army’s main combat system in Norway and for our most important allies. MBTs are also central in fulfilling our obligations to NATO. By upgrading our defence with modern equipment, we make NATO stronger, which is paramount in the current security situation. We have highly skilled and motivated personnel operating our current MBTs, and we are happy to announce that we have now chosen to buy a new modern version,” says Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram.
“Germany is among our main partners in the field of defence and security policy. The procurement and industrial cooperation on main battle tanks with Germany builds on and reinforces an already established strategic materiel and industrial cooperation,” says the Minister of Defence.
The Government will initially buy 54 MBTs, with an option of acquiring a further 18 units. The MBTs will be phased in from 2026 through 2031. The acquisition is within the cost limit of NOK 19.7 billion set by the Norwegian parliament.
“We are also looking at further investments in other capacities for the land force, such as long-range precision fire. In the spring of 2023, the Chief of Defence will present his advice on the future development of our Army as part of his Military Advice on the future development of the Armed Forces,” says the Minister of Defence.