Indonesian Army to buy German Leopard 2A6 MBTs
The Indonesian Army is planning to purchase up to 100 refurbished Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (MBTs) from Germany in a $280m deal, following a failure to finalise acquisition of similar tanks with the Dutch Government.
Lieutenant general Sjafrie Sjamsoeddin, Indonesian deputy defence minister, said the that his country's Ministry of Defence (MoD) had ruled out previous plans as there was no assurance from the Netherlands Government.
"We have stopped the ongoing processes with the Netherlands to let us focus on the procurement from Germany," Sjamsoeddin added. "We chose Germany because we can have certainties in terms of time of procurement and volume to meet our needs."
The sale of Leopard tanks to Indonesia, originally approved by Netherlands in November 2011, was strongly opposed by Dutch legislators, citing rampant human rights violations across the archipelago, especially in Papua New Guinea.
The acquisition also attracted sharp criticism from the Indonesian House Commission I officials, who insisted that the tanks were 'unsuitable' for local conditions.
Purchased as part of the Indonesian Government's strategic plan 2010-2014, the tanks are expected to modernise the weapons systems of the country's army, which only has lighter tanks, such as the British Scorpion and French AMX13 MBTs.
The tanks are intended to boost the army's operational capabilities, in addition to supporting joint military training missions with neighbouring countries.
Sjamsoeddin said that the acquisition would be funded through a foreign loans scheme, with the first 15 MBTs expected to be delivered in October and the deliveries continuing until the middle of 2014.
Developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), the 60t Leopard 2A6 is an advanced variant of Leopard 2 MBT, featuring a longer L55 gun, an auxiliary engine, improved mine protection and an air-conditioning system.
Image: A Germany Army's Leopard 2A6 MBT equipped with a reversed turret. Photo: courtesy of powidl.