Sweden’s Defence Materiel Administration (FMZ), the Government’s defence procurement agency, has contracted Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), the original German manufacturer of the Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT), to retrofit 44 units by the end of 2026.

The agreement, which was signed by KNDS (the holding company for KMW) and the FMZ at the international arms fair AUSA in Washington, also includes the option of modernising all of Sweden’s Leopard 2 MBTs.

Leading intelligence consultancy, GlobalData, tells us that the Swedish Army currently operates 120 units are 30-years-old, having originally procured them between 1994-1999.

Designated as the ‘Stridsvagn 122’, the Swedish MBT was modelled on KNDS’ Leopard 2, but distinguished by its mine-protected armour following a concept definition by an international working group from Switzerland, the Netherlands, Sweden and Norway, under the lead of the German procurement agency.

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In addition, the MBT has French GALIX smoke dispensers, different storage bins and thicker crew hatches.

The German Leopard 2 weighs 62t, has a length of 7.7m, a width of 3.7m and a height of 3m.

The commander’s station has an independent periscope, a PERI-R 17 A2 from Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (formerly STN Atlas Elektronik) and Zeiss Optronik.

PERI-R 17 A2 is a stabilised panoramic periscope sight for day/night observation and target identification, which provides an all-round view with a traverse of 360°. The thermal image from the commander’s periscope is displayed on a monitor.

A programme has been put in place to replace the H-WNA improved hydraulic system with E-WNA, which is an electrical weapon follow-up system.

The replacement with the E-WNA provides the following advantages: the turret has no pressurised hydraulic fluid, lower noise level and lower power consumption and heat generation, improved reliability and lower maintenance and service requirements, saving in operating costs, and good long-term storage properties.

Meanwhile, the FMZ’s latest order comprises an increase in firepower a higher protection level and additional digitalisation measures, as well as a logistics package.

This order has been a long-time coming as this upgrade will be delivered 25-years after the German Army upgraded its own 225 2A5 tanks to 2A6 configuration, the first of which was delivered in March 2001.