Europe’s standard main battle tank (MBT), the German-manufactured Leopard 2A7, boasts a range of critical capabilities that make it one of the most advanced MBTs on the market.

The Norwegian government procured 54 Leopard 2A7s on 3 February 2023 from the Munich-based company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW).

The latest in this procurement activity will see Düsseldorf-based defence company, Rheinmetall, enable these capabilities as KMW’s subcontractor. Rheinmetall will manufacture the Leopard’s key components. Among other things, these include the 120mm L55A1 canon, fire control technology and parts of its sensor suite, the subcontractor announced on 14 April.

For Rheinmetall, the total value of the order comes to $142.6m (€129m). If Norway exercises the option to procure the additional 18 optional Leopards KMW offers in its contract, the order will be worth an additional $48.6m.

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The MBT guns, fire control technology and sensors for the 54 Leopard 2A7s will be delivered to KMW over a period of approximately four years. After completion and commissioning of the MBTs at KMW, the vehicles will be transferred to the Norwegian procurement agency NDMA.

This is not the first time Rheinmetall has demonstrated its proficiency in the production of MBT components. The company has also taken part in the delivery of former Leopard 2 variants, the A5, A6 and A7, prior to Norway’s programme.

The Leopard 2A7 in the High North

Leading intelligence company, GlobalData, provides a lot of information in its ‘Global Military Land Vehicles Market Forecast 2023-2033’. The report indicates the steady growth in spending on the 2A7. The company expects Norwegian spending on the platform to grow from $96m in 2023 to $146m by 2033, registering a compound annual growth rate of 4.4%.

The Norwegian Armed Forces focus on their extensive programme of platform replacement and procurement to provide credible deterrence and meet Nato responsibilities. For the army, the primary focus is ensuring that its single manoeuvre formation, Brigade North, is properly equipped for high-intensity conventional warfare. It comprises four battalions that will be equipped in the coming years with new MBTs, mobile air defence systems, and long-range precision fires.

Ultimately, Norway views its primary military focus as being on the High North and Arctic region. It is a common refrain in Norwegian defence and security spheres to refer to the country as Nato’s ‘Northern Flank’, and as such there has always been a concentrated effort on operations in this environment.

Norway regularly hosts ‘Cold Response’ exercises for Nato operations in the Arctic, and the country is a training centre of excellence for troops across the alliance learning to fight in the Arctic climate.

“MBTs are the army’s main combat system in Norway and for our most important allies”, said Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram. “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”.