Finland to upgrade its fleet of Leopard 2A4 and 2A6 main battle tanks

According to information published by the Defense Minister of Finland on December 7, 2021, the Ministry of Defense has authorized the Defense Forces to sign an agreement with the German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co KG to upgrade the fire control system of the Army’s Leopard 2 A4 and Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks. The work is scheduled to start at the beginning of 2022 and to be completed during 2026.
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Finnish army Leopard 2A6 main battle tank. (Picture source Finnish Defence Forces)

Finland bought 124 used Leopard 2A4 tanks and six armored bridge-layer Leopard 2L tanks from Germany in 2002 and 2003. Finland has also acquired 100 second-hand Leopard 2A6 from the Netherlands that were delivered between 2015 and 2019. According to the military balance 2020, the Finnish army has a total 100 Leopard 2A6 and 100 Leopard 2A4 in store. 

The performance of Leopard 2 A4 and 2 A6 battle tanks procured from Germany and the Netherlands will be upgraded. The expert resources of Millog Oy, the strategic partner of the Defense Forces, will also be used for installation work and logistics, with a domestic employment effect of approximately 3 to 4 person-years.

The overall value of the procurement, with options and without value added tax, is about EUR 10 million. It will be financed by the funds for defense material procurement that are budgeted for this purpose.

The Leopard 2A4 is a German-made main battle tank designed and manufactured by the Company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the successor of the main battle tank Leopard 1. The first preproduction Leopard 2 MBT was delivered to the German Army late in 1978 for training. The first production Leopard 2 was handed over by Krauss-Maffei in October 1979 in Munich.

The Leopard 2A4 is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun which has been developed by Rheinmetall and fires two types of ammunition, APFSDS-T, and HEAT-MP-T. The APFSDS-T has an effective range of over 2,000 m and the HEAT-MP-T has a high degree of effectiveness against both soft and hard targets

The Leopard 2A6 is one of the latest generations of the main battle tanks from the family of German Leopard. The Leopard 2 was developed and manufactured by the German Defence Company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann based on the Leopard 2A5 main battle tank.

In March 2001, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann handed over to the German Army the first upgraded Leopard 2A6 series Main Battle Tank (MBT) armed with the new Rheinmetall 120 mm L/55 smoothbore tank gun. Germany to replace the shorter 120mm L44 smoothbore tank gun on the first version of Leopard 2. With the improved kinetic energy ammunition DM53 the L55 gun can fire to a range of 5,000 m.

The Leopard 2A6 is fitted with improved armor protection over the frontal arc with the turret front having a distinctive arrowhead shape. This provides a significant increase in protection against both kinetic and chemical energy attacks. The turret interior has been fitted with spall liners. The side skirts also incorporate composite improved armor. The new externally mounted armor panels can be removed with onboard equipment and can be replaced by armor modules with a higher level of protection.

Finland to upgrade its fleet of Leopard 2A4 and 2A6 main battle tanks 925 001
Finnish army Leopard 2A4 main battle tank. (Picture source Wikipedia)

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