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Norway purchases 54 Leopard 2A7 tanks preferred to South Korean K2 Black Panther MBTs.

| 2023

The Norwegian government officially announced on Friday, February 3, that it has decided to acquire 54 tanks of the Leopard 2A7NO type from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). An option has been entered for the purchase of a further 18 tanks. The first new tanks are expected to be delivered in 2026.
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German Leopard 2A7NO main battle tank conducts trial tests in the snow of Norway. (Picture source: Twitter account of Ronkainen)

‘’By purchasing German tanks, Norway ensures that it has the same type of tanks as its Nordic neighbors and close allies. It is also forging closer security policy ties with Germany’’, says Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre. ‘’This investment also offers great opportunities for the Norwegian defense industry and Norwegian workplaces through industrial cooperation’’, says Finance Minister Trygve Slagsvold Vedum. Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said: ‘’Germany is one of our main cooperation countries in the area of defense and security policy. A procurement and industrial cooperation with Germany builds on and reinforces an already established strategic materiel and industrial cooperation’’.

Norway's current fleet of 52 Leopard 2A4s was acquired from the Netherlands in 2001 and has since been adapted to Norwegian army requirements that include, among other things, new radios, weapon racks and Battlefield Management Systems, hence their re-designation as Leopard 2A4NO. According to the Military Balance 2021, Norway's army has still got a total of 36 Leopard 2A4s left in operational conditions, and 16 more in store. The remaining Leopard 2A4s are nearing the end of their technical and operational life. In order to maintain their serviceability until the new Leopard 2A7s are delivered, procurement of critical components and spare parts will be carried out.

The Norwegian government primarily wanted to buy 54 new Leopard 2A7NOs but is open to being able to acquire a further 18. It is planned to receive them in the period 2026-2031. The acquisition is within the cost limit of NOK 19.7 billion (US$ 1.948 Bn) set by the Storting. The cost framework covers more than the actual purchase of the tanks. Negotiated price is commercially confidential information.

‘’The Norwegian government is also working on further investment in other capacities for the land force, such as long-range precision fire. What gives the best operational ability, the chief of defense must first make assessments of in his specialist military council, which will be presented in the spring of 2023’’, says the Defense minister.


During Storting's consideration of Institution 50 S (2017–2018) to Prop. 2 S (2017–2018), it was decided that the Norwegian Army will also in the future have a modern tank capacity as an important element in the mechanized structure. This was continued through Storting's consideration of the Inst. 87 S (2020–2021) to Prop. 14 S (2020–2021), a long-term plan for the defense sector. The adopted long-term plan for the defense sector calls for a mechanized brigade with four battalions which, among other things, will be equipped with new tanks.

The project was approved for implementation by Storting's consideration of the Institution. 7 S (2021–2022), cf. Prop. 1 S (2021–2022). In the Storting, the cost limit was set at NOK 19.7 billion in 2023.

Leopard 2A7NO rather than K2NO Black Panther

The Norwegian army has assessed two good candidates – the German Leopard 2A7 and the South Korean K2NO Black Panther – and the tests show that both tanks meet all the requirements set for a new and modern tank capacity. Other important factors in this tank choice have also been considered, such as industrial conditions, bilateral cooperation conditions, logistical and after-supply conditions. Based on an overall assessment of all these conditions, the government has come to the conclusion that the German alternative with Leopard 2A7 is the best for Norway.

Army Recognition published information about this competition between the Leopard 2A7NO and the K2NO Black Panther on January 14, 2022.

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South Korean K2NO Black Panther on the left, and Leopard 2A7NO on the right (Picture source: Twitter account of The Dead District )

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