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Norwegian Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen has presented Norwegian plans for the renewal of the country’s MBTs. According to these plans, Norway intends to field the new tanks from 2025. Norway purchased 52 LEOPARD 2 A4 MBTs from the Netherlands in 2001 and adapted them to Norwegian requirements, with 36 currently active.

Based on the 2018 Land Forces Study of the Norwegian Parliament the Storting, an evaluation was carried out into how protection and communication in particular can be brought up to modern standards meeting military requirements. After an upgrade of the existing tanks was rejected as insufficient, market analyses revealed the latest versions of the LEOPARD 2 and the South Korean K2 BLACK PANTHER as candidates for the procurement project.

Preliminary talks with German and South Korean authorities will now be held to discuss, inter alia, the possibilities of industrial defence cooperation and access for Norwegian products to the defence equipment market of supplier countries. In 2021 the Ministry of Defence intends to submit the procurement plan to the Storting for approval. Time is already short to realise the procurement of an estimated 200 MBTs by 2025.

Jack Richardson