Norway is to buy 54 Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks (MBTs) from German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), the Norwegian government announced on 3 February 2023, adding that the deal will include an option to buy an additional 18 tanks of the same type.

Delivery of the MBTs is to take place from 2026 to 2031, while the cost of the purchase is said to be within the NOK 19.7 Bn allocated by the Norwegian parliament.

The purchase of Leopard 2A7s will ensure that Norway has the same type of tanks as its Nordic neighbours and close allies. At the same time, Norway is building closer security relations with Germany and also sees opportunities for its domestic defence industry through increased industrial co-operation with German industry. The two countries already work closely with each other in the naval sector and have both opted to procure Type 212CD submarines from thyssenkrupp Marine Systems, the construction of which is expected to start this year.

Regarding the tank selection, in which the Leopard 2A7 competed with the K2 Black Panther produced by South Korea’s Hyundai Rotem, factors such as industrial relations, bilateral co-operation, logistics and resupply were taken into account, according to the Norwegian government. Based on an overall assessment of all these factors Oslo concluded that the Leopard 2A7 was the best option for Norway, it said.

Norway currently operates obsolescent Leopard 2A4 MBTs, which were bought second hand in 2001 and now need to be replaced.

Norway had previously considered doing without MBTs altogether, but now regards them as an important combat system for the army, both in defending Norway as well as operating with its most important allies and fulfilling Oslo’s obligations to NATO.