Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin on Sunday said that foreign countries in a race to build advanced battle tanks challenging Moscow’s new Armata tank lag behind by at least 15-20 years and can never catch up with them.
Rogozin said in a reference to media reports about Germany and France preparing to jointly develop new main battle tanks to replace Leopard 2 tanks by 2030.
"Their plans are of course realistic, these are hi-tech countries with their own powerful engineering potential and traditions, but I think that the French and Germans, or Americans, or Israelis, who are also known for their tanks, will find it very hard," Rogozin was quoted as saying to Russian NTV channel by Sputnik.
"Even if they make something similar to what we have made, we will make something else by that time," Rogozin said.
"Joint studies would start this year and will last till 2018; the new tank would be based on technologies and concepts in joint studies. The new development was necessary as the life of Leopard 2 tanks would end around 2030,” German Spiegel magazine quoted the State Secretary of the Defense Ministry, Markus Grubel as saying.
Leopard 2 manufacturer, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann will be merging with French Nexter Systems later this year. It could be a strong candidate to will the contract to develop the new battle tank for the German Bundeswehr.
Leopard 2 was developed in early 1970s and entered into service in 1979. Germany announced to procure 100 additional Leopard 2 tanks in April this year which would increase the total number of tanks from 225 to 328 in service.