Finland To Buy Leopard MBTs Next Year

  • Our Bureau
  • 07:29 AM, December 23, 2013
  • 2793

Finland has entered negotiations with the Netherlands to purchase around 100 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (MBTs), the Finnish Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced last week.

"The preparations for the acquisition and the related negotiations are ongoing," a Finnish MoD statement said, adding that they "are proceeding in good faith".

The country is hoping it will be able to sign a contract for the order during a visit by Finnish defence minister Carl Haglund to the Netherlands in late January 2014. "If the [Finnish] Parliament approves the draft budget", a decision on the purchase may come early in 2014, according to the MoD.

Finland already operates 100 examples of the earlier Leopard 2A4 variant in frontline service, delivered from ex-German Army stocks from 2003 onwards. Around 30 more Leopard 2A4s are used for training purposes.

The Netherlands has a large inventory of ex-Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2 MBTs on offer to potential export customers, following an April 2011 decision to retire the country's entire MBT fleet. The Netherlands has previously tried to offload these Leopard 2s to Indonesia, although the Dutch Parliament rejected the sale in a non-binding vote in June 2012. Indonesia subsequently fulfilled its requirements from ex-German stocks.

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