The German Army newly formed 363rd Panzer Battalion (Panzerbataillon 363) has received the first four of its future 44 Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (MBTs). The German Army uses Jäger to denote Armoured units equipped with main battle tanks are designated as Panzer formations, while mechanized infantry units equipped with tracked infantry fighting vehicles are designated as Panzergrenadier formations. The first main battle tanks that arrived at the battalion’s base in Hardheim, Baden-Württemberg, on 3 September will be used for training, with the first live firing exercise planned at the Bergen training area in the spring.
The 363rd Panzer Battalion will be assigned to 7th Panzergrenadier Brigade (Panzergrenadierbrigade 7) in Frankenberg, one of four brigades of the 10th Panzerdivision. The 7th Panzergrenadier Brigade will be the brigade’s second panzer battalion. The 10th Panzer Division (Panzerdivision 10) is an armoured division of the German Army, part of the Bundeswehr. Hardheim is the first Bundeswehr base to be reactivated. It was closed in October 2011 after the last Gepard (Cheetah) tracked self-propelled anti-aircraft gun of Panzerflakbataillon (Armoured Anti-Aircraft Battalion) 12 left that year.
The Leopard 2A6 includes the addition of the Rheinmetall 120 mm L/55 smoothbore gun and other changes. All German tank battalions of the “crisis intervention forces” are equipped with the A6. Earlier this year, the German Federal Office of Bundeswehr Equipment (BAAINBw) contracted KMW to modernise 101 Leopard 2 A6 main battle tanks to A7V configuration by 2026.The €300m contract involves delivering enhancements to the vehicle’s targeting system and fire control computer, operating concept and chassis. The German Federal Armed Forces will procure a total of 104 Leopard 2 A7V vehicles. Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) will deliver the remaining vehicles in the programme by 2023.