Finnish Army Leopard 2A6 Main Battle Tank
Finnish Army Leopard 2A6 Main Battle Tank

Finnish Defense Forces to Upgrade Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank Fleet

The Finnish Ministry of Defence (Puolustusministeri) has authorised the Finnish Defence Forces (Puolustusvoimat) to sign a contract on the firing control system ballistics upgrade for the Finnish Army (Maavoimat) Leopard 2 A4 and 2 A6 main battle tanks. The procurement will upgrade the capability of the Leopard 2 A4 and 2 A6 originally procured from Germany and the Netherlands. The contract on the upgrade will be signed with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG from Germany.

The upgrade will incorporate into the Leopard MBT fleet the ability to fire new HE/FRAG projectiles in addition to the ammunition already in place. This will significantly improve the MBTs firepower, utilisation opportunities and ability to provide support to Army troops. The procurement also marks a new capability, and the ballistics upgrade will enable using multipurpose HE/FRAG rounds in training as of 2023. This matter has been prepared in cooperation with Sweden, and the procurement will provide Finland and Sweden with the ability to use identical ammunition, which will improve interoperability.

Finnish Army Leopard 2A6 Main Battle Tank (Photo by Maavoimat)

According to plan, the upgrade of the Leopard Main Battle Tank fleet will start in early 2022 to run until 2026. The total value of the procurement with options exclusive of VAT will be c. EUR 10 million, and it will be financed from the Defence Forces’ materiel procurement resources as planned, budgeted and allocated for the purpose. In Finland, the estimated employment impact will be 3-4-person employment years in total. The implementation will also rely on the Defence Forces’ strategic partner Millog Ltd. relating to specialist consultation, installments and logistics.

The Finnish Army originally bought 124 2A4s from surplus German stocks in 2003. Of these, 12 were converted into bridge-laying and combat engineering tanks and 12 were disassembled for use as spares, leaving 100 operational tanks. In 2009, the Finnish Army bought 15 more German surplus Leopard 2A4s for spare parts of existing fleet, bringing the total number of Finnish Leopard 2A4 tanks to 139. On 16 January 2014, Finland agreed with the Netherlands to purchase 100 used Leopard 2A6NL tanks for approximately €200 million. In 2015, most of the Leopard 2A4s were moved into reserve, with some converted into Marksman AA vehicles, bridge-laying and mine clearing tanks.