Norwegian Army has decided to procure 54 new, modern Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks, with a possibility of an additional 18 tanks. The first new tanks are expected to be delivered in 2026. This will significantly strengthen the Norwegian Armed Forces and the Norwegian Army. In 2020, the Norwegian government announced the opening of a competition for the country’s new main battle tank to replace the Norwegian armed forces’ existing fleet of Leopard 2A4NO main battle tanks. A total of nine models have been proposed to the government, but only the modified versions of the K2 Black Panther and the Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks were selected as finalists.
In 2022 the Norwegian Ministry of Defense has begun Arctic trials for the German Leopard 2A7 and South Korean K2 Black Panther tanks to determine which of them will become the country’s next main battle tank (MBT). Participating defense firms Hyundai Rotem and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann have sent two tanks each, modified to meet the Norwegian Army’s requirements and qualify for the testing and evaluation stage. In addition to performing in a harsh winter environment, the defense ministry wants to ensure that the participating tanks have “technical features” that will allow them to cope with powerful Russian Army tanks.
The Leopard 2 is a third generation German main battle tank (MBT). Developed by Krauss-Maffei in the 1970s, the tank entered service in 1979 and replaced the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the West German army. Various iterations of the Leopard 2 continue to be operated by the armed forces of Germany, as well as 13 other European countries, and several non-European states around the world, including Canada, Chile, Indonesia, and Singapore. The Norwegian Army has 52 ex-Dutch Leopard 2A4NOs in stock. In May 2015, it was announced that the Norwegian Army had ordered 6 Wisent 2 in the ARV configuration.
The Leopard 2A7 main battle tank was developed by German Krauss-Maffei Wegmann in cooperation with the German Army. It was first revealed in 2010. It is a further development of the Leopard 2A6 main battle tank. The Leopard 2A7 is fitted with additional composite armor kit. It is the latest generation of passive armor, which provides higher level of protection against wide range of threats. This main battle tank is armed with a Rheinmetall 120 mm/L55 smoothbore gun (the same gun is used on the Leopard 2A6). It has better fire accuracy and longer range, comparing with the previous Leopard 2A4. The tank is fitted with more advanced panoramic commander’s sight with thermal imaging.