German Army Leopard 2A7V main battle tank
German Army Leopard 2A7V main battle tank

German Army to Procure Leopard 2A8 Tanks and PzH2000 Self-Propelled Howitzers

The German federal parliament (Bundestag) has approved the purchase of initially 18 Leopard 2 main battle tanks in the latest A8 version. In addition, a further twelve PzH2000 self-propelled howitzers can be procured. At its meeting on May 24, the Budget Committee of the German federal parliament approved three procurement projects for the German Army (Heer). All armament projects that exceed an investment volume of 25 million euros must be approved by the budget committee before the contract is signed. Since this is a subsequent procurement of material given to Ukraine, the financing of the Leopard 2A8 main battle tank does not come from the defense budget, but from the individual Plan 60 of the federal budget.

German Ministry of Defence is committed to further upgrade its Leopard 2 fleet rather than to switch to a brand new main battle tank, such as the KF-51 Panther that was recently developed by Rheinmetall. To replace the 18 Leopard 2A6 tanks handed over to the Armed Forces of Ukraine, the German Ministry of Defence is expected to purchase a batch of at least 18 Leopard 2A8 tanks (with option for several hundred). The plans still have to be approved by the German parliament due to the contract exceeding a value of €25 million. The German Army will receive 18 Leopard 2A8 main battle tanks. The latest version currently in use in the Army is the Leopard 2 A7V. The framework agreement with the manufacturer includes an option to purchase additional Leopard 2A8 main battle tanks.

German Army PzH 2000 Self-propelled Howitzer
German Army PzH 2000 Self-propelled Howitzer. (Photo by Bundeswehr)

The Leopard 2A8 will be based on the current Leopard 2A7HU production model but feature additional improvements. In this version currently available on the market, the main battle tank is equipped with the Trophy active protection system. Since its introduction this system demonstrated 100% success rate in various terrain and combat conditions. Defeated threats include RPG-29 anti-tank rockets and Kornet and Metis-M anti-tank guided missiles. The Leopard 2A8 uses a 1 600 hp engine. Previous versions of the Leopard used a 1 500 hp engine. It is possible that the use of newly-built hulls on the Leopard 2A8 might be related to the new engine. The new 20 kW unit replaces the previous 17 kW unit used on the Leopard 2A7 series tanks.

The Panzerhaubitze 2000 (“armoured howitzer 2000”, abbreviated PzH 2000) is a German 155 mm self-propelled howitzer developed by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall in the 1980s and 1990s for the German Army. It is capable of a very high rate of fire; in burst mode it can fire three rounds in nine seconds, ten rounds in 56 seconds, and can—depending on barrel heating—fire between 10 and 13 rounds per minute continuously. The PzH 2000 has automatic support for up to five rounds of Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact (MRSI). Two operators can load 60 shells and propelling charges in less than 12 minutes. The PzH 2000 equips the armies of Germany, Italy, Ukraine, Netherlands, Greece, Lithuania, Hungary, Qatar and Croatia, mostly replacing older systems such as the M109 howitzer.

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