The Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (Försvarets Materielverk, FMV) has commissioned Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co. KG (KMW) with modernising its fleet of Leopard 2 (Stridsvagn 122) main battle tanks. 44 main battle tanks will be retrofitted by the end of 2026. Stridsvagn 122 is a Swedish main battle tank that is based on the German Leopard 2A5 improved variant utilizing such newer technology as command, control, and fire-control systems, reinforced armour, and long-term combat capacity. The agreement, which was signed at the international arms fair AUSA (The Association of the United States Army) in Washington also includes the option of modernising all of the Swedish Army’s Leopard 2 main battle tanks. The order consists of an increase in firepower, a higher protection level and further digitalisation measures, as well as a logistics package.
The Stridsvagn 122 was designed to fight in Swedish conditions including heavily forested areas as well as urban terrain. Externally, the vehicle is distinguished from the Leopard 2A5 by the French GALIX smoke dispensers, different storage bins, and the thicker crew hatches. The designation derives from the 12 cm gun; it was the second tank in Swedish service featuring this calibre (the first being the strv 121 — a Leopard 2A4 fitted with Swedish lights and radios and painted in Swedish camouflage).The Strv 122 tank was developed to address the perceived shortcomings of the original German tank design, incorporating several key features to enhance its combat capabilities. Its heavily reinforced armor offers increased protection against man-portable anti-tank weapons, bolstering its resilience on the battlefield.
Additionally, the Strv 122 boasts an advanced CBRN defense system, ensuring safeguarding against chemical, biological, and radioactive threats. The tank’s wading capability allows it to traverse water up to 1.4 meters deep, granting it versatility in various terrains. Furthermore, its sophisticated targeting capabilities, including a laser rangefinder, thermographic camera, and a speed/distance/accuracy calculator, enable rapid target identification and precision engagement. The ability to lock onto multiple targets simultaneously minimizes the need for manual gun re-aiming, enhancing its efficiency in engaging multiple enemy vehicles. The incorporation of active communication and the Tank Command & Control System (TCCS) by Celsius Tech Systems AB further improves cooperation and coordination between military units, making the Strv 122 a formidable asset in modern warfare.
In 2016, Sweden ordered new upgrades for the strv 122 from Krauss-Maffei, with planned delivery between 2018 and 2023. Apart from routine renovation, the Stridsledningssystem Bataljon, a new observation/gun sight for the commander, and new communication systems for international missions, were to be added. A modular 360° ballistic protection system was originally planned but not implemented. This new upgraded version is designated strv 122C if the upgraded vehicle was originally a 122A variant, or strv 122D if it was an Strv 122B. In October 2023, the FMV announced that a total of 44 Stridsvagn 122 will be upgraded to the Strv 123A variant, featuring the more powerful L/55 gun, new tracks, improved optics for the commander and gunner, and night sight for the driver. The first Strv 123A tank is to be delivered in 2026.