Ground Warfare

Switzerland Hands Over First Batch of Leopard 2 A4 Main Battle Tanks to Rheinmetall

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Switzerland Hands Over First Batch of Leopard 2 A4 Main Battle Tanks to Rheinmetall

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Switzerland Hands Over First Batch of Leopard 2 A4 Main Battle Tanks to Rheinmetall
Switzerland Hands Over First Batch of Leopard 2 A4 Main Battle Tanks to Rheinmetall

Switzerland has delivered the initial nine out of a total of 25 Leopard 2 A4 main battle tanks to the manufacturer, Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH. The first shipment was conducted via rail transport, with two more deliveries scheduled by Wednesday, January 31, 2024. While another set of nine Leopard 2 A4 tanks will be transported by rail, the final seven tanks will be delivered via road transport. Switzerland’s military currently operates 134 well-maintained Panzer 87 87 Leopard 2 A4 (Panzer 87 Leopard 2 A4 WE), upgraded under the 2006 armament program. Additionally, there are 96 decommissioned Panzer 87 Leopard 2 A4 tanks that have not undergone maintenance. Following a request from German Minister of Economic Affairs Robert Habeck and German Defense Minister Boris Pistorius on February 23, 2023, a portion of these decommissioned tanks is being sold back to Rheinmetall, with assurances that they will not be forwarded to Ukraine.

The agreement guarantees their final destination to be either within Germany or with NATO or EU partners. Under these conditions, the Swiss Parliament has approved the decommissioning of the systems, and the Federal Council has granted the export request from the Swiss Federal Office for Armaments armasuisse. This landmark agreement, following the green signal from the Federal Council for export authorization, marks a crucial milestone in Swiss military modernization efforts. The decision to sell a portion of the decommissioned Leopard 2 A4 tanks to Rheinmetall, as per the request from Germany’s Minister of Economy and Minister of Defense, has undergone meticulous scrutiny. Switzerland has diligently ensured that these tanks will remain within Germany or be confined to NATO or EU member countries, in line with maintaining regional stability.

Switzerland has commenced the delivery of Leopard 2 A4 battle tanks to Rheinmetall Landsysteme, a German defence manufacturer.
Switzerland has commenced the delivery of Leopard 2 A4 battle tanks to Rheinmetall Landsysteme, a German defence manufacturer. (Photo by Armasuisse)

On November 23, 2023, armasuisse and Rheinmetall Landsysteme GmbH signed the sales contract. The involved parties have agreed on a purchase price and additional contracts from Rheinmetall to Swiss companies in the field of security-relevant technology and industrial base (STIB) equal to the purchase price. Therefore, the agreement with Rheinmetall includes significant obligations to strengthen the Swiss industry. Furthermore, services for the management of the fire control computer of the active fleet of Leopard 2 A4 tanks in the Swiss Army have been specified in the contract, enhancing their sustainability. Rheinmetall will dismantle and return components suitable for the active fleet of Swiss Army tanks, expediting the sales process and simultaneously relieving the resources of the Army’s logistics base at no cost.

This strategic move aims to support both the Swiss military’s operational capabilities and domestic industry. Moreover, the contract entails vital services related to the operation of the fire control computer for the existing Leopard 2 tank fleet. This strategic move emphasizes a long-term approach to bolstering the nation’s military preparedness and capability. The logistical aspect of this agreement showcases efficiency and resourcefulness. Rheinmetall’s commitment to swiftly transport the tanks to Germany by rail, coupled with their pledge to dismantle salvageable modules for the active Swiss army fleet without financial repercussions, stands as a testament to optimizing resources and accelerating the sales process.

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