Notice of purchase of 54 new-generation Leopard 2A7 tanks was announced by the Norwegian government on February 3, according to AFP.
Planned over several years, the order for Leopard 2A7 tanks will allow Norway to renew its fleet of 36 old Leopard 2A4s. The order for the Leopard 2A7 tank from German defense manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann is part of a $1.96 billion defense spending allocation approved by the Norwegian parliament. The exact cost for 54 Leopard 2A7 tanks has not been announced. In addition, Norway also has the option to buy 18 more Leopard 2A7 tanks. The first tanks are expected to be delivered in 2026.
According to Military Balance 2021, the Norwegian army is operating a total of 36 Leopard 2A4s while 16 more are in storage. The remaining Leopard 2A4s are nearing the end of their technical and operational life. In order to maintain their serviceability until the new Leopard 2A7s are delivered, procurement of critical components and spare parts will be carried out.
Norway has considered two bright candidates, the German Leopard 2A7 and the Korean K2 Black Panther. Tests showed that both tanks met all the requirements of the Norwegian side. Other important factors were considered, such as industrial conditions, bilateral cooperation conditions, logistical and after-supply conditions. Based on an overall assessment of all these conditions, the government has come to the conclusion that the German alternative with Leopard 2A7 is the best for Norway.
In Norway the German tank was designated the Leopard 2A7NO. This is the latest version of the popular Leopard 2 series, with the first batch entering service in 2014. The Leopard 2A7 is intended for urban warfare, low intensity conflicts, as well as conventional military operations. Currently it is one of the best main battle tanks in the world.
The 2A7 standard is a modular upgrade package, so older Leopard 2 tanks can be upgraded to this standard. Protection is further improved. 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, which offers 360° protection against RPG rounds. New side skirts were fitted. Protection of the hull floor was also increased to withstand blasts for landmines and improvised explosive devices.
Leopard 2A7 retains the same armament as on Leopard 2A6 including one L/55 120mm Rh 120 smoothbore gun, one MG3A1 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, and a 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun mounted on loader hatch located on the left side of the roof turret. Eight 76mm smoke grenade dischargers are mounted on each side of the turret. The weapon system is adapted for firing DM11 high-explosive (HE) rounds with an adjustable fuse.
Leopard 2A7 is equipped with a liquid-cooled V12 MTU MB 873 Ka-501 twin-turbo diesel engine, with a capacity of 1,479 horsepower. Leopard 2A7 can run at a maximum road speed of 70 km/h with a maximum cruising range of 450 km. At the end of last month, Norway announced that it would donate some Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine, but did not specify the exact amount or time of delivery.