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Singapore denies Leopard 2A7 acquisition, but questions remain over anomalies

21 March 2018
Refurbished ex-German Army Leopard 2A4 MBTs, designated Leopard 2SG MBTs in Singapore Army service, now constitute a significant proportion of the service’s offensive punch. Source: IHS Markit/Kelvin Wong

Singapore’s Ministry of Defence (MINDEF) has refuted speculation that the country has acquired the A7 variant of the German-built Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) that stemmed from a recent entry in the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s (SIPRI’s) Arms Transfer Database.

According to SIPRI’s data – which the institute says is drawn from a range of sources, including the UN Register of Conventional Arms (ROCA), national reports on arms exports and imports, as well as official defence budget documents and parliamentary records – Singapore has acquired 12 Leopard 2A7 MBTs that were delivered in the 2016–17 timeframe.

The institute also recorded that the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) received a total of 182 ex-Bundeswehr Leopard 2A4 MBTs in the 2007–12 timeframe, with a number of these used as spares and training. Meanwhile, the UN ROCA database has also shown that Germany reported a transfer of 168 MBTs to Singapore.

However, only 96 Leopard 2A4 MBTs were ever declared to have been ordered by Singapore in a December 2006 announcement by MINDEF. The first batch of six MBTs was transferred in June 2008 and deliveries are understood to have been completed by mid-2010.

“In 2006, the SAF announced the acquisition of the Leopard 2A4 from Germany to replace the SM1 tanks,” MINDEF said a 20 March statement. “Since then, the refurnished Leopard tanks have entered service and no other variants of the Leopard has [sic] been acquired by the SAF.”

However, German government reports on its military equipment exports, reviewed by Jane’s on 21 March, have revealed that seven Leopard 2 MBTs – although of an unspecified variant – had been exported to Singapore in 2016, further casting doubt on the official information released by MINDEF. Moreover, Germany also issued export licences to Singapore worth EUR97 million (USD119 million) for tank ammunition, gun-laying equipment, target range-finding systems and parts for fire-control equipment, onboard weapons-control systems, observation systems, as well as parts for MBTs, armoured vehicles, amphibious vehicles, and trucks.

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