The European Defence Agency (EDA) awaits a last round of market feedback from industry before launching final consultations with member states Cyprus, Greece, Romania, and Spain to launch a programme in 2020 to modernise or procure Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) fleets. The effort will aim at upgrading to Leopard 2A7 equivalents or acquiring them, according to the agency.
"We're aiming for maximum commonality among them as they upgrade their MBTs," an EDA source told Jane's on 8 July, adding that the programme will involve approximately 200 Leopard tanks, plus a purchase of a new tank battalion by Romania, with all the upgrade work worth "several hundreds" of millions of euros. The programme will include upgrade options for recovery, engineering, and bridging vehicle variants.
The four countries' Leopard tank fleets currently vary from the Spanish Leopard 2E and Greek Leopard 2HEL, which are equivalent to the Leopard 2A6 version, to Romania's ageing 2A5 model.
Following exploratory talks in 2018, after which a potential group of nine EDA countries interested in the upgrade idea shrank to today's four, the agency issued a preliminary market consultation (PMC) to industry in April 2019. It calls on the latter to propose the most economical technological solutions to bridge as many of the requirements as possible among the four countries.
The Leopard 2's two prime contractors - Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall - are expected to respond to the PMC request by offering a full capability approach, for which they have until 18 July. Noting that the four countries' requirements involve around 200 systems and sub-systems, the source said, "We hope to get commonality of 90% or more."
With its PMC feedback in hand, the agency will then hold two more meetings with the four national defence ministries with the goal of signing off on the programme in 2020, followed by first deliveries of upgraded tanks starting in 2022.
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