The Finnish Army announced on 25 October that it had received the last of 100 Leopard 2A6FIN MBTs, which were ordered from the Netherlands as Leopard 2A6NLs in 2014 and subsequently upgraded. The tanks were received at Vuosaari Harbour on 25 October.
Along with the Leopard 2A4, the Leopard 2A6FIN has enabled the Finnish Army to expand and develop "inter-branch interoperability between the armour and the infantry," the press release explained.
Colonel Rainer Peltoniemi, commander of the Häme Armoured Battalion, added that the Finnish Army had begun training with the Leopard 2A6 very quickly, starting in 2016. "It has been excellent to see how these tanks were introduced into operational use in such a short time," Peltoniemi said, adding that the new vehicles have already provided the Finnish forces with "striking effectiveness."
The modernised tanks enable the Finnish Army to sustain its fighting capability, as well as meet combat requirements, according to Col Peltoniemi.
The Leopard 2A6FIN fleet was ordered from the Netherlands in 2014 for EUR199 million (USD273.5 million). The tanks have been modified to the 2A6FIN standard, which includes installation of a wideband Intercom and secure packet radio, as well as modified stowage and skirt steps that are better suited to the winter clothing often worn by Finnish soldiers.
The surplus Dutch vehicles were selected as the most economical option to upgrade Finland's heavy armour fleet. Upgrading the 2A4FIN fleet, which numbers 139 vehicles, was estimated to cost USD5 million per vehicle in 2014. Procuring new-build Leopards at the 2A6 or 2A7 standard would have cost at least USD10 million per vehicle. In contrast, the ex-Dutch tanks cost around USD2.5 million each, including 10 years of spare parts, and an initial ammunition lot.
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