Finland and the Netherlands have agreed to transfer most of the remaining stock of Dutch Leopard 2A6 Main Battle Tanks (MBT) to Finland over a period of four years, for amount around €200 million. Defence Minister Carl Haglund has approved the acquisition of last thursday. Under the agreement Finland will procure 100 Leopard 2A6 tanks from the with the Netherlands, along with logistics package and spare parts sustaining 10 years of operations. The agreement is expected to be signed by on 20 January in the Netherlands by Haglund and his Dutch counterpart, Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert. Deliveries will commence in 2015 and continue through 2019. the project will secure the Army’s ability to attack highly 2030s.
Through this acquisition Finland will be able to upgrade its armoured corps, currently using Leopard 2A4. According to Finish armed forces sources As the acquisition has been included in the funding program it wil not require additional resources outside the funds already budgeted for force modernization. According to the military planning, the upgrading of existing Leopard 2A4 into 2A6 level would have cost €5 million per tank, while the procurement of new production tanks would cost about €10 million. According to Finnish military sources the Dutch tanks being procured were upgraded to the 2A6 standard in the mid 2000s, and their performance in mobility, protection and firepower is significantly better than the current tanks operated by the Finnish military.
The new tanks will be operated in two mechanized battle groups currently operating Leopard 2A4 MBTs and BMP-2 infantry fighting vehicles. Since the 1980s the Finnish army was operating its tanks in a brigade-size formation. Initially it was operating T-72M1 acquired from the Soviet Union in 1984-1990, when Helsinki bought 160 of the Russian tanks. Two decades later the T-72s were all replaced by 124 Leopard 2A4 tanks Finland bought from German Army surplus. Finland currently maintains 139 Leopard 2A4 in stock, these are expected to be replaced by the Dutch 2A6s toward the end of the decade.
Shouldering NATO’s European defense throughout the Cold War, the Royal Netherlands Army became the first export customer of the German Leopard 2 tank, receiving 445 of the vehicles between July 1981 and July 1986. Most of these tanks were later sold to Austria, Canada, Norway and Portugal, some also supported combat operations in Afghanistan. Through the 1990s 330 of these were upgraded to 2A5 standard. The tanks remaining in Dutch service were upgraded again to Leopard 2A6 standard in the 2000s, remaining in service until 2011. At that time, the Dutch parliament decided to disband the two remaining armored battalions, as part of cost saving measures. Since then, about 188 Leopard 2A6s are mothballed and auctioned for sale to international customers. Deals with Indonesia and Peru failed over political and economical grounds.