Norway buys 54 Leopards for protection of the North

Some of the new Leopard 2 will be based in northern (Forsvaret)

After a long period of consideration, Norway has decided to buy new tanks. A total of 54 Leopard 2 tanks are to boost Norwegian defence capability. The first ones will be delivered in 2026.

The deal with manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann includes the possible acquisition of another 18 Leopards, Jonas Gahr Støre said in a press conference on Friday.

“A new iron curtain has descended on Europe, a hard border,” Støre said, and underlined the importance of strengthening relations with Germany and the neighbouring Nordic countries.

“I talked with Bundeskanzler Scholz this morning and he underlines that new deal will connect our two counties even closer together,” Støre said. According to the Norwegian government leader, the role of Germany in European security affairs is getting increasingly important.

With the acquisition of the new tanks, Norway also strengthens land force cooperation with Finland and Sweden, two countries that also operate Leopards.

When Finland and Sweden becomes members of NATO, the alliance will have a powerful land force in the North capable of defending the region from enemy aggression.

Norway today has a total of 36 tanks, all of them Leopard 2 manufactured in the period 1983-1985. Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram recently confirmed that some of the aging vehicles might soon be sent to Ukraine.

The Nordic country has for a long time discussed whether or not to buy new tanks. On the table was also the South Korean K2 Black Panther. There has been strong disagreement within the Armed Forces about the acquisition of the new weapons. In late fall 2022, Head of the Norwegian Defense Eirik Kristoffersen made headlines when he announced that he wanted to drop the acquisition of tanks all together.

Related stories from around the North: 

Canada: Canada extends continental shelf claim, increasing overlaps with Russia in Arctic, Eye on the Arctic

FinlandHundreds of foreign soldiers join military exercise in Arctic Finland, The Independent Barents Observer

Greenland: Local company’s $3.95-billion U.S. arctic base contract “good news” says Greenland, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: Norway hesitates on granting asylum to Russians fleeing army draft, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Lonely Lavrov invites Arctic colleagues to Siberia, but no one will come, The Independent Barents Observer

SwedenNorway, Finland, Sweden prioritize North in updated statement, Eye on the Arctic

United States: U.S. Coast Guard talks Arctic at recent summit, Eye on the Arctic

Atle Staalesen, The Independent Barents Observer

For more news from the Barents region visit The Independent Barents Observer.

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