Norway will buy 54 tanks of the Leopard 2 type from Germany, announced Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre at Rena military camp. "This capacity will be important when we in the future, together with Sweden and Finland, will look at how we are to defend our northern areas."
The Norwegian government has now decided to procure 54 new tanks of the Leopard 2A7 and the producer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The procurement also opens up the opportunity to purchase 18 additional tanks.
The news broke at a press conference on Friday at Rena military camp about the strengthening of the Norwegian Armed Forces. Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre, Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum, and Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram were present.
"This sends a clear signal to our allies in NATO, that we are standing by our commitments to strengthen NATO's collective defense," said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor) when he announced the procurement.
"We have decided to cooperate with Germany in this procurement. Our relationship with Germany is central, it is close and good. The relationship with Germany as a security policy actor in Germany is becoming increasingly more important," specified Støre.
The prime minister especially highlighted the significance of the new tanks for Nordic security.
"By procuring German tanks, we ensure that Norway has the same type of tanks as our Nordic neighbors and close allies. We are also forging closer security policy ties with them," he said and added:
"This capacity will be important when we in the future, together with Sweden and Finland, will look at how we are to defend our northern areas when they become our close allies. A NATO membership for Sweden and Finland will mean a lot to Norway."
"Our Nordic neighbors all have German tanks; Finland, Denmark, and Sweden. That we operate with the same materiel as our neighbors and close allies strengthens both our and their security," emphasized Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram (Center).
The current tanks are ready to be replaced.
"This marks a great and heavy step in the development of land power. It will be an important tool in a mechanized brigade," said Minister of Defense Bjørn Arild Gram (Center).
He highlighted that the procurement process has been long with extensive analyses and debate.
The Norwegian government approved the procurement of new tanks in 2021 and in the process, the Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency considered the Korean Hyundai Rotem K2 Black Panther in addition to the German option. Chief of Defense Eirik Kristoffersen has previously recommended that Norway not procure new tanks.
Today, Norway has 36 tanks of the Leopard 2A4 type. These were bought second-hand in 2001.
"The current tanks are ready to be replaced. The security policy situation has been given great significance in the decision. The chief of defense has recommended that we do not procure new tanks. It is the chief of defense's role and responsibility to provide advice for the minister of defense and the government. It is the government's role and responsibility to make decisions based on their political aims in a collected assessment of the relevant conditions. We have made an overall assessment and have assessed other important conditions," said the Minister of Defense.
He added that the first tanks are scheduled to be delivered in 2026.
"This is a major financial prioritization from the Government. It strengthens the national control, the Norwegian Army, and the Norwegian Armed Forces. And it will be one of the most weighty defense investments we have made," said Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum (Center).
The purchase strengthens the defense ability, but also the defense industry, he specified and added that the repurchase agreement provides great opportunities for industry around Norway.
"It will also provide small and big industry businesses with contracts and work," he said.
This article was originally published in Norwegian and has been translated by Birgitte Annie Molid Martinussen.