Germany Allocates Funding for Leopard 2 Upgrade/PzH 2000 Ammunition Procurement

On March 20, Germany’s parliamentary budget committee signed off on two projects each costing EUR25 million ($28 million) apiece. The first pertains to an upgrade of 101 of the Bundeswehr’s Leopard 2 main battle tanks, while the other covers 32,000 rounds in 155mm caliber of ammunition intended for the Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) self-propelled howitzers (SPHs).

The first of the two projects will involve the upgrade of the 101 Leopard tanks from 2A6MA2 standard to a level equivalent to the 2A7V by 2026 in order to bring standardization to the inventory and ease operation and logistics.

The Leopard 2 tank forms the core element in the German Bundeswehr’s armored capability.

The government has moved to revitalize this fleet in recent years, starting with a project to return 104 Leopard 2A4 tanks to frontline service (at a cost of around EUR22 million to buy them back from industry) and upgrade them to the latest 2A7V standard. This step will bring the size of the total fleet from 225 tanks up to 329.

A contract worth EUR118 million for this upgrade work was awarded to Rheinmetall in September 2017. The upgraded tanks will begin being handed over to the German Army later in 2019, with deliveries to be wrapped up by 2023.

An earlier initiative involved upgrading 100 Leopard 2A6 variants to the 2A7 standard. The first 20 of these upgraded Leopard 2A7s were handed over to the Bundeswehr on December 10, 2014.

The latest upgrade effort is expected to be completed by 2026, at which time the 101 tanks in question will be equipped with a new target system, new radios, and modified fire control computers.

Meanwhile, the Bundeswehr will be able to stock additional projectiles for its PzH 2000 SPH inventory with the granting of munition procurement by the budget committee.  Under the program outline, the Bundeswehr will receive eight separate deliveries of DM121 explosive munitions by 2023. The ammunition will enable the SPHs to combat soft and semi-hardened surface targets more effectively.

Panzerhaubitze 2000. Photo – Flickr/Tobias Nordhausen (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

About Daniel Darling

Dan Darling is Forecast International’s director of military and defense markets. In this role, Dan oversees a team of analysts tasked with covering everything from budgeting to weapons systems to defense electronics and military aerospace. Additionally, for over 17 years Dan has, at various times, authored the International Military Markets reports for Europe, Eurasia, the Middle East and the Asia-Pacific region. Dan's work has been cited in Defense News, Real Clear Defense, Asian Military Review, Al Jazeera, and Financial Express, among others, and he has also contributed commentary to The Diplomat, The National Interest and World Politics Review. He has been quoted in Arabian Business, the Financial Times, Flight International, The New York Times, Bloomberg and National Defense Magazine. In addition, Dan has made guest appearances on the online radio show Midrats and on The Media Line, as well as The Red Line Podcast, plus media appearances on France 24 and World Is One News (WION).

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