Swiss Sell Leopard 2s Back to Rheinmetall
Switzerland became a Leopard 2 tank customer under Armament Program 84, with 380 Leopard 2A4 variants delivered as “Pz 87s” from 1987-1993. The Swiss military has been drawing down sharply over the last decade and a half, with many tanks mothballed into storage. With plans for a smaller defense force firmly set, some of those tanks are being converted or sold.
The Swiss recently converted 12 of their tanks to AEV-3 Kodiak/Geniepanzer Armored Engineering Vehicles, as a partnership between Rheinmetall and the Swiss firm RUAG. The type has received export orders, but Leopard 2 tanks aren’t being manufactured any more. Some countries can use stocks of existing Leopard 2 tanks for conversion, but that won’t be true for every customer. Fortunately for the partnership, in November 2010, aramsuisse announced the sale of another 42 tanks to Rheinmetall, for conversion to “protected special vehicles.” The tanks they’re receiving are being delivered without weapons or communications system, which wouldn’t be useful to Rheinmetall anyway. That equipment will be kept by the Swiss armed forces, as spares. Tank deliveries will begin before the end of 2010, per undisclosed sale terms. Swiss government.