The question of “which tank is best” depends entirely on the terrain and concept of employment one faces, but most observers agree that the Leopard 2 by Rheinmetall/KMW would finish at or near the top in almost all circumstances. It’s also one of the most widely-bought modern tanks, thanks to second hand deals at fire sale prices that have divested the German and Dutch armies of most of their vehicles. As DID has pointed out, those moves position the German firms as natural choices when the time comes to field a successor. Meanwhile, a secondary business of maintenance and modifications offers plenty of opportunities.
On Nov 30/07, The NIS news bulletin reported that the Dutch defence ministry was preparing sign a contract with Germany’s Rheinmetall Land Systems in late 2007 for 10 of its AEV-3 10 Kodiak engineering tanks. Switzerland’s RUAG pioneered the design with Rheinmetall, and launched the new Leopard-2 based “Geniepanzer/ Kodiak” platform as a cooperative venture in January 2007. They can perform combat engineering in difficult terrain, and have attachments that are especially useful for mine clearance operations.
The deal went through in January 2008, but the Netherlands wasn’t the only customer – the deal now involves Sweden as well, via separate but coordinated contracts.