Spain Finalizes Buy of 108 Leopard 2A4 Tanks
An Espanol-only release from the Spanish government that was translated by defense-aerospace.com appears to indicate that Germany will transfer full ownership of 108 Leopard 2A4 tanks to Spain. Contract issues have apparently been pending since 1995 re: the transfer of the 108 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks, which now serve with Spanish Army units.
DID has done additional research and discovered that the saga of these tanks is wrapped up in a broader buy. It also connects to some important trends in the German army that are helping to drive The Leopard 2’s proliferation across the European defense stage.
In 1998, the Spanish government agreed to buy 219 top of the line Leopard 2 tanks, 16 recovery tanks (CREC) and 4 training vehicles. The Leopard 2A6E is a new-built derivative of the most advanced tank in the Leopard line (Leopard 2A6), with additional armor. They choose General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas (GDSBS) as the main contractor.
The program, with a budget of EUR 1.94 billion, also included integrated logistical support, training courses for crew instructors and maintenance engineers and driving, tower, maintenance, aiming and shooting simulators. The first 30 Leopard 2A6E are being built by KMW in Germany, with the rest will be license-built in Spain by GDSBS. Deliveries should complete in 2008.
The program was developed within the frame of collaboration decided in 1995 between the Ministries of Defense of Spain and Germany, in which the Bundeswehr ceded the use of 108 Leopard 2A4s to the Spanish Army for five years. This cession was later extended up to 2016 and included ownership provisions. The only question remaining was the terms.
A total price of EUR 16.9 million has now been agreed for the 108 tanks, to be paid by June 2016 with no interest charges. When payment is completed, full ownership of the tanks will be transferred to Spain with no additional cost. Monies paid by Spain since 2001 on this account will be deducted from the total price, and the remaining balance of EUR 15.1 million will be paid between 2005 and 2016.
“How dramatic the [German] Army’s transformation really is can be seen in Structure 2010, to be adopted as of 2007. The service will reduce its fleet of main battle tanks from 2,528 to 350, infantry fighting vehicles from 2,077 to 410, artillery pieces from 1,055 to 120 and helicopters from 530 to 240…”
These figures help to explain how the Leopard 2 has become the modern-day standard European and Scandinavian tank via second-hand purchases and upgrades. Not to mention the remarkably inexpensive terms on which countries like Greece and Spain are acquiring them. While Germany will not sell them to just anybody (it refused Turkey, for instance), the fire-sale process for those countries that are on the approved list make serious consideration of new-built Western 6th generation tanks like the American M1 Abrams, British Challenger, or French LeClerc virtually impossible. Even far-inferior options like the T-72 make little sense in this context.
With armored vehicle production the next target of consolidation for European bureaucrats, the German government’s fire sale of Krauss-Maffei Wegman’s Leopard 2s may do much more than just bring in revenues and send some refurbishment work KMW’s way. Given the virtual European standardization on the Leopard 2 tank, with more likely to come, Germany’s near-giveaways may have also put KMW in the driver’s seat.