Greece Signs Contracts for 183 Leopard 2s, 150 Leopard 1s
EDefense Online reports that Greek government representatives in Berlin signed a contract for the purchase of 333 used tanks: 183 Leopard 2A4s and 150 Leopard 1A5 main battle tanks from Bundeswehr reserves. As DID noted on July 20, the overall value of this transaction was estimated at EUR 270 million (USD $324 Million), but no final figures were given in the Krauss-Maffei Wegman (KMW) release.
This will raise the number of Leopard 1 tanks in Greek service to almost 350, and add the modern Leopard 2A4 tank to Greece’s inventory. Greece’s rival Turkey, in contrast, has about 330 Leopard 1 tanks of its own in service…
Turkey’s main armored force consists of about 950 older M-60 tanks, 170 of which are being modernized and upgraded to M-60 Sabra status under a $670 million 2002 contract with TAAS-Israel Industries. Both Greece and Turkey also have large numbers of 1950s era M-48 tanks, with Turkey holding significant numerical superiority.
The deal between the German and Greek governments involves a substantial work package for KMW in Munich, Germany. The Leopard tanks’ original manufacturer will have a share of around $185 million in this governmental transaction for repair and technical modification of the Leopard 2A4 MBTs and for supply of special tools. In addition, KMW will provide repair capabilities for Leopard 2A4 MBTs in Greece from 2006 on.
Finally, in a related development, Defense expert Verena Wohlleben of Germany’s ruling Social Democratic Party (SPD) has now said that surplus Leopard 2 tanks should be exportable to Turkey as well if a request is made. Germany has previously rebuffed a 1999 Turkish request to buy 1,000 Leopard 2 tanks for about EUR 7 billion (USD $8.6 billion), under pressure from members of the Green Party who raised concerns about the treatment of Turkey’s Kurdish minority and cited German arms export laws that prevent sales to countries in which the arms “could increase tensions or conflicts.”
Sept 14/06: Rheinmetall Defence Electronics of Bremen, Germany announces a “multi-million euro” contract with the Hellenic Army, related to its Leopard 2 purchase. The contract covers Iniochos command and information displays, as well as an order for diagnostic testing equipment and systems. The diagnostic systems cover the tank’s laser rangefinder and thermal imaging devices as well as a complete mobile testing kit for electronic, optical and optronic components. Rheinmetall will also supply additional technology for the existing depot testing facility at Velestino, Greece; the systems can be used to test Greece’s M-48 and Leopard 1 tanks, as well as the newly acquired Leopard 2s.
November 2005: Turkey would eventually order 298 Leopard 2s in November 2005.