Finland’s defense ministry has authorized the Finnish defense forces to sign contracts for the upgrades of the A4 and A6 variants of the Leopard 2 tanks the country acquired from Germany and the Netherlands over the past years.
The upgrade will focus on enhancing the firing power of the main battle tanks by enabling them to employ high explosive (HE) fragmentation rounds and introducing a new fire control system.
“This will significantly improve the MBTs firepower, utilization opportunities and ability to provide support to Army troops,” Inspector of Infantry, Colonel Rainer Peltoniemi from the Army Command said.
The ballistics upgrade will also enable the use of multipurpose HE/FRAG rounds in training as of 2023, according to the defense ministry. Finland will work Sweden on the project, with the aim of ensuring commonality through the use of identical ammunition.
The contract for the upgrade will be signed with Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the original builder of the Leopard tank. The implementation will also rely on the local strategic partner Millog Ltd., which will be responsible for specialist consultation, installations and logistics.
According to the plan, the upgrade of the Leopard MBT fleet will start in early 2022 and is expected to run until 2026. The total value of the project 10 million euros, before taxes, and will be financed from the defense forces’ materiel procurement resources.
Finland is embarking on the upgrade project after receiving the final of 100 second-hand Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks from the Netherlands in 2019. The older 2A4 variants were first bought from Germany in 2003.