Germany places an option on 123 Leopard 2A8 tanks for €3 billion beyond the 18 units ordered


In order to support future exports, the Bundeswehr has placed an option on 123 Leopard 2A8 tanks in addition to the 18 already ordered, which will not go without posing certain threats to the Franco-German MGCS tank program. new generation.

It will have taken time, but the €100 billion envelope announced by Olaf Scholz in February 2022 to modernize and rebuild the German armies is starting to have its effects. A few days ago, the Bundeswehr announced the order for 50 modernized Puma infantry fighting vehicles to complete its inventory and replace the Marders still in service.

L'ordine per 60 CH-47F Chinook heavy helicopters from Boeing also appears to be in progress even though the US State Department has authorized the transaction for $8.5 billion.

In the field of combat tanks, Berlin had already announced its intention to order 18 Leopard 2 tanks of the new A8 version to replace the armored vehicles sent to Ukraine. But it seems, as with the Puma, that this order is only a first step in the upcoming reconstruction of the Bundeswehr.

Anzi, according to the German site Business Insider , the German Army also intends to add to its first order of 18 tanks for €525 million , an option on 123 additional examples for a total amount of €3 billion.

According to the site, all these armored vehicles will be A8 standard, and if they are intended for the Bundeswehr at first glance, they could also serve as a commercial buffer with a fixed envelope for possible future exports. The same source indicates in this respect that the Netherlands would be interested in this approach.

Puma IFV
The Bundeswehr will form a buffer of 89 Puma IFVs intended for export

Remember that at the beginning of May, the Bundeswehr also announced the order for 50 Puma infantry fighting vehicles for €1.6 billion , accompanied by an option on 150 examples at a fixed price, of which 89 units are already available. now identified to form a trade buffer to support exports.

Beyond supporting the German defense industry, this approach, comparable to that applied by the United States with Foreign Military Sales or FMS, will also allow Krauss-Maffei Wegmann to scale its production tool on larger bases. , so as to respond to a future influx of international requests anticipated by Berlin, with two weighty arguments: short deadlines and controlled prices with a standard configuration identical to that of the Bundeswehr.

Obviously, the German authorities seem to want to extend this industrial and commercial strategy beyond just the Puma, and in particular to support the new Leopard 2A8 from KMW on the international and European scene.

This announcement also sounds like the de facto confirmation of the postponement of the MGCS program beyond 2045, the Bundeswehr obviously having a short-term heavy tank model likely to meet its expectations in the years to come, especially that it could probably represent a choice alternative for replacing the numerous Leopard 2A4s still in service around the world.

Therefore, the market addressable by the future MGCS program will be significantly affected by the arrival of the A8, and perhaps a future AX version.

The Bundeswehr has already ordered 18 Leopard 2A8 tanks
Berlin is applying an equipment strategy to scale industrial facilities in the field of heavy armored vehicles in order to respond to the rise in international and European demands

Indeed, when announcing the upcoming order for the first 18 Leopard 2A8s, the German site also suggested that a new version of the tank, currently designated Leopard 2AX, would be presented by 2 or 3 years.

However, with the potential order of 141 Leopard 2A8s, the Bundeswehr reserves the possibility of supplementing its theoretical inventory of 365 heavy tanks, with a significant order of Leopard 2AX to come by the end of the decade, so as to launch the industrial production of armored vehicles.

If this scenario, now far from improbable, were to take shape, it would in fact imply a postponement of the MGCS program well beyond 2045 as announced both by the Bundeswehr and by German industry, but rather towards 2055, so to give a production period to the new Leopard as well as a sufficient addressable market for this new program.

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