Leopard 2A5 MBT

British Army Refused German Tanks

In a new twist to the Challenger 2 story it turns out that the British Army came close to driving German tanks. The MOD was offered a second-hand fleet of Leopard 2 MBTs in 2015. The tanks would have given another 30 years of service, as opposed to the 20 years offered by the current Challenger 2 Life Extension Project.

The Leopard 2 is equipped with a more powerful main gun with a range of 5,000m (16,400ft), compared to the Challenger 2’s range of 3,000m (10,000ft). The Leopard 2 also uses a standard European round, whereas the Challenger 2 takes only BAE Systems ammunition.

German manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann was offering up to 400 tanks at a cost of 3.5 million each. The Challenger 2 Life Extension is expected to cost between 3.1 and 3.5 million per tank.

Reporting the story under the headline “Arrogance” Behind UK Refusal Of German Tank Deal, British Forces News implied that the decision to keep the Challenger 2 may have been more emotional than rational.

An unnamed defence source was quoted as saying:

They made that offer to us and we should have taken it but there was an arrogance: we invented the tank, we have to have a British tank. There was a worry about negative press headlines.

The story fails to mention that one of the contenders for the current Challenger 2 Life Extension Project is the German company Rheinmetall Land Systeme GmbH.

Sources: “Arrogance” Behind UK Refusal Of German Tank Deal | British Forces News; http://www.thetimes.co.uk/article/fear-of-bad-press-halted-german-tank-deal-l3gcxvh2x

Photo: Kampfpanzer Leopard 2A5 bei einer Lehr- und Gefechtsvorführung (Bundeswehr, 2010).

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