These "new" tanks will be based at the Parola Armored Brigade for training purposes and the cadre instructors will be the first to be familiarized with 20 training tanks. Conscript training with the Leopards will begin in 2005, at the latest. The Finns intend to have all of the reserve tank personnel trained on the Leopard by 2012 (which means the T-72s will have to stay in service until then).
However, most tanks in Finnish inventory remain in storage reserved for wartime use and only relatively small number are used to train more tank crews. The number of conscripts (of which Finland inducts 27,000 per year) in tank crew training at any given time is equal to the number of tanks available for training. During mobilization, the reservist tank crews would get most (or all, depending how many conscripts are sufficiently trained) of the tanks.
The Finns are building three high mobility and firepower rapid response units, so that they can repel a surprise strategic attack (although no one is mentioning which large southern neighbor these units are designed to fight). The Pori, Kainuu and Karjala Brigades should be ready by the year 2008. The Leopards would be assigned to the the Pori and Kainuu Rapid Response Brigades, while the Swedish CV 90/30 would equip the Karjala Brigade. - Adam Geibel
Slow-loading color images of Leopards in Finnish camoflauge, online at:
Finland's first Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tank arrived from Germany on April 29th. The remaining 123 would be delivered during the course of the summer, with the first delivery during the first week of May. The transfer will be complete by end of August.