Armor: Cheap Upgrades


February 8, 2008: Portugal is buying another 37 Leopard 2A6 tanks from the Netherlands. Two years ago, Portugal bought 36 Leopard 2s, in a program to begin replacing its hundred U.S. M60 tanks (a 1960s design.) Eight will be delivered this year, and the rest in 2009. The German Leopard 2 tank continues to be a hot item in the second hand market. Previously, Austria bought 115, Canada 100 and Norway 52 from the Netherlands. Elsewhere, Sweden bought 160, Singapore 96, Denmark 52, Finland 124, Poland 128, Greece 183, Turkey 298, Chile 100 and Spain 108 from Germany. Originally, West Germany bought 2,125 new Leopard 2 tanks, the Netherlands 445, Switzerland 370, Sweden 120, Spain 219 and Greece 170.

The 55 ton Leopard 2A is a contemporary of the American M1, but without the upgraded armor. Most 2A models have a stabilizer (for firing on the move) and a thermal imager (for seeing through night, mist and sand storms.) Germany has been selling refurbed 2A4s since the 1990s (after the Cold War ended and the German army was much reduced in size.) This enabled many nations to inexpensively upgrade their much older tanks.


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