Procurement: October 1, 2002

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German and Finnish defense ministries signed an agreement on the purchase of 124 Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks on 17 September to be delivered in 2003 and 2004, but crew training would start in Finland this year. The new tanks are intended to replace Finland's aging T-72s and remain in service until 2025-2030, but their life could be further extended through upgrades. The dirt-cheap cost breakdown is roughly $1 million per tank, but includes spare parts, simulators and training for Finnish Defense Forces cadre, as well as their transportation from Germany to Finland. 

But what does upgrading a Tank Brigade mean, on a larger scale? While good for NATO, this could be viewed as irksome by Russia's hardliners. For progressives on both sides of the border, there are arguments that Finland's entry into NATO will actually keep the door open for Russia's integration into Western institutions. - Adam Geibel 


 


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