Germany options 123 tanks Leopard 2A8 for €3 billion beyond the 18 units ordered

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

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 beginning to produce its effects. A few days ago, the Bundeswehr thus announced the order of 50 modernized Puma infantry fighting vehicles to complete its inventory and replace the Marders still in service.

The order of 60 CH-47F Chinook heavy helicopters from Boeing It also seems that the US State Department authorized the transaction for $8,5 billion.

In the field of battle tanks, Berlin had already announced its intention to order 18 tanks Leopard 2 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.

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

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

Puma IFV Battle Tanks MBT | Germany | Defense Analysis
The Bundeswehr will form a buffer of 89 Puma VCIs for export

Remember that at the beginning of May, the Bundeswehr had also announced the order of 50 Puma infantry fighting vehicles for €1,6 billion, accompanied by an option on 150 copies at a fixed price, of which 89 units have already been identified to form a commercial buffer to support exports.

Beyond support for 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 size its production tool on larger bases. , so as to respond to an upcoming influx of international requests anticipated by Berlin, with two strong 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 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 an alternative of choice for the replacement of the numerous Leopard 2A4 still in service around the world.

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

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

Indeed, when announcing the upcoming order of the first 18 Leopard 2A8, the German site also suggested that a new version of the tank, currently designated Leopard 2AX, would be presented within 2 or 3 years.

However, with the potential order of 141 Leopard 2A8, 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 industrial production of the armored vehicle.

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 by both the Bundeswehr and German industry, but rather towards 2055, so to give a production duration to the new Leopard as well as a sufficient addressable market for this new program.

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