Leopard Roll-out Marks End of Successful Bilateral Partnership

Article / March 13, 2015

Canada first deployed the Leopard 1 Main Battle Tank to Afghanistan in the fall of 2006. While it performed well on operations, it quickly became apparent that the extreme conditions of Afghanistan were a challenge to this 30-year-old fleet.

As a result, in April 2007, the Tank Replacement Project was established to acquire a modern, heavily protected, mobile, direct-fire support capability for the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF). In order to address the urgent, short-term requirement for modern battle tanks for the Afghanistan mission, Canada negotiated a loan of 20 Leopard 2 A6M Main Battle Tanks and 2 Armoured Recovery Vehicles from the German Government.

Successful Bilateral Partnership

In 2009, the German Army agreed to accept 20 Leopard 2 A6 tanks that Canada had purchased from the Netherlands, allowing Canada to continue to use the German tanks in-theatre. Consequently, Canada awarded a contract to Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) to convert the Leopard 2 A6 tanks to the German A6M standard; the German Army then contracted with KMW to simultaneously upgrade these same tanks from the A6M variant to their new A7 standard.

“This is another success story resulting from the cooperation between Canadian and German governments, and our common partner Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. The tanks borrowed from Germany helped to save the lives of Canadian soldiers right up until the end of Canada’s engagement in Afghanistan,” said Marie Gervais-Vidricaire, Canadian Ambassador to the Federal Republic of Germany.

During a recent ceremony in Munich, the Government of Canada officially turned over the 20th (now upgraded) Leopard 2 A7 to the German Army. The German Army and KMW took the opportunity to acknowledge Canada’s crucial role in the success of this bilateral partnership. This collaboration made it possible for Canada to keep the invaluable Leopard 2 A6M battle tanks in service until the end of the combat mission in Afghanistan.

“I extend my gratitude and appreciation to all of our German partners – Germany’s Army, the Bundeswehr’s procurement agency, and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann – for their commitment and unwavering support to the Canadian tank program,” Director General Land Equipment Programme Management, Brigadier-General Scott Kennedy.

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