Barents Observer
February 3, 2023

Norway buys 54 Leopards for protection of the North

After a long period of consideration, Norway has decided to buy new tanks. A total of 54 Leopard 2 tanks are to boost Norwegian defence capability. The first ones will be delivered in 2026.

The deal with manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann includes the possible acquisition of another 18 Leopards, Jonas Gahr Store said in a press conference on Friday.

“A new iron curtain has descended on Europe, a hard border,” Støre said, and underlined the importance of strengthening relations with Germany and the neighbouring Nordic countries.

…According to the Norwegian government leader, the role of Germany in European security affairs is getting increasingly important.

With the acquisition of the new tanks, Norway also strengthens land force cooperation with Finland and Sweden, two countries that also operate Leopards.

When Finland and Sweden becomes members of NATO, the alliance will have a powerful land force in the North….

Norway today has a total of 36 tanks, all of them Leopard 2 manufactured in the period 1983-1985. Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram recently confirmed that some of the aging vehicles might soon be sent to Ukraine.

Photograph: Forsvaret


Barents Observer
January 25, 2023

Norway joins Tanks Giving Day

Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram on Wednesday confirmed that Leopard 2A4 tanks will be sent to Ukraine.

“The Government supports the donation of tanks to Ukraine,” Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram told national broadcaster NRK on Wednesday.

“It will be backed by training of Ukrainian soldiers and financing.”


Norway has previously supported the country with training of soldiers, ammunition, artillery, rocket launchers and gear to soldiers….

The announcement comes the same day as Germany and US decided to send tanks.

January 26, 2023

Norway joins tank defense for Ukraine, as debate flies over tanks at home

The Norwegian government finally confirmed Wednesday evening that it would join NATO allies in sending some of its 36 Leopard 2A4 battle tanks to Ukraine….The new military contribution to Ukraine’s defense…has broad support in the Norwegian Parliament, but top politicians and military officials are quarreling over how or even whether Norway should invest billions in new tanks to replenish its own fleet.


Newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported just before Christmas that [Defense Chief Eirik] Kristoffersen, a highly respected general who’s been in battle himself, had actually advised the government against buying new tanks even though Parliament had approved their acquisition. DN commentator Sverre Strandhagen wrote earlier this month that Kristoffersen’s objections to major investment in new tanks (most likely new Leopards from NATO ally Germany, or competing K2 Black Panthers from South Korea) “shocked” many within the defense and political establishment: Requests for bids from tank producers for more than 70 new tanks and their related maintenance needs had already gone out and decisions on actual purchasing were about to be made.

…Debate continues, though, with some thinking only around 20-30 new tanks should be purchased just for Norway’s Telemark Battalion, which is most often sent out on NATO assignments.


It remains unclear how this week’s decision to send an as-yet-unspecified number of Norway’s Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine will affect the tank debate at home. [Defense Minister Bjørn Arild] Gram, who confirmed the new military support to Ukraine while appearing on state broadcaster NRK’s Dagsnytt 18 newscast Wednesday evening, stressed that the tanks “have become greatly desired” by Ukraine. “Norway supports how countries (including Great Britain, the US, Germany, Poland, Finland, Spain, Denmark and others) are donating tanks to Ukraine. Norway wants to go along.”


Now Norway has committed to not only contribute to Ukraine’s plea for 300 tanks but also, reported DN on Thursday, bring around 100 Ukrainian soldiers to Norway for training. Norway has helped train Ukrainian soldiers abroad, but this will be the first time training will be carried out on Norwegian soil….

…“These tanks are much better than the ones they (Ukrainians) have had before,” Lt Col Palle Ydstebø, an instructor at Norway’s military college (Krigsskolen), told NRK earlier this week. “They’ll be the last brick they need in their ground systems. They’ll be able to set up mobile brigades that can break through occupied areas and maneuver into the enemy’s territory.”