German Leopard 2 tank beats Abrams and Black Panther in Lithuania

By Defence Industry Europe

The Lithuanian Minister of Defence Arvydas Anušauskas has announced that a letter of intent will be signed with the German defence industry for the acquisition of Leopard 2 main battle tanks (most likely Leopard 2A8) for the Lithuanian Armed Forces later this week.

Official details about the proposed transaction have not been disclosed by the Lithuanian authorities. However, media reports suggest that the purchase could involve 54 tanks, with an estimated cost of up to 2 billion EUR. If realized, this would become the largest defence procurement in Lithuania’s history, covering not only the tanks but also ammunition, logistics support, and other resources.

Securing funding for such an extensive program, relative to Lithuania’s budget, will be a crucial consideration. The total defence spending of the Lithuanian Ministry of National Defence is projected to reach 1.7 billion USD in 2023.



For comparison, Norway paid USD 1.87 billion for 54 Leopard 2A8 tanks, slightly more than the projected Lithuanian cost. It should be noted that back in March, Lithuanian authorities announced plans to form a division within the land forces, including the establishment of a tank battalion, with the intention of procuring around 50 tanks and approximately 10 accompanying vehicles (such as engineering bridgelayers, technical support vehicles, and mine-clearing tanks).

The Lithuanian Minister of Defence explained that the German-made Leopard 2 tank had proven superior to other tanks currently available on the market. The alternatives considered by Vilnius included the American Abrams and the South Korean K2 Black Panther.

“The Lithuanian Armed Forces looked into German Leopard, American Abrams, and Korean Black Panther tanks,” posted the Lithuanian Minister of Defence on Facebook. “The Leopard meets the operational requirements set by the Lithuanian Defence Staff best, while the US and South Korean tanks did not meet all or part of the requirements.”

The analysis and evaluation of the proposals submitted by the tank manufacturers took approximately six months, according to Minister Anušauskas.

“The main evaluation criteria the decision was based on were the price and maintenance costs, the operational environment, the mobility, protection, adaptability, firepower, and interoperability. When conducting this analysis, the Lithuanian Armed Forces also assessed all potential threats and the required capabilities to counter those threats,” Anušauskas said.



He further noted that various Leopard tanks are currently in use by 23 countries worldwide, with 14 of them being NATO members.

Although the delivery times for all the tanks being considered are similar, ranging from four to six years, both the Leopard and Abrams are deemed easier and faster to acquire compared to the other options. While the two tanks are similar in price, the Leopard tanks offer significantly lower maintenance costs.

The fact that the Lithuanian army already employs German weapon systems further strengthens the case for the Leopard tanks, as they would be highly compatible with the country’s existing equipment.



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