The federal government has granted an export license for Leopard 1 main battle tanks to Ukraine. This was confirmed by government spokesman Steffen Hebestreit on Friday in Berlin, without giving any further details. So far, the federal government had only announced the delivery of the more modern Leopard 2 tanks from Bundeswehr stocks to Ukraine, which was attacked by Russia.
According to a report in the "Süddeutsche Zeitung", Rheinmetall and Flensburger Fahrzeugbau Gesellschaft (FFG) want to prepare dozens of Leopard 1 tanks for export to the Ukraine. According to the report, however, there have been problems with the procurement of ammunition so far.
The Leopard 1 is the first main battle tank built for the German Army after World War II. It was produced between the mid 60's and mid 80's. The 14 Leopard 2 tanks promised last week are significantly more modern.
Hebestreit did not want to comment further on the delivery of the Leopard 1 from industrial stocks. "I don't want to say much more at the moment, that will become more concrete in the next few days and weeks."
Norway buys 54 Leopard 2 tanks
Meanwhile, NATO member Norway is buying 54 Leopard 2 tanks from Germany. The Norwegian government has decided to procure the main battle tanks from the German armaments company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, as Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre announced on Friday at the Rena military base around 150 kilometers north of Oslo. There is also an option to purchase 18 more such tanks.
Støre emphasized the close and good relationship between his country and Germany. The Federal Republic is playing an increasingly important security policy role in Europe. Støre said he informed Chancellor Olaf Scholz about the purchase in the morning.
The first of the new Leopard tanks are expected to be delivered in 2026, Defense Minister Bjørn Arild Gram said. According to government information, the purchase is within a budget set by Parliament of 19.7 billion Norwegian kroner (around 1.8 billion euros). This framework therefore covers more than the actual purchase of the tanks. The negotiated purchase price was kept secret.
The Norwegian parliament had approved the procurement of new main battle tanks in 2021. The Scandinavian non-EU country then considered several different tank models. According to Norwegian media reports, the decision ultimately fell between the Leopard 2A7 and the South Korean Hyundai Rotem K2 Black Panther.
Norway currently has 36 older Type 2A4 Leopard tanks. Støre's government has announced that it will deliver some of them to Ukraine - how many is still unclear.