OSLO, Feb 3 (Reuters) – Norway will order 54 new German-made Leopard 2 tanks for its army from the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Group, and will get an option to buy a further 18 tanks at a later time, the government said on Friday.
“We ensure that we have the same tanks as our Nordic neighbours and many key NATO allies,” Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Stoere told a news conference.
“This further strengthens our relationship with Germany,” he added.
The Nordic NATO member, which shares a 196 km (122 miles)Arctic border with Russia, had planned to choose either German-made Leopard 2 A7 tanks or the rival Korean-produced K2 Black Panther, made by Hyundai Rotem (064350.KS).
Norway had originally planned to acquire 72 tanks, but in recent months discussed a scaled-down purchase after the country’s chief of defence recommended spending more funds on helicopters, drones and long-range artillery.