Although the Norwegian Army recommended the South Korean K2NO MBT, Norwegian decision-makers chose Leopard 2A7 tanks
In November 2020, Frank Bakke-Jensen, the Norwegian Defence Minister at the time, announced that the Norwegian Army will renew the tanks in its inventory by 2025. The German-made Leopard 2A7NO and South Korean-made K2NO Black Panther tanks, which were the finalists to become the new main battle tank of the Norwegian Army, were brought to Norway for winter tests.
After the tests, the Norwegian Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram, Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre and Minister of Finance Trygve Slagsvold Vedum decided on the supply of Leopard 2A7NO tanks. 54 Leopard 2A7NOs are going to be purchased from Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). With the option to supply 18 tanks, the total cost of the programme will reach 20 billion NOK or 1.87 billion USD.
In this context, one and a half months have passed since the announcement of the new tank selection. According to Tuno, the purchase decision was made despite the recommendation of the Defence Material Agency to purchase K2 Black Panther-type tanks from Hyundai Rotem in South Korea. According to the information received, both tanks displayed quite similar performances, except that the German tank was about 10 tonnes heavier thus better armored than the Korean tank. On the other hand, the South Korean Hyundai Rotem’s tank is more affordable.
Based on recent negotiations, delivery time, cost and an overall evaluation of the tanks’ performance, Norwegian Defence Material recommended Hyundai Rotem’s tank to the Norwegian Armed Forces in a letter sent on 22 November 2022. On 10 January 2023, an updated recommendation reaching the same conclusion was sent to decision-makers. This recommendation letter states that Hyundai Rotem’s alternative offer is significantly lower than KMW’s and therefore corroborates its recommendation.