Improved Leopards for German-Dutch Armored Battalion
(Source: Dutch Ministry of Defense; issued April 12, 2018)
A German and a Dutch soldier with 'the key' of the first Leopard 2A6MA2 battle tank. (NL MoD photo)
Manufacturer Kraus Maffei Wegmann yesterday handed over the first 3 modified 'German-Dutch' Leopard battle tanks to the German army. The Leopard 2A6MA2 has a Dutch communication and information system. The tank can thus seamlessly communicate digitally with Dutch units.

Germany and the Netherlands took unusual international steps for the adjustment. National industrial interests were set aside and technological knowledge and experience shared.

"In operations high in the spectrum of force and as part of credible deterrence, the tank is indispensable," says Commander Landing Forces Lieutenant General Leo Beulen. "The Leopard offers a unique combination of firepower, protection, terrain and can be used in all weather conditions. And now the tank is also fully up-to-date digitally. "

Getting to know each other

The Netherlands opted for cooperation in order to have this heavy weapon system again. Since 2015 German and Dutch soldiers have formed 414 Tank Battalion under the command of 43 Mechanized Brigade from Havelte. This Dutch brigade in turn falls under the German 1 Panzer division. Both nationalities learn each other's methods, culture and language.

With the Dutch battlefield management system, the German-Dutch 414 Tank Battalion can fully participate in the Dutch brigade. The tanks now also have the Blue Force Tracking System with which they can distinguish their own troops. This considerably reduces the risk of fire on their own troops. 414 Tank battalion will get 17 modified battle tanks before July 2018. A number that grows to 40 pieces.

The modified tanks will immediately participate in the German-Dutch contribution to the NATO flash force in 2019. This will be triggered by threats to NATO territory.

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