Armed Forces

Dutch Leopard MBT’s for Sale

  • Fot.:st. szer. Adrian Jórski

Dutch authorities are going to sell the remaining 15 Leopard 2 tanks which remain at disposal of the Ministry of Defence. According to the information provided to by the spokesperson of the Dutch MoD, rumours regarding the attempts aiming at recovering the capabilities within the scope of using the Main Battle Tanks have turned out to be untrue.

In mid-January, the website reported that the Dutch Army is considering reconstruction of their capabilities within the scope of using the Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks, remaining in Holland, after 100 such tanks have been sold to Finland. In a response to our question, regarding these tanks, the spokesperson for the Dutch MoD has stated that the rumours regarding the recovery of the capabilities of the MBT’s are untrue:

In answer to your question whether the reports of the main battle tank capability rebuilding prospects are true? I can answer that they are NOT true. Currently, the 15 remaining tanks of the Ministry of Defence are still for sale.

Spokesperson of the Dutch Ministry of Defence, Lisa Hartog.

Due to the budgetary cuts, the Dutch have decided to completely get rid of the Main Battle Tanks and to withdraw this type of equipment from active service. Last firing range training involving the Dutch Leopards 2A6 took place back in 2011. Last year an agreement has been signed, according to which 100 Leopards 2A6 were to be delivered to Finland.  
In the light of the Ukrainian crisis, rumours surfaced, according to which the joint Dutch-German armoured unit could be formed. The Dutch authorities still have not decided to recover the capabilities of the Army within the scope of using the MBT’s, which means the remaining 15 vehicles are still up for sale.

During the Cold War Holland has acquired, in total, 445 Leopard 2 tanks. Some vehicles of this type have been modernized to the A5 and A6 variants. During the period of use, purchases of modern DM-63 sabot rounds have also been realized. Dutch Leopards were being gradually sold, e.g. to Norway or Canada. After the last tanks have been withdrawn from the active service, at the beginning of last year, an agreement has been made, according to which 100 examples were to be sold to Finland. 

The process aimed at withdrawal of the Dutch Main Battle Tanks shows the limitations of the conventional warfare capabilities in Europe, which may be observed e.g. due to the budgetary cuts. Back in the 1990’s the Dutch Army had as many as 445 Leopard 2 and 97 Leopard 1 tanks at their disposal [1]. The sole number of the 3rd Generation Tanks, which had been acquired (and then withdrawn from the active service) by the Netherlands is higher than the number of the Main Battle Tanks used within the armoured units of France and Germany, in line with the current assumptions.

[1] D. Użycki, T. Begier, S. Sobala, Współczesne gąsienicowe wozy bojowe, [Modern Track Driven Armoured Vehicles] Lampart Publishing House, Warsaw 1996