TechSwitzerland approves tank sale, with a condition attached

Switzerland approves tank sale, with a condition attached

Panzer 87 - Swiss variant of Leopard 2
Panzer 87 - Swiss variant of Leopard 2
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ed. MT

5:21 PM EST, November 22, 2023

The Swiss authorities have announced their agreement to resell 25 Leopard tanks to their manufacturer - the German company Rheinmetall. However, this approval came only after receiving assurances that the tanks would remain either in Germany or in a country that's a member of NATO or the European Union. Let's explore the specifics of these military machines.

In March, Germany requested to buy back some of its Leopards from the Swiss army. They assured that these vehicles would not be sent to Ukraine but would instead plug up resource gaps within Germany's armed forces, which came up after the Leopards were moved East.

Switzerland Accepts Germany's Offer to Buy Back Tanks

Switzerland's neutrality rules state that it cannot send weapons to a country in conflict. In the past, Switzerland has turned down requests from Germany, Spain, and Denmark to allow the export of Swiss-made ammunition, previously purchased by these countries, to Ukraine.

The fate of the 25 tanks sought by Rheinmetall was also uncertain for quite some time. However, the Swiss authorities began to soften their stance in May. Following several rounds of discussion and voting in the local parliament, permission has finally been granted to move the tanks out of storage.

The tanks involved in the transaction are Panzer 87s, a Swiss variation of the German Leopards, specifically the 2A4 variant. The Swiss added specific components to tailor the machines to their needs, such as an upgraded fire control system, an efficient fire-fighting system, and silencers to reduce engine noise.

The Panzer 87 dimensions are pretty similar to their German counterparts. With a weight of approximately 121,000 lbs and a length of close to 33 feet, these tanks can reach maximum speeds of 44 mph on roads and 35 mph off-road. They have a 2,000-horsepower engine, armaments including a 120mm caliber gun, two MG3 machine guns, and a smoke grenade launcher.

The Leopard 2A4 tanks are among those Ukraine received from Western support. They have proven effective in combat, significantly outperforming older Leopard 1A5s and Soviet-manufactured tanks used by both sides of the ongoing conflict.

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