MELBOURNE, Australia ― Singapore is denying it took delivery of Leopard 2A7 main battle tanks from Germany, contradicting a report by a Swedish nongovernmental organization.
A spokesperson from Singapore’s Ministry of Defence told Defense News that “no other variants of the Leopard has been acquired” since the country ordered Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany in 2006.
The spokesperson was responding to queries following the publication of the annual arms transfer database by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which says Singapore received 12 Leopard 2A7 tanks from Germany between 2016 and 2017.
Two separate sources close to Singapore’s Leopard 2 program have also told Defense News they are unaware of Singapore adding the Leopard 2A7 into its inventory, with one citing the additional logistics burden of operating different subsystems on the Leopard 2A7 from its existing fleet of tanks.
Despite denying the acquisition of the Leopard 2A7, it does look like Singapore is ordering additional Leopard 2 tanks, with the German government’s annual military equipment export report stating that a further seven was delivered to Singapore in 2016. German government reports previously indicated that export licences for $402.6 million worth of “tanks, armoured bridgelayers, armoured engineering vehicles, trucks” and associated parts were granted to Singapore in 2014, although no specifics were mentioned.
Singapore initially ordered a total of 96 Leopard 2 tanks drawn from surplus German stocks in 2004, with 66 put into service and the remaining 30 reportedly gazetted for spares.
Further orders have been made prior to the 2016 deliveries, with Germany declaring the export of 161 Leopard 2 tanks to Singapore between 2007 and 2012 in its reports to the United Nations Register of Conventional Arms database. Singapore declared the receipt of 156 Leopard 2A4s during the same period.
This would bring Singapore’s total to at least 163 tanks. The country also operates the Kodiak armored engineering vehicle, Buffel armored recovery vehicle and armored bridgelayers based on the Leopard 2 chassis.
The Leopard 2A4s are being progressively upgraded to the Leopard 2SG standard by ST Engineering in conjunction with Singapore’s Defence Science and Technology Agency. The upgrade program includes the addition of IBD Deisenroth Engineering armor kits; a new fire-control system and auxiliary power unit; a battlefield management system; and Elbit Systems’ Commander Open Architecture Panoramic Sight, which is manufactured under license in Singapore.
Mike Yeo is the Asia correspondent for Defense News. He wrote his first defense-related magazine article in 1998 before pursuing an aerospace engineering degree at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia. Following a stint in engineering, he became a freelance defense reporter in 2013 and has written for several media outlets.