The armored vehicles are part of Switzerland’s “strategic reserve,” MPs have argued
FILE PHOTO: A Swiss Army’s Leopard 2 battle tank © AFP / Fabrice Coffrini
The Swiss parliament’s Upper House Security Committee has said German-made Leopard tanks form an essential part of the nation’s military reserves and should not be returned.
Switzerland uses Leopard 87 tanks, which are its own version of the German-made Leopard 2. Ninety-six of the heavy armor pieces have been retired and are currently stored at depots. Most of the tanks were produced in Switzerland under a German license, but the first batch of 35 was produced in Germany in 1987.
Some Swiss MPs had suggested handing 30 of the retired tanks back to Germany, just a week after Berlin announced its decision to send 14 Leopard 2 tanks from its own stocks to Kiev, to aid in the conflict against Russia.
On Friday, the majority of the Security Committee said that the country’s decommissioned tanks “represent a strategic reserve and must be preserved,” rather than sent back to their manufacturer. The tanks could still be used to fully equip Swiss battalions or as a source of spare parts for the current tank fleet, the committee said in a statement.