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Leopard contracts placed

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SATURDAY 31 MAY. 1975 NO. 526/75


(Statement by the Minister for Defence, the Hon . L.H. Barnard, MP) .

Contracts for the purchase of 53 Leopard tanks (including 11 specially fitted for bridge laying and recovery

operations) from the German manufacturers Krauss Maffei and MaK have been signed in London, the Minister for Defence,

Mr Barnard, said today.

The completion of the contracts follows four months

of intensive negotiations with the manufacturers and with the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.

The contracts contain provisions for early delivery of the tanks, which'Mr Barnard negotiated personally in Germany

in August 1974, logistic support, Australian industry participation and options on additional tank requirements.

The first deliveries of the tank are to be made in Australia

during the second half of 1976 with the deliveries of all

tanks completed in 1977.

Australian industrial participation in the project

is expected to be a mix of spares ^Manufacture and offset, exercising various areas of Australian industry. Some offset proposals are already under consideration in Australia following

the return of an Australian Tank Mission from Germany.

A special feature of the tank being purchased by

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Australia is the fitment of. an advanced fire control system

to a new and improved, welded turret. This system, manufactured in Belgium, is in the forefront of tank fire control system

technology. .

The Leopard tank is widely used in the NATO countries and is manufactured,in both the Federal Republic of Germany and Italy. Its acquisition will provide the Australian Army with a modern and efficient equipment and enable the final

phasing out of the aged Centurions from 1977 onwards.

. The present purchase of 53 tanks is a first order. Further consideration.will be given by the Government to a

follow-on buy during the next three■to six months.

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