How Much a Leopard 1 Cost Before the russian Invasion of Ukraine: Tank Worth a Used Automobile

Leopard 1 / Open source illustrative photo
Leopard 1 / Open source illustrative photo

It turned out Leopard 1A5 in 2019 was so cheap you could buy a used car or a smartphone with the same money

Midst the ongoing argument between Global Logistics from Germany and RUAG from Sweden, the price for a Leopard 1 main battle tank was revealed, although the figure was relevant in 2019. Now the situation is totally different since the russian federation launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine and subsequent weapon deficit on the world market.

Swiss newspaper Tages Anzeiger found out that in 2019, Global Logistics bought 25 Leopard 1A5 tanks for CHF 12,500 which was roughly the same 12,500 in dollars back in the day. That is $500 per combat vehicle, almost the price of a smartphone or a second-hand car.

Read more: ​It Became Known Who Bought Belgian Leopard 1 Tanks From OIP Land Systems
Leopard 1 tanks in storage at RUAG in Italy
Leopard 1 tanks in storage at RUAG in Italy / Photo credit: Tages Anzeiger

The deal was signed, as confirmed by RUAG, but the German company left the bought vehicles in the storage facility in Italy. Now Global Logistics is trying to retrieve them but the Swiss government is in the way, demanding an investigation into whether the contract was licensed and whether this license should be re-issued now.

The latter has a chance to get a no-go because of Switzerland's policy of neutrality and fears of those tanks ending up in Ukraine. As a reminder, so far all Ukraine's efforts to convince the Swiss government to pass the bill allowing the re-export of weapons have not succeeded yet.

RUAG, in turn, might be interested in revising the terms of the contract because the price for Leopard 1 skyrocketed since 2019. For example, Belgian OIP Land Systems initially wanted EUR 500,000 per tank, then the company's CEO stated the real price for a used Leopard 1A5 was actually a million euros per unit.

Ultimately, Belgian tanks were bought by Rheinmetall, though the final cost of the deal was not disclosed. Moreover, out of 50 vehicles sold, 20 of them turned out to be in such a poor condition they will be disassembled for spare parts.

In the nowadays realities, Leopard 1A5 can no longer cost $500 a unit because the same would be the payment if all these 42 tons of combat power were scrapped, including the ferrous metals in it.

Even if some of those old tanks are no longer operational as weapons, they could still be used as a source of parts for repairs. This is no less important than working tanks since Ukraine can receive up to 200 Leopard 1s as the result of the "tank coalition" established by the country's allies. It will effectively make Leopard 1 the main type of tank operated in Europe.

Read more: ​Oleksii Reznikov: Ukraine Receives Dozens of Leopard Tanks from Germany