“Tank battles” and a “parade” of armored vehicles in Athens
Some of the most modern battle tanks and armored vehicles from the European and American defence industry will be on display next week in Athens, in the context of the international defence exhibition DEFEA 2023.
Tanks and armored vehicles have returned to the center of attention due to the extensive use in the battlefields of Ukraine, but also after the announcement of Greece’s interest in upgrading part of its armored forces. Just a few months ago, the modernization of the Leopard 2A4 entered the scope of the Greek Government, following proposals by the Supreme Military Council and the Hellenic Army General Staff. DEFEA visitors will have the opportunity to learn about developments and see up close the formidable Leopard 2A4 battle tank from Krauss Maffei Wegmann. Experts will also inform about the full range of modernization that the manufacturing company has developed. Additionally, the Leopard will be presented with the additional external active and passive armor developed by the Greek company EODH.
There is also, strong Greek interest in the AAV7A1 amphibious armored vehicles of BAE Systems, which will also be present at DEFEA 23. Athens is interested in acquiring 76 vehicles to cover the needs of the 32nd Marine Brigade and partially replace the outdated LCVP. The Greek request has received the green light from the State Department and the Letter of Acceptance (LoA) is expected in order to start the negotiation process with the US government.
There is also particular interest in the CV90 Infantry Fighting Vehicle from BAE Systems, which will be presented in the MkIV version incorporating all the innovative technologies developed by the company. The 32-tonne IFV, built for the Swedish Armed Forces, is expected to draw attention as one of the most complete systems of its kind. The category of IFV’s is highly regarded, and of course, the KF41 Lynx from Rheinmetall Landsysteme cannot be absent from DEFEA. Lynx is already in Athens’ scope, as part of an agreement with Germany that will include the establishment of a production line in Greece.
“Philoctetes”, Nexter’s VBCI armored vehicle, will also be in Athens. Equiped with a T40 battle turret with a 40mm gun, an Akeron-MP anti-tank missile launcher from MBDA, as well as a remote-controlled weapon station with a 12.7mm machine gun, the VBCI has been presented to the Hellenic Army General Staff, while NEXTER and the Hellenic Defence Systems have signed a strategic cooperation agreement for the development of an IFV, which will cover the needs of the Greek Army.
The “Hoplite” wheeled armored vehicle will be presented in an anti-tank version armed with a 20mm gun and guided missile launchers. The manufacturer of the “Hoplite”, EODH, will also present a prototype turret for the “Leonidas” tracked vehicles that the Greek Army and the Cypriot National Guard possess.
Among the wheeled vehicles, the German ENOK (Light Armored Patrol Vehicle) by ACS Armored Car Systems stands out, as well as the larger ENOK 9.5 version and its airborne version, ENOK AB. The ENOK is an articulated tactical vehicle serving in the German Armed Forces and is based on the Mercedes G-Class chassis. One of the most interesting configurations of the vehicle is the ENOK AB Tankhunter, which is equipped with SPIKE guided missiles. Another interesting participant is the Polaris Special Operations vehicle by North Aegean Slops, as well as the special purpose vehicles by AADS, IVECO, and EDGE with the upgraded LRSOV (Long Range Special Operations Vehicle).
Attention will also be drawn to the wheeled self-propelled howitzer Zuzana 2 of the Slovakian Konstrukta Defense with a caliber of 155 millimeters, the anti-aircraft OERLIKON Twin Gun GDF009, as well as the ZU-23 of WB Electronics.