Armor: Buffel Comes Ashore In Singapore


May 31, 2012:  Singapore has received its second batch of five Buffel ARVs (Armor Recovery Vehicle) from Germany. These ARVs are needed to service 132 Leopard 2 tanks. The Buffel is basically a Leopard 2 without a turret, a larger crew compartment, a crane, a dozer blade, and the ability to tow vehicles weighing up to 62 tons.

Singapore purchased 132 Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany between 2006 and 2010. These were used vehicles and most were refurbished, while 30 are being used for replacement parts and replacement tanks. The 55 ton Leopard 2A4 is a contemporary of the American M1. Upgraded armor was supplied by Singapore. The 2A4 model does have a stabilizer (for firing on the move) and a thermal imager (for seeing through night, mist, and sand storms).

The Leopard replaces French AMX-13 light (18 ton) tanks armed with 75mm guns. This provides Singapore with a formidable armor force, especially when you consider the small size of Singapore (basically an island city state, plus a few smaller islands). None of Singapore's neighbors have a tank that can match the Leopard 2A4. This is not the latest model (that's the 2A6) but most Leopard 2s were 2A4s and they were built in the 1980s. Germany has been selling refurbed 2A4s since the 1990s (after the Cold War ended and the German army was much reduced in size). Currently, a second hand 2A4 goes for about $3 million.





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