Sweden upgrading its Strv 122 tanks into Strv 123A variant

On October 10, 2023, the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration, FMV, signed a contract valued at approximately 3.5 billion Swedish kronor (equivalent to roughly €301 million) with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW). This contract signifies a substantial effort aimed at modernizing the Swedish tank fleet, specifically focusing on upgrading 44 Stridsvagn 122 (Strv 122) Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) acquired in the early 2000s, transforming them into a new tank known as Stridsvagen 123A. Jonas Lotsne, Head of FMV Army Materiel, has stated that the primary goal of this initiative is to extend the operational lifespan of these tanks.
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Stridsvagen 122 (Srtv 122) during an exercise in Slovakia in 2020 (Picture source: Swedish MoD)

The comprehensive upgrade package includes the replacement of nearly all electronic components in the tanks to ensure compatibility with modern Leopard 2 tanks. This enables integration with advanced command and control systems and communication networks.

The Strv 122 tanks will also receive a new 120mm/L55 caliber cannon with advanced ammunition programming capabilities, improving their firepower. Upgraded night vision systems for the gunner and tank commander will enhance target acquisition and engagement capabilities in low-light conditions. A night driving camera will be added to assist the driver during nighttime maneuvers, enhancing overall operational effectiveness. Furthermore, a new track assembly, complete with tracks, will be installed to enhance mobility and durability. The delivery of these upgraded tanks to the Swedish Armed Forces is expected to commence in 2026, with the refurbished tanks designated as Stridsvagn (tank) 123A. 

The Stridsvagn 122 (Strv 122), also known as the Leopard 2A5SE, serves as the cornerstone of this modernization effort. Developed through a collaboration between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), a German defense company, and Hägglunds, a Swedish defense company now part of BAE Systems, the Strv 122 was introduced into the Swedish Armed Forces in the late 1990s. Over the years, it has undergone several enhancements tailored to meet the specific requirements of the Swedish military.

These improvements include the addition of modular armor on the turret and hull to enhance protection against anti-tank weapons and mines. Inside the crew compartment, a spall liner reduces the risk of injuries from fragmentation. An upgraded fire suppression system further enhances crew survivability during combat scenarios.

Armed with a 120mm smoothbore gun capable of firing a range of ammunition types, including armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS), high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT), and high-explosive (HE) rounds, the Strv 122 demonstrates versatility against various threats. Additionally, it features a coaxial machine gun and an anti-aircraft machine gun, enhancing its adaptability in combat scenarios.

The Strv 122 is powered by a 1,500 hp diesel engine, affording it a top speed of approximately 68 km/h and an operational range of around 550 km. These performance characteristics contribute to the Strv 122's presence on the battlefield, allowing it to maneuver efficiently and engage threats effectively.