Greece continues Qatari staff training in Leopard 2 tanks and PzH-2000 self-propelled howitzers 42610151

Defence & Security News - (Greece, Qatar)
Greece continues Qatari staff training in Leopard 2 tanks and PzH-2000 self-propelled howitzers
The Hellenic and Qatari Armies are well progressing into the bilateral training agreement. The two countries have signed a memorandum which gives the Qatari Army staff the opportunity to train in Greece in the use, operation and tactical employment of KMW Leopard 2 tanks and KMW PzH-2000 self-propelled howitzers.
Greece continues Qatari staff training in Leopard 2 tanks and PzH-2000 self-propelled howitzers 1
Greek and Qataris in front of PzH-2000s after a recent training activity in Greece.
(Photo: Hellenic Army General Staff)

The training which started last year is part of a general agreement that will allow Qatari military staff to train in Greece. Since 2013, the Qatari Emiri Air Force has been training with the Hellenic Air Force, as both of the air forces are users of various versions of the Dassault Mirage-2000 fighter aircraft. It is also worth mentioning, that Qatari Mirage 2000-9 fighter aircraft had been deployed at Souda Air Base, Greece, home of the 115 Combat Wing, during the 2011 operations in Libya. Moreover, Qatari Army cadets have been trained at the Hellenic Army Cadets’ School.

The training of the Qataris in the Hellenic Army’s Leopard 2A6 tanks and PzH-2000GR self-propelled howitzers has been deemed necessary given that Qatar will soon receive its first batch of Leopard 2A7 and PzH-2000. The training programme has been structured based on the Hellenic Army’s experience in the tank and the howitzer, and the prior excellent interaction it had with the Qataris.

The Greek company METKA, which was a subcontractor during the local construction and assembly of the Hellenic Army’s Leopard 2A6 tanks, had also been subcontracted by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann for the construction of the Qatari Leopard 2A7s.

The training programme is a great opportunity for the Qataris to be trained according to NATO standards and acquire knowledge from the Hellenic Army which has been a longstanding user of the Leopard family of tanks and one of the first to use the PzH-2000GR, while the Greek staff will enrich their experience in foreign tactics and procedures, and in the training of non-NATO military staff.

Each programme period lasts five months and it involves the training of around 100-120 people from a wide range of specialties required for the operation of such highly technical units. The formation responsible for the implementation of the programme is the Armour School, near Athens, and the XII Mechanized Infantry Division, through the XXIII Armoured Brigade and the 156th Self-Propelled Howitzers Artillery Squadron, all based in the northeastern city of Alexandroupolis.

The division operates state of the art simulation centres for the Leopard 2 tanks and the PzH-2000 SPH. The XXIII Armoured Brigade has invested last year in upgrading its training field, with all the construction works being done by its 23rd Engineering Company. 

Greece continues Qatari staff training in Leopard 2 tanks and PzH-2000 self propelled howitzers 2

On its behalf, the Artillery Directorate of the Hellenic Army Staff has created the Simulators Battery, based in Alexandroupolis, which hierarchically falls under the Artillery School. It has a range of simulators for the training of the artillery units on an Army-wide level. The simulators found there are for the FIM-92 Stinger MANPADS, the ASRAD-Hellas mobile VSHORADS system (Stinger launchers on Greek-made HMMWV vehicles), the PzH-2000GR SPH, the AN/TPQ 36/37 and Arthur firefinder radars and Vaisala’s weather station.

Soon, the Simulators Battery will expand to provide improved standardized training and research-experimentation capabilities. The Army Staff will add simulators for the M-109 self-propelled howitzers to train staff of all of the specialties required by an M-109 squadron. Furthermore, the Simulators Battery will expand the training in the integration of the artillery’s C2 with those of rest of the Army’s to improve the strategic and tactical situational awareness capabilities.

All of these facilities, along with the artillery and the tanks live firing fields located in nearby areas, are part of the Hellenic Army's infrastructure that the Qataris would benefit from during the training period.

Greece had decided in 2002 to procure 170 newly built Leopard 2HEL tanks, instead of 250 that was the initial plan. The agreement also included 12 Büffel repair and recovery vehicles, the procurement of 8 Leguan bridge-laying systems that would be integrated on Greek legacy Leopard 1V hulls, and the necessary support and maintenance. As an interim solution, the Army acquired 185 Leopard 2A4, 150 Leopard 1A5 tanks from the German Army.

A year earlier, in 2001, the Hellenic Army procured 24 PzH-2000 SPH, 24 ammunition loading vehicles, 4 cranes, a number of ammunition and a firing and driving simulator. The self-propelled howitzers are equipped with Intracom Defense Systems’ WiSPR intercom units and TRC-9300 licensed-built radios.



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