When 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group was moved from Westphalia to Lahr on the Rhine frontier with France, some policy-makers apparently sought to do away with Canada's tanks entirely. For some years, the brigade continued to use their Centurion tanks, an excellent tank in its day but one that could not be used on long road moves. In 1975, the Canadian prime minister, Pierre Trudeau, visited Germany to ask the Chancellor for his support for getting Canada special trade status with the European Common Market. He was told to come back to discuss the matter once Canada had replaced its antiquated tanks. The contract for the Leopard tank acquisition followed quickly. Consideration had been given to totally rebuilding the Centurions with new power pack as the Israeli army has done with their Centurions.

In 1976, the Canadian North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) contingent began to take delivery of German-manufactured Leopard tanks. They replaced the aging and obsolescent Centurion tanks, which had been in service for almost 25 years. By the end of the year, Canada's NATO forces had 128 Leopard tanks. However, the newest German, British, and Soviet tanks are now far superior combat vehicles to the Leopard.


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