Minister of National Defence Peter MacKay announced what he's calling a new generation of tanks at CFB Gagetown Thursday.

Members of the Combat Training Centre’s Armour School showcased the capabilities of the latest tanks — the Leopard 2A4 Canadian tank.

Ottawa bought the tanks from Netherlands in 2007 as part of a $650-million tank replacement project.

A total of 42 Leopard 2A4 Canadian tanks will be delivered to the Canadian army by the end of 2013, with the first five now serving at the Armour School at Gagetown.

“Our government’s procurement of this impressive platform will ensure the Canadian Forces have the capability they need to support future operations," MacKay said in a news release.

According to the federal government, recent military operations in Afghanistan proved that tanks like the Leopard 2A4 Canadian tank are essential in providing protection, mobility and firepower to soldiers.

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  • The new Canadian Forces Leopard 2A4 tank makes its way onto the firing range for a demonstration at CFB Gagetown in Oromocto, N.B., on Thursday, September 13, 2012. Defense Minister Peter MacKay visited CFB Gagetown to announce the arrival of the new tanks.

  • Defence Minister Peter MacKay announces the new Canadian Forces Leopard 2A4 tank at CFB Gagetown in Oromocto, N.B., on Thursday, September 13, 2012.

  • Defence Minister Peter MacKay announces the new Canadian Forces Leopard 2A4 tank at CFB Gagetown in Oromocto, N.B., on Thursday, September 13, 2012.

  • Maj. Gen. Steve Bowes, left to right, Defence Minister Peter MacKay and Sgt. Maj. Tim Bennett walk in front of the new Canadian Forces Leopard 2A4 tank at CFB Gagetown in Oromocto, N.B., on Thursday, September 13, 2012. MacKay visited the base to announce the arrival of the new tanks.

  • The new Canadian Forces Leopard 2A4 tank displays it's firepower on the firing range at CFB Gagetown in Oromocto, N.B., on Thursday, September 13, 2012. Defense Minister Peter MacKay visited CFB Gagetown to announce the arrival of the new tanks.

  • Handover of the first of 140 Leopard 2A4 tanks to the Chilean army on November 14, 2007 in Munich, Germany. (Photo by Guenter Vahlkampf/Getty Images)

  • Handover of the first of 140 Leopard 2A4 tanks to the Chilean army by German Lieutenant General Hans-Otto Budde (R) to the Chilean Minister of Defence Jose Goni Carrasco (C) and the Chilean Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces General Oscar Izurieta (L) on November 14, 2007 in Munich, Germany.

  • Leopard 2A4