The German Leopard 2 Tank

Development
Production & Variants
Upgrades – AMAP™ Survivability section, MBT Revolution, Leopard 2 Midlife
Combat Support Vehicles
Operators & Their Upgrades
Proposed & Trialled Countries
Former Operators
Combat History
Our Leopard 2 Gallery Page From Tank Nut’s Group

The German Leopard 2 Tank Requirement

Despite being a good design, the Leopard 1 was already dated when it entered service in comparison to its nemesis, the Russian T-62 in term’s of firepower and armoured protection. Rheinmetall had been developing a new 120mm smoothbore main gun (now known as the L44) during the 1960’s, whilst at the same time the indigenous development of a replacement for the Leopard 1 had ended in favour of the joint US project called the MBT-70. Germany eventually pulled out of the project due to high costs and conflicts of design, but by this stage the Russian T-72 which had increased levels of protection and firepower compared to the T-62 was due to enter production.


The German Leopard 2 Tank Development

In 1970 Germany choose to base the development of a new tank on an earlier indigenous project called Experimentalentwicklung and in 1971 the project was designated the Leopard 2. Germany had started the FMBT programme with the UK in 1974 for a new joint tank, but no designs were finalised nor prototype built and the project ended.

However the Germans were briefed on the new British composite Chobham armour as part of the FMBT programme but only the US signed a Memorandum Of Understanding with the UK to share its research for use on the M1 Abram’s. But it was revealed in 1976 that the early Leopard 2 models armour was also based on Chobham, thou it did not share the same technology unique to Chobham armour AKA Burlington.

17 prototypes were built in 1971 for field-testing, mounting various cannons including the L7A3 105mm & the Rheinmetall L44 120mm, with different fire control systems. Eventually the Rheinmetall L44 120mm smoothbore was selected as the main gun.

The US also received some of these prototypes and carried out field tests of various cannon and fire control systems well into 1976 whilst testing their own XM1 (which would become the M1 Abram’s). The US Army found that both prototypes were equally matched in propulsion and firepower, but the XM1 Chobham armour was better than the Leo2’s armour.

The 1500hp turbo-charged MTU MB 873 multi-fuelled diesel engine is coupled to the Renk HSWL 354 automatic transmission (has 4 forward & 2 reverse gears). The vehicle has a top road speed capability of 68/km/h, but is governed to 50. It has a maximum road range of about 500 km. It also uses torsion bar suspension.


The German Leopard 2 Tank Production Variants

The Leopard 2 A0

The Leopard 2A0

This was the first production variant. In total 209 were built by Krauss Maffei and 171 by MaK from October 1979 until March 1982 totalling 380 of the original 1800 ordered by Germany. It was fitted with a fire control computer, a laser rangefinder, a general-purpose telescope, a panorama periscope (PERI R17) and the tower sight FERO Z18.

The Leopard 2A1

The Leopard 2A1

The A1 started production of 450 between March 1982 to November 1983, and a further 300 between November 1983 and November 1984. The A1 saw the introduction of a thermal gunners sight, new ammo storage racks and new fuel filters to speed up the refuelling process.

The Leopard 2A2

The Leopard 2A2

The A2 was not a production variant, but an upgrade project of the previous variants. It concentrated on replacing the PZB 200 sights with thermal sights, improvements to the fuel tank to speed up the refill time, a deflector plate for the periscope and changes to the towing cables positions between 1984 and 1987.

The Leopard 2A3

The Leopard 2A3

The A3 saw the production of a further 300 between December 1984 and December 1985 and saw the introduction of a new SEM80/90 digital radio.

The Leopard 2A4

The Leopard 2A4

The A4 was the most common variant of the Leopard 2. 695 were produced and by 1992 all other variants had been modified to the A4 variant, totalling 2125 Leopard 2 A4’s in the West German Army. The A4 had an improved turret with flat titanium/tungsten armour, an automated fire and explosion suppression system and an all-digital fire control system.

The Leopard 2A5

The Leopard 2A5

The A5 (AKA KWS II) saw changes in positions of the commanders & gunners sights, but concentrated on changes to the armour. It saw stand-off armour added to the turrets front and sides, most notably the wedge-shaped Modular Expandable Armour System at the front aka MEXAS and is designed to defeat shaped charge weapons and take out the kinetic energy of APFSDS rounds. The gun mantlet had to be redesigned to accommodate the new armour and also changes were made in the composition of the main armour to a high-hardness steel, tungsten and plastic filler with ceramic components. Spalding’s were also fitted inside the turret to protect the crew from fragments if the armour was penetrated. The hydraulic main gun stabilisation system has been replaced with an all electrical one. The drivers hatch has been replaced with a heavier armoured one which is electronically operated to slide open.

The Leopard 2A6

The Leopard 2A6

The A6’s (AKA KWS I) main up-grade has been the replacement of the L44 120mm smoothbore with the new longer L55, which can generate higher Kinetic Energy. A new APFSDS called the 570 DM53 (LKE II) has been developed for the new cannon and is said to be able to defeat all double-reactive armour. The L55 is 25% longer than its predecessor, providing higher muzzle velocity, which gives better range and penetration for APFSDS kinetic energy rounds. A new auxiliary engine was also added.

The Leopard 2A6M

The Leopard 2A6M, arrow is pointing at the Mine Plate

The next variant from the A6 is the Leopard 2 A6M. This variant was developed to give better protection from land mines. The kit includes a new large belly plate attached to the underneath of the hull, new vision systems and restowage arrangements for ammunition. Replacement of the hydraulic drive with electrical and the drivers seat, which is traditionally bolted to the hull is suspended now by straps so it moves freely. Currently a low number of German A6’s have been up-graded to this variant and the kit is also used on Sweden’s Strv 122’s (but is not re-designated as an A6).

The Leopard 2 PSO

The Leopard 2 PSO

The newest up-grade for the A6 is the Leopard 2 PSO (short for Peace Support Operations). In short, its an urban warfare package such as the Challenger 2’s Street Fighter and Abram’s TUSK but with some more technical up-grades. It shares the added armour and remote weapons station. But also is equipped with a dozer blade, non lethal armaments, a search light and CCTV mounted in locations along the hull for close range surveillance, giving an improved Situational Awareness to the crew.

The Leopard 2A7+

The Leopard 2A7

The Leopard 2 offers a new standard as of mid 2010, known as the Leopard 2 A7+, which focuses on the addition of module armour stretching along the sides of the hull and turret with the features of the Leopard 2 PSO and the addition of the L55 main gun from the A6 upgrade.

A new HE round with a programmable fuse has also been developed and the overall weight of the vehicle has increased by 5 tons to a total of 67.5 tons and is reported to be able to maintain its top road speed.

The German Leopard 2 Tank AMAP™ Survivability

German firm IBD Deisenroth Engineering is an established manufacturer of modular armour and their ceramic materials. The most famous being the MEXAS module that formed the upgrade of the Leopard 2A5. The company since then has developed the “Advanced Modular Armoured Protection” system, which can be inserted with the many new ceramic materials IBD have developed. The company has been doing this development under the “Evolution Concepts” and AMAP is being used as part of upgrades for the following Leopard 2’s –

The Leopard 2A4 Evolution

The Leopard 2A4 Evolution

Designated the Leopard 2A4 Evolution, it includes a belly plate and side modules for protection against IED & mines, added roof plates for airburst munitions, internal spald liners and active defence systems against guided anti-tank missiles. This upgrade should not be confused with the A6 or A7+ upgrade’s. Both these have the distinct frontal MEXAS wedge, where as the Evolution has more squarer rounded frontal modules with slits in them for the active defence systems.

Rheinmetall’s Modular Upgrade for The German Leopard 2 Tank

“Labelled the MBT Revolution, Rheinmetall now offers a comprehensive upgrade approach for main battle tanks – a modular concept capable of meeting the current operational needs of user nations as well as assuring adequate future growth potential. Revolutionary aspects of the Rheinmetall concept include, in particular, a protection package as well as an extensive array of reconnaissance and target acquisition systems”.

The MBT Revolution

The Leopard 2A4 Revolution

The MBT Revolution is the latest upgrade package offered for the Leopard 2A4. As of Mid 2011, Janes report that the vehicle remains at the prototype stage and has not been purchased by any nations operating the Leopard 2A4, nor has Rheinmetall made any further press releases.

Though the MBT Revolution is similar in appearance to the IBD Deisenroth Engineering Leopard 2A4 Evolution upgrade package, they are not the same package. The Evolution was unveiled at the CANSEC 2009 show in Ottawa, Canada. And the MBT Revolution was unveiled at the Eurosatory exhibition in Paris, France, in mid-June 2010.

The MBT Revolution does use an armour system supplied by IBD (as stated during a Rheinmetall press release), but neither company state if it’s the same AMAP armour IBD developed for the Evolution.

IBD simply stated during a press release “Rheinmetall developed a modular solution for the upgrade of the Leopard 2 called MBT Revolution. This upgrade solution is specifically dealing with the spherical threat scenario in MOUT environments and a further improvement of the efficiency of the main weapon”.

Both Rheinmetall and IBD have shares in a number of defence companies that manufacturer the sub-systems (such as hard killer and laser warning systems) that are used in the MBT Revolution. The upgrade also has a greater number of “bells and whistles” compared to the Evolution.

The MBT Revolution at a glance:

The Leopard 2A4 Revolution

Protection concept: Comprehensive protection from all current threats, including RPG 7, landmines, IEDs, bomblets, large-calibre KE ammunition and EO-, IR- and laser-guided weapons.
Digital turret core system: Fully integrated network capabilities, fully interoperable subsystems and components, with significantly shorter reaction times and smaller additional space requirements.
Fire control technology: An improved first round hit probability, especially when firing on the move.
New commander’s periscope: Night fighting and observation capabilities, improved range and higher elevation angles (up to 70°).
Situational awareness system: 360° day and night near-field view of the vehicle’s immediate surroundings, with automatic alarm and target-tracking functions.
Command and control system: New capabilities include real-time blue force tracking and red force visualization, augmented reality and MIP-DEM-based interoperability.
Commander’s brake: A revolutionary innovation that enables the commander to stop the tank if the driver is incapacitated.
Secondary armament: State-of-the-art remote control weapon station, fully stabilized and flexibly configurable.
Ammunition: The world’s first temperature-independent KE tank round and the latest generation of programmable HE ammunition.
Climate control: High performance air conditioning coupled with a new insulation concept in the fighting compartment, improved ventilation and thermal protection for the magazine.
Auxiliary power unit: High electric power generation (17 kW) and optimised intelligent energy balance of the vehicle.
External two-way communications system: Enables the crew to communicate with persons outside of the tank.
Embedded logistics: Provides comprehensive monitoring of vehicle- and weapon system-relevant logistical data; linked with a central logistical information and evaluation system.
Weight class: MLC 70

RUAG Land Systems Ltd. Leopard 2 midlife upgrade

ruag

With the midlife upgrade programme (Swiss Armed Forces designation: WE) RUAG Land Systems Ltd. and partners have succeeded in developing a modular and further upgradeable programme for the main battle tank Leopard 2 (Swiss Armed Forces designation: Pz 87 Leo).

The new Leopard configuration (WE) was both tactically and logistically successfully tested in tough military missions. The modularity and upgradeability are the most prominent features of the programme, fulfilling the military and also the political demands of a weapon system of the future.An integrated, state-of-the-art command and control system

The electrical turret drive with digital controller assures further upgradeability, increases the safety of the crew and reduces maintenance work.

By retrofitting the existing commander’s periscope, night vision is optimised. The chosen technical solution allows the periscope to remain in the same place.

All control and command functions are centralised on the commander’s new control panel.

The new self-contained observation and weapon station (ABWS) on the roof of the tank and the upgradeable, modular protection concept with roof protection, front and side protection together with the mine protection assures the adaptability of the Leopard 2 to the changing demands.


Combat Support Vehicles

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Leopard 2 CEV

Leopard 2 Chassis

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In German Army Service

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Leopard 2 AVLB

Leopard 2 Chassis

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In German Army Service

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Leopard 2 ARV

Leopard 2 Chassis

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In German Army Service


The German Leopard 2 Tank Operators by Alphabetical Order

During the 80’s the Leopard 2 was only purchased by the Netherlands and Switzerland totalling over 800. Though numerically successful, its more celebrated commercial success has been in the last ten years, with the sale of surplus reconditioned Leopard 2 A4’s formerly used by Germany and the Netherlands, which are no longer required following the end of the Cold War.

These have been sold at a reduced rate and in one case donated, to save both countries the costs involved of storing/maintaining them.

Due to the large number of L44 smoothbores (used on the Leopard 2, Abram’s & Merkava Mk 3 / 4’s), there has been a high demand for the number of 120mm rounds. This has reduced their production costs and subsequent purchase cost, which has worked as a financial incentive to purchase these reduced cost Leopard 2’s.

Austria

A Leopard 2A4 of the Austrian Army

Leopard 2A4 – The Austrian Army purchased 114 Leopard 2A4’s from the Netherlands in 1997.

Canada The Leopard 2A6M CAN & The Leopard 2A4M CAN

A Leopard 2A6M CAN on active service
The Leopard 2A6M CAN

The Tank Replacement Project running in Canada will provide the nation with a long-term, sustainable tank force deployable in medium to high threat environments until 2035.

This has been scheduled over 2 phases.

The first kicked off in 2007. This saw the loan and support of 20 mission-ready Leopard 2A6M Main Battle Tanks and 2 Armoured Recovery Vehicles from Germany. The first borrowed tanks arrived in Afghanistan on the 16th of August 2007.

An agreement was signed between the Government of Canada and The Netherlands Government on the 14th of December 2007 for the purchase of 80 used Leopard 2A4 which will be the basis for all future work in phase 2 and 20 Leopard 2A6, which were given to Germany to replace the loaned A6M’s.

An agreement was signed in February 2011 between the Government of Canada and The Swiss Government for the purchase of 12 surplus Pz84’s (Licence built Leopard 2A4) which will be converted to combat support vehicles. 15 surplus Leopard 2A4’s from Germany were purchased as well.

Phase 2 includes the upgrade and conversion of the tanks, repair, and/or overhaul of major components. This has already commenced, with the upgrade of 20 Leopard 2A4’s to the Leopard 2A4M CAN and the following scheduled work –

The Repair and Overhaul of 42 Leopard 2A4 in to A4 training tanks
The conversion of 13 Leopard 2A4 MBT’s into Combat Engineer Vehicles (plus an optional 5 more conversions)
The conversion of 8 Leopard 2A4 MBT’s into Armoured Recovery Vehicles (plus an optional 4 more conversions)
The stripping down of around 8 A4’s for spare parts which are reconditioned

Fielded mission ready tanks –

The Leopard 2A6M CAN – These are the 20 loaned tanks (which are now owned by Canada) with the addition of BAR armour running along the sides and rear of the tank to give added protection from RPG-7’s and other Anti-Tank Missiles/Rockets.

A Leopard 2A4M CAN
The Leopard 2A4M CAN

The Leopard 2A4M CAN – These are reconditioned Canadian A4’s. They have a distinct new shape due to the addition of appliqué modules (just like the Leopard 2A7+) running along the sides and front of the hull and turret, which contain an unspecified composite. BAR armour then runs over the back. They also have a new armoured belly plate, which all provides the vehicle with a much higher all round level of protection and brings the vehicle up to a new generational level.

Other modifications include an all-electric digital turret, a digital central logic/main distribution system, a new commander system control unit, enhanced service brakes, an upgraded suspension and driver viewing aids. Environmental enhancements include chilled cooling vests for the crew and new camouflage nets.

5 of the new A4M CAN has been deployed between December 2010 and mid January 2011 to Afghanistan to replace some of the A6M CAN’s. The Leopard 2A4M CAN’s Combat tour ended in July 2011, all tanks have gone through a rebuild.

Chile Leopard 2A4CHL

A Leopard 2A4CHL during a national military show
Leopard 2A4CHL

Leopard 2A4CHL – The Chilean Army has purchased in 2007 140 Leopards 2A4’s from Germany, which were reconditioned with some upgrades. Upgrades have included a new L55 main gun, new suspension, a roof mounted Remote Weapons Station, new sights and Battle Field Management System and improved roof and side armour to the turret.

Leopard 2A5 – It was reported in April 2013 that the Army is trying to puchase 100 German surplus Leopard 2A5 tanks. These will be stationed in the North of the country were their current A4CHL are and these will be moved South to replace some of the current Leopard 1’s bought from the Netherlands. As of April 2013 we have been unable to find any further updates on this purchase.

Denmark Leopard 2A5DK

A Leopard 2A5DK with Swedish-made Barracuda camouflage mats, that serve to limit the absorption of solar heat, thus reducing infrared signature and interior temperature
Leopard 2A5DK

Leopard 2A5DK – The Danish Army purchased surplus A4’s from Germany in 2000. These were over-hauled and upgraded to the A5 variant with modifications to the communications and an added Battle Field Management System. They were deleivered to the Danish Army in 2002 totalling 51 and bought an additional 6 for breaking down for spare parts.

As of 2010 the number of operational Leopard 2A5 have been decreased to 34 (2 operational squadrons and 1 in reserve). Denmark purchased a number of the Mine protection kits as used on the Leopard 2A6M for those serving in Afghanistan aka Leopard 2A5MDK.

Finland

A Leopard 2A4 of the Finnish Army
Leopard 2A4

Leopard 2A4 – The Finnish Army originally purchased 124 Leopard 2A4’s from German surplus stock, followed by a second purchase of 15 in 2009. A number of them have been broken down for spare parts and/or been converted into AVLB’s & mine breach vehicles.

Leopard 2A6 – On the 16th of January 2014, Finland agreed with the Netherlands to purchase 100 used Leopard 2A6NL tanks for approximately €200 million. They will be supplied to Finland over the period of 2015-2019 and includes spare parts to last ten years as well as a unspecified “large” supply of ammunition. Finnish newspapers report the A6’s were bought as an alternative to upgrading Finlands current A4 fleet, which will remain in service until “the end of their life cycle”.

Leopard 2L – An AVLB carrying the LEGUAN bridge, 10 have been built from converted Leopard 2A4.

Leopard 2R – Heavy mine breaching vehicle. They are mounted with a plough or a dozer blade, and an automated marking system. All work has been carried out by Finnish Firm Patria. 10 have been built from converted Leopard 2A4.

Germany

A German Leopard 2A6, the hulls added modular armour containing a composition of ceramics/tiles is visable as it ends over the lip of the mantlet and you can see a visable change in the depth to the original hull front

As the original manufacturer, at its peak the German Army had 2125 Leopard 2 A4’s. Many have been sold on and as of 2012, operates 408 in three models.

Leopard 2A5 – 183 are currently operated.

Leopard 2A6 – 225 have been upgraded to this model and are the back bone of the Germany Armies “crisis intervention forces”.

Leopard 2A6M – In 2003, 15 of the 225 A6’s were modified with the M kit. There may have been more vehicles installed with this kit since then.

Leopard 2A7+ – The German Army recieved the firs of 20 in December 2014.

Greece Leopard 2A6HEL

A Leopard 2A6HEL of the Hellenic Army is the most advanced of the A6's
Leopard 2A6HEL

Leopard 2A6HEL – is the Greek variant and based on the A6. The Hellenic Army has ordered 170 new, of which 140 were built by the Greek firm ELBO. Delivery’s started in 2006 and production was completed in 2009, which has complemented their 183 German surplus A4’s.

A Leopard 2A4 of the Hellenic Army, are German surplus vehicles

Leopard 2A4 – 183 were purchased from Germany (as well as Leopard 1’s, which they had been operating for a number of years already) in 2005.

Indonesia Leopard 2RI

Leopard 2A4 – In 2011 Indonesian publications stated that the Indonesian Army will get Rp 14 trillion (US$15.5 billion) over three years to upgrade its weapons systems, primarily through procurements from European nations and that the army had agreed to purchase 100 surplus Leopard 2A6 tanks for $280 million from the Netherlands.The Dutch offer eventually fell through.

In May 2013 approval by Germany was given for the sale of 104 of its surplus Leopard 2A4 along with 4 Büffel ARV (Bergepanzer), 3 Leguan AVLB bridge-laying tanks (Brückenlegepanzer) and 3 Kodiak AEV (Pionierpanzer). Deliveries started in 2013.

Leopard 2RI – Roughly 60 of the 104 Leopaard 2A4 are to be upgraded with Rheinmetall’s MBT Revolution package.

Norway Leopard 2A4NO

A Norwegian Leopard 2A4
Leopard 2A4NO

Leopard 2A4NO – 51 A4’s were purchased from the Netherlands in 2001and deliveries were completed in 2002. These vehicles all went through a modification prgoram -with a multi-role radio and new fire fighting equipment. A second phase of upgrades to 46 Leopard 2A4’s was announced in 2009. This was published on various websites as the A4’s being upgraded to the Leopard 2A5. However, The Norwegian Armies official website tank page (updated in March 2014) still pictures and states they are Leopard 2A4’s and their recent photo gallery of winter operations in 2014 are Leopard 2A4’s.

Poland Leopard 2PL

leo2a4po
Leopard 2A4

Leopard 2A4 – 128 were supplied from German surplus in 2002 and are rummoured to have been donated. Plans to purchase more Leopard 2 were announced in early 2013 and confirmed in November the purchase of 14 A4 and 105 A5 from surplus German stock.

Leopard 2A5 – 105 purchased in November 2013 (as mentioned above). The new tanks will replace current serving T-72M1 in Polish Tank Regiments and will compliment the PT-91.

Leopard 2PL – A planned and unspecified upgraded of all current and recently purchased Leopard 2’s to a new standard rummored to include elements of the Leopard 2A7. The Polish Government has started the tender process with companies for the Leopard 2PL upgrade.

Portugal

A column of Portuguese Leopard 2A6's

Leopard 2A6 – 36 were purchased from the Netherlands and are were delivered between 2008 and 2009.

Qatar

Leopard 2A7+ – 62 tanks ordered in April 2013. Deliveries are to commence in late 2014 or early 2015 and be completed in 2018.

Singapore

A Singapore Army Leopard 2A4

Leopard 2A4 – A total of 96 were purchased from Germany. 30 are cannibalised for parts. They entered service with the Singapore Army in 2008.

Leopard 2SG – Through out 2010, the Singapore Army is upgrading a large number of its A4’s to the new Leopard 2A4 Evolution and not the Leopard 2A6 as some publications have stated. Proof of this was visibly evident during the 2010 National Day Parade (see video) as both Leo2 A4’s and Leopard 2A4 Evolution’s participated.

Spain Leopard 2E

A Spanish Leopard 2E firing its mighty L55
Leopard 2E

Leopard 2E – The principal country to build under licence has been Spain. Spain operated a mixed tank fleet of American M48’s and licence built French AMX-30E’s for a number of years and was attempting to modernise its fleet with a new development program in the 80’s which was cancelled in 1990 after it received 260 2nd hand M60-A3’s from America.

This was a stop gap measure and Spain pressed on with negotiations with Germany to acquire the Leopard 2. In 1994 the Spanish started a new modernisation program for its military forces called Programa Coraza 2000 and in 1995 Spain signed an agreement with Germany to Licence build the Leopard 2. As part of the agreement 108 Leopard 2 A4’s were leased to Spain, who will fully own them by 2016 after completing a repayment plan.

The first 30 Leopard 2E’s were manufactured by Krauss-Maffei and delivered to the Spanish Army between 2003 and 2006. Originally it was planned that the tank would enter production in Spain in 1998, but it didn’t start until 2003 following General Dynamics purchase of the Spanish company Santa Bárbara Sistemas who licence build the 2E and other issues with parts supplied by Spanish manufacturers.

The 2E is based on the Leopard 2 A6. It retains the L55 cannon and the MEXAS passive armour system on the nose of the turret. As the MEXAS armour was added on after production as an up-grade, its now built in during production. The thickness of the armour plate on it, the chassis front glacis, as well as the top of the turret have been thickened to provide extra protection, but has also increased the weight to an estimated 69.4 tons.

Other indigenise systems include the tank’s command and control system, called the Leopard Information and Command Equipment AKA LINCE which is built by Spanish firm Indra. They also manufacturer and install the commanders & gunners thermal viewers. The production of the 2E has had many problems and was due to be completed by 2007, this has been extended to 2008 when the final order of 219 will have been built. Spain is also being supplied with 16 Büffel ARV’s by Krauss-Maffei.

Spanish Leopard 2A4's on a parade

Leopard 2A4 – 108 Leopard 2 A4’s were leased to Spain, who will fully own them by 2016 after completing a repayment plan as part of the licenced production of the 2E. The Leopard 2A4’s equipped X and XI Mechanized Infantry Brigade. As production of the Leopard 2E began and these units received Leopard 2Es, their Leopard 2A4’s were passed on to the Alcántara Armored Cavalry Regiment, based in Melilla.

Sweden Stridsvagn 122

The Stridsvagn 121, no longer in service

Stridsvagn (Tank) 121 – 160 were bought from Germany, these vehicles were adapted to Swedish conditions by Krauss Maffei and delivered to the Swedish Army from 1994 to 1995. They are no longer in service and were replaced by the Stridsvagn 122.

The Stridsvagn 122, AKA Leopard 2S

Stridsvagn (Tank) 122 – AKA Leopard 2S aka Strv 122, it is based on the A5 variant and 120 are in service, with first deliveries commencing in December 2006. It is equipped with more armour including the roof against top attack ATM’s, thicker crew hatch’s, new French GALIX smoke dischargers, storage bins and an advanced command/control (C2) system. The C2 system comprises radio and intercom (Combat Radio, Type RA 180 for speech/computerized data, plus the LTS 90), a technical terminal for the commander, a display unit for the driver, a navigation system (POS 4) and a vehicle computer.

Strv 122B – The Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV), conducted a study program in 2010 of a modified version of the Strv 122 fitted with armour modules from IBD Deisenroth Engineering’s AMAP™ Survivability upgrade package. This will give the Strv 122 greater protection against current and future threats in asymmetric and urban warfare.

The MBT 122B
Strv 122B

14 Strv 122 have been refurbished and fitted with AMAP™ armour modules. These tanks are designated the Strv 122B and four of these were adapted for use in desert climates, including being fitted with air conditioning. Despite the improved overall protection level of the Strv 122B, the weight increase of about 350 kg is only minimal such maintaining the high mobility of the tank.

Strv 122B + – Demonstrator tank and technology showcase for the FMV for the development of future versions.

Strv 122C – A future planned upgrade subject to project funding. The upgrades could include, new non-led batteries, new Co2 fire suppression system and upgraded sighting equipment. They will also will be fitted with the new armour package from the Strv 122B. Deliveries are expected to begin in 2015-2016.

Switzerland Pz 87

The Pz87
Pz 87

Pz 87 – The Swiss originally bought 35 new A4’s from Germany, but then licence built a further 345. An agreement was signed in February 2011 between the Government of Canada and The Swiss Government for the purchase of 12 surplus Pz84’s.

Pz 87WE – Designation for an upgrade package by Swiss firm RUAG Land Systems Ltd. aka “Leopard 2 midlife upgrade”. It has been trialled but RUAG have not released any press notices that the Swiss army have ordered the upgrade package.

Turkey Leopard 2T

Turkish Leopard 2A4

Leopard 2A4 – 298 were suppllied from Germany in 2005. All vehicles are being upgraded to the The Leopard 2NG (Next Generation) aka Leopard 2T, with deliveries expected to be completed in late 2011.

Leopard 2T – It is an upgrade package for the Turkish Armies Leopard 2A4’s which includes the application of AMAP, upgraded optics and a new fire control system.

leopard 2t
Leopard 2T (Left) Leopard 2A4 prior to upgrade (right)

Turkish Firm Aselsan are the principal contractors. It was reported that Finland had shown an interest in purchasing this upgrade for their Leopard 2A4’s, however the purchase of surplus Leopard 2A6 has killed


Proposed & Trialled Countries

Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia has not made a secret of its intentions to buy new build Leopard 2 Tanks. It had initially tried to negotiate with Spanish firm Santa Bárbara (part of GDLS Europe) to purchase Leopard 2’s as the company is a Licensed manufacturer.

Of course the licence is granted by German firm Krauss-Maffei Wegmann who are the principal manufacturer and some how steered the export to their front door. In order for the company to sell Leopard 2’s to another country (as it is with any company), an application has to be made to the German Federal Security Council, who decide if the sale conflicts with Germanys foreign policy on the export of military equipment.

Germanys foreign policy guidelines of previous governments was not to supply heavy arms equipment to a crisis region as a matter of principle, which Saudi Arabia was deemed to be. It was leaked to a German publication SPIEGEL, that a meeting of the Federal Security Council took place in the first half of 2011 and the sale of 200 Leopard 2A7’s was approved.

April 13 2014 – The Saudi deal is reportedly dead. SPD Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has reportedly refused to agree, effectively blocking the sale.

Peru

The country currently operates a fleet of ageing T-55 Medium Tanks and are seeking a replacement. Spain offered its own Leopard 2’s for trials, however they have been rejected based on logistical problems in late 2013. It is thought that the current contenders (as of 2013) are the Ukranian T-84 Oplot, Russian T-90S or T-80 and American M1A1 AIM.

South Africa

leopard 2 south africa

The South African Armoured Corps has been operting an ageing Olifant (British Centurion Tank upgrade) tank fleet for several decades now and has missed out on much needed funds (its mostly gone to both the Navy & Airforce) for buying a new Main Battle Tank. During the 2010 Africa Aerospace & Defence show held in Cape Town (South Africa), Rheinmetall Defence smashed a Leopard 2A4 around the shows test track generating a great level of interest. Rheinmetall Defence has divisions as part of its company in South Africa and could very easily supply the country with re-conditioned Leopard 2A4’s with upgrade packages such as their “MBT Revolution”.


The German Leopard 2 Tank Former Operators

Netherlands

leo2a5nl

At its peak, the Netherlands operated 445 A4’s. A number were sold on to other countries the rest were upgraded to the A5.

A Leopard 2A6 of the Royal Netherlands Army

Leopard 2A6NL – 180 of its A5’s were upgraded to the A6 with deliveres starting in 2003. The Royal Netherlands Army operated 82 Leopard 2A6NL with an additional 28 in storage until April 8th 2011, when the Dutch Ministry of Defense announced The Royal Netherlands Army tank division would be dissolved and the remaining Leopard tanks sold due to large budget cuts. On the 18th of May 2011 the last tank fired the final shot at the Bergen-Hohne Training Area. Finland has now purchased the last of the Leopard 2A6NL.


The German Leopard 2 Tank Combat History

Kosovo (KFOR)

Germany deployed their Leopard 2A5’s as part of the contribution to the KFOR international peacekeeping force in Kosovo. One was recorded contributing to a gunfight between Peacekeepers and a Yugo with two armed men in it (see video below).

Afghanistan (ISAF)

Canada had been using their improved Leopard 1’s, designated the C2 in Afghanistan. However They did lease from the German Army 20 Leopard 2A6M’s, which were modified with A/C. In one reported incident, one vehicle was struck by an IED on the 2nd of November 2007. There were some nasty rumours floating that the vehicle was destroyed, but Canadian Forces since dismissed this and that the crew survived. 5 of the new Leopard 2A4M CAN has been deployed between December 2010 and mid January 2011 to Afghanistan to replace some of the A6M CAN’s. The Leopard 2A4M CAN’s Combat tour ended in July 2011, all tanks have gone through a rebuild.

The Danish Army has also been operating its Leopard 2A5DK’s in Afghanistan. On the 25th of July 2008, a vehicle hit an IED. It travelled 200m’s but sadly the driver lost his life due to his injuries despite assistance from Danish Army Medics. The Leopard 2 has served in operations supporting troops of other nations including British Forces in Afghanistan who have commended the crews and vehicles. Danish Leopard 2’s are still serving in ISAF and are planned to remain there until the withdrawal of British and NATO troops.

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