The Canadian Leopard C2 Tank

The Canadian Leopard C2 Tank Description

Late in 1996 it was announced that the Canadian Forces were to carry out a major update on their fleet of Leopard C1 tanks (The C1 was the equivalent of the Leopard 1A3), which involved the replacement of the existing turret with the complete turret of the German Leopard 1A5. The Leopard 1A5 turret features the STN ATLAS Elektronik EMES-18 computerized fire-control system which incorporates a Carl Zeiss thermal imager.

The 105mm L7 rifled guns in the Leopard 1A5 turrets werre not retained but were replaced with Canadian Leopard C1 original 105mm guns, the L7A1. The ballistic computers were reprogrammed to match 105 mm Canadian ammunition.

The Canadian Leopard C2 Tank Production


The turret rebuild was carried out in Germany and commenced in June 1997 with the first turret being shipped to Canada in December 1997. GLS refurbish the turret, remove the 105 mm gun, modified the turret where required, including the installation of the new radios ordered under the Tactical Command, Control and Communications System project.

The turrets were shipped to Canada where a subcontractor installed the 105 mm L7A1 barrel and mounted the turret on the existing chassis for final delivery to the Canadian Forces. It was expected that about six turrets a month would be upgraded with each turret taking six months to upgrade. The program was completed by late 2001.

Prime contractor is the German company GLS, a subsidiary of Krauss-Maffei which built almost all of the Leopard 1 series MBTs for the home and export markets. Total value of the contract is estimated to be C$145 million. The surplus Leopard 1A5 chassis will be retained by GLS and sold as spares.

The Canadian Leopard C2 Tank Status and Service

A total of 123 Leopard 1A5 were purchased which, enablde all of the 114 Canadian C1 to be fitted with the new turret, but only 66 were completed. The Canadian Leopard C2 Tank official roll out was in November 23 1999 in Gagetown New Brunswick at the Royal Canadian Armoured School.

Of the nine remaining turrets, five will be used as training turrets, two as complete spares for the EMES-18 fire-control system and two maintenance test beds. The turret bustle was introduced in late 1996 and not all C1 had them installed.

A number of the Canadian Leopard tanks were pulled out of service during the mid-2000s in anticipation of replacing them with the eight-wheeled Mobile Gun System, but these plans were put on hold.

Of the obsolescent tanks, 23 were sold to companies in North America, 4 put in museums or used as monuments (including two at the Bovington Tank Museum), and 21 used as hard targets on ranges.

The remainder of the original ones became the 66 Leopard C2, which as off 2015 remain in service.

Canada sent a squadron of Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) to Afghanistan in the fall of 2006, equipped with fifteen Leopard C2 tanks with MEXAS appliqué modular armour, as well as four recovery vehicles and four engineering vehicles.

After an initial assessment of the performance of the Leopard C2 in Afghanistan, it was determined that the lack of adequate air conditioning in the Leopard C2 (essential in the searing heat of Afghanistan) was degrading the tank crew’s war fighting ability. Canada decided to invest in Leopard 2 tanks in April 2007 and now also operates the Leopard 2A4M CAN & Leopard 2A6M CAN as well as a number of Leopard 2A4 for training.

The Canadian Leopard C2 Tank Stat’s

105mm rifled main gun
1 x 7.62-mm co-axially mounted machine-gun (C6)
1 x 7.62-mm crew commander’s machine-gun (C6)
76-mm grenade launchers (2 clusters of 4 launchers)
Ammunition types: Armour-Piercing Fin Stabilized Discarding Sabot (APFSDS)
High explosive squash head (HESH)
White Phosphorous Smoke (WP)
Length: 8.17 m (gun at 6 o’clock), 9.54 m (gun at 12 o’clock)
Width: 3.37 m Height: 2.62 m Weight: 42.5 t
Engine: Multi-fuel engine, 10 cylinders, 830 hp
Speed: 65 km/hr
Range: 600 km
Number in Service: 66
Sold to companies in North America: 23
In museums or used as monuments: 4
Used as hard targets on ranges: 21”.


Special thanks to our site Admin Canadian Army SGT (Ret’d) Anthony Sewards for the information contained on this page.