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Leopard 2
Leo2A5.JPG
The Leopard 2A5 (Data for 2A6)
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin  West Germany
Service history
In service 1979-present[1]
Used by See Operators
Wars Kosovo War, War in Afghanistan
Production history
Designer Krauss-Maffei
Designed 1970s
Manufacturer Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, MaK
Unit cost US$4,508,353 (Leopard 2A6)[2]
Produced 1979-present
Variants See Variants
Specifications
Weight 62.3 tonnes
Length 9.97 m (393 in) (gun forward)
Width 3.75 m (148 in)
Height 3.0 m (120 in)
Crew 4 [1]

Armour 3rd Generation composite; including high-hardness steel, tungsten and plastic filler with ceramic component.
Primary
armament
1 x 120 mm Rheinmetall L55 smoothbore gun.[1]
42 rounds
Secondary
armament
2 x 7.62 mm MG3A1 [1]
4,750 rounds
Engine MTU MB 873 Ka-501 liquid-cooled V-12 Twin-turbo diesel engine
1,500 PS (1,479 hp, 1,103 kW) at 2600 rpm
Power/weight 24.1 PS/t (17.7 kW/t)
Transmission Renk HSWL 354
Suspension Torsion-bar suspension
Fuel capacity 1,200 liters[3]
Operational
range
550 km (340 mi) (internal fuel) [1]
Speed 72 km/h (45 mph) [1]

The Leopard 2 is a German main battle tank (panzer) developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s and first entering service in 1979. The Leopard 2 replaced the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and twelve other European countries, as well as several non-European nations. More than 3,480 Leopard 2s have been manufactured. The Leopard 2 first saw combat in Kosovo with the German Army and has also seen action in Afghanistan with the Danish and Canadian ISAF forces.

There are two main development batches of the tank, the original models up to Leopard 2A4 which have vertically-faced turret armour, and the "improved" batch, namely the Leopard 2A5 and newer versions, which have angled arrow-shaped turret appliqué armour together with a number of other improvements. All models feature digital fire control systems with laser rangefinders, a fully stabilized main gun and coaxial machine gun, and advanced night vision and sighting equipment (first vehicles used a low-light level TV system or LLLTV; thermal imaging was introduced later on). The tank has the ability to engage moving targets while moving over rough terrain. It can drive through water 4 meters (13 ft) deep using a snorkel or 1.2 meters (3 ft 11 in) without any preparation and climb vertical obstacles over one metre high. The tank is powered with a turbo-charged multi-fuel V12 diesel engine that produces 1,500 PS (1,479 hp, 1,103 kW).

Contents

History

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Development

Even as the Leopard was entering service in 1965, an up-gunned version with the new Rheinmetall L44 120 mm gun was being considered to keep pace with newer Soviet designs, but this was cancelled in favour of the MBT-70 "super-tank" project developed jointly with the United States. The MBT-70 was a revolutionary design, but after large cost overruns, Germany withdrew from the project in 1969.

Work on a national development was started in 1970 by Krauss-Maffei. A year later, a choice was made for it to be based on the earlier Experimentalentwicklung (later named Keiler) project of the late sixties (itself derived from the vergoldeter Leopard or "gilded Leopard"), instead of being a modified MBT-70 or Eber. The name of the design was determined in 1971 as "Leopard 2" with the original Leopard retroactively becoming the Leopard 1. Seventeen prototypes were ordered that year (only sixteen hulls were built). They had to have a maximum weight of fifty metric tons.

On 11 December 1974 a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the USA for the possible joint production of a new MBT, after the Americans had bought and investigated prototype hull number seven in 1973. In view of the experiences in the Yom Kippur War a much higher level of protection was demanded than was implemented in the prototypes, that used heavily sloped spaced armour. The weight class was increased to sixty tons. Prototype turret number fourteen was changed to test a new armour configuration, and was turned into a blockier looking turret as a result of using vertical steel perforated armour; it already had been much more voluminous than the turret of a Leopard 1 because of a large internal ammunition storage locker in the rear bustle. The Leopard 2 thus initially used perforated armour, and not Chobham armour as is sometimes claimed. PT-14 used the 120 mm Rheinmetall gun (as eventually did the U.S. Abrams). After this, two new prototype hulls and three turrets were ordered, one (PT-20) mounting the original L7A3 105 mm gun and a Hughes fire control system, a second (PT-19) with the same fire control system but able to "swap out" the gun for the 120 mm Rheinmetall design (it was indeed so changed by the Americans), and one more (PT-21) mounting the Hughes-Krupp Atlas Elektronik EMES 13 fire control system, with the 120 mm gun.

Leopard 2 Prototype (pre-series) PT 19 (1978)

In mid-1976 prototype 19 was assembled and shipped to the USA, together with hull number twenty and a special target vehicle to test the armour. The prototype was called Leopard 2AV (Austere Version) because it had a simplified fire control system. It arrived in the US by the end of August 1976, and comparative tests between the Leopard 2 and the XM1 (the prototype name for the M1 Abrams) prototypes were held from 1 September at Aberdeen Proving Ground, lasting until December 1976. The US Army reported that the Leopard 2 and the XM1 were comparable in firepower and mobility, but the XM1 was superior in armour protection. Today we know this was true as regards a hit by a hollow charge; but against KE-attack the Leopard 2 was almost twice as well protected as the original M1 (650 mm to 350 mm). Its more traditional multi-fuel diesel engine was also more reliable, and provided similar performance with less fuel consumption, although it did produce more noise but a smaller heat signature. Hull twenty was fitted with simulation weights; later it was discovered that these equalled only the weight of a turret without armour modules fitted, invalidating all performance data. After the comparative test the Leopard 2 hulls were returned to Germany for further evaluation, but turret 19 remained and was fitted to the hull of prototype seven, whilst its gun was changed for the 120 mm Rheinmetall. In tests until March 1977 it was found to be far superior to the 105 mm L7 mounted on the Abrams, which was confirmed by subsequent NATO tank gunnery contests.

Before tests had begun the United States had selected the Chrysler XM1 prototype for full development. However, the military still agreed to consider adopting the Leopard 2. In January 1977 Germany ordered a small pre-series of three hulls and two turrets, delivered in 1978. These vehicles had increased armour protection on the front of the hull. In September 1977 1800 Leopard 2 were ordered, to be produced in five batches. The first was delivered on 25 October 1979. At that moment the Dutch army had already rejected the M1 because of its high operating costs and the refusal by the Americans to fit a Dutch version with the 120 mm gun and instead ordered 445 Leopard 2s on 2 March 1979. The Swiss ordered 35 tanks on 24 August 1983 and started license production of 345 additional vehicles in December 1987. Thus hardly being a major export success in the eighties (no tank of the latest generation was), the type became very popular in the nineties, when the shrinking German army offered many of its redundant Leopard 2s at a reduced price. Today it has become successful enough in Europe that the manufacturer has started calling it the Euro Leopard. However, France, Britain, and Italy all have their own MBTs currently (Leclerc, Challenger 2 and Ariete respectively).

Production

In September 1977, the German Ministry of Defence decided to go ahead with plans for production of 1,800 Leopard 2s, to be delivered in five batches. Krauss-Maffei was again chosen as the main contractor, but this time Maschinenbau Kiel (MaK), of Kiel would be a major (45%) subcontractor. Deliveries started in 1979, and by 1982 the first batch of 380 Leopard 2; 209 by Krauss-Maffei (Chassis Nr. 10001 to 10210) and 171 by Mak (Chassis Nr. 20001 to 20172) was completed. The earliest of these were fitted with an image intensifier, the last 80 with a new thermal night-sight system, and this was later retrofitted to the earlier models.

The first export customer were The Netherlands which received 445 vehicles between July 1981 and July 1986.[4] The Netherlands later resold 114 of these (and one turret) to Austria, 80 to Canada in 2007,[5] another 52 tanks to Norway and finally 37 to Portugal. Sweden also acquired 280 Leopards, 160 2A4s from German stocks, designated Stridsvagn 121, and the rest Leopard 2(S) models (designated Stridsvagn 122) similar in configuration to the Leopard 2A5 variant. Spain first leased and later bought 108 2A4 models in the interim period before 219 license-built Leopard 2A6 models (Leopardo 2E) were ready to replace them. Switzerland bought 380 between 1987 and 1993. A number of countries also use versions of the tank, including Poland, Denmark, Finland, Greece (license-built Leopard 2Hel), Turkey and Chile. Germany has fielded about 2125 Leopard 2s in various versions. The design was also tested by Britain in the 1980s, which ultimately decided on the Challenger 1. The Australian Army evaluated ex-German Leopard 2s as a replacement for its Leopard 1 tanks in 2003 but instead selected the M1A1 Abrams.

Combat history

KFOR

The German contingent of the Kosovo Force operated a number of Leopard 2A4s and 2A5s in Kosovo. A German Leopard 2 also took part in a fire fight that was caught on video

ISAF/OEF

In October 2003, Canada was planning to replace its Leopard C2s with wheeled Stryker Mobile Gun Systems. However, operational experience in Afghanistan, and in particular during Operation Medusa, convinced the Canadian military of the usefulness of maintaining a tank fleet.[6] Leopard C2s were deployed to Kandahar in December 2006[7], but they were by then almost 30 years old, and were nearing the end of their operational life. The Canadian government decided to borrow 20 Leopard 2A6s and three armoured recovery vehicles from Germany for rapid deployment to Afghanistan. In late August 2007, the first Leopard 2s were airlifted into Afghanistan to equip the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians).[8]

In an assault on November 2, 2007, a Leo 2A6M hit an IED and survived without casualties: “My crew stumbled upon an IED (improvised explosive device) and made history as the first (crew) to test the (Leopard 2A6) M-packet. It worked as it should.” wrote a Canadian officer in an email to German defence officials.[9] Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff General Rick Hillier denied reports that a Leopard II tank that was struck by an IED was a write-off, insisting that the tank has been repaired and is once again in use. “The Taliban have been engaged with some of the new Leopard II tanks in several ambushes” and that as a result the Taliban “learned some very harsh lessons” and lost the battle in question “very quickly and very violently.”[10]

In October 2007, Denmark also deployed its Leopard 2A5 DKs in support of operations in southern Afghanistan. The Danish tank unit, drawn from the first battalion of the Jydske Dragonregiment (Jutland Dragoons Regiment)[11], was equipped with three tanks and one M113 armoured personnel carrier, with an armoured recovery vehicle and another tank kept in reserve.[12] The Danish version of the Leopard 2A5 is fitted with Swedish-made Barracuda camouflage mats, that serve to limit the absorption of solar heat, thus reducing infrared signature and interior temperature.[11] It also has a conventional drivers seat bolted on the floor of the tank, wherereas in the Canadian 2A6M (as part of the mine-protection package) the driver's seat has been replaced by a "Dynamic Safety Seat" [13], which is a parachute-harness like arrangement that the driver wears around his hip. 6 large belts hold him in the right position. In this way, the driver does not have any contact with the hull except on the pedals and is out of the shockwave area of exploding land mines or IEDs. [14]

In January 2008, Danish tanks halted a flanking maneuver by Taliban forces near the Helmand River by providing gunfire in support of Danish and British infantry from elevated positions.[15] On 26 February 2008, a Danish Leopard 2 was hit by an explosive device, damaging one track. No one was injured and the tank returned to camp on its own for repairs.[16] The first fatality suffered by a crew operating a Leopard 2 happened on 25 July 2008. A Danish Leopard 2A5 hit an IED in Helmand Province. The vehicle was able to continue 200 metres (656 ft) before it halted. Three members of the four-man crew were able to escape even though wounded, but the driver was stuck inside. Despite being treated on site by Danish army medics, he died. The vehicle was towed to FOB Attal and then later to FOB Armadillo for investigation and possible redeployment. During the same contact with Taliban forces, a second tank was caught in an explosion but none of the crew were wounded.[17] Beginning on December 7, 2008, Leopard 2 tanks took part in Operation Red Dagger, firing 31 rounds in support of Coalition troops as they recaptured Nad Ali District. A press release from the British ministry of defence claimed the tanks were a decisive factor in the Coalitions success, and praised the accuracy of their fire and their mobility.[18]

Variants

Zwei Leopard 2A5 beim durchqueren eines Gewässer.ogg
Two German Army Leopard 2s demonstrate their deep-wading capabilities

Leopard 2

View through the panoramic PERI R17 sight.

The Leopard 2 proper, sometimes informally called the "A0" to differentiate it from later versions, was the first series manufactured version. The vehicles were manufactured from October 1979 until March 1982, altogether 380 vehicles. 209 were built by Krauss Maffei and 171 by MaK. The basic equipment consisted of electrical-hydraulic WNA-H22, a fire control computer, a laser rangefinder, a wind sensor, a general purpose telescope EMES 15, a panorama periscope PERI R17, the tower sight FERO Z18, on the tower roof as well as a computer controlled tank testing set RPP 1–8. 200 of the vehicles had a low-light enhancer (PZB 200) instead of a thermal imaging. Two chassis served as driver training vehicles.

Leopard 2A1

A number of minor modifications and the installation of the gunner's thermal sight[1] was worked into the second batch of 450 vehicles Leopard 2 designated the A1; 248 by Krauss-Maffei (Chassis Nr. 10211 to 10458) and 202 by Mak (Chassis Nr. 20173 to 20347). Deliveries of the 2A1 models started in March 1982 and ended in November 1983. The two most notable changes were the modification of the ammunition racks to be identical to those in the M1 Abrams, and redesigned fuel filters that reduced refuelling time.

A third batch of 300 Leopard 2; 165 by Krauss-Maffei (Chassis Nr. 10459 to 10623) and 135 by MaK (Chassis Nr. 20375 to 20509.) 2A1's of the third batch were built between November 1983 and November 1984, which included more minor changes that were later retrofitted to the earlier 2A1's.

Leopard 2A2

This designation was given to upgraded vehicles of the first batch of Leopard 2s, brought up to the standard of the second and third batches. This modernisation gradually replaced the original PZB 200 sights in the first batch with thermal sights for the EMES 15 as they became available. Furthermore the upgrade included the fitting of filler openings and caps to the forward hull fuel tanks to allow separate refuelling, as well as the addition of a deflector plate for the periscope and a large coverplate to protect the existing NBC protection system. Finally, the tank was given new five metre towing cables with a different position. The programme began in 1984 and ended in 1987; the third, fourth and fifth batches were during this period produced with the same features. The modernised first batch can be recognised by the circular plate covering the hole where the cross-wind sensor for the fire-control system was removed.[4]

Leopard 2A3

The fourth batch of 300 vehicles Leopard 2;165 by Krauss-Maffei (Chassis Nr. 10624 to 10788) and 135 by Mak (Chassis Nr. 20510 to 20644) was delivered between December 1984 and December 1985. The main change was the addition of the SEM80/90 digital radio sets (also being fitted to the Leopard 1 at the same time), and the ammunition reloading hatches being welded shut. Even with these minor changes the new batch was known as the 2A3.

Leopard 2A4

Leopard 2A4 of the Singapore Army.
Leopard 2A4 of the Bundesheer, with its powerplant on display.
The sights on an Austrian Leopard 2A4.
A Chilean Army 2A4 firing in Atacama Desert.

The most widespread version of the Leopard 2 family, the 2A4 models included more substantial changes, including an automated fire and explosion suppression system, an all-digital fire control system able to handle new ammunition types, and improved turret with flat titanium/tungsten armour.

The Leopard 2s were manufactured in eight batches between 1985 and 1992. All the older models were also upgraded to 2A4 standard. Germany operated a total of 2,125 2A4s (695 new built and the rest modified older versions), while the Netherlands had an additional 445 tanks. The 2A4 was also license manufactured in Switzerland as the Panzer 87 "Leopard" or Pz 87. This version included Swiss-built 7.5 mm Mg 87 machine guns and communications equipment, and featured improved NBC protection system. Switzerland operated 380 Pz 87 tanks.

After the end of the Cold War, Germany and the Netherlands found themselves with large stocks of tanks, which they did not have any need for. These tanks were therefore successfully sold to NATO or friendly armies around the world. Austria (114), Canada (80), Chile (140), Denmark (51), Finland (124), Greece (183), Norway (52), Poland (128), Portugal (37), Singapore (96) Spain (108), Sweden (160), and Turkey (339) were among the buyers of the surplus tanks.

The Pz 87WE (WertErhaltung) is a Swiss modification and upgrade of the Pz 87.[19] The modification significantly improves protection, through the addition of the Leopard 2A6M's mine protection kit, thicker armour on the front glacis, and the turret is equipped with a Swiss-developed armour package that use titanium alloy. The turret roof armour is improved, and the smoke grenade launchers have also been redesigned. Further improvements enhance survivability and combat capability, such as a turret electric drive similar to the Leopard 2A5, a driver rear view camera, a independent weapons station for the loader, and enhanced command and control systems. The fire control system is also upgraded, using the Carl Zeiss Optronics GmbH PERI-R17A2 fire control system. A remote weapons station containing a fully stabilized Mg 64 0.50 calibre machine gun is also fitted to the tank.

The Leopard 2A4CHL is the upgraded Chilean version of the Leopard 2A4 ordered by Chile in 2007. Upgrades include new electronics, sighting and information systems meant to elevate the Leopard 2A4's networking capability to be equal to that of the Leopard 2A6, a new suspension system and the upgrading of the tanks main gun to the L55 smoothbore cannon used on the Leopard 2A6. Other upgrades are remote weapon stations over the gunner and commander hatches fitted with the MG3 and HK GMG. The Leopard 2A4CHL also has improved roof and side turret armour and can be uplinked with Chile's battlefield control network.

Leopard 2A5

The A5 introduced a wedge-shaped spaced add-on armour to the turret front and sides. Though its main function is to defeat a hollow charge attack, the spaced armour is also designed to affect kinetic-energy penetrators by forcing them to change direction and by eroding them in the process; it does not form a shot-trap since it doesn't deflect the penetrators outwards to hit the hull or turret ring. The gun mantle was redesigned to accept the new armour. There were also some improvements in the main armour composition. Tank interior received spall liners to reduce fragments if the armour is penetrated. Side skirts were replaced with a new type. The commander's sight was moved to a new position behind his hatch and it received an independent thermal channel. The gunner's sight was moved to the turret roof as opposed to the cavity in the front armour in previous models. A new heavier sliding driver's hatch was fitted. Turret controls went all-electric, increasing reliability and crew safety, and producing some weight savings. The gun braking system was improved to prepare the later mounting of the new L55 gun and to enable firing of more powerful ammunition, such as the DM-53 APFSDS. The A5 entered service in the German tank battalions in mid-1998.

The Leopard 2(S) is a Swedish Army variant of the Leopard 2A5, which has received the local designation Strv 122. It is based on what was then called "Leopard 2 Improved" and features increased armour on the turret top and front hull, and improved command and control and fire control systems. Externally, the vehicle can be distinguished from the Leopard 2 A5 by the French GALIX smoke dispensers, different storage bins, and the much thicker crew hatches.[20] It's also equipped with a new command system.

The Leopard 2A5 DK is a variant of the Leopard 2A5 similar to the Leopard 2A6 with some small modifications, used by the Danish Army.

Leopard 2A6

German Leopard 2A6M (with turret reversed)
Leopard 2A6HEL of the Hellenic Army in the streets of Athens

Includes the addition of the Rheinmetall 120 mm L55 smoothbore gun and a number of other changes. All German tank battalions of the "crisis intervention forces" are equipped with the A6, as are all Dutch operational units. Canada has also purchased 40 Leopard 2A6s from the Netherlands. These were delivered in 2007.[21]

The Leopard 2A6M is a version of the 2A6 with enhanced mine protection under the chassis, and a number of internal enhancements to improve crew survivability.[22] Canada has borrowed 20 A6Ms from Germany for deployment to Afghanistan in late summer 2007. The new tanks all have turret electric drive.

The Leopard 2A6M CAN is a Canadian variant of the Leopard 2A6M. Significant modifications include distinctive black boxes mounted on the rear of the turret bustle, originally expected to be the new air conditioning unit but instead likely contains Canadian Forces designated communications gear (as they lined up with the new antennae stands),[23] and stand-off slat armour.[24] The first tanks configured in this variant are the twenty tanks loaned from the German Bundeswehr, in an effort to increase firepower and to increase protection given to Canadian troops operating in the south of Afghanistan. The loaner tanks are expected to retain their German MG3 machine guns, while the ex-Dutch tanks are expected to retain their FN MAG machine guns due to commonality with existing Canadian stocks.[25] Due to the loaned status of the first 20 tanks, the air conditioning unit cannot be installed as only minimal changes could be made (crew will wear cooling vests, and the turret's electric drive generates less heat than the hydraulic drive of Canada's older Leopard C2), while the ex-Dutch tanks are expected to receive more extensive modifications.[23] However, the loaned German tanks may be kept by the Canadian Forces and upgraded even further, while the ex-Dutch Leopard A6's may be modified to German Leopard 2A6M's specifications, and be used as restitution for the loaned tanks.[26]

The Leopard 2 Hel is a derivative of the 2A6, ordered by the Greek Army in 2003. The "Hel" stands for "Hellenic". The 170 tanks are to be delivered between 2006 and 2009. A total of 140 will be built in Greece by ELBO, which delivered the first units in late 2006.[27]

The Leopard 2E is a derivative of the 2A6, with greater armour protection,[28] developed under a program of co-production between the defence industries of Spain and Germany. The program was developed within the frame of collaboration decided in 1995 between the Defence Ministries of both countries, in which also was included the cession of use by a period of five years of 108 Leopard 2A4 from the German Army to the Spanish Army. However, this cession was extended up to 2016, and after that those tanks will be the sole property of the Spanish Army, as has been made public on 24 January 2006, then having been paid a total of 15,124,014 euros in ten yearly installments, giving the Spanish co-ownership from 2006. In 1998, the Spanish government agreed to contract 219 tanks of the Leopard 2E line, 16 recovery tanks Leopard 2ER (Bufalo) and 4 training vehicles. They chose Santa Bárbara Sistemas as the main contractor. The program, with a budget of 1,939.4 million Euros, includes also the integrated logistical support, training courses for crew instructors and maintenance engineers and driving, turret, maintenance, aiming and shooting simulators. Deliveries of the first batch began in 2004 and should complete in 2008.

Leopard 2 PSO

Leopard 2PSO, Eurosatory 2006

This new variant Leopard 2 PSO (Peace Support Operations) is designed specially for urban warfare, which had been encountered in peacekeeping operation with increasing frequency. Therefore the Leopard 2 PSO is equipped with more effective all-around protection, a secondary weapons station, improved reconnaissance ability, a bulldozer blade, a shorter gun barrel, non-lethal armament, close-range surveillance ability (through camera systems), a searchlight and further changes to improve its perseverance and mobility, not too dissimilar to the Tank Urban Survival Kit for the American M1A2 Abrams.

Leopard 2 140mm

As the 1990s began, Rheinmetall began developing a 140 mm smoothbore cannon as a future tank cannon. This was intended to counter new developments in Soviet-bloc armoured fighting vehicles, most especially persistent rumours that the next-generation Soviet main battle tank would be armed with either a 135 mm or 152 mm cannon. This program was contemplated as the third stage in the KWS program of modernizing Leopard 2 tanks. KWS I was the replacement of the L44 120 mm cannon with the 55-calibre model, KWS II was a modernization program that became the Leopard 2A5, and KWS III would have replaced the main armament with the new 140 mm cannon. The KWS III was not adopted then, but development continued on the 140 mm weapon system, with Rheinmetall coordinating with Royal Ordnance from the UK and GIAT from France.

Engineering and driver training tanks

BPz3 "Büffel", German Army.
Bergepanzer BPz3 Büffel (Gr. Buffalo)
The BPz3 armoured recovery vehicle (ARV) includes both a bulldozer and a crane with integral winch, allowing it to approach damaged vehicles, even over rough and fought-over terrain, and tow them to safety. It is equipped with a machine gun for local self-defence, a smoke grenade launcher, and NBC protection. Like the tank, it is powered by a 1,500 PS (1,479 hp, 1,103 kW) diesel engine. In service with Germany (where it is also designated Büffel or Bergepanzer 3 for Salvage Tank 3), The Netherlands (who co-developed it and call it Buffel), Austria, Greece, Spain (where it is called Leopard 2ER Bufalo), Sweden (in modified form as the Bgbv 120), Canada, and Switzerland.
Panzerschnellbrücke 2
This vehicle, created by MAN Mobile Bridges GmbH, is an armoured vehicle-launched bridge developed from the Leopard 2 tank chassis. It is designed to carry a folding mobile bridge, which it can "launch" across a river. Once emplaced, the bridge is sturdy enough to support most vehicles, even Leopard tanks. When the crossing is complete, the bridge-layer simply hooks up to the bridge and re-stows it. The Panzerschnellbrücke 2 is currently used only by Germany and the Netherlands, where it is called Bruglegger MLC 70.
Pionierpanzer 3 Kodiak
A combat engineering vehicle, or CEV, conversion of the Leopard 2, the Kodiak is used by Swiss Army, and is on order for the Dutch army and Swedish army.[29] While equipped with a bulldozer, excavator, and dual capstan winches, the Pionierpanzer 3 has no turret but a Remote Weapon Station is fitted. It rides on the Leopard 2 chassis with a built-up forward superstructure. The vehicle is used primarily for clearance of obstacles (including minefields). The Dutch version will have additional bomblet protection for the crew compartments.
Driver Training Tank (Fahrschulpanzer)
The Leopard 2 Driver Training Tank, as the name implies, is a non-combatant Leopard 2 meant to instruct soldiers in the finer points of handling a 60+ ton vehicle. The turret is supplanted by a weighted and fixed observation cab with forward and side-facing windows and a dummy gun. The instructor rides in this cab, with override controls for critical systems, and space is provided for two other students to observe.
Leopard 2R
Heavy mine breaching vehicle developed by Patria for the Finnish Army, based on the Leopard 2A4. A total of ten vehicles were converted. The vehicles are equipped with a mine-plough or a dozer blade, and an automated marking system.[30][31]
Leopard 2L
Armoured vehicle-launched bridge developed by KMW and Patria for the Finnish Army. Ten Finnish 2A4 tanks were re-built to carry the LEGUAN bridge.[30][31]

Operators

Operators of the Leopard 2 are shown in blue.
  •  Austria: The Austrian Army acquired 114 Leopard 2A4s from surplus Dutch stocks plus one turret.
  •  Canada: The Canadian Forces acquired 100 Leopard 2 tanks from the Netherlands (eighty 2A4, twenty 2A6NL) in 2007. Twenty Leopard 2A6M are being borrowed from Germany from mid-2007 to support the Canadian deployment in Afghanistan,[21] with the first tank handed over after upgrading by KMW on August 2, 2007,[22][32] and arriving in Afghanistan on August 16, 2007.[23] Two Bergepanzer 3 Büffel have already been purchased from the German Bundeswehr for use with the current Canadian deployment in Afghanistan.[33] An additional fifteen Leopard 2A4 tanks are being purchased from Germany for spare parts.[34] Current plans are to upgrade the ex-Dutch A6's to German A6M specifications and use them as restitution for the current loaned tanks being used in Afghanistan, while another 20 of the ex-Dutch A4's will be upgraded (configuration yet unknown). Another 40 A4's will be upgraded with the 120 mm L55 gun as found in the A6 and be designated Leopard 2A4+, while another 6 will be converted into armoured recovery vehicles and the remaining 12 will be used for parts.[35]
  •  Chile: The Chilean Army acquired 132 Leopard 2A4s upgraded to the Leopard 2A4CHL standard (plus 8 to be used as spares) from German stocks in 2007.[36]
  •  Denmark: The Danish Army operates 57 Leopard 2A5DK (equal to Leopard 2A6 minus the L55 gun) from German stocks.[37]
  •  Finland: The Finnish Army bought 124 2A4s from surplus German stocks. 20 have been converted into bridge-laying and combat engineering tanks.[38][39] 12 tanks have been disassembled for use as spares and one tank burned and was a total loss, leaving 91 operational tanks.
  •  Germany: The German Army has operated about 2,350 Leopard 2s of all versions. Large numbers have been sold to other countries after the end of the Cold War or placed in storage. Currently some 408 Leopard 2s are in service, of which 225 are Leopard 2A6s. 395 Leopard 2s are planned to remain in service by 2012.[40]
  •  Greece: The Hellenic Army operates 366 Leopard 2s (196 ex-German 2A4s and 170 newly built Leopard 2A6 HEL vehicles)
  •  Netherlands: The Royal Netherlands Army has operated 445 Leopard 2s. Many were sold after the end of the Cold War. Currently the Netherlands Army operates 82 Leopard 2A6s and have an additional 28 Leopard 2A6s in storage plus a damaged hull.
  •  Norway: The Norwegian Army operates 52 ex-Dutch Leopard 2A4s, designated A4NO. The Norwegian Leopards will be upgraded to 2A5 standard.
  •  Poland: The Polish Land Forces operate 128 ex-German Leopard 2A4s.
  •  Portugal: 37 ex-Dutch Leopard 2A6s in service.
  •  Singapore: The Singapore Army acquired a total of 102 ex-German Leopard 2A4s, including 30 spare tanks.[41]
  •  Spain: The Spanish Army operates 327 Leopard 2s (108 ex-German Leopard 2A4s and 219 new-built Leopard 2A6+ (Leopard 2E).
  •  Sweden: The Swedish Army has operated some 280 Leopard 2s (120 Leopard 2(S) or Strv 122) and 160 ex-German Leopard 2A4s (Strv 121)). Only the Strv 122s are still in active service.
  •  Switzerland: The Swiss Army operates 380 2A4s designated Pz 87. 35 of these were bought from Germany while the remaining ones were license manufactured locally.
  •  Turkey: The Turkish Army operates 298 ex-German Leopard 2A4s. Turkey and Germany negotiating another batch of 41.

References

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