Germany considers placing a significant order for new Leopard 2A8 tanks

According to information from Europäische Sicherheit & Technik (European Security & Technology), the 18 Leopard 2A6 tanks provided by Germany to the Ukrainian army are set to be replaced by an equal number of advanced Leopard 2A8 tanks, rather than the previously proposed Leopard 2A7+ models. Germany considers placing a significant order for Leopard 2A8 tanks with the Germany Company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann. 
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The design of the new Leopard 2A8 will be based on the Leopard 2A7 MBT Main Battle Tank for the Hungarian army. (Picture source KMW)

Equipped with a new engine and active protection systems, the Leopard 2A8 will be developed based on the Leopard 2A7HU model. Hungary ordered 44 of these tanks in 2018. The Leopard 2A8 is expected to serve as a stepping stone toward a more advanced version of the tank. The first delivery is expected from around 2025.

The Leopard 2A8 will have several improvements over its predecessor, the Leopard 2A7+ including a new armor package, which provides increased protection against a variety of threats including RPGs and mines. It also will be equipped with improved situational awareness and communications systems, as well as an upgraded fire control system.

According to open source information, the Leopard 2A8 MBT will have advanced protection utilizing spaced 3rd generation composite multilayer armor throughout its structure. This innovative armor includes high-hardness steel, tungsten, plastic filler, and ceramic components, offering exceptional protection for the tank and its crew.

The Leopard 2A8 tank will further enhance its defensive capabilities with the integration of the Rafael Trophy Active Protection System (APS). The Trophy APS, developed by the Israeli defense company Rafael Advanced Defense Systems, is designed to detect and intercept incoming projectiles, providing an additional layer of protection for the tank and its crew.

The Leopard 2A8 will keep the same main armament as the Leopard 2A7+ that consists of one 120mm L55. German company Rheinmetall has engineered the 120mm smoothbore gun, the L55, as a direct replacement for the existing 120mm L44 smoothbore gun, which was the standard armament for all Leopard 2 series main battle tanks (MBTs).

The L55 barrel is 1.30 meters longer than its L44 counterpart, resulting in a substantial increase in muzzle velocity. This enhancement is particularly noticeable when firing the latest Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot-Tracer (APFSDS-T) rounds, which contain more propellant and feature new penetrator designs.

The design of the 120mm L55 barrel allows for a higher pressure load sustained over a longer portion of the barrel compared to the existing L44 barrel. This feature readies the L55 barrel for anticipated future interior ballistics, which are predicted to exhibit a broader maximum pressure rather than the currently observed pressure peak.

Germany considers placing a significant order for new Leopard 2A8 tanks 925 001
The Leopard 2A8 MBT Main Battle Tank will be based on the Leopard 2A7+. (Picture source KMW)

The Leopard 2A8 main battle tank, a next-generation variant of the highly regarded Leopard 2A7+, is set to receive several onboard equipment upgrades that will significantly improve its performance, reconnaissance capabilities, and crew comfort. These enhancements are designed to ensure the Leopard 2A8 remains a formidable force on the battlefield and a top choice for modern armed forces.

The Leopard 2A8 will be equipped with crew compartment cooling systems in both the turret and chassis. These systems will help maintain a comfortable temperature for the crew during long missions and in extreme weather conditions, improving overall operational efficiency and crew endurance.

To support checkpoint missions, the Leopard 2A8 will also feature an additional performance-enhanced power generator. This upgraded generator will provide the necessary power to sustain the tank's various systems during prolonged stationary operations, ensuring mission readiness at all times.

The Leopard 2A8 will include an exterior telephone for dismounted forces, enabling seamless communication between the tank crew and infantry on the ground. This feature will improve coordination and information sharing, resulting in more effective and efficient mission execution.

The tank's driver will benefit from a combined night vision system that integrates a thermal imager and a low-light amplifier for both front and rear views. This advanced system will significantly enhance situational awareness and enable safer navigation in low-light conditions.

Improved optronics, including day/night capabilities, will allow for reconnaissance over great distances, providing critical information on enemy positions and potential threats. This advanced surveillance system will contribute to strategic decision-making and improved battlefield awareness.

The Leopard 2A8 will also incorporate a digitized and multifunctional operator concept, streamlining user interfaces and controls for more intuitive operation. This advanced design will enable tank crews to manage the tank's systems more effectively, enhancing their overall performance.

The command and information system integrated into the Leopard 2A8 will provide real-time data, communication, and coordination capabilities, facilitating efficient and informed decision-making during missions.

Finally, the Leopard 2A8 will be compatible with programmable detonation ammunition, offering increased flexibility and effectiveness in engaging various targets. This advanced ammunition type allows for precise control over detonation timing, maximizing damage and minimizing collateral damage.

In conclusion, the Leopard 2A8 main battle tank is set to receive a range of innovative upgrades, providing a significant boost to its performance, reconnaissance capabilities, and crew comfort. These enhancements demonstrate the ongoing commitment to ensuring the Leopard 2 series remains a top choice for modern armed forces, combining cutting-edge technology with proven battlefield performance.