Leopard 2A4 MBT
Main Battle Tank - Germany
The Leopard 2A4 is a German-made main battle tank designed and manufactured by the Company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, the successor of the main battle tank Leopard 1. The version Leopard 2A4 constitutes the basis of today’s Leopard family. In 1977, the German Army selected Krauss-Maffei as the prime contractor for the series production of the Leopard 2 and placed an order, with options, for 1,800 MBTs, 990 of which were to be built by Krauss-Maffei and the remaining 810 by Rheinmetall. The first preproduction Leopard 2 MBT was delivered to the German Army late in 1978 for training. The first production Leopard 2 was handed over by Krauss-Maffei in October 1979 in Munich. Six tanks were delivered in 1979, 100 in 1980, 220 in 1981 and by 1982 production was running at 300 a year. The Leopard 2 is in service with Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, and Turkey, with a total of 3,200 vehicles. Citing information published on May 20, 2002, the Czech Republic confirms the donation by Germany of Leopard 2A4 tanks in exchange for T-72 MBTs for Ukraine. On June 5, 2022, Spain announced the delivery of 40 Leopard 2A4 tanks to Ukraine. On November 15, 2022, German company Rheinmetall announced the supply of Leopard 2A4 to Slovakia. On December 19, 2022, the Slovak Ministry of Defense received the first Leopard 2A4 tank from Germany. On January 26, 2023, Canada announced the delivery to Ukraine of four Leopard 2A4 tanks coming from their military inventory.
Leopard 2 main variants:
- Leopard 2: the first version of the tank
- Leopard 2A1: A number of minor modifications and the installation of the gunner's thermal sight, new ammunition racks.
- Leopard 2A2: New thermal sight, deflector plate for the periscope and a large cover plate to protect the existing NBC protection system.
- Leopard 2A3: 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.
- Leopard 2A4: 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 an improved turret with flat titanium/tungsten armor.
- Leopard 2A5: The A5 introduced wedge-shaped, spaced add-on armor to the turret front and the frontal area of the sides. There were also some improvements in the main armor composition. The tank interior received spall liners to reduce fragments if the armor is penetrated. The frontal "heavy" third of the side skirts were replaced with a new, stronger type.
- Leopard 2A6: Includes the addition of the Rheinmetall 120 mm L55 smoothbore gun and a number of other changes. 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.
- Leopard 2PSO: designed especially for urban warfare, which had been encountered in peacekeeping operations 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.
- Leopard 2A6EX: A further development of the Leopard 2A6, the private venture Leopard 2A6 EX has been developed for the export market and has a number of additional improvements including an auxiliary power unit, air conditioning unit, and improved armor protection.
- Leopard 2A7: is designed to operate in low-intensity conflicts as well as in high-intensity conflicts. The tank's protection has been increased by modular armor; the frontal protection has been improved with a duel-kit on the turret and hull front, while 360° protection against RPGs and mine protection increase the survivability of the tank in urban operations. It can fire programmable HE munitions and the turret mounted MG3 has been replaced with a stabilized FLW 200 remotely controlled weapon station. The mobility, sustainability, and situational awareness have also been improved.
The Leopard 2A4 is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun which has been developed by Rheinmetall and fires two types of ammunition, APFSDS-T, and HEAT-MP-T. The APFSDS-T has an effective range of over 2,000 m and the HEAT-MP-T has a high degree of effectiveness against both soft and hard targets. Both fin-stabilized rounds have a semi-combustible cartridge case with a metal base stub which is ejected into a box under the breech. The Leopard 2A4 carries a total of 42 rounds of ammunition with 27 27 stored to the left of the driver, 15 in the left side of the turret bustle, and separated from the fighting compartment by an electrically driven door. A 7.62mm coaxial machine gun is mounted to the left side of the main armament and one 7.62mm machine gun is to the hatch of the loader. Two banks of four 76mm smoke grenade dischargers are mounted to each side of the turret. The Leopard 2A4 is fitted with a computerized fire control which has a maximum range of 10,000 m with a measuring accuracy to within 20 m at this range. The combined system allows the Leopard 2A4 to engage moving targets at ranges of up to 5,000 meters whilst itself being on the move over rough terrain with the latest modern ammunition.
|Design and protection|
The hull of the Leopard 2A4 has spaced multilayer armor and is divided into three compartments: driver at the front, fighting in the center, and power pack at the rear. Some variants of the Leopard 2A4 are equipped with add-on armor to increase the protection of the crew against mines and improvised explosive devices. The driver is located at the front right side. The turret is mounted at the center of the hull with the commander and gunner on the right and the loader on the left. The commander is provided with a circular hatch cover that opens to the rear and periscopes for all-round observation. The loader is seated on the left side of the turret and has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear and a single-day observation periscope.
|The Leopard 2A4 is motorized with an MTU MB 873 diesel engine, which provides 1,103 kW of engine output. The MTU MB 873 diesel engine is a four-stroke, 47.6 liters, 12-cylinder multi-fuel, exhaust turbo-charged, liquid-cooled engine. The Leopard 2A can run at a maximum road speed of 72 km with a maximum cruising range of 550 km. The torsion bars suspension of Leopard 2A4 consists on each side of seven dual rubber-tired road wheels with the idler at the front, the drive sprocket at the rear, and four track-support rollers. The tank is able to negotiate a slope of up to 60% and a side slope to 30%.|
|Standard equipment on the Leopard 2A4 includes a power pack preheating, crew compartment heater, a fire extinguishing system, electric bilge pumps, and an escape hatch in the hull floor behind the driver. The Leopard 2A4 is also equipped with an NBC over-pressurization system which provides up to 4 mbar (0.004 kp/cm2) over-pressure inside the vehicle. The Leopard 2A4 can ford depth water of 4 meters maximum deep using a snorkel or 1.2 meters without any preparation and climb vertical obstacles over 1.1m.|
|One 120mm L55 smoothbore gun, one coaxial 7.62mm machine gun and one anti-aircraft 7.62 mm on the top of the loader hatch||Standard spaced multilayer armor, improved armor protection over the front turret and turret interior has been fitted with spall liners|
|Austria, Canada, Chile, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, Slovakia, Spain, and Turkey||62,000 kg combat condition|
|Germany||72 km/h maximum road speed|
|Infrared night vision, NBC protection system.||500 km|
|4||Length: 7.70 m; Width: 3.70 m; Height: 3.00 m|
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