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Leopard 2A4 (Front view, left side)

 
 

Front view, left side

Picture courtesy of Army Material Command

 

Danish Army Specific: In 1994 a study was made to find a tank to supersede the Leopard 1. The study recommended purchase of a tank of the Leopard 2A4 type. Due to economy used tanks were preferred, and the Netherlands had some for sale. Before an agreement was made, the tanks were bought by Austria and in 1997 the American M1A1 Abrams came into the picture.
At the same time Germany had a new defence agreement with cut in spendings and started down-sizing their tank fleet.
51 used Leopard 2A4 (all produced between 1980 - 1986) were ordered in Germany in December 1997 worth approx. 780 mil. Danish KR.
The Danish Leopard 2A4 have been up-graded to
A5 standard. This includes add-on armour, "hunter-killer" capacity and preparation for a modern digital command- and-control system.
18 A4 were sent to Denmark in order to be able to train crews and gather information. By the end of June 2000 the first unit was operational with the Leopard 2A4.
The rest remained in storage in Germany, until they could fit into the production line at Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, who had been awarded a contract regarding the up-date to A5 standard.
Historical
: The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei AG, now Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), of Munich, Germany. The Leopard 2 is a successor to the Leopard 1.
The origin of the Leopard 2 began with the joint West German - US programme to develop an advanced tank known as the MBT-70/Kampfpanzer 70. It involved General Motors on the US side and the Deutsche Entwicklungs-Gesellschaft mbH (DEG) consortium on the German side. The consortium was made up of companies like MaK, Rheinstahl-Henschel, Lutherwerke and Krauss-Maffei.
The MBT-70 programme was halted in January 1970, and the two countries went on to develop their own national tank programmes.
After further development of the remains of the MBT-70, Krauss-Maffei was selected as main contractor to produce 17 prototypes. The first prototypes were completed between 1972 and 1974.
Krauss-Maffei was chosen as main contractor and systems manager in September 1977, and a order of 1.800 vehicles was signed. 990 vehicles were to be produced by Krauss-Maffai and the remaining vehicles by MaK in Kiel. Wegmann in Kassel was chosen as turret integrator.
Production of the Leopard started in 1979 with the first handed over to the Bundeswehr in December same year. Nearly 3.000 units have been produced in 8 batches until 1992.
The Leopard 2 developed through production up to model A4. The modifications included maintenance free batteries, new tracks, movement of the central warning light to a new position, new forward sections of the side skirts and the deletion of the left hand side ammunition re-supply hatch.
The eighth and final batch of 75 Leopards were produced between January 1991 and March 1992.
In 1976, an attempt were made to sell the Leopard II to the US and possibly provide a NATO standard tank. The tank was known as the Leopard II AV (Austere Version).
However, the US Army chose the XM-1 tank, today known as the "Abrams".
The German Army is currently updating the Leopard 2 to A5 standard giving it better armour, thermal sight for the commander, all-electric gun control equipment, spall liners in the turret interior etc.
An A6 modification with a longer barrel (L55 120 mm smoothbore gun by Rheinmetall GmbH) and new types of ammunition to increase the firepower has been carried out on currently 225 vehicles.
The Leopard 2 is in service with the armies of Austria (114), Denmark (51), Finland (124), Germany (2.125), Greece (170), the Netherlands (350), Poland (128), Switzerland (380), Sweden (120 A4 (S121) and 120 A5(S) (S 122)) and Spain (108), all figures except Danish approx.
Length: 9.67 m (377 inches (including main armament)).
Width: 3.70 m (144 inches).
Height: 2.79 m (109 inches).
Weight: 55.150 kg (121.475 lb.).
Armour
: Spaced, multi-layer (Chobham).
Engine
: V12-cylinder MTU MB-873-Ka501, 47.600 cm3 (2903 cubic inches), turbo charged, liquid cooled.
Horsepower: 1500 at 2.100 rpm.
Transmission: Renk HSWL 354 gear and break system.
Transfer case: N/A.
Electrical system: 24 volt, negative ground.
Brakes: N/A.
Fording depth:
without preparation: 1.2 m (46 inches).
with deep water fording kit: 4.0 m (156 inches).
Fuel type: Multifuel.
Fuel capacity: 1160 liter (255 gallons).
Range: 550 km (343 miles).
Crew: 4.
Armament: Armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun (L44 by Rheinmetall, Germany) and 2 7.62 mm machine-guns. 27 rounds of 120 mm ammunition are stored in a special magazine in the forward section of the hull, to the left of the driver's station - additional 15 (making a total of 42) are stored in the left side of the turret bustle, and separated from the fighting compartment by an electrically operated door. The gun can fire APFSDS-T (Armour Piercing, Fin Stabilised, Discarding Sabot) and HEAT (High Explosive Anti-Tank) rounds. 2.000 rounds of 7.62 ammunition for the machine guns are carried. 8 smoke dischargers is mounted on each side of the turret.
Additional: The crew compartment is prepared for a fire and explosion detection and suppression system. A fireproof bulkhead separates the fighting compartment from the engine compartment at the rear of the vehicle. Standard equipment includes infra-red and and passive night vision devices, an
NBC-system and heaters for the driver´s and fighting compartments.
The gunner has a dual magnification, stabilised EMES-15 sight with integrated laser range finder, thermal image unit and fire control computer. The gunners picture is transmitted to the commanders periscope, who can control all functions of the fire control system.
The complete powerpack can be removed in 15 minutes for repair or replacement. Top-speed: 72 km/h.

Other members of the family are:
Leopard 2A5 DK (71 kb)
Leopard 2A5 DK, desert (108 kb)


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