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
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
includes add-on armour, "hunter-killer"
capacity and preparation for a modern digital command-
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
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
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
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 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
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.
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).
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
Leopard 2A5 DK (71 kb)
Leopard 2A5 DK, desert (108 kb)