The latest variant of the most successful family of tanks in Europe, Leopard 2, was designed before the end of the Cold War. It is no coincidence that the characteristically angular design of the A4 variant reminds its fans of the legendary Tiger heavy tank of World War II: strong armour protection and a highly accurate, efficient main gun characterize the type, which is now stationed in Tata as well.
CATEGORY: main battle tank
MANUFACTURER: Krauss-Maffei Wegmann/Rheinmetall
DATE OF PRESENTATION: 1985
CREW: 4 (driver, gunner, loader, commander)
The MBT-70, developed jointly with the U.S. military, was planned to replace the Leopard 1 tanks, tremendously successful not only in the German army but in the forces of several other countries too. After the failure of the program – using some of its elements – the first prototype of Leopard 2 was built in 1971. After gaining experience with the prototypes, series production of Wegmann’s Leopard 2 with a new turret began in 1979 and soon the tank appeared in large numbers in German armoured units. Its further development was continuous, so in 1982 the A1, in 1984 the A2, and at the end of 1984 the A3 started coming off from the production lines. Although the largest number built was the A4 variant, introduced in 1985, a number of older versions were also converted to the new A4 with a turret with reinforced armour, digital fire control and communication system, and automatic fire extinguishing equipment. It should be noted that under license Switzerland produced 380 pieces of the type codenamed Panzer 87 “Leopard”.
The excellence of Leopard 2A4s is underpinned by the fact that serious modernization programs have been developed and implemented in many countries, thus extending their service life, and thoroughly increasing their attack and defence capabilities.
It is provided by composite Chobham steel-ceramic armour with perpendicular flat armour plates at the turret. Inside the turret an anti-shrapnel layer is mounted. On either side of the turret with reinforced armour on the front and sides, there are 8 smoke-grenade launchers. The tank has a CBRN protection system (filters and an insulated, pressurized interior), and an automatic fire extinguisher.
Krupp-Atlas EMES-15 digital fire control system, FERO-Z18 optical aiming system, PERI-R 17 A2 panoramic periscope for the commander.
Mounted in the back of the hull is a 1,500-horsepower (1,103 kW) MTU MB873-Ka501, 12-cylinder, 47,600 cc, turbocharged diesel engine and a Renk HSWL 354 hydrodynamic power shift.
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Author: Trautmann Balázs (honvedelem.hu)