The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s for the West German Army.
About this creation
The Leopard 2 first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army. Various versions have served in the armed forces of Germany and twelve other European countries, as well as several non-European nations.
Photos by Bernard Zee
The Leopard 2A5 features digital fire control systems with laser rangefinders, a fully stabilized main gun and coaxial machine gun, and advanced night vision and sighting equipment. The tank also has the ability to engage moving targets while moving over rough terrain.
The Leopard 2 uses spaced, multi-layered composite armour throughout the design. The Leopard 2A5 and A6 models have additional armour added to the turret front, and on the hull and side skirts. Estimated levels of protection for the Leopard 2 range from 590 - 690 RHAe on the turret, 600 RHAe on the glacis and lower front hull on the Leopard 2A4, to 920 - 940 RHAe on the turret, 620 RHAe on the glacis and lower front hull on the Leopard 2A6 against kinetic projectiles. The mine-protected Leopard 2A4M and 2A6M adds an additional mine protection plate for the belly, which increases protection against mines and improvised explosive devices. All Leopard 2 variants after the Leopard 2A6 include spall liners on the inside of the tank, protecting the crew. The Leopard 2A6M CAN increases protection against rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs) by including additional slat armor. The Leopard is also NBC protected.
The primary armament for production versions of the Leopard 2 is the Rheinmetall 120 mm smoothbore gun, in either the L44 variant, or the L55 variant. 27 rounds of the main gun ammunition are stored in a special magazine in the forward section of the hull, to the left of the driver's station, with an additional 15 rounds stored in the left side of the turret bustle, and separated from the fighting compartment by an electrically operated door. If the ammunition storage area is hit, a blow-off panel in the turret roof would direct an explosion upwards away from the crew compartment.
The gun is fully stabilized, and can fire a variety of types of rounds, such as the German DM33 APFSDS-T anti-tank round, which is said to be able to penetrate 560 millimeters of steel armour at a range of 2,000 meters and the German DM12 multipurpose anti-tank projectile (MPAT). For the L55 gun, a newer APFSDS-T round was introduced to take advantage of the longer barrel, the DM-53, which is said to be able to penetrate in excess of 810 mm of RHAe armour at a range of 2,000 meters.
The A5 introduced a wedge-shaped, spaced add-on armour to the turret front and the frontal area of the sides. These armour modules defeat a hollow charge prior to reaching the base armour. The spaced armour is also designed to affect kinetic-energy penetrators by forcing them to change direction and eroding them in the process; it does not form a shot-trap since it doesn't deflect the penetrators outwards to hit the hull or turret ring. The gun mantlet was redesigned to accept the new armour. There were also some improvements in the main armour composition. The tank interior received spall liners to reduce fragments if the armour is penetrated. The frontal "heavy" third of the side skirts was replaced with a new, stronger type. The commander's sight was moved to a new position behind the hatch and it received an independent thermal channel. The gunner's sight was moved to the turret roof as opposed to the cavity in the front armour in previous models.
The standard fire control system found on the Leopard 2 is the German EMES-15 fire control system with a dual magnification stabilized primary sight. The primary sight has an integrated Neodymium Yttrium Aluminium Garnet (Nd:YAG) solid state laser rangefinder and a 120 element cadmium mercury telluride, CMT Zeiss thermal sight which are both linked to the tank's fire control computer. A backup 8x auxiliary telescope FERO-Z18 is mounted coaxially for the gunner. The commander has an independent periscope, the Rheinmetall/Zeiss PERI-R 17 A2. The PERI-R 17 A2 is a stabilised panoramic periscope sight designed for day/night observation and target identification, and it provides an all round view with a traverse of 360°.
Below are the two Leopard tanks at the museum I work at.
The Leopard is currently the most modern vehicle in the collection
The hatch is too small to fit a person through, I can only surmise it's for loading and unloading ammo.
The other Leopard, which sports a woodland camouflage scheme.
Rearview mirrors. Where's the turn signal?
Weight - 62.3 tons
Length - 9.97 m (gun forward)
Width - 3.75 m
Height - 3.0 m
Crew - 4
Armour - 2A6: 3rd generation composite; including high-hardness steel, tungsten and plastic filler with ceramic component.
Main armament - 1 x 120 mm Rheinmetall L55 smoothbore gun w/42 rounds
Secondary armament - 2 x 7.62 mm MG3A1 w/4,750 rounds
Engine - MTU MB 873 Ka-501 liquid-cooled V-12 Twin-turbo diesel engine w/1,479 hp
Fuel capacity - 1,200 liters
Range - 550 km
Speed - 72 km/h
A fantasic creation, I just love it. Keep up the good work
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'US army' catargory they are all fantasic models and I would love to
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