View Full Version : The Leopard II A6 - The Best Tank in Service Today

Monday, November 17th, 2008, 05:42 AM
The Leopard II Main battle tank forms the backbone of European panzer forces and is operated by nearly every country in Europe exept (of course) France and Britain.

The following countries operate the Leopard II in varying configurations.


Austria: Austrian Army acquired 114 Leopard 2A4s from surplus Dutch stocks plus one turret.

Chile: Chilean Army acquired 132 Leopard 2A4s (plus 8 to be used as spares) from German stocks in 2007.[27]

Canada: Canadian Forces acquired 100 Leopard 2 tanks from the Netherlands (eighty 2A4, twenty 2A6NL) in 2007. Twenty Leopard 2A6M are being borrowed from Germany in mid-2007 to support the Canadian deployment in Afghanistan,[28] with the first tank handed over after upgrading by KMW on August 2, 2007,[29][19] and arriving in Afghanistan on August 16, 2007.[20] 2 Bergepanzer BPz3 Büffels have been already purchased from the German Bundeswehr for use with the current Canadian deployment in Afghanistan.[30] An additional fifteen Leopard 2A4 tanks are being purchased from Germany for spare parts.[31] Current plans are to upgrade the ex-Dutch A6's to German A6M specifications and use them as restitution for the current loaned tanks being used in Afghanistan, while another 20 of the ex-Dutch A4's will be upgraded (configuration yet unknown). Another 40 A4's will be upgraded with the 120 mm L55 gun as found in the A6 and be designated Leopard 2A4+, while another 6 will be converted into armoured recovery vehicles and the remaining 12 will be used for parts.[32]

Denmark: Danish Army operates 57 Leopard 2A5DK (equal to Leopard 2A6 minus the L55 gun) from German stocks.[33]

Finland: Finnish Army bought 124 2A4s from surplus German stocks. 20 have been converted into bridge-laying and combat engineering tanks.[34][35] 12 tanks have been disassembled for use as spares and one tank burned and was a total loss, leaving 91 operational tanks.

Germany: Bundeswehr, German Army has operated about 2,350 Leopard 2s of all versions. Large numbers have been sold to other countries after the end of the Cold War. Currently some 408 Leopard 2s are in service. 395 Leopard 2s are planned to remain in service by 2012.[36]

Greece: Hellenic Army operates 366 Leopard 2s (196 ex-German 2A4s and 170 new-built Leopard 2A6 HEL)

ARoyal Netherlands Army has operated 445 Leopard 2s. Many were sold after the end of the Cold War. Currently the Netherlands Army operates 82 Leopard 2A6s and have an additional 28 Leopard 2A6s in storage plus a damaged hull.

Norway: Norwegian Army operates 52 ex-Dutch Leopard 2A4s, designated
A4NO. The Norwegian Leopards will be upgraded to 2A5 standard.

Poland: Polish Land Forces operates 128 ex-German Leopard 2A4s.

Portugal: Portuguese Army has acquired 37 ex-Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2A6 for the Santa Margarida Mechanized Brigade.[37]

Singapore: Singapore Army has acquired 66 ex-German Leopard 2A4s. An additional 30 have been ordered to be used as spares.[38]There may be a follow-on order for 36 more 2A4s.

Spain: Spanish Army operates 327 Leopard 2s (108 ex-German Leopard 2A4s and 219 new-built Leopard 2A6+ (Leopard 2 E).

Sweden: Swedish Army has operated some 280 Leopard 2s (120 Leopard 2(S) (Strv 122) and 160 ex-German Leopard 2A4s (Strv 121)). Only the Strv 122s are still in active service.
Switzerland: Swiss Army operates 380 2A4s designated Pz 87. 35 of these were bought from Germany while the remaining ones were license manufactured locally.
Turkey: Turkish Army operates 298+41 on order ex-German Leopard 2A4s.

Hauke Haien
Monday, November 17th, 2008, 05:45 AM
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Monday, November 17th, 2008, 06:06 AM
Fun fact=
The Rheinmetall 120mm main armament used on the leopard II is the gun that the US M1- Abrams tank is mounted with.

The Leopard 2 is the principal main battle tank (MBT ) in service with the German army and several other European countries. It is among the most modern MBTs in the world and has several variants.
The Leopard 2 is a highly regarded blend of firepower, protection and mobility. The Rheinmetall 120-mm smoothbore main armament is powerful and reliable and has been adopted for the U.S. M1A1 and A2 as the M256 . The computerized fire control system is sophisticated and expensive. The Leopard 's protection includes Chobham composite armor that is thought to be the equal of any Western tank. Taken together, the armor and the larger gun have resulted in 30 percent increase in the tank's weight over the earlier Leopard 1 (a tank of similar size, see separate record for details).

Unlike the M1 (which has a gas turbine), but like most other modern MBTs, the Leopard 2 has a high-horsepower diesel engine that has the advantages of maturity and, at least initially, greater reliability. The Leopard 2's powerpack was originally designed for the German prototype of the MBT -70. The Leopard 2's mobility is manifested in its high power-to-weight ratio and road speed and relatively low ground pressure. The only limitation on the Leopard 2's mobility is its relatively heavy weight, which restricts the number of bridges it can cross.

The hull, made up of spaced multilayer armor, is divided up into three sections: the driver's compartment in front; the fighting compartment in the center; and the engine compartment in the rear. The driver sits at the front right of the vehicle with a single-piece hatch cover opening to the right with three periscopes. The center periscope can be replaced with a passive night sight. To the left of the driver is an ammunition storage area.

Mounted in the center of the vehicle, the turret houses the loader (seated on the left), commander and driver (both seated on the right). A PERI-R17A1 stabilized panoramic periscope is mounted to the front of the commander's hatch and has a 360-degree traverse with 2x and 8x magnification. The gunner uses an EMES-15 dual-magnification stabilized sight with integrated laser rangefinder and thermal imaging unit. A FERO-Z18 8x magnification telescope serves as an auxiliary gunner's sight. The commander can see the picture transmitted from the gunner's EMES-15 in his own PERI-R17 sight and can also slave the weapon functions to his own controls. The turret in the Leopard 2A4 and earlier versions uses a hydraulic traverse system.

The loader has a single-piece hatch cover and a single observation periscope. Ammunition is stored in different places in the vehicle, with 27 rounds stored to the left of the driver and 15 to the left side of the turret bustle, separated from the fighting compartment by an electric door. The bustle is designed to explode upwards if it is hit.

The 120-mm Rheinmetall main gun is fully azimuth and elevation stabilized, firing armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) and high explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds. A fire control computer calculates lateral angle lead and angle of sight for the main armament, taking into account target distance, direction of motion, the ballistic characteristics of specific ammunition and the angle of tilt of the vehicle. Combined with the sights, the Leopard 2 is capable of engaging targets under camouflage, in bad weather or at night.

To the rear, the engine compartment is separated from the center compartment by a fireproof bulkhead.

Improvements to the L-2 A6 , The L-2 A6M