Leopard 2

Overview

Leopard 2

Although it might share some parts with its predecessor, it would be a mistake to regard this tank as a modified and improved version of it. It is in fact a completely different, and one must say, totally superior vehicle.

The main armament is the 120mm smoothbore weapon, by which all other main armaments in the West are judged. The vehicle is superbly mobile thanks to its suspension and high power-to-weight ratio. The armour is spaced multi layer, of the British Chobham type. Some of the rounds for the main gun are stored in the turret bustle, not usually good practice, but they are separated by an electric door with blow off panels in the roof, in case of a hit.

A thermal sight of the EMES 15 type found on the later Leopard I is fitted. These types of sights give Western designs a significant edge in ability to engage ‘blind’ through smoke or at night, and are passive in operation.

Armour protection is vastly improved over the Leopard I, both in coverage and effectiveness. The sub variant Leopard 2 A5 has even better spaced protection on the front of the turret and as a consequence is some 4 ¾ tons heavier than preceding tanks, (58 ¾ tons against 54). Significant sales have been made to other countries. As a matter of interest, the engine was developed for the aborted MBT -70, yet another example of the failure of European nations to co-operate in tank design.

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