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Leopard 2 Battle tank - Users

When the armies of the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Sweden assessed Leopard2, M1A1/A2, Leclerc, Challenger 2, and T80U (Sweden assessed all tanks, the Netherlands and Switzerland only the first two) against their national requirements, in all cases, Leopard 2 came out No. 1, M1A1/A2 No. 2. Offset is a very serious factor in any contest. The Swiss announced, on 24 August 1983, that they were acquiring 210 German Leopard-2 tanks, after three years of testing and evaluating both the US M1 tank and the Leopard-2 tank. Among the reasons for choosing the Leopard-2 tank were availability date of 1984 versus 1986 for M1, greater participation in co-production combined with lower overall total cost, and the fact that the Leopard-2 "speaks German."

Germany

The Bundeswehr was due to take over leadership of NATO's multinational Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) at the start of 2019, but didn't have enough tanks. Specifically, the Bundeswehr's ninth tank brigade in Mnster only has nine operational Leopard 2 tanks even though it promised to have 44 ready for the VJTF and only three of the promised 14 Marder armored infantry vehicles. The reason for this shortfall was a lack of spare parts and the high cost and time needed to maintain the vehicles.

The readiness rate of the Leopard 2 remained constant at above 70%, due to the fact that not all Leopard 2s were currently in the German Army's units (and instead being upgraded or maintained). This corresponds to 115 combat ready tanks - or 44% of the total inventory of 263 tanks. It is worth nothing that in 2019 a total of 107 out of 244 Leopard 2 tanks were combat ready. The increased total inventory (19 more tanks than in 2019) showed that the upgrade of old Leopard 2A4 tanks to the new 2A7V standard had started (and hence they were all at KMW's & Rheinmetall's facilities).

Canada

Since May 2007, the Canadians found success in their efforts to incorporate their Leopard tanks duringt operations in Afghanista. The Commanding Officer of the Patricias Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group Lieutenant Colonel Omer Lavoie was quoted as saying "If youd asked me 5 months ago, do you need tanks to fight insurgents? I would have said No your nuts, But because the Taliban are acting conventionally, the conventional assets like tanks, armored engineering vehicles and armored bridge laying vehicles certainly have their place here."

Canadian tests in 2007 suggested that without mitigation of the heat stress, the warmest days in the Kandahar region of Afghanistan would likely render Leopard crew members as operationally impaired within 1-2 hours, and heat casualties soon thereafter. The technology review indicated that the most viable solution in the available timelines involved a powered active-cooling system capable of delivering a continuous and constant 150W of cooling to each crew member. The LCG evaluated in this trial can mitigate the heat stress to the extent that crew members would likely be able to at least double their operationally effective duration when outside temperature is as high as 44C. In the more frequently encountered 35C conditions, crew should be able to avoid debilitating heat strain for at least 3-5 hours.

Finlnd

The Leopard 2A4 main battle tank (Msn was first presented at the Armoured Brigade, Parolannummi in May 2003. Leopards replaced the old Russian-made MBTs. Conscript training with the new tanks began in 2005. Combat simulators are used in conscript training. They allow simulated opposed combat exercises. Personal equipment sensors register possible hits.

Poland

In February 2016 Poland awarded the Dsseldorf-based Group a contract for overhauling 128 Leopard 2 MBTs. In cooperation with Polands Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ) and ZM Bumar-Labedy S.A., Rheinmetall would serve as a strategic partner, supplying crucial key capabilities, including electronics and weapon technology. The project represented roughly 220 million in sales volume for Rheinmetall.

During the course of modernization, the 128 Leopard 2 A4 main battle tanks purchased in 2002 by the Polish Army from surplus Bundeswehr stocks will be upgraded to Leopard 2 PL standard, which corresponds to the German Leopard 2 A5 and A6. Following Canada and Indonesia, Poland is now the third Leopard user nation to turn to Rheinmetall as the technology partner of choice for a major modernization programme. Besides the Bundeswehr, the armed forces of 17 countries now have Leopard 2 tanks in their inventories.

Rheinmetalls willingness to share technology and operate in tandem with local industry proved decisive in prompting the Polish government to select Rheinmetall as its strategic partner. For Poland, the contract will mean the creation of highly skilled jobs as well as obtaining valuable defence technology know-how.

On 28 December 2015, the Armament Inspectorate of the Polish armed forces awarded PGZ (as general contractor) and ZM Bumar-Labedy S.A. (as integrator) a contract to upgrade the combat effectiveness of the Leopard 2 A4. Rheinmetall played a key role in preparing the upgrade package, having already established itself as a strategic partner by this point. Just signed, the contract lays out the details of Rheinmetalls role in the modernization package.

Singapore

Singapore, which bought 102 Leopard 2A4 tanks between 2006 and 2009, has upgraded them with Advanced Modular Armor Protection (AMAP), a modular composite armor produced by the German firm IBD Deisenroth Engineering. Since 2010, Singapore's Leopard 2A4 MBTs had been upgraded and are now known as the Leopard 2SG.

The Singapore Armed Forces operated a fleet of some 350 French AMX-13 light tanks with 75mm guns. Originally designed to be air-portable for supporting paratroop operations, they entered service with the Singapore Army in 1969. They were extensively refurbished to the AMX-13 SM-1 standard by ST Kinetics, a local defence company, in 1988. They served their purpose over four decades and reached their end-of-life / end-of-type. The Leopard 2A4 was supposed to replace the ageing AMX-13s. The SAF had also been operating the British made Centurion MBT for many years out of foreign bases. According to Wikipedia, Singapore had acquired a total of 63 Centurion Mk3 and Mk7 from India in 1975 and subsequently from Israel in 1993 & 94 as well. They have been upgraded with new guns and engines with the help of the Israelis and are known as the Tempest MBT.

In October 2007, the first batch of SAF commanders were sent on a two-month course in Germany to understand the technical aspects of the Leopard 2A4 MBT, and how they are employed in operations. Subsequently, these commanders customised a full set of training modules for the local terrain. These instructors are now responsible for developing a crew of proficient MBT operators. This includes training the operators using a simulator before they begin to operate the actual MBT. The first batch of MBT operators from the 48th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment (48 SAR), graduated this September. In the coming months, these Full-Time National Servicemen crews will be trained in MBT fighting doctrines at the platoon- and company-level.

In acquiring the Leopard 2A4, the SAF gains a considerable capability upgrade in a value for money deal. An initial 66 Leopard 2A4s were bought together with 30 as spares, and subsequently 36 more were added. These 102 Leopards will form the backbone of the 48 SAR ( 48th Battalion, Singapore Armoured Regiment ) based at Sungei Gedong Camp. The 2A4s lack the up-armored sloping turrets commonly seen in more advanced versions like the 2A5 and also sport a shorter version of the 120mm main gun. They are still potent main battle tanks.





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Page last modified: 30-06-2021 12:04:31 ZULU