2/22/13

Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank

The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei  in the early 1970s for the West German Army. The tank 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. More than 3,480 Leopard 2s have been manufactured. The Leopard 2 first saw combat in Kosovo with the German Army and has also seen action in Afghanistan with the Danish and Canadian contributions to the  International Security Assistance Force.

Construction of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann's Leopard 2

The hull comes in three sections: 1) driving compartment at the front 2) fighting section in the centre and 3) the engine at the rear of the vehicle.
The driver's compartment is equipped with three observation periscopes. Space to the left of the driver is provided for ammunition stowage. A camera with a 65° horizontal and vertical field of view positioned at the rear of the vehicle and a television monitor provide a reversing aid for the driver.
The turret is located in the centre of the vehicle. There is an improvement programme which provides third-generation composite armour and additional reinforcement to the turret frontal and lateral armour, with externally mounted add-on armour modules. In the event of weapon penetration through the armour, the spall liner reduces the number of fragments and narrows the fragment cone. The spall liner also provides noise and thermal insulation. The reinforcement provides protection against multiple strikes, kinetic energy rounds and shaped charges.

Fire control capabilities of the main battle tank

The commander's station has an independent periscope, a PERI-R 17 A2 from Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (formerly STN Atlas Elektronik) and Zeiss Optronik. PERI-R 17 A2 is a stabilised panoramic periscope sight for day / night observation and target identification, which provides an all round view with a traverse of 360°. The thermal image from the commander's periscope is displayed on a monitor.
The PERI-R17 A2 can also be used for weapon firing as it is slaved into the tank's fire control system. The image from the gunner's thermal sight can also be transmitted to the commander's PERI-R17 periscope so the commander can switch the gunner's video image to the commander's monitor. This enables the commander and the gunner to have access to the same field of view of the combat range.
The gunner's station is equipped with a Rheinmetall Defence Electronics EMES 15 dual magnification stabilised primary sight. The primary sight has an integrated laser rangefinder and a Zeiss Optronik thermal sight, model WBG-X, which are both linked to the tank's fire control computer.
The thermal sight uses standard US Army common modules, with 120 element cadmium mercury telluride, CdHgTe (also known as CMT) infra-red detector array operating in the eight to 14 micron waveband. The infra-red detector unit is cooled with a Stirling closed-cycle engine.
The sight is fitted with a CE628 laser rangefinder from Zeiss Optronik. The laser is a Neodinium Yttrium Aluminium Garnet, (Nd:YAG) solid state laser.
The rangefinder can provide up to three range values in four seconds. The range data is transmitted to the fire control computer and is used to calculate the firing algorithms. Also, because the laser rangefinder is integrated into the gunner's primary sight, the gunner can read the digital range measurement directly. The maximum range of the laser rangefinder is less than 10,000m with accuracy to within 20m.

Main armaments and weapons equipped to Leopard 2

A new smoothbore gun, the 120mm L55 Gun, was developed by Rheinmetall Waffe Munition of Ratingen, Germany, to replace the shorter 120mm L44 smoothbore tankgun on the Leopard 2. The extension of the barrel length from calibre length 44 to calibre length 55 results in a greater portion of the available energy in the barrel being converted into projectile velocity increasing the range and armour penetration.

The L55 smoothbore gun, equipped with a thermal sleeve, a fume extractor and a muzzle reference system, is compatible with current 120mm ammunition and new high penetration ammunition.
As a result of tactical requirements, Rheinmetall Waffe Munition developed the improved kinetic energy ammunition known as LKE 2 DM53. With the DM53 round the L55 gun can fire to a range of 5,000m. The effect of the kinetic energy projectile on an enemy target is achieved by 1) the penetrator length and projectile mass and the impact velocity and 2) interaction between the projectile and the target.
The penetrator material is heavy tungsten powder in a monoblock structure. The improved kinetic energy ammunition has higher muzzle energy and recoil forces. Especially when using the new DM 53 KE round, the L55 enables an (approx) 30% increase in performance compared with conventional systems. For example, a muzzle velocity can be achieved in excess of 1,750m/s.
Leopard 2 is equipped with a land navigation system from the company LITEF of Bonn, Germany, which is a subsidiary of Northrop Grumman (formerly Litton) of USA. The hybrid navigation system consists of a global positioning system (GPS) and an inertial navigation system.

KMW's MBT Leopard 2 support systems and tank engine

A programme has been put in place to replace the H-WNA improved hydraulic system with E-WNA which is an electrical weapon follow-up system. The replacement with the E-WNA provides the following advantages: 1) the turret has no pressurised hydraulic fluid 2) lower noise level and lower power consumption and heat generation 3) improved reliability and lower maintenance and service requirements 4) saving in operating costs and 5) good long term storage properties.
The crew compartment is equipped with a fire and explosion detection and suppression system which has been licensed by the company Deugra Ges. fur Brandschutzsysteme of Ratingen, Germany, from the UK company Kidde-Graviner of Slough, Berkshire. A fireproof bulkhead separates the fighting compartment from the engine compartment at the rear of the vehicle.
The engine is the MTU MB 873 diesel engine, providing 1,100kW (1,500shp), with a Renk HSWL 354 gear and break system. An enhanced version of the EuroPowerPack, with a 1,210kW (1,650shp) MTU MT883 engine, has been trialed on the Leopard 2.