PhotogaleriesLEOPARD 1 MBT gallery 2 2022-09-20 Javier (German Leopard 1A2 image). During production of the Leopard 1A2 it was decided to change the driver’s active infrared sight to a passive light intensifier for night action. It was also necessary to mount an auxiliary light to complement the intensifier, since on nights of total darkness it could not work, as it needed a minimum of light, normally provided by the stars or the moon. German Leopard 1A2s were in service until 1992 when they were phased out. (German Leopard 1A2A1 image). Although the A2 variant received no protection upgrades with the Blohm & Voss armor installation, it did receive various upgrades during its career. This gave rise to 3 sub variants designated Leopard 1A2A1, A2A2 and A2A3. The A2A1 carried the PZB-200 image intensifier, the A2A2 received SEM 80/90 digital radios, and the A2A3 had all the features of the previous two sub-variants. (German Leopard 1A3 image). In 1973, when about 130 Leopard 1A2s had been produced, Blohm & Voss designed a new turret made of welded plates due to the difficulty of casting large parts. Thus, the last 110 vehicles of the fifth batch were delivered in the A3 variant with RHA welded turrets and spaced armor. In addition, the driver’s periscopes were changed to a movable one. From this variant, only angular type turrets like these were made. The hull, on the other hand, did not have any type of modification, being similar to that of the A2 variant. (German Leopard 1A4 image). From 1974 to 1976 another 250 new battle tanks belonging to the sixth batch requested by the Bundeswehr were built. These tanks were of the A4 variant and the main improvement consisted in the installation of a new fire control computer derived from the Leopard 2 program. This computer analyzed the distance to the target along with various ballistic parameters to point the gun at the correct angle. This greatly increased the first-round-hit capability. The EMES 12A1 optical rangefinder was retained, and together with the new fire control computer the time from target acquisition to target engagement was greatly reduced. (German Leopard 1A4 image). Another modification of the Leopard 1A4 consisted of installing new controls for the loader, which from that moment on was the one that had to put in the computer what type of ammunition was going to be used. Also added was the new PERI R-12 periscope for the commander, with which he could quickly and efficiently transfer targets to the gunner. With this new device, the commander could more easily control the targets to beat. It also had an infrared channel that greatly improved night combat capabilities. (German Leopard 1A4 image). The A4s received minimal modifications to the hull and an automatic gearbox control was installed. Due to the installation of new electronic equipment, the amount of ammunition had to be reduced to 55 rounds, 42 of which were stored in the hull magazine next to the driver. This variant was the last built for Germany and at the time it carried one of the most advanced fire control systems in the world. Later this system was used to develop the one installed in the new Leopard 2 battle tank. (German Leopard 1A5 image). At the beginning of the 1980s, a new plan began to be considered to improve the vision and combat systems of all German Leopard 1s, since they were going to have to continue in service longer than planned due to the delays in the Leopard 2 program and the More than 1,000 modernized M-48A2GA2 tanks remained in service. It was decided to maintain the same passive protection since any improvement would mean an increase in weight that would negatively affect the mobility and reliability of the mechanical components. (German Leopard 1A5 image). In this way, between 1982 and 1983 the tests of two fire control systems began, the EMES-18 of Krupp-Atlas Elektronik (KAE) and the LEMSTAR of the firms AEG and Zeiss. After the evaluation, the KAE EMES-18 system was chosen, as this is an evolution of the EMES-15 installed on the new Leopard 2 MBT. The future implementation of this system both in the Leopard 2 and in future vehicles was taken into account when selecting it, because logically it was easier to integrate it with a system already in service than with a new one. A laser range-finder, a thermal sight and a new fire control computer were also installed allowing a much more accurate and faster target acquisition, greatly improving first-round-hit capability. (German Leopard 1A5 image). The variant chosen to carry out this new improvement was the A1A1, of which 1,225 vehicles were in service. The new variant was designated Leopard 1A5. The first units were delivered in December 1986 with some additional modifications added to the new fire control system. Again, the interior of the turret was modified to store 105mm ammunition in the rear and also to leave space for the installation of the 120mm gun installed in the Leopard 2 if necessary. The NBC protection system was also improved, the suspension was reinforced and the optics were protected against lasers. (German Leopard 1A5 image). The new fire control system added many more calculation parameters than the previous one such as air temperature, air pressure, position of the vehicle, side wind or propellant temperature. In addition, thanks to the computer, the gunner could have the target in his reticle at all times without depending on ballistic factors, type of ammunition selected or the movement of the target. All this, together with the autonomous alignment of the gun thanks to the information offered by the computer, significantly increased the possibility of hitting the target with the first shot. (German Leopard 1A5 image). Another novelty for the Leopard 1A5 was the installation of a TRP-5A surveillance periscope located on the turret roof together with a mount that allowed it to be installed in a forward position. This element was at the disposal of the tank commander who could also use the thermal sight and the EMES-18 used by the gunner. For this, it used a channel connected directly to the line of sight of the periscopes and had a control knob for the thermal sight. (German Leopard 1A5 image). The period of transformation to the A5 variant was lengthened considerably until the period 2001-02, which coincided with the beginning of the reduction of units in the German Army. For this reason, and paradoxically, the situation arose that some of the Leopard 1A5s were not delivered to the Army. (Dutch Leopard 1V image). The A5 variant vehicles in turn had a sub variant called Leopard 1A5A1, which differed from the main variant in that they had SEM 80/90 radios installed. In the Netherlands, the Leopard 1s were upgraded to a version similar to the A5 variant and were designated Leopard 1V (Verbeterd) (improved) the same as those currently used by the Chilean Army. (German Leopard 1A3 image). Also in the middle of the 1980s the change of external appearance began in the vehicles of the Bundeswehr. This change was to apply a three-tone camouflage scheme that is still in use today. The scheme is formed by green-bronze (RAL 6031) and black-tarmac (RAL 9021) patches of equal size and smaller brown-leather (RAL 8027) patches. However, the introduction of the new scheme was quite uneven, with tanks of different variants and different camouflage schemes in service at the same time. (German Leopard 1A2 image). Despite the efforts for the companies and battalions to have tanks from a certain batch, in the end vehicles from the first 4 batches were mixed indistinctly. In practice, this meant that only platoons were made up of tanks from the same manufacturing batch. Only with the A2 and A4 variants was it possible to give the units a little more homogeneity, being quite common that they were composed entierly of tanks from the same batch. (German Leopard 1A1A2 image). The largest user of the Leopard 1 MBT was the German Bundeswehr, but after its entry into service this tank aroused the following and interest by a large number of Western countries. After Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Norway, Italy, Denmark, Australia, Canada, Turkey and Greece bought this excellent tank. Later other countries such as Brazil, Chile, Ecuador, Finland, Indonesia and the United Kingdom use this tank or one of its specialized versions. (Belgian Leopard 1A1 BE image). Belgium was the first foreign customer to put the Leopard 1 into service. Between 1968 and 1971 they received 334 tanks which they deployed in 8 regiments of 40 tanks each and the rest went to the Armor School. They were designated as Leopard 1BE and were similar to the German A1 variant. In 1974 they received an automatic firing direction system (AVLS) from the Belgian firm SABCA. They also received stabilization for the barrel, being able to fire on the move. (Belgian Leopard 1A5BE image). In the mid-1990s, 128 Leopard 1BEs were sold to Brazil due to cutbacks in defense spending after the end of the Cold War. In the period 1993-97, 132 vehicles were modernized to the A5 standard. The upgrade included a laser rangefinder, a muzzle reference system and a new gun firing direction system with thermal imaging. Some were deployed with the peacekeepers in Kosovo. In 2014 all the Leopard 1A5BE were withdrawn, leaving in service only vehicles of the specialized versions, which are currently summarized in some Leguan AVLB bridge launch vehicles. (Dutch Leopard 1A1 image). The Netherlands was the next country to incorporate the Leopard 1 MBT. A total of 468 vehicles of the A1 variant were delivered from 1972. In the mid-1980s it was decided to modernize them with a new fire control system and various improvements culminating in the Leopard 1V variant, similar to the German A5s. All Dutch Leopard 1s were retired in the 1990s, given free to Greece and sold to Chile. These tanks were replaced by Leopard 2 in the Dutch Army. (Norwegian Leopard 1A1NO image). Norway was the next country to buy Leopard 1. In 1971 they received a first batch of 78 Leopard 1A1(NO) followed by another 92 for a total of 170. In the mid-1990s all vehicles were modernized to German A5 standard and followed in service until 2011. They were replaced by Leopard 2. (Italian Leopard 1A2 image). Italy was next on the list and became the biggest user of the Leopard 1 after Germany. In 1970 it placed an order for 200 vehicles of the A1 variant which entered service in 1971-72. Shortly thereafter Italy signed an agreement for the manufacture under license of another 600 tanks of the A2 variant. OTO-Melara was in charge of the production that also included a good number of vehicles of the specialized versions. (Italian Leopard 1A2 image). Between 1980 and 1983 OTO-Melara delivered a second batch of 120 Leopard 1A2s, totaling 720 Leopard 1s built in Italy. These vehicles did not have side skirts or a stabilizer for the gun. OTO-Melara used the Leopard 1 hull to develop the OF-40 MBT, which in turn developed the Otomatic air defense vehicle and the 155mm Palmaria self-propelled howitzer. (Italian Leopard 1A5 image). After the end of the Cold War Italy also progressively reduced its armed forces and in 1991 some Leopard 1s were withdrawn. However, in 1995 120 turrets of the A5 variant were purchased from Germany and mounted on as many chassis. These tanks carried out peacekeeping missions in the Balkans without ever seeing combat. (Italian Leopard 1A5 image). Italian Leopard 1A1/A2s were completely retired in 2003, with the A5 variant remaining in service until 2008. All Italian Leopard 1s have been replaced by the all-Italian C-1 Ariete MBT, but in much smaller numbers. Currently only vehicles of the specialized versions remain in service, albeit in significant numbers. (Danish Leopard 1A3 DK image). Denmark also opted for the Leopard 1 to replace their Centurion MBTs. By 1978 they had 120 Leopard 1A3s in service locally designated Leopard 1DK. In 1992 they received another batch of 110 Leopard 1A3s which, along with the other 120 vehicles, were upgraded to the A5 variant between 1992 and 1994. These tanks were called Leopard 1A5DK, some of them being deployed with UNPROFOR for peacekeeping missions in the Balkans between 1992 and 1995.