LEOPARD 1 MBT gallery 3

(Danish Leopard 1A5 DK image). In April 1994, during deployment with UNPROFOR, Leopard 1A5DKs engaged in a clash with Bosnian-Serb forces in the Tuzla area. The Swedish-Norwegian observation post TANGO 2 was under heavy fire and Danish tanks came to its aid. In the town of Sarači the Danes received mortar, artillery and RPGs fire, so some stayed there sheltered and 2 were sent to the rescue of the post. Upon reaching Kalešija, near the attacked post, these 2 tanks were attacked and after NATO’s refusal to carry out an air attack on the surrounding mountains, from where the attack was received, the Danes returned fire. They fired 77 rounds at attackers, 19 AP, 44 HE and 19 WP (phosphorus) rounds. Bosnian-Serb troops lost 3 T-55 MBTs, several bunkers and an ammunition depot during this operation, dubbed by the Danes as “Operation Bøllebank” (hooligan bashing). This was the first real combat in which a Leopard 1 tank was involved.
(Danish Leopard 1A5 DK image). A few months after Operation Bøllebank, Leopard 1A5DKs were again involved in another combat with Bosnian Serb forces during “Operation Amanda”. This time it was about recovering observation post S01, located near Gradačac, (Bosnia and Herzegovina). On October 25, 1994, three Leopard 1A5DKs were dispatched alongside Swedish and Jordanian forces. In the engagement a Danish tank was damaged and a Bosnian Serb T-55 MBT destroyed. The Leopard 1A5DKs were phased out with the arrival of the Leopard 2 and by 2005 there were none left in service. Currently only a few vehicles of the specialized versions remain in service.
(Australian Leopard 1AS-1 image). Australia ordered the Leopard 1 in 1974 and in 1976-78 ninety of the A3 variant arrived, which were designated as Leopard 1AS1. These vehicles replaced the British Centurion MBTs that had been in service for almost 25 years. The Australian Leopard 1s carried a laser range-finder and the same SABCA automatic firing direction system (AVLS) as the Belgian Leopard 1s. In 2004 the progressive withdrawal of these tanks began, which ended in July 2007 with the arrival of 59 M-1A1A Abrams.
(Canadian Leopard 1C1 image). Canada began receiving its first Leopard 1A3s in 1978 and by the following year it had its entire roster of 114, which it named Leopard 1C1s. It should be clarified that Canada actually leased 35 Leopard 1A2s in 1976 to train its crews from the 4 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group stationed in Germany. The Canadian 1C1 also carried the same SABCA automatic firing direction system (AVLS) as the Belgian Leopard 1s of the time.
(Canadian Leopard 1C1 image). Canada was not very satisfied with the degree of passive protection of its Leopard 1C1s and began studies to improve the armor before the major upgrade in 1996. A comprehensive protection upgrade was approved by applying added armor on the upper Glacis and the upper hull sides, the forward half of the skirt, the turret and the belly. Finally, only a few Leopard 1C1s received all of these protective upgrades and thermal night-vision equipment.
(Canadian Leopard 1C1 MEXAS image). Before the first retrofit developed in 1996, 5 or 6 Leopard 1C1s received an applied armor kit developed by the German firm IBD Deisenroth Engineering. This composite armor is known as MEXAS, an acronym for “Modular EXpandable Armor System”. This kit can be ordered with passive armor or non-explosive reactive armor (NERA). In the “passive” variant consisted of different layers of materials such as ceramic and special nylon in the form of tiles of different shapes that are generally applied in different parts of already armored vehicles.
(Canadian Leopard 1C1 MEXAS image). The MEXAS “reactive” variant consists of multilayer spaced armor made up of different layers of metal plates filled with an inert compound. When it receives the impact of a shaped charge, it spreads the “jet” radially and absorbs its energy. According to the manufacturer, this type of armor is more effective than the ERA type, offering up to 50% more effectiveness and has the advantage of being able to be installed on vehicles with limited armor that would not resist the explosion of an ERA armor brick in case of being hit.
(Canadian Leopard 1C1 MEXAS image). MEXAS added armor also includes a spall-liner layer and anti-mine protection if requested. There are 3 types of kits available called MEXAS L (light), M (medium) and H (heavy) depending on the degree of protection desired and the type of vehicle for which it is intended. The kit fitted to the Leopard 1C1 offered frontal protection equivalent to 400mm of RHA steel armour, although particular emphasis was placed on improving the hull and sides of the turret. The tanks fitted with this new armor were designated Leopard 1C1 MEXAS and were deployed during the 1999 KFOR mission in Kosovo.
(Canadian Leopard 1C2 image). In 1996, the modernization of the Leopard 1C1 began, acquiring 114 turrets of the A5 variant to be installed in the hulls of the vehicles in service. The works were really extensive and complicated, since the guns had to be adapted to the new turret, and this one to the chassis. Finally, only 66 vehicles would be converted to the variant known as the Leopard 1C2.
(Canadian Leopard 1C2 image). The new Leopard 1C2s received many turret modifications. New stowage containers were installed in the rear, and inside they received new radios and the Atlas-Elektronik EMES-18 fire control system, a thermal imager and a laser rangefinder. Also 18 Leopard Crew Gunnery Trainers were acquired. The first Leopard 1C2s arrived in units in November 1999. The 48 non-modernized Leopard 1C1s were withdrawn around 2005, being sold, loaned to museums or used as targets in ranges.
(Canadian Leopard 1C2 MEXAS image). As was the case with some Leopard 1C1s, it was decided to improve the protection of the C2s by installing a MEXAS added armor kit again. This time the kit was much heavier and offered frontal protection equivalent to 650mm of RHA steel armor. In October 2006, a squadron of Leopard 1C2 MEXAS from the Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) was sent to Afghanistan to support and protect other Canadian units and organizations deployed in the area for reconstruction tasks.
(Canadian Leopard 1C2 MEXAS image). In December 2006 the Leopard 1C2 MEXAS had their first armed confrontation against the Taliban in the Kandahar area. While on patrol, they were attacked with RPG anti-tank rockets and were forced to open fire and repel the attack. This engagement was the first combat action by Canadian armored units since the Korean War. The missions in Afghanistan were carried out until July 2011.
(Canadian Leopard 1C2 MEXAS image). In the summer of 2007, the C2 MEXAS received a cooling unit and a thermal cover to make work more bearable for the long-suffering crews. The armored squadron was reinforced with Leopard 2A6M and Leopard 2A4M tanks in 2007 and 2010 respectively. Some Leopard 1C2 MEXAS fitted with dozers, mine rollers and mine plows served alongside Leopard 2A6Ms until they were modified to operate with these anti-mine systems.
(Canadian Leopard 1C2 MEXAS image). The performance of the Leopard 1C2 MEXAS in Afghanistan was evaluated and it was concluded that it needed further improvements in areas such as air conditioning, main armament and armor improvements. It was clear that given such a number of improvements and the necessary cost, it was better to incorporate a new tank model, so the Ministry of Defense opted for the acquisition of more Leopard 2A6M and Leopard 2A4M instead of modernizing the Leopard 1C2.
(Canadian Leopard 1C2 image). In 2015 Canada opted to get rid of the older Leopard 1C2s, but there were no clear plans for their replacement. In 2018, contacts were made with the Jordanian Armed Forces for the sale of several dozen Leopard 1C2s, but no agreement was reached. After several years trying to sell these tanks, in November 2021 it was decided to withdraw 45 of them and use them as targets. Currently the Canadian Army has 52 Leopard 1C2s in storage (reserve).
(Turkish Leopard 1A3 image). Turkey placed a first order for 77 Leopard 1s in late 1980. The tanks were delivered in 1982-83 and were of the A3 variant. These vehicles came with the PZB-200 image intensifier system and the EMES-12A3 fire control system. The image intensifier made it possible to detect targets 3 km away and identify them at 2 km. In 1990-91 a further 150 Leopard 1A3s were received which were progressively modernized with the installation of a second EMES-12A3 fire control system, giving rise to the Leopard 1A3T1 variant.
(Turkish Leopard 1T Volkan image). Turkey subsequently received another batch of 190 Leopard 1s of the A1A1 to A1A4 variants. In 2002 the Turkish company Aselsan started the development of a new fire control system for these tanks called Volkan. In 2006, the modernization of 171 vehicles of this last lot began at a cost of 163 million dollars. The last one was delivered at the end of 2009, with the new designation Leopard 1T “Volkan”.
(Turkish Leopard 1T Volkan image). The Leopard 1T Volkan features advanced digital ballistic computer, laser rangefinder, battle management systems, digital radio with encryption, new gun stabilization, ammunition reference system, wind and tilt meter, external heat meter, cargo chamber temperature gauge, thermal night vision goggles for the commander, new gunner’s sight and new night vision system for the driver as the most notable improvements.
(Turkish Leopard 1T Volkan image). With all the improvements included in the Leopard 1T Volkan, this tank is technologically up to par with any latest generation MBT such as the German Leopard 2A6 or the French Leclerc and are expected to remain active until the end of the 2020s. However, the weakness of its armor and its 105mm gun makes it poorly suited for engagements with more modern battle tanks, but it can still be a fearsome adversary in defensive positions or deployed on reconnaissance missions. Currently there are more than 350 Leopard 1 MBT in service with the Turkish Army, being one of the largest user today.
(Greek Leopard 1A3 GR image). Greece put its first 106 Leopard 1A3 (GR) into service in 1983-84, which arrived with the EMES-12A3 fire control system and some other modifications. In 1991 the Netherlands gave them 99 Leopard 1Vs for free and in the summer of 1992 they received 75 German Leopard 1A5s as part of an agreement for the purchase of 4 MEKO-200 class frigates by Greece.
(Greek Leopard 1A5 GR image). During 1993 the Greek Army received another batch of 69 Leopard 1Vs and 2 Dutch Leopard 1A5s. In 1998 they bought (at a nominal price) 192 used German Leopard 1A5s as part of another deal concerning the modernization of Greek F-4 Phantom II fighter-bombers. Finally, in the summer of 2005 another 150 second-hand Leopard 1A5s were purchased from Germany.
(Greek Leopard 1A5 GR image). Greece received almost 700 Leopard 1 MBT along with a good amount of specialized vehicles of the Leopard 1 family. It is currently the largest user of Leopard 1 tanks since it is estimated that it still has around 500 Leopard 1A5 GR in service. Vehicles of the 1A3 GR and 1V variants have been retired, several dozen have been converted into engineering vehicles and others are used to supply spare parts for those still in service.
(Brazilian Leopard 1A5 BR image). Brazil is another of the Leopard 1 MBT users, but on this occasion, all their vehicles have been purchased second-hand. In 1997, it bought 128 Leopard 1A5BEs from Belgium, receiving the last ones in 1999. In 2009, Brazil acquired a large batch of 250 German Leopard 1A5s that were sent together with support material such as driver training vehicles, simulators and training equipment. The cost of this operation was about 125 million dollars. Brazil currently maintains 128 A1BEs and 220 Leopard 1A5BRs in service, being the backbone of its armored forces.
(Chilean Leopard 1V image). In November 1997 Chile joined the Leopard 1 MBT user club. On this date, an agreement was reached with the firm RDM Technology for the acquisition of 200 Leopard 1Vs that had belonged to the Dutch Army. The operation had a cost of 63 million dollars and the vehicles were delivered between 1999 and 2000. Currently less than 100 remain in service, which while waiting to be replaced by Leopard 2, should remain in service for some time.
(Chilean Leopard 1V image). In January 2009, Ecuador and Chile reached an agreement for the purchase of 30 Chilean Leopard 1Vs. These third-hand tanks have represented a clear advance within the Ecuadorian armored forces, which until that date had only had light tanks. However, there is hardly any information about this fact and in some recent military balances, these Leopard 1Vs do not appear included in the list of tanks of the Ecuadorian army. About another supposed purchase of 30 Leopard 1A5 to Chile, there is no information available nor does it appear in any publication that confirms this acquisition.


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