LEOPARD 2 AV prototypes gallery

In 1973, Germany and the U.S. tried again to start a jointly program to manufacture a new tank that had diverse common components that cheapened the construction. It was anticipated that the new tank could enter into service at the beginning of the 1980s. The new prototypes were then called Leopard 2 AV (Austere Version).
In February 1973, Germany sold the PT.7 chassis to the USA to be tested by the US Army in Aberdeen. However. the new agreement specified that there should be a comparative test between the Leopard 2 and the American XM-1. This circumstance gave rise to Porsche, Krauss-Maffei and Wegmann designing the Leopard 2 AV according to the specifications of both military commands for these tests in the USA.
Leopard 2 AV carried a new “box-looking” turret type developed from the modification of the “T.14 mod.” turret. The “T.14 mod.” was composed of spaced multilayer armour modules, a type of armour derived from British “Chobham” type and was built in 1975. The “T.14 mod.” had the EMES-13 rangefinder and a gun stabilization system devised by General Electric and AEG-Telefunken companies.
Leopard 2 AV had the 105mm L7A3 rifle gun installed because this was the main armament chosen by the Americans for their new tank. Finally, in 1976, 2 new chassis and 3 new turrets were ready for testing in the USA. Trials started in September and ended in December of that same year.
This is the Leopard 2 AV prototype with chassis PT.9 and turret T.14 mod in June 1976 in Germany. The prototype has installed the 120mm smoothbore gun and the fire control system, visors and controls built by Hughes.
This is the same tank from the previous image during tests in Germany. The vehicle would be sent at the end of August 1976 to the USA with the 105mm L7A3 rifled gun. This gun has installed a system that allowed it to be changed quickly by the 120mm smoothbore gun.
This is the Leopard 2 AV PT.19 T.20 prototype prepared in 1976. It had a German fire control system, including the EMES-13 optical rangefinder and the 105mm gun.
The Leopard 2 AV PT.19 T.20 prototype was sent to the USA for comparative tests and after finalizing it was returned to Germany at the end of 1976. Later this prototype served to complete the evaluation program for serial production.
Here we see the PT.19 T.20 prototype with the 120mm gun in 1977 after return from the USA. The similarity with the model that would be mass-produced shortly after is clearly appreciated. After years of trials and experimentation the layout of the new tank was already clear.
This is the Leopard 2 AV PT.20 T.21 prototype in 1977, after having performed the tests in the USA. The T.21 turret was the same as the T.20 but it had the 120mm smoothbore gun and the Hughes fire control system installed from the beginning.
This is the prototype Leopard 2 AV PT.20 T.21mod. This turret incorporated new improvements that would be incorporated into the series production. The vehicle carried out tests throughout 1978 to finish in January of 1979.
After the “defeat” of the German prototype in American lands, Germany finished the development of Leopard 2 to incorporate them into its arsenal. Here we see the PT.20 in 1977 as it would be selected very soon after to be mass produced.
Tests in the USA concluded that mobility of both challengers was similar. The Leopard 2‘s fire control system was superior and the engine consumed 50% less fuel. In other hand, the XM-1’s protection was superior because the armour was arranged in different areas than Leopard 2. Curiously the American tank would be a little cheaper to manufacture.
The German engineers realized during tests carried out in the USA in 1976, that Americans had used the PT.7 chassis sold in 1973 as a basis for American XM-1 prototype tank. This matter did not please them because they felt that Americans benefited from their work. Germans accused them of having “manipulated” the tests to benefit the American tank, using professional crews or altering the conditions in the firing on the move tests. Here we have the PT.20 in 1977, where we can see the overall silhouette of the tank.
Americans, logically, also launched accusations against the Germans. They said Germans sent PT.19 without composite armour. And of course, that had benefited them in the mobility tests against the XM-1. The fact is that these accusations were disputed by the facts some time later. Exactly at the time that weight of the standard Leopard 2 was adjusted to the weight proclaimed by Germans diring the tests. We see again the PT.20 in 1977.
Once again, it was clear how complicated the joint programs could be. Whether due to national politics or because of doctrinal problems, it is always an arduous task. On this occasion, the failure of the joint program led to the completion of two excellent MBTs that continue to be updated and provide excellent services 40 years after they were developed.

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