LEOPARD 2A4 upgrade packages gallery

(Panzer 87 WE prototype image). In 2003 the Swiss company RUAG presented a demonstrator prototype that met the requirements of the future modernization of a part of the Panzer 87 Leopard 2 fleet of the Swiss Army. This vehicle was designated as “Panzer 87 WertErhaltung (WE) Prototype” and the upgrade package included the replacement of the hydraulic turret drive with an electric one, new dual command and control elements, installation of a thermal camera integrated into the commander’s periscope, a reverse camera for the driver and installation of a new PERI-R17A2 fire control system with optics from Carl Zeiss Optronics.
(Panzer 87 WE prototype image). The Panzer 87 WertErhaltung Prototype carried an armor package developed by RUAG that included thicker armor on the front glacis, improved turret roof armour, enhanced mine protection similar to that of the Canadian Leopard 2A6M, and improved turret protection through composite armor modules made in titanium alloy. This tank included the installation of a Remote Control Weapons System (RCWS) with a 12.6mm machine gun and the possibility of using the 7.5mm turret roof machine gun remotely by the loader. The smoke grenade dischargers were also redesigned and integrated into the modular armor of the turret. With the new upgrade package the weight of the Panzer 87 WertErhaltung Prototype reached 56.5 tons.
(Panzer 87 WE prototype image). Other aspects such as the main armament or the mobility remained intact in the RUAG prototype, which unfortunately was not adopted by the Swiss Army because it was too expensive and perhaps too advanced at the time. However, these works served as the basis for the realization of two other prototypes equipped with separate upgrade packages called “Leopard 2 Mid-Life” and the later “KMW Panzer 87 Leo WE MLU“.
(Leopard 2A4 Evolution image). In 2007 the German firm IBD Deisenroth Engineering presented an upgrade package for the Leopard 2A4 tank called “Evolution”. This package focused mainly on reinforcing the protection of the vehicle through the installation of composite armor modules called AMAP (Advanced Modular Armor Protection). The armor modules are made up of different layers of steel alloys, aluminum-titanium alloys and ceramics and are mainly mounted on the front and turret of the vehicle, which is usually the part most exposed to attack. Anti-IED and anti-mine modules can also be installed on the bottom of the vehicle. Additionally, the kit also incorporated the Rheinmetall 40mm ROSY (Rapid Obscuring System) smoke grenade discharger, capable of generating a cloud of smoke in less than 1 second. The weight of the tank is increased between 4 and 6 tons, depending on the installed kit. This was the first upgrade package created by a private company with no connection to the manufacturer of the Leopard 2A4.
(Leopard 2A4 Evolution image). The AMAP kit was offered in different variants to offer the most effective protection according to the threat. The Active Protection System AMAP-ADS was effective against anti-tank missiles, kinetic projectiles, RPGs grenades and explosive projectiles. The AMAP-B kit was more effective against Armor Piercing and Kinetic Energy penetrators rounds. The AMAP-IED kit was composed of ceramic armor and was effective against mines and IED devices. The AMAP-M kit was specifically designed to protect against land mines, the AMAP-SC kit designed against the effect of RPGs and shaped charges, and the AMAP-R kit was installed on the roof and protected against bomblets and explosive projectiles. The Evolution kit also featured a variant designated AMAP-L, which consisted of a Spald Liner made of composite fiber materials. This kit was installed inside the turret and protected the crew from the fragments caused in the event that the external armor was penetrated.
(Leopard 2A4 MBT Revolution image). At the Eurosatory 2010 expo, Rheinmetall presented a new upgrade package called MBT Revolution. This new kit was a development of the previous MBT Evolution package and was mainly focused on increasing the tank’s protection and being able to deal with new threats from anti-tank missiles, modern tank rounds and IEDs. The AMAP concept was maintained and was based on the installation of replaceable modules made with composite armor in different areas of the tank. The kit is completed with different electronic systems and some modification to the 120mm gun to allow the use of the most modern ammunition.
(Leopard 2A4 MBT Revolution image). This time, the MBT Revolution kit incorporated many electronic improvements. There was a new improved fire control system with an improved first round hit probability for firing on the move, a new commander periscope with improved observation and night fighting capability, new digital controls with reduced reaction time and greater interoperability between systems, a new situational awareness system with day and night observation of the surroundings of the tank with automatic alarm and a new command and control system that shows the situation of friendly and enemy forces in real time using augmented reality technology.
(Leopard 2A4 MBT Revolution image). The MBT Revolution package also improved the functionality of the tank with the installation of a new braking system for the commander, who could stop the tank at any time, a new external two-way communications system that allowed crew members to communicate with people outside of the vehicule, an integrated logistics data system with constant tank’s monitoring linked with a central logistics information and evaluation system, installation of a new auxiliary power unit (APU) and a new climate control system with air conditioning and improved ventilation in the fighting compartment as well as thermal protection of the magazine.
(Leopard 2A4 MBT Revolution image). Finally, this kit implemented some improvements in the weapon system, such as modifying the barrel to be able to use the new kinetic (KE) rounds developed by Rheinmetall as well as the last generation programmable HE rounds. Also included was the installation of a new stabilized remote control weapon station (RCWS) and the possibility of installing the ROSY active protection system.
(Leopard 2 MLU prototype 1 image). In 2010 the Swiss company RUAG presented an upgrade package based on its previous “Panzer 87 WE prototype” from 2003. This package was designated as “Leopard 2 MLU (Mid-Life-Upgrade)” and could be retrofitted to any Leopard 2A4 tank in service. It included an armor kit made up of replaceable composite armor modules for the turret and sides of the hull, as well as additional armor for the turret roof (Kit-P) and anti-mine armor on the front of the hull. In addition, the protection is completed with the installation of a spall liner inside the turret and in the driving position.
The Leopard 2 MLU prototype 1 (on the image) kept the same 120mm gun but carried a Remote Control Weapons System (RCWS) with a 12.6mm machine gun on the turret roof. It also had a laser warning system, an improved fire control system, a new 360° panoramic periscope with thermal camera for the commander and new battlefield management and navigation systems. In general, the same improvements installed in their “Panzer 87 WE prototype” were also included. This upgrade package was also not adopted by the Swiss Army or other users of the Leopard 2A4 tank.
(Leopard 2A4 NG image). In 2013 the Turkish company ASELSAN presented its upgrade package for Leopard 2A4 tanks called Leopard 2 Next Generation (NG). It all started in 2011 as a private initiative during development works on the new Altay MBT. ASELSAN realized that they could create their own package with the novelties they were creating for the Altay MBT since the Leopard 2A4 fleet was quite large, both in Turkey and in many other countries. This package improves both the protection and the original electronic part of the Leopard 2A4, which is completely replaced by ASELSAN components.
(Leopard 2A4 NG image). The armor kit for the Leopard 2 Next Generation package is the Rheinmetall MBT Revolution made up of composite armor modules (AMAP) that can be installed in the turret and in the hull, in addition to the anti-mine modules that are installed in the belly of the tank. However, all the electro-optical and electronic devices, as well as the electro-hydraulic and electro-mechanical systems that are included in the package are of Turkish design and manufacture. As in other upgrade packages, the hydraulic turret drive system is replaced by an electric one that avoids the risk of fire by eliminating the highly flammable hydraulic fluid. A new redundant fire-control system is installed, that guarantees reliability and operability. ASELSAN offers the possibility of installing a stabilized remote control weapon system (RCWS) with 7.62 or 12.7mm machine guns or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher controlled by an UKSS unit.
(Leopard 2A4 NG image). Active protection elements are also offered such as a laser warning system (LIAS) that warns the commander and the gunner if the tank is being “illuminated” by a laser source and through the TAKS system automatically directs the gunner’s or commander’s periscope towards the emitter. The electronic equipment is completed with a command and control system (KKS) that allows the commander to be aware of his situation and that of his friendly forces on the battlefield at all times. The driver has been equipped with two thermal cameras, one front and one rear, which allow him to drive both day and night even in bad weather. The Next Generation package is completed with two halon-free fire extinguishing systems. The price of each upgrade pack was estimated between 1.5 to 2 million dollars.
(Leopard 2 MLU prototype 2 image). In 2013 RUAG introduced a new upgrade package designated as “Leopard Solutions” which replaced the previous “Leopard 2 MLU”. This package can be adapted to any Leopard 2A4 tank in service and is basically an update of the elements that make up the 2010 upgrade package along with some other improvements. The protection kit is basically the same as before and there are no improvements for the main armament or the engine. This demonstrator was known as “Leopard 2 MLU prototype 2“.
(Leopard 2 MLU prototype 2 image). The “Leopard Solutions” package offers a new digital architecture that allows full integration of communications and C4i battlefield management systems for any user. It also has a new fire control system for the gunner and commander that allows detecting targets at night and in all-weather conditions and a Kongsberg Remote Control Weapons System (RCWS) with a 12.7mm machine gun. The package includes the replacement of the hydraulic turret drive with an electric one and the installation of an auxiliary power unit (APU) that allows the electronic systems and weapons to be operated with the main engine off.
(Leopard 2A4 MBT Evolution image). The latest variant of the Evolution kit was presented in 2014 at the Eurosatory expo. This version, designated “MBT Evolution”, was marketed by the German consortium Rheinmetall Chempro GmbH, made up of the firms Rheinmetall & IBD Deisenroth. Both kits are similar and based on the AMAP modular concept, and can be installed on the sides and front of the hull and turret, as well as on the turret roof and bottom of the hull. The 40mm ROSY-L smoke protection system can also be installed on adapters installed on the turret, and up to 4 of them can be installed. These smoke screens are effective against TV, EO, IR, laser and SACLOS guidance systems.
(Leopard 2A4 ESPACE image). At the 2014 Eurosatory show, the German firm IBD Deisenroth showed its composite armor kit called ESPACE (Enhanced Survivability Package Advanced Combat Environment). This kit can be installed on multiple MBTs and is focused on offering increased protection against modern anti-tank missiles, IED blasts and kinetic penetrators. The kit raises the weight of the Leopard 2A4 to 65 tons but significantly increases the total protection of the vehicle.
(Leopard 2 ADT image). In 2016 the German company Rheinmetall presented the tank “Leopard 2 technologieträger or ADT (Advanced Technology Demonstrator)“, the most modern upgrade package presented to date. This package is basically an evolution of the previous MBT Revolution package and can be adapted to any Leopard 2A4 tank in service. This package completely renews the electronics of the tank and greatly improves its active protection, allowing for the first time to change the 120/44mm gun for the more powerful 120/55mm. The Leopard 2 ADT package is a modular design that can be tailored to the specific needs of each client. The armor kit is basically the same AMAP type developed for the Evolution package but modernized. It has been designated as AMAP-ADS (Advanced Modular Armor Protection – Active Defense System) and forms a highly effective protection kit against missiles, RPGs and kinetic rounds.
(Leopard 2 ADT image). The new modular Hard-Kill Active Protection System (AMAP-ADS) has been developed by the German firm Defense Aid Suites (HK-DAS) ADS GmbH, of which Rheinmetall is a participant. The system is based on modules that carry sensors to detect incoming threats and the necessary countermeasures for their destruction. The system is made up of 9 modules, 4 on each side of the turret plus 1 next to the 120mm gun. Each module carry a passive electro-optical sensor, a tactical laser radar and 3 small multi-frequency pre-warning planar radars and an explosive charge to neutralize the incoming missiles.
(Leopard 2 ADT image). Despite the fact that the AMAP-ADS system bases its detection on small radars, the radar signature is very low as they are distributed throughout the vehicle. Explosive (energetic) countermeasures are of low expansive volume and do not cause damage around the vehicle except at a very short distance. However, the manufacturer recommends the training of the troops in the deployment with vehicles equipped with this type of active defense system. The multi-frequency radars detect the threat at a distance of between 10 and 35 meters from the vehicle (soft-kill), the electro-optical sensors detect it at 2 meters and when the threat is 1 meter away, they activate explosive countermeasures to neutralize it (hard-kill). This system also covers the top of the tank and is effective against air attacks.
(Leopard 2 ADT image). This upgrade package allows the substitution of the 120/44mm gun for the powerful 120/55mm and the use of the most modern ammunition such as the DM-63 and DM-53 A1 APFSDS rounds, the 120mm PELE round and the programmable (HE) DM-11 round. A Remote Control Weapons System (RCWS) can also be installed on the turret roof armed with a 12.7mm machine gun or a 40mm automatic grenade launcher. The upgrade package is completed with the installation of a new fire control system, a new SEOSS (Stabilized Electro-Optical Sighting System) with integrated thermal camera, the 40mm ROSY smoke grenade discharger and a Situational Awareness detection unit.

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