LEOPARD 2A4 (upgraded variants) gallery

(Panzer 87 WE 2006 image). The Swiss Army, after evaluating the Panzer 87 WertErhaltung Prototype, decided to apply some of the improvements installed, but finally discarded all those concerning the improvement of armor. In 2006, the modernization of 134 Panzer 87 Leopard 2 tanks was approved for an amount of 360 million Swiss francs. The works were carried out between 2009 and 2011 and resulted in the tank designated as “Panzer 87 WE 2006“.
(Panzer 87 WE 2006 image). The main modifications consisted of the installation of an electric gun stabilization and turret drive, replacing the original hydraulic systems, a new command and control system, installation of a thermal camera integrated into the commander’s periscope, a laser rangefinder function for commander and gunner and a reverse camera for the driver. Other aspects such as protection, weapons and mobility have been kept as they were and no modernizations of any kind have been applied, so these vehicles are identical in appearance to the original Panzer 87.
(Leopard 2A4M image). In July 2009, the Canadian Army commissioned the German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) to modernize and upgrade 20 Leopard 2A4s for deployment in Afghanistan. The project proposed that these 20 Leopard 2A4CAN reach an operational level similar to that of the 20 Leopard 2A6M, already deployed in Afghanistan. Focused on it, KMW, the German Army and the Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (BWB) began the development of an armor package with a view to improving protection against mines and IEDs mainly. The first upgraded tanks were delivered in October 2010, and in December five of them were shipped to Afghanistan.
(Leopard 2A4M image). The upgrade package consisted of the installation of add-on composite armor on the entire turret, glacis, hull deck, lower hull and side skirts similar to the one applied on the Leopard 2A7+ tank. Special emphasis was placed on mine protection with the mounting of mine protection belly armor. Slat armor was also installed at the rear of the turret and on the sides of the hull from the sixth running wheel to the end, protecting the engine compartment. These tanks were designated the Leopard 2A4M CAN, (letter “M” stands for “mine enhanced protection”).
(Leopard 2A4M image). The hydraulic turret drive was replaced by an electric one, a digital central logic and main distribution system was installed and all the electrical systems of the tank were improved. In addition, a new control system was implemented for the commander and front and rear facing day and thermal cameras were installed for the driver. The communications system was also improved and the two original 7.62mm machine guns were replaced by two of the C6 type.
(Leopard 2A4M image). Other aspects of the tank were also updated with enhanced brakes and vehicle suspension. Due to the extremely high temperatures in Afghanistan, measures were taken to improve the operating conditions of the crews. The air conditioning system was revised and improved and the crew members were provided with chilled cooling vests. In addition, these tanks were provided with a mobile adjustable camouflage system (MCS) that helped reduce heat penetration into the vehicle.
(Leopard 2A4M image). At first, the possibility of replacing the 120mm L/44 gun with the more powerful 120mm L/55 was studied, but finally it was found that the L/44 was powerful enough to face any confrontation with total success. In addition, it was found that the length of the L/55 was not suitable for combat within narrow urban areas, so the original barrel of the Leopard 2A4 was maintained. Leopard 2A4Ms served in Afghanistan until July 2011, when Canadian combat operations ceased and they returned to Canada.
(Leopard 2SG image). Singapore purchased its first Leopard 2A4s in 2007, and in 2010 they decided to modernize some of their tanks by installing various elements of the IBD Evolution package. Actually these tanks are very similar to the Leopard 2A4 with MBT Evolution kit, although they have their own elements expressly requested by Singapore, which has redesignated them as Leopard 2SG.
(Leopard 2SG image). According to official sources, 94 Leopard 2A4s have been modernized, although these figures are questioned on the suspicion that there are many more. The new Leopard 2SG reaches 62 tons in weight and has the hull covered with composite armor, with the front of the turret formed by removable composite armor modules, two thirds of the sides of the hull covered with large composite armor skirts and the rear third of hull covered with cage or slat sections.
(Leopard 2SG image). Although the main gun is the 120/44mm of the Leopard 2A4, it has been modernized to allow the use of new, more powerful high-pressure ammunition. These improvements allow the use of the new DM-11 programmable explosive rounds and the DM-53 and DM-63 armor-piercing rounds. The MG-3 coaxial machine gun has been replaced with an FN MAG and the one on the turret roof has been removed. The number of 120mm rounds carried remains at 42, 27 in the front of the hull and 15 in the turret.
(Leopard 2SG image). In 2016 the combat capability was increased with the installation of a Commander’s Oscillating Thermal Camera (COAPS) by ST Electronics on the turret roof. The tank features an improved fire control system and a Battlefield Management System that allows commanders to have precise tactical situational awareness of their own and friendly forces at all times. This system is integrated into a network that allows them to share information with other elements of the Army such as IFVs or artillery systems.
(Leopard 2RI image). Indonesia was the second country to modernize their Leopard 2A4 tanks purchased in 2013. The upgrade package selected by Indonesia was the Rheinmetall MBT Revolution, and a prototype of this tank, called Leopard 2 RI, was shown at the Eurosatory expo in 2014, although this example had additional anti-mine armor and the 40mm ROSY smoke grenade discharger system, which were not finally installed on Indonesian tanks. Although 103 Leopard 2A4 tanks were purchased, the MBT Revolution package has only been instaled on 61 of them, but all the improvements except the armor kit have been applied to the entire fleet. The 42 modified tanks without the armor kit are referred to as Leopard 2A4+.
(Leopard 2RI image). The modernization of the Indonesian Leopard 2A4 was carried out between 2016 and 2017 and although the upgrade package was the MBT Revolution (AMAP-B variant), it was adapted to the specifications of the Indonesian Army. For example, a night vision camera for the driver and a rear camera were installed and the headlights were changed. The mine protection kit was not installed and the hydraulic turret drive was replaced by an electric one, which was quieter and more precise. In addition, an air conditioning system according to the tropical climate of Indonesia and an auxiliary power unit (APU) were installed.
(Leopard 2RI image). Regarding the weapons system, the Leopard 2RI received an upgrade to their gun recoil brakes that allows them to use new APFSDS high pressure rounds. Also the fire control system has been modernized, so they can use programmable HE ammunition like the DM-11 round. With all the modifications and the AMAP-B armor kit the Leopard 2RIs reach a weight of 60 tons.
(Leopard 2PL image). In mid-2012 Poland began studies to carry out a modernization plan on the Leopard 2A4 tanks received in 2002. The program was named Leopard 2PL and two modernization variants were contemplated. The first involved an electric gun stabilization and turret drive, replacing the original hydraulic systems, new thermal imaging cameras, a new fire and explosion suppression system, a mine protection package, and the installation of an auxiliary power unit (APU).
(Leopard 2PL image). In the second variant, in addition to all the improvements of the first variant, it included an air conditioning system for the crew, a remote control weapon station (RCWS) on the turret roof, the BMS combat management system and new types of ammunition. Three competing consortia applied to the contest and in December 2014 the consortium formed by Zakłady Mechaniczne, OBRUM and PHO together with the foreign partner Krauss-Maffei Wegmann presented a final proposal based mainly on the latter’s technology. However, in 2015 the process was suspended due to the lack of involvement of Polish industry in the modernization programme.
(Leopard 2PL image). On December 28, 2015 the Polish Army signed a contract with a consortium consisting of PGZ and Zakłady Mechaniczne Bumar-Labedy and the German manufacturer Rheinmetall. This contract authorized the modernization of the 128 Leopard 2A4s, and later, in 2018, an annex was signed that included the remaining 14 Leopard 2A4s in service. The modernization program was to be carried out in 5 stages in the period 2016-2021, delivering the first prototype and 5 tanks for testing and training of specialists at the end of 2018. In August 2018 the prototype was delivered to the Polish Army for testing and specify all the modifications and improvements that should be included in the tanks to be modified.
(Leopard 2PL image). Finally, in May 2020 the first pre-series Leopard 2PLs were delivered to the units, who call them “Leopardy”, and the contract had to be extended until July 2023 due to development delays. All 142 tanks were expected to be modernized and in service by 2021, but the program is well behind schedule and currently (2023) there are only about 50 Leopard 2PL/PLM1 in service. In addition, in 2018 it was decided to create a second variant in the Leopard 2PL modernization process. This variant is known as Leopard 2PLM1 and has improvements in optronics, laser rangefinder and PERI periscope mainly. The prototype was delivered by Rheinmetall in January 2021, agreeing that finally 24 Leopard 2A4 would eventually be upgraded to the 2PL variant and 118 to the 2PLM1 variant.
(Leopard 2PL image). The improvements applied to the Leopard 2PL tanks are summarized in: -installation of additional ballistic modules on the turret (AMAP), -a modernized fire extinguishing system with Deugen-N agent, -a new fire suppression system, -replacement of the hydraulic gun stabilization and turret drive systems to an electrical systems, -installation of an APU, -a new turret stowage compartment for crew equipment, -a new towing evacuation equipment, -a new commander’s control and monitoring system, -modernization of the gunner’s and commander’s sight, -a new day-night driver rear camera and the modernization of 120mm gun to use of new types of ammunition. In addition, in the PLM1 variant it is necessary to add: -PIX function, -electronics compartment active cooling, -cold start system without the need to reset the electronic systems, -automatic fire extinguishing system in the APU compartment and function of selection of the first or last echo of the laser rangefinder.
(Leopard 2PL image). The commander and gunner sights have been modernized with the installation of thermal imaging cameras KLW-1 Asteria and a KDN-1 Nyks day/night reversing camera has been installed for the driver, both elements made by Polish PCO company. A control monitor has also been installed for the commander that allows him to alternate the images captured by the modernized EMES 15 sight and PERI R17A3L4 CP periscope. The radios have been maintained, although a digital communication bus has been installed.
(Leopard 2PL image). Protection has only been increased in the turret, with the addition of external armor modules and anti-splinter liners on the inside. The hull has not been reinforced to avoid increasing the weight of the vehicle and to save on costs. The motor group has not been replaced, although it has been overhauled and a 17Kw APU has been installed. Lastly, the gun has been modified to use programmable DM-11 and DM-63 armor-piercing rounds and a new on-board computer has been installed along with an electronic gun trigger and a fire-control system.
(Leopard 2A4TM/TRT1 image). In the summer of 2020 BMC delivered the first of the 40 modernized Leopard 2A4TM/TRT1 tanks. This armor kit is composed by explosive reactive armor (ERA), T1 reactive-passive armor, high ballistic strength cage armor (SLAT) and hollow modular add-on armor. The composite armor modules are installed on the turret sides and rear, side skirts and over the engine compartment. The slat armor is also installed at the rear of the turret and on the sides of the hull. The weight of the tank has increased to 62 tons, although its mobility does not seem to have suffered, according to comments after the tests carried out. It is expected to modernize another 44 tanks in a second phase and to modernize all Leopard 2AMTs in the medium term.
(Leopard 2A4TM/TRT1 image). It is planned to modernize the electronics of the Leopard 2AMT fleet, although in the first stage that affected 40 tanks (Leopard 2A4TM/TRT1), only the protection has been improved. When the modernization is complete, the new Leopard 2TR will feature a Laser Warning Receiver System (LIAS), a Close Range Surveillance System (YAMGÖZ), an ASELSAN Driver Surveillance System (ADİS), a PULAT Active Protection System (AKS), a SARP Remote Controlled Weapon System (UKSS), a voice alert system and a new power distribution unit. It is also expected to modernize the 120mm gun to be able to operate with modern high pressure and programmable ammunitions.

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