LINCE gallery

Once Krauss-Maffei had been selected as the main contractor for the Lince MBT project, the Spanish Army proceeded to specify the qualities that the new tank should meet, placing special emphasis on mobility and firepower rather than passive protection. The tank should have great firepower, excellent active and passive protection, high tactical and strategic mobility, weight of between 45 and 50 tons, easy tactical and individual use, high availability, easy maintenance and should be manufactured in Spain with proven and competitive cutting-edge technology. The Ministry of Defense endowed the program with a large budget of 120,101 million pesetas (720.6 million euros) that included the manufacture of 500 vehicles, 100 of which would go to the export market. The Krauss-Maffei technicians together with those from Santa Barbara Sistemas designed a new vehicle based on the Leopard 2, as is clearly reflected in its external appearance. The internal layout of the tank was conventional, with the driver at the front, combat chamber in the center and the power plant in the rear of the vehicle. The side walls of the turret were slightly sloping, this being the biggest aesthetic difference with the German tank.
The armament selected was the Leopard 2‘s 120/44mm smooth-bore gun along with its range of ammunition. The gun would be fully stabilized and manually loaded. As secondary weapons, it would carry a coaxial 7.62mm MG-3 machine gun and a similar one on the roof of the turret, or a 12.7mm instead. It also carried 8 smoke grenade dischargers, 4 on each side of the turret. The Lince would have a fire control system with laser rangefinder and thermal image night viewer, and in general the vision systems included in the Leopard 2 tank. The passive protection consisted of multilayer composite armour with a frontal inclination of 16º, of 15º in the turret and 25º in the shield of the gun. The floor of the hull was designed to deflect mine explosions outward, and steel and rubber skirts would be installed on the sides of the hull to protect the running gear and suspension from hollow charge projectiles. It also had an NBC protection system for internal overpressure and an automatic fire extinguishing equipment, which together with the separation of the magazines by armoured bulkheads and the lining of the fuel tanks with anti-explosion foam made the Lince a very good protected tank.
Mobility was entrusted to a 1,200 hp MTU MB-871 Ka 502 air-cooled V-12 diesel engine coupled to a Renk transmission with 4 forward and 2 reverse gears, together with a hydropneumatic type steering. The running gear consisted of six 700mm diameter aluminum driving wheels with a rubber tread on each side of the hull with a front idler wheel and a drive sprocket aft. The suspension consisted of oscillating arms attached to 62mm diameter torsion bars and between the 2nd and 3rd wheels and between the 5th and 6th wheels it had friction dampers. The Lince tracks were made of steel, 635mm wide and mounted on interchangeable rubber pads. The maximum projected speed was 70 km/h and the range of 550 km, optimal for the extensive Spanish plains. Certainly the Lince took advantage of all the new technologies existing at that time and it would surely have resulted in a tank with capacities similar to those of its “brother” Leopard 2, but once again, the lack of vision for the future, problems within Santa Barbara Sistemas company and the pressing time to replace some tanks from the 1950s that were beginning to be almost useless, led to a short-term solution that left this long-awaited project of having a state-of-the-art tank manufactured in Spain canceled, without even going over the drawing board.

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