LEOPARD 2 MBT (development)
In January 1970, the USA and Germany Governments suspended the MBT/KPz-70 joint program, deciding each country to continue its development of a new tank in a particular way. Germany decided then to take advantage of the experience accumulated in the previous project and hired Krauss-Maffei to build 16 chassis and 17 turrets prototypes for a new tank. Between 1972 and 1974, chassis PT.1 to PT.11 and PT.13 to PT.17 were delivered together with turrets T.1 to T.17. The prototypes were equipped with different combinations of engines, guns, fire control systems and optics. Ten of the turrets carried a 105mm smoothbore gun and the remaining seven carried a 120mm smoothbore gun. It was intended that the new tank had a maximum weight of 50 tons and that certain fire control systems could be coupled in a Leopard 1 turret, though after the experiences from the Yom Kippur War, the protection of the design was strengthened allowing it to reach a maximum weight of 60 tons. In 1974, a new agreement was signed between USA and Germany to standardize certain components for the future tank that both nations were going to build in the 80s. Porsche, Krauss-Maffei and Wegmann built two new chassis, (PT.19 and PT.20), and three new turrets, (T.19, T.20 and T.21), according to German and American military specifications, giving rise to the “Leopard 2 AV” (Austere Version). From September to December 1976, the new turrets and chassis were brought to the USA and tested in Aberdeen Proving Ground, (Maryland), shortly after the American XM-1 prototype from Chrysler and General Motors did. After demanding tests, according to the US Army the XM-1 won the contest, so Germany continued the final development of its prototypes and in 1977 a contract was signed for the construction of 1,800 Leopard 2 between Krauss-Maffei and Krupp MaK companies.
LEOPARD 2 prototypes gallery and more info
LEOPARD 2 AV prototypes gallery and more info