LEOPARD MBT (development)
In 1958 Germany, France and Italy, (as observer), began the development of a new tank to equip their respective armies and to replace their American tanks. Three German work groups were made up of companies: Porsche, MaK, Luther & Jordan and Jung-Jungenthal (working group A), Ingenieur-bureau Warneke, Rheinstahl-Hanomag and Henschel (working group B) and Borgward (working group C). For the French part, AMX company was in charge of developing the prototypes. Rheinmetall and Wegmann companies built two turrets separately, installing the Wegmann’s turret in the “group A” prototypes and that of Rheinmetall in those of “group B”, being able to exchange them between the two groups without restrictions. Both turrets had installed a 90mm Rheinmetall gun. In 1960 the working groups A and B were able to present their “1st Generation prototypes” on time, but group C did not, so only two tanks were evaluated. The prototypes were subjected to tests from early 1961 to April 1962. After tests it was decided to continue the development of the working group A prototype, that was superior than group B tank. From this moment the project was designated as “Standard MBT” and entered a second stage in which 26 “2nd Generation prototypes” or “Prototype II A tanks” were produced along with 32 turrets. At this point due to political and requirements differences, France decided to withdraw from the project and continue its own development, which would give rise to the AMX-30 tank. Likewise Italy withdrew and decided to build under license the American M-60 tank. During the testing of these Prototype II A tanks, the first 50 pre-series tanks were ordered (very similar to the production ones), and in July 1963 Krauss Maffei was chosen for the construction of the new tank that on October 1, 1963 was officially named “Leopard“.
LEOPARD development gallery and more info