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Rheinmetall secures EUR118 million contract for German Army Leopard 2 upgrade

28 September 2017

Key Points

  • Rheinmetall has been awarded EUR118 million for work to upgrade 104 German Leopard 2 MBTs to the latest Leopard 2A7V configuration
  • The 68 Leopard 2A4s to be upgraded will receive the latest L55A1 120 mm smoothbore main gun

Rheinmetall has been awarded a EUR118 million (USD140 million) contract for the upgrade of 104 German Army Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) to the latest Leopard 2A7V configuration. The contract represents Rheinmetall’s portion of the EUR760 million contract awarded to Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) in May that also included the delivery of 32 Leopard 2 chassis for conversion to unspecified support vehicle roles.

A German Leopard 2A4. Models such as this, which were formerly put into storage, will now receive the latest L55A1 120 mm smoothbore main gun. (KMW)A German Leopard 2A4. Models such as this, which were formerly put into storage, will now receive the latest L55A1 120 mm smoothbore main gun. (KMW)

The vehicles that will be upgraded to the new standard are being taken from surplus stocks and include 68 Leopard 2A4s, 16 ex-Dutch Leopard 2A6s, and 20 Leopard 2A7s.

The 68 2A4s that are currently fitted with their original L44 120 mm smoothbore guns will be upgraded with the latest L55A1 version. This is currently the most powerful 120 mm tank gun available and is stated by Rheinmetall to provide up to a 20% increase in penetration over the baseline L55 when paired with the latest ammunition.

The upgraded gun will be able to fire all existing 120 mm smoothbore ammunition types and has been future-proofed to allow the firing of the KE2020 120 mm high-pressure long-rod KE penetrator round. While not expected to be ready for service before 2022, the KE2020 will exploit the increased safe pressure margin of the L55A1 through the incorporation of a new propellant composition in its cartridge.

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