Powerful Leopard on the way [INDODEF16-D1]

01 November 2016

Rheinmetall Defence of Germany (Hall D, Stands 187 and 189) is supplying Indonesia with 103 Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs) and 42 overhauled Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) plus eight to be used as spare parts. All the Marder 1A3s have been delivered.

In addition there are two Buffel 2 armoured recovery vehicles (ARVs), one Leopard 2 driver training tank, three Biber armoured vehicle-launched bridges (AVLBs) based on a modified Leopard 1 MBT chassis, two Leopard 1 ARVs, three Leopard 1 armoured engineer vehicles (AEVs), plus ammunition and training.

Of the 103 Leopard 2 MBTs, 42 are referred to as a Leopard 2+ and the remaining 61 as Leopard 2 RI (Republic of Indonesia). All retain the Rheinmetall 120mm L44 smoothbore gun, 7.62mm co-axial and 7.62mm anti-aircraft machine guns and banks of 76mm electrically operated grenade launchers either side of the turret.

The Leopard 2+ MBTs for Indonesia have all now been delivered and these are basically surplus Leopard 2A4s overhauled by Rheinmetall and fitted with a bustle-mounted air-conditioning system for use in the high ambient temperatures encountered in Asia.

The first two batches of the more advanced Leopard 2 RI have been delivered and work is now underway on the third batch, which will be delivered in the first quarter of 2017. In addition to the air-conditioning system, the Leopard 2 RI has its original hydraulic gun control equipment (GCE) replaced by an all-electric system, and has a rear-view camera and an auxiliary power unit (APU). The APU allows all of the main systems to be run with the main MTU diesel switched off.

The 120mm L44 smoothbore gun has been modified and the sighting system has also been modified to fire the latest Rheinmetall 120mm DM11 programmable high-explosive (HE) projectile, which has already been qualified and is in quantity production. This has three fuze function options, which are selected depending on the type of target to be engaged. These options are air burst (time fuze), impact and impact with delay, with the last being useful in the bunker busting role.

Indonesia’s Leopard 2 RI is fitted with a passive armour system that covers the frontal arc, with bar/slat armour over the rear arc of the hull and turret. The latter has been added to provide protection against attack from the widely deployed RPG-7 rocket-propelled grenade and similar weapons fitted with a single high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead.

The Indonesian Leopard 2 upgrade was the first one to be won by Rheinmetall Defence, but more recently the company has been awarded a contract to upgrade 110 Leopard 2A4s to the Leopard 2A5 standard for the Polish Army, which are to be delivered by 2020.

(446 words)