IDEX 2017

Long life expectancy for Leopard [IDEX17D3]

21 February 2017

Rheinmetall Defence (Stand 09-A10) is marketing its capability to upgrade the Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) to extend its operational life, as well as enhancing its capabilities.

The German company has already won a contract to provide upgraded Leopard 2 MBTs to Indonesia along with Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), as well as support vehicles including armoured recovery vehicles (ARVs) and armoured vehicle-launched bridges (AVLBs).

This programme will be completed in 2017.

A contract has also been won to upgrade Leopard 2 MBTs used by Poland, and Rheinmetall is one of the two contractors awarded Assessment Phase (AP) contracts from the UK Ministry of Defence for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme (LEP).

The Leopard 2 upgrade is modular to enable it to be tailored to meet the end user’s specific operational requirements. The existing 120mm L44 Rheinmetall smoothbore gun can be retained or the 120mm L55 smoothbore gun fitted, which extends the range of the weapon by 1,500m when firing kinetic energy (KE) ammunition. The 120mm weapon can also fire the latest DM11 programmable high-explosive (HE), as well as the latest KE rounds including the DM63+ new generation. A remote-controlled weapons station (RCWS) armed with a 7.62mm or .50 machine gun can be fitted on the roof to provide a close-in self-defence capability.

The existing hydraulic gun control equipment (GCE) can be replaced by all-electric GCE and new sighting systems can be installed, including a new commander’s panoramic day/ night sight to allow for hunter/killer target engagements to take place.

Cameras can be fitted to provide situational awareness through a full 360°, and an auxiliary power unit can be fitted to allow all of the key subsystems to be run with the main diesel engine switched off. A high-capacity air-conditioning system can also be installed, which is considered essential when operating in high ambient temperature conditions.

Survivability can be enhanced by the installation of additional passive armour solutions or an Active Defence System (ADS), which would neutralise a variety of incoming threats to the platform, including missiles.

As well as supplying upgraded Leopard 2 MBTs, Rheinmetall can supply Buffel ARVs based on surplus Leopard 2 chassis, and the Kodiak armoured engineer vehicle (AEV).

The Kodiak AEV has been developed in association with RUAG Defence of Switzerland and has already been sold to the Netherlands, Singapore, Sweden and Switzerland.

(391 words)