DSEI 2017

Technology upgrade gives Leopard sharper teeth [DSEI17D4]

15 September 2017

Rheinmetall Defence (Stand S7-110) has brought its latest Leopard 2 upgrade package to DSEI. Previously known as MBT Revolution, it is now called the Advanced Technology Demonstrator (ATD). The ATD (pictured) brings together Rheinmetall extensive experience in tank technology, especially in the areas of firepower (gun, ammunition and fire control) and survivability.

The vehicle shown at DSEI has a host of improvements, including additional armour protection, hard kill defensive aids system, banks of Rosy electrically operated grenade launchers, all-electric gun control equipment, and cameras for situational awareness.

It also features a recently developed remote weapon station, which has a commander’s sighting system that includes day/thermal cameras and a laser rangefinder allowing for hunter/killer target engagements to take place.

The ATD retains the 120mm L44 smoothbore gun, but this could be replaced by a 120mm L55, which would enable targets to be engaged at longer ranges when firing armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot-type ammunition.

Rheinmetall has completed deliveries of a package of upgraded Leopard 2 MBTs and Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles to Indonesia and is now working on a Polish Leopard 2 upgrade programme that also includes local industry participation.

The German company was one of two contractors awarded contracts by the Defence Equipment & Support organisation for the assessment phase (AP) of the British Army Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme. The other contractor awarded an AP contract was BAE Systems Land (UK), with this due to be completed in late 2018.

For planning purposes, 227 Challenger 2 were expected to be upgraded, with each of the three regiments having 58 vehicles, and the remaining vehicles being used for training.

Under the latest changes to the British Army force structure only two regiments will be equipped with Challenger 2, so there could well be a reduction in numbers.

The AP will be replacing obsolete subsystems such as electronics and optronics, but the 120mm L30 rifled tank gun will be retained, although this could be replaced by a 120mm smoothbore gun, firing the latest generation of Rheinmetall ammunition.

Rheinmetall Defence is pulling through some of its technology from its private venture ATD into the Challenger 2 LEP.

(355 words)