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Portugal considers adding active protection systems to tanks

The Portuguese Army is considering adding an active protection system (APS) to its Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) Leopard 2A6 main battle tanks (MBTs), providing the tank with 360° detection, tracking, and interception of incoming anti-tank munitions.

This possibility is being studied and discussed and could eventually become part of the planned mid-life upgrade (MLU) of the fleet, Major Ricardo Jorge Parcelas Araújo e Silva, an area coordinator at the Forces Planning Division, told Janes .

The Mechanised Brigade (Brigada Mecanizada: BrigMec) fields 37 former Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2A6s acquired from the Dutch Ministry of Defence’s Defence Materiel Organisation (DMO) through the NATO Support and Procurement Agency (NSPA) in January 2008.

The MLU is scheduled to take place between 2026 and 2030 for approximately EUR46 million (USD55 million). However, the Army High-Staff is looking to begin it early, in line with the review of the Military Programming Law 2019–30, which is scheduled to be carried out in 2022.

The total number of vehicles to receive a partial or full MLU will depend on the available budget.

Essentially, it encompasses installing driver’s thermal cameras, an air-conditioning unit, an auxiliary power unit (APU), ultra-capacitor modules for buss voltage endurance, an electrical gun and turret drive system, and a new fire extinguishing system.

Portugal’s 2A6 fleet was received between October 2008 and December 2009, and has since received some improvements such as EID’s PRC-525 HF tactical radio and ICC-251 digital intercom. Several MBTs were equipped with Roda Computer’s Panther DR786 ruggedised 8.4” tablet computer to run blue force tracking (BFT) software developed by the Directorate for Communications and Information Systems.

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