The Leopard 2 is the main battle tank of the German Bundeswehr. It was designed and developed by Krauss-Maffei between 1970 and 1978. Mass production began in 1979 by Krauss-Mafei Wegmann. Today, it is also manufactured by Maschinenbau Kiel GmbH and by General Dynamics, Santa Barbara Sistemas (GDSBS) of Spain. Since 1979 several variants have been built: Leopard 2; 2A1; 2A2; 2A3; 2A4, which is the most widespread version of the Leopard 2 family; 2A4CHL, which is the upgraded Chilean version of the Leopard 2A4 ordered by Chile in 2007; 2A5, which introduced a wedge-shaped spaced add-on armor to the turret front and the frontal area of the sides; 2(S), which is a Swedish Army variant of the Leopard 2A5, receiving the local designation Strv 122; 2A6, which includes the addition of the Rheinmetall 120mm L55 smoothbore gun and a number of other classified changes; 2E, which is a Spanish derivative of the 2A6, with greater armor protection, developed under a program of co-production between the defense industries of Spain and Germany; 2A7+, which is the latest model built for the German Army.

The Leopard 2 is powered by an MTU Friedrichshafen, MB 873 Ka-501 liquid-cooled, V-12 Twin-turbo, diesel engine, delivering 1,479 hp. The tank is protected by spaced, multi-layered 3rd generation composite armor, which include high-hardness steel, tungsten and plastic filler with ceramic component. The Leopard 2A5 and A6 models use additional armor added to the turret front, and on hull and side skirts. The Leopard 2 is armed with one 120mm Rheinmetall L55 smoothbore gun, and two 7.62mm MG3A1 with 4,750 rounds. It is also fitted with a EMES 15 fire control system. Rheinmetall has developed an upgrade for Leopard 2 tanks to give them the ability to fire the LAHAT anti-tank guided missile through the main gun, the missile can engage targets out to a range of 6,000 meters.

Specifications for the Leopard 2A6 Tank

Type: heavy tank with 3rd generation armor protection
Weight: 59.9 metric tons
Length: 9.97m (393 in), with gun forward
Width 3.75m (148 in)
Height 3m (120 in)
Crew: 4
Engine: MTU, MB 873-Ka 501, 12-cylinder-Diesel engine (1,479 hp), with two exhaust turbochargers
Maximum speed: 74 km/h
Range: 555 km
Weapon: one 120mm Rheinmetall L55 smoothbore gun; two 7.62mm MG3A1 with 4,750 rounds

Leopard 2, the Teutonic Beast in Action (Video)

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