Leopard 2 tank is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei, now Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), of Munchen, Germany. The Leopard 2 is a successor to the successful Leopard 1.
Leopard 1 was first produced in 1963 by Krauss-Maffei for the German Ministry of Defence. More than 6,000 vehicles have been exported to Belgium, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Italy, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Turkey and Australia.
The successor to the Leopard 1, the Leopard 2, was first produced in 1979 and is in service with the armies of Austria, Canada, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Greece, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain and Turkey, with more than 3,200 tanks produced.
In June 2010, KMW unveiled its next-generation main battle tank, Leopard 2 A7+. The tank was successfully tested and qualified by the German Army. Its main features include a modular protection kit, improved sustainability and increased mobility.
In July 2011, a deal to sell around 200 Leopard 2 A7+ to Saudi Arabia was approved by Germany’s Federal Security Council.
International orders for Leopard 2 and its variation models
The Finnish Army has bought 124 tanks and the Polish Army has bought 128 used Leopard 2A4 tanks from Germany. In August 2005, Greece placed an order for 183 used Leopard 2A4 and 150 Leopard 1A5 tanks from German Army reserves.
In November 2005, an agreement was signed for the sale of 298 German Army Leopard 2A4 tanks to Turkey.
In March 2006, Chile signed a contract for the acquisition of 140 Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German Army. The first was delivered in December 2007.
The Leopard 2A6 includes a longer L55 g-un, an auxiliary engine, improved mine protection and an air-conditioning system. The German Army is upgrading 225 2A5 tanks to 2A6 configuration, the first of which was delivered in March 2001. The Royal Netherlands Army upgraded 180 of its 2A5 tanks to the 2A6 configuration, the first of which entered service in February 2003. In March 2003, the Hellenic Army of Greece ordered 170 Leopard 2 HEL (a version of the 2A6EX). The first 30 are being assembled by KMW, with the remainder by ELBO of Greece. The first locally built tank was delivered in October 2006. The Leopard 2A6 HEL entered service with the Hellenic Army in May 2008.
Spain has ordered 219 Leopard 2E (a version of the 2A6 with greater armour protection), 16 recovery tanks (CREC) and four training vehicles. The first 30 were built by KMW and the rest licence-built in Spain by General Dynamics, Santa Barbara Sistemas (GDSBS). The first tank was handed over to the Spanish Army in June 2004 and deliveries concluded in 2008.
Another variant is the Leopard 2(S), which has a new command and control system and passive armour system. 120 Leopard 2(S) have been delivered to the Swedish Army. Deliveries concluded in March 2002.
In December 2006, it was announced that Singapore would buy 66 refurbished Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German Army, plus 30 additional tanks for spares. The tanks entered service with the Singapore Army in September 2008.
In April 2007, Canada purchased up to 100 Leopard 2 tanks from the Dutch Army and leased 20 Leopard 2A6M tanks from the German Army. KMW delivered the first of the leased 2A6M tanks, which has been upgraded with improved mine protection and slat armour, in August 2007. The tank was deployed to Afghanistan later in August 2007. The Dutch Army retains a fleet of 110 2A6 tanks.
In October 2007, Portugal purchased 37 Leopard 2A6 tanks from the Dutch Army. The first eight were delivered in October 2008 and deliveries concluded in 2009.
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