The Leopard 2A5 Tank was a significant improvement of the Leopard 2 Tank in both armored protection and additional crew safety features. The new armor gave the Leopard 2A5 a distinct wedge-shaped front to turret front and sides.
The Leopard 2A5 was the result of an improvement plan between Germany, the Netherlands and Switzerland known as KWS, specifically KWS II.
The Leopard 2A5 Tank is in service with 3 countries and a number still remain in German Army storage. The vehicle has been deployed by Germany as part of the NATO 1999 Kosovo Force (KFOR) and by Denmark in the War in Afghanistan (2001–2014).
Leopard 2A5 Tank Development
A joint French/German tank development project had begun in November 1982 for the Leopard 3. The development phase was scheduled to last until 1996. The project would look at various configurations including a new turret on the existing Leopard 2 Tank hull.
Eventually it was decided that several key improved components, such as armor (including turret roof armor), additional safety equipment and improved Sighting Devices would be explored for the Leopard 2. In 1991, KMW built 2 TVM trials vehicles featuring all the improved components, which was now known as KWS.
With the Cold War coming to an end and hostilities between the West and Russia easing, Germany like all NATO countries started to reduce its defence budget. This influenced the decision by West Germany to convert a large number of its Leopard 2A4 to the full improved version of the 1991 TVM vehicles.
Instead the KWS project was scaled down and broken into 3 parts (KWS I, KWS II & KWS III), which meant the introduction of improvements resulting in new models would be introduced in stages. KWS I refered to the introduction of a new 120mm calibre Length main gun by Rheinmetall known as the L55, KWS II refered to new Sighting equipment, Armor and additional safety features and finally KWS III, which explored the installation of an experimental 140mm main gun.
All the improvements of the 2 TVM vehicles were shared with the Netherlands and Switzerland, which were both the only 2 export clients and strategic partners of the Leopard 2. In 1992 both countries signed an agreement with Germany on developing the KWS II, aka Improved Leopard 2 following selection of the Improved components. Trialling of the Improved Leopard 2 ran from 1993 to 1994.
The Leopard 2A5 Tank Upgrades
Increased Protection – A new armor system called MEXAS (see below) was added to the turrets front and sides, which has a distinct wedge like shape. Spall liners were added internally.
Sighting Equipment – The Commanders Independent Sight was upgraded and moved further back to an elevated position. The new PERI-R17A2 include a Thermal Channel for improved Hunter-Killer capability. The added MEXAS armor meant that both Gunners main sight and auxiliary FERO Z-18 sight was moved to the turret top.
Additional Upgrades – The Drivers hatch was replaced with a new power operated sliding hatch, the gun stabilization system was replaced with an all-electrical system and a camera mounted on the hull rear was installed and connected to a monitor in the drivers station. this meant the driver could see where he was going whilst reversing the vehicle, rather than relying on the Commanders instructions. Additional storage boxes were added to the turrets rear. A new GPS system was also installed.
Only Germany and the Netherlands implemented the Improved Leopard 2 Tank upgrades, now known as the Leopard 2A5. Both Denmark and Sweden would later operate their own upgraded Leopard 2A5 Tanks.
Leopard 2A5 Tank MEXAS Armor
Fielded in 1994, MEXAS (Modular Expandable Armor System) is the predecessor of the AMAP family. MEXAS is a specially flexible and cost-efficient IBD protection concept. The synergistically modular structured system makes it possible to adapt to the vehicle and the various hazard potentials in question. A major benefit is the low areal density brought about by the use of up-to-date materials.
The protection can be separately transported and extended by special-purpose modules in the field, within an hour. Hence, the protection concept can be tuned to the specific operative goals for a variety of missions. Repairs can be done in the field to MEXAS in the event of damage.
Its worth noting that the MEXAS armor on the side of the turret has to be removed in order to open the engine deck hatch. Also the MEXAS does some what limit the drivers access to his hatch and in most cases climbs through the turret to his station.
Leopard 2A5 Tank Operators
Model: Leopard 2A5DK
Denmark purchased 51 surplus A4’s from Germany in 1997. These were over-hauled and upgraded to the A5 variant and were delivered to the Danish Army between 2002 – 2005.
Denmark purchased a number of the Mine protection kits as used on the Leopard 2A6M for those serving in Afghanistan aka Leopard 2A5MDK.
Model: Leopard 2A5 (Storage)
As the original manufacturer, at its peak the German Army had 2125 Leopard 2 A4. Many have been sold on to other countries at the end of the Cold War or been upgraded by KMW. A total of 225 Leopard 2A4 Tanks were upgraded to the Leopard 2A5, with first deliveries to the army completed in November 1995, with final deliveries in 1998. Since then, some of the A5 model (and possibly A4) have been upgraded to the A6 model. The remaining A5 models have been put into storage or sold as surplus to Poland.
Model: Leopard 2A5 (storage?) Former Operator
The Netherlands participated in the KWS projects to improve protection and firepower of the Leopard 2A4 with both Germany and Switzerland. 330 of the original 445 Leopard 2NL were bought up to the A5 model and of these 188 were upgraded to the A6 model in 2003.
On April 8th 2011, the Dutch Ministry of Defense announced The Royal Netherlands Army tank division would be dissolved and the remaining Leopard tanks sold due to large budget cuts. On the 18th of May 2011 the last tank fired the final shot at the Bergen-Hohne Training Area.
Model: Leopard 2A5
Poland has operated the Leopard 2A4 since 2002. The Polish Army received the first of 128 A4 models in 2002 with the final delivery in the following year. These surplus A4 tanks were gifted to Poland from Germany following Poland’s membership to NATO in 1999.
A second delivery of 14 Leopard 2A4 from Germany was completed in 2014 for 180,000,000 Euros, with a follow on order for the same price, of 105 Leopard 2A5. These A5 were delivered from German storage 2015 onwards. There are no current plans to upgrade these to the new Leopard 2PL standard.
Model: Strv 122 aka Leopard 2S
In 1994, Sweden purchased 120 Leopard 2A5 as part of a $770,000,000 deal (included in the price was the leased Strv 121).
The Swedish Leopard 2A5 are designated the Strv 122. They have additional armor over the upper glacis of the hull like the Leopard 2 Ex and include the French GALIX Active Protection System.
These vehicles were delivered to the Swedish Army from 1996 to 2002. There has been a number of improved versions of the Strv 122, the Strv 122B and proposed Strv 122B+.
Leopard 2A5 Specifications
|Main Gun||Rheinmetall L44 – 120mm, calibre Length 44 smoothbore
Elevation -9 to +20
|Secondary Weapons||x1 coaxial 7.62mm MG, x1 7.62mm MG|
|Ammunition Storage||x42 120mm, x4,750 7.62mm|
|Engine||MTU Mb 873 ka 501, turbocharged 1500hp Diesel|
|Transmission||RENK HSWL 354, 4 speed forward/2 reverse|
|Top Road Speed||68 km/h|
|Fuel Capacity||1160 litres|
|Water Capability||1m (4m with Snorkel)|
|Length Gun Forward||9.67m|
||3.75m (with side front hull armor)|
|Height||2.48m (roof top)|
|Weight||59,500kg aka 59.5 tonne combat|
|Active Protection Systems||No|
Germany Army Official Website http://www.deutschesheer.de/portal/a/heer/!ut/p/c4/NYu7DsIwDEX_yE7Fm62AkFhgQlC2kFit1TSJLAMLH08ycI90lqOLDyxE–beKqdoA96xc7x9fmAgElByQ-QRRlIlCJSyFY-3-vIELkXSaqWoXNyL1SSQk2io5SVSCrDHzjSHnVmY_5rvst3sV9f5bH06Hy-Yp6n9AV8TImE!/&usg=ALkJrhj_NWU_HOSwTIFLekxiS4q3E4hsmA
MEXAS Armor https://web.archive.org/web/20100613162257/http://www.ibd-deisenroth-engineering.de/mexas.html
Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank 1979-98 by Michael Jerchel and Mike Badrocke Buy on Amazon
Michal Derela https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Leo2_MSPO15_DSC02789.JPG