The Leopard 2A7+ Tank is a German 3rd Generation Main Battle Tank, developed and manufactured by Krauss‐Maffei Wegmann. First unveiled at the 2010 Eurosatory exhibition in France, it was trialled by the German Army and is now in service with the Qatar Armed Forces.
Based on a Leopard A6 Tank, the A7+ features improved all-round armored protection for fighting in-built up areas and digital architecture. It is the successor to the earlier Leopard 2 PSO by KMW.
Leopard 2A7+ Tank Development
The hazards of Main Battle Tanks fighting in-built up urban areas and their susceptibility to unconventional attacks was demonstrated in the Iraq War by the American Abrams and British Challenger 2 Tanks.
KMW in response, started development of up-armoring packages, the first was the Leopard 2A6M, which was delivered to the German Army in 2004 and then the Leopard 2 PSO displayed for the first time at Eurosatory 2006.
In 2007 The Canadian army was loaned 20 Leopard 2A6M from Germany in 2007 to replace their Leopard C2 deployed in the War in Afghanistan (2001–2014). These vehicles received additional modifications resulting in the Leopard 2A6M CAN. These tanks saw extensive action in the role of infantry support during their deployment, which has given KMW vital information in the development of a Leopard 2 Tank that focuses on all-round vehicle protection optimized to protect the crew.
First seen in 2010, the design has been refinned and incorporates features used on the Leopard 2A6M CAN.
Leopard 2A7+ Tank Protection
The sides of the hull and turret feature new modular armor containing an unspecified composite armor. This was used in the upgrade of the Canadian Leopard 2 to the Leopard 2A4M CAN and has been described by crews as superior to the Rheinmetall Chempro GmbH AMAP armor system.
The rear of the hull is fitted with cage armor (aka bar or slat armor). KMW describe these armor upgrades as Passive all-round protection for the crew against threats such as roadside bombs, mines and bazooka fire.
Leopard 2A7+ Tank Additional Upgrades
- Interface for attaching implements, such as a mine plow, mine roller or a dozer blade for clearing mines, booby traps or building debris blocking the roads
- Cooling system for both the turret and chassis
- Increased power-rated additional power generators for check-point missions (auxillery Power Unit)
- Communication interface on the exterior of the vehicle for dismounted forces
- Combined driver’s night vision (thermal imager / image intensifier) for front and rear view
- Improved optoelectronics (day / night) for reconnaissance over long distances
- Digitized and multifunctional user concept
- Remote Weapon Station
- Solar reducing Barracuda matting
- Changes in the Smoke Grenade Launcher layout
- Changes in the side turret modular armor replacing elements of the Leopard 2A6 older MEXAS armor
Leopard 2A7+ Tank Operators
The Leopard 2A7+ Tank was originally developed for the German Army and successfully passed trials. However it is not in service. Main publications confuse the Leopard 2A7+ with the Leopard 2A7 Tank that is in service as of December 2014. This vehicle features new sighting equipment and the M armor package from the Leopard 2A6M.
Qatar (In service)
62 Leopard 2A7+ Tanks were ordered from KMW in 2013 for 1.89 Billion Euros (includes PzH 2000 SPG). Adapted for operating in hot climates, as of 2015 a minimum of 10 had been delivered.
Germanys foreign policy guidelines of previous governments was not to supply heavy arms equipment to a crisis region as a matter of principle, which Saudi Arabia was deemed to be. It was leaked to a German publication SPIEGEL, that a meeting of the Federal Security Council took place in the first half of 2011 and the sale of 200 Leopard 2A7+ was approved.
As of April 2014 the deal is reportedly dead following the refusal by SPD Economy Minister Sigmar Gabriel, which effectively blocked the sale.