Leopard 2A4M CAN

The Canadian Leopard 2A4M CAN Tank during handover ceremony

The Canadian Leopard 2A4M CAN is the most advanced Main Battle Tank in the Canadian Army. The vehicle was developed by German Company KMW and the Canadian Army to meet their requirements with improvements, following lessons learnt operating the Leopard 2A6M in the Afghanistan War.

The tank is a re-conditioned Leopard 2A4 Tanks fitted with the “M” Mine armor package and other additional upgrades. It was successfully deployed to support ISAF Forces during the Afghanistan War.

The first of the 20 ordered, were delivered to the Canadian Army in October 2010 and 5 were deployed to Afghanistan in December 2010.

Leopard 2A4M CAN Development

After an initial assessment of the performance of the Leopard C2 Tank in Afghanistan, Canada decided to invest in Leopard 2 tanks. It was determined that the lack of adequate air conditioning (essential in the searing heat of Afghanistan,) was degrading the tank crew’s war fighting ability. The Army later downplayed this factor, citing increased armour protection and the main gun armament as reasons for upgrading to the Leopard 2 Tank.

After some public speculation, Canadian Defence minister Hon. Gordon O’Connor clarified the situation on Thursday, April 12, 2007.

To meet immediate needs in Afghanistan, twenty of the Bundeswehr’s stock of Leopard 2A6’s were upgraded to 2A6M standard and loaned to Canada at no cost by the German government. Two Leopard 2 Büffel  Armoured Recovery Vehicles were acquired at the same time. The first tank handed over to the Canadian Military after upgrading by KMW was on August 2, 2007, and the first one arriving in Afghanistan on August 16, 2007, with the last arriving in late September 2007.

Canada commissioned KMW to upgrade 20 Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks in July 2009 for deployment in Hindu Kush. The new version, the Leopard 2A4M CAN, is specially designed for operations in Afghanistan.

Both knowledge from the previously used Leopard 2A6M CAN and state-of-the-art technology that was recently qualified by KMW in collaboration with the German army and the Federal Office of Defence Technology and Procurement (BWB) flowed into the development. The development, conversion and overhaul of the first vehicles were successfully carried out in less than one year, converting them into modern operational units.

Leopard 2A4M CAN Description

The Leopard 2A4M CAN is the upgraded Canadian version of the Leopard 2A4 acquired from the Royal Netherlands Army as surplus. The Leopard 2A4M CAN is specially designed for the war in Afghanistan based on experience gained by Leopard 2 operators and  a lot of first-hand knowledge from crews aided in the development of this new version.

The first 20 were delivered in October 2010 and 5 Leopard 2A4M’s were deployed to Afghanistan in December 2010, and withdrawn from front line service in July 2011.
The Canadian Leopard 2A4M CAN Tank during handover ceremony

Though originally planned to be up-gunned to the L55 for consistency with the 2A6M CAN, the longer barreled guns (optimized for tank-vs-tank warfare) were found to be less than ideal in Afghanistan, and therefore it was decided to retain the L44 shorter barrel.

In addition, only small areas of slat armour were added, in contrast with the fully caged 2A6M CANs. The protection of the Leopard 2A4M CAN has been further augmented with the addition of appliqué armour resembling that found on the recent Leopard 2A7+ variant, but modified to fit the turret configuration of the 2A4.

Lord Strathcona’s Horse operator the Leopard 2A4M CAN

Lord Strathcona’s Horse operator the Leopard 2A4M CAN

Other modifications include an all-electric digital turret, a digital central logic/main distribution system, a new commander system control unit, enhanced brakes, an upgraded suspension and driver viewing aids.
Canadian Leopard 2 Support Vehicles

The Canadian Tank Replacement Project has been scheduled over 2 phases, the first being the acquisition of the Leopard 2A6M CAN and Leopard 2A4M CAN to meet immediate needs in Afghanistan.

The second phase is delivering the Canadian Army with Leopard 2 support vehicles, for crew training, armoured recovery and combat engineer work. This has been achieved with the conversion of surplus Leopard 2 Tanks bought from other countries.

Special thanks to our site Admin Canadian Army SGT (Ret’d) Anthony Sewards for the information contained on this page.

Leopard 2A4M CAN 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
Road Range 550km
Fuel Capacity 1160 litres
Vertical Obstacle 1.1m
Water Capability 1m (4m with Snorkel)
Trench Crossing 3m
Gradient 60%
Side Slope 30%
Length Gun Forward 9.61m
Length Hull 7.74m
4.05m (with modular hull armor)
Height 2.48m (roof top)
Ground Clearance 0.54m (Leopard 2A4)
Weight 62,500kg aka 62.5 tonne combat
NBC Protected Yes
Armor Type Steel/Tungsten/Modular/Composite
Active Protection Systems No
Commander Yes
Gunner Yes
Loader Yes
Driver Yes
Additional Crew
Troops Carried N/A

See Also:

Main Leopard 2 Tank Directory

Leopard 2A4 Page

Leopard 2A6M CAN Page


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