Leopard 2E Tank

Leopard 2E Tank

The Spanish Leopard 2E Tank is a licence built Leopard 2A6EX Tank, developed by KMW. It is built-in Spain by General Dynamics European Land Systems (formerly Santa Bárbara Sistemas).

The Leopard 2E (along with the Greek Leopard 2A6 HEL) is the most heavily armored of the Leopard 2A6 models.

The Leopard 2E benefits from the Leopard 2A6 tanks L55 main gun, but also features increased levels of protection across the hulls upper glacis and turret roof, making the Leopard 2E one of the best 3rd Generation Main Battle Tanks in NATO.

Leopard 2E Tank Development

The Spanish Army for a number of years had operated the M60 Patton Tank series and a licence built version of the French AMX-30B Tank, designated the AMX-30E. By the 1980’s both these tanks were out-dated and had a potentially low life-cycle.

A replacement program held by the Spanish Ministry Of Defence resulted in various international companies and joint domestic developement projects being offered as well as “off the shelf” vehicles. Eventually the program ended in 1989.

In 1995, Spain secured a lease with Germany for 108 surplus Leopard 2A4 Tanks. The lease was extended in 2001 and in 2005, Spain bought them outright for 16,000,000 Euros. In 1998, Spain secured the rights to licence build the Leopard 2A6EX, an improved export version of the Leopard 2A6.

Designated the Leopard 2E (El español), the first 30 Leopard 2E were built-in Germany by KMW and the remaining 189 were built-in Spain. Spanish Company Santa Bárbara Sistemas was initially selected to manufacturer the new tank, but the company was bought by the European Land Systems Division of General Dynamics in July 2003.

The former Santa Barbara Sistemas factory at Las Canteras (Seville) were responsible for the final assembly of most of the units, while the factory at Trubia (Asturias) manufactured the hulls and turrets.

The main subcontractors were IZAR (engines), SAPA (transmission system, track and road wheels), AMPER (command and control computer programs and radio communications) and INDRA and the German company STN for the combat systems.

Production and delivery of the Leopard 2E ran from 2003 to 2013.

Leopard 2E Tank Features

Leopard 2E Tank Features

Leopard 2E Tank Features – Original Image Frank Lobitz

The Leopard 2E has the same MEXAS armor system from the Leopard 2A5, but has an additional armor module over the hulls upper glacis and protrudes partially down the lower plate.

This has resulted in the headlights being moved and replaced with rectangular ones.

It also has a new armor module over the turret roof (Red) protecting the fighting compartment from top attack. Built into the module are reinforced crew hatches (Green), which slide shut via a powered mechanism.

These armor systems have normally been appliqué (added after production) upgrades for existing tanks. However, they were added to the Leopard 2E during its production.

The Leopard 2E is fitted with an Air-Conditioning system, with the main cooling unit added to the rear of the turret (Dark Blue) resulting in a modified shape from the Leopard 2A6 turret.

An auxiliary Power Unit was also installed on the right side of the engine bay (Yellow), resulting in a visibly higher square hull section.

Leopard 2E Tank Specifications

Main Gun Rheinmetall L55 – 120mm, calibre Length 55 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 11.3m
Length Hull 7.72m
3.78m (with side front hull armor)
Height 3.65m (overall)
Ground Clearance 0.54m
Weight 62,500kg aka 62.5 tonne combat
NBC Protected Yes
Armor Type Steel/Tungsten/Modular/MEXAS
Active Protection Systems No
Commander Yes
Gunner Yes
Loader Yes
Driver Yes
Additional Crew
Troops Carried N/A