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Leopard 2A4M CAN Tank
Canada

Leopard 2A4M CAN Main Battle Tank

Leopard 2A4M CAN Tank
Unveiled / Entered Service
2010
Leopard 2A4M CAN Tank
Status
In Service
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Table of Contents

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Introduction

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.

Background

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.

Firepower

Though originally planned to be up-gunned to the L55 for consistency with the 2A6M CAN, the longer barrelled 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.

Protection

The Leopard 2A4M CAN has the same Mine Protection kit as the Leopard 2A6M CAN, but lacks the latter’s all-round bar armour.

Instead, it features the all-round modular armour package from the Leopard 2A7+ which was also developed by KMW and has been modified to fit the turret configuration of the 2A4.

Other safety features include a replacement electrical drive and crew cooling

Operators

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.

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.

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.

As of 2023, the Canadian Army operates a total of x20 A6M CAN and x20 A4M CAN with all Leopard C2 retired. In addition it purchased 95 surplus Leopard 2A4 during the 2000’s for training, conversion to specialist variants and to break down into spares.

Canada donated eight surplus Leopard 2A4 Tanks in 2023 to Ukraine as part of a larger support package.

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
Rheinmetall L44 – 120mm, calibre Length 44 smoothbore Elevation -9 to +20
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, Loaders 7.62.mm Machine Gun
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
9.66m
Length Hull
7.72m
Width
4.05m with modular armour
Height
2.48m
Ground Clearance
0.54m (Leopard 2A4)
Weight
55.15+ tonne combat
NBC Protected
yes
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite, Spaced, Bar, Modular
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
no
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver

References

http://www.casr.ca/101-army-armour-leopard-2a4m.htm

http://www.kmweg.com/home/tracked-vehicles/main-battle-tanks/leopard-2-a4/product-information.html

http://armstrade.sipri.org/armstrade/page/trade_register.php

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