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Dutch Leopard 2A5 Tank

Leopard 2A5 Main Battle Tank

Leopard 2A5 Tank German Army
Unveiled / Entered Service
Leopard 2A5 Tank German Army
In Service
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The Leopard 2A5 Tank was of the implemented projects of the KWS capability improvement programme for the Leopard 2A4, following concerns about the vehicles performance against the latest and future models of the Russian T-72 and T-80 Main Battle Tanks.

The Leopard 2A5 Tank upgrade focused on armoured protection, additional safety features and a hunter killer capability. The A5 was not a new production model, but an upgrade to existing, in service Leopard 2A4 tanks of the Dutch and German Armies.


Germany initiated the Kampfwertsteigerung (KWS) capability improvement programme in 1988 to address the vehicles armour and firepower in 3 key development projects.

KWS I – The development of a new, more capable Kinetic Energy penetrator that would require a new, more powerful main gun of the existing 120mm calibre.

KWS II – Improvements in protection and crew safety as well as updating of electrical systems.

KWS III – The development of a new 140mm main gun.

KVT Prototype aka Leopard 2 Improved

Leopard 2 Improved during Swedish Trials
Leopard 2 Improved during Swedish Trials

In 1989, the Leopard 2’s manufacturer KMW built the KVT prototype, which featured all the “bells and whistles” that KMW had to offer for the KWS II. This prototype was an upgraded A4 and known by KMW as the Leopard 2 Improved.

The Leopard 2 Improved featured an extensive appliqué modular armour system for the turrets front and sides as well as the upper glacis of the hull. A new all electrical gun laying, stabilisation and turret traverse system, relocation of the gunners sight, a new Independent Commanders Sight, a new all electrical operated drivers hatch, C2 communications system and finally modified suspension to cope with the added weight.

The Leopard 2 Improved was trialled by both the Dutch and German Armies, who did not opt for all upgrades the vehicle offered for the A5 vehicles, but Sweden did for their Leopard 2S aka Strv 122 in 1994.

TVM Prototypes

Following trials of the Leopard 2 Improved, two new prototypes were delivered to the army called TVM. One had the most basic of upgrades, which was simply an A4 with the new electrical gun laying drive Called TVM Min and a second more comprehensive one called TVM Max, which featured nearly all the upgrades, but was lacking in the additional armour modules to the hull glacis and turret roof.

In 1992 the final decision was made on what elements and configuration the A5 was going to be, which resulted in the final TVM prototype, TVM2. This vehicle was trialled in 1992 and certified for production as the Leopard 2A5 that same year.

Selected A5 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.


MEXAS (Modular Expandable Armor System) is the predecessor of the AMAP family. MEXAS is a specially flexible and cost-efficient IBD protection concept and gives the A5 its distinct wedge shape on the front of the turret. MEXAS is not a replacement to the base armour of the A4, but an appliqué (addon) system added on top of it.

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.

The replacement of the hydraulic gun laying drive/stabilisation and turret drive provides additional protection with the risk of fire or explosion being reduced should the system be hit.

Variants and Marks

Leopard 2PSO

Leopard 2 PSO
Leopard 2 PSO

Developed by KMW on a Leopard 2A5 turret, the PSO was developed as a tech demonstrator to showcase technology that enhanced the Leopard 2’s survivability in urban areas and in-support of peace keeping missions.

Unveiled in 2006, the most obvious change is the additional modular armour and all round protection against RPG attack. To cope with the added weight, the vehicle was fitted with the MTU EuroPowerPack. The vehicles Situational Awareness has been enhanced with a 360 degrees suite of cameras. In addition, a new Remote Weapon Station was mounted on the turrets roof.

A dozer blade is fitted to the front of the hull for clearing barricades and burning vehicles, which are normally associated with civil unrest. The Smoke Grenade Launchers could also be used to fire non-lethal projectiles to help disperse crowds.

Though available as either a new build vehicle or an upgrade to an existing vehicle, the PSO never entered production and over the coming years was further developed into the Leopard 2A7+ and is no longer marketed.


Current Operators


A total of 225 Leopard 2A4 Tanks were upgraded to the Leopard 2A5 Tank, with first deliveries to the army completed in November 1995, with final deliveries in 1998. A second batch of 125 A4 were upgraded to the A5 between 1999 and 2002.

Only the original 225 upgraded A5 were upgraded to the A6 model, leaving 125 A5 in service. 105 of these vehicles were sold to Poland, with deliveries starting in 2015. The remaining vehicles are either in service or storage.


Poland has operated the Leopard 2A4 since 2002 following their acceptance into NATO. With 142 A4 delivered, Poland has gone through a prolonged development and upgrade process of some of the vehicles to the Leopard 2PL standard. Poland took delivery of 105 Leopard 2A5 from 2015.

Since the Russian Invasion of Ukraine, Poland has stepped away from proposed indigenous upgrades of its tanks and opted to import new tanks from America and South Korea. Its not expected that the A5 in service will be upgraded to the Leopard 2PL.


The Strv 122 Tank (Stridsvagn) is the current Main Battle Tank of the Swedish Army and is aka Leopard 2S. It is the most heavily armoured Leopard 2A5 in service and more closely resembles the Leopard 2 Improved tank in terms of protection. It is also the only Leopard 2 Tank to be fitted with the French GALIX smoke grenade launcher system. READ MORE

Former Operators


The Leopard 2A5DK Tank is the former Main Battle Tank of the Danish Army. Entering service in 2002, it was fitted with the full modular MEXAS armour kit.

From 2020 KMW has been physical upgrading and refurbishing 44 2A5DK to the Leopard 2A7DK standard. The last upgraded vehicle was handed over to the Danish Army in September 2023, whilst the remaining vehicles have/are being converted to specialist variants. READ MORE

The Netherlands

As one of the original contributors to the KWS program, the Dutch Army received their first Leopard 2A5 Tanks in 1996. The Netherlands only converted 180 of their 320 A4 to the A5 standard. All of these A5 were later converted to the A6 standard. None of the Dutch A5 remain in service.

The Dutch A5 was almost identical to the German A5, with the exception of different machine guns, radios, antenna, side skirts (original A4) and drivers night vision device, which was supplied by a Dutch company.


Combat History

The following only relate to the Leopard 2A5, not all models of the Leopard 2.

KFOR – NATO Operation in Kosovo

Germany deployed several A5 as part of the initial invasion and later security patrols without any major incidents or engagements.

ISAF – War in Afghanistan

Denmark deployed 3 Leopard 2A5DK Tanks to Afghanistan to support ISAF troops in the South of the country, scoring a number of successful engagements with the Taliban. In 2008, the driver of a Leopard 2A5DK was lost after the his vehicle was hit by an IED.

Russian Invasion Ukraine

The Strv 122A has been operated by the Ukrainian Army since 2023. It was deployed as part of the Ukrainian Counter Offensive in 2023, with the loss of two vehicles to drone strikes.


Main Gun
Rheinmetall L44 – 120mm, calibre Length 44 smoothbore Elevation -9 to +20
Secondary Weapons
Coaxial 7.62mm Machine Gun, Loaders Machine Gun
Ammunition Storage
x42 120mm, x4,750 7.62mm
MTU Mb 873 ka 501, turbocharged 1500hp Diesel
RENK HSWL 354, 4 speed forward/2 reverse
Top Road Speed
68 km/h
Road Range
Fuel Capacity
1160 litres
Vertical Obstacle
Water Capability
1m (4m with Snorkel)
Trench Crossing
Side Slope
Length Gun Forward
Length Hull
3.75m (with side front hull armor)
2.48m (roof top)
Ground Clearance
59.5 Tonnes
NBC Protected
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite, Spaced, Modular
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver