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Leopard 2E Main Battle Tank
Spain

Leopard 2E Main Battle Tank

Leopard 2E Main Battle Tank
Unveiled / Entered Service
2003
Leopard 2E Main Battle Tank
Status
In Service
Steel Aces Play for free
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Table of Contents

Steel Aces Play for free
the highly anticipated MMO tactical tank shooter for 2024.

Introduction

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), but as of November 2023,  it is no longer listed as a product, nor in their marketing material.

The Leopard 2E features both the L55 main gun introduced on the Leopard 2A6 upgrade and the complete MEXAS modular armour package, initially introduced on the Leopard 2 Improved technology demonstrator and used on both the Swedish Leopard 2S and later the Leopard 2A6EX.

The Leopard 2E is the most heavily armoured and powerful of the Leopard 2A6 models, making it one of NATO's best 3rd Generation Main Battle Tanks of the 2000's.

Background

The Spanish Army for a number of years had operated the Patton Tank series and a licence built version of the French AMX-30B Tank, designated the AMX-30E. By the 1980’s 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 development 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.

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.

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

Firepower

The Leopard 2E uses the Rheinmetall L55 main gun. This was the largest anti-tank gun in NATO until the development of Rheinmetalls 130mm MBT Gun for The Panther KF51 Main Battle Tank.

The L55 is a calibre Length 55, 120mm bore smoothbore main gun and was developed at the end of the Cold War to counter the more heavily armoured Russian T-80 and T-72 series of tanks.

Its increased length allows the energy released from the propellent to build up for longer, pushing the armour piercing round out faster and harder for an improved range and “punch” when hitting the enemy tank.

The Leopard 2E uses an improved thermal imager developed by Raytheon and made under licence by Spanish firm Indra.

The initial Battle Field Management System called Lince, used both German and Swiss technology. It was supposed to be replaced by a new BMS developed by Thales and Indra called BMS-ET, but its status is not known.

Protection

The Leopard 2E features The Modular Expandable Armor System (MEXAS), which contains an unspecified composite armour system developed by the German company IBD Deisenroth Engineering.

Whilst the German Army Leopard 2A6 features the MEXAS “wedge” module on its turret front, the Leopard 2E features the full MEXAS modular package. This includes:

  1. Turret Roof Module complete with thick, armoured sliding crew hatches.
  2. Turret Frontal Wedge with extended folding turret side modules.
  3. Hull Frontal Upper Glacis module, one large single module. This has resulted in the headlights being moved and replaced with rectangular ones.

Mobility

The Leopard 2E uses the exact same MTU engine and suspension of the Leopard 2A6, but features an Auxiliary Power Unit utilising a Kubota diesel engine to power electrical systems as an alternative to the main engine when in a static position.

In addition, the vehicle has an Air-Conditioning unit for the turret compartment to help keep the crew cool in the famous Spanish heat.

Specifications

characteristic
Result
Main Gun
Rheinmetall L55 – 120mm, calibre Length 55 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
10.97m
Length Hull
7.72m
Width
3.78m (with side front hull armor)
Height
3.65m (overall)
Ground Clearance
0.54m
Weight
62.5+ tonne combat
NBC Protected
yes
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite, Spaced, Modular
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
no
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver