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STRV 122 Tank
Sweden

STRV 122 Main Battle Tank

STRV 122 Tank
Unveiled / Entered Service
1996
STRV 122 Evolution
Status
In Service
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Table of Contents

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

Introduction

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.

The Strv 122 tank was first delivered to the Swedish Army in 1996. Since then a number of upgraded versions have been proposed or accepted in to service, such as the Strv 122B and Strv 122B+.

Since 2023, it has been in service with the Ukrainian Army and two vehicles have been "knocked out" by Russian drones.

In 2026, an expected 44 tanks will be upgraded to the Strv 123A model, which will feature the Rheinmetall L55/A1 120mm smoothbore main gun.

Background

strv 122 trials
Swedish Tank Trials. Leopard 2 Improved, M1A2 Abrams and Leclerc.

Sweden is an internationally renowned manufacturer of military equipment. This has included the Bofors anti-aircraft guns, Bv 206 type of vehicles and the highly successful Combat Vehicle 90.

During the Cold War, Sweden had developed the turret less STRV 103 main battle tank and indigenous upgrades of the British supplied Centurion Medium Tank.

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

By the 1980’s and despite a number of proposed upgrades, both vehicles were obsolete. In 1991, an indigenously developed replacement called the Strv 2000 was dropped in favour of sourcing an off the shelf Main Battle Tank.

Between 1992 to 1993, Sweden conducted comparative trials of the American M1A2 Abrams, French Leclerc and a German Leopard 2 Improved prototype.

Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s Leopard 2 Improved, featured a new modular armour package, which covered the turret roof, front and sides as well as hull front. The electronic systems and Fire Control Systems were also improved. Three prototypes were built, one of which was used in the Swedish trials.

In 1994 an agreement was signed with KMW for the licensed production of the Leopard 2 Improved (modified to suit Swedish Army requirements), under the designation Strv 122 aka Leopard 2S.

The agreement allowed for 29 vehicles to be built in Germany by KMW (which were delivered in 1996) whilst the remaining 91 vehicles were built in Sweden by AB Hägglund, which were all completed by 2002.

Firepower

Whilst the new (at the time) 120mm Calibre Length 55 smoothbore (L55) was available as a replacement for the shorter L44, the Swedish Army decided that it was better to retain the L44 main gun due to the heavily wooded terrain the tank would be operated in, as the L55 is 1.3m longer than the L44.

In 2022 Sweden selected the Elbit Systems (Elbit Systems Sweden AB) M339 multi functional tank ammunition. It can be used against buildings/bunkers, armoured fighting vehicles (not Main Battle Tanks) and infantry, thanks to its programmable fuse.

The vehicles fire control system has been upgraded since entering service, specifically its sights and thermal capability.

Protection

The Strv 122A 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 2A5 features the MEXAS “wedge” module on its turret front, the Strv 122 features the full MEXAS modular package. This includes:

  • Turret Roof Module complete with thick, armoured sliding crew hatches.
  • Turret Frontal Wedge with extended folding turret side modules.
  • Hull Frontal Upper Glacis module, one large single module.

A mine enhancement package was added on the Strv 122B upgrade and it has also been tested with the IBD Evolution armoured protection system (see variants below).

Mobility

Whilst the Leopard 2A5 has received the Leopard 2 Improved enhanced torsion bar suspension, the Strv 122 tank is two tonnes heavier than the A5 and has had to have further enhancements.

Variants and Marks

Strv 121

As part of the licensed production deal, 160 surplus Leopard 2A4 Main Battle Tanks were leased from the German Army to replace the Strv 103 and Centurions until production of the Strv 122 had been complete, at which point these were returned to the Germany Army in 2011. These A4 were known as the Strv 121.

Strv 122

The generic name given to all Swedish Leopard 2.

Strv 122A

The actual production model, it features the many improvements of the Leopard 2 Improved and is superior to the Leopard 2A5, which was a dumbed down version of the Leopard 2 Improved. It also featured other international sub systems such as French GALAX Smoke Grenade Launchers and the Rheinmetall Defence Electronics (RDE) Tank Command and Control System (TCCS). Other unique features include an infantry phone on the rear of the hull, additional turret baskets in the bustle (increasing the turrets length). Later production vehicles featured a new GPS, which was later retrofitted in to earlier built vehicles.

Strv 122B

This was an Strv 122A that has been enhanced against mines. It featured a new mine belly plate, suspended drivers seat and modified ammunition racks. Its not clear how many of these went through this upgrade in 2002.

Strv 122B+ Evolution

The Swedish Defence Material Administration (FMV), conducted a study program in 2010 of a modified version of the Strv 122. This technical demonstrator was fitted with armour modules from IBD Deisenroth Engineering’s AMAP™ armor package (now known as Rheinmetall Chempro).

Strv 122C

A modernisation of the Strv 122A, with replacement of dated electronic equipment and wiring. This package was developed by Saab on behalf of KMW in 2016. It features integration of the Swedish Battalion Combat Management System, a new Commanders Independent Sight (PERI Ri7A3), new thermal imager (ATTICA-P system) and new Gunners ATTICA-GL thermal sight.

Strv 122D

Designation of the Strv 122B that has retained its mine protection package and upgraded with the same Strv 122C modernisation package.

Strv 123A

A planned upgrade of 44 unspecified Strf 122 vehicles. Scheduled to start in 2026, the upgraded vehicles will feature the latest model of the Rhienmetall L55 120mm smoothbore, the L55A1, as used on the Challenger 3. The fire control systems will also be enhanced.

Operators

Sweden

120 Strv 122A vehicles delivered from 1996 to 2002. Various upgraded models in service. Specialist Leopard 2 variants – 14 Buffel Armoured Recovery Vehicles were delivered from 2002-2003 and 6 PiPz-3 Kodiak Armoured Engineering vehicles from 2011-2012.

Ukraine

Sweden donated ten Strv 122A in early 2023 to the Ukrainian army in support of the 2022 Russian Invasion and Occupation of Ukraine. Two of these vehicles have been destroyed during fighting according to social media content.

Combat History

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.

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
1.2m
Water Capability
1m (4m with Snorkel)
Trench Crossing
3m
Gradient
60%
Side Slope
30%
Length Gun Forward
9.97m
Length Hull
?
Width
3.78m (inc armor)
Height
3m (inc Commanders Sight)
Ground Clearance
0.54m
Weight
62.5 tonne combat
NBC Protected
yes
Standard Armor(s) Type
Steel, Composite, Modular
Optional Add-on Armor(s) Type
Active Protection Systems
no
Crew
Commander, Gunner, Loader, Driver