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In keeping with this -
I started thinking about this when I read that the KF51 Panther vehicle is actually a reworked 2A4 hull with a new turret. The Wiki review article bears reading in full but the Current Operators list gives a sense of the problem.
- Austria: The Austrian Army acquired 114 Leopard 2A4s from surplus Dutch stocks plus one turret.
- Canada: The Canadian Army acquired 80 Leopard 2A4 and 20 Leopard 2A6 tanks from the Netherlands in 2007. Twenty Leopard 2A6M were borrowed from the German Army beginning in mid-2007 to support the Canadian deployment in Afghanistan, with the first tank handed over after upgrading by KMW on 2 August 2007, and arriving in Afghanistan on 16 August 2007. Two Bergepanzer 3 Büffel were purchased from the German Army for use with the Canadian deployment in Afghanistan. An additional fifteen Leopard 2A4 tanks were purchased from the German Army as Logistic Supply Vehicles (for spare parts). A further 12 surplus Pz 87 were purchased from Switzerland in 2011 for conversion to armoured recovery vehicles. A final total of 112 tanks of all variants is to be fielded by the Canadian Army: 82 gun tanks (42 2A4+, 20 2A4M CAN and 20 2A6M CAN – all delivered as of March 2016), 12 ARVs (11 of 12 delivered as of March 2016) and 18 AEVs (conversion of which is ongoing).
- Chile: The Chilean Army acquired 132 Leopard 2A4s upgraded to the Leopard 2A4CHL standard (plus 8 to be used as spares) from German stocks in 2007. In April 2013, Chile began negotiations to purchase 100 Leopard 2A5 tanks from surplus German stocks, as well as modernization kits to upgrade all its current Leopard 2A4s up to A5 standard.
- Czech Republic: In July 2016, officers of the Army of the Czech Republic visited a Spanish military base at Zaragoza where Spanish Leopards 2A4 are stored. The Czech Republic was interested in replacing their domestically produced T-72M4CZ and aging T-72M/T-72M1. No official agreement was signed. Later, the Czech Army unofficially announced that the Spanish Leopards were in too poor a condition to be purchased. In May 2022 the Czech Ministry of Defence announced it will get 15 Leopards 2A4 from Germany as an exchange for Czech tanks that will be given to Ukraine to help defend against Russian invasion and may purchase up to 50 modern 2A7+ variants later. The first Leopard 2A4 was delivered on 21 December 2022. The total number delivered will be 14 pieces of L2A4 and 1 piece of Bpz3 Büffel.
- Denmark: In 2019, the Royal Danish Army operated 57 Leopard 2A5DK (equal to Leopard 2A6 minus the L/55 gun). 44 of these have been upgraded to A7 standard, with Danish modifications, between 2019 and 2022, and another 7 changed to Panzerschnellbrücke Leguan (armoured vehicle-launched bridge).
- Finland: The Finnish Army originally bought 124 2A4s from surplus German stocks in 2003. Of these, 12 were converted into bridge-laying and combat engineering tanks and 12 were disassembled for use as spares, leaving 100 operational tanks. In 2009, the Finnish Army bought 15 more German surplus Leopard 2A4s for spare parts of existing fleet, bringing the total number of Finnish Leopard 2A4 tanks to 139. In January 2014, Finland agreed with the Netherlands to purchase 100 used Leopard 2A6NL tanks for approximately €200 million. In 2015, most of the Leopard 2A4s were moved into reserve, with some converted into Marksman AA vehicles, bridge-laying and mine clearing tanks.
- Germany: As of May 2022, the German Army has a total of 312 Leopard 2s. At that time, 99 of them were being repaired by the armaments industry. Of the 312 Leopard 2, 53 are in the 2A7V version and 19 in the A5 version, although these 19 A5 tanks are only used by the german-army to represent enemy tanks in the army's combat training center and have therefore been retired. As of 2020 the German Army had 183 ex-German 2A4s that were upgraded beyond A5 and 173 newly built Leopard 2A6 HEL vehicles. This is to be increased to 328 A6, A6M and A7 tanks in 2026.
- : The Hellenic Army operates 183 Leopard 2A4s and 170 Leopard 2A6 HEL vehicles.
- Hungary: A deal for 44 Leopard 2A7+ and 12 second hand Leopard 2A4 was signed in December 2018. All twelve A4s arrived as of December 2020.
- Indonesia: Indonesia sought and obtained approval for the purchase of 103 refurbished Leopard 2A4 tanks from Bundeswehr surplus stocks, along with 4 Büffel ARV (Bergepanzer), 3 Leguan AVLB bridge-laying tanks (Brückenlegepanzer) and 3 Kodiak AEV (Pionierpanzer). About 63 of Leopard 2A4 will be upgraded to Revolution standard by Rheinmetall. 50 Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles would be acquired as part of the deal. In September 2013, the Indonesian Army received the first two Leopard 2A4 tanks and 2 Marder 1A3 infantry fighting vehicles. The Leopard 2s have been modified to suit Indonesia's tropical climate, and have been internally renamed as Leopard 2RI (RI for "Republic of Indonesia").
- Netherlands: The Royal Netherlands Army operated 445 Leopard 2s. 330 of these were updated to 2A5 standard in 1993, and later, 188 of these were converted to 2A6 standard. Many Leopard 2s were sold after the end of the Cold War. In April 2011, the Dutch Ministry of Defence announced that the last remaining tank division would be disbanded and the remaining Leopard tanks sold due to large budget cuts. In May 2011, the last tank fired the final shot at the Bergen-Hohne Training Area. They were due to be delivered to the Indonesian Army, which planned to purchase the entire Dutch stock of Leopard 2A6s. The deal was scrapped after opposition from the Dutch Parliament. The Dutch Army offered its formerly operated Leopard 2A6s for comparative tests to be conducted by the Peruvian Army for possible acquisition. By September 2013, the Leopard 2A6 had been disqualified by Peru due to logistical complexities. The Leopard 2s were eventually sold to Finland in a deal signed in January 2014 for €200 million with deliveries to start from 2015 to 2019. In September 2015, the Dutch government published that the army would have 16 tanks put out of storage and 18 were to be leased from Germany for a new tank squadron by 2016 as part of a German armoured battalion. One Leopard 2 tank is exhibited at the military museum.
- Norway: The Norwegian Army has 52 ex-Dutch Leopard 2A4NOs in stock. 36 of these were operational as of 2017. In May 2015, it was announced that the Norwegian Army had ordered 6 Wisent 2 in the ARV configuration. A second order of 6 Wisent 2 was announced in September 2018, but these will be delivered in the AEV configuration. In March 2019, Norway signed an agreement with Krauss-Maffei Wegmann for the procurement of 6 new LEGUAN bridgelayers, with deliveries to begin in summer 2022.
- Poland: The Polish Land Forces operate 142 Leopard 2A4s, 105 Leopard 2A5s and two Fahrschulpanzer Leopard 2 (turretless driver training vehicle) locally known as Leopard 2 NJ. All Polish Leopard 2 tanks come from German Army stocks. The first batch of 128 Leopard 2A4s (produced between 1985 and 1987) as well as 49 other armoured vehicles (like Bergepanzer 2 ARVs and M113 family APCs) and 151 trucks and 4x4s was transferred to Poland in 2002 and 2003 for 100 million PLN. They are used by the 10th Armoured Cavalry Brigade based in Świętoszów. A second batch of 105 Leopard 2A5s and 14 Leopard 2A4s as well as 18 Bergepanzer 2 ARVs and 200 trucks and 4x4s was transferred to Poland in 2013 and 2014 for 780 million PLN. 128 Leopard 2A4 are scheduled to be upgraded to Leopard 2PL standard, in a contract worth 2,415M PLN that was signed in December 2015. In 2018 a follow-on deal to upgrade a second batch of 14 Leopard 2 A4s was signed. The Leopard 2PL will introduce new sighting equipment for the gunner, commander and driver, an increased protection level, an upgraded gun, an upgraded fire suppression system and the installation of an auxiliary power unit.
- Portugal: The Portuguese Army operates 37 ex-Dutch Leopard 2A6s, acquired in 2008 for €80 million. Also bought 1 for training and 1 for spares. The Army, in 2010, planned to acquire 18 more units, leaving a total of 55 Leopard 2A6s, but the Ministry of National Defence denied the purchase of additional units due to budget cuts. The Military Programing Law signed in 2019, provides for the modernization of all Leopard 2A6s from 2026 to 2030, and may also receive an active protection system.
- Qatar: Qatar signed a contract for 62 Leopard 2A7+ tanks in April 2013. Deliveries commenced in late 2014/early 2015 and were completed in 2018. The first units were displayed at Qatar's annual national day parade in December 2015.
- Singapore: The Singapore Army acquired 96 ex-German Leopard 2A4s, including 30 spare tanks. A number were upgraded with additional AMAP composite armour in 2010 by IBD Deisenroth and ST Kinetics and renamed Leopard 2SG in October 2010. By 2019, it was reported that Singapore had taken delivery of 158 Leopard 2A4s and 45 Leopard 2A7s. However, the Singapore Government has denied that it received deliveries of Leopard 2A7s.
- Slovakia: In August 2022 the Slovak Ministry of Defence announced it will get 15 Leopards 2A4 from Germany in an exchange for its 30 tracked BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicles from reserve that will be given to Ukraine to help defend against the Russian invasion. Germany’s tank package includes ammunition, training and spare parts. The plans about future modernisations or the purchase of modern versions of the Leopard 2 were not revealed at the time.The first Leopard 2A4 was delivered on 19th December 2022.
- Spain: The Spanish Army operates 327 Leopard 2s (108 ex-German Leopard 2A4s and 219 new-built Leopard 2A6+ (Leopard 2E). Spain offered its Leopard 2A4 for comparative tests to be conducted by the Peruvian Army for possible acquisition. By September 2013, the Leopard 2A4 had been disqualified by Peru due to logistical complexities.
- Sweden: In August 1994, 160 ex-German Leopard 2A4s were leased and received minor modifications. They were used under the designation Stridsvagn 121 until the reorganisation of the Swedish Army in 2000, when they were placed in storage until the lease contract expired in 2011. 20 Strv 121 tanks were purchased for conversion into engineer and bridge-laying vehicles, and the 140 remaining tanks were returned to Germany. Sweden has acquired 120 Leopard 2 Improved tanks, upgrading them as the Stridsvagn 122, with 42 Strv 122 tanks remaining in active service.
- Switzerland: The Swiss Army purchased 380 2A4s designated Pz 87 or Panzer 87. 35 of these were bought from Germany while the remaining ones were license manufactured locally. Beginning in 2006, 134 of these tanks have been modernised, 42 were sold back to Rheinmetall, and 12 were turned into de-mining and engineer vehicles. The remaining tanks are in storage.
- Turkey: The Turkish Army received 354 Leopard 2A4s. 84 units are undergoing for modernization and will be renamed as Leopard 2A4TR. The modernization program was awarded to Roketsan and first tank was re-delivered to the Turkish Army in February 2021. The tanks undergoing modernization are being equipped with new ERA panels, fire control systems and a full overhaul of the power transmission systems.
We talk about the Leopard 2 as if it is a single tank. In fact of the 3600 produced ( "Deutsche Panzer für Katar". Der Tagesspiegel Online (in German). 19 June 2013. Retrieved 26 October 2019. per Wikipedia) there isn't a common fleet from which to draw contributions to equip Ukraine.
If each country that operated Leopard 2s were to contribute a company sized element similar to the Challenger 2 element supplied by the Brits to field the 300 tanks that Ukraine is requesting then Ukraine would likely end up with 20 different vehicles in inventory to support, all of different ages with different national quirks and various upgrades. The logistics situation would only be marginally worse if, in addition to the Brit Challenger 2 they were gifted French LeClercs and Italian Arietes. (Or even Centauros to match the AMX10-RCs).
The only likely source of 300 tanks with common logistics is M1 Abrams from the US stockpile .... but even there
Variants and upgrades
- XM1-FSED: Preproduction test model. Eleven Full-Scale Engineering Development test bed vehicles were produced in 1977–78. These vehicles were also called Pilot Vehicles and numbered PV-1 through PV-11.
- M1: First production variant. Production began (at Chrysler) in 1979 and continued to 1985 (at General Dynamics) (3,273 built for the US). The first 110 tanks were low rate initial production (LRIP) models, still called XM1s, because they were built before the tank being type-classified as the M1.
- M1IP (Improved Performance): Produced briefly in 1984 before the M1A1, contained upgrades and reconfigurations like new turret with thicker frontal armor, new turret is referred as long turret instead of older short turret, armor upgraded from ~650mm line of sight thickness to ~880mm (894 built for US).
- M1A1:[nb 1] Production started in 1985 and continued to 1992, pressurized NBC system, rear bustle rack for improved stowage of supplies and crew belongings, redesigned blow-off panels and M256 120 mm smoothbore cannon (4,976 built for the U.S. Army, 221 for USMC, 59 M1A1 AIM SA sold to Australia).
- M1A1HA (Heavy Armor): Added first generation depleted uranium armor components. Some tanks were later upgraded with second generation depleted uranium armor components, and are unofficially designated M1A1HA+.
- M1A1HC (Heavy Common): Added new second generation depleted uranium armor components, digital engine control and other small upgrades common between Army and Marine Corps tanks.
- M1A1D (Digital): A digital upgrade for the M1A1HC, to keep up with M1A2 SEP, manufactured in quantity for only 2 battalions.
- M1A1 AIM v.1 (Abrams Integrated Management): A program whereby older units are reconditioned to zero hour conditions; and the tank is improved by adding Forward-Looking Infra-Red (FLIR) and Far Target Locate sensors, a tank-infantry phone, communications gear, including FBCB2 and Blue Force Tracking to aid in crew situational awareness, and a thermal sight for the .50 caliber machine gun.
- M1A1 AIM v.2/M1A1SA (Situational Awareness): Upgrades similar to AIM v.1 tanks + new third generation depleted uranium armor components. Configuration for the Royal Moroccan Army, which is almost identical to the Australian variant, except exportable turret armor is installed by General Dynamics Land System to replace the DU armor.
- M1A1 FEP (Firepower Enhancement Package): Similar upgrade to AIM v.2 for USMC tanks.
- M1A1KVT (Krasnovian Variant Tank): M1A1s that have been visually modified to resemble Soviet-made tanks for use at the National Training Center, fitted with MILES gear and a Hoffman device.
- M1A1M: An export variant ordered by the Iraqi Army.
- M1A1 (AIDATS upgrade): Upgrade-only variant to all USMC General Dynamics M1A1 Abrams tanks to improve the tank commander's situational awareness with an upgraded thermal sight, color day camera, and a stationary color display.
- M1A2 (Baseline): Production began in 1992 and initial operating capability achieved in 1993. (77 built for the U.S. and more than 600 M1s upgraded to M1A2, 315 for Saudi Arabia, 1,005 for Egypt, 218 for Kuwait). The M1A2 offers the tank commander an independent thermal sight and ability to, in rapid sequence, shoot at two targets without the need to acquire each one sequentially, also second generation depleted uranium armor components.
- M1A2 SEP (System Enhancement Package): Is fitted with new, second-generation gunner's thermal sight. Has upgraded third-generation depleted uranium armor components with graphite coating (240 new built, 300 M1A2s upgraded to M1A2 SEP for the US, also unknown numbers of upgraded basic M1s and M1IPs, also 400 oldest M1A1s upgraded to M1A2 SEP).
- M1A2S (Saudi Package): Saudi Arabian variant upgrade of the M1A2 based on M1A2 SEP, with some features, such as depleted uranium armor, believed to be missing and replaced by special armor. (442 M1A2s upgraded to M1A2S).
- M1A2 SEPv2: Added Common Remotely Operated Weapon Station as standard, color displays, improved interfaces, a new operating system, improved front and side armor with ERA (TUSK kit), tank-infantry phone as standard, and an upgraded transmission for better durability.
- M1A2 SEPv3 (formerly M1A2C): Has increased power generation and distribution, better communications and networking, new Vehicle Health Management System (VHMS) and Line Replaceable Modules (LRMs) for improved maintenance, an Ammunition DataLink (ADL) to use airburst rounds, improved counter-IED armor package, improved FLIR using long- and mid-wave infrared, a low-profile CROWS RWS, Next Generation Armor Package (NGAP), and an Auxiliary Power Unit (APU) under armor to run electronics while stationary instead of the engine, visually distinguishing the version by a small exhaust at the left rear. More passive ballistic protection added to the turret faces, along with new Explosive Reactive Armor mountings (Abrams Reactive Armor Tile (ARAT)) and Trophy Active Protection systems added to the turret sides. Prototypes began testing in 2015, and the first were delivered in October 2017. The first unit received them in July 2020.
- M1A2T: Special configuration variant of the M1A2 SEPv3 reportedly being offered for sale to Taiwan as of March 2019 and approved by US State Department as of July 2019. Per DSCA statement, it is roughly equivalent to M1A2 SEPv3, except depleted uranium armor is replaced by FMS export armor. There is no mention of the Trophy APS system. The new-built tanks will be produced at Anniston Army Depot, Anniston, Alabama, and the Joint Systems Manufacturing Center, Lima, Ohio.
- M1A2 SEPv4 (formerly M1A2D): Under development as of 29 March 2022. The Commander's Primary Sight, also known as the Commander's Independent Thermal Viewer, and Gunner's Primary Sight will be upgraded with third Gen FLIR, an improved laser rangefinder and color cameras. Additional improvements will include advanced meteorological sensors, laser warning/detection receivers, directional smoke grenade launchers and integration of the new XM1147 advanced multi-purpose [sv] (AMP) 120mm tank round. The AN/VVR-4 laser warning receiver and ROSY rapid obscurant system have been trialed by the US Army for adoption on the Abrams tank and Bradley fighting vehicle.
- M1A2-K: Under development, unique variant for the Kuwaiti Army, slated to replace Kuwait's current M1A2 fleet.
- Tank Test Bed (TTB) Prototype TACOM project begun in 1983 with unmanned turret, three crew members in armored capsule in front of the heavy armored hull, main armament was 120 mm smoothbore gun M256, mechanical loading system under turret.
- Component Advanced Technology Test Bed (CATTB) was an experimental model with a XM291 140 mm smoothbore cannon, heavy armored turret and upgraded hull based on the Abrams chassis. It had a mechanical loading system in turret bustle, a new engine and probably other upgrades, never fielded. The tank went into trials in 1987–88.
AbramsX at AUSA 2022
- AbramsX is a technology demonstrator of the M1 Abrams series by General Dynamics Land Systems. The AbramsX features an autoloader, unmanned turret (which reduces the crew to 3), a hybrid diesel-electric power pack that gives 50% more fuel efficiency, a 30mm chain gun in a remote weapon station, active protection systems, augmented reality that would increase the crew's awareness thanks to cameras and sensors mounted around the tank’s exterior, a silent mode when running on electric power, the ability to be updated more easily than existing tanks, the ability to utilize loitering munitions such as the AeroVironment Switchblade as well as surveillance drones, and reduced weight for improved mobility. In October 2022, GDLS released a video showing the Technology Demonstrator and various technology tests.
It seems to me, a civvy on the margins, that it is a bit of a mugs game to be worrying about maintaining a common standards fleet in Ukraine in the current situation.
The Ukrainians are, my guess, going to continue using whatever tanks they can get ahold of and use them until they drop due to lack of ammo, diesel, track or electronics failure.
Their army will look more like the German army of WW2 with its mix of homegrown solutions and captured vehicles as well as vehicles produced by the national factories of occupied countries like Czechoslovakia. Or even the Brit army with its mix of Brit, Canadian and US vehicles of various standards and ages.
Each company/squadron will have to train independently and operate until it runs out of vehicles and/or people. And that is going to influence tactics.