Leo 2 upgrades

The upgraded version of Indonesian Leopard 2 pictured during firing trials. (Photo Rheinmetall)
The upgraded version of Indonesian Leopard 2 pictured during firing trials. (Photo Rheinmetall)

Dr. Björn Lach, Senior Vice President Tracked Vehicles at Rheinmetall Vehicle Systems, detailed the status of two major Leopard 2 upgrade programmes. Next year Rheinmetall will conclude the upgrade of Indonesian MBTs; 104 Leopard 2A4 are receiving new ballistic protections, electric drives are replacing hydraulics in the tank turret, the 120 mm smoothbore gun has been fitted with the programming items needed for the DM11 multipurpose round with airburst capabilities, a rear view camera was installed as well as a crew cooling system. The upgrade plan is an answer to the acquisition of new MBTs by many neighbouring countries. Most of Indonesian armour is provided by Germany, and include also three Leopard 2 training tanks, eight Leopard 1 MBTs and 42 Marder AIFVs. Some 110 MBTs and IFVs are being deployed in western Java, 44 in eastern Java, and five in Sumatra.

At MSPO 2016 Rheinmetall unveiled a pre-prototype of the upgraded Leopard 2 for Poland. (Photo Rheinmetall)
At MSPO 2016 Rheinmetall unveiled a pre-prototype of the upgraded Leopard 2 for Poland. (Photo Rheinmetall)

While the Indonesian programme is coming to an end, another is starting. On 28 December 2015 Poland signed the contract for the upgrade of 128 Leopard 2A4, the document containing also an option for other 40 MBTs to receive the same upgrades. As with Indonesia, the programme is part of a wider modernisation programme which involves the whole national military. A pre-prototype was exhibited at MSPO in Kielce last September at the Bumar Łabedy stand, the Polish company being the prime contractor. Two major local subcontractors are involved, PCO, the PGZ group optronic company, and Rosomak. The first true prototype is expected for December 2017. The Polish upgrade does not include the adoption of a new gun, the L/44 being fitted with new recoil brakes and recuperator, taken from the German Leopard A6/A7s, to accept higher pressure rounds, as well as with the programming interface for DM11 rounds. This will lead to the add-on of a new set of ballistic tables in the fire control system. The commander will have a new display and remote power panel. PCO will provide Asteria thermal cameras that will be integrated in the Peri R-17A commanders periscope and in the EMES 15 gunner sight, both systems being part of the upgrade. PEO will also provide the KDN-1 drive back camera. IBD is providing the new armour package, a spall liner adding to the protection upgrade. Other minor changing and adds-on complete the package. Rheinmetall will produce in its Unterlűss plant the prototype and the first five pre-production tanks, the remaining 99 being produced in Poland, a pre-requisite to the contract being that the Polish content exceeded half of the contract value. The Leo 2PL will be comparable to the Leopard 2A5.