DEFEA 2023 – ASPIS Modular NG, heavyweight protection from EODH
At DEFEA 2023 EODH, the Greek leading supplier and producer of protection systems, presented its ASPIS (Advanced Shielding Platform Integrated System) Modular NG, a new generation modular protection kit, which was exhibited installed on a Greek Army Leopard 2A4
The Greek Army intention to upgrade its fleet of 183 Leopard 2A4 has been there for years, budget constraints having delayed the process, the most recent plan being to split the work in two batches, a first one including 123 tanks, enough to provide upgraded MBTs to three battalions, each on three companies for a total of 41 tanks per battalion, followed by a second batch that will complete the fleet upgrade adding a further battalion plus spares, EDR On-Line understood. This is one of the many proposals made to the Greek MoD by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) to tailor its offer to the customer needs. KMW, which has the intellectual property for the Leopard 2A7 version, the standard to which Greece intends to bring its Leopard 2, is the solely company running up for the contract.
While this is for the time being including an already adopted solution, an option remains open to integrate the new EODH armour kit, should this provide the expected results, the ASPIS being currently under testing by independent entities, one of them being the Dutch TNO EDR On-Line understood, following successful industrial trials at the company. Final results are expected before year end.
The demonstration layout seen at DEFEA, the defence exhibition that took place in Athens 9 to 11 May, was in fact somehow misleading; the Leopard 2A4 was provided by the Greek Army under conditions that EODH would not carry out any drilling or welding to install its kit. Delivered two months ahead of the event, the company rushed to install its system, however part of the tank remained unprotected to cope with the Army requests, the MBT being handed back to the service untouched following the exhibition. Should the EODH armour kit be retained, modified tanks will obviously be subject to drilling and welding operations to allow full integration of the system.
The ASPIS Modular NG is a new generation protection system and is based on two different types of modules, one dedicated to protect the hull against shaped charge as well as kinetic energy threats, and one to protect the turret and chassis against new threats, especially those coming from the top.
The former comes in the form of modular tiles, which dimensions and weight allow for easy replacement, mostly based on explosive reactive armour (ERA) and passive elements. These are installed on the glacis and on the flanks of the tank, as well as on the front and side-front of the turret, considerably increasing protection, which level obviously remains classified.
As for top attack protection, this is provided by modular elements of active armour, containing a radar sensor and an explosive effector. To protect the Leopard 2 five such modules are installed flat on the turret top; the radar senses the incoming threat, which is analysed by the system single control unit to validate the firing, at 50 to 100 metres distance, the charge being detonated when the threat has come to the required distance, no details on this being provided by EODH. The system is extremely simple, according to the company, as the operator must just perform a check before switching on the system. Active modules are also used to protect the rear and flanks of the turret against shaped charge threats, three modules being installed at the rear and right and left flanks of the turret.
EDR On-Line understood the overall weight of the full-options solution is around 6,000 kg, however a lighter version is offered at around half that weight for another programme, the Greek Army also looking at upgrading its fleet of 150 Leopard 1 MBTs. Such solution will be presented to the Greek Army next June. Currently the 105 mm gun tank is unable to withstand hits by 25 mm rounds, the solution proposed by EODH to cope with Russian 30×165 mm rounds. A solution capable to withstand higher energy western 30×173 mm rounds might also be considered, however this would add some more 500 kg to the kit, EDR On-Line understood, and wear and tear on mechanical elements of the ageing Leopard 1 must be considered in the equation.
Photos courtesy EODH and P. Valpolini