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Leopard 1

Main battle tank

Leopard 1 MBT

The Leopard 1 main battle tank was very successful design

 
 
Country of origin West Germany
Entered service 1965
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 42.4 t
Length (gun forward) 9.54 m
Hull length 7.09 m
Width 3.41 m
Height 2.76 m
Armament
Main gun 105 mm rifled
Machine guns 2 x 7.62 mm
Elevation range - 9 to + 20 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 60 rounds
Machine guns 5 500 rounds
Mobility
Engine MTU MB 838 Ca M500 diesel
Engine power 830 hp
Maximum road speed 65 km/h
Range 600 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 40%
Vertical step 1.15 m
Trench 3 m
Fording 2.25 m
Fording (with preparation) 4 m

 

   Development of the Leopard 1 main battle tank began in 1956 and took about 10 years. The first trials began in 1961. Vehicle entered service with the Bundeswehr in 1965. Production ceased in 1984 and it was replaced by the Leopard 2. However the Leopard 1 was very successful design. Over 4 000 of these MBTs were built in Germany. Another 720 were license-produced in Italy. Despite its age the Leopard 1 is still in service with a number of export operators.

   The Leopard 1 has a welded hull and cast turret. Armor of this tank is relatively thin. Germans estimated that contemporary Soviet T-62 tank could penetrate frontal armor of the Leopard 1 at a range of 1 800 meters. Newer Soviet T-72 tank could penetrate it at a range of over 3 000 meters. The tank is fitted with NBC protection equipment for the crew.

   Despite its relatively thin armor, the Leopard 1 packed a formidable punch. This MBT is armed with the British L7A3 105 mm rifled gun. It was a standard NATO tank gun, used on contemporary tanks, such as American M60 Patton and French AMX-30. This gun is loaded manually. Ammunition includes APDS, APFSDS, HEAT and smoke rounds. Germans estimated that the Leopard 1 could penetrate frontal armor of the Soviet T-62 tank at a range of 400 meters with APDS round and 1 500 meters with APFSDS round. Frontal armor of the newer T-72 tank could be penetrated by APFSDS round at a range of 800 meters.

   Secondary armament consists of coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun and another roof-mounted 7.62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun.

   Vehicle is powered by the MTU MB 838 Ca M500 multi-fuel diesel engine, developing 830 horsepower. The whole powerpack, including engine and transmission, can be replaced in field conditions within 20 minutes. The torsion bar suspension consists of seven road wheels, with the drive sprocket at the rear and idler at the front. The Leopard 1 is fitted with a deep wading kit and after preparation can ford water obstacles up to 4 m deep. A dozer blade can be attached at the front of the hull.

 

Variants

 

   Leopard 1A1 was fitted with a new gun stabilization system allowing to fire effectively on the move. It was also fitted with side skirts, new thermal sleeve on the gun barrel and some other minor improvements.

   Leopard 1A2 had better turret armor protection, improved NBC protection system and new night vision equipment.

   Leopard 1A3 had new welded turret with composite armor and wedge-shaped gun mantlet.

   Leopard 1A4 is externally similar to the 1A3, but included new computerized fire control system, and new sighting system.

   Leopard 1A5 was developed in early 1990s. It was fitted with modern fire control system and improved night vision equipment. A total of 1 300  of the Leopard 1A1 and 1A2 MBTs were upgraded to this level.

   Gepard self-propelled anti-aircraft gun, fitted with two 35 mm guns.

   Biber armored bridgelayer.

   Bergepanzer armored engineering vehicle.

 

   Some countries made local upgrades to their Leopard 1s to extend their service lives.

 

Video of the Leopard 1 main battle tank

 
Leopard 1A5 MBT

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Leopard 1A5 MBT

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Leopard 1A5 MBT

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Leopard 1 MBT

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Leopard 1 MBT

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Personal appeal from Andrius Genys

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