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Leopard 2PL

Main battle tank

Leopard 2PL

It is planned that the Polish Leopard 2A4 tanks will be upgraded to the Leopard 2PL standard

 
 
Country of origin Germany / Poland
Entered service ?
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 60 t
Length (gun forward) 9.67 m
Hull length 7.72 m
Width 3.7 m
Height 2.48 m
Armament
Main gun 120 mm smoothbore
Machine guns 2 x 7.62 mm
Elevation range - 9 to + 20 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 42 rounds
Machine guns 4 750 x 7.62 mm
Mobility
Engine MTU MB-837 Ka501 diesel
Engine power 1 500 hp
Maximum road speed 72 km/h
Range ~ 500 km
Maneuverability
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step 1.15 m
Trench 3 m
Fording 1 m
Fording (with preparation) 4 m

 

   In 2002 Germany donated to Poland a a total of 128 Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German Army stocks. In 2013 German MoD signed a contract with Poland to sell another 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks, plus 105 newer Leopard 2A5 tanks, and Bergepanzer 2 armored recovery vehicles from the army stocks. In 2015 the Polish MoD selected Rheinmetall of Germany as a favorite bidder to upgrade the older Leopard 2A4 tanks. An upgraded version was developed by Rheinmetall in cooperation with a number of Polish companies. It is called the Leopard 2PL. The demonstrator was first publicly revealed in 2016.

   Currently Polish Army also operates eleven tank battalions. Two of them re equipped with the Leopard 2A5 tanks. Another two are equipped with Leopard 2A4 tanks, that are to be upgraded to Leopard 2PL standard. Also there are four battalions equipped with PT-91 Twardy tanks and three battalions equipped with older T-72M1 tanks. Polish Army operates a total of 233 PT-91 tanks and 120 T-72M1 tanks. Another 470 T-72M1 tanks are in storage.

   The Leopard 2PL upgrade is broadly similar to the Rheinmetall Revolution MBT. It has got improved armor protection, improved gun, iomproved sights and some other systems. However despite all improvements the Polish Leopard 2PL is not as capable as the upgraded Leopard 2A7 upgraded by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, which entered service with the German Army in 2014. The Leopard 2PL looses to Leopard 2A7 in the key areas of protection, firepower, accuracy, and onboard electronic systems.

   The Polish Leopard 2PL has improved armor protection. An Advanced Modular Armor Protection (AMAP) composite armor kit, developed by the IBD Deusebroth company of Germany, was fitted to the turret. This armor is a part of Rheinmetall Revolution upgrade package. It uses new nano-ceramics materials and modern titanium and steel alloys. This armor provides higher level of protection against wide range of threats. Up-armored turret of the Leopard 2PL offers higher protection than turret of the Leopard 2A5, however it can not match protection level of the Leopard 2A7. The armor kit is modular, so damaged armor modules can be replaced in field conditions. It is planned that the AMAP armor modules will be produced in Poland under license.

   The Leopard 2PL MBT is only slightly heavier than its predecessor. It weights 60 t, comparing with 56.6 t of the original Leopard 2A4. Around 3 t of add-on armor were added to the turret front and sides. However no armor was added to the hull in order to keep the weight within the 60 t limit, which was set by the Polish Army. Some sources report that armor was also added to the hull floor in order to improve protection against landmines and improvised explosive devices. Otherwise hull armor was not improved in any way. Furthermore Polish Leopard 2A4 tanks have hulls made in the early 1980s. It seems that these hulls will not withstand modern APFSDS ammunition. Crew members of the Leopard 2PL are seated on new shock-proof seats. The tank is also fitted with more efficient automatic fire suppression system.

   The Leopard 2PL tank retains a 120 mm/L44 smoothbore gun of its predecessor. However the gun was modified by Rheinmetall to be compatible with newly-developed high pressure ammunition, such as programmable DM11 high-explosive air-burst ammunition, and high power DM53 and DM63 armor-piercing rounds. The programmable rounds enable to engage targets behind cover and within buildings. These multi-purpose DM11 rounds can be also used against enemy troops, armored vehicles and low-flying helicopters. The gun can also fire any other standard NATO 120 mm tank ammunition. The gun is loaded manually by the loader. A total of 42 rounds are carried inside the tank. 15 rounds are stored in the turret bustle and are ready to use. Remaining rounds are stored inside the hull. The turret bustle is separated from the crew compartment and has a blow-out panels.

   Hydraulic drives of the turret were replaced with electric drives. Such upgrade significantly improves post-penetration survivability, as the hydraulic drives contain flammable liquid.

   Secondary armament consists of a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun. There is another 7.62 mm machine gun mounted on top of the roof.

   The Leopard 2PL has improved sights and fire control system. The commander uses panoramic sight, which is fitted with a Polish-made thermal imager and includes a laser rangefinder. Commander's station is equipped with a number of digital screens, that display different information.

   It looks like the Leopard 2PL has got a hunter-killer engagement capability, which is present on all modern main battle tanks. The commander uses his panoramic sight to search for targets. Once the target is selected the gun is laid on the target automatically and the gunner completes al the aiming and firing process. During that time commander looks for the next target. Such target engagement method allows to acquire and engage targets faster.

   The driver received a new night vision sight for driving at night and a rear vision camera, which makes driving backwards much easier.

   Despite all improvements communication systems of the Leopard 2PL remain unchanged. This tank also lacks battlefield management system.

   This main battle tank is operated by a crew of 4, including commander, gunner, loader and driver.

   The Leopard 2PL retains the engine of its predecessor. It is powered by an MTU MB-837 Ka501 turbocharged diesel engine, developing 1 500 hp. This tank is also fitted with Steyr Auxiliary Power Unit (APU), which powers all systems, when the main engine is turned off. The same APU is used on the Leopard 2A7. Cross-country performance is similar to that of its predecessor. This tank can be fitted with a deep wading kit and ford shallow rivers, lakes and other water obstacles up to 4 m deep.

 

 
Leopard 2PL

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Leopard 2PL

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Leopard 2PL

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Leopard 2PL

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Leopard 2PL

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Leopard 2PL

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Leopard 2PL

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