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Prototype main battle tank


The NKPz main battle tank design was scraped in favor to inferior, but cheaper German Leopard 2

Entered service -
Crew 3 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 50 t
Length (gun forward) 8.5 m
Hull length ?
Width 3.63 m
Height 2.57 m
Main gun 120-mm smoothbore
Machine guns 2 x 7.5-mm
Elevation range ?
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 44 rounds
Machine guns 5 000 x 7.5-mm rounds
Engine Sauer diesel engine
Engine power 1 400 hp
Maximum road speed 60 - 70 km/h
Range 500 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 1 m
Trench ~ 2.5 m
Fording 1.4 m


   The NKPz or Neuer Kampfpanzer was developed by Contraves in the mid 1970s to meet a Swiss Army requirement for a new main battle tank. The new MBT was intended to replace an ageing fleet of 320 Centurions, used by the Swiss Army.

   The NKPz was a very advanced MBT design at that time. However in the early 1980s Swiss government decided to build German Leopard 2 main battle tanks under license. These tanks were 15%-30% cheaper comparing with the NKPz, but also inferior.

   Layout of the NKPz was similar to Israeli Merkava. This main battle tank had a wedge-shaped hull and a front-mounted engine for better protection. The rear part of the hull was intended for ammunition storage. An NBC protection system was intended as standard.

   Vehicle was armed with Rheinmetall 120-mm smoothbore gun, fitted with an autoloader. The same gun was used on the Leopard 2. The NKPz was equipped with a very advanced fire control system. The NKPz carried 44 rounds for the main gun, stored in a compartment, that was separated from the crew.

   Secondary armament consisted of two 7.5-mm machine guns. One of them was coaxially mounted with the main gun, while the other was placed on top of the roof.

   Vehicle had a crew of three, including commander, gunner and driver.

   Vehicle was powered by Austrian Sauer 12-cylinder diesel engine, developing 1 400 hp. It also had auxiliary power unit - the VW Golf diesel engine. Tank's hydropneumatic suspension with adjustable ground clearance.





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