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Prototype main battle tank


The Lince was an attempt to develop an indigenous Spanish main battle tank

Country of origin Spain
Entered service -
Crew 4 men
Dimensions and weight
Weight 49 t
Length (gun forward) 9 m
Hull length 7.1 m
Width 3.74 m
Height 2.5 m
Main gun 120 mm smoothbore
Machine guns 2 x 7.62 mm
Elevation range - 10 to + 20 degrees
Traverse range 360 degrees
Ammunition load
Main gun 40 rounds
Machine guns 3 000 x 7.62 mm
Engine MTU MB Ka 501 diesel
Engine power 1 200 hp
Maximum road speed 70 km/h
Range 550 km
Gradient 60%
Side slope 30%
Vertical step ~ 1 m
Trench ~ 2.8 m
Fording ~ 1 m
Fording (with preparation) ?


   The Lince (lynx) was a 1980s attempt to develop an indigenous Spanish main battle tank, which was considered essential to Spanish national interests. Though Spain was previously offered the M1 Abrams and the Vickers Mk.7, neither of the owners of these designs would grant Spain rights to manufacture their own vehicles. Spain did have the option of building Leopard 2s, but the prospect of possibly producing a tank design around the Spanish Army's own specifications was quite attractive.

   The Spanish government injected some 120 Billion Pesetas (about US $1.1 Billion) into the Lince project in 1984. Its layout was largely based upon West Germany's Leopard 2, and at a glance it could easily be mistaken for one. Though offers to co-develop such tanks as the AMX-56 Leclerc constantly nipped at the heels of the program, Spain added another 200 Billion Pesetas (US $1.8 billion dollars) to the Lince in 1987. However, in the same year a 16 Billion Peseta (US $155 Million) program was established to upgrade Spain's AMX-30Es to EM1 and EM2 standard, and the tank market glutted with many rapidly retiring M60 Pattons (of which Spain eventually bought 260). Spain finally caved-in and cancelled the Lince in 1989, following these tank upgrades and imports, and scathing criticism by Krauss-Maffei of the Lince's program management.

   Soon after, Spain conceded to acquiring Leopard 2s from West Germany, and ultimately manufacturing its own.

   Propulsion was provided by an MTU MB 871 Ka 501 V12 diesel engine, generating 1200 hp. Though this was considerably less power than the engine in the Leopard 2 generated, it also didn't have to propel as much weight; the Lince weighed only 49 tonnes, resulting in a respectable power/weight ratio of 24.48 hp/tonne (compared to the original Leopard 2's 55 tonnes and 27.19 hp/tonne). Coupled with the engine is the same Renk automatic transmission used in the Leopard 2, with 4 forward and 2 reverse speeds.

   The running gear was similar to that of the Leopard 2 as well, and was even planned to incorporate the same Diehl tracks as used on the Leopard 2.

   The Lince sacrificed some armor for mobility, a low weight, and a low unit cost, though the its advanced composite armor was still a significant improvement in protection over the M60 Patton and AMX-30 then used by the Spanish Army. The low weight was considered essential for deployment of the Lince, as Spain's infrastructure could not at the time accommodate a tank in the 55-tonne weight range.

   Additional protection measures were to have included spall liners, Halon fire suppression systems, an overpressure NBC system, and an escape hatch on the belly.

   Firepower came in the form of the same Rheinmetall 120 mm/L44 smoothbore gun as the Leopard 2, a coaxial 7.62 mm machine gun, both of which were fully-stabilized in three planes, and a 7.62 mm anti-aircraft gun on the roof. It is unclear which model of machine guns were to be used on the Lince, though the MAG, MG-3, or a combination of the two were likely candidates. Ammunition for the main gun was to be stored in an armored compartment in the turret bustle, topped with blow-off panels.

   Had development and production proceeded as scheduled, the Lince would have potentially cost an astoundingly-cheap US $1.5 Million.

   There are no known variants of the Lince, though it is worth noting that it was derived from the Leopard 2.



   Article by BLACKTAIL

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