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Do Leopard 2 Upgrades Solve The Problems Of The Original 2A4?


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By now, everyone knows of the performance of the Turkish Army Leopard 2A4s bought from Germany, and used in Syria against ISIS and what other opposition. There has been lots of media coverage on the 10 or 11 Leo 2 A4s destroyed via mines, Russian build ATGWs, IEDs, suicide truck bombing, etc. Even before the deployment of their Leos to this conflict, other Leo 2 operators have modified and upgraded their Leo 2s. Canada has its 2A6M, there is the A7V, RM's Revolution upgrades, etc. Just how effective are these upgrades? Was there a fundamental flaw with the base vehicle (meaning A4 configuration) such that it could be defeated by IEDs and mines? Apparently, even the Germans and certainly the Turks were surprised that their Leo 2s were as easily defeated as their Pattons. If so, do all these upgrades mentioned above make any difference if there is a flaw in the base design? How confident can an army with a fleet of lets say upgraded A6s or even A7s be when their Leos are faced with modern ATGW and RPGs, and against 125mm APFSDS rounds?

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Utterly unproven myth, invalidated by multiple middle eastern wars. Uhuh.

 

I think all it really needs is an APS system. I think we are moving into the point where actual armour of a vehicle is of secondary importance to mobility and visibility. The only armour it really needs is an active protection system.

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A tank that is destroyed should have a flaw. Great logic born by decades of myths of utter superiority of western tech...

 

Not only western tech. Invincible tank myth in general. The turks lost their Leopards to their own ineptitude. e.g. driving in broad daylight out through a village, knowing that there is dug in enemy infantry nearby. Against mines, well you can run road clerance, but it is still a gamble with mines. Etc. etc. It comes down to a lack of training and doctrine.

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"Between 2010 and 2012 the U.S. supplied 140 refurbished M1A1 Abrams tanks to Iraq. In mid-2014, they saw action when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant launched the June 2014 Northern Iraq offensive. During three months, about one-third of the Iraqi Army's M1 tanks had been damaged or destroyed by ISIL and some were captured by opposing forces. By December 2014, the Iraqi Army only had about 40 operational Abrams left. That month, the U.S. Department of State approved the sale of another 175 Abrams to Iraq."

 

And you worry about eight Leopards?

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Tanks get destroyed by weapons designed to destroy tanks - where is the surprise?

I think the word "contemporary" needs to be included somewhere in that statement. A 9M14 (AT-3 "Sagger" for the Cold Warriors among us) missile has a very low probability of destroying any M1 model unless it comes in from the side or rear.

 

The important part is that it's evident that Soviet missiles from the 1970's to 1980's have a decent chance of destroying tanks from the 1980's like the Leo 2A4 in a frontal hit.

Edited by Interlinked
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Any side hull hit on practically any modern tank with Sagger, even oldest ones will result in penetration.

Also, modernized versions have improved penetration over original 400mm.

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Any side hull hit on practically any modern tank with Sagger, even oldest ones will result in penetration.

 

Also, modernized versions have improved penetration over original 400mm.

Good point. The side armour isn't particularly strong.

Edited by Interlinked
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The Leopard 2 in it's earlier versions was considered to have the lower protection of Western tanks from the same era (Challenger, Abrams). In subsequent versions it was improved, and the weak point created by the gunner sight eliminated, thus you could say that the upgrades solved the issues.

 

 

Blindaje%2BChallenger-1.jpg

 

Issues in Syria have more to do with training. In any case, Leo-2A4 is not exactly new, I was not that surprised about the losses.

Edited by alejandro_
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The Leopard 2 in it's earlier versions was considered to have the lower protection of Western tanks from the same era (Challenger, Abrams). In subsequent versions it was improved, and the weak point created by the gunner sight eliminated, thus you could say that the upgrades solved the issues.

 

 

That is not entirely correct. M1 Abrams (original model) had even lower protection (along the frontal arc, but more side armour), based on other declassified UK reports. The Turkish Leopard 2s have roughtly the same level of anti-HEAT protection on the turret as the Challenger 1 (i.e. the 700 mm steel equivalency along the frontal arc), but a much better hull protection.

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The Leopard 2 in it's earlier versions was considered to have the lower protection of Western tanks from the same era (Challenger, Abrams). In subsequent versions it was improved, and the weak point created by the gunner sight eliminated, thus you could say that the upgrades solved the issues.

 

 

That is not entirely correct. M1 Abrams (original model) had even lower protection (along the frontal arc, but more side armour), based on other declassified UK reports. The Turkish Leopard 2s have roughtly the same level of anti-HEAT protection on the turret as the Challenger 1 (i.e. the 700 mm steel equivalency along the frontal arc), but a much better hull protection.

 

 

Yes, but it has the cavity on the turret front. On Challenger 1, there is no cavity. Its bolted on the turret side.

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The original M1 was about 390-400mm vs KE for the front turret right ?

 

Against KE the Brits accessed the front with 320-340 mm steel-equivalent protection along a 50° arc.400 mm "at the turret front" (which might mean head-on instead of minimum protection along an arc) is stated in a CIA report.

 

All these values are very flexible, because of the different steel types used by each country and how values were measured/estimated.

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"Between 2010 and 2012 the U.S. supplied 140 refurbished M1A1 Abrams tanks to Iraq. In mid-2014, they saw action when the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant launched the June 2014 Northern Iraq offensive. During three months, about one-third of the Iraqi Army's M1 tanks had been damaged or destroyed by ISIL and some were captured by opposing forces. By December 2014, the Iraqi Army only had about 40 operational Abrams left. That month, the U.S. Department of State approved the sale of another 175 Abrams to Iraq."

 

And you worry about eight Leopards?

Serious question - is it unreasonable to expect a greater level of competence from Turkish troops than from Iraqi troops?

 

What would the difference have been if the Iraqi troops had been equipped with Leopard-2A4 tanks and the Turks equipped with Iraqi model M1-A1 tanks?

 

 

 

-K

Edited by Special-K
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Leopard 2A5/6/7 are quite well protected from front.

 

But no tank is invincible, especially from side and rear. And as said, tanks KO'd by anti-tank weapons..no surprise there.

 

Lot of mentioned issues were because of poor tank tactics, tank is not isolated entity nor should it be if used properly.

Edited by Sardaukar
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The Leopard 2 was initially hailed as a superbly well-rounded tank design, not for being an impenetrable fortress.

You can make a case that the Leopard 2A4 was still following this approach, while Challenger and Abrams were a lot less mobile and the early Abrams had much less main gun penetration capability.

 

Decades of peacetime practice and years of being involved in small missions where bringing all men back healthy was priority #1 changed the approach. Nowadays people emphasise protection higher. Penetration capability was also increased. Both changes were at the expense of mobility. Today's Leopard 2 A6M would likely get bogged in many wet & soft soil Baltic terrains just as Challenger and Abrams, and its long main gun tube would be quite restrictive in the many woodland areas there.

 

The public perception that tanks somehow lose their value if they can be penetrated is utter bollocks. The German tanks of 1940 that were so important to overrun the combined British and French land forces in France were penetrated by everything that was more powerful than a normal rifle with a steel core cartridge. Many tanks were abandoned and retaken when the penetrations by 25 mm anti-tank guns had ceased. Lots of damaged (penetrated) tanks were repaired during the campaign. The side with the first shell-proofed tanks did not only lose the campaign, but also the battles, including at Stonne and Amiens.

 

Tanks can be used as stationary strongpoints in overwatch missions. The Americans did it in Vietnam even. It's not a safe tactic if you face ATGMs unless you can limit your exposure to roof-mounted equipment. Turkish Leopard 2A4 were lost in combat with videos thereof being indistinguishable to the videos of M1A2 Abrams lost by Saudis in Yemen. Poor tactics sooner or later lead to disaster. We only get to see the videos of the successful attacks anyway.

 

 

Personally, I think we should upgrade Leopard 2 with the newer more compact engine, increase the internal fuel capacity, mount a CITV & .338" RCWS combo on top, greatly improve on rapid multispectral smoke screening and yes, some lightweight hard kill APS. The budget for this should be kept rather moderate, for I don't expect them to be of much use post-2030.

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The Turkish Leopard 2A4s are originally earlier variants as shown by the presence of the welded up loaders hatch and probably haven't had their armour upgraded. A far cry from modern Leopard 2 variants that have extensive add on armor packages and equipment that helps with situational awareness.

Edited by RoflSeal
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Ih hit from side into a hull ammunition storage same thing will happen to any Leo 2, be it first one or the newest one.

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Ih hit from side into a hull ammunition storage same thing will happen to any tank that isn't an Abrams or Armata.

That said, newer and uparmored versions of the Leo, like STRV122,, 2A5DK, 2E, 2A6HEL, 2A7(+), 2A7V and 2A7DK all have substantially better front side hull armor and thus stands a better chance of resisting penetration.

 

Still wont stop a Kornet or anything of that caliber of course, but then neither will any existing AFV (without APS)

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