Jump to content

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


On the way
 Share

Recommended Posts

  • Replies 74
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Methos, still no info on those heavy ballistic skirts?

 

What do you expect? The composition is classified and German archives stop at the ballistic trials of armour schemes developed for the Leopard 2AV. All other information has been provided in this topic:

  • the Leopard 2AV scheme had 100 mm thick skirt modules made of three 10-15 mm thick steel plates with 1.5 mm bulging plates on their rear faces
  • the Leopard 2's ballistic skirt modules weigh 110 kg each
  • the size of a module is roughly 58 x 37 x 11 cm (it is a bit wider, but the eges are beveled, decreasing the thickness).

That results in a weight equivalent to a ca. 66 mm thick steel plate (~111 kg). Given the classified nature of the topic and lack of public sources on the armour fitted to the fielded model of the Leopard 2, this armour might include perforated plates, NERA, ceramcis or chocolate - I cannot say. But I suspect the armour to look similar to designs proposed for the Leopard 2AV - just with increased thickness/layer coount given the weight decrepancy. I.e. it could be four NERA plates (15 mm steel + 1.5 mm bulging plate) instead of just three, but who knows. There might be some sort of perforated/indentated plates in the mix aswell.

 

 

Based on what the sponson internal armor array on the A4 looks like, it could well be that the heavy ballistic skirts contains a number of 15-20mm thick spaced perforated plates. Such an array would give a good protection against contemporary APFSDS and small caliber shaped charge weapons( at least from 0-30 degree angle from the front). That it would be far less effective against larger caliber ATGMs would matter less, since those would have a significant degree of overmatch anyway. With a LOS thickness of max 3-400mm there simply isnt enough armor there to stop missiles with +650mm penetration,

While there was a perforated plate in the proposed mantlet armour array of the Leopard 2AV, it seems to have been the only location for such a plate. It seeems more likely - if any sort of perforated armour was used - that the "intendated" plates would have been used that were tested in West-Germany by the mid-1970s.

 

0Tsg3Jn.png

EInfachschotte Nr. 1 on T-62 hull side

 

Unlike perforated armour, the holes weren't drilled completely through the 25 mm thick steel front plate, but only to a depth of 15 mm. This made it possible to use the backside of the plate as part of a NERA sandwich with 6 mm thick rubber and a 1 mm thick bulging plate made of steel.

 

 

One such a plate used as side skirt on a T-62 hull (representing upgraded T-62 expected by West-Germany) was enough to stop MILAN at 60° NATO angle, but insufficient at 55° NATO angle and not enough to stop a 105 mm APFSDS at 57° and 60° NATO angle. The Leopard 2 skirts would need to be thicker, given that it has less hull side armour yet was designed to stop MILAN and 105 mm APFSDS at 115/200 m at 60° NATO angle.

Edited by methos
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, less speculation and more facts and figures (e.g. areal density) would be appreciated.

Well if you want the real facts and figures i suggest you pursue a career in ballistic testing at KMW, because you wont find those here. Its all just more or less qualified guesswork based on blurry pictures, online documents of dubious credibility thrown in with some material science and math. Those who really know sure as F... wont post it here...or anywhere online.

 

As for areal density of the heavy skirts, well you know their weight and their approximate dimensions, and that they are mostly made of HHS so it shouldn't be too hard to figure out .

Link to comment
Share on other sites

if any sort of perforated armour was used - that the "intendated" plates would have been used that were tested in West-Germany by the mid-1970s.

 

There is no if, ...I am absolutely certain that perforated plate was used in the hull side armor of the A4....The holes aren't empty though, but filled with what looks like some kind of hard resin.

Edited by MikeKiloPapa
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@methos

 

That's a lot more helpful. It would have been nice to know the weight and dimensions of the blocks right off the bat rather than being told "It is physically impossible given the size and weight of the skirt modules".

 

 

 

 

 

if any sort of perforated armour was used - that the "intendated" plates would have been used that were tested in West-Germany by the mid-1970s.

There is no if, ...I am absolutely certain that perforated plate was used in the hull side armor of the A4....The holes aren't empty though, but filled with what looks like some kind of hard resin.

You are probably thinking of the regular skirts along the entire length of the hull, not the heavy armour blocks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@methos

 

That's a lot more helpful. It would have been nice to know the weight and dimensions of the blocks right off the bat rather than being told "It is physically impossible given the size and weight of the skirt modules".

 

 

 

 

if any sort of perforated armour was used - that the "intendated" plates would have been used that were tested in West-Germany by the mid-1970s.

There is no if, ...I am absolutely certain that perforated plate was used in the hull side armor of the A4....The holes aren't empty though, but filled with what looks like some kind of hard resin.

You are probably thinking of the regular skirts along the entire length of the hull, not the heavy armour blocks.

 

No. I was referring specifically to the heavy ballistic skirts.

 

Btw regarding the info on those......the Militarysta page on the Leo2A4s armor that you yourself linked to clearly mention their weight as 110 kg......the thickness of 110mm is also known, and the length and height can be reasonably accurately estimated by scaling relative to the total length and height of the vehicle, both of which figures are publicly available online.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

No. I was referring specifically to the heavy ballistic skirts.

 

Well, do you recall why you are absolutely certain that perforated plates are used in those blocks?

 

 

Btw regarding the info on those......the Militarysta page on the Leo2A4s armor that you yourself linked to clearly mention their weight as 110 kg......the thickness of 110mm is also known, and the length and height can be reasonably accurately estimated by scaling relative to the total length and height of the vehicle, both of which figures are publicly available online.

It is written there that the weight is more than 110 kg, not that it is 110 kg. No idea where that number originated though. The thickness is known, but it's not very useful for finding out the areal density. The blocks can be scaled against the rest of the tank, but it's not an entirely accurate method.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surely perforated armor loses much or all of it's effectiveness over plain old HHS plates at a high angle of incidence, as the holes can no longer turn the rod into the hole. I think eg. HHS rods in rubber would work better over a wider range of angles of incidence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Well, do you recall why you are absolutely certain that perforated plates are used in those blocks?

Well i see how i might have been a bit unclear,.....i DONT know the armor layout of the old heavy ballistic skirts, what i do know is what the internal side armor modules in the hull look like. I know because i have not only seen the armor with my own eyes but also felt and fondled it with own my chubby fingers. :D......To me it would make sense to use the same type of armor layout in the heavy skirts but i could well be wrong.

It is written there that the weight is more than 110 kg, not that it is 110 kg

Well in this case it just he means it might weigh 111 or 112 kg, not that it is a 150 or more.... In any case i have heard the 110kg from many different sources including serving A4 tankers so im reasonably sure its accurate. For what its worth the new model heavy skirts on our Leo's (A5DK) weigh exactly 92kg despite being thicker than the earlier skirts.

The thickness is known, but it's not very useful for finding out the areal density. The blocks can be scaled against the rest of the tank, but it's not an entirely accurate method.

No of course not, but by scaling you can quite quickly ascertain that the skirts are in the region of ~40 by 60 (by 11) cm.....even if its a few cm from the actual dimensions its enough to find a rough ballpark figure in terms of areal density.

If it was made of a solid block of armor steel , which has a density of about 8kg/dm3 / 8g/cm3, it would weigh ~189kg ( ballpark figure with 60x40x11= 211kg) .....so the actual ballistic skirt has a density of about 4,6kg/dm3..

 

If it was designed with 2 x50mm steel plates like Militarysta claims, it would have weighed almost 172kg.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Surely perforated armor loses much or all of it's effectiveness over plain old HHS plates at a high angle of incidence, as the holes can no longer turn the rod into the hole. I think eg. HHS rods in rubber would work better over a wider range of angles of incidence.

Well idk.....you guys are the armor experts around here ;).....i just know what the actual armor looks like.

 

I have also once witnessed quite thin perforated plate(STANAG 4569 Level 4 armor package) being tested against 14,5mm B32 rounds and even at relatively high angles it successfully defeated the majority of rounds, despite being only about half the thickness of the B32s nominal penetration capability.

 

Using a bit of common sense, if perforated armor was only effective at 90 degrees perpendicular impacts , it wouldn't be as prevalent in (add.on) armor packages as it clearly is.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

Surely perforated armor loses much or all of it's effectiveness over plain old HHS plates at a high angle of incidence, as the holes can no longer turn the rod into the hole. I think eg. HHS rods in rubber would work better over a wider range of angles of incidence.

Well idk.....you guys are the armor experts around here ;).....i just know what the actual armor looks like.

 

I have also once witnessed quite thin perforated plate(STANAG 4569 Level 4 armor package) being tested against 14,5mm B32 rounds and even at relatively high angles it successfully defeated the majority of rounds, despite being only about half the thickness of the B32s nominal penetration capability.

 

Using a bit of common sense, if perforated armor was only effective at 90 degrees perpendicular impacts , it wouldn't be as prevalent in (add.on) armor packages as it clearly is.

ME should fall somewhat against long rods with angle of incidence, as at some point the rod will be hitting the face of the plate and then burrowing a channel closer to perpendicular to the perforations, except now the perforations make the material somewhat easier to push away. But ME could still be much better than a monolithic plate out to 45 deg or so.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I have also once witnessed quite thin perforated plate(STANAG 4569 Level 4 armor package) being tested against 14,5mm B32 rounds and even at relatively high angles it successfully defeated the majority of rounds, despite being only about half the thickness of the B32s nominal penetration capability.

That's the issue with perforated armour and meshes. They don't work all the time, for the yawing effect of the perforation depends on point and angle of impact.

 

To work most of the time seems satisfactory against single shot threats, not so much against full auto.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

What is a weight of the Challenger 1/2/Warrior add-on armor single module? Cause we know a composition for those, so that could make a possible point of reference regarding Leo 2 heavy skirts.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

@methos

 

That's a lot more helpful. It would have been nice to know the weight and dimensions of the blocks right off the bat rather than being told "It is physically impossible given the size and weight of the skirt modules".

Sure, it would have been nice. But I cannot remember every detail for every tank without checking my sources. I did remember from the last discussion that it is physically impossible based on measurements and weight of the modules.

For a more detailed answer, I had to search through my files and find the sources (i.e. weight values and photographs of someone measuring the skirt module with a tape measure), which takes time and shouldn't exactly be needed to prove that the heavy ballistic skirts are not made of two 50 mm steel plates, given how little protection that would provide against shaped charges.

 

Well i see how i might have been a bit unclear,.....i DONT know the armor layout of the old heavy ballistic skirts, what i do know is what the internal side armor modules in the hull look like. I know because i have not only seen the armor with my own eyes but also felt and fondled it with own my chubby fingers. :D......To me it would make sense to use the same type of armor layout in the heavy skirts but i could well be wrong.

 

Are you sure that the rubber-filled holes/perforations did completely go through the steel plate?

 

Also I don't believe that the internal armour in the sponsons is necessarily identical to the side skirt armour, as the sponson armour seems to rely on the fuel tanks providing at least some additional protection. As fuel provides decent shaped charge protection by itself, it is not that surprising that the special armour is more optimized against KE rounds. The skirts themselves can provide some yaw/destabilization against KE rounds, even while potentially being more optimized against shaped charges.

 

In case of the Leopard 2AV, there were differences between the left and right sponson armour arrays, i.e. due to the location of the driver's seat/hatch. Which side did you see?

 

What is a weight of the Challenger 1/2/Warrior add-on armor single module? Cause we know a composition for those, so that could make a possible point of reference regarding Leo 2 heavy skirts.

I think it is rather unlikely that the Leopard 2's heavy ballistic skirts resemble the add-on armour of Challenger 1 & Warrior. The Leopard 2's armour was designed to resist 105 mm APFSDS (& 120 mm APFSDS at longer distances) aswell as the MILAN ATGM along the forntal arc, even the armour used on the hull. However protection is limited to a frontal arc with apparently no/very little focus being paid to optimize armour against rounds hitting perpendicularly.

 

The hull add-on armour of Challenger 1 and Warrior is meanwhile designed to stop only 23 mm AP (including the base armour) and to stop a 83 or 84 mm shaped charge at perpendicular impact. Thus the armour is bulky (it has to incorporate sloped layers) and uses thin plates to maximize weight efficiency vs shaped charges.

 

In case of the Chieftain Mk. 5/2, the Chobham armour modules for the hull were 203.2 mm thick, but weight was only on the level of a 20-25 mm thick steel plate of equal width and height (i.e. areal density). The Leopard 2's skirt are about ~2.6 to ~3.4 times as heavy, while having only about 54% of the thickness.

Edited by methos
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sure, it would have been nice. But I cannot remember every detail for every tank without checking my sources. I did remember from the last discussion that it is physically impossible based on measurements and weight of the modules.

For a more detailed answer, I had to search through my files and find the sources (i.e. weight values and photographs of someone measuring the skirt module with a tape measure), which takes time and shouldn't exactly be needed to prove that the heavy ballistic skirts are not made of two 50 mm steel plates, given how little protection that would provide against shaped charges.

 

 

Well, take your time to look at your sources. This type of forum is conducive to this kind of discussion. It is not a chat room.

 

 

Are you sure that the rubber-filled holes/perforations did completely go through the steel plate?

 

Also I don't believe that the internal armour in the sponsons is necessarily identical to the side skirt armour, as the sponson armour seems to rely on the fuel tanks providing at least some additional protection. As fuel provides decent shaped charge protection by itself, it is not that surprising that the special armour is more optimized against KE rounds. The skirts themselves can provide some yaw/destabilization against KE rounds, even while potentially being more optimized against shaped charges.

 

 

I agree. Based on the weld seams, it looks like the sponsons are just simple single-walled containers for fuel with no additional armour layers inside, or at least nothing that is welded.

 

 

However protection is limited to a frontal arc with apparently no/very little focus being paid to optimize armour against rounds hitting perpendicularly.

 

 

Is it not reasonable to assume that the original skirt modules would provide less protection than the so-called "German solution" and "Swedish solution" specified in the Swedish tests? The figures for those were for perpendicular impacts after all. If the original skirt modules were made with little concern for perpendicular hits, it may be similar to the Abrams' skirt modules which have NERA panels that are set parallel to the hull sides, so that they would be completely ineffectual if a HEAT warhead hit the hull sides at a perpendicular angle.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

have any of Leopard 2AV prototypes survived?

 

Probably. One was used to test the AWiSS active protection system during the 1990s.

 

However protection is limited to a frontal arc with apparently no/very little focus being paid to optimize armour against rounds hitting perpendicularly.

 

Is it not reasonable to assume that the original skirt modules would provide less protection than the so-called "German solution" and "Swedish solution" specified in the Swedish tests? The figures for those were for perpendicular impacts after all. If the original skirt modules were made with little concern for perpendicular hits, it may be similar to the Abrams' skirt modules which have NERA panels that are set parallel to the hull sides, so that they would be completely ineffectual if a HEAT warhead hit the hull sides at a perpendicular angle.

 

Not necessarily. The "German solution"* used the same basic Type B Pakete (i.e. armour inserts) as the oriignal Leopard 2 (as it was a proposed solution to only add external armour modules to older Leopard 2 tanks, minimizing work & lowering costs). The question now remains whether the add-on armour included replacing the heavy ballistic skirts or not; the skirts used on the latter Leopard 2A5 (and Stridsvagn 122) were already identical to the ones used on late-batch Leopard 2A4s with Type C and (partial?) Type D armour, i.e. newer generations of internal armour than offered with the "German solution".

 

The available data does not provide enough information to draw a definitive conclusion about the capabalities and generation of the heavy ballistic skirts. A lot of napkin math can be done, but without any clear result. E.g. the Leopard 2 with original armour was believed (by the British) to provide protection equal to 350 mm steel armour along the fronal arc; that would mean that assuming no gain/loss of protection with slope, the heavy ballistic skirts and hull armour together provide as much protection as 175 mm of armour grade steel. At 15° impact angle, that would be 676 mm of equivalent steel armour (assuming perfect scaling again) - a 120 mm APFSDS with 700 mm penetration capability managed to defeat the "German solution"'s skirt and hull armour and punch a 77 mm deep hole into the steel witness plate. That could be interpreted as evidence for the skirt armour being unchanged despite the add-on armour modules.

In reality the situation is a lot more complex, as the efficiency of armour is dependent on angle and the projectile it faces - so it also could be newer skirt armour.

 

I'd like to point out that the "Swedish solution" with newer/better armour actually had worse performing skirt armour at perpendicular impact...

 

 

*[in the end Germany did not choose the "German solution", it isn't entirely clear from the available excerpts of the Swedish tests if Germany actually considered going for such a solution or "German solution" means only something like "solution suggested by Germany"].

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Also I don't believe that the internal armour in the sponsons is necessarily identical to the side skirt armour, as the sponson armour seems to rely on the fuel tanks providing at least some additional protection. As fuel provides decent shaped charge protection by itself, it is not that surprising that the special armour is more optimized against KE rounds. The skirts themselves can provide some yaw/destabilization against KE rounds, even while potentially being more optimized against shaped charges.

Your theory sounds plausible, however whether optimized against shaped charges or KE, the skirt area is very unlikely to have the same protection level as the sponsons, simply due to it allocating less space(thickness) for armor( 160mm vs 220-230mm).

Are you sure that the rubber-filled holes/perforations did completely go through the steel plate?

 

My gut reaction was yes.......however realizing that its been more than a decade and that my memory might be playing tricks on me, i revisited some of the old pictures i took back then......Aaaand, now im not so sure if you might not be at least partly right after all........due to the heavily deteriorated state of the armor ( corroded) its actually quite difficult to tell ......what it more looks like to me though, is 2 plates laminated together, one a fully perforated plate, the other a solid back plate, with the holes filled and the edges around the plates covered in resin/rubber, whatever it is ( it felt hard like resin, but i guess it could just be rubber hardening due to old age).

 

In case of the Leopard 2AV, there were differences between the left and right sponson armour arrays, i.e. due to the location of the driver's seat/hatch.

Well that is true of the series production vehicles as well, including A4 and A5, the armor cavity around the drivers hatch is obviously somewhat thinner and likely has a different composition. On the A0-A4 the armor is of course angled and follows the outline/shape of the hatch.

Which side did you see?

What i saw and photographed was the right side sponson armor immediately behind the driver,. which is similar to the left side where the armor cavities are more ore less uniform.

Edited by MikeKiloPapa
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Fair enough. Can you provide some kind of description of the armour layout?

Considering that the A4 is still operational with some of our close allies, i prefer not to give too detailed a description. There is already plenty of photographic evidence online (far to much IMO) suggesting the presence of those special armor modules so i am not really revealing any new information. The lack of concrete evidence from my side also means i could well be making all this stuff up......and i prefer it that way ;)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 

 

Are you sure that the rubber-filled holes/perforations did completely go through the steel plate?

 

Also I don't believe that the internal armour in the sponsons is necessarily identical to the side skirt armour, as the sponson armour seems to rely on the fuel tanks providing at least some additional protection. As fuel provides decent shaped charge protection by itself, it is not that surprising that the special armour is more optimized against KE rounds. The skirts themselves can provide some yaw/destabilization against KE rounds, even while potentially being more optimized against shaped charges.

 

I agree. Based on the weld seams, it looks like the sponsons are just simple single-walled containers for fuel with no additional armour layers inside, or at least nothing that is welded.

A quick google image search on "Leopard 2 hull armor" will soon clear you of that misconception.

Is it not reasonable to assume that the original skirt modules would provide less protection than the so-called "German solution" and "Swedish solution" specified in the Swedish tests

That is all assuming those "Swedish tests" are actually real.........which is a pretty big assumption :rolleyes:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
 Share


×
×
  • Create New...