Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) handed over the latest version of the Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT), the Leopard 2A7, to the inspector general of the German Army, Lieutenant General Rainer Korff on 10 December at their Munich facility.
The Leopard 2A7 MBT leverages the earlier Leopard 2A5, 2A6, and Leopard 2 Peace Support Operation variants, combined with significant input from operational experience of Leopard 2 MBTs deployed by Canada and Denmark in Afghanistan.
The German Army has ordered a total of 20 Leopard 2A7 MBTs and the last of these will soon be delivered from KMW's Munich facility and issued to Tank Battalion 203, which currently operates 44 Leopard 2A6s.
Lt Gen Korff stated that "this is a good day for the German Army" and that "they are more than satisfied with the Leopard 2A7".
The batch of 20 German Leopard 2A7 MBTs are in fact conversions of ex-Royal Netherlands Army Leopard 2A6 NL, which were provided by Canada as compensation for the Leopard 2A6M taken from German Army stocks and upgraded for deployment to Afghanistan.
Funding permitting, the German Army hopes to get finance to enable its complete fleet of Leopard 2A6 MBTs to be upgraded to the latest Leopard 2A7 standard.
The Leopard 2A7 retains the Rheinmetall 120 mm L/55 smooth bore gun and in addition to firing the latest generation Rheinmetall 120 mm Armour Piercing Fin Stabilised Discarding Sabot - Tracer (APFSDS-T) DM63 round and can also fire the latest programmable Rheinmetall DM12 high-explosive round.
The Leopard 2A7 has a number of survivability enhancements including the latest generation passive armour and belly armour providing protection against mines and improvised explosive devices. It is also fitted for but not with additional passive side protection armour.
Other significant changes include the installation of an auxiliary power unit to enable all subsystems to be run with the main engine switched off and an air-conditioning system, new drivers hatch, and all-electric gun-control equipment.
The tank commander is provided with a new roof-mounted stabilised panoramic sight that includes a third-generation thermal imager, laser rangefinder, and charge coupled device camera. The gunner also has a third-generation thermal sight.
Ralf Tetzel, senior vice president, Defense Combat Systems at KMW confirmed to IHS Jane's that the German Leopard 2A7 programme is "on time and on budget".
The Leopard 2A7 has been tested fitted with the KMW FLW 200 remote weapon station armed with a .50 M2 HB machine gun, but this is not fitted at present for budgetary reasons.
Germany receives first Leopard 2A7 MBT - IHS Jane's 360