The appearance of the new Russian main battle tank T-14 Armata has shown that German tanks are no longer up-to-date.
Thus, the Ministry of Defense demanded the redevelopment of a Leopard successor. However, according to current estimates, this new tank should not be ready before 2030.
But in addition to the constant improvement of the Leopard, currently in the version A7, has already been further researched and developed on the basis of the Leopard 2. As a result, the MBT Revolution is now coming to light.
From the leopard unchanged was taken next to the chassis and the tower. Completely redesigned, however, the entire interior concept, Optroniken, fire control, communication and leadership technology as well as main and secondary armament including self-defense systems and so brought the state of the art.
In order to better protect the crew, not only armor was improved, but also some defense systems were modernized or reintroduced. Thus, the tank has a new smoke machine with 40mm cartridges that can now be fired manually or by fire control system. In addition, the fog lights can be rotated separately, turning the whole tower is now no longer necessary. The mist that is set through it should also be denser and bigger and thus be able to distract the enemy more strongly.
The new AMAP (Advanced Modular Armor Protection) ADS (Active Defense System) was installed against armor-piercing projectiles, which enables missiles fired at the tanks to be intercepted using directional energy projectiles.
Mounted on the tower is a 12.7-millimeter-machine gun which is operated by the loader in the tank. It is supported by new cameras with night vision devices and a laser-based distance meter.
The main weapon of the tank is initially a 120mm cannon, which is now 1 meter longer compared to the leopard and thus increases the bullet speed and thus the penetration. Should be fired with the new malleable ammunition. An upgrade to a 130mm cannon is already planned by Rheinmetall.
The new interior:
By taking over the tower structure of the Leopard 4, the tower will continue to be occupied at the MBT. If, like the Russian T-14 Armata, the tower would be vacant, a new concept would have to be created, according to Rheinmetall.
Equipped with new screens and touchscreens, the soldiers should be able to observe the surroundings, zoom in, open new windows, mark areas, track targets, and even hand them over to the shooters. The system is also intended to assist the soldiers exploring the surrounding area by tagging moving objects such as cars, animals or people and displaying them on a site map.
By and large, defense contractor Rheinmetall was able to take advantage of many innovations and existing systems from the automotive sector and invest them in the upgrade for the Leopard 4. By the end of 2015, the Ministry of Defense is now negotiating which systems or, if necessary, the complete package should be used to modernize the existing Leopard A4. From 2018 then probably the tanks will be upgraded gradually.
Quelle: Rheinmetall, AutoBild