Leopard 2 A6
Initial Operational Capability (IOC):
Also Known As: Leopard 2 HEL and Leopard 2E
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall Defence
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Description: The Leopard 2 is a heavyweight Main Battle Tank (MBT) designed to replace Leopard 1 in the German Army countering the soviet-made T-72. The Leopard 2 features high mobility, protection, improved survivability over previous main battle tanks and a 120mm smoothbore gun. More than 3,000 Leopard 2 have been produced to date for 11 European nations. Due to this fact the Leopard is truly called the Euro Leopard 2.
The Leopard 2 main battle tank is the result of cooperation between Krauss-Maffei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. As the proven Leopard 1 technology follow-on, the Leopard 2 features high availability and low life cycle costs. It can operate day/night and in all-weather conditions.
The Leopard 2 modular design clears the way for rapid and easy modernization and upgrading programs. It was deployed for the first time in the 1990s during the former Yugoslavia conflict. It has not been involved in military campaigns, like the M1 Abrams and the British Challenger, but it is considered as one of the best main battle tanks currently in service.
The Leopard 2 A6 is an improved Leopard 2 A5 through the addition of a L55 120mm smoothbore gun (55 calibers long). The new gun provides superior firepower enabling the Leopard 2 A6 to destroy tanks protected with improved heavy armor and to engage targets at longer ranges. The L55 gun will also be able to employ new ammunition and to penetrate heavier armors. Germany and the Netherlands are upgrading their Leopards to the A6 configuration. Leopard 2 provided to Spain and Greece (Leopard 2 HEL) will be A6 or A6-based models.
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