Canadian Leopard 2A6M Tanks Deploy to Afghanistan

Released on Friday, September 14, 2007
Leopard 1
Leopard 2 A6
Leopard 2 A6M
ARV - Armored Recovery Vehicle
OTTAWA, Ontario - The current Leopard 1 C2 has served Canada very well, but at almost 30 years of age, it is reaching the end of its useful life. In order to improve the Army's operational capabilities, the government recently announced that it would borrow 20 Leopard 2A6M (M stands for enhanced mine protection) and two armoured recovery vehicles (ARV) from the German Army, and purchase as many as 100 surplus Leopard 2 tanks from the Netherlands.

The first borrowed tanks arrived in Afghanistan on August 16, 2007.

In order to deploy the tanks before the end of the summer, training began in early May 2007 when a team from armoured corps units across the country arrived at the Armour Training Centre in Amersfoort, the Netherlands. After qualifying during this Initial Cadre Training course, the soldiers went to the Armour Training School in Munster, Germany, to assist with the conversion training for C Squadron, Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) (LdSH(RC)), who are deploying with the tanks at the end of August 2007.

The soldiers were very impressed with the capabilities of the new tank. Many commented that the Leopard 2A6 had fixed all the little things that were wrong with the Leopard 1 C2. The combination of firepower, mobility and protection is second to none.

"Sir, it's hard not too smile, this is an awesome piece of kit," responded Sergeant Marcel Chenier (LdSH(RC)) when asked why he was grinning ear to ear.

"With the Leopard 1 C2, you had to push the engine to get it going. But with the 1500 HP engine in the Leopard 2, you have to hold it back because those ponies want to run," commented Warrant Officer Bruce Rose of The Royal Canadian Dragoons. Training for the next two rotations into Afghanistan will take place in Germany, while the Army and project staffs work to bring the tanks, maintenance support and training resources back to Canada. The timeframe for the arrival of the Dutch tanks in Canada, along with the final distribution within the Army, has not yet been finalized.

The presence of the tanks in Afghanistan will improve the security environment and allow others to focus on the reconstruction effort. Their role, however, is not limited to Afghanistan, regardless of where the Army deploys on operations in the future. The Leopard 2 tank will provide an unrivalled operational capability by deterring attacks and providing close direct fire support.

Source: The Leopard 2A6M is now in Afghanistan

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