TechGermany commits to multi-billion euro deal for new Leopard 2A8 tanks

Germany commits to multi-billion euro deal for new Leopard 2A8 tanks

Leopard 2A8 tank with ASOP Trophy - antennas and launchers visible on the sides of the turret
Leopard 2A8 tank with ASOP Trophy - antennas and launchers visible on the sides of the turret
Images source: © Rivista Italiana Difesa
Przemysław Juraszek

22 June 2024 09:27

Germany has decided to secure the necessary funding to implement the provisions of the framework agreement for 105 Leopard 2A8 tanks. Here’s what they plan to buy for 2-3 billion euros.

According to the portal, the German Ministry of Defence plans to secure additional funding from the framework agreement signed with the KNDS group in June 2023 to execute the option for 108 Leopard 2A8 tanks.

The estimated cost of ordering 105 tanks is 2 billion euros, but that’s not all, as an additional agreement worth 883 million euros would be signed to guarantee delivery from 2027 to 2030.

It is also worth noting that these funds are not included in the present German defence budget planned for 2024 to 2027. The new tanks are intended to equip, among others, the newly formed armoured brigade “Panzerbrigade 42,” which will be stationed in Lithuania.

leopard 2A8 tanks - the new standard of European armoured power

The Leopard 2A8 tank is the latest variant of the Leopard 2 offered by the KNDS group, which equips most European NATO countries. Although an even newer variant, Leopard-2 A-RC 3.0, was presented at the recent Eurosatory trade fair, it will take some time before it enters the KNDS catalogue.

Returning to the Leopard 2A8 tank, its main distinguishing feature compared to older versions is the presence of the advanced Trophy active protection system, which comes from Israel and performs very well. The same system is used on American M1A2 SEP V2/3 Abrams tanks.

Integration of the Trophy system is crucial because tanks are best armoured at the front, while their sides, rear, and top are less resistant. As numerous recordings from Ukraine and the Gaza Strip show, attackers aim at these weaker areas using handheld anti-tank weapons and drones.

In such a case, the most effective way to counteract anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), which can sometimes penetrate armour equivalent to over 1 metre of steel armour, is to shoot them down before they hit the tank.

This is precisely what the Trophy system achieves using launchers with explosively formed projectiles paired with radar antennas placed on the sides of the turret. In addition to detecting incoming objects, these provide the necessary data on parameters like target speed to the ballistic computer, which neutralises the threat at a safe distance from the tank’s armour.

However, this doesn’t mean giving up on the tank’s armour, as the Trophy system does not counter kinetic penetrators fired from other tanks’ guns, which only massive armour can protect against. In the A8 version, this armour has been strengthened (especially on the sides), increasing the tank’s weight to nearly 70,000 kilogrammes.

This didn’t significantly affect mobility, as the weight increase was compensated by boosting the engine power from 1500 hp to 1600 hp. As a result, a machine has been created that is well-suited to the requirements of the modern battlefield.

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