TechNew Leopard-2 A-RC 3.0 to debut at Eurosatory trade fair

New Leopard-2 A‑RC 3.0 to debut at Eurosatory trade fair

Leopard 2 A- RC 3.0 tank.
Leopard 2 A- RC 3.0 tank.
Images source: © KNDS
Przemysław Juraszek

16 June 2024 12:01

The KNDS corporation is set to unveil a new variant of the Leopard 2 tank at the upcoming Eurosatory trade fair. The first pictures have already appeared online. We discuss what the Leopard-2 A-RC 3.0 will entail.

At the world's largest defence industry trade fair, KNDS will officially present the latest variant of the Leopard 2 tank. This version, designated as the Leopard-2 A-RC 3.0, is fully adapted to today's battlefield, taking into account experiences from Ukraine.

It can also be said that it is a response to the challenge posed by the Russians a few years ago in the field of armoured vehicles with the T-14 Armata tank. As it turned out, the T-14 has numerous developmental problems and is too expensive for the Russians. Meanwhile, Europe has developed a deep modernisation of the Leopard 2 tank, significantly surpassing the peak of Russian armoured design.

The latest tank is expected to weigh below 60,000 kilograms, achieved mainly through a lighter unmanned turret. Inside the turret is only a cannon with an automatic loading mechanism and a larger ammunition supply than found in the Leopard 2 tanks (15 rounds in the turret). It will likely feature an automatic mechanism similar to the Leclerc tank, holding 22 rounds.

The tank is equipped with the well-known Rheinmetall Rh-120 L/44 or L/55 cannon, which a 140 mm ASCALON can eventually replace. Meanwhile, the secondary armament is a 30 mm automatic cannon in a remotely controlled ARX turret mounted atop the main turret. This represents significant progress compared to the large-calibre machine guns, such as the Browning M2, and provides a firepower standard typical for infantry fighting vehicles.

Such a 30 mm automatic cannon is ideal for eliminating lighter targets or shooting down drones using programmable ammunition, as with the Skyranger.

Leopard-2 A-RC 3.0 - protection adapted to new battlefield conditions

In terms of defence, the Leopard-2 A-RC 3.0, similar to the Leopard 2A8, is equipped with the Trophy active protection system that intercepts incoming anti-tank guided missiles. That's not all, as it also features a drone detection system, and its primary armour has additional reactive armour bricks on the sides and upper front plate of the hull.

These are presumably intended to protect the crew from drones carrying shaped charges that could potentially penetrate the fire barrier of the 30 mm cannon and the Trophy system.

According to a brief statement by KNDS, the crew will consist of three or four soldiers, depending on the requirements of the potential user. The fourth soldier would not serve as a loader but would be responsible for the 30 mm cannon turret or overseeing a drone that provides situational awareness in the immediate area. Such coordination between the drone and the tank has been seen multiple times in Ukraine.

Interestingly, the new Leopard-2 A-RC 3.0 will be backwards compatible with older Leopard 2 tanks, allowing countries with many older tanks, such as Leopard 2A4, A5, or A6, to upgrade their machines to this standard. This includes countries like Poland, Greece, Turkey, and Finland, which will eventually be able to upgrade their machines to this standard.

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