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Spanish Leopard 2 Tanks Are Getting A Minor Upgrade

September 20, 2018

Via Wikimedia Commons.

The Spanish Army still maintains one of the larger armored fleets in Western Europe, with 300 “Leopardo 2E” or Leopard 2A4/A6 main battle tanks and more than a thousand armored personnel carriers. As part of a NATO mission to the Baltics, six Leopardo 2E’s are receiving reprogramming systems for their ballistic calculators. These will be supplied by Star Defense Logistics & Engineering (SDLE). The addition of a reprogramming system on a ballistic calculator allows an MBT crew to simulate trajectories for their 120mm gun’s ammunition. In a press release shared by the contractor the upgrade program worth EU 240,000 is indisputable proof of their “commitment to innovation.”

Installing reprogramming systems for the ballistic calculators on Leopard 2A6’s is SDLE’s latest deal with Spain’s defense ministry after a prior agreement worth a million Euros to provide spare wheels for the army’s tanks and IFVs. SDLE believes its services are essential for Spain’s role in NATO missions such as the “Enhanced Forward Presence” battle group deployed to protect Latvia from external threats. Spain’s contribution to the battle group involves 300 troops deploying six Leopardo 2E’s, 14 Pizarro IFVs, 12 APCs, engineering vehicles, plus a UAV and an anti-tank section.

SDLE specializes in the maintenance and repairs for NATO armored vehicles and is now the primary supplier of wheels used on the Leopard 2A6, Leopard 2A4, and the Pizarro IFV. The company is now gearing up for its appearance at the Egypt Defence Expo (EDEX) in Cairo this December.

The Leopard 2 and its variants remain the de facto tank for European armies and enjoy strong demand from other parts of the world despite their age. But the merger of KMW and the Nexter that created KNDS is paving the way for its successor. During Eurosatory 2018 in June, the Franco-German company unveiled a demonstrator that used the chassis and hull of the Leopard 2A7 to support the Leclerc MBT’s turret. The resulting vehicle was dubbed the EMBT whose purpose was described as “a short-term response to the operational need of the market for high-intensity battle tanks.”

Leopard 2’s have remained scarce in other regions where armored warfare is prevalent. In the Middle East, for example, only Qatar can boast of its army having Leopard 2A7 tanks although these haven’t seen any combat yet. This distinction belongs to Turkey, whose army has sent its Leopard 2A4’s and US-made M60A3’s into Syria. An unexpected market for upgraded Leopard 2’s is Southeast Asia, where the island nation of Singapore and regional power Indonesia have both acquired their own fleets of Leopards.

In Singapore, however, its army’s 94 Leopard 2SG enjoy a unique armor kit meant to further protect the tank’s hull and turret in urban warfare. Indonesia’s hundred odd Leopard 2’s, on the other hand, were purchased from surplus stocks of the Dutch military. Although further exports of German or European Leopard 2’s are possible, these are drawn from a dwindling supply of mothballed tanks.

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