Over the years, the relevance of armored vehicles not only does not decrease, but also grows. Modern technologies are taking the construction of tanks to a new level. The steel cavalry is in no hurry to leave the battlefields and, apparently, will speak its weighty word in armed conflicts for a long time to come. Every country with a developed industry tries to make its own main tanks. Germany is no exception. What is the gloomy Teutonic genius ready to offer the Bundeswehr in the 21st century?
Today the German Bundeswehr (German armed forces) is far from the most numerous and powerful army in the world. In the overall standings, she takes 25th place. The number of the Bundeswehr is smaller than that of the armies of France, Japan and Ukraine. Not to mention the fact that the country is dozens of times inferior to the leaders of the rating in the person of China, the USA, and Russia. Nevertheless, the German armed forces remain one of the most well-armed and technically equipped. This is achieved, among other things, through the creation of new modern combat vehicles.
It has always been good with the design of tanks in Germany, since the First World War. The gloomy Teutonic genius gave the world dozens of machines of destruction, beautiful in their frightening beauty. The glorious design traditions of the country are continued by modern engineers. The Leopard 2 main battle tank is the best evidence of this. At the time of 2015, 3,200 of these machines had already been produced in Germany, which is actually a lot, given the size of the Bundeswehr. True, some of the new products were sold or delivered to other NATO member countries. In Germany itself, about 2.5 thousand Leopards of the second model are currently in service.
The history of the Leopard began back in 1965, at the height of the Cold War. The development of a promising car was carried out by Porsche. In 1973, a modern tank was born - the Leopard 2, which claimed to be the main NATO tank. In a competitive test, it matched the American experimental tank XM-1, which today is known to most people as the M1 Abrams. The German product turned out to be generally comparable in quality to the American one. At the same time, on a number of parameters, the "Teuton" was superior to the overseas competitor. In particular, the tank had the best resource and a large maintainability margin. Nevertheless, "Leopard" lost to "Abrams" in a decisive state in terms of accuracy and accuracy.
The Leopard 2 tank is a classic vehicle. It has a traditional tank layout: the engine and transmission are in the stern, the fighting compartment and the control compartment are in the front of the tank. The crew of the German cat consists of four people. The tank has a multi-layer combined protection. Each model is equipped with night vision devices, as well as mortars for smoke grenades. In terms of equipment, the Leopard is in no way inferior to any other modern tanks of the leading armies. Most of the models (all except the A6) are armed with a 120mm cannon from the infamous Rheinmetall company. Of the additional weapons, the tank has a pair of 7.62 mm machine guns.
The weight of "Leopards" varies greatly depending on the modification of the tank. The lightest model is 50 tons. The heaviest modification weighs 63 tons. At the same time, all German cats today are powered by the MB 873 Ka-501 diesel engine from MTU Friedrichshafen. This is a V-shaped four-stroke 12-cylinder power unit with a volume of 47.6 liters. The maximum power of the unit is 1,500 horsepower at 2,600 rpm. In this case, the tank uses an individual torsion bar suspension and has a track width of 630 mm.
On the highway "Leopard" does not live up to its name. In general, the tank moves no slower or faster than most of the main tanks of other countries. On the asphalt surface, the car will move at a speed of 68-72 km / h. On rough terrain, the average speed of the Leopard is 30-35 km / h. The tank can overcome ditches up to 3 meters deep and climb slopes up to 30 degrees. The German car is also capable of attacking a wall up to 1.1 meters high.
If you want to know even more interesting things about German tanks, be sure to read about Pz. Kpfw V: what was the crushing power of the Panther tank.