The story of creation and the main properties of the Leopard 2 — Part I

After the cessation of joint work with the Yankees to build a promising tank MBT-70 West Germans decided to design tank the third generation without the help of others. By the time the tank building in Germany was absolutely alive again, and got hold of the German experts at a lot of experience in the development and improvement of the MBT Leopard 1.

Assembly diagram traditional

Latest armored vehicle made in the years 1967-1979 firm Krauss-Maffei AG (general contractor), Porsche (general questions the design process and detailed design of the chassis), Wegmann (tower) and AEG Telefunken (system fire control). With all of this used many design solutions, acquired in the process of implementation of joint US-German project. Namely, for the most experienced swatches installed diesel engine, hydromechanical transmission, and other components, accessories and systems intended for MW-70.

In the period from 1972 to 1974 year was built 16 buildings and 17 towers of the Leopard 2. 10 test samples were armed with 105-mm rifled gun, and others — 120-mm smoothbore gun company Rheinmetall. On the 2-machines used hydropneumatic suspension. But ultimately, the designers have given preference to the improved torque.

In 1974, Germany signed an agreement with the U.S. on the standardization of separate units in the development of promising tanks. In accordance with this agreement, the German experts at the main developed tank Leopard 2AV with modern fire control system and the spaced multilayered booking hull and turret.

This option, and was adopted by the Bundeswehr in 1977. First serial produced standard factory firm Krauss-Maffei (Munich) in October 1979. From that time to the present day is made up of this type MBT 3000.

Tank Leopard 2 has a traditional model of the general assembly. Hatch of the driver is in the front of the chassis closer to the right side. It partly overlaps with the position turret gun forward. Despite the large tilt of the upper front plate (81 degrees), a driver in a combat position operates the machine while sitting. The jobs of the tank commander and gunner are on the right of the gun, loader — left. The height of the rotating Polikem crew compartment to the roof of the tower is 1,650 millimeters, which is considered little permissible value for the common criterion of the charging stand. Power pack compartment with longitudinally placed a diesel engine is the stern of the hull and isolated from the crew compartment by a pressurized fire-resistant walls.

The body and tower welded tanks. The upper front hull has a large angle to the vertical, which, together with the use of diversity multilayer armor type of the British "chobhem" provides a fairly effective protection against armor-piercing shells and anti-tank. Together with those thick armor plates (20-70 mm) roof, sides and bottom of the tank makes it very vulnerable to attacks from above and from the side of the projections.

In the niches of the tower above the roof mounted ammunition expelling panel. Frontal vertical tower slanted sheets in terms of about 35 degrees. Additional protection against chemical weapons boards provided by the use of suspended screens, is a iron box (1/3 the length of the screen), and reinforced rubber (2/3 length). The thickness of the frontal sections of the screens — 110-120 mm, they can be folded up for special fixtures to reduce the width of the body of the tank during transport by rail, also for the inspection and maintenance of the chassis.

First base modification

The main armament is a 120mm smoothbore gun, developed by Rheinmetall. The trunk has a heat shield, made of fiberglass, and an ejector disposed eccentrically to the axis of the bore for the growth angle lowering the gun. Along the length of the trunk, he moved closer to the breech in a zone of high pressure propellant gas in order to increase the effectiveness of its actions. The inner surface of the pipe stem hardened by autofrettage. The persistence of the barrel is more than 500 shots.

Shutter Vertical-belt. To increase the accuracy of shooting two brakes rollback placed symmetrically on the gun. Connect the pipe stem with a quick release breech made in a pie thread. Installation and removal tools for the repair carried out through the recess of the tower without removing the latter.

Gun ammunition consists of 42 unitary shots with partly burned down the sleeve, 15 of them are left in the rear recess of the turret for armored bulkhead. Time for charging cycle of this placement is 6 seconds. The rest of the ammunition (27 rounds) is located in the packing in the department of management, to the left of the driver. Loading the gun is done by hand.

To fire the cannons used armor-piercing shells DM13 with a core of tungsten alloy and multi-cumulative fragmentation shells DM12. In 1983 he was inducted into the ammunition armor-piercing projectile solidbody DM23. In 1987, the armament armor-piercing projectile passed DMZZ with a core of tungsten alloy with a diameter of 28 mm.

After the shot tray liner enters the gilzoulavlivatel attached to the cannon and having a suction powder gases. To remove the tray from the tank, and to load ammunition used hatch in the left side of the tower.

Apart from the tank armed with guns coaxial 7.62-mm machine gun MG3 and anti-aircraft machine gun of the same caliber, mounted on the loader's hatches. On the sides of the turret is mounted on a block of eight smoke grenade.

The fire control system developed by STN Atlas in collaboration with the company Elektronik Zeiss Optronik GmbH. The main elements of MSAs are combined periscope laser sight-rangefinder gunner EMES15, panoramic periscope sight-surveillance device commander PERI-R17, auxiliary telescopic articulated Gunner FERO-Z18, analog electric ballistic computer FLT2, electrohydraulic stabilizer arms WHA-H22, built-in test system functioning MSA, the collimation system of integrated alignment.

The main gunner's sight is combined with a laser rangefinder, a thermal channel NIGHT MODE for shooting at ranges up to 2000 meters. The field of view regardless stabilized in 2-dimensions. The range of measurement laser range — 200-10 000 meters. To protect your eyes from the laser irradiation gunner in the optical channel scope mounted filter. The delivery of fire NIGHT MODE Pressing the "Shot" will trigger a special curtain that covers the field of view to avoid blinding flash of his own shot.

In the tank is foreseen redundant fire control of the gun from the commander. Day sight-surveillance device PERI-R17 has an independent stabilization of the field of view of a 2-planes. It is connected with the main gunner's sight, allowing the commander to use a laser range finder, ballistic computer and night thermal channel. But in case of failure Gunner's commander loses the ability to duplicate the fire control NIGHT MODE.

Information about the distance to the target enters the ballistic computer, which also takes into account the angular velocity of the target in the vertical and azimuth, wind speed and direction, air temperature, barometric pressure and angle of the cannon pivots. These charges on the temperature and wear of the bore are entered into the computer manually.

Reconciliation of sight is not out of the car crew. With the alignment of devices rather cooperate reticle rangefinder sight with that observed in the field of vision crossbeam brand collimator.

Armament stabilized in 2-dimensions. Guidance electrohydraulic actuators with hydraulic accumulator. Access to the hydraulic system is provided through a special hatch in the roof of the tower. At failure of the electro-hydra
ulic manual backup used hydraulic vertical and horizontal interference. Maximum speed of the guidance in the horizontal plane — 48 degrees per second, a vertical — 9.5. Angles pointing vertically — from -9 to +20 degrees.

Preparation time Aimed Shot gunner when firing on the move is 15 seconds, the commander — 17. When shooting from a place that time accordingly decreases to 9-10 and 11-12 seconds.

The tank is a 12-cylinder four-stroke V-twin diesel engine 873 MB Ka501 liquid-cooled, turbocharged and crotch cooling of the charge air into the cylinders. Multi-fuel engine can run on different types of fuel, including jet fuel and gasoline. Mounted on the engine, two turbochargers and two charge air cooler incorporated into the overall system cooling. Air supply comes through two air cleaner attached to the 2-sides on the engine and connected by small pipes with turbochargers.

Double-flow hydro-box HSWL-354/3 provides a front four assists and two reverse gears. Planetary gear with 2 degrees of freedom has an automatic switch. In the box comes to steering gear of the differential type, hydraulic transmission which allows for rotation with an estimated radius for each transmission. Around the axis of the tank is set for 10 seconds. Stopping brakes combined with a hydrodynamic retarder and 2 mechanical disc brakes that work in the oil. They provide stop tank when driving with the highest rate of 3.6 seconds.

Chassis tank includes (per side) seven road wheels and four support rollers, idlers and drive also tracks with rubber hinge. Truckee have removable rubber pads. Personal torsion suspension with disc friction dampers on the first, second, sixth and seventh road wheels. Ridged drives rollers are made of duralumin alloy. Shed support rollers mounted in a staggered manner: one is placed under the internal closer to the board, and the other — under the outer part of the upper branches of a caterpillar.

Tank equip NBC protection system, the crew compartment heater and high-speed automatic fire-fighting equipment (PPO). In addressing the aqua-bottlenecking at the bottom of the hatches commander installed pipe-hole, sealed with a rubber support tower chamber in which air is supplied by a hand pump, circulating valves are installed on the engine exhaust nozzles, seals and coaxial machine gun and rifle scopes.

The above description corresponds to the first base modification of the Leopard 2. In the years 1979-1982 the factory shops left 380 such machines.

To be continued …

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