German Leopard 1 main battle tank

German Leopard 1 main battle tank
Middle of the 50s of the last century Bundeswehr management came to the conclusion that substitution of M47 and M48 tanks South American production. South American armor is outdated and could not compete with the new Russian tanks production, thousands of whom were armed with the Warsaw contract. Cool war sought rapid and efficient solutions. In November 1956 Germany and France have agreed to start joint work on the creation of a new single tank. In German the title documents programm wore Standard-Panzer («Standard tank»). In the midst of the subsequent 57-year specifications were ready to newest armored vehicle engineers and 2-states started the project.

French and German designers are not very fussed about promoting. In addition, cooperation in some measure prevented the military of both countries. As a result, instead of the 1st «Standard tank» immediately developed two. Eventually, in 1963, before the comparative testing of machines, France withdrew from the agreement on the Standard-Panzer, and continued work on their AMX-30, regardless of Germany. Designers and German military had no choice, not counting the end of his own project, which by that time was designated the Leopard 1.
How to present a «child» of tank early 60s, «Leopard» was intended to be a compromise between the highest firepower, armor protection and mobility. Original specifications slandered combat weight machines at medium tanks and cannon caliber exceeding 105 mm, which hitherto was the privilege only of heavy tanks. A couple of years later, this concept has been called the «main battle tank» — the average weight machine gun and the level of protection at the level of heavy brothers simply will not fit into the then existing systematization. When designing the Leopard 1 was initially given the value of mobility and firepower. This had little sacrifice is protected, but later in the booking will catch everything up.

German Leopard 1 main battle tank

First «Leopard» was made according to the traditional tank assembly. In the front part of the workplace arranged driver, gave a mean fighting compartment and took the entire aft engine and gearbox. With a fully non-personal for tanks since 1 dimensions Leopard had a good internal volume: 18.2 cubic meters. Of these, ITO accounted for 6.2 and 4.2 — the inner part of the tower. A good amount of the inhabited part of the tank has permitted to provide good ergonomics for a crew of four people, three of which were located in the tower. With all this loader was left of breech gun, and the commander and gunner — right.

Corps of tanks welded armor panels. With all this the strongest of them — frontal — had a thickness of 70 mm. In light antitank late 50s and early 60s it was not the most severe protection. Yet, as already mentioned, the development of «Leopard» greater value given to driving performance and power weapons. In a weak excuse as protection of the tank can cause that side of the tank with a width of 35 mm were covered protivokumulyativnymi bulwarks width of about a centimeter. They consisted of several sections and made from rubberised steel. The forehead and the bead molded tower had a thickness of 60 mm. Feed and roof — 50 and 10 mm, respectively.

German Leopard 1 main battle tank
Leopard 1A1 German Army

Basis Coil tank is ten-V-shaped diesel engine MTU Friedrichshafen MB 838 CaM 500. This multi-fuel diesel engine has a displacement of 37.4 liters and the highest power output of 820 horsepower. When fighting weight of about forty tons tank engine provides power density of about 18-20 hp tonne weights. Diesel transmits rotation to the box model 4NR-250. This unit has a one-pot in its composition overarching hydraulic drive, planetary gearbox and steering gear (differential type). The latter had the ability to automatically switch. This system has allowed the box used to control the rotation of the wheel. With all of this in a tank provided two such governing body, one in the driver, and the second — the commander. In addition, the tank was in the electrical equipment, you can control it remotely by cable. Caterpillar tracks of the tank «Leopard 1» equipped with family support and 4 supporting rollers on board. Supporting had torsion bar suspension. In addition, all rollers, except the fourth and fifth ahead had additional hydraulic springs. Equipped with rubberized steel caterpillar treadmill inside and removable rubber pads on the outer side.

As head of the new tank guns for the German military and the designers chose an English gun Royal Ordnance L7A3. 105-mm rifled gun with a barrel length of 56 calibres performed in Germany under license. Gun equipped with ejector placed in the middle of the barrel. L7A3 gun was one of the first tank guns in the world, who received a protective casing. This detail has allowed to make a better precision and accuracy of fire in bad weather, when there is a possibility of non-uniform cooling of the barrel. Also worthy of special attention to the possibility of substitution frisky trunk (trunk itself and breech made in the form of connected units) and recoil device. Last arranged so makarom that before the departure of the projectile from the gun barrel bore almost no moves backwards. This also affected the accuracy. Gun ammunition consists of 60 different types of ammunition: armor-piercing, high-explosive armor-piercing, cumulative and fragmentation. 18 unitary shells arranged in laying in the fighting compartment. For the other 42’s styling is provided in front of the tank, to the left of the driver. Resource guns first series surpassed 400 shots. Leopard sighting system basis were 1 gunner and commander sights EMES-18. In later versions they were matched with a laser rangefinder and thermal imager. Curiously, all sights tank supplied with automatic closing blinds. These details have been introduced in order to eliminate blinding flashes crew when fired at night criteria. Information transmitted to the sights in the ballistic computer, which is treating a number of characteristics, gave guidance system implements the necessary amendments. Breakage sights EMES-18 crew had their own disposal telescopic sight FERO-Z12.

German Leopard 1 main battle tank
Leopard 1A1 army Norway

Auxiliary armament «Leopard-1» consisted of a 2-machine guns and smoke grenade. One 7.62-mm machine gun MG3 installed in two-seater with a gun, the other — on the tower and was used as a zenith. Overall, there were 5,200 guns ammunition cartridges. On the sides of the tower located eight smoke grenade launchers (two blocks of four pieces).

In 1963, tests were carried out the first prototypes of the new tank, and by the end of the year the company Krauss-Maffei was commissioned to create the first half thousand armored vehicles. Severe creation failed to deploy only a year later, because of what the first «Leopard» was delivered to the customer in September 65th. The total amount of relevant Bundeswehr tanks in those years was estimated at two and a half thousand. On the implementation of the plan took about 10 years. During these years the design of the tank endured a number of configurations, so that there have been several modifications of Leopard 1:
— Leopard 1A1. In 1967, the tank received a new protective cover guns and refreshed protivokumulyativnymi screens. In 1971, the same series of tanks were equipped with stabilizer arms and new tracks;
— Leopard 1A1A1. Small series based on the 1A1 with enhanced protection of the tower;
— Leopard 1A2. In this process of modernization in 1972 was again enhanced armor protection towers. In addition, have been improved observation devices and protection equipment of weapons of mass destruction;
— Leopard 1A3. Since ’73 «Leopards» were equipped with welded turret with separate reservation. In addition, in version 1A3 were collected all the best features from the previous upgrades relating to equipment;
— Leopard 1A4. Last serially produced for own needs modification tank. In 1974, the composition was substantially revised sighting system. Noticeable innovations of the installation should be noted laser rangefinder.

Middle of the 80 control Bundeswehr faced with a nasty problem. Tanks Leopard 1, including version 1A4, it was impossible to call the modern and rapidly change their «Leopard 2» does not have the ability. Because in 1986, was created by modification of Leopard 1A5, which were used in drafting the Leopard 2. During this upgrade tanks in 1225 received a new version 1A1A1 sighting equipment and the latest communications equipment. In addition, Leopard 1A5 tanks were the first in the series, which can be installed on additional modular armor protection. During numerous updates released tanks family «Leopard 1» often passed modernization. As a result, as of mid-90’s all available in the German army «Leopards», regardless of the year, consistent with an embodiment of 1A5.

German Leopard 1 main battle tank
Leopard 1A5 of the Brazilian Army

Apart from a few upgrades keeping their class tanks Leopard 1 was the basis for a number of machines for other use. This self-propelled anti-aircraft Gepard, armored recovery vehicle launched bridge Bergepanzer 2 and Biber.

Since 1967, the «Leopard 1» were offered for export. Big order is located in Netherlands — their armed forces received more than 460 tanks. In second place is worth purchasing Belgium with its 330 armored vehicles. Australia, Brazil, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Canada, Chile, etc. limited to the lower amounts. Some countries have bought tanks Leopard 1 times book and modernization. Yet, at the current time are used outside of Germany «Leopard 1» all modifications. For example, in Brazil, the armed forces serve as 1A1, and 1A5.

German Leopard 1 main battle tank
Canadian Leopard C2 arrived in Afghanistan in October 2006

Created by Kirill Ryabov

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