German Leopard 1 main battle tank

In the middle of the 50s of the last century management Bundeswehr has come to the conclusion that substitution of tanks M47 and M48 South American production. South American armored vehicles is outdated and could not compete with the new Russian-made tanks, thousands of which were in service of the Warsaw contract. Cool war sought rapid and effective decision-making. In November 1956 Germany and France have agreed to start joint work on the creation of a new one tank. In the German documents programm wore the title of Standard-Panzer («Standard Tank"). In the middle of the subsequent 57-year were prepared specifications for the newest armored vehicle engineers and 2-states have begun to implement the project.

German Leopard 1 main battle tank

French and German designers do not really fussed about the assistance. In addition, co-operation in some measure prevented the military of both countries. As a result, instead of the 1st "Standard tank" immediately developed two. Finally, 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, apart from the end of his own project, which at that time was named Leopard 1.

As a true "child" tank building early '60s, "The Leopard" was intended to become compromise between the superior firepower, armor protection and mobility. The original specifications slandered combat weight machines at medium tanks and cannon caliber of more than 105 mm, which until now has been an advantage only languid tanks. A couple of years later, this concept has been called "the main battle tank"- On the average weight of the machine with a gun and a level of protection at the level of languid brothers simply will not fit into the then existing systematization. In constructing the Leopard 1 was initially given the value of mobility and firepower. For this it was necessary to sacrifice a little privileged, but in the future in the field of the reservation will be made up for all the lost time.

German Leopard 1 main battle tank

First "Leopard" was made according to the traditional assembly of the tank. In the front part of it placed the workplace of the driver, the average given by the fighting compartment, and took the whole stern of the engine and gearbox. With a fully non-personal for the tanks as long dimensions Leopard 1 had a nice interior 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 of this was charging to the left of the breech of the gun, and the commander and gunner — right.

Corps of tanks welded armor plates. With all this the strongest of them — head-on — had a thickness of 70 mm. In light anti-tank weapons late 50's and early 60's 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 feeble excuse as protection of the tank comes from the fact that the sides of the tank with a width of 35 mm were covered protivokumulyativnymi bulwarks of about an inch wide. They consisted of several sections and made from rubberised steel. Forehead and bead towers cast had a thickness of 60 mm. Feed and roof — 50 and 10 mm, respectively.

German Leopard 1 main battle tank
Leopard 1A1 German Army

The basis of the chassis of the tank is a ten-V-twin diesel engine MTU Friedrichshafen MB 838 CaM 500. This multi-fuel diesel engine has a capacity of 37.4 liters and high power about 820 horsepower. When fighting weight of about forty tons of tank engine delivers power density of about 18-20 hp ton weight. Diesel transmits the rotation to the box model 4NR-250. This unit has in its composition overarching one-pot hydraulic drive, planetary gear and steering (differential type). The latter had an auto-switch. Such a system is allowed to use the box 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 via cable. Caterpillar tracks of tank "Leopard-1" was equipped with family support and 4 supporting rollers on board. The support had torsion bar suspension. In addition, all the rollers, except the fourth and fifth ahead had additional hydraulic springs. Railway track was equipped with a rubberized running track inside and removable rubber pads on the outside.

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 was carried out in Germany under license. The gun was equipped with an ejector placed in the middle of the barrel. The gun L7A3 was one of the first tank guns in the world that have a protective cover. This detail is allowed to make a better precision and accuracy of fire in adverse 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 the recoil device. Recent arranged so makarom that before the departure of the projectile from the gun barrel almost does not move backwards. This also affected the accuracy. Gun ammunition consists of 60 rounds of different types: armor-piercing, high-explosive armor-piercing, cumulative and fragmentation. 18 unitary shells are arranged in stacked in the fighting compartment. For the other 42's styling is provided at the front of the tank, to the left of the driver. Resource guns first series was superior to 400 shots. The basis of the impact of the complex were the Leopard 1 gunner and commander sights EMES-18. In later versions of them were matched with a laser rangefinder and thermal imager. Curiously, all the sights of the tank supplied with automatic closing shutters. These items have been introduced in order to eliminate blinding flashes of the crew when fired at night criteria. Information from the scopes passed in ballistic computer, which, treating a number of characteristics, gave guidance system implements the necessary corrections. In the event of damage to sight EMES-18 crew had in his own possession 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 launchers. One 7.62 mm MG3 machine gun was placed in the two-seater with a gun, the other — on the tower and was used as an anti-aircraft. In total, 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 conducted the first prototypes of the new tank, and by the end of the year, the company Krauss-Maffei has received an order for the creation of the first half thousand armored vehicles. Severe creation could only deploy a year, because of what the first "Leopard" was delivered to the customer in September '65. The total amount needed Bundeswehr tanks in those years was estimated at two and a half grand. On the implementation of the plan took about 10 years. Over the 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 got a new protective casing guns and refreshed protivokumulyativnymi screens. In 1971, the tanks of the same series are equipped with stabilizer arms and new tracks;
— Leopard 1A1A1. A small series based on the 1A1 with enhanced protection of the tower;
— Leopard 1A2. In the process of this upgrade in 1972 was again enhanced armor protection of the tower. In addition, have been improved observation devices and equipment protection from weapons of mass destruction;
— Leopard 1A3. On the 73rd, the "Leopards" were equipped with welded turret with separate reservation. In addition, a version of the 1A3 collected all the best features from the previous upgrades on equipment;
— Leopard 1A4. The last mass-produce for their own needs modification of the tank. In 1974, the structure has been substantially revised sighting system. Of noticeable innovations should be noted install a laser range finder.

In the middle of the 80 control Bundeswehr faced with the opposite problem of. Leopard 1 tanks, 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 the Leopard 1A5, which were used in drafting the Leopard 2. In the process of modernization of the tanks in the 1225 version of 1A1A1 got a new sighting equipment and the latest communication equipment. In addition, Leopard 1A5 tanks were the first in the series, which can be installed additional modular armor protection. During the numerous updates released a family of tanks "Leopard-1" is often held modernization. As a result, as of mid-90's all available in the German army, "Leopards", regardless of the model year, consistent with an embodiment of 1A5.

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

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

Since 1967, the "Leopard 1" were offered for export. More order placed the Netherlands — their armed forces have 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 least amount. Some countries have bought tanks Leopard 1 times book and modernization. Yet, at the current time are used outside of Germany "Leopard 1" of all modifications. For example, in the armed forces of Brazil serve as 1A1, and 1A5.

German Leopard 1 main battle tank
Leopard 1A4 (AS1) Australian Army
German Leopard 1 main battle tank
Canadian Leopard C2 arrived in Afghanistan in October 2006

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