Armored Warfare: Vehicles in Focus: Leopard 2A7-140

The Krauss-Maffei-Wegmann Leopard 2 Main Battle Tank is the principal German Main Battle Tank and, with over three thousand built over the last four decades, it is also the most common NATO MBT in Europe. During its forty years of service, the Leopard 2 design has proven its reliability and, thanks to its numerous upgrades, remains more than a match for any other modern MBT.
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There are several versions of the Leopard 2 available in Armored Warfare, but none draw as much attention as the ultimate evolution of the vehicle, the Leopard 2A7-140. But what exactly is the Leopard 2A7 game model based on?
There has been a lot of confusion regarding the nature of the Leopard 2A7, mostly by mistaking it for the stand-alone upgrade programs:
  • Evolution (for Leopard 2A4 by Rheinmetall, later versions are referred to as Revolution, introduced to the public in 2007)
  • Evolution II (for all advanced Leopard 2 variants by Rheinmetall, introduced to the public in 2012)
Both programs feature armor kits that make the Leopard 2 MBTs look very futuristic, but the true Leopard 2A7 is a bit different. There are in fact two separate vehicles that can be referred to as Leopard 2A7:
  • Leopard 2A7+, a company-funded project by KMW, presented to public at the Eurosatory 2010 expo
  • Leopard 2A7 (also by KMW), developed for the German military with the first two dozen or so vehicles transferred to Bundeswehr at the end of 2014
The first one is unfortunately often cited as the "ultimate Leopard 2 upgrade" thanks to its designation (2A7+) and the fact that photographs of it are widely known and recognized. However, this vehicle was never intended as a functional upgrade. It was instead a technology demonstrator, built with the specific purpose of attracting the attention of prospective buyers. It featured numerous advanced systems and a partial armor kit covering the upper front plate and the sides. The philosophy behind this demonstrator was actually to implement as many advanced systems as possible without looking at their price or compatibility.
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Leopard 2A7+ Technology Demonstrator, Eurosatory 2010

Prospective buyers were never expected to select all of these upgrades at once, which would make the vehicle extremely expensive. Instead, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann would configure each offer based on individual customer wishes from the list of items present on this technology demonstrator. The vehicle was probably disassembled once the round of expos it was used for ended.
The second Leopard 2A7 is the "true" 2A7. Externally, it is not all that different from the previous 2A6 upgrade, but it features several updates. One is the ability to fire the new type of high-explosive ammunition that can be programmed to explode at a certain distance from the target. Other upgrades are internal and include an improved cooling system, an independent electricity generator to cover the vehicle's needs, new internal communication systems, improved driver's night vision, and other upgrades. Additional modular armor plates are optional and are offered to potential customers who wish to improve the vehicle's combat value in urban environments.
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Leopard 2A7

While these upgrades to the older Leopard 2A6 are indeed considerable, additional experimental modules were added to the Armored Warfare Leopard 2A7 in order to make it even more distinctive from its 2A6 predecessor. The two most important of these upgrades are the ESPACE armor kit and the 140mm gun.

IBD Deisenroth ESPACE

Introduced as a concept to the public during the Eurosatory 2014 expo, the ESPACE (Enhanced Survivability Package Advanced Combat Environment) armor kit was developed for multiple Main Battle Tanks with the single goal of enhancing protection far beyond that of the original MBT (the Leopard 2 in this case), without increasing the weight of the vehicle too much.
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Leopard 2A4 with ESPACE kit, photo by IBD Deisenroth

Its developer, IBD Deisenroth, had a lot of experience in building Leopard 2 upgrades, since it participated in the Evolution/Evolution II development. Compared to the earlier Evolution/Evolution II upgrades, the ESPACE kit offers significantly increased protection against modern kinetic penetrators, guided missiles and blasts caused by IEDs.
A prototype was actually built and tested on the Leopard 2A4, increasing the weight of the testbed to some 65 tons. The Armored Warfare version represents a logical extension of the ESPACE kit to the later Leopard 2 variants.

140mm Cannon

Germany, along with the United States and Great Britain, was working on a massive 140mm smoothbore gun with an automatic loading mechanism (the 140mm shells were far too unwieldy for a regular loader).
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Leopard 2 testbed with 140mm cannon, photo by Soldat und Technik

The programs to upgrade the Leopard 2 were called KWS (with the 140mm gun stage being called KWS III) and were active from the late 1980s. Their original goal was to improve Leopard 2 firepower so it could face the anticipated next generation of Soviet MBTs.
The 140mm gun was to be installed in a longer Leopard 2 turret (to house the bustle-mounted ammunition rack and loading mechanism). A prototype was built and successfully tested using the Leopard 2 chassis and a heavily modified turret. Another part of the KWS III upgrade was to be an advanced battlefield command-and-control system.
There were two main issues with the program itself.
  • The German military was never fond of the automatic loading mechanism concept. It was not deemed reliable enough for battlefield use and the loss of one crewmember could hamper other crew operations. This is also the reason why automatic loading mechanisms were never even considered for the German 120mm L/44 and L/55 guns
  • Even if successful, the complete development of the 140mm gun, automatic loader and new turret and their adaptation to the Leopard 2 chassis would take too long (in the early 1990s, the delivery of a meaningful number of these vehicles – 850 to be specific – was expected for the year 2008)
In the end, the program became obsolete with the collapse of the Soviet Union and was cancelled in 1995 in favor of further 120mm Leopard upgrades. However, the command-and-control system (IFIS) concept remained and was eventually integrated into the modernized Leopard 2A5.

In Armored Warfare

Where the T-14 Armata relies on massive damage output and the Challenger 2 ATDU on armor, the Leopard 2A7-140 is more of a jack of all trades. While the armor itself is quite thick, the hull and turret's lack of extensive ERA coverage leave this vehicle relatively more vulnerable to anti-tank guided missiles. The Leopard 2A7-140 is comparable to the XM1A3, another universal MBT. Both vehicles have armor upgrades and 140mm guns as their top weapons, but where the XM1A3 is somewhat better protected, thanks to its explosive reactive armor, has an improved APS and is more agile in its top configuration, the Leopard 2A7 accelerates faster and has more durable suspension.
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The 140mm guns of the Leopard and the XM1A3 offer approximately similar handling, the same penetration and damage per shot, but the Leopard 2A7 can fire faster in its top configuration and can fire guided missiles and HE shells from its stock 120mm gun, while the XM1A3 has to rely on APFSDS and HEAT shells for both guns. Thanks to its technology upgrades, the Leopard 2A7-140 is more accurate on the move, while the XM1A3 can upgrade overall accuracy by using the Improved Laser Rangefinder module, but not by as much.
The Leopard performs well in nearly all situations and can be a tough nut to crack. However, its side and rear turret armor are vulnerable to even light opponents, making flanking a viable tactic against this MBT.

Characteristics

  • Tier: 10
  • Class: Main Battle Tank
  • Hitpoints: 3180
  • Crew: Commander, Gunner, Driver
  • Base Camouflage: 0.05
  • Viewrange: 360 meters
Armor (Hull)
Leopard 2A7-140 Stock Armor
  • Hull Armor Type: Composite Armor
  • Hull Armor Modifiers: 1.3 vs. AP, 2.0 vs. HEAT, 1.3 vs. HE
  • Hull Armor Thickness vs. AP: 618/163/88
  • Hull Armor Thickness vs. HEAT: 950/250/136
MBT ESPACE Armor
  • Hull Armor Type: Composite Armor
  • Hull Armor Modifiers: 1.3 vs. AP, 2.0 vs. HEAT, 1.3 vs. HE
  • Hull Armor Thickness vs. AP: 618/286/88
  • Hull Armor Thickness vs. HEAT: 950/440/136
Armor (Turret)
Leopard 2A7-140 Stock Armor
  • Turret Armor Type: Composite Armor
  • Turret Armor Modifiers: 1.3 vs. AP, 2.0 vs. HEAT, 1.3 vs. HE
  • Turret Armor Thickness vs. AP: 949/455/111
  • Turret Armor Thickness vs. HEAT: 1460/700/170
MBT ESPACE Armor
  • Turret Armor Type: Composite Armor
  • Turret Armor Modifiers: 1.3 vs. AP, 2.0 vs. HEAT, 1.3 vs. HE
  • Turret Armor Thickness vs. AP: 949/611/234
  • Turret Armor Thickness vs. HEAT: 1460/940/360
Firepower
Main Gun (Stock): 120mm L/55 Smoothbore Gun
  • Loading: Automatic Loader
  • Caliber: 120mm
  • Reload Time: 7.86 seconds (10.28 seconds for ATGMs)
  • Aim Time: 2.9 seconds
  • Accuracy: 0.12
  • Gun Depression: +20/-9 (frontal), -1 (rear)
  • Turret Traverse: 34.88 deg/s
Ammunition for 120mm L/55 Smoothbore Gun
Main Gun (Upgraded): 140mm L/48 Rifled Gun
  • Loading: Automatic Loader
  • Caliber: 140mm
  • Reload Time: 8.33 seconds
  • Aim Time: 2.9 seconds
  • Accuracy: 0.13
  • Gun Depression: +20/-9 (frontal), -1 (rear)
  • Turret Traverse: 34.88 deg/s
Ammunition for 140mm L/48 Rifled Gun
Mobility
Stock Engine: MTU MT833 Diesel Engine
  • Acceleration to 32 km/h: 5.7 seconds
  • Maximum Speed: 72 km/h
Mobility Upgrades:
  • Improved Suspension (improves handling on rough terrain by 10%)
  • Improved Torsion Bars (enhances the durability of suspension systems by 40%)
  • D570P0 Tracks (further improves the acceleration, maximum speeds and traverse/turning performance on rough and difficult terrain, are harder to destroy)
  • Improved Shock Absorbers (increases tracked vehicle traverse speed by 15%)
Technology
Stock Technology:
  • Leopard 2A7-140 Technology
Technology Upgrades:
  • Smoke Grenades (allows the vehicle to use one smoke grenade discharge)
  • SEOSS Stabilizer (enhances accuracy while on the move by 20%)
  • INIOCHOS V System (increases the view range of the vehicle by 40 meters)
  • Active Protection System (provides automatic countermeasures against 3 ATGMs, can be activated only once per 30 seconds)
  • Improved Air Conditioner (increases crew stats by 2%)
Retrofits
  • Armor Retrofit Slot
  • Universal Retrofit Slot
  • Firepower Retrofit Slot
  • Mobility Retrofit Slot
Proven Upgrades
  • Battle-Hardened (9500 Gold)
  • 1.012.850 Credits (135020 Reputation)
  • 1.012.850 Credits (135020 Reputation)
  • 1.012.850 Credits (135020 Reputation)
  • 1.012.850 Credits (135020 Reputation)