The 1st Panzer Division of the German Army presented the main battle tank (MBT) Leopard 2A7V during the open house on June 18, 2023. This tank, which has just entered service with the German Army (Bundeswehr), is the latest MBT Leopard 2 series variant.

Originally unveiled by German defense company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW), now KNDS, at the Eurosatory defense show in Paris in 2016, the Leopard 2A7V exemplifies the continued evolution of Germany’s flagship tank. This development responds to the improvements planned for the previous Leopard 2A6, in line with the upcoming Bundeswehr acquisition projects announced between 2017 and 2018.

The Leopard 2A7V features a conventional layout for modern MBTs, with the driver positioned at the front right, the turret in the center, and the power unit at the rear. This advanced war machine is crewed by four people: a driver, a commander, a gunner and a loader.

Considered one of the most protective modern tanks, the Leopard 2A7V integrates state-of-the-art modular composite armor mounted on the glacis faceplate and turret. This advanced armor offers the crew 360° protection against various threats such as anti-tank missiles, mines, Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) and Rocket Propelled Grenades (RPGs).

Equipped with a 120mm Rheinmetall L/55 smoothbore gun, the Leopard 2A7V is capable of firing Rheinmetall 120mm DM53 Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot-Tracer (APFSDS-T) ammunition and employing a depleted uranium penetrator. This weapon system facilitates highly accurate long-range engagements, allowing the tank to hit targets up to 5,000 meters away.

In addition, this tank variant is capable of firing the new DM11 High Explosive – Fragmentation – Tracer (HE FRAG-T) tank ammunition, featuring an adaptable programmable fuze designed to engage unarmored and lightly armored targets, penetrate barriers and neutralize targets after cover.

The German Army presents the cutting-edge Leopard 2A7V a showcase of its innovative military technology.

The Leopard 2A7V is also equipped with a new ATTICA-GL thermal imager for the gunner and an ATTICA-Z thermal imager for the commander, both made by Hensoldt. These cameras significantly improve detection, recognition and identification distances compared to their predecessors, allowing the crew to identify targets beyond the effective combat range of the main gun.

To improve night driving, the tank includes Hensoldt’s SPECTUS II or III optics in the ‘nose’ of the hull, which incorporates a thermal imaging system combined with an image intensifier. This enhanced technology provides greater clarity and contrast for the driver. In addition, a reinforced rear driving camera has been incorporated that includes a thermal imaging system.

The multi-fuel MB 873 diesel engine powers the Leopard 2A7V. It also features a modified final drive to handle the increased combat weight, sacrificing some top speed for the sake of better acceleration. Although top speed has been slightly reduced to 63 km/h, acceleration performance has been noticeably improved compared to earlier, heavier models such as the Leopard 2A6M and 2A7 tanks. The transmission has also been hardened to handle the additional weight without compromising its lifespan.

With the advent of the Leopard 2A7V, the Bundeswehr has significantly improved its armored warfare capabilities. The tank’s advanced protection, firepower and imaging systems make it a formidable addition to the German Army’s arsenal.

Alain Henry de Frahan