- Yes, don’t care how
- Yes, as a researchable vehicle
- Yes, as a premium/event/squadron vehicle
- Belgian/BeNeLux tree
- German tree
- French tree
- I said no
Welcome to another suggestion for a Belgian vehicle. This time we’ll be looking at Belgium’s first Leopard 1 upgrade, officially designated as Leopard SCT.
Belgium being the first export customer of the Leopard 1, had received 334 Leopard tanks, however, none of these included stabilizers or other equipment that was integrated into later built Leopard 1s. As a result, Belgium launched an upgrade program starting in 1975 to equip their Leopards with a new fire control system and stabilizer. This new system was developed by the local company SABCA and was also integrated into Australian and Canadian Leopards. The new fire control system consisted of an optical sight with a laser rangefinder and 7 sensors that measured outside temperature, air pressure, the temperature in the ammo storage, gun wear, cant, rate of turret traverse and gun wear. All of these were connected to an analog computer which would use these inputs to lay the gun and turret to the correct position for an accurate shot. On top of this, a thermal sleeve was added to the gun barrels (this made them at least a bit distinguishable from the earlier model), and storage boxes were added to the side of the hull, the latter also served as a sort of spaced armor. The upgraded model was officially designated Leopard SCT, with those letters standing for Système de Conduite de Tir, or fire control system in English. Unlike the German counterpart with similar modifications (Leopard A1A1), the Belgians chose not to add extra spaced armor on the turret at this time. Nonetheless, the vehicles continued to serve until 1990, when the next upgrade was started. The details of that will be discussed in another post, but only 132 Leopard 1BEs were selected for the upgrade, with the remaining 202 being put up for sale.
The upgrade did not have any impact on the type of gun, of course, this was still the venerable 105mm L7A3 rifled cannon. During the lifetime of the vehicle from 1975 to 1990, they almost certainly saw the introduction of DM23 and possibly even DM33 ammunition. Coaxial armament also still consisted of the Belgian FN MAG machine gun, the same goes for the machine gun on the commander’s hatch. Mobility of the vehicle was probably pretty much unaltered by the upgrade. Some weight was most certainly added, but it is unlikely that this had any major impact on the performance.
- Crew: 4 (driver, gunner, loader, commander)
- Weight: 40t
- Engine: 1x MTU MB 838 CaM 500 providing 830hp
- Length: 9.54m
- Width: 3.37m
- Height: 2.70m
- 1x 105mm L7A3 L/52 rifled cannon
- 1x 7.62mm FN MAG coaxial machine gun
- (optional) 1x 7.62mm FN MAG machine gun on commander’s hatch
- 2-plane stabilizer
If it were added as a researchable vehicle, then the Leopard 1BE SCT would be the logical successor of the Leopard 1BE (1968). It could be added in this manner to the proposed BeNeLux tree, or perhaps in some other manner such as a Belgian subtree in the French tree. On its own the vehicle is very similar to the German Leopard A1A1 albeit with less armor. Its slight differences could make it interesting to implement as an event/premium/squadron vehicle in the German tree as well. Gameplay-wise it will be virtually identical to the aforementioned Leopard A1A1. However, being a vehicle with a laser-rangefinder and stabilizer, it should still be enjoyable no matter what tree it is placed in.