History of Leopard 2s in Turkish Armed Forces dates back to 2000s, to Tank 2000 Tender. Turkish Armed Forces open a tender for 250 modern tanks for Turkish Land Forces Command. Scope of this tender was to increase armored capabilities TLFC, acquire further know-how and update the existing infrastructure for building and maintaining modern armor. Four, later five, contenders from four countries were announced. Those tanks were: M1A2SEP, later M1A2, USA – Leopard 2A6EX, Germany – Leclerc, France – T-84-120 “Yatağan”, Ukraine. After extensive test in Turkey, Leopard 2A6EX was completed all tests with outstanding performance and announced as winner of Tank 2000 Tender. Turkish and German sides failed to agree in matter of technology transfer and local production, which sealed the fate of Tank 2000 Tender.
Fast forward to 2005, Turkey showed interest to buy secondhand Leopard 2A4s from German Army surplus. 365 Million Euro worth deal for 298 Leopard 2A4 was made and tanks were delivered between 2006 - 2010. Later additional 56 Leopard 2A4 was bought in 2009, delivered between 2010 – 2014. Since then, Leopard 2A4 is one of the most important assets of Turkish Armed Forces.
Leopard 2A4 Armor Test Bed
After Fırat Modernization Program’s failure to bring a solution to modernization problem of Leopard 2A4, BMC came up with another attempt. This time, Leopard received a substantial upgrade in armor department. Yet again, there seems to be no other improvement applied to Leopard 2A4, leaving this prototype as a mere armor test bed. Video of this tank first surfaced in April 2019, showing its early mobility tests.
There is no change in armament, main armament is Rheinmetall Rh-120 120mm L/44 cannon, while secondary armament consists of sin 7.62mm co-axial machine-gun.
Similar to earlier attempt, this testbed also did not receive any enhancement in mobility department. Leopard is still powered by original EuroPowerPack which consists of MTU MB 873 Ka-501 diesel engine coupled with RENK HSWL 354 transmission system. Videos showcasing mobility of this testbed reveals that the additional armor affected performance of Leopard substantially which is probably the main reason why this attempt went nowhere. It is hard to make any sort of claims about weight of the tank since information is extremely scarce.
I would speculate that this armor package is substantially heavier than ROKETSAN’s T1 which was revealed approximately one year later. Combined hull and turret armor weight of T1 is 6.3 tonnes, videos shows that T1 does not affect performance of Leopard 2A4 but same cannot be said for this package.
Overall protection of Leopard seems to be increased greatly on everywhere unlike earlier attempt which only provided protection to frontal arc and turret sides.
Armor package seems to be consists of hybrid reactive and passive elements, of course it is all my speculation, take it with grain of salt. Turret face received additional armor similar to Leopard 2A6’s wedge armor or Russian T-Series tanks turret ERA. It is hard to tell for sure if its reactive or passive armor, but due to huge size of it I would say it is some sort of Passive armor with great spaced armor affect, covering whole turret face. Upper side of turret face’s protection is enhanced with ERA blocks, but coverage is not that great. Turret sides seems to have hybrid passive and reactive armor blocks, from top view we can see that ERA blocks placed on top of another one big block of armor, which could be either NERA or another sort of composite armor. Placement of this hybrid armor also arranged to have spaced-armor affect. Back of the turret is protected with Slat armor similar to back of the hull.
Frontal hull received hybrid armor with near-full ERA coverage. Upper frontal plate’s protection is increased with ERA blocks which looks like to be placed on passive armor block. You can spot thick, multi-layered additional armor plates under the ERA which extends further from hull. Lower plate seems to have such thick multi-layered additional armor.
From these two (1,2) images, we can see Lower Frontal Plate has either ERA/NERA or other from of thick armor block under additional armor plate. Second image shows ERA on UPF and Armor Block on LPF are not connected, in first photo it is apparent that there is an additional armor plate for LPF’s additional armor block. We can infer from these two images that Frontal Armor would be resistant against both CE and KE threats with multi-layered configuration of ERA/NERA and/or other forms of composite armor elements creating spaced armor affect. Additional armor is extending from Lower Front Plate up to turret ring.
Performance of ROKETSAN’s Explosive Reactive Armor is top of its class. Test showed that ROKETSAN ERA has invulnerable most of the contemporary CE threats including RPGs, ATGMs and HEAT Rounds. ERA stopped PG-7VR, which is a tandem RPG with 600mm behind-the-ERA penetration, with minimal residual penetration, and completely stopped 125mm HEAT round. Alongside image proofs, production catalogue states that ERA protect against PG-7VR, KORNET, TOW-2A, Konkurs and other tandem-warhead ATGMs. It is also stated that, ROKETSAN ERA provides enhanced protection against APFSDS rounds too, but protection values are unknown.
- Crew: 4
Dimensions and Weight
- Mass: +55 Tons ˀ
- Length: 8.1 m
- Width: 4.3 m
- Height: 2.8 m
- Main Armament: Rheinmetall Rh-120 120mm L/44 Smoothbore Cannon
- Secondary Armament:
• MG3 7.62mm Co-Axial Machine Gun
• FN MAG 7.62mm Co-Axial Machine Gun
- Ammunition Capacity
∙ 42 Tank Rounds
∙ 4600 7.62mm Co-Axial Machine Gun
- Engine: MTU MB 873 Ka-501 Diesel Engine, 1500 Horsepower
- Transmission: RENK HSWL 354 Automatic Transmission, 4 Forward, 2 Reverse
- Suspension: Torsion Bar
- Maximum Speed: 70 km/h
- Power to Weight: > 27.2 hp/t
∙ Slat Armor
∙ Explosive Reactive Armor ⁽ˀ⁾
∙ Composite Add-On Armor ⁽ˀ⁾
∙ Non-Explosive Reactive Armor ⁽ˀ⁾
- Active/Passive Protection System: None
- Smoke Grenades: 16x
- Night Sight
- Thermal Sight
- Laser Range Finder
Implementation to War Thunder
- Night Sight
Leopard 2A4 Armor Test Bed should be reserved for potential Turkish Tech Tree. It would make an excellent Event vehicle. With all the additional armor, thise Leopard 2A4 would be an juggernaut tanking shots meanwhile losing its mobility advantage. BR-Wise, I would say it would fit between 11.3-11.7.