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West German Leopard 3 MBT

Pioneer

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In the late 1980's I remember the West Germans talking about their plans for their next gen of MBT that was going to replace the Leopard 1.
It was called the Leopard 3.

Does anyone have anything in the way of how far this project got - i.e prototype?
is there any art work or drawings or specifications??

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Skybolt

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I have , I have it, damn!!! Were !? :mad: ???
 

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Here's what I have been able to find:

"...In a modern world the pressure for modernization is a matter of course, but in the field of military technology it is a bitter reality. With the appearence of modern and capable Soviet tanks such as the T-64 B and T-80 B, equipped with a high-performance 125 mm smoothbore gun capable of firing guided missiles, the development of an even better Leopard 2 was demanded. However, cooperation between nations over their tank industries can be difficult. After the cancellation of a joint French-German tank development project in November 1982, Germany extended the concept phase for a Leopard 3 in March 1983 to last until 1996. Several alternatives had to be examined, including production of additional Leopard 2, improvement of the Leopard 2, development of a new turret for the Leopard 2 with a crew of four or with a crew of three with an automatic loader, or still the development of an entirely new hull and turret.

The development of improved components for the Leopard 2 was finally favoured, and in 1989 the Leopard 2 KVT (Komponentenversuchsträger - component trial vehicle) was built and tested. This vehicle was fitted with additional armor, spall liners in the fighting compartment, a new electrically-driven sliding hatch for the driver, new hatches for the commander and loader, and increased reactive and passive armor on the turret roof. The EMES-15 was raised and received an armored housing, and the PERI-17, now including an independent thermal sight channel, was relocated to the left rear of the commander's section. This prototype had a total weight of 60,500 kg. After the trials, this vehicle was converted into the IVT (Instrumentenversuchsträger - experimental vehicle for instruments) and joined the IFIS (integrated command and information system) development program carried out between 1988 and 1992, which researched in cooperation with the US the more efficient way to the management and use of gathered information. After evaluation of the development tests with with the KVT, two prototypes were built in 1991 by Krauss-Maffei for the improvement program, known as KWS..." ( Source: http://www.fprado.com/armorsite/leo2.htm)

I also seem to remember a proposal to re-gun Leopard !s with the 120mm smoothbore as also being referred to as Leopard 3s for a while (though I may be mistaken on this).

Finally, there is the following Leopard 3 speculative model:

leo3_01.jpg

leo3_02.jpg

leo3_03.jpg

leo3_04.jpg

leo3_05.jpg

leo3_06.jpg

leo3_07.jpg

leo3_08.jpg

leo3_09.jpg


Regards,

Greg
 

Antonio

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WOW! :eek:

GTX,
Thanks a lot for this info and beautiful model
 

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Yes thanks Greg

It answers a lot of my questions

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Further to my post above, here is a picture showing the proposed refitting of Leopard Is with a 120mm gun:

Regards,

Greg
 

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bobbymike

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http://defence-blog.com/?p=2468

http://www.popsci.com/russian-invasion-ukraine-spurs-new-german-tank-design-0?dom=fb&src=SOC
 

lastdingo

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JohnR

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A slightly off topic question, but way to German Tanks have their driver on the right hand side? Is it to facilitate ammunition storage, the loader being on the left hand side of the turret?

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lastdingo

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As far as I know left and right could have been mirrored. There's no reason why the gun couldn't have been designed mirrored as well.

It's a bit strange because in German cars the driver is left side.
Maybe there's a driving safety benefit to it. Such things get tested in quite affordable experiments typically, and then the end user does rarely get the info about why his equipment was built this way.


The ammunition storage concern and the barrel position (escape!) justify why the driver isn't on the centreline where he would be the most safe from pressure-fused AT mines.
 

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muttbutt

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Boss of KMW talking at the French National assembly a few days ago, including about a Leo III/LeClerc II.

Google translation.

Both companies prepare several joint projects of new materials. "The most important thing is the next generation of heavy tanks, said Frank Haun. In five years we will have advanced in the development process of a new heavy tank - it is called Leopard 3 Leléo or Léoclerc no matter: it will be developed in common and can begin to equip our forces to 2025-2030 to replace Leclerc tanks and Leopard 2, the technological base begins dating Renew these materials is essential. Besides, the Russians are not wrong, and their development work on the subject at full forward To do this, Nexter has very interesting technologies to KMW and vice. -versa ".
Link in French,
http://www.latribune.fr/entreprises-finance/industrie/aeronautique-defense/20150125trib6245d7194/nexter-krauss-maffei-un-rapprochement-a-n-importe-quel-prix.html
 

Grey Havoc

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A few days ago I came across a tantalising tidbit from 1991 on plans (pre-Soviet collapse) for the introduction of the KW2000 from 1998 onwards. Pages 15-16 (PDF pages 28-29).

Some notes:
The KW2000 was also known as the KW 90 (much in the same way as the L85A1 rifle was known as the SA 80). In fact KW 90 was actually the name of the armoured vehicles element of the Heeresstruktur 2000 (Army structure 2000), also known less formally as Heer 2000. This in turn was a key part of the overall Bundeswehr 2000 modernisation effort. Confusing matters somewhat is that from the early 1970s (while development of the Leopard 2 was still under way) up until at least 2014 all Leopard 2 succession/replacement efforts came under the general umbrella of the long running Kampfpanzer 3 program. It is still unclear if the selected KW2000 design was the PzKW-2000 super-heavy proposal, the so called Leopard III A1, so ably represented by the model shown earlier in this thread, though it seems likely based on the evidence to date.
 

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Source of the Leopard 3 model.
http://nast-sonderfahrzeuge.de/fotosammlung/index.php?cat=3
The model is a pure what-if design.

Here some good articles.
Panzerkampfwagen 2000
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzerkampfwagen_2000

VT2000
http://www.panzerbaer.de/types/bw_kpz_vt_2000-a.htm

Panzerkampfwagen 2000 Giraffe Tank
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,3307.0/all.html

EGS Experimentalwanne Gesamtschutz.
https://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,13602.0.html

All these projects led to a two man crew tank. The NGP.
Neue Gepanzerte Plattform
https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neue_Gepanzerte_Plattform
 

Grey Havoc

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moin1900 said:
Source of the Leopard 3 model.
http://nast-sonderfahrzeuge.de/fotosammlung/index.php?cat=3
The model is a pure what-if design.

Actually he based it on an official drawing released by the German MOD/Bundeswehr circa 1987. It was an artist impression (see below) showing three vehicles 'in the field', which the Heer planned to have in service by the late 1990s. The vehicles were: MaK System Gesellschaft's ZOBEL scout vehicle, Krauss-Maffei's PYTON, which everyone thought would win the next generation Jagdleopard competition (Wegmann's entry unexpectedly won instead), and Krupp MaK's PzKW-2000 'super-heavy' tank for KW2000, aka the Leopard III.

index.php


As for the two man design that the German wiki erroneously thinks was selected for KW2000, that is something of an interesting mystery. What we do know is that in 1988, the final definition phase of the KW2000 program was delayed yet again (to great widespread annoyance) to early 1989. Previous delays had been (somewhat dubiously) justified by officials on the grounds of financial constraints. This new delay however was a rather blatant attempt by certain bureaucrats in the Defence and Finance ministries to allow Krauss-Maffei to make a last minute pitch for KW2000 with what was basically yet another warmed over Leopard 2, albeit with a 140mm gun and heavy automation to allow a two man crew. Other details of this proposal are sparse apart from what information is in the wiki entry, though it is probable that some elements of the design ended up as part of Stage III (cancelled in 1995) of the KWS (Kampfwertsteigerung) upgrade program for the Leopard 2. The revised tactical requirement that the article also mentions, with it's MLC60 basic weight limit, may well have been an additional attempt by supporters of Krauss-Maffei within the bureaucracy to ensure that the Bundeswehr would be forced to adopt this 'new' design over the preferred Krupp offering. (If such was indeed the case, then I'm not sure how the Inspector of the Army & the Secretary of State for the Department of Armaments allowed themselves to be blindsided in such a manner.) However, while the new 1988 tactical requirement was drafted, it does not appear to have actually ever been formally adopted (or if it had, it had gotten rescinded in record time). It's most concrete legacy, apart from helping to delay the KW2000 program further, was in the form of the VT2000 trials vehicles.

It's not exactly clear what happened next. But by late 1989, it looks like the PzKW-2000 design was the last man standing, so to speak. Unfortunately this was ultimately to prove a pyrrhic victory, as the KW2000 was cancelled in late 1992. The program was ostensibly just a victim of reunification costs (or rather the German government's poor management of same) & the so-called 'Peace Dividend', though Krauss-Maffei & it's supporters also likely played a role behind the scenes in a (only partly successful) effort to secure the Leopard 2 KWS program. It should be noted that even if the Krauss-Maffei proposal had survived a bit longer, it would have likely had to undergo a total redesign given the lack of success it's planned concept of operations had in the VT2000 trials of 1990.

On a side note, while the Panzerkampfwagen 2000 Giraffe Tank (otherwise known as a 'crane tank') may have been a serious concept, it was not an in-house (Kampfpanzer 3) proposal. Rather, it seems to have been put forward for the KW2000 role as part of one of those 'non-provocative' semi-static defence schemes that were so popular in certain circles during the mid-1980s as an alternative to continuing to maintain large scale NATO forces (including Heer) in West Germany. It would have likely acted more like a mobile defensive fortification than a traditional tank capable of both defence and offence. Still trying to find more concrete background on it.
 

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[/quote]

Actually he based it on an official drawing released by the German MOD/Bundeswehr circa 1987. It was an artist impression (see below) showing three vehicles 'in the field', which the Heer planned to have in service by the late 1990s. The vehicles were: MaK System Gesellschaft's ZOBEL scout vehicle, Krauss-Maffei's PYTHON, which everyone thought would win the next generation Jagdleopard competition (Wegmann's entry unexpectedly won instead), and Krupp MaK's PzKW-2000 'super-heavy' tank for KW2000, aka the Leopard III.


[/quote]

Pretty sure the picture you posted is also made by Nast, he has made similar drawings of other models build by him
 

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I've seen those ones, but I was of the opinion they were in part a homage by Nast to the German defence artists of the 70s and 80s, carried out with the benefit of computer assistance.
 

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Although there are some excellent German books on tanks and armoured vehicles none of them seem to cover these late Cold War projects.
There used to be a magazine called NATOs Nations and the German language Wehrtechnik magazine from that period had some drawings.
 

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This attachment is not legible but a legible one can be found Armor Magazine Jan Feb 2001
 

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