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??

Regards
Pioneer
 
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
 
WOW! :eek:

GTX,
Thanks a lot for this info and beautiful model
 
Yes thanks Greg

It answers a lot of my questions

Regards
Pioneer
 
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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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?

Regards.
 
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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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
 
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.
 
Source of the Leopard 3 model.
The model is a pure what-if design.

Here some good articles.
Panzerkampfwagen 2000

VT2000

Panzerkampfwagen 2000 Giraffe Tank

EGS Experimentalwanne Gesamtschutz.

All these projects led to a two man crew tank. The NGP.
Neue Gepanzerte Plattform
 
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.
 
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.

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

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Some stuff on the Versuchsträger Fronttriebwerk (trial-vehicle front-engined). A prototype was build by Krupp MaK and Thyssen Henschel for the German army to explore this layout for the family of armored vehicles of the 90s (Kampfwagen 90) The mock up 'giraffe tank' pictured uses a Krauss Maffei turret on the VTF hull. MaK would later base their proposals for the KW2000 and NGP on the VTF.
 

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At the end of 1977, considerations focused on the low profile turret concept of Wegmann. A moveable hatch in the turret roof allowed a flatter turret design, reducing the height of the turret about 30 percent, which achieved the necessary weight reduction. In studies at the end of 1978, different variants of the low profile turret concept were examined with front- and rear-driven hull concepts (FT mod. 1 - 4).

Another Joint Project Fails

The studies of the low profile turret concepts coincided with the beginning of another French-German tank program (MBT 90), which had the goal of fielding a new tank as successor to MBT Leopard 1 and the French AMX 30, with fielding beginning in the 1990s. Both nations were well aware of the lessons learned from the failure of the earlier joint program. This time, the program was structured carefully and a goal set to reach a joint agreement on important basic requirements before detailing technical problems or building prototypes. In the first phase, joint resolutions were to be achieved in regard to:

• Military requirements for the future main battle tank
• Harmonizing governmental and industrial organization for the joint project
• Timely planning, as well as allocation of the work package and the funding
• The necessary procedures (e.g. evaluation; type of contract, reimbursement of costs etc.)

Some Experimental Concepts

Above, an MBT 70 prototype “kneels” in a demonstration of its unusual variable height suspension. At left, the VT 1-2 prototype, a turretless casemate tank with two 120mm cannons mounted in the hull, undergoes testing at Munster. At lower left, a model of the flat turret technology, which included a roof hatch which could go up at the rear to allow the gun to depress. This feature permitted a flatter turret and lower vehicle height, while saving weight. In the course of the project, cooperation problems arose and their solutions were obviously extraordinarily difficult. France insisted on a weight of MLC 50 (approx. 48 tons) as upper weight limit. And due to budgetary reasons, France also insisted on a 1991 date for first unit fielding. On the other hand, Germany’s procurement budget was tied to the Kampfwagen 90, and sufficient funding was not available before 1996. From the German point of view, there was no significant advance in chassis technology compared to that of the MBT Leopard 2. Therefore, Germany decided in 1980 to use the newly developed low profile turret on a Leopard 2 chassis, an idea that, understandably, drew no approval from the French partner, who had done a lot of work to develop a tank chassis with new technology. Disagreements also arose over the allocation of work between the two countries, the planned single-source production of important components, and the handling of the export rights. At the end of 1982, it was obvious that the second attempt at a French-German joint MBT had failed once again.
germanflatturret2-jpg.699307

germanflatturret-jpg.699308
 

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Really like to know how they expect 2-man crews to do all their maintenance...

Finally, there is the following Leopard 3 speculative model:
(images deleted for space)

leo3_05.jpg

(images deleted for space)
leo3_09.jpg


Regards,

Greg
This has less to do with the Leo3 than the 2A5 and on, but does anyone know why the late model Leo2s went with the pike-nose turret instead of one like this concept or the Abrams, with an angled but otherwise chisel point front?
 
That model looks to me quite a bit more like a Challenger 2, particularly the main gun and the fire control optics above it. Plus the ERA on the lower front hull. I suspect it might not be an official model of some kind.
 
That model looks to me quite a bit more like a Challenger 2, particularly the main gun and the fire control optics above it. Plus the ERA on the lower front hull. I suspect it might not be an official model of some kind.
Looks like a kitbashed Challenger 2 turret on a Leopard 2 hull (judging by the Drivers hatch and engine compartment) with the addition of the ERA from the Challenger 2 kit being added to the front of the Leopard hull.
 
Really like to know how they expect 2-man crews to do all their maintenance...
I can answer that for you.
The Bundeswehr planned a '2+2' crew.
Every tank would have 4 people assigned to it split into 2 crews who would alternate piloting the tank while the other 2 would follow behind in an APC (GTK Boxer). This would ensure that there were 4 ppl per tank capable of doing maintenance and routine task like for example guarding a night camp.
Ofc in combat the APC would not be able to follow the tank, but thats not that much of an issue becuase the tank would then be accompanied by infantry who could augment the manpower of the crew.
That model looks to me quite a bit more like a Challenger 2, particularly the main gun and the fire control optics above it. Plus the ERA on the lower front hull. I suspect it might not be an official model of some kind.
The model is not official. Its by Nast-Sondefahrzeuge and might be based on this art. Im not sure about the source of the art but i would suspect its either from the magazin Soldat & Technik or a combination of a S&T image with Nasts Leopard 3 model.
At any rate, the model looks nothing like the concepts the Bundeswehr actually considered for a Leopard 3. From the early 80s on, it was always the target to make a future tank significantly lighter than the Leopard 2. This was to be accomplished primarily by changes to the turret. Either making it lower (late 80s) or changing to an unmanned turret (90s).
 
I can answer that for you.
The Bundeswehr planned a '2+2' crew.
Every tank would have 4 people assigned to it split into 2 crews who would alternate piloting the tank while the other 2 would follow behind in an APC (GTK Boxer). This would ensure that there were 4 ppl per tank capable of doing maintenance and routine task like for example guarding a night camp.
Ofc in combat the APC would not be able to follow the tank, but thats not that much of an issue becuase the tank would then be accompanied by infantry who could augment the manpower of the crew.
Who are unlikely to be trained in tracked vehicle maintenance, but can at least stand watch and fetch tools.
 
Since this hasn't been (re)posted yet but is highly relevant to the topic, Wiedzmin of SturgeonsHouse, Otvaga and Tanknet got a document on a Leopard 3(sl) study, he shared it publicly on a post on SH on July 7, 2022. The document is all in German but has exceptionally detailed drawings and diagrams. A translation someday would be nice. Leopard 3 conception first started before 1979 when Leo 2 was 'officially adopted' with this document being from October 1978.

Leopard 3SL Mod B Study Thyssen Henschel and MaK October 1978: 171 Mb 256 pages


This makes it one of the first of the many known and unknown Leopard 3's or Leopard 2 successor paper tanks from the 1970-90s.

Wiedzmin : "vehicle have protection level - 120mm APFSDS from 1km, 120mm HL, 110mm HESH, all at +-30 deg, but at which height this level was reached will look later, as for KE part i think only upper part" - October 26, 2020, SturgeonsHouse Leopard 2 thread. HL is probably a typo for HE.

If I had to describe it, it would be like a souped up Teledyne AGS. An extremely novel and cool design.

Pictures ( from Wiedzmin october 26th and document)
1689442638432.png
1689442022676.png
1689442054947.png

Front hull measurements according to Wiedzmin and this document:
1689449857651.png

Alternative/ different Leopard 3 front hull design posted by Wiedzmin on October 26th, 2020. What this is based off IDK.

Alternative Leopard 3 chassis/ tank found by Object 477, a chinese Weibo blogger. Posted by Wiedzmin as well on october 26, 2020 SH. I have no idea when the original blog post by Object 477 was made.

TLDR: This is basically just a repost and a long-winded version of Wiedzmin's posts on the subject to not make it a one to one copy. Original SH posts here:

https://sturgeonshouse.ipbhost.com/topic/1527-the-leopard-2-thread/page/53/ page where he posted the document ( post right before the panzer 87 prototypes with RUAG MLU up-armor kits)

https://sturgeonshouse.ipbhost.com/topic/1527-the-leopard-2-thread/page/41/ page where the cool pictures and quote came from
 
Wiedzmin : "vehicle have protection level - 120mm APFSDS from 1km, 120mm HL, 110mm HESH, all at +-30 deg, but at which height this level was reached will look later, as for KE part i think only upper part" - October 26, 2020, SturgeonsHouse Leopard 2 thread. HL is probably a typo for HE.
HL means Hochladung which means HE, but in this case I think they actually meant 120mm HEAT.
 
This has less to do with the Leo3 than the 2A5 and on, but does anyone know why the late model Leo2s went with the pike-nose turret instead of one like this concept or the Abrams, with an angled but otherwise chisel point front?

The Leopard 2A5 has appliqué armour applied over a 2A4 turret. A turret like the one that model would require an entirely new design.
 
Does the turret always have to be centerline? If they moved it off centerline with the general shape retaining a centerline appearance, traditional top attack could be somewhat thwarted. Instead of a centerline hit being a straight shot to a carousel, it might be hitting more over the deck.
 
Does the turret always have to be centerline? If they moved it off centerline with the general shape retaining a centerline appearance, traditional top attack could be somewhat thwarted. Instead of a centerline hit being a straight shot to a carousel, it might be hitting more over the deck.
The gun pretty much needs to be on the centerline for recoil balancing, and if you don't have the gun centered in the turret firing the gun will unevenly take the slack out of the traverse and elevation gears.
 
The gun pretty much needs to be on the centerline for recoil balancing, and if you don't have the gun centered in the turret firing the gun will unevenly take the slack out of the traverse and elevation gears.
I hear your point. You could keep the gun centered on the pivot without the turret form being perfectly symmetrical. Smart munitions seem to strike dead center on the turret mass. On autoloaders that usually means directly on the loading mechanism itself. I would assume moving the pivot point off center of the turret mass would add survivability in a 2+2 configuration.
 

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