Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) is modernizing the Canadian Leopard 2A4 CAN tanks previously acquired from Dutch Army surplus. The first batch of 20 tanks was handed back to the Canadian Armed Forces yesterday (October 7, 2010) at the Bergen training ground in northern Germany. The modernized tanks are scheduled to deploy with the Canadian tank squadron positioned near Kandahar, southern Afghanistan.
The Canadians embarked on this latest upgrade of the tank in July 2009, anticipating their next deployment in the Afghan theater. The new version is specially designed for operations in Afghanistan based on experience gained by other Leopard 2 operators, including the Denmark and Canadian forces. (operating the Leopard 2A6M)
The main focus of the A4M CAN design was consistent protection of the crews, who are subjected to enemy attacks with powerful anti-tank projectiles and are in constant danger from mines and IED’s (Improvised Explosive Devices). The starting point for the protection concept is outstanding protection from mines and good all-round protection. Furthermore, the capabilities of the new battle tank have been significantly extended by integrating a pioneer equipment interface. Mine rollers, mine ploughs and dozer blades allow the Canadian tanks to effectively negotiate obstacles on rough terrain. the tank is fitted with full electric drive, which has already been used on more advanced models.
The Leopard 2 is the heaviest, most powerful direct land combat system operated under ISAF command. Unlike many other systems, the tank can also operate and demonstrate its strengths in extremely dangerous environments and can also do this over long periods of time if necessary. Forces employing the tanks are able to carry out a wide range of tasks exposed to extremely dangerous environment, in spite of the small number of heavy vehicles. Currently the tanks are operated primarily in the northern areas; provisions have also been made for deployment in the extreme heat of southern Afghanistan.
With its armour, which goes far beyond that of any other battle vehicle, its speed, its agility and its precise and extremely effective weaponry, the tank has a tremendous amount of deterrent potential as far as the enemy is concerned, while strengthening the morale of the troops.