The Leopard I was West Germany’s aboriginal post-war domestically advised and bogus tank. The German designs was good—so good, that it is still in account with a cardinal of countries. Here’s why.
In post-war West Germany, the Bundeswehr, the West German Army, was able with American-supplied M47 and M48 Patton Main Action Tanks. Though capable, it was added accessible that the Pattons were acceptable outmatched by Warsaw Pact armored firepower and were in austere crisis of acceptable obsolete.
West Germany had advised affairs the beyond British Chieftain tank, or the American M60, 45 and 51 bags respectively. They were both alone by Bonn as too abundant and not adaptable enough. So West Germans absitively to body article at home—something that could be the new European standard.
The architecture rules were stringent: the catchbasin had to accept a aerial power-to-weight arrangement of 30 application per ton, accept onboard aegis from radiation and actinic weapons, and be able to bear absolute hits from 20 millimeter cannon fire.
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The accent was centered on aerial advancement and aerial firepower, with armored aegis advancing second. German designers acclimatized on a British-made 105 millimeter catchbasin gun to accommodate the all-important firepower.
Tactical planning at the time affected that shaped charges—explosive projectiles that can shoot superplasticized jets of metal through blubbery amounts of armor—could not be abundantly dedicated against. Doctrine maintained that if you couldn’t abide them, again instead hopefully outrun and out shoot the enemy.
The aftereffect was the Leopard I. That catchbasin became a fable and was bound airtight up by abounding NATO affiliate countries—Australia, Belgium, Canada, Greece, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway and Turkey were allured by the almost aerial speeds—40 afar per hour—and the amount point—$250,000.
Incremental upgrades were accustomed to the apparatus throughout its life—armored skirts to assure the advance and a butt sleeve to bigger acclimate centralized butt temperatures back firing. Germany additionally added bigger armor, computerized blaze control, and bolt-on blended or artificial armor panels, which has resulted in a boundless cardinal of Leopard I variants.
Thanks to an adorable amount point and a deluge of advancement choices, the Leopard I charcoal in use with a cardinal of countries worldwide. Leopard’s aggregation website says that the Leopard I has been an “international success story…Since 1965, added than 4,700 units accept been bogus and abide in account in eleven countries on bristles continents.”
What makes the Leopard still adorable over bisected a aeon afterwards birth is its customization and upgradability. “Thanks to its connected advance and addition process, the LEOPARD 1 charcoal a advanced design. Users of beforehand versions accept the best of several retrofit kits to acclimate the artefact configuration, putting agnate accent on firepower, protection, advancement and acumen as needed.”
Still, the Leopard I belvedere did face some challenges while beneath Turkish command in Syria.
The Leopard website apparently summarizes the approaching of the Leopard I best stating, “the modular architecture allows the deployment of this action catchbasin able-bodied into the average of the 21st century, consistently able-bodied acclimatized for any blackmail scenario.” Time will tell, but the Leopard I apparently won’t drive off into the dusk aloof yet.
Caleb Larson is a Aegis Writer with The National Interest. He holds a Master of Public Policy and covers U.S. and Russian security, European aegis issues, and German backroom and culture.
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