|Manufacturer:||General Dynamics Santa Barbara Sistemas|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Main battle tank|
In mid-1995, it was announced that Spain was to manufacture under licence 200 German Krauss-Maffei Leopard 2A6 MBTs for the Spanish Army with deliveries to run at the rate of 40 vehicles a year.
The government-to-government Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed in Brussels between Germany and Spain on 5 June 1995 covering this and other defence projects.
Spain has already taken delivery from Germany of 108 Leopard 2A4 MBTs from the German Army for a period of five years. These were delivered to Spain between November 1995 and June 1996 and cost USD6.6 million a year to lease. These 108 Leopard 2A4 MBTs have now been purchased outright by Spain.
The first Leopard 2s went to the two armour battalions which Spain has committed to the Eurocorps and some 50 were used to equip the two cavalry regiments based in the Spanish North African enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla.
Prime contractor for the Leopardo 2E is General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas, which is also the prime contractor for the Spanish-built Pizarro infantry combat vehicle. Spanish content of the Leopardo 2E is expected to be between 60 and 70 per cent.
Early in March 1998, negotiations finally started between Krauss-Maffei (Krauss-Maffei Wegmann) and General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas for the production of 219 Leopardo 2E MBTs and 16 armoured recovery vehicles.
The contract for production of the Leopardo 2E in Spain was finally signed late in December 1998. The first vehicles were completed late in 2003 with the main production run commencing in 2004.
The layout for the Spanish Leopardo 2E is almost the same as the German Leopard 2A6 which is covered in detail in a separate entry.
There are however minor differences to meet the specific Spanish operational requirements including installation of Spanish Lince command and control system, Spanish radios, different auxiliary powerpack in hull rear and a slightly different frontal armour package.
While General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas is the overall prime contractor for the Spanish Leopardo 2E programme, many other Spanish companies are involved including Bazan (MTU V-12 diesel engine), ENSB (turret and 120 mm smoothbore gun), and Plasencia de las Armas for the tracks and suspension. Amper is responsible for the communications system. The fire-control system is manufactured by EWS.
According to Spanish sources, the Leopardo 2E contract will provide work for General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas for a period of seven years.
Late in 1999, it was announced that Spain had decided to arm its new Leopardo 2E MBTs with the latest Rheinmetall DeTec AG 120 mm L/55 calibre smoothbore tank gun.
The 120 mm L/55 calibre smoothbore tank gun was developed by Rheinmetall DeTec under contract to the German MoD as the replacement for the original 120 mm L/44 smoothbore weapon installed in all production Leopard 2 series MBTs built since 1979.
The 120 mm L/55 smoothbore gun has now been ordered by Germany (backfitted), Greece (new build), Netherlands (backfitted) and Spain (new build).
The new 120 mm L/55 is 1.3 m longer than the L/44 which leads to a significant increase in muzzle velocity and effective combat range. It also allows the weapon to fire future 120 mm rounds with increased armour penetration characteristics.
The 120 mm L/55 weapons is being manufactured in Spain by General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas with the assistance of Rheinmetall DeTec under a deal worth DM155 million.
General Dynamics Santa Bárbara Sistemas has awarded the German company Rheinmetall Defence Electronics GmbH and the Spanish Indra EWS company a contract for the delivery of 219 fire-control systems for the Spanish built Leopard 2 MBT. This covers the supply of not only the fire-control system but also panoramic periscope, testing equipment and a battlefield command system.
In addition it covers the supply of 16 battlefield command systems for installation in the Büffel Armoured Recovery Vehicle's (ARVs) also being supplied to the Spanish Army.
Amper Programas of Madrid are supplying the communication systems for the Spanish Leopardo 2E MBTs and variants with the VIS digital intercommunication system being selected to meet part of this requirement.
Of these 16 ARVs, four have been supplied by the now Rheinmetall Landsysteme (previously MaK) in Germany and the remainder manufactured under licence in Spain.
Under the Conventional Forces Europe (CFE) treaty, Spain is allowed a total of 794 MBTs, although for financial reasons Spain intends to reduce its total MBT fleet to 684, and this figure will be reduced even further.
First Spanish-built Leopard 2 MBTs were completed late in 2003 and production will run at 30 to 40 units per year. It is expected that the 108 leased 2A4s will be upgraded in the future, which will allow the M60 series of MBTs to be phased out of service.