Wednesday, February 18, 2015

CAF Upgrades Leopard-2 Tanks for Germany

It was in April 2007 that the CAF agreed to purchase/lease 120 Leopard-2 Tanks from Germany and the Netherlands. At the time, the purchase of the second-hand tanks and shipping them to Afghanistan from Europe, was cheaper than shipping the ones Canada owned back in Canada.

Part of the purchase/lease deal, Canada would upgrade 20 of the the tanks and return a number of them to Germany. These tanks were under a government-to-government use agreement and used for direct support operations while in Afghanistan.

The first upgraded tanks began to arrive in Germany in December and other are to follow very soon. The upgrades where completed by the original Leopard-2 manufacturer, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann.

Desert conditions have a way of deteriorating military equipment, and to be able to return the leased Leopard's in the same quality as they borrowed them, Canada agreed to pay for the work to convert the tanks into serviceable condition.

Some may ask why we are paying to upgrade and not just ensure they are in 100% operating condition - Germany paid to upgrade the Leopard-2 A6M tanks to the A7 variant before lending them to Canada in order to better support Canadian troops while in Afghanistan. Canada agreed to complete further upgrades once they finished using the tanks.

The upgrades Canada has paid for include:

  • auxiliary power units to help cool the turret and crew and ensure operations continue with the main engine running. 
  • A new drivers hatch
  • All-electric turret control equipment 
  • Modifications to fire fuse-programmable high explosives (use against Bunkers and fortifications) 
Original Source: Ottawa Citizen 
15 October 2010
Panjwa'i District, Afghanistan

A Leopard 2A6M Main Battle Tank from The Lord Strathcona’s Horse (Royal Canadians) and part of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, provides over-watch during recent operations in the volatile Panjwa’i and Zhari Districts of Kandahar Province. The sheer size and firepower of the Leopard 2A6M Main Battle Tank makes it a formidable force and a huge deterrent to enemy insurgents. 

In close cooperation with Afghan National Security Forces, 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group provides security by conducting counter-insurgency operations throughout Panjwa’i District located south-west of Kandahar City. The Battle Group conducts partnered operations with the 2nd Kandak of the 1st Brigade, 205 Corps of the Afghan National Army, Afghan National Police and the Panjwa’i District Governor in order to advance governance, reconstruction and security in the area.

Operation ATHENA is Canada’
A Canadian Leopard A6M tank in Panjwa'i District Afghanistan in October 2010. Photo: DND Combat Camera

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