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Leo 2A4 in Syria

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Theoretically, yes.

 

I would rather design an entirely new vehicle concept than to attempt changes on such a massive scale. Rebuilding the Leo 2 fleet with those options as suggested will probably cost nearly as much as a new design, take several years to implement, and ultimately will still be less capable than something built from ground up.

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51 minutes ago, Ssnake said:

Theoretically, yes.

 

I would rather design an entirely new vehicle concept than to attempt changes on such a massive scale. Rebuilding the Leo 2 fleet with those options as suggested will probably cost nearly as much as a new design, take several years to implement, and ultimately will still be less capable than something built from ground up.

 

well, you're not rebuilding the turret, so there's a major portion of the cost gone already. the engine is a large investment, but those would be due for swapping soon anyways. in an ideal world, half a year of design and prototyping, a year of field trials,  and balancing the suspension for the new weight distribution. but in essence, with the europowerpack you are removing over half a ton of weight, and redistributing it. and you're adding an engine that's already in use in the UAE leclerc so it's been thoroughly tested. 

if you were adding weight then yes, you'd have a lot of new stresses and things that could break, which would require quite a lot of strengthening and testing. 

anyways, add 2-5 years of infighting and bureacracy, and you're still not close to the 15-20 years or so it took to field the Puma IFV. 

and IMO the leopard is fairly future proof. add an unmanned turret, and you essentially have a good competitor for the armata. 

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17 hours ago, Ssnake said:

I don't know what you mean with "poor performance".

 

Let me be more blunt about "poor performance" then...

 

I'm disappointed that so many 2A4's appear to have been totaled or lost.  I'd hoped for a better showing.

 

I'm disappointed that the Turkish army seems to be a mob of incompetent imbecilic fools led by a bunch of even more incompetent imbecilic fools.

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Well, it's not really surprising that a Leopard 2 can and will lost it turret due to ammo cook off. Besides crews incompetence, which is one thing, one should seriously look at the problem of ammo storage, and in future a proper, safe ammo storage should be mandatory for every new design.

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7 hours ago, Mirzayev said:

Here is an "executive summary" style article exploring why the Turkish Leopard 2A4s are performing poorly: https://southfront.org/reasons-of-losses-of-turkish-leopard-2a4-tanks-in-syria-report/

 

I'm sorry, but that report is about useless. It doesn't break down the losses to different sources, or the attack direction, but just speaks in the broadest of terms. It is pseudo information that anyone could have googled within 30 minutes (not your fault, mind you; and journalists failing to do their jobs properly shouldn't come as a surprise either).

 

WRT Maj. Hans, tanks can only be as good as their crews. 20 M1s were lost in Yemen, 10 Leo 2A4s were lost in Syria. That doesn't mean that either tank is useless. We've gone through the reasons for these losses in this thread already, to the extent that the propaganda videos of the Islamofascists provide a clue. What we can say is that the flight times are considerable, so the attackers seem to utilize their standoff range (3,500m for the AT-14). We also know the nominal penetration depth limit to be (per manufacturer claims) 1,200mm under ideal circumstances, so maybe a tad above 1,000mm in real life. Which means that the missile is very well suited for the job. Expecting a Leo 2A4 to perform better once that it gets hit by that missile is simply irrational.

Expecting the Turkish Army to perform better is probably a more reasonable expectation. But they haven't had to deal with a well-equipped opponent in the past decades... just Kurds who, until recently, weren't equipped with decent anti-tank missiles (and even then they only got Milan missiles from Germany that are approaching the end of their shelf life). Syrian rebels on the other hand are being supported by a wide variety of potent countries in the region, particularly Iran for the Shiite/Alawite groups (with indirect Russian backing) while Saudi-Arabia, Qatar, and Kuweit support the Sunni jihadists. The west in the meantime is still seaching for "moderate rebels". 9_9

 

 

Well, back to tactics and technology. Syria was well equipped by the Russians, and to the extent that the rebels managed to raid army weapon depots it shouldn't come as a surprise that they got their hands on first rate anti-tank equipment (if they didn't receive it from Russia via Iran).

 

Debating the merits of ammo compartmentalization is, IMO, a point that has been settled since 1991. The Leo 2 is a legacy system that still has this weakness, always had it, and eventually it needs to get replaced. Until then crews need to rely on their skills, particularly on their mobility to avoid getting hit in the first place. Fitting active protection systems seems to be the next best option (though costly) as a stop-gap measure.

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IMHO the Leopard is a tried and true enough design that it's worth time and effort to develop a "Leopard 3" from it.  I'm curious about why the turret can't seem to hold more than 15 rounds?  If the Abrams turret has room for 34, then I'm sure the Leopard 2 could fit a similar number with a redesign.

 

Once the turret has been redesigned to hold that 34 rounds, for example, you're talking about a much smaller quantity in the hull.  This might make it easier to design a safety package to fit the existing space in the hull requiring little or no modification to get you back up to 42 rounds total.

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I'm not saying that the turret couldn't be redesigned to hold more than 15 rounds. But at the time it wasn't possible. To do it now you'd have to move the radios to a new location, replace the ballistic computer with a software based, smaller one, and mount it somewhere inside the crew compartment, and find a solution for the EWNA power supply.

 

But again, the cascading effects of changes will quickly inflate costs to the point where it becomes ineffective, and developing a new tank would be a much better choice. A new tank allows

  • a much more compact engine (save 3m³)
  • the use of a data bus system (save 500kg copper cabling)
  • the complete separation of ammo and crew
  • easy integration of additional sensor packages and countermeasures
  • use of advanced materials (e.g. nano steels) in structural components
  • reconsideration of the crew concept (manned vs. unmanned turret)

I think that the ATGM threat is now becoming so big that systems without active protection systems will quickly disappear from the battlefield, one way or the other.

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I do not think the ATGM threat is bigger, only in relative terms maybe.

 

What most of the AFV  where designed, was a rather "dense" battlefield. With AFV space 100m apart from the Alps to the baltic sea(I know this is an exageration).

ATGM crews could get a shot out...but is was very likely that the lauch site got drowned in counterfire a second later as more eye scanned the field then today.

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3 hours ago, Grenny said:

I do not think the ATGM threat is bigger, only in relative terms maybe.

 

What most of the AFV  where designed, was a rather "dense" battlefield. With AFV space 100m apart from the Alps to the baltic sea(I know this is an exageration).

ATGM crews could get a shot out...but is was very likely that the lauch site got drowned in counterfire a second later as more eye scanned the field then today.

Exactly.....and as we are seeing in Syria, moden warfare is turning out to be a 360 degree business. In such an environment situational awareness becomes crucial, and it seems a step change in allround surveillance capability is just as needed as an active protection system is. Precisely the lack of SA seems to have been a weakness in the Turkish tank units, and have no doubt contributed to their losses. 

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4 hours ago, Ssnake said:

But again, the cascading effects of changes will quickly inflate costs to the point where it becomes ineffective, and developing a new tank would be a much better choice. A new tank allows

  • a much more compact engine (save 3m³)
  • the use of a data bus system (save 500kg copper cabling)
  • the complete separation of ammo and crew
  • easy integration of additional sensor packages and countermeasures
  • use of advanced materials (e.g. nano steels) in structural components
  • reconsideration of the crew concept (manned vs. unmanned turret)

 

Absolutely......The performance of the latter concept in the real world (and in real combat) is very much still unknown.  Just as the advantage of such a configuration is obvious on a linear, one-directional battlefield, so is the limitations and weaknesses when operating in an urban environment , or a 360 degree battlespace like in Syria. 

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Aside from tactical rethinks by the Turkish army

 

I table the motion of:

The quickest solution is to not use the hull ammo bunker.

15 HE ready rounds is enough, right?

 

and if not....

Well drive to / call up the CSS wagons

 

Its not like they're trying to beat back the Russian hordes of T-90s are they?

 

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I cannot claim sufficient knowledge about the tactical and operational picture to pass judgment whether 27 out of 42 rounds are necessary to carry, or not.

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23 minutes ago, dejawolf said:

AFAIK the danish army operated without ammunition in the hull ammo bunker in afghanistan. 

 

Probably a good idea for "low intensity conflict".  If anything I'd probably rather have some extra MG barrels and ammo tucked into there if possible.  Maybe some other goodies, crew comforts, anything that you could fit.

 

If you're not going to be blasting away with the 120mm at hordes of Soviets...

 

It does look like at least the turret protection scheme works though.

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3 hours ago, dejawolf said:

AFAIK the danish army operated without ammunition in the hull ammo bunker in afghanistan. 

No we didn't......after we lost a driver in an IED strike, the lowest row of ammo were replaced with concrete rounds, but the rest stayed. Later the hull ammo rack was replaced with a new 22 round armored version, as part of the full mine protection upgrade all our Leos in Helmand received.

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The only technical solution that I can really think of for protecting the Leopard 2's hull ammunition is to encase it and supply blowout panels, like the 6 rounds stowed in the M1A2 hull. Some of the issues I see would be devising a blast door to access the ammo for reloading the ready rack, containing an explosion of 27 x 120mm rounds, design and placement of the blowout panels, complicating evacuation procedures, etc. Anybody have any thoughts on the feasibility of that solution?

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Yeah, me: No way.

 

I'd favor a low tech solution - don't put ammo there as long as you're not facing massed armored assaults. The benefit is that it costs you nothing and is immediately available.

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2 hours ago, Nate Lawrence said:

The only technical solution that I can really think of for protecting the Leopard 2's hull ammunition is to encase it and supply blowout panels, like the 6 rounds stowed in the M1A2 hull. Some of the issues I see would be devising a blast door to access the ammo for reloading the ready rack, containing an explosion of 27 x 120mm rounds, design and placement of the blowout panels, complicating evacuation procedures, etc. Anybody have any thoughts on the feasibility of that solution?

Technically it's immposible to isolate hull ammo storage of the Leopard 2 from the crew, because there is no space for sliding blast doors there. You would need to redesign ammo rack in to some sort of a drum, so a blast proof bulkhead with small ammo port could be used, but then again, this would most likely reduce number of stored rounds.

 

I know American when M1 was still XM1 and in early development stage, were thinking about placing two mechanized ammo drums around the driver station, these drums would be isolated and equipped with blow off panels.

 

In the end tough, more practical was to move main ammo storage to the turret bustle, and have a small ammo storage in the hull between turret and hull compartment.

 

The advantage of moving ammunition closer to the rear of the tank is that you can, if you have compact enough powerpack, build two large, isolated magazines with blow off panels and mechanized ammo racks like for example that of the Meggitt Defense.

 

120mm-Crop.jpg

 

Both magazines can store 34-40 120mm rounds, in case of turret bustle magazine it can either be loaded by loader, or by compact autoloader mechanism, so using such solution  you can optimize vehicle design and increase it's main gun ammo capacity while still increasing survivability because ammo is still in isolated ammo magazines with blow off panels, and because of the design, instead of large sliding doors, you have a solid bulkhead with a small ammo port with small sliding door covering it, thus structural integrity of such protection feature is greater.

 

Compact-autoloader.jpg

 

So a perfect tank with manned turret would perhaps look like a downsized CATTB "Thumper" technology demonstrator, downsized for 120mm gun and with a more optimized hull and turret design, so addon armor, APS could be installed + more modern optics, electronics, RWS etc.

 

E6TFG4L.jpg

 

Something to read about Meggitt Defense Systems compact autoloader and mechanized ammo magazine.

 

https://www.meggittdefense.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/120mmCompactMagazine.pdf

https://www.meggittdefense.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/120mmCompactAutoLoader.pdf

 

But in case of Leopard 2, I do not see any technical feasibility to solve the problem of it's hull ammo rack, without redesigning the vehicle, and redesigning it, means designing a new tank really.

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Apart form the "survive when penetrated" problems that, as stated; would need a complete redesign of the tank (or simply: a new tank)...working on the "don't get hit" part of protection could also help.

Active protection(hardkill) systems are the way to go!   Or at least some reative armour on the hull...

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On 2/16/2018 at 3:55 PM, Grenny said:

Apart form the "survive when penetrated" problems that, as stated; would need a complete redesign of the tank (or simply: a new tank)...working on the "don't get hit" part of protection could also help.

Active protection(hardkill) systems are the way to go!   Or at least some reative armour on the hull...

+1

 

I find it amusing that so called military pundits seem so surprised the leo-2A4 in there words performed badly.

Against modern ATGM and mines The design is nearly forty years old.

ATGM have advanced significantly in the last twenty + years. 

So much so it would take a 100 + tons of advanced armour for a tank to have any chance at stopping a modern ATGM like a Hellfire or Tow2B

There's not a armoured AFV design built that is not vulnerable somewhere.

Yes some designs are better then others but there all vulnerable.

IMO the days of the heavy's are numbered Speed a low profile and active and Passive defensive systems or even unmanned drone type AFVs are the Future.

 

Edited by Marko

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