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Leopard unable to kill Russian modern tanks?


Skybird03
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There is various generla media reports her ein Germany today that the Leopards in use by the BW may lack the ammunition to defeat armour on modern Russian tanks, namely upgraded T-80s and T-90s. It gets reported that due to the Ukraine war the BW will reactivate/buy back 100 of its older 2A4 to add these - once modernization is completed - to its current tank fleet of around 220 2A5 and 2A6 (and 20 2A7). Critics now say that would be a placebo, since current available "Pfeilmunition" (kinetic ammo) available for the A5 and A6 would be unable to defeat the modern Russian tanks which ha sseen a series of upgrades and protection modernization at high frequency. The planned next version of the German kinetic ammo should also be not able to reliably defeat Russian armour, and there is growing recommendations to go for DU ammo instead, since the German way of Tungsten ammo seems to have come to the end of its useful longevity.

All this just general reports in mainstream newspaper today over here, with not more details than the above given, so I save myself from collecting links to German newspaper articles. Most people here could not read them, and the additional info would be zero, since they really just wrote what I just summarised, not more background info given.

What's the view on this issue with people in this forum, and eSim?

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I would speculate the DM-53A1 could penetrate most of the armour the Russians use.

Maybe the later versions of the T-90 could withstand a frontal hit.

But I would speculate Nato will need new rounds for dealing with new types of Russian Armour IE the Armata tank/Heavy IFV. I haven't seen any estimates for it armour strength But again IMO, the Russians would have taken in to consideration the penetration values of German and American rounds.

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I wonder how it looks the other way round: Can modern russian tanks kill the latest Leopard 2?

Somehwere I read that the american Abrams doesn't need the Leopard 2A6 120 mm L55 gun because of the depleted uranium APFSDS ammunition. The penetration power is roughly the same. That would mean if the Leopard 2A6 has a problem so must the Abrams as well. Or is there a new ammunition out for the Abrams?

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One of the three articles I read today quoted a no further identified expert who pointed out that the Russians had beefed up armour on their T90s and T80s in the past years repeatedly, and in short sequence, resulting now in T80s and T90s that the latest German ammo would find extremely difficult to defeat. No further detail and specification was given, but it was this that got my attention, considering that in SBP the German rounds are quite close to the efficiency of the US DU rounds.

Another article of today refers back to politicians' fears of the peace movement in the 80s, and that the problem that sooner or later German Tungsten rounds would find it difficult to keep up in an arms race against ever increasing Russian armour protection. That article said that it was this fear of the peace movement that stopped Germans from obtaining DU ammunition already in the 80s.

Keep in my mind, the source of this assessment was not further explained, so it could as well be economic lobbyism on behalf of the industry producing DU rounds.

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Somehwere I read that the american Abrams doesn't need the Leopard 2A6 120 mm L55 gun because of the depleted uranium APFSDS ammunition.

I would disagree. In war, thinking in terms of not wanting overkill, is counter-productive. You can never have a gun that is "too big" or "too punchy". More punch means more destructive reserves. Means more reach. Means more penetration chances even when hitting a specifically hardened, non-optimal part of the target.

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One thing is for sure deterrence is the best weapon to prevent wars.

If the other side thinks it has finallu outsmarted you with better armur and ammo, they will be more tempted to flex the muscle than if they think your weapons and ammo are fearful and would punish them hard.

Europe and the NATO have been enjoying the "peace dream" for long and have forgoten that "peace and freedom are not for free"

Nato members now have agreed to an increase of military spending to a minimum of 2% of their GDP. Some countries are increasing this figure significatively.

In aviation we have a saying "If you think safety is expensive, try an accident"

I think this applies nicely to the military safety so if you think having a well equiped and trained army is expensive, try a war.

I hope all this issues are adressed in time.

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I wonder how it looks the other way round: Can modern russian tanks kill the latest Leopard 2?

Somehwere I read that the american Abrams doesn't need the Leopard 2A6 120 mm L55 gun because of the depleted uranium APFSDS ammunition. The penetration power is roughly the same. That would mean if the Leopard 2A6 has a problem so must the Abrams as well. Or is there a new ammunition out for the Abrams?

I was thinking the same thing.

What's the point in the Russians spending billions developing a new tank.

Which IMO was built to take on the best the west has

And not develop ammo capable of doing the job.

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I would disagree. In war, thinking in terms of not wanting overkill, is counter-productive. You can never have a gun that is "too big" or "too punchy". More punch means more destructive reserves. Means more reach. Means more penetration chances even when hitting a specifically hardened, non-optimal part of the target.

You can never have too much penetration, but you most CERTAINLY can have a gun that's too big. As in, barrels so long that they have excessive vibration, or breeches so large you need to build all-new turrets.

I think part of the reason the US maintains the shorter guns is because, against the newer Russian ERA, higher velocity is counterproductive. The M829A3 is SUPPOSED to be slower; by being slower, it does not generate sufficient shockwave on impact to detonate the ERA filler. Making it faster would make it activate the ERA, and quite potentially DECREASE it's effectiveness against those targets.

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well, as the romans used to say, if you want to live in peace, prepare for war.

i've read statements from the designer of the T-90MS, protection figures of 850mm vs KE on the frontal arc. it's not unreasonable to think the T-90A has similar protection, based on the armour configuration. physical thickness of the T-90A armour on the cheeks is around 530mm, and from what i know, consists of welded RHA steel with hardened steel/rubber inserts of some sort. and over this you have K5 ERA.

however, there's weak spots around the gun and drivers hatch. and parts of the front roof isn't as strong either, and physical thickness of these areas are less than 450mm thick cast steel. this is a fairly large portion of the front turret profile, almost 1/3,

so you should still be able to kill the T-90A even with the worst german ammunition, although you won't be reliably killing it.

it is important to consider however that russia still has only 1000 T-90A's.

most of it's tank force is still T-72B with kontakt-1 ERA.

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well, as the romans used to say, if you want to live in peace, prepare for war.

i've read statements from the designer of the T-90MS, protection figures of 850mm vs KE on the frontal arc. it's not unreasonable to think the T-90A has similar protection, based on the armour configuration. physical thickness of the T-90A armour on the cheeks is around 530mm, and from what i know, consists of welded RHA steel with hardened steel/rubber inserts of some sort. and over this you have K5 ERA.

however, there's weak spots around the gun and drivers hatch. and parts of the front roof isn't as strong either, and physical thickness of these areas are less than 450mm thick cast steel. this is a fairly large portion of the front turret profile, almost 1/3,

so you should still be able to kill the T-90A even with the worst german ammunition, although you won't be reliably killing it.

it is important to consider however that russia still has only 1000 T-90A's.

most of it's tank force is still T-72B with kontakt-1 ERA.

Any idea how much they increased the armour on the T-72B3 variant.

I know they increased the armour from watching a documentary on it.

Being upgraded it got a new fire control and upgraded engine and armour.

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Any idea how much they increased the armour on the T-72B3 variant.

I know they increased the armour from watching a documentary on it.

Being upgraded it got a new fire control and upgraded engine and armour.

addition of K5 ERA is the only thing i can see armour wise.

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You can never have too much penetration, but you most CERTAINLY can have a gun that's too big. As in, barrels so long that they have excessive vibration, or breeches so large you need to build all-new turrets.

I think part of the reason the US maintains the shorter guns is because, against the newer Russian ERA, higher velocity is counterproductive. The M829A3 is SUPPOSED to be slower; by being slower, it does not generate sufficient shockwave on impact to detonate the ERA filler. Making it faster would make it activate the ERA, and quite potentially DECREASE it's effectiveness against those targets.

That is guff. The M829A3 is slower not to fox ERA (which wouldn't work - 7+kg @ 1555m/s is well above the initiation requirements (or most 105mm rounds would also ignore K5 ERA??)

Why the slow velocity?... simply required by the huge rod (even with a minimal material low density optimised sabot design). (It would be around 1500(ish) for the same rod and a M829A2 level sabot design, slower again for an M829A1 or earlier aluminium sabot). The thick and long rod provides more resistance to ERA and other dwell/shearing armour methods ~ the rod interacts with the effective armour over a shorter length, leaving more residual rod. It is at least 20% longer and nearly 40% heavier than the rod from any other currently serving projectile. This means, even with the lower velocity that the penetrator carries 20% more KE than the DM53, and has more 'nose' material that can be lost before performance is reduced too low for perforation of the plate behind.

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This is all symmetrical analysis. Fatter armor? We need a bigger gun!

I don't think that the Russians are planning for an attrition based symmetrical war. The odds of winning are too hard to calculate.

We need to rethink how wars will be fought, how prevalent drones may become on the battlefield and compromise your position before you even get to see the enemy. May well be that a guided artillery round is coming in first so that the tank on tank duel doesn't happen to begin with.

I mean, seriously. Did anyone expect that the Russians or Chinese would not react to the outcome of Desert Storm? One side was equipped with traditional Soviet systems, the other with the then state of the art weapons, and the final score was like 100,000:Nil. The assumption that these nations would shrug their shoulders and say "gee, too bad, better luck next time" was ludicrous.

That said, I don't think that it makes sense to reduce the discussion to whether a certain ammunition material offers the growth potential to maintain a "guaranteed frontal kill" standoff range. It surely would be nice, but there are more ways to maintain standoff than the comparison of ammo and armor thickness.

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I fully agree with Nils analysis and I am sure Russians and Chinese are surely taking into account the lessons of previous wars.

I have the feeling that in future engagements, drones will play a very relevant role, however for this to happen one side must control the battlefield airspace and the electromagnetic spectrum on this area.

As far as I know US and European technology while very advanced, is mostly oriented to low intensity threats although I have seen recent reports about cheaper drones that can be used as swarms in areas of high intensity.

The "drone" battlefield is surely a new sphere to be considered on planning and executing operations in the future.

Regarding the tanks issue, one of the things that puzzle me more is why besides worrying mostly on the penetrating power of the main gun rounds, people on the west is not concerned with the Russian capability of initiating safe stand off combat from very long ranges using laser guided high velocity missiles fired from the tank main gun.

It makes me think of the advantage of the 88 gun on the Tiger against other tanks that allowed the Tiger to engage the enemy from distances far beyond the effective use of the enemy weapons. Same goes with the israeli Centurions versus the Syrian tanks on the Golan Heights.

The new T-14 tank and actually all Rusian MTB have such capability of firing high velocity missiles through their main gun tube and can nicely engage tanks at 6 or even 8 km while western tanks no matter how penetrating is their ammo would have to close the range.

I think this is a factor to be reckon and an awnser to it must be developed.

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Gun missiles have been around for 40 years now? Have they ever been used in combat during that time? They don't pose any more of a threat than any other type of ATGM. The range advantage is also it's weakness if you think about it (cost, positive target ID, etc).

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Actual missil technology is far more different than 40 years ago.

High velocity missiles, laser guided or even fire and forget, specially those with the capability of hitting the upper surfaces of the enemy tank are more than a threat now.

While 40 years ago locating an enemy tank at more than 4000 meters was "not that easy" actual sensors can easily do so.

With the improved armor of the T-90 or the new T-14, lets say you need to get closer than 4000 meter to pretend penetration but the very same T-90 is already engaging you with missiles 3000 meters before you reach the efective range for your gun and "conventional" ammunition, and 3000 meters is a lot of terrain to cover while the enemy is firing at you at pleasure. Russians have calculated they could launch between 8 to 10 missiles before the Abfrans can get into gun range.

As Nils mentioned before we should not surely expect an hipotetic conflict with countries as Russia or China expecting they behave as poor trained and poorly leaded Iraquies.

The iraquies didn't had the sensors to locate the enemy at 8k and to fire smart missiles against it.

Russians and Chinese do have them and I do not think they have developed them for any other purpose than to be able to engage the enemy at longer distances that a tipical gun duel.

With the actual NATO ammunitions, how close do you need to get to give the ammo enough energy to obtain frontal penetration on one of those new models?

I just say this is a subject that is relevant and should be adressed in time.

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The new T-14 tank and actually all Rusian MTB have such capability of firing high velocity missiles through their main gun tube and can nicely engage tanks at 6 or even 8 km while western tanks no matter how penetrating is their ammo would have to close the range.

I think this is a factor to be reckon and an awnser to it must be developed.

I wonder just how effective the 9M119M would be in combat.

It takes the missile something like 17 Seconds to hit a target at the missiles max range. Great against a static target or if the targets coming straight at you.

But a M1A2 or leo-2 in a hull down position would make for a hard target especially if there

Equipped with laser warning systems.

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Again, it's a matter of theory vs reality.

I'll rephrase my question. Has any Russian gun launched missile regardless of technical sophistication or time period, ever been used in combat since their introduction around 40 years ago?

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Possibly in Georgia?

There were T72B and BMP3 present.

Of course while a 7km or 8km range is lovely in theory, it does rather neglect the small detail that in Western Europe the terrain intervisibilities are much lower (2000-1000m or so is typical, and some areas are down to 500m at most).

If you can see him to fire a missile you have to be on prominent terrain features and visible from large distances too, and should expect artillery or air response, probably before you can fire at all.

Vehicles using terrain masking and more discrete battle positions won't have nearly this long range potential in most cases.

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Possibly in Georgia?

There were T72B and BMP3 present.

Of course while a 7km or 8km range is lovely in theory, it does rather neglect the small detail that in Western Europe the terrain intervisibilities are much lower (2000-1000m or so is typical, and some areas are down to 500m at most).

If you can see him to fire a missile you have to be on prominent terrain features and visible from large distances too, and should expect artillery or air response, probably before you can fire at all.

Vehicles using terrain masking and more discrete battle positions won't have nearly this long range potential in most cases.

Valid point,

I remember reading the soviets did a pretty comprehensive terrain survey.

That's why they optimised there gunners sights for 1600m.

In Europe anyway. The AT-11 may be more useful in a flat Desert type terrain

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There are new weapons of this type on developement and even the israelis have the LAHAT missile that does the same so I do not know why we do not have such weapons on the NATO arsenal.

Here is a link with data about such missiles.

http://fofanov.armor.kiev.ua/Tanks/ARM/atgm/ammo.html

My main point on this thread is that while penetration capabilities of the actual NATO ammunition versus the new "east" tanks is very relevant and of much interest, the fact that the russian tanks have ammunition that allows them to engage enemy tanks at much more distances than the effective gun range is a serious factor to keep into account.

Obviously is not a technical problem so I guess it is more a doctrinal issue.

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There are new weapons of this type on developement and even the israelis have the LAHAT missile that does the same so I do not know why we do not have such weapons on the NATO arsenal.

Here is a link with data about such missiles.

http://fofanov.armor.kiev.ua/Tanks/ARM/atgm/ammo.html

My main point on this thread is that while penetration capabilities of the actual NATO ammunition versus the new "east" tanks is very relevant and of much interest, the fact that the russian tanks have ammunition that allows them to engage enemy tanks at much more distances than the effective gun range is a serious factor to keep into account.

Obviously is not a technical problem so I guess it is more a doctrinal issue.

Agreed, they also have the advantage of being able to engage gunships.

But as previously posted, I never heard of them being used in a actual combat situation

So its difficult to say how effective they would be.

There's been some tank v tank engagement in the recent Ukraine conflict.

So we may get more info if AT's were used

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