Leopard 2A5 Modification Proposal
Modification of the Leopard 2A5 main battle tank, presented in Kielce by WZM S.A., includes replacement or modernization of the obsolete systems and components. Most of those components is no longer available which makes operational use and maintenance fairly difficult.
In order to unify the components and ensure manufacturing and maintenance independent, a decision was made to utilize as many components manufactured by the Polish industry as possible, used in case of other systems operated by the Polish military.
The modifications package includes 4 main groups, concerning the following elements of the Leopard 2A5 main battle tank:
- Modification of the fire control system, including an optoelectronic targeting/observation system;
- Modification of radio communications suite;
- Modification of the intercom;
- Machine gun refit.
The fire control system modifications involve replacement of the thermal imaging cameras (based on technologies of 1970s and 1980s). PERI-R17A2 and EMES-15A2 instruments received the 3rd generation KLW-1 ASTERIA systems manufactured by PCO S.A. This extends the field of view at night and during the day, also ensuring higher effectiveness of fire, also during movement. KLW-1 systems have already been integrated on Leopard 2PL and PT-91 Twardy main battle tanks. They will also be installed on the modified T-72 vehicles.
Modification of the radios involves replacement of the obsolete SEM80/SEM90 radios with the modern RKP 8100 systems delivered by OBR CTM S.A. The old analog intercom has been replaced with a digital, domestically manufactured solution, already operated by the Polish military. MG3 7.62 mm machine gun is to be replaced with the UKM-2000P machine gun of the same calibre. Leopard’s MG3A1, meanwhile, was replaced with the UKM-2000C weapon. Both guns have been designed and are manufactured by the ZM Tarnów company belonging to the PGZ Group.
The changes and upgrades proposed are cost-effective and are focused on replacing the elements that remain obsolete and thus are difficult and expensive to maintain. Meeting the requirement defined by the military to unify the spare parts inventory makes it possible to diminish the cost of maintenance and increase availability of those main battle tanks. All of the modifications would be done during the normally planned servicing and overhauls of the Leopard 2A5 tanks, at the WZM S.A. facility in Poznan, the maintenance and logistics centre dedicated to the Leopard 2 platform.
Leopard 2 MBT Servicing and Logistics Centre
Back in 2014 PGZ decided, as an upgrade programme began envisaging modernization of the Leopard 2A4 MBT to the Leopard 2PL standard, to divide the know-how on those tanks between individual facilities that the Group manages. WZM S.A. is responsible for periodic technical inspections, repairs, servicing, modification and modernization of the Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks and powerpacks for all of the Polish Leopards. Meanwhile, ZM Bumar-Łabędy S.A. is responsible for repairs and servicing of the Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks. Bumar-Łabędy remains responsible for upgrading the 2A4 vehicles up to the 2PL standard as well.
The maintenance process related to the Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks and powerpacks of all of the Leopard platforms are being carried out by WZM S.A. facility based in Poznan, at the “CSL-WZM-LEOPARD 2” logistics and servicing centre, the purpose of which is to meet the requirements of the Polish military, within the scope of maintenance, servicing, overhauls, modification and upgrades of the aforesaid main battle tanks during the whole length of their lifecycles.
All of the activities undertaken by WZM S.A., when it comes to ensuring of full technical capabilities of the Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks are also supported by the German partner - the Krauss-Maffei Weggman GmbH & Co KG (KMW) company. The cooperation is based on technology and know-how transfer, and it primarily concerns the technical documentation, supply of spares and special purpose tools and provision of training that is aimed at expanding the know-how available to the employees. KMW also supports the Poles on the European market and assists the Polish facilities in the process of polonizing the key components of the main battle tank that are then integrated within the whole system of the vehicle.
Cooperation with KMW makes it possible for the facility in Poznan to manufacture spares for the Polish main battle tanks (once proper certificates are obtained) which makes the Polish entity sovereign within the scope of maintaining the Leopard platform. The partnership also makes it possible to maintain constant and certain logistical support within the scope of spares supply over the whole period of operational use of the main battle tanks in the Polish military, as required for flawless operation of the Leopard platform.
“CSL – WZM – LEOPARD 2” Centre was launched, formally, in June this year. However, the facility had been working on supporting the maintenance of the Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks much earlier. Proper maintenance and overhauls potential for the Leopard 2A5 main battle tanks was being established in a gradual manner, until 2015. Then it was implemented within the scope of maintenance and overhauls of those vehicles. All of the works, at least since 2017, have been a subject to long-term agreements signed with the relevant elements of the Polish military. WZM S.A. is working on growth of the potential available at the centre in a continuous manner. Currently, the facility features elements as follows:
- A hall equipped with the latest specialist main battle tank maintenance infrastructure,
- Centre for Drivetrains (Centrum Zespołów Napędowych, CZN), tasked with designing, building, maintaining and modernizing power-packs for all of the Polish military vehicles.
- Officially certified maintenance centre tasked with provision of technical assistance and mobile 24/7 servicing capabilities for the Polish military, guarantee and post-guarantee maintenance included,
- Buffer Stock facility, the purpose of which is to ensure operational continuity, within the scope of constantly ensuring that spares and high volume stock is available at all times,
- Centre for Specialist Training dealing with specialist theoretical and practical training for the tank crews and technicians.
“CSL - WZM - LEOPARD 2” centre renders services such as:
- Leopard 2A5 main battle tank repairs and overhauls, up to the F-6 level,
- Development of modification and modernization projects, and implementation of those,
- Deliveries, maintenance and repairs of special purpose instruments, according to the requirements defined by the Polish military,
- Theoretical and practical maintainers training, including deliveries, servicing, repairs, modifications and modernization of simulators and training systems,
- 24/7 technical assistance and mobile servicing,
- Maintaining the technical documentation, along with documentation of changes necessary and indispensable for the Polish military to maintain the main battle tanks in question,
- Managing the so called “vehicle passport” IT app,
- Monitoring the process of introduction of Polish parts and components (mode, methodology, implementation, operational tests).
The Centre’s potential makes it possible to comprehensively support maintenance of the main battle tanks used by the 1st Armoured Brigade for instance. In the future those vehicles could be modified or upgraded, within the scope very much dependent on the user requirements.
The modification package proposed by WZM S.A. and presented in Kielce is a low-cost solution that also makes it possible to relevantly reinforce the main battle tanks combat potential, thanks to modern communication and observation systems contained within the aforesaid bundle. It is also possible that other modifications could be taken into account, including the Lubawa Group’s mobile camouflage solution, already showcased by the facility based in Poznan.