The Leopard 2A4M CAN is the upgraded Canadian version of the Leopard 2A4 acquired from the Royal Netherlands Army as surplus. The Leopard 2A4M CAN is specially designed for the war in Afghanistan based on experience gained by Leopard 2 operators and a lot of first-hand knowledge from crews aided in the development of this new version. The first 20 were delivered in October 2010 and 5 Leopard 2A4M’s were deployed to Afghanistan in December 2010, and withdrawn from front line service in July 2011.
Though originally planned to be up-gunned to the L55 for consistency with the 2A6M CAN, the longer barreled guns (optimized for tank-vs-tank warfare) were found to be less than ideal in Afghanistan, and therefore it was decided to retain the L44 shorter barrel. In addition, only small areas of slat armour were added, in contrast with the fully caged 2A6M CANs. The protection of the Leopard 2A4M CAN has been further augmented with the addition of appliqué armour resembling that found on the recent Leopard 2A7+ variant, but modified to fit the turret configuration of the 2A4. Other modifications include an all-electric digital turret, a digital central logic/main distribution system, a new commander system control unit, enhanced brakes, an upgraded suspension and driver viewing aids.
Leopard 2A4M CAN has now become THE main battle tank of the Canadian Forces alongside the 2A6M CAN which has been retained and upgraded. Upgraded tanks have improved overall protection and are less vulnerable to ambushes. The Leopard 2A4M is fitted with add-on composite armor kit, optimized for protection against improvised explosive devices. This kit resembles that found on the Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Leopard 2A7 tank, but is different in detail.