Rheinmetall Leopard MBT – The Main Battle Tank MBT LEOPARD 2PL is designed for target engagement from a stationary position and on the move as well as for deployment by day and night. It can make use of its performance potential under the ambient conditions to be expected on the potential battlefield. The system is based on a maintained and repaired standard Polish MBT Leopard 2 A4, consists with additional integrated upgrades and enhancements.
In 2002 Germany donated to Poland a a total of 128 Leopard 2A4 tanks from the German Army stocks. In 2013 German MoD signed a contract with Poland to sell another 14 Leopard 2A4 tanks, plus 105 newer Leopard 2A5 tanks, and Bergepanzer 2 armored recovery vehicles from the army stocks. In 2015 the Polish MoD selected Rheinmetall of Germany as a favorite bidder to upgrade the older Leopard 2A4 tanks. An upgraded version was developed by Rheinmetall in cooperation with a number of Polish companies. It is called the Leopard 2PL.
The Leopard 2PL upgrade is broadly similar to the Rheinmetall Revolution MBT. The MBT Revolution is a modular upgrade package to the Leopard 2A4 main battle tanks. It has got improved armor protection, improved gun, iomproved sights and some other systems. However despite all improvements the Polish Leopard 2PL is not as capable as the upgraded Leopard 2A7 upgraded by Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, which entered service with the German Army in 2014.
The Polish Leopard 2PL has improved armor protection. An Advanced Modular Armor Protection (AMAP) composite armor kit, developed by the IBD Deusebroth company of Germany, was fitted to the turret. This armor is a part of Rheinmetall Revolution upgrade package. It uses new nano-ceramics materials and modern titanium and steel alloys. This armor provides higher level of protection against wide range of threats. Up-armored turret of the Leopard 2PL offers higher protection than turret of the Leopard 2A5. The armor kit is modular, so damaged armor modules can be replaced in field conditions. It is planned that the AMAP armor modules will be produced in Poland under license.
The Leopard 2PL MBT is only slightly heavier than its predecessor. It weights 60 t, comparing with 56.6 t of the original Leopard 2A4. Around 3 t of add-on armor were added to the turret front and sides. However no armor was added to the hull in order to keep the weight within the 60 t limit, which was set by the Polish Army. Crew members of the Leopard 2PL are seated on new shock-proof seats. The tank is also fitted with more efficient automatic fire suppression system.
The Leopard 2PL tank retains a 120 mm/L44 smoothbore gun of its predecessor. However the gun was modified by Rheinmetall to be compatible with newly-developed high pressure ammunition, such as programmable DM11 high-explosive air-burst ammunition, and high power DM53 and DM63 armor-piercing rounds. The programmable rounds enable to engage targets behind cover and within buildings. These multi-purpose DM11 rounds can be also used against enemy troops, armored vehicles and low-flying helicopters. The gun can also fire any other standard NATO 120 mm tank ammunition. A total of 42 rounds are carried inside the tank.