The Spanish Army has completed the delivery of new ammunition for Leopard 2 (Leopard 2E and 2A4) main battle tanks from the Israeli company IMI Systems (part of Elbit Systems). The acquisition process is managed by the Acquisition Directorate of the Army Logistics Support Command (Mando de Apoyo Logístico del Ejército de Tierra de España, MALE). The model purchased is the 120mm HE-MP-T M339 HE-MP-T, a high-explosive cartridge that can be operated by tanks. Suitable for all NATO 120mm smooth bore gun (L44 and L55) main battle tans, the M339 is a high-accuracy, multi-purpose 120mm tank ammunition that complies with NATO STANAG requirements.
The M339 High Explosive Multi-Purpose Tracer tank cartridge (HE-MP-T) is the ultimate multi-purpose tank ammunition for field and urban warfare. The M339 HE-MP-T or Hatzav round developed by IMI Systems following the lessons learned from the Second Lebanon War and Operation Cast Lead, where the existing “Halolan” munition was not efficient enough for dealing with enemy forces operating out of buildings and fortifications, especially in populated areas. The Hatzav which belongs to the same family as the Rakefet and Kalanit munition can be fired at ranges of up to 5 km, or about 3 miles.
The cartridge destroys bunkers, field fortification and urban structures, LAVs and APC with medium protection armor and is highly lethal against dismounted infantry. The M339 is capable of penetrating 200mm double reinforced concrete walls and operating the warhead with delay. The programmable, multifunctional fuze has three modes of operation: Point Detonation Delay (PDD), Point Detonation (PD) and Air Burst (AB). The M339 complies with MIL-SPEC requirements and NATO STANAG 4385 and 4493. The M339 is designed for use with Leopard 2A4/A5/A6, Ariete, K1A1/A2, K2, M1A1/A2, M60A3, Merkava 3 & 4, and other 120mm MBTs.
Spain initially leased 109 Leopard 2A4 tanks, after Krauss-Maffei withdrew from the Lince development, a special lighter version of the Leopard 2 developed together with Santa Bárbara Sistemas. The Leopardo 2E or Leopard 2A6E (E stands for España, Spanish for Spain) is a variant of the German Leopard 2 main battle tank, tailored to the requirements of the Spanish army, which acquired it as part of an armament modernization program named Programa Coraza, or Program Cuirass. The acquisition program for the Leopard 2E began in 1994, five years after the cancellation of the Lince tank program that culminated in an agreement to transfer 108 Leopard 2A4s to the Spanish army in 1998 and started the local production of the Leopard 2E in December 2003.