The Leopard 1 (as does the AMX-30 ) favors firepower and mobility over protection. The British-designed 105-mm L7 rifled tank gun is both accurate and reliable. The suspension, power-to-weight ratio, and fuel capacity are intended to offer good mobility, especially over rough ground. Armor protection has been upgraded over the life of the program, but is still less than contemporary Russian tanks. Earlier Leopards had a cast turret; 1A3 and 1A4 models have a welded turret with spaced armor.
The tank features an all-welded steel hull. This is divided into two compartments: the crew compartment at the front and the engine compartment at the rear. The driver is seated at the front of the hull on the right and is equipped with a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the left. In front of the hatch are three day periscopes. The center periscope can be replaced by an image-intensification system or thermal device for night driving.
The all-cast steel armor turret is mounted in the center of the hull, with the commander and gunner on the right and the loader on the left. The commander and loader each has a single-piece hatch cover that opens to the rear. The commander has eight day periscopes for all-around observation, one of which can be replaced by an image-intensification periscope for night observation. The gunner has the sights and one day periscope, while the loader is provided with two day periscopes for observation of a designated battlefield sector. Mounted in the turret roof, in front of the commander's hatch, is a TRP-2A zoom periscope with a magnification of 4x up to 20x. This is swivel-mounted and can also be moved in elevation by hand within the gun elevation range. For night observation, an active infrared sight can be fitted.
The gunner is seated in front of and below the commander and has a TEM-2A rangefinder, which can be used in either coincidence or stereoscopic modes. It has a magnification of 16x and is mechanically linked to the 105-mm gun and provided with superelevation cams to compute the superelevation for two types of ammunition. The gunner also has a TZF-1A telescope mounted coaxially with the main gun, which has a magnification of 8x and a movable, scaled graticule to set the superelevation for different munitions.
An ammunition resupply hatch is fitted to the left side of the turret and a stowage basket at the turret rear.
The engine compartment at the rear is separated from the crew compartment by a fireproof bulkhead. The complete powerpack, consisting of the engine, transmission and cooling system, is provided with quick-disconnect couplings, allowing the entire powerpack to be replaced in the field in 20 minutes.
The steer/shift transmission is coupled directly to the engine and has four forward gears and two reverse as well as a pivot turn capability, a torque converter and lock-up clutch.
The running gear includes seven dual light metal rubber-tired road wheels with the drive sprocket at the rear, idler at the front and four track-return rollers on either side. The first, second, third, sixth and seventh road wheel stations are provided with hydraulic shock absorbers. Steel-reinforced rubber skirts for the top of the tracks can be folded vertically for maintenance. Track skirts increase ballistic protection and reduce the amount of dust that is kicked up.
The nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) warfare system is installed at the front of the hull and produces an overpressure in the crew compartment. In normal use, the system provides the crew with fresh air. In the NBC mode, it filters contaminated particles by separate purification processes.
Standard equipment includes an automatic fire-detection and extinguishing system, heater, hull escape hatch and infrared reflection-suppressing decontamination paint.
There are two fording shafts available: one for depths of 7 ft 5 in (2.25 m), the other for fording to a depth of 13 ft 1 in (4 m). Air for combustion is drawn down through the shaft and exhaust leaves through the usual exhaust pipes. A hydraulic system controls the engine combustion air intakes, dust ejection blower valves of the combustion air cleaners, exhaust flaps of the engine and heater, pressure ventilation in the engine compartment as well as the dust ejection valves and the air intake of the NBC system. Two bilge pumps remove any water that enters the vehicle.
The Leopard 1 is armed with a BAE Systems L7A3 105-mm rifled cannon, which consists of a single-piece barrel with a screwed-on breech ring and a bore evacuator. The semi-automatic breech mechanism automatically opens after each round is fired, ejecting the empty cartridge case into the spent cartridge container under the breech. Sixty rounds are carried: 42 in the hull and 18 in the turret.
A 7.62-mm Rheinmetall MG3 machine gun is mounted coaxially and a second 7.62-mm MG3 machine gun is mounted at the commander's or loader's station. Four electrically operated 76-mm smoke grenade launchers are mounted on either side of the turret.
The Leopard 2 succeeded the Leopard 1 in German service. Many Leopard 1s remain in service in other countries.
The first production model was delivered to the German army in September 1965. Initial operational capability (IOC) followed later that year. Production ended in 1984 with more than 4,000 built. An additional 720 were built under license in Italy by Oto Melara, Fiat and Lancia.
After the November 1990 signing of the Conventional Forces in Europe (CFE) treaty, the Netherlands announced that it would transfer 170 of its Leopard 1 tanks to the Portuguese army. Also as a result of the CFE treaty, approximately 400 German Leopard 1s were destined for Denmark, Greece and Turkey. In addition, 92 Leopards were upgraded to 1A5 standard and sold to Norway for US$76.5 million.
In 1997, Brazil purchased 128 Belgian Leopard 1s, the last of which were delivered in 1999.
In 1998, Chile procured 200 Leopard 1-V tanks from the Netherlands. The first batch of 14 tanks was delivered in January 1999. Before delivery, the vehicles were fitted with the PZB-200 image-intensification night-vision system.
In 1998, Greece signed a contract covering 170 surplus German Leopard 1A5s.
By early 1999, the German army had withdrawn its Leopard 1s from frontline service, though some were still used by reserve units.
In August 2005, Greece agreed to buy 183 surplus Leopard 2A4 and 150 Leopard 1A5 tanks from Germany in a US$186 million deal.
In December 2007, the Belgian Defense Ministry announced an agreement to supply 43 used Leopard 1 tanks to Lebanon in 2008. The deal was worth 3.3 million euros (US$4.2 million). In November 2010, it was reported that the tanks had not yet been delivered due to the lack of an export license from Germany. As of the latest update, it is not clear if the tanks have been delivered.
In January 2009, it was reported that Chile planned to sell 30 Leopard 1 tanks to Ecuador. The value of the deal was not made public, but it was believed to reflect a unit cost of US$500,000. As of the latest update, this deal has not been confirmed.
In August 2009, Brazil purchased 220 Leopard 1A5 tanks from Germany for border defense duties at a unit cost of US$500,000. The procurement was part of Brazil's National Defense Strategy, which was approved by President Luiz Inacio Da Silva in December 2008. Deliveries were scheduled to begin within three months, with the first batch slated to be deployed in Santa Maria in Brazil's southernmost Rio Grande do Sul state. Brazil's existing inventory of Leopard 1A1 tanks were to be reassigned once the 1A5s were delivered. Negotiations for the purchase began in 2006.
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann delivered the first of 220 Leopard 1A5 tanks on Oct. 28, 2009, to the Brazilian army at its facility in Kassel, Germany. The tanks were taken from reserve German army stocks, where they had been stored since being decommissioned in 2003. KMW was awarded a contract to overhaul the tanks and install specific Brazilian sub-systems. The tanks are fitted with a main gun thermal sleeve; gun stabilization; new tracks and skirts; and the EMES-18 fire-control system and thermal sights. Deliveries were completed in January 2012. The Leopard 1A5s have been assigned to the 1st, 3rd, 4th and 5th tank regiments, as well as training centers.
On Nov. 12, 2009, Turkish officials said that Aselsan had completed upgrades of 171 Leopard 1A1 and 1A4 tanks. The modernization included the installation of the Turkish Volkan fire-control system, which increases first-hit probability, in day and night conditions.
In late 2011, Colombia sent technical teams to Chile to inspect Leopard 1s for the possible purchase of up to 60 of the tanks. Chile intends to retire its fleet of Leopard 1s following the procurement of Leopard 2 tanks.
On Nov. 2, 2011, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann announced it had signed a multi-million dollar industrial logistic support contract with Brazil to provide technical support for Brazilian Leopard 1A5 tanks over five years. Work is being conducted by the KMW subsidiary in Santa Maria, Brazil.
Canada is expected to retire its Leopard 1s (known as Leopard C2 tanks) by 2015.
Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, Munich, Germany Krupp-MaK, Kiel, Germany
Belgium  1A5 Brazil  (128 1A1BE, 220 1A5BR) Canada  C2 Chile  Denmark  1A5 Ecuador  1V Greece  1A4/1A5 Italy  1A5 Turkey  (170 1A4, 227 1A3)
CREW Total 4 (commander, gunner, loader, driver) WEIGHTS Leopard 1A1 unloaded 85,319 lb (38,700 kg) combat 88,185 lb (40,000 kg) ground pressure 12.23 lb/sq in (0.86 kg/cm sq) Leopard 1A4 unloaded 89,066 lb (40,400 kg) combat 93,476 lb (42,400 kg) ground pressure 12.51 lb/sq in (0.88 kg/cm sq) DIMENSIONS Length hull 23 ft 3 in (7.09 m) gun forward 31 ft 4 in (9.54 m) Height 8 ft 7 in (2.61 m) Width overall 11 ft 1 in (3.37 m) over tracks 10 ft 8 in (3.25 m) Tracks length on ground 13 ft 11 in (4.24 m) width 1 ft 10 in (0.55 m) Ground clearance 1 ft 5 in (0.44 m) PROPULSION Engine MTU MB 838 Ca M500 2,282-cu in (37.4-liter) liquid-cooled, 4-stroke, prechamber, intercooled, turbocharged V-10 multi-fuel Power 830 hp at 2,200 rpm Fuel capacity 252 gallons (955 liters) Transmission ZF 4 HP 250 planetary shifter with hydraulic torque converter; 4 forward/2 reverse gears Leopard 1A1 power-to-weight ratio 20.75 hp/metric ton Leopard 1A4 power-to-weight ratio 19.58 hp/metric ton SUSPENSION Type torsion bar, 7 road wheels, rear drive (12- tooth sprocket), front idler, 5 shock absorbers (bump travel 9 in/227 mm, rebound travel 5-6 in/128-156 mm), 4 return rollers PERFORMANCE Speed Leopard 1A1 40 mph (65 kmh) Leopard 1A4 39 mph (62 kmh) Range road 373 mi (600 km) cross-country 280 mi (450 km) Obstacle vertical 3 ft 9 in (1.15 m) trench 9 ft 10 in (3.00 m) Fording unprepared 3 ft 11 in (1.20 m) with preparation 7 ft 5 in (2.25 m) snorkel 13 ft 1 in (4.00 m) Gradient 60 percent Side slope 30 percent ARMAMENT Main 1 x 105-mm/51-caliber L7A3 rifled gun fitted with fume extractor and thermal sleeve elevation -9/+20 deg rate of elevation 5.3 deg/sec traverse 360 deg rate of traverse 23 deg/sec ammunition 60 rounds, 18 ready in turret (Leopard 1A1) 55 rounds, 13 ready in turret (Leopard 1A4) 59 rounds (Australian, Danish Leopards) Coaxial 1 x 7.62-mm machine gun ammunition 1,250 rounds Anti-aircraft 1 x 7.62-mm air defense machine gun ammunition 4,250 rounds SENSORS/FIRE CONTROL Rangefinder TEM 2A optical (Leopard 1A1) turret fully stabilized (A3, A4); retrofit of earlier AEG-Telefunken FLER-H modular hybrid computer (1A4 Krupp-Atlas) Fire control FLP-10/EMES 18 integrated fire control system with Zeiss thermal imaging system retrofitted to approximately 1,300 German Leopard 1A1/1A2s; several other countries have SABCA fire-control system with analog computer, laser rangefinder, integral optical sight and seven sensors monitoring atmospheric, gun and vehicle parameters PROTECTION Armor glacis 70 mm at 60-deg hull glacis top 25 mm at 83-deg hull nose 70 mm at 55-deg hull sides 25-35 mm hull rear 25 mm at 88 deg hull top 10 mm hull bottom 15 mm turret mantlet 60 mm turret sides 60 mm turret rear 60 mm turret front 52 mm NBC collective Fire automatic extinguishing system Smoke 2 x 4-barrel 3-in (76-mm) smoke generators, one each side of turret Infrared paint reflects IR
Leopard 1A1A1s with the PZB-200 LLLTV system were designated Leopard 1A1A2.
A 1988 program involved SABCA and OIP-Optics incorporating GEC Avionics thermal imaging system in the gunner's primary sight (GPS ) for 334 Belgian Leopard 1s. The system had 5.2- and 11.7-power settings. Sight, turret and mirror drive were modified and a muzzle reference sensor was added. There were plans to up-armor the turret, increasing the weight by 1,675 lb (760 kg) and strengthen track skirts. First prototype of the upgraded Leopard was delivered to the Belgian army in October 1988. First delivery of 29 tanks occurred in 1993.
The Belgian Leopard 1A5 (BE) upgrade program that began in the early 1990s called for the modification of 132 tanks with deliveries completed by mid-1997.
There were 202 Leopards taken out of Belgian service and offered for sale on the export market. Brazil and Chile bought most of them. Improvements included the addition of new armored day/night sight mounted on the top right of the turret. The tanks also received the German army's electro-hydraulic package supplied by Feinmechanische Werke Mainz (FWM), which acted as one of the main contractors on the program. SABCA of Belgium was the systems integrator for the new fire-control system, the new thermal imaging sight (TIS) and muzzle reference system (MRS). This modification was accomplished at the Belgian army's Rocourt Arsenal.
Three Belgian tank battalions were equipped with the newly modified 1A5s. These included the French-speaking 1st Lancers at Marche-en-Famenne, the Dutch-speaking 2/4th Lancers at Leopoldsburg and the combined Armor Cavalry School/Guides Regiment Leopoldsburg. Each battalion was to be allocated 40 tanks; the remaining 12 will be used for training and reserve.
Belgium plans to replace its Leopard 1s with a smaller number of Piranha 8 x 8 vehicles armed with a 90-mm gun.
Italy upgraded its Leopard 1A2s with Barr & Stroud SIRIO thermal fire-control system, a gun-stabilization system and a GEO Drive 90 turret-drive system. The initial upgrade included 120 tanks. A total of 400 tanks were to be upgraded. Italy's Leopard 1 tanks, including 600 A2s and 120 A5s, were retired from service by the end of 2008. The specialized ARV, AEV and ALVB variants remained in service.
Serb gunners repeatedly sniped at the Danish contingent, destroying four armored personnel carriers in two months. On April 30, 1994, the Danish tank commander had had enough. When Serbian gunners assaulted a U.N. outpost, the Danish tankers hit back with the heaviest Danish action since 1943. Leopard gunners let off more than 70 105-mm rounds, destroying several guns and detonating an ammunition dump.
Canada deployed a company of Leopard C2 tanks to Afghanistan in late September 2006. The tanks were fitted with MEXAS add-on composite armor for improved protection against rocket-propelled grenades and improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Problems with the heat and the age of the vehicles ultimately led to a decision to buy surplus Dutch Leopard 2 tanks as a replacement. Twenty Leopard 2A6M tanks were leased by Canada from Germany for service in Afghanistan until the Dutch tanks could complete a refurbishment program. These arrived in August 2007. As of May 2009, some Leopard C2s remained in theater since the 2A6Ms had not yet been adapted to accept dozer-blade, mine-plow or mine-roller attachments. The C2s were withdrawn once the Canadian 2A6Ms were adapted to carry the necessary attachments.
LATEST UPDATE: 1 August 2012