Model tank Leopard 2A0
The crew of the tank Leopard 2A0
The crew of the Leopard 2 tank consists of a driver sitting in the hull and an arrow-gunner, loader and commander, who are placed in the turret. The driver is located in front of the case. The main task of the driver to drive the car and maintain the system housing. He is armed only with personal weapons, he has no other weapon.
Access to the driver's seat is carried out either through the fighting compartment or through the hatch. It is located in the front of the case, just above the driver’s seat and opens to the right. The hatch cover is integrated with a lifting-opening mechanism installed to the right of the driver. The hatch can only be opened when the tower is in two specific positions and is turned off. Only bypassing the safety switch allows you to do this at any time. Luke has two large optical periscopes, the third is located on the left side. The size of the periscopes and their placement allow the driver to have a field of view of 45 degrees. Periscopes are not heated, but can be cleaned with water streams. The central periscope also has two small brushes.
The driver's seat has a simple but comfortable design. It consists of a seat and back, which can bend, fold, or even completely removed. The seat can be locked in two positions. In the lower position, the driver sits closer to the bottom. The hatch cover can be closed and the driver can use periscopes to observe. This seat position is selected when driving off-road or when firing from a cannon. The upper seat position allows the driver to drive with the hatch open. Since in this case his head is stuck out of the car, the review is significantly improved. This position is mainly used when driving on roads or when maneuvering. The seat is spring-loaded, so changing its position and locking require some physical effort.
The emergency hatch is located under the driver's seat in the bottom of the hull, it allows the crew to leave the car in emergency situations relatively safe, even under enemy fire. To provide access to the driver’s hatch, the seat is pushed forward. If we take into account the small size of the driver's seat, then this is a rather ambitious undertaking. Evacuation through a small hatch in a small volume between the hull and the ground also requires some artistry and gymnastic skills.
To control the tank driver installed steering wheel, two pedals and gearbox. Control signals are transmitted by a hydraulic or electric system. The steering wheel with a very small angle of rotation is located in front of the driver, it is functionally equivalent to the steering wheel in an ordinary car. The steering wheel is adjustable in height and depth. To the left of the steering wheel are the controls for the indicators, as well as an audible signal. The pedals are located under the steering wheel. On the right is the gas pedal, and in the center is the brake pedal. There is a footrest on the left. At its front there is a switch that is used to control the wipers on the driver’s central periscope. The switch has several positions that allow you to turn on brushes or cleaning with water at different time intervals. If we talk from a practical point of view, the foot control, and especially the soldiers' boots, is very inaccurate. As a rule, the driver hits the button until the desired function is turned on or off. Above the steering wheel there is a functional block for the warning system for fire and fire suppression. It notifies the driver about the fire in the case and allows you to automatically or manually turn on the fire extinguishing system. To the right of the driver’s seat, there is a gearbox, an emergency gearshift mechanism and a parking brake. All three mechanisms are fixed on the internal bulkhead of the case. Gear shifting is carried out through a selector switch on top of the gearbox. It allows you to directly select the first three transmissions of the transmission, as well as the automatic mode. In addition, the gearbox has a direction switch. It allows you to move include the following modes: forward, backward, neutral and turning in place. The parking brake lever has a very simple purpose; it simply turns the brake on and off. The parking brake is a high security system. It is permanently closed and the system needs hydraulic pressure to turn it on. This means that the engine must be running and / or the hull hydraulic system must have enough resources to start it. The inclusion of the parking brake is also possible while driving, however, this leads to its breakage. Emergency gear shift allows you to mechanically engage the second gear and choose the direction of movement forward or backward. Another of its position also allows forward movement with a locked torque converter, which is used when towing a car. The control panel is installed to the left of the driver and is divided into two sections. The top one contains a starter button, an ignition key, a stop button, a switch to the headlights and hazard warning lights, a speedometer, a tachometer, a fuel gauge and a battery charge. There are also three smaller displays containing warning lights for the status or malfunction of various housing systems. On the left, in the lower part of the driver’s control panel, there are switches for the heater, two bilge pumps, controls for the system of protection against weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and the case and tower ventilation systems.
Starting the car engine is very simple. The ignition key must be set to the start position. In this case, electrical equipment and fuel pumps begin to work. The gear selector must be in the neutral position, and the parking brake must be engaged. Well, or you can also turn on the service brakes so that the machine cannot move. Now you have to press the starter button until the moment when the “Heated” light comes on. After 5-10 seconds of preheating, the starter button is pressed all the way to the end and the start mechanism is activated. After starting the engine, release the starter button, select the desired gear, forward / backward direction and release the brake. All, good luck!
In the turret of the tank are placed three people. In the left part of the tower is located loader, which is responsible for the trouble-free operation of weapons systems, as well as for loading ammunition. In order to fulfill his duties, he has free access to the main gun and two machine guns. Also, most of the ammunition for various weapons systems laid in the left side of the tower. The charger is the only crew member who performs his routine duties in a standing position. The folding seat, located on his left, also serves to ensure that the gunner can stand in the hatch. To the right of the loader is the main gun with the breech and the capacity for the sleeves. To the left of the cannon, in front of the loader, a paired machine gun is installed along with a large ammunition box. For storage of personal equipment of the crew in front of the basket of the tower has a special compartment. On the left side, the charging area is almost free of any equipment. Here there is only the holder of a submachine gun, a hatch for loading ammunition and a switch for opening the door of the ammunition compartment in the stern of the turret. Below in the tower basket there is only a mount for the loader's folding seat. The rest of the basket is free and allows easy access to the housing where the hydraulic system and fuses are located. Ample free space also facilitates the movement of ammunition guns from the hull to the turret. Behind the driver in the back of the tower there is a door to the ammunition compartment. Radio stations are installed on the right, as well as the central logic block of the LMS. To the left of the door of the ammunition compartment is a hand pump with a pressure gauge of the system for sealing the shoulder strap of the tower. It is used to charge for the discharge of air, which prevents the ingress of water when a tank overcomes a water barrier. The loader's control panel, which is the main interface between the loader and the SLA, is installed to the right of its hatch inside the tower. It has an emergency switch of the main gun, in addition, it allows the loader to choose the type of ammunition, turn on the hydraulic actuators of the turret and choose the angles of loading the gun. Using the three switches on the control panel, you can select a total of six types of ammunition. Each switch activates two types of shots: training and combat. The switch on the back of the box allows you to select the appropriate ammunition group. During firing, the loader sends the projectile requested by the gunner to the gun compartment and then releases the safety switch on its control panel. After that, the gunner and the commander take control of the gun. Both are placed tandemly in the right half of the tower.
The gunner-gunner is located in front down in the basket of the tower, and the commander is higher in the tower itself. The only task of the gunner is to work with the main and auxiliary weapons. If simplified, he can rotate the turret and raise / lower the gun. Aiming the turret and cannon is made by the control handle, which is installed in front of the gunner’s place. To rotate the turret, the handle rotates to the right or left. To raise the gun, the gunner pulls the upper part of the handle towards himself, and to lower the gun, he pushes it away from him. The handle has a fire opening switch, a button for illuminating the target and a switch for dynamic anticipation. All switches are duplicated, allowing the gunner to activate each function with either right or left hand. Each side of the handle also has a switch that must be pressed in order to activate the turret and cannon transfer. Immediately behind the gunner’s control stick are the emergency horizontal and vertical handles, which are used to guide the gun in the event of a fire control system malfunction. The binocular part of the main sight of the gunner is installed above the control handle, directly in front of the gunner. Adjustment occurs by interpupillary distance and diopters. To the left of the main sight there is a monocular auxiliary sight FERO-Z18, as well as a monitor of the night sight PZB-200. To the right of the main sight of the gunner is the gunner’s control panel. The upper part of the panel is protected by a metal plate. Behind it, there are switches for sighting the gun and sight, and below the light indicators of the status of the SLA and weapons. The lower part of the panel has controls for shifting and highlighting the reticle, as well as the choice of the main gun or coaxial machine gun. Below on a separate panel set controls the night sight. To the right of the gunner’s control panel there is an OMS panel. It allows you to adjust certain values related to the calculation of the pickup point.
The commander sits at the top of the tower on the right side. His task is to carry out the general leadership of the tank and support the gunner when conducting observation of the battlefield. In emergency situations, he is also able to fire from the main gun. Access to the commander’s place is through a manhole in the roof of the tower. A rail guide has been installed around it, designed for an anti-aircraft machine gun. Since the commander was usually busy with other tasks, the machine gun, as a rule, was not installed, and later was generally excluded from the armament. Raising and turning the hatch from inside the machine allows for a special mechanism. Luke can work in three different positions. In the lower position, the hatch is lowered onto the roof of the tower and is locked from the inside. In the middle position, the hatch is slightly raised. In this case, the commander is still inside the car, as it were, but already has a circular review of 360 degrees. But since the hatch is not shifted to the side, it allows you to provide some additional protection to the commander. The third position is the open hatch. To do this, the hatch is fully raised, then rotates 180 degrees and stops.
To monitor the situation around the tank, the commander has in his place three large prismatic periscope devices installed around his hatch. They give a full all-round view of all 360 degrees. For surveillance in front of the commander's hatch mounted panoramic sight PERI-R17. Its eyepiece inside the tower is located to the right of the commander. It is monocular but has a headrest. To the left of the ocular part of the sight there are controls for the test unit of the tank, the display of the commander, the emergency stop switch and the toggle switch for the PERI sight. To the right of the sight are the controls for the smoke grenade launchers, the PERI sight sights and the intercom system control box.
Workplace tank commander Leopard 2
The periscope and the tower can be controlled by the commander using a fixed joystick-type control lever installed to the right of the commander. The control is carried out by a slide switch located at the top of the lever. Such a design was chosen because the movable lever, in contrast to the fixed lever, would not be so convenient inside a moving car. Although the slide switch is not very accurate, it is easier to guide the tower with it. For the sight of the commander is enough.
In addition to the slide switch, the control lever also has toggle switches for switching on the laser rangefinder of the gunner’s sight, opening fire from the main and auxiliary weapons and selecting the control mode. There is also an emergency switch that must be held to activate other functions of the control lever. Behind the commander’s seat, there are central control units for the SLA and two radio stations.
The seat of the commander is quite simple and can be adjusted in height. Height adjustment allows the commander to stand in the hatch. The design and comfort of this seat are far from the standards offered by the seat of the Leopard 1 tank, which was noted by many commanders who have moved to serve the Leopard 2 tank.
Leopard 2 was created as a mobile defense vehicle, which most of the time operates outside the shelters. With this in mind, and created a system of protection of the tank.
The body is welded from steel sheets, and in the front part there is a spaced armor. Such a decision is a compromise between good mobility and maximum protection. All this is absolutely clear, since the front of the hull is less protruding compared to other parts of the tank, such as the front of the tower. In addition, it increases the security of the case when operating in open areas. The hull sides do not have any special booking. But the nugget storage space and fuel tanks increases the actual level of protection, especially from cumulative projectiles. The suspension is also protected by side screens. The front third of the body is protected by heavy screens with spaced armor, which increases the level of protection against cumulative projectiles. But the main part of the suspension is protected by so-called lightweight screens, which are steel sheets covered with durable rubber. These screens cause premature detonation of projectiles before they hit the car itself. They also perfectly protect from small pieces and bullets of small arms. The hull of the Leopard 2 tank from the very beginning was developed taking into account all the shortcomings of the mine protection of its predecessors. The suspension can cope with the loss of one balancer or one track roller and at the same time the tank can continue to move. The hull also disperses the blast wave to the sides, minimizing the damage caused by a mine explosion. The design of his course is far from perfect, but protects the crew from the mines of the most famous types. Later, mine protection was modified and implemented on the tank Leopard 2A6M.
The Leopard 2 tank turret is also all-welded, made of steel armor plates, which are in the front, on the sides and in the stern, arranged vertically. The front sheets also have a certain angle in the plan. This form was chosen in order to optimize the volume available for integrating the modules of the spaced armor, and at the same time minimize the mass. Inclined armor would lead to a higher level of protection, but would also increase the mass of the tower in excess of the limitations that the tank design provided. Reservation of the tower is enhanced by the modules of spaced armor, installed in front and in front of the sides up to the hatches. This arrangement was based on the entirely correct assumption that the tank always directs its turret at the enemy and, thus, most of the attacking shells fall into the front of the turret. On the right in front of the tower there is also a gunner's sight, which reduces the level of ballistic security in this place. A similar structural flaw exists on the left side of the tower, where the ammunition loading hatch is cut. The aft part of the tower and the roof of the tower is made of alloyed steel with a thickness from 50 to 25 mm. While the front of the tower offers optimal protection against armor-piercing and shaped projectiles, the roof and stern can withstand the impact of small and medium-caliber projectiles or shell fragments.
In addition to armor protection, the designers of the Leopard 2 tank also worked a lot on excluding and / or reducing the emission of electromagnetic waves in different spectra, as well as dust and noise suppression. Compared to the Leopard 1, the new car has a distinctly different noise level. This was mainly due to the installation of a new engine. It is larger in size, which excludes completely silent operation. But in the end, the sound of his work has a very low frequency, which makes it difficult to localize the noise source. The tracks of the Leopard 2 tank also create a smaller sound signature because they use more rubber parts to help reduce vibration and noise. Visible signs of tank visibility were reduced by using spectral coloring, which also had a positive effect on the overall infrared signs of visibility. Quite a significant part of the infrared signature of the tank is generated in the hull aft. Here is the cooling system with its massive ring radiators and engine exhaust manifold. Significant reduction of signs of visibility could be possible only by reducing the size of the engine and a corresponding reduction in the generated heat. Practically it was not feasible, so the designers focused on the control of exhaust gases. The most effective solution was to divert the flow of air from the radiators through large grilles covering almost the entire stern of the hull. The air flow is also directed downwards, which prevents the upward movement of hot air to too high. At the same time, the exhaust air of the radiators is mixed with exhaust gases, which contributes to its intensive cooling. The disadvantage of this scheme is the dispersion of a large (depending on the type of soil) volume of dust, which contributes to increasing the visibility of the machine. Dust also rises from the tracks, especially at high speed. Side screens reduce its density, but not significantly. Side screens also partially mask the thermal signature of the suspension. When the Leopard 2 is moving, the suspension experiences enormous loads, which are partially transformed into heat and can be defined as thermal signatures of tracks and support rollers. The air between the onboard screens and the suspension lowers the signature and makes it less visible.
One of the means of camouflage, this time the whole machine, is the 16 smoke grenade launchers. On each side of the tower installed on 8 installations in two rows. They can be manually launched by the commander, for this he has a small control panel on which he can choose the side from which to shoot (right / left), as well as one shot or a volley of four grenades. The caliber of grenades is 50-60 mm. Initially, smoke grenades were the only visible spectrum. Later, grenades with an aerosol became available, which also covered the infrared signature. Now it became impossible to detect a tank using thermal sights. But at the same time the tank also "blind", since the smoke naturally works in both directions.
Tank Leopard 2 is also equipped with a system of protection against weapons of mass destruction (WMD). The overpressure system has a filter that retains almost 100% of the particles contained in the intake air. It also creates an overpressure in the fighting compartment, which prevents dangerous substances from entering the machine. This allows the crew to work for a long time in contaminated areas. The crew does not need to wear personal protective equipment that may interfere with normal operation. The system of protection against weapons of mass destruction is located behind the epaulettes of the tower in the left flank shelf. A small air intake is located on the roof of the hull. The air is directed to a coarse filter, where all dust particles are removed from it. Next, the air is directed to the habitable compartment, where, depending on the mode of operation, an overpressure from 2 to 4 atmospheres is created.
In conditions of real pollution, an additional gas fine filter is used, which, ultimately, is the real OMP-protection. This filter (for its replacement) is accessed through a hatch on the left side of the hull. The system for protection against weapons of mass destruction has a very compact design; its biggest parts are air filters. The cooling function present in the American M1 Abrams is not in the German tank.
Protection against weapons of mass destruction also continues inside the machine. All optical sights and periscopes are equipped with antireflection inserts. It can be simple leather doors that manually move in front of the periscopes. The gunner can close the security doors of his aiming device. Another factor influencing nuclear weapons is the electromagnetic pulse. It generates a charge in all electrical and electronic systems, which can cause their excessive loading and, ultimately, damage. To eliminate this, all systems in the Leopard 2 tank are hardened and have special electromagnetic shielding. But the work of this protection system was evaluated only in the laboratory. It would be ideal to test in combat conditions, but it is better to let everything remain in theory.
During an exercise, a system of protection against weapons of mass destruction is sometimes used to transport drinks. Since filters are usually not installed, the free space is used to store several cans of drinks. It is still unknown, specially the designers customized the filter sizes to fit the cans, or it happened by chance.
Means of communication
Tank Leopard 2 has a fairly standard communication equipment. The crew has an intercom system. Each crew member has a leather headset with a headset. The laryngophones were originally integrated, but later they were replaced by conventional microphones mounted on the left earpiece. It also has a switch that allows you to manage communication sessions. The fixed rear position allows you to communicate with other crew members in the car. The middle position only allows you to listen to the network. Non-locking forward position is for outgoing communication. The driver and loader have individual communication control units at their workplaces, the gunner and the commander have one unit for two. The unit allows you to select the communication mode (1 / 2 / listen to both) and adjust the volume of the headphones. Finally, there is a loudspeaker mounted on the roof of the tower behind the loader's control panel.
Tank Leopard 2 comes with two radio stations SEM 25 / 30, installed behind the place of the commander in the stern of the tower. Each crew member can receive incoming calls at his workplace in parallel, but send only one message at a time. As a rule, a tank can hear its own network and a higher order unit, such as a platoon and a company, or a company and battalion. Radio antennas are installed along the sides of the tower. There is no special commander version of the Leopard 2 tank, all the machines have the same equipment.
Since the crews of the tanks are ingenious, it was not difficult for them to connect the headset connector to the 3,5 mm mini-jack. This allowed the crew to connect a cassette audio player or radio to an intercom system. When properly connected, the crew could organize a small pirate radio station in the combat network. But the command of this certainly did not approve.
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