The tank was designed according to the classical scheme. The control compartment is located in the front, the combat compartment is located in the middle part of the tank, and the engine compartment in the rear. The driver’s compartment, the ammunition unit and the filtering unit are placed in the tank control compartment. The workplace of the driver is shifted to the starboard side of the tank, its seat can be adjusted in height and installed in two positions: in a stowed way - with an open hatch and in a fighting manner - with a closed hatch. To observe the battlefield, the driver has 3 periscopic viewing devices.
When developing the tank, the main attention was paid to its firepower, so the question of choosing a gun for this machine was quite painful. At the same time, two variants were considered with the 105-mm rifled gun, which proved itself well earlier, and with the 120-mm smooth-bore gun. As a result, the choice was made in favor of the latter, and the "Leopard-2" became the first Western tank that received the 120-mm smooth-bore gun.
On the hull of the tank mounted three-seater welded tower, which houses the commander, gunner and loader. The 120-mm smooth-bore gun Rh-120 / L44 is installed in the turret. The articulation of the gun barrel with the breech is made quick-disconnect by using a sector thread. Installation and disassembly of the guns is done through the embrasure, without removing the tank turret. The center of gravity of the swinging part of the gun is located in the area of the axle axis. The gun has a 2 symmetrical reversing brake. In order to exclude significant loads on the tower structure when fired and, in particular, on the elements of the SLA, the greatest force of resistance to rollback is at the level of the tank. Due to the significant mass of the gun along with the armor (about 4290 kg.) And the lack of a dynamic shoulder, the effect of the shot on the deterioration of shooting accuracy is minimized. According to this indicator, "Leopard-2" is considered to be one of the best tanks in the world.
The barrel of the gun is equipped with a heat-resistant casing made of fiberglass, closer to the breech of the barrel an ejector is installed, which is responsible for the removal of powder gases. The internal surface of the gun is chrome-plated, the barrel survivability is calculated on 500 shots. For the Rh-120 gun, two basic unitary shots with a metal pan and with a burning sleeve were developed - DM23 armor-piercing sabot (has a tungsten alloy core, 18,6 kg mass.) And DM-12 cumulative fragmentation shell (23,2 mass. Kg) and a DM-XNUMX cumulative fragmentation shell (XNUMX weight).
The “heart” of the tank is a V-shaped 12 cylinder four-stroke diesel MB 873 developing at 2600 rpm. power in 1500 hp This engine is a pre-chamber type diesel engine and is equipped with liquid cooling and turbocharging. The diesel engine has two turbochargers and two charge-air coolers included in the overall cooling system. The air for powering the diesel enters through the 2 air intake located on the roof of the engine compartment and covered from above by the stern niche of the tower in the air purifier 2, which are fixed on the engine itself and are connected to the turbo compressor with short pipes. The air purifiers used here are two-stage. In the role of the first stage is used a cyclone, in the role of the second - interchangeable cassettes with filter elements. The dust that is filtered out at the first stage is then removed by electric fans.
The fire control system (FCS) was developed by Krupp Atlas Electronics. The OMS allows the crew of the tank to recognize and detect targets and to fire at them during the day and at night, in motion and from the spot. The LMS includes:
- panoramic periscopic sight-observation device commander tank PERI-R17;
- laser sight-rangefinder EMES-15;
- auxiliary telescopic sight gunner FERO-Z 18,
- weapon stabilizer in 2-planes with electro-hydraulic drive WHA-H22;
- analog electronic ballistic computer;
- electric system of synchronous communication of guns with sights;
- the system of built-in monitoring of the functioning of the LMS;
- system of adjustment of sight-range finder.
OMS allows you to fire a cannon and the commander and gunner, with the actions of the commander to aim the gun preference - they are priority.
The main aim of the gunner is equipped with a built-in laser rangefinder and has independent stabilization of the field of view in the 2-x planes, in one unit with it a passive thermal imager is mounted, designed to work in low light conditions or at night. On the first 200 tanks “Leopard-2” PZB-200 thermal imagers were installed, the transmitting camera of which was mounted on the gun mask, and the video monitoring devices at the gunner’s and commander’s workplaces. Subsequently, along with the development of serial production of sights equipped with thermal imagers, all the combat vehicles produced were equipped with them, this modification of the tank was called the “Leopard-2А2”.
Optical channel gunner sight has 12-fold increase. The range finder has no mechanical connection with the gun. The laser rangefinder used on the tank allows the simultaneous calculation of the range to 2-x targets, which are located in the beam, with an accuracy of + -10 m, in the range of distances from 200 meters to 10 000 meters. In order to protect the gunner’s eyes from laser radiation, optical filters are installed in the optical channel. In addition, there is a special shutter, which protects the eyes from the flashes of their own shots, the shutter is triggered after pressing the "shot" button. If the main sight fails due to a breakdown, the gunner can use the auxiliary telescopic articulated sight FERO-Z18, which has a dependent stabilization of the field of view and an increase in 8-fold.
The commander uses the ERI-R17 periscope panoramic sight, which has independent stabilization of the field of view and switchable magnification - 2-x multiple or 8-multiple. Commander's sight associated with the gunner's sight. The commander's turret on the tank is made stationary, but is equipped with 6 observation devices, providing a circular view.
"Leopard-2" is equipped with an automatic fire extinguishing system and a system of creating excessive air pressure inside the tank, which is used as protection against weapons mass destruction. From the sides of the turret, closer to the rear, 8 grenade launchers, which are used to fire smoke and fragmentation grenades, are installed. Grenades are shot by the tank commander, single shooting is possible, group or from all grenade launchers at once.
As noted above, the Leopard-2А2 tank variant was obtained by installing new sights with infrared channels. The tank "Leopard-2А1" differed from the first modification with new fillings in the combined armor and higher reliability of a number of units and assemblies. Tanks "Leopard-2А3" received an improved parking brake and new radio stations. On the tank "Leopard-2А4" a new digital ballistic computer was installed, a new fire extinguishing system was installed, and the tank ammunition was replenished with a new projectile. Until now, this version is the most popular among all those released. Starting with her, the tanks received a three-color camouflage coloration, previously they were all painted with plain olive or gray paint.
Meanwhile, the main striking force of the German army are "Leopard-2А5" and "Leopard-2А6". The development of these versions of the combat vehicle was prompted by the creation and appearance of the T-80B tanks in the Soviet Army. Modernization of tanks to the level of "Leopard-2А5" was launched in 1995 year. To date, the German army is 125 tanks, upgraded to this version, another 225 machines have been improved to the version of "Leopard-2-6".
The tank in the A5 version received a new driver's hatch, its visibility was improved, along with this, the weakening of the hull in this place decreased. The tank tower was significantly upgraded: the mask of the gun was completely reworked, the forehead and sides of the tower were covered with modules of separated armor (presumably with non-energy reactive properties). Electro-hydraulic stabilization system of the gun was replaced by an electric, more fireproof. The commander received an independent thermal imager 2-th generation, built-in panoramic surveillance device, and the gunner - an upgraded sight. The characteristics of the gun stabilizer were significantly improved. In addition, the tank was equipped with a GPS navigation system. These activities led to an increase in tank mass to 59,5-62 tons, depending on the set of armor.
The most modern version, which is in service with the German army 2А6, received even more enhanced reservation of the turret and additional mine protection of the tank bottom. But the main difference of the model was the use of the Rhl 120 / L55 gun with the barrel length increased by 11 caliber (1320 mm). The use of a new weapon made it possible to increase the muzzle energy and the initial velocity of the projectiles, which positively affected the range of damage and armor penetration. A new tank information and control system was also mounted on the tank. The tank weight remained at the level of 62 tons.