During the 2018 Eurosatory, Rheinmetall Defence Poland informed MILMAG representatives that the factory trails of Leopard 2PL – modified Leopard 2A4 – are now complete. The tank will be shipped to Poland next week.
Prototype will be delivered to Zaklady Mechaniczne Bumar-Labedy and later to Wojskowy Instytut Pancerny i Samochodowy (WITPiS) in Sulejowek, where the next part of testing will take place. Some of these tests will be a copy of German trials, forced by Polish regulations.
When trials are completed and the modifications accepted by Polish land forces, next 5 Leopards 2PL will be constructed in Germany. Simultaneously, since February 2018, training for ZM Bumar-Labedy staff has been progressing. Next 12 vehicles will be constructed there under Rheinmetall Landsysteme (RLS) supervison. Serial production and deliveries are to happen between January 2019 and November 2020.
Rheinmetall also confirmed that negotiations for modernization of further 14 of Leopard 2A4 tanks are underway. These 14 vehicles came to Poland as a part of May-November 2015 deliveries and the modernization possibility was covered in the contract as an option.
The contract for modernization of 142 Leopard 2A4 tanks to 2PL standard was signed on the 28th of December 2015. Signatories were the Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa (PGZ), ZM Bumar-Labedy and Inspektorat Uzbrojenia MON and the agreement is worth PLN 2,415 billion (EUR 565 million). On the 18th of February 2016 Rheinmetall Landsysteme joined the program. Second stage of the project involves cooperation of RLS with ZM Bumar-Labedy in regard to construction of support vehicles based on Leopard 2 chassis, manufacture of 120 mm x 570 ammunition and polonaziation of the 35-mm Oerlikon Millennium Gun (GDM-008) weapon system.
On the 27 of December 2017, PCO declared readiness to join the Leopard 2PL program. Company received all the special tools and test equipment (STTE) necessary to manufacture the optoelectronic equipment for the new tank. Over year-long training of PCO staff by Hensoldt was also completed.
Leopard 2PL technology demonstrator was first presented at the 2016 MSPO in Kielce. The range of modifications allowed for increase in ballistic protection and improvement of the observations systems to at least 2A5 variant. Modernization does not include the 16 of 76-mm smoke grenade launchers.
According to the program foundations, Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, Airbus DS Optronics and PCO will provide the observation/aiming PERI R17 A3L4CP sights for the commander, on-board computer with new ballistic tables, RPP computer, EMES-15 thermal camera, 2 KLW-1 Asteria cameras and KDN-1T Nyks reverse camera. Leopard 2PL will also have a new fire control system, armament (DM63 anti tank and DM11 multi purpose ammunition) and electronic main cannon trigger.
Jenoptik Defence & Civil Systems ESW, together with ZMT Tarnów will provide the new EWNA electronic system for turret traverse and cannon elevation. New system helps with cannon stabilization. IBD Deisenroth Engineering will be responsible for strengthening of turret`s armor to 2A5-2A7 level. Rosomak company will provide the anti-shrapnel mats and additional turret armor elements.
Kidde-Deugra Brandschutzsysteme will modernize the fire prevention systems of the engine bay and the explosion prevention system of the crew compartment. It will also be responsible for 17 kVA additional APU generator and, together with Rheinmetall Defence Electronics, will provide the CAN-BUS system for the tank.
Modernized Leopard 2PL will be equipped with the Battlefield Management System (BMS) and additional cargo carrying options. Evacuation-towing systems will be adapted to the increased weight of the tank. OBRUM Gliwice is to provide training devices and simulators for the new tanks. WZM from Poznan will provide the servicing and repairs of tank`s powerplants.