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KNDS pitches new Leopard 2 variant as 'gap-filler' to MGCS next-gen tank

19th June 2024 - 09:15 GMT | by Christopher F Foss in Paris

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Unveiled on the opening day of Eurosatory was the KNDS Leopard 2 ARC 3.0 MBT featuring an uncrewed turret which can be armed with a 120mm, 130mm or 140mm smoothbore gun. (Photo: Christopher F Foss)

The Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 focuses on protection and firepower by taking the crew out of the turret, providing a 30mm cannon for C-UAS use and offering a 130mm or 140mm main gun option. It can be built new or delivered as an upgrade option for existing Leopard 2s to fill the 10-year gap before the Main Ground Combat System enters service.

KNDS has staked its claim to being at the forefront of European MBT technology with the unveiling of the Leopard 2 ARC 3.0 at Eurosatory 2024. 

The new variant features an uncrewed turret fitted with a 120mm smoothbore gun fed by auto-loader holding 20 rounds. The turret has also been designed to accept a 130mm or 140mm main weapon.

KNDS has been promoting the vehicle as a potential bridge to the introduction of the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) which is touted as the long-term replacement for Germany’s Leopard 2 and France's Leclerc MBTs.

New tank, new ammunition – increasing the Challenger 3’s firepower

KNDS continues tests of potential gun for future Main Ground Combat System

Currently, all guns and ammunition for the Leopard 2 are provided by Rheinmetall, but with the formation of KNDS its German arm can now pull through weapons and technology from France such as the developmental Ascalon 140mm smoothbore gun and its suite of ammunition.

KNDS stressed that any current Leopard 2 MBT could be upgraded to ARC 3.0 standard by fitting the new turret and reworking the hull to accommodate the crew of three and their displays.

The more compact uncrewed turret has enabled the overall weight of the vehicle be reduced to around 60t with the crew seated in a well-protected compartment in the hull, as with the Russian T-14 Armata MBT.

Dr Axel Scheibel, a managing director at KNDS, said: “Maximum protection is provided for the crew in the hull and the vehicle’s protection package not only includes advanced armour but also explosive reactive armour.”

Mounted on the turret roof is an RWS armed with a 30mm cannon which can be used to engage ground targets as well as UAVs which are becoming an increasing threat to MBTs on the battlefield. This is clearly a feature inspired by lessons learnt in Ukraine.

Provision is also made for the installation of a single-round launcher for a 6,000m range missile with line of sight and beyond line of sight capability.

Leopard 2 is the only MBT in production in Western Europe and Shephard Defence Insight has listed more than 2,700 of all models in service with 21 operators. Twelve of these tank fleets having an estimated out-of-service date before the end of the decade, giving some idea of the potential upgrade and replacement market.

Shephard's Eurosatory 2024 coverage is sponsored by:

BAE Systems

New MBT (Spain)

MGCS [Italy]

MGCS [Germany]

Leopard 2A7/A8

Leopard 2A5/2A6

Leopard 2A0/A1/A2/A3/A4

Christopher F Foss

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Christopher F Foss


Christopher F Foss is an internationally recognised authority on armoured fighting vehicles, artillery and other weapon systems, …

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