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Leopard MBT: Alpha beast finally gets to work after a long slumber (updated 2024)

14th May 2024 - 12:00 GMT | by Damian Kemp in London

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Germany is the largest operator of Leopard MBTs. (Photo: US Army)

Leopard MBTs are German-made main battle tanks that have been in service since the Cold War and have undergone several upgrades to remain competitive in modern warfare. This article traces the history and development of the Leopard 1 and 2, its variants, its operational service and its future prospects.

The original Leopard main battle tank (MBT) was born as an idea and design in the darkest days of the Cold War in the mid-1950s and came to life in the 1960s as the chill between East and West continued. Its successor, Leopard 2, was brought to life in the 1970s with first deliveries just before the decade ended.

It was conceived as a western European MBT which, in one likely scenario, might have to face the massed ranks of Warsaw Pact armour. 

The Cold War may have ended by the early 1990s, but six decades later, the scenario of facing off against

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Damian Kemp

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Damian Kemp


Damian Kemp has worked in the defence media for 25 years covering military aircraft, defence …

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