The Leopard 2 is a modern 3rd generation German Main Battle Tank. The first prototypes of the vehicle were made in 1973, and serial production started in 1979 continues to this day. To date (2018), 3,480 tanks of this type have been produced. The Leopard 2 is powered by the 1500 HP MTU MB 873 Ka 501 engine. The vehicle is armed with a single 120mm Rheinmetall Rh-M-120 gun and two 7.62mm MG3 machine guns.
The Leopard 2 was developed in response to the demand for a new Main Battle Tank announced by Bundeswehr already in the early 1960s. The new vehicle was to replace the Leopard 1 tanks in the West German army. Initially, cooperation with American companies (e.g. Chrysler) was undertaken in a project designated as MBT-70. However, after a few years, the cooperation was terminated and further work was focused only on German companies. Despite a very long process of analytical, study and experimental works lasting almost 15 years, the Leopard 2 introduced to the line in 1979 turned out to be revolutionary and outclassing the then Soviet designs. Many analysts consider it to be the first tank of the third generation in history, including the M1 Abrams, the French Leclerc or the much later Russian T-90 tank. The Leopard 2 is primarily characterized by unprecedented - before 1979 - mobility and maneuverability in tanks of this class, thanks to the use of a powerful 1500 HP engine. It also has very good armor, using composites and SKO (fire control system). It was also armed with the great Rh-M-120 gun, which in the 1980s and 1990s became a standard for many NATO countries. Several versions of the tank were created in the course of serial production Leopard 2, two of which deserve special attention: A 4 and A 6. The A 4, which appeared for the first time in 1985, has a highly advanced and improved over the previous SKO versions, as well as improved turret and front armor hull. It is also the most widely exported version. At the beginning of the 21st century, the A 6 version was created, which mainly received the Rh-M-120 gun with a significantly longer barrel (L / 55), which significantly improved its penetration capacity. The latest development version of the Leopard 2 tank is the A 7 version, which entered the Bundeswehr's equipment in 2014. Due to its very high combat value, the Leopard 2 was exported to many countries, including: Austria, Chile, Denmark, Finland, Greece, Spain, the Netherlands, Norway or Poland, which has 247 tanks of this type in versions A 4 and A 5.