20 November 2009

Lifespan and history of the Leopard-series tanks

There's a great bit of history and headcount about the Leopard series of tanks over at StrategyPage.com

Until the 1980s, the Leopard I was considered one of the best tanks available. Entering service in the late 1960s, it was the first post-World War II German tank design. Although a contemporary of the American M-60A3, the German tank was considered superior. For this reason, Germany was able to export Leopards to many nations. Most of the 4,744 produced (plus 1,741 Leopard chassis adapted to other uses, like recovery and anti-aircraft) have been retired (in storage) or scrapped. Many owners may have to melt down it's Leopard Is, for there's not much of a market left for 44 ton tanks, even those equipped with a lot of nifty upgrades. The original buyers of Leopard I have already flooded the market.

Turkey also has 298 Leopard 2 tanks, bought second hand during the great post-Cold War sell off of European tank fleets. The German Leopard 2 tank continues to be a hot item in the second hand market, often to replace U.S. M-60 tanks (a 1960s design.) Already, Austria has bought 115, Canada 100, Norway 52, Sweden 160, Singapore 96, Denmark 52,Finland 124,Poland 128,Portugal 73, Greece 183, Chile 100 and Spain 108. Originally, West Germany bought 2,125 new Leopard 2 tanks, the Netherlands 445, Switzerland 370, Sweden 120, Spain 219 and Greece 170.

By: Brant

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