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AMX Leclerc

amx leclerc, amx leclerc tank
The Char Leclerc is a main battle tank MBT built by GIAT, now Nexter of France It was named in honour of General Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, who led the French element of the drive towards Paris while in command of the Free French 2nd Armoured Division 2e DB in World War II

The Leclerc is in service with the French Army and the army of the United Arab Emirates In production since 1991,3 the Leclerc entered French service in 1992,3 replacing the AMX 30 as the country's main armoured platform With production now complete, the French Army has 406 Leclerc and the United Arab Emirates Army has 388 The price in 2011 was €93 million, which made it the most expensive tank in history at the time6 Following the devaluation of the Euroclarification needed its price fell dramatically, and in 2014 the K2 Black Panther surpassed the Leclerc's price recordcitation needed

Contents

  • 1 History
  • 2 Design
    • 21 Armament
    • 22 Protection
    • 23 Fire control and observation
    • 24 Propulsion
  • 3 Combat history
  • 4 Variants and upgrades
  • 5 Technical data
  • 6 Operators
    • 61 Current operators
  • 7 See also
    • 71 Tanks of comparable role, performance and era
  • 8 References
  • 9 Sources
  • 10 External links

Historyedit

In 1964, studies were initiated about a possible replacement vehicle for the AMX 30: the Engin Principal Prospectif In 1971, in view of the inferiority of the AMX 30 in comparison to the new generation of Soviet tanks about to be introduced, the Direction des Armements Terrestres ordered the beginning of the Char Futur project In 1975, a working committee was created that in 1977 agreed on a list of specifications In February 1980 however, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed with the Federal Republic of Germany involving the joint development of a MBT, called the Napoléon I in France and Kampfpanzer III in Germany Fundamental disagreements about its desired configuration led to a failure of this cooperation in December 1982 It was announced that a purely French battle tank would be developed, called "EPC" Engin Principal de Combat The importation of foreign equipment, like the M1 Abrams, the Leopard 2, or the Merkava, had been studied and rejected7

In contrast to most Western programmes of the time, much consideration was given to active, besides passive protection, to limit the overall mass of the vehicle Mobility for evading enemy fire and fire control systems were given particular attention Nevertheless, it was a stated design goal to achieve at least double the protection against KE-penetrators in comparison to the level attained in then current MBTs of the fifty ton weight class, the latter indicated at about 400 mm RHA equivalency, the higher level at the same time protecting against shaped charges8

The gunner's position, looking down from the turret roof

Partnership with a foreign state was sought to limit the cost per unit, and this was found when the United Arab Emirates ordered 436 vehicles, adding to the 426 units already planned for the French Army

In 1986, the project was started under the name of "Leclerc", six prototypes being built swiftly Mass production started in 1990 with the four-unit Batch 1, used mainly for comparative tests in foreign countries The 17 units of Batch 2 were shipped, with improvements in the turret and in the hull armour These units were diagnosed with problems in the engine and suspension, and were quickly retired Batch 3 followed with some improvements and have been used to define the doctrine of use, and instruction

Batches 4 and 5 were better built, eliminating the recurrent problems in the powerplant, and are still in service, after having been refitted at the end of the 1990s The second series started with Batch 6, with an added climate control system in the right rear of the turret Batch 7 introduced a transmission system to the command vehicle, and a data system giving instantaneous vision of the state of all battle tanks and acquired targets It also incorporated minor improvements in the visor Batch 8 was a modernisation of the electronic system, and Batch 9 replaced the thermal imaging ATHOS by a SAGEM Iris with better resolution

All previous batches will be modernised up to the standards of Batch 9 from 2005 In 2004, Batch 10 was presented, incorporating new information systems which could share the disposition of enemy and friendly units to all vehicles on the battlefield, and a new armor package This was the beginning of the 96-unit third series By 2007, 355 tanks should have been operational, 320 of them incorporated in four regiments, each of 80 Leclerc vehicles

As of 2010update, after a French defence review, each of the four regiments operated 60 Leclerc tanks for a total of 240 in operational units; with a further 100 in combat ready reserve Due to finance cuts, only 254 tanks were fully operational in 20116

The four regiments are:

  • 1er Régiment de Chasseurs stationed near Verdun, part of the 7th Armoured Brigade
  • 4e Régiment de Dragons stationed in Carnoux-en-Provence, part of the 7th Armoured Brigade
  • 12e Régiment de Cuirassiers stationed in Olivet, part of the 2nd Armoured Brigade
  • 501e Régiment de Chars de Combat stationed in Mourmelon-le-Grand, 2nd Armoured Brigade

Designedit

Armamentedit

The commander's sight is on the right and gunner's sight on the left side of the picture

The Leclerc is equipped with a GIAT Nexter CN120-26 120mm smoothbore cannon This cannon is capable of firing the same NATO standard 120mm rounds as the German Leopard 2 and US M1 Abrams, but in practice only French-produced ammunition is issued The gun is insulated with a thermal sleeve and has an automatic compressed-air fume extraction system instead of the usual bore evacuator The Leclerc has a unique autoloading system which was specifically designed for it, and reduces the crew to three by eliminating the human loader The turret of the Leclerc was designed around the auto-loading system in order to avoid the problems common to other tanks with an autoloader The Leclerc autoloader allows a rate of fire of 12 shots per minute and holds 22 rounds of ready ammunition; it can accommodate up to six different types of ammunition at once, although like most autoloader systems it cannot change ammunition types once a round has been loaded The most common types are the armour piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot APFSDS with a tungsten core and the high explosive anti-tank HEAT round There are 18 other rounds available for reload A Leclerc tank can fire while traveling at a speed of 50 km/h on a target 4,000 metres awaycitation needed The gun is 52 calibres long instead of the 44 calibres common on most tanks of the Leclerc's generation,3 giving the rounds a higher muzzle velocity

The Leclerc is also equipped with a 127 mm coaxial machine gun and a remote-controlled 762 mm machine gun, whereas most other NATO tanks use 762 mm weapons for both their coaxial and top machine gun mounts; the major exception is the American M1 Abrams, which has a 762 mm coaxial machine gun and two top-mounted machine guns, one 762 mm and one 127 mm

Protectionedit

The Leclerc has the GALIX combat vehicle protection system from GIAT, which fires a variety of smoke grenades and infra red screening rounds, as well as anti-personnel grenades

The hull and the turret are made of welded steel fitted with modular armour, which can be replaced easily for repair or upgraded over the years In the late 1970s, the French army rejected Chobham armour as being overly specialised in its optimisation to defeat hollow charge-weapons; it, therefore, opted to develop its own composite arrangement to defeat both hollow charge and sabot rounds Due to the introduction of modernised threats, batch 3 vehicles have a new armour package, including composite armour, titanium insert and on the sides of the turret, ERA blocks

Fire control and observationedit

Closeup of the front of the Leclerc's turret; the 127mm coaxial machine gun can be seen below and to the side of the 120mm main gun

The last 96 MBT XL Leclerc have the ICONE TIS battle management system with digital communication system which integrates data from other tanks and upper levels of command Since 2009, All Leclerc in service S2 and SXXI have ICONE BMS

The Leclerc tank features the HL-60 gunner's primary sight from SAGEM The sight's day channel offers X33 and X10 magnification x14 in case of the UAE version The night channel thermal intensifier offers X3, X6, X10 and X20 magnifications No emergency or auxiliary sights are mounted The laser range finder is of the Nd:YAG type The tank commander can observe the surroundings through 7 periscopes and the HL-70 Panoramic sight The HL-70 is equipped with a day channel at X25 and X10 magnification and a night channel with X25 magnification On the Series XXI and UAE variant the HL-120 and HL-80 commander's panoramic sight are mounted respectively The sight offers X25 and X10 magnification and an electronic zoom X2 for the thermal intensifier and a laser range finder of the Nd:YAG type Both sights are also equipped with a semi auto tracker for target acquisition The combination of the gunner's primary sight and commander's panoramic sight allows the Leclerc to operate in a hunter-killer mode

The Leclerc's digital fire control system can be operated independently by the gunner or the commander, and it offers real time integrated imaging from all of the tank's sensors and sights, including the gunner's SAVAN 20 stabilised sight, developed by SAGEM

Propulsionedit

The Leclerc has an eight-cylinder SACM now Wärtsilä V8X-1500 1,500 hp Hyperbar diesel engine and a Renk AG 910 automatic transmission, with five forward and two reverse gears The official maximum speed by road is 72 km/h and 55 km/h cross country speeds in excess of 80 km/h were reported on road The maximum range is given as 550 km, and can be extended to 650 km with removable external tanks The "hyperbar" system integrates a Turbomeca TM 307B gas turbine in the engine, acting both as a turbocharger and an APU giving auxiliary power to all systems when the main engine is shut down The Hyperbar name comes from the unusually high boost pressure of 75 bar and the resulting mean effective pressure of 321 bar11 To compare, the largest diesel engine in the world the Wärtsila RTA96 has a mean effective pressure of 186 bar12 In addition, with boost available even at idle, this arrangement also works as an anti-lag system

At a combat weight of just 56 tons, the Leclerc is one of the lightest main battle tanks in the world; this gives it one of the best power-to-weight ratios among the Western tanks 27 hp per ton and makes it one of the fastest MBTs of its generation 0 to 32 km/h in 5 seconds

The engine exhaust, exiting at the rear left, is cooled to reduce the thermal signature of the Leclerc Transmission is a hydromechanical type with five forward and two reverse gears Fuel tanks carry 1,300 litres and act as extra protection for the tank; two 200-litre external tanks can be fitted on the rear of the turret, but these have to be jettisoned before entering combat, since they limit turret rotation

The gear box is equipped with a hydrokinetic retarder, which can slow the Leclerc down at a deceleration rate of 7 m/s² 07 g which is automatically used over 30 km/h

A Leclerc on manoeuvres

Combat historyedit

In service since 1992 after the Persian Gulf War, the Leclerc has mostly seen deployment on low-intensity conflicts, including 15 Leclerc stationed in Kosovo KFOR and others in Lebanon UNIFIL within UN peace-keeping operations, where their performance was judged satisfactory by French officials

Until 2010, 13 Leclercs were deployed in the south Lebanon for a peacekeeping mission with UNIFIL

As of August 2015, Leclerc tanks of the United Arab Emirates were deployed in combat operations in Yemen near Aden as part of the Saudi-led coalition1131415161718 It is estimated that 70 Leclerc MBTs were deployed by the UAE in Yemen, 15 of them equipped with the AZUR package Three tanks were damaged, two by antitank mines and one by an RPG, which damaged the grid without piercing the hull In a single incident; one Leclerc tank was hit and penetrated in the driver's hatch by an ATGM, possibly of Konkurs or Konkurs-M type, resulting in the death of the driver and injuries to the legs of the commander19 None of these tanks were lost20

Variants and upgradesedit

Séries 1: Original production model

Leclerc 'Flakpanzer' SPAAG: Early 1990s development of the Leclerc fitted with a turret derived from that of the German Flakpanzer Gepard Armed with twin 35 mm Oerlikon KDA autocannons and two twin pack Mistral SAM launchers total of four ready missiles Despite successful testing of the prototype by the French Armycitation needed, was not adopted for service due to post-Cold War defence cutbacks

Leclerc Crotale: A proposal from the same time period to fit the Crotale NG SAM system to a Leclerc chassis Intended primarily to protect armored formations on the move against aerial attack Again not proceeded with due to cutbacks No prototype known to have been built

Séries 2:

  • new NBC system which integrates a hybrid air conditioner
  • independent air conditioning unit installed on the back roof behind the gunner's hatch
  • In order to balance the turret since the adding of the air conditioner, the turret frontal armor is thickened a few centimeters ahead of the commander's station
  • revised sprocket cooling fins
  • extra splash guard added to the front hull
  • Remote operated hydraulic track tensioner
  • bolt-on appliqué armor on each hull sponsons
  • Athos thermal camera on the gunner's sight is replaced by the new Iris thermal camera since the block 9 T9
  • SIT ICONE battlefield management system added in 2009

Séries XXI:

  • New composite armor package, the additional weight caused by the adding of tungsten is avoided thanks to the titanium that replace the steel previously used in each armor modules Turret bustle modular armor includes also semi-reactive layers made of explosive materials
  • Turret storage bins have been tailored for the larger armor package
  • The commander has now the HL 120 panoramic sight which now features a laser rangefinder and the Iris thermal camera
  • Higher electrical turret output
  • IFF indicator
  • SIT ICONE battlefield management system

Leclerc AZUR Action en Zone Urbaine: proposed urban warfare kit for actions in urban areas

Leclerc EPG Engin Principal du Génie: "main engineering vehicle": armoured engineering

Leclerc DNG Dépanneur Nouvelle Génération: recovery tank

Leclerc MARS : Moyen Adapté de Remorquage Spécifique: provisional armoured recovery vehicle prior to the arrival of the DNG

Leclerc used by the Army Forces of United Arab Emirates

Tropicalized Leclerc Leclerc EAU: version of the United Arab Emirates; it is fitted with :

    • EuroPowerPack with the 1,100 kW MT883 diesel engine built by the german company, MTU Friedrichshafen - the United Arab Emirates has interests in this company and preferred built by them
    • Externally mounted diesel auxiliary power unit with a tank infantry telephone fitted on its armored box
    • Redesigned engine compartment louver, access panels
    • Engine-driven mechanical air-conditioning mounted in the left part of the hull to cool the tank without the use of electric current, which could reveal the position of the tank
    • HL-80 commander panoramic sight with Alis thermal camera and laser rangefinder
    • ATO Armement Télé-Opéré remote-controlled mount for a 762 mm FN MAG machine-gun operated under-armour by the HL-80 panoramic sight
    • Leclerc Battlefield Management System LBMS
    • Completely automated driving and turret functions with pictograms on the buttons for use by crew with only basic training
    • Thermal tarp
    • Some bustle storage bins are replaced by baskets

Leclerc Koufra, or Leclerc T40 : A proposal from the late 2000s to convert existing Séries 1 vehicles into a 'heavy' reconnaissance scout, primarily for urban warfare The conversion included a brand new turret incorporating a CTA CT40 Case Telescoped Weapon System CTWS as well as grenade launchers, along with provision for two side mounted anti-tank missiles21

Leclerc T4  : Prototype with an elongtated turret built in 1996 It was armed with a 140 mm smoothbore gun designed by the arsenal of Bourges EFAB In order to avoid being scrapped, the prototype turret has been restored in the 2010s and mounted on a former Leclerc hull which was used in his last years as a towing vehicle Following its restoration, the tank has been nicknamed Terminateur Terminator by the director of the technical section of the French Army Section Technique de l'Armée de Terre or STAT that made everything to preserve this technological demonstrator In 2017, the Terminateur was presented with the Scorpion experimental Scorpion camouflage22

Technical dataedit

Description Leclerc Série 1 Leclerc Série 2 Leclerc Série XXI Tropicalized Leclerc
Produced 132 178 96 388
Date 1992–1996 1997-2003 2003-2008 1994 – early 2000s
Batch T1 to T5 T6 to T9 T10 to T11 Not applicable
Crew 3
Combat weight 54,5 t 56,3 t 57,6 t 57 t
Hull weight 36 t 37 t 37,5 t x
Turret weight 18,5 t 19 t 20,5 t x
Gunner sight HL 60 HL 130 HL 60
Commander panoramic sight HL 70 HL 120 HL 80
Engine SACM V8X Hyperbar 8-cylinder diesel engine MTU MT 883 Ka 500 12-cylinder diesel engine
Engine displacement 16,470 cm3 27,361 cm3
Forced induction ratio 7,8 3
Power output 1500 hp 1,118 kW at 2500 RPM 1500 hp 1,118 kW at 2700 RPM
Maximum torque 4850 Nm at 1700 RPM 4545 Nm at 2000 RPM
Acceleration from 0–32 km/h 0–20 mph 5 seconds 5,5 seconds 6 seconds
Transmission SESM ESM 500 Renk HSWL 295 TM
Suspension system 12 SAMM ESO twin-cylinder oleopneumatic suspension
Maximum speed 72 km/h backwards 38 km/h
Fuel capacity 1,300 liters up to 1700 liters with external fuel drums 1,420 liters up to 1820 liters with external fuel drums
Hull length 6,88 m 7,03 m
Width 3,43 m 3,60 m with ballistic side skirts and 3,71 m with side-view mirrors
Height 2,53 m turret roof
Ground clearance 500 mm
Wading depth without preparation 1,1 m
Wading depth with snorkel 4 m Not applicable
Trench passability 3 m
Climbing ability 1,1 m
Turret rotation time 360° 12 seconds 9 seconds 12 seconds

Operatorsedit

Map of MBT Leclerc operators

Current operatorsedit

  •  France 406 + 20 armoured recovery vehicles
  •  United Arab Emirates 388 + 46 armoured recovery vehicles

See alsoedit

Tanks of comparable role, performance and eraedit

  • Merkava – Israeli main battle tank
  • Challenger 2 – British main battle tank
  • Arjun MBT – Indian main battle tank
  • Leopard 2 – German main battle tank
  • Leopard 2E - Spanish main battle tank
  • Ariete – Italian main battle tank
  • Type 90 Kyū-maru – Japanese main battle tank
  • T-72B , T-80 and T-90 – Russian main battle tank
  • T-84 – Ukrainian main battle tank
  • M1 Abrams – American main battle tank
  • K1 88-Tank – South Korean main battle tank
  • Pokpung-ho – North Korean main battle tank
  • PT-91M – Polish main battle tank
  • Al-Khalid tank – Pakistani main battle tank
  • Type 96 and Type 99 – Chinese main battle tanks
  • Tank portal

Referencesedit

  1. ^ a b https://wwwyoutubecom/watchv=kHwyBXnLRpI&feature=youtube&t=2m03s
  2. ^ http://wwwarmy-technologycom/projects/leclerc/
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Gelbart, Marsh 1996 Tanks main battle and light tanks Brassey's UK Ltd pp 28–29 ISBN 1-85753-168-X 
  4. ^ http://farm9staticflickrcom/8212/8390203044_6cbb6be4c9_bjpg
  5. ^ http://defense-updatecom/products/l/leclerchtm
  6. ^ a b http://wwwdefensenewscom/storyphpi=6442452&c=FEA&s=INT
  7. ^ Enrico Po, 1990, "The MBT LECLERC: French Armour Enters the 21st Century", Military Technology No 9/90, pp 79–86
  8. ^ "First light on the LECLERC", Military Technology No 4/86, pp 82–83
  9. ^ Renk ESM500
  10. ^ 1
  11. ^ Moteur V8X suralimenté hyperbar de 1500ch Archived August 15, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ Doosan Engine : Doosan-Wartsila
  13. ^ http://wwwdefensenewscom/story/defense/policy-budget/warfare/2015/08/02/united-arab-emirates/31023089/
  14. ^ http://pbstwimgcom/media/CLZORvfUkAAQAHqjpg
  15. ^ http://wwwair-defensenet/forum/topic/8092-le-yemen-en-voie-de-somalisation/page-29
  16. ^ "Archived copy" Archived from the original on 2015-12-10 Retrieved 2015-08-03 
  17. ^ Yemen: Hundreds of Saudi tanks roll out of Aden to bolster Hadi loyalists - Ruptly TV, Aug 4, 2015
  18. ^ Kavanaugh, Shane Dixon "Tiny UAE Tests Its Military Might In Yemen" Vocativ Retrieved 12 August 2015 
  19. ^ http://ultimaratio-blogorg/archives/8148
  20. ^ http://wwwlopinionfr/blog/secret-defense/70-chars-leclerc-emiratis-engages-yemen-28202
  21. ^ http://secretdefenseblogsliberationfr/2009/06/10/le-char-leclerc-que-vous-ne-verrez-sans-doute-jamais/
  22. ^ http://wwwmilinfoorg/-38

Sourcesedit

  • Chassillan, Marc 2005 Char Leclerc: De la guerre froide aux conflits de demain
  • Chassillan, Marc 2001 Raids Hors-série N3: les chars de combat en action

External linksedit

  • Leclerc program update
  • Leclerc MBT article on Armourws
  • Leclerc tank photos @ 5 Star General site
  • 2

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AMX Leclerc


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