The Kampfpanzer Löwe 2A8 is the current tank of the Reichsheer. It is the primary weapon system of the Panzertruppen. It was developed from the Löwe 2A6 tanks of the former Bunderwehr in 2010, all of which have now been upgraded to this standard.
Design[edit | edit source]
The Löwe 2A8 uses spaced 3rd generation composite multilayer armour throughout the design; including high-hardness steel, tungsten and plastic filler with ceramic component. The armour consists of a combination of steel plates of different hardness, elastic materials and other non-metallic materials. Steel plates with high hardness and high ductility are used. The armour is a result of extensive research about the formation and penetration mechanism of shaped charge jets. The frontal arc of the Eber 2's armour is designed to withstand large caliber kinetic energy penetrators and shaped charge projectiles. It is estimated that the Eber 2's front would resist 125 mm APFSDS rounds fired from a distance of 1,500 m.
The Löwe 2A8's armour has a maximum physical thickness of 80 centimetres (31 in) increased by a wedge-shaped armour module to 150 centimetres (59 in).
The side and the rear of the tank protect against heavy machine guns, medium caliber rounds and older types of tank ammunition. The side of the hull is covered by armour skirts to increase protection against projectiles and RPGs. The frontal third of the hull sides is covered by heavy ballistic skirts, while the rest of the hull sides is covered by steel-reinforced rubber skirts. For increased protection against mines, the sides of the hull floor are sloped by 45° and the floor is reinforced with corrugations.
The Löwe 2A8 features the latest generation of passive armour and belly armour providing protection against mines and IEDs. The Eber 2A8 is fitted with adapters for mounting additional armour modules or protection systems against RPGs. For urban combat, the Eber 2A8 can be fitted with different packages of modular armour. The Eber 2A7 can mount thick modules of composite armour along the flanks of turret and hull, while slat armour can be adapted at the vehicle rear. The armour modules provide protection against the RPG-7, which depending on the warhead can penetrate between 280 millimetres (11 in) and 600 millimetres (24 in) of steel armour.
The Löwe 2A8's design follows the concept of compartmentation; possible sources of fire or explosions have been moved away from the crew. In the turret, the ammunition and the hydraulics are located in compartments separated from the crew. In case of a detonation, the blow-off panels on the compartment roofs will direct the explosion and fire away from the crew. The crew is also protected against nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) threats, as the Leopard 2A8 is equipped with a Dräger NBC overpressurization system, which provides up to 4 millibars (4.0 hPa) over-pressure inside the vehicle.
The Löwe 2A8 is equipped with a fire protection system. Four 9 kg Halon fire extinguisher bottles are installed on the right behind the driver's station. The bottles are connected to pipes and hoses and are activated automatically by the fire detection system, when temperatures rise above 82 °C (180 °F) inside the fighting compartment, or manually via a control panel in the driver's compartment. An extra 2.5 kg Halon fire extinguisher is stored on the floor beneath the main gun.
Variants[edit | edit source]
Bergepanzer BPz3 Büffel The BPz3 armoured recovery vehicle includes both a bulldozer and a crane with integral winch, allowing it to approach damaged vehicles, even over rough and fought-over terrain, and tow them to safety. It is equipped with a machine gun for local self-defence, a smoke grenade launcher, and NBC protection. Like the tank, it is powered by a NAM DM1500C 1,500 PS (1,479 hp, 1,103 kW) diesel engine.
Panzerschnellbrücke Leguan This vehicle is a modular armoured vehicle-launched bridge developed from the Leopard 2 tank chassis. It is designed to carry a folding mobile bridge, which it can "launch" across a river. Once emplaced, the bridge is sturdy enough to support most vehicles, even Leopard tanks. When the crossing is complete, the bridge-layer simply hooks up to the bridge and re-stows it.
Driver Training Tank (Fahrschulpanzer) The Löwe 2 Driver Training Tank, as the name implies, is a non-combatant Löwe 2 for instructing soldiers in the finer points of handling the tank. The turret is supplanted by a weighted and fixed observation cab with forward and side-facing windows and a dummy gun. The instructor rides in this cab, with override controls for critical systems, and space is provided for two other students to observe.