This is the new Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 tank: unmanned turret, anti-drone defenses and missile launcher

Eurosatorythe defense and security fair that is taking place this week in Paris, has been the setting chosen by KNDS to present a new variant of the Leopard 2 tank. It is the MBTmain battle tank for its acronym in English, Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 which incorporates a unmanned turret which can be armed with a 140 mm cannon, among other options, a remote weapons station armed with a 30mm cannon, specifically designed to take on drones, and a pop-up anti-tank guided missile launcher. It is noticeably lighter than current variants of the Leopard 2 and, according to the manufacturer KNDS, Any of them can be updated to the new A-RC 3.0 standard.

The new turret follows a modular design that allows equip it with both existing 120 mm guns and future 130 mm and 140 mm types. Since its turret is unmanned, the Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 will use an automatic loader to feed ammunition into whatever type of main gun is installed. KNDS says the vehicle will be able to fire three rounds in 10 seconds. The ammunition storage system is modular to accommodate different caliber options.

The existing Leopard 2, with a dedicated charger, require a crew of 4. The new variant only needs 3 to operate the tank, all located together in a hull compartment, which according to KNDS reduces your vulnerability by 30%.

Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0.KNDS.

The unmanned turret is also flatter than the manned ones used on current Leopard 2 variants, giving the A-RC 3.0 a lower profile which is not affected by the inclusion of the emerging anti-tank guided missile launcher that Stores in helmet when not in use. KNDS says the launcher can accommodate various types of line-of-sight and non-line-of-sight missiles.

The new remote weapons station with the 30 mm cannon is a consequence of the lessons that the war in Ukraine is leaving and the vulnerability of tanks to attacks by highly maneuverable kamikaze drones and also incorporates smoke grenade launchers. The Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 also has an active protection system installed in the turret, similar to the trophy Israeli. This uses a series of small radars that detect incoming threats, such as anti-tank guided missiles or other types of anti-armor weapons, and launchers with ammunition to intercept them.

Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 active protection system.
Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 active protection system.KNDS.

The images that KNDS has shown of the Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 also show it equipped with explosive reactive armor on the front and on the sides of the helmet. Its weight, depending on the configuration, can be only 60 tons, 12 less than the A7+ variant, one of the most advanced currently. This allows for better mobility and transportability, and more fuel efficiency.

'KNDS evaluates the Leopard 2 A-RC 3.0 not only as a bridging solution until the introduction of the next generation ground combat system MGCS, but also as a decisive technological precursor for the MGCS', the company has stated in a release. This is the program Main Ground Combat System o Main Ground Combat System, a joint initiative between France and Germany to develop a next generation ground combat system. This program aims to replace current main battle tanks, such as the German Leopard 2 and French Leclerc, with a new family of advanced vehicles that integrate modern technology and enhanced capabilities.