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Canada gets modernized tanks

MUNICH, Germany, Oct. 11 (UPI) — Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH has delivered to Canada the first 20 modernized Leopard 2 A4M tanks for use in Afghanistan.

The transfer ceremony was last week near Hanover, Germany.

Canada commissioned KMW to upgrade 20 Leopard main battle tanks in July 2009.

Canada is part of the international coalition fighting in Afghanistan.

KMW said the main focus of the new Leopard design was consistent protection of the crews, who are subjected to enemy attacks with powerful anti-tank projectiles and are in constant danger from mines and improvised explosive devices.

Furthermore, the capabilities of the new battle tank have been significantly extended by integrating a pioneer equipment interface. Mine rollers, mine plows and dozer blades allow the Canadian armed forces to carry out a wide range of dangerous tasks with a small number of the heavy vehicles.

“The flexibility, professionalism and teamwork exhibited by KMW over the past three years to support Canada’s Leopard 2 A6M in Afghanistan was exceptional,” said Daniel Hebert, project manager, Tank Replacement Project. “Now, with the Leopard 2 A4M, KMW continues to be instrumental in providing Canada with superior firepower, mobility and the protection required to save lives.”

The modernized Leopard 2 A4M was specifically designed for use in the northern Hindu Kush, the company said, but provisions were also made for the tanks’ deployment in the extreme heat of southern Afghanistan.

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