The A5 introduced a wedge-shaped spaced add-on armour to the turret front and sides. Though its main function is to defeat a hollow charge attack, the spaced armour is also designed to affect kinetic-energy penetrators by forcing them to change direction and by eroding them in the process; it does not form a shot-trap since it doesn't deflect the penetrators outwards to hit the hull or turret ring. The gun mantle was redesigned to accept the new armour. There were also some improvements in the main armour composition. Tank interior received spall liners to reduce fragments if the armour is penetrated. Side skirts were replaced with a new type. The commander's sight was moved to a new position behind his hatch and it received an independent thermal channel. The gunner's sight was moved to the turret roof as opposed to the cavity in the front armour in previous models. A new heavier sliding driver's hatch was fitted. Turret controls went all-electric, increasing reliability and crew safety, and producing some weight savings. The gun braking system was improved to prepare the later mounting of the new L55 gun and to enable firing of more powerful ammunition, such as the DM-53 APFSDS. The A5 entered service in the German tank battalions in mid-1998.
The Leopard 2(S) is a Swedish Army variant of the Leopard 2A5, which has received the local designation Strv 122. It is based on what was then called "Leopard 2 Improved" and features increased armour on the turret top and front hull, and improved command and control and fire control systems. Externally, the vehicle can be distinguished from the Leopard 2 A5 by the French GALIX smoke dispensers, different storage bins, and the much thicker crew hatches.õ It's also equipped with a new command system.
The Leopard 2A5 DK is a variant of the Leopard 2A5 similar to the Leopard 2A6 with some small modifications, used by the Danish Army.