|Manufacturer:||Krauss-Maffei Wegmann GmbH & Co.KG - KMW|
|Product type:||Armoured Vehicles|
|Name:||Main battle tank|
To replace its British-supplied 105 mm armed Centurion MBTs, Canada selected a modified version of the German Krauss-Maffei (which on 1st January 1999 became Krauss-Maffei Wegman) Leopard 1A3 fitted with the Belgian SABCA computerised fire-control system. The Canadian order comprised 114 MBTs, six bridgelayers and eight armoured recovery vehicles and was valued at C$187 million. The first Leopard 1A3s, called the C1 by Canada, were handed over in June 1978 by Krauss-Maffei and, under the terms of the contract, Krauss-Maffei took back the entire fleet of Canadian Centurion MBTs. Some of the Centurion turrets, complete with 105 mm L7 guns, were subsequently purchased by Austria for use in the static defence role. An illustration of this appears under Austria in the Coastal artillery guns and missiles (including fixed fortifications weapons) later in this volume.
The Canadian C1 Leopard MBTs and variants were deployed in Canada and in Germany, but in 1993 the latter were returned to Canada following the withdrawal of all Canadian Forces from Europe.
The Canadian Army subsequently ordered nine of the latest version of the Leopard 1 armoured engineer vehicle called Badger. These were built by MaK of Kiel with first vehicles being handed over in 1990.
Late in 1996 it was announced that the Canadian Forces were to carry out a major update on their fleet of C1 MBTs which involves the replacement of the existing turret with the complete turret of the German Leopard 1A5, this is covered in detail under Germany.
The Leopard 1A5 turret features the STN ATLAS Elektronik EMES-18 computerised fire-control system which incorporates a Carl Zeiss thermal imager. A total of 123 Leopard 1A5 are being purchased which will enable all of the 114 Canadian C1 MBTs to be fitted with the new turret.
Of the nine remaining turrets, five will be used as training turrets, two as complete spares for the EMES-18 fire-control system and two maintenance testbeds.
The 105 mm L7 rifled guns in the Leopard 1A5 turrets will not be retained but will be replaced by 105 mm guns from the existing Canadian Leopard C1 MBTs. The computers will be reprogrammed to match 105 mm ammunition used by Canada.
The work was carried out in Germany and commenced in June 1997 with the first turret being shipped to Canada in December 1997.
GLS refurbish the turret, remove the 105 mm gun, modify the turret where required, including the installation of the new radios ordered underthe Tactical Command, Control and Communications System project.
The turret will be shipped to Canada where a subcontractor will install the 105 mm barrel and mount theturret on the existing chassis for final delivery to the Canadian Forces. It is expected that about six turrets a month would be upgraded with each turret taking six months to upgrade. The programme is due to be completed by the year 2001.
Prime contractor is the German company GLS, a subsidiary of Krauss-Maffei which built almost all of the Leopard 1 series MBTs for the home and export markets. Total value of the contract is estimated to be C$145 million. The surplus Leopard 1A5 chassis will be retained by GLS and sold as spares.
It is expected that in the future the Canadian Leopard 1 MBTs will be replaced by the future Armoured Combat Vehicle, available details are given under Canada in the Light Tanks section.