The Turkish military blog, SavunmaSanayiST, released several photos on March 30 showing a modernized Turkish Leopard 2A4 main battle tank (MBT).
The local Turkish upgrade package added a completely modern armour suit for the German-made MBT, which was first introduced in the late 70s. The Turkish Armed Forces operate more than 350 tanks of the 2A4 type.
Modernizasyon çalışmaları devam etmekte olan Kara Kuvvetleri Komutanlığına ait 𝐋𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐝 𝟐𝐀𝟒 Ana Muharebe Tankı (AMT).
Modernizasyon ile ilgili değerlendirme yazımız, özel bilgi ve görsellerle bugün sizinle olacaktır. pic.twitter.com/OhptxuG7ya
— SavunmaSanayiST (@SavunmaSanayiST) March 30, 2019
The photos show that the front of the Leopard tank was equipped with an add-on modular armour. However, the sides of the tank’s turret and body were covered with explosive reactive armour (ERA) bricks similar in design to the Soviet-made Kontakt-1. In the back of the tank, a simple slat armour was installed.
According to SavunmaSanayiST, the new armour suit should protect the tank from high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads, which can be found in most anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and some rocket-propelled grenades, like the Soviet-made RPG-29.
Between 2016 and 2017, the Turkish military lost several leopard 2A4 in the course of Operation Euphrates Shield against ISIS in the northern countryside of Syria’s Aleppo. Most of these tanks were destroyed with ATGMs.
SavunmaSanayiST said that the new upgrade package may also include the Pulat active protection system (APS) and the SARP UKSS remote-controlled weapon station (RCWS). Both systems are locally made in Turkey by ASELSAN.
It remains unclear if the Turkish military is planning to equip all of its Leopard 2A4 with this new upgrade package, or if it is only meant as a temporary solution for possible future operations in northern Syria.