Armor: May 26, 2000


The German Army is receiving its first 120mm/55-caliber tank cannons to be refitted into Leopard-2A5 tanks (turning them into Leopard-2A6s). Four of the cannons will be delivered this year, 34 in 2001, 47 in 2002, and 70 in 2003. These replace the 44-caliber cannons used in the Leopard-2 and the American M1A1 and M1A2. The longer cannon gets more out of existing ammunition. The Rheinmetall DM53 armor piercing fin stabilized discarding sabot round generates 11.5 megajoules of energy in the 44-caliber weapon, but 13mj from the longer 55-caliber weapon. The new longer cannon will be able to use even more powerful ammunition yet to be fielded. The Germans plan to field a new high explosive rocket-propelled round able to engage targets out to 5km. --Stephen V Cole 


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