Kampfpanzer Loewe

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Loewe Main Battle Tank

Loewe Ausf-C
Place of origin  Tannemark
Service history
In service 1979-present
Used by Common_Army (Tannemark)
Production history
Manufacturer Danaumetall
Produced 1978-present
Number built 2,400
Specifications
Weight 62.3 tonnes (Loewe Ausf D)
Length 9.97m (gun forward)
Width 3.75 m
Height 3 m
Crew 4

Armor Modular composite armour
Main
armament
120mm L/44 smoothbore gun (Loewe Ausf-A-C), L/55 smoothbore gun (Loewe Ausf-D)
Secondary
armament
MG74 7.62mm co-ax, MG74 pintle-mount
Engine Pinzgauer PE-2 V-12 twin-turbo diesel
1,479 bhp
Transmission Torsion bar
Operational
range
550km on road
Speed 72 kph on road


The Loewe is a Tannemarker model of main battle tank. Entering service in the late-70's to early-80's, it was intended to replace ageing license-built Daeconese designs such as the Kampfpanzer 57 and Kampfpanzer 68.

When first introduced in the late-70s, it was widely hailed as a revolutionary vehicle, striking the best balance between firepower, protection and mobility and pioneering advances such as the large-calibre smoothbore gun and composite armour. It was subsequently upgraded at regular intervals and remains a highly competitive design on the international market.

A Loewe Ausf-B in the early-2000's.

Protection

The Loewe was one of the first generation of main battle tanks to incorporate composite armour. Unlike many of its foreign counterparts, which opted for the ceramics-based Chobham armour scheme, Danaumetall engineers believed that it was overly focused on defeating HEAT munitions, at the expense of KE projectiles, as well as possessing inadequate multi-hit protection. Instead, the Loewe's designers used a perforated/spaced laminate of rolled steel, high hardness steel and rubber-based NERA layers, with the spaces in between layers filled with ceramic polystyrene foam, to create a passive armour suite which is slightly less effective than Chobham in defeating HEAT, but cheaper, lighter and more able to withstand multiple impacts, as well as increased effectiveness against APFSDS munitions. A kevlar/dyneema spalling layer is fitted to protect the crew compartment.

The Loewe Ausf-B model of the mid- to late-80s added titanium layers and heavy tungsten alloy inserts, although it retained the original turret's straight-sided look. The Loewe Ausf-C model of the 2000s added a wedge-shaped applique layer to the frontal turret armour, consisting of a laminate of super bainite steel, ceramics, rubber and titanium alloy for increased protection against KE and HEAT munitions alike. It has been estimated that the turret front of the late-80s Ausf-B standard could provide 700 mm rolled homogenous armour (RHA) equivalency against kinetic energy penetrators and 1000 mm RHA against shaped charge warheads, able to withstand a tungsten 125mm APFSDS round fired from 1,500m. There is currently no consensus among experts on the level of resistance provided by the Ausf-C and -D standards, although it is widely estimated to be considerably higher than the figures above. Further applique measures, such as slat armour, additional floor plates and rooftop ERA bricks may be installed for increased protection against RPG, mines and top-attack munitions respectively.

The Ausf-D+ incorporates the Redoubt Automatic Countermeasures System developed. It is an integrated suite combining automatic hardkill and softkill countermeasures with a variety of sensors. Its sensors component consists of apertures and receivers placed on a variety of spots on the vehicle's upper superstructure and covers the entire upper hemisphere. It includes electro-optical and radar targeting warning systems and a millimetre-band miniature radar array capable of detecting incoming missile or RPG rounds. Once a threat is detected, it is defeated using a variety of soft- and hard-kill countermeasures. The softkill component uses automatic decoy and smoke-dischargers effective against all relevant electro-magnetic wavelengths (derived from the MASS decoy system in use in the Commonwealth Navy, as well as IR jammers and laser blinders. The hardkill component uses a pod of sixteen vertical-launched missiles mounted on the rear of the turret to intercept incoming threats.

Firepower

The Ausf-A to Ausf-C models used a tri-axis stabilised 120mm L/44 smoothbore gun. The Ausf-D was originally intended to receive a 140mm weapon. However, it was ultimately rejected not only because of the resulting disproportionate increase in size and weight, but also the marked reduction in on-board ammunition load and the need to replace the fourth crewman with an autoloader, an expensive and laborious process. Rather, the Ministry of Defence decided to arm it with an upgraded L/55 calibre gun, with a longer barrel to produce higher muzzle velocity. The weapon is compatible with APFSDS, HEAT-MP-T, canister and smart top attack ammunitions.

Fire control was provided by a stabilised thermal imaging sight at the gunner's station (which also incorporates a laser range-finder/target designator) and a stabilised panoramic periscope for the commander. After the Ausf-C upgrade, which saw the gunner's sight moved to the top of the turret from its original position, the commander's sight also received a thermal imager, allowing the use of hunter-killer tactics at night and in adverse visibility conditions. Both are tied into a digital ballistics computer which can provide three range values in four seconds. The fire control suite allows the tank to accurately engage targets up to 5km away while moving at high speed over rough terrain.

Variants

  • Bergepanzer 3 (armoured recovery vehicle)
  • Panzerschnellbrücke 2 (armoured bridge layer)
  • Pionierpanzer 3 (armoured engineering vehicle)