SASDI-VLT Léiw

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SASDI-VLT Léiw
VLLeiwmbt.jpg
Type Main battle tank
Place of origin  Van Luxemburg
Service history
In service 2008-present
Used by Van Luxemburg
Production history
Designer VLT Automotive N.V.
SASDI, consortium consisting of:
Automobili Monteluci
Müller Maschinenbau
Walter Technologie
Hembrug Wapeninrichtingen
Armurerie Saumur
Designed 1999-2008
Manufacturer Müller Panzerwerke
Unit cost $8 million (Léiw)
Produced 2008-present
Number built 1000+
Specifications
Weight 65,000 kg
Length 9.4 m (gun forward)
Width 3.6m
Height 3.1m (suspension in highest position)
2.9 m (suspension in lowest position)
Crew 4 (commander, gunner, driver, loader)

Armor composite armour, ERA kit available
Main
armament
Hembrug Wapeninrichtingen 120mm L55 calibre smoothbore cannon
Secondary
armament
2 * 7.62 mm Fiorentini FVM-56
1* 15.5mm BRG-15 on remote weapons station
Engine VLT Special Vehicles 25-litre Flat-12 Diesel engine
1650 hp
Power/weight 26.2 hp/ton
Transmission 10-speed automatic torque converter gearbox
Suspension HPVS Hydropneumatic
Ground clearance variable
Operational
range
650km
Speed Road: 73 km/h
Off road: 55 km/h


The Léiw (English: Lion) is the lead vehicle in a family of main battle tank-based armoured fighting vehicles produced by the Van Luxemburger defence consortium SASDI, in cooperation with VLT. It is the mainstay of the Van Luxemburger cavalry forces, for whom the tank was designed.

The Léiw is unusual in its layout, since it features a front-mounted engine, unlike many of its counterparts. Whilst this provides better protection for the crew and allows them to disembark the vehicle from the rear, the main cause for this design feature is the fact that the hull is largely interchangeable with a wider family of AFV’s, among which APC’s, IFV’s, self-propelled anti-air guns and howitzers, as well as a variety of engineering vehicles.

History

With further MBT development ongoing across Maredoratica, particularly in Questers, the Van Luxemburgers felt compelled to further its own tank development and create a wholly new class of advanced main battle tanks that could complement the SASDI Ghepardo already in service. The new MBT was to be heavier than the wheeled Ghepardo, and as such equip the true armoured divisions of the Arméi with a better armoured fighting vehicle that could go head-to-head with the region’s most advanced main battle tanks.

The order for the development was once again granted to the logical choice for the Arméi; the SASDI consortium, consisting of Automobili Monteluci, Müller Panzerwerke, Walter Technologie, Hembrug Wapeninrichtingen and Armurerie Saumur. For this important assignment, the consortium also called in the assistance of VLT Special Vehicles to have more vehicle expertise available.

Development of the new tank began in 1999, with the initial production stage for the entire family being reached in late 2008. Since then, nearly 1000 vehicles of the entire family have been built and orders from the Van Luxemburger Arméi are expected to be completed within two years.

Mobility

With the Automobili Monteluci DVS Flat-12 engine already under development for the Ghepardo, VLT engineers did not waste time creating their own engine, but rather used the 18-litre Flat-12 as a basis for the propulsion of the Léiw.

The 18-litre displacement of the Monteluci engine was however not enough for the Léiw’s required power figure of at least 600 horsepower. Therefore, the DVS Flat-12 was increased in size from 18 litres to 25 litres, or about 2.0 litres per cylinder.

The 12 horizontally opposed cylinders receive their air through two bi-turbochargers, as in the original design. The highly responsive twin turbochargers make it possible for the driver to have power available at all times, as the nature of the design of a biturbocharger tries to eliminate any kind of lag in the power band. In order to make sure enough boost pressure is available, the engineers decided to make use of two separate biturbochargers, one for each cylinder bank. The Diesel fuel is fed through a common-rail injection unit that injects the fuel under high pressure (1850 bar) directly into the combustion chamber. Due to the use of direct injection and advanced turbocharger technologies, the 25-litre engine of the Léiw is able to put out 1650 horsepower.

The vehicle is fitted with an automatic gearbox with torque converter, a simple and proven system that can handle the massive amount of torque produced by the engine, while being very reliable. The transmission comes equipped with 7 forward and 3 reverse gears, allowing the Léiw to attain a maximum road speed of 73 km/h forward and 45 km/h in reverse. The hydraulically-operated fluid coupling of the automatic gearbox and its supporting systems have been placed in front of the engine, to drive the sprocket at the front of the vehicle.

In the rear of the vehicle, where the space normally used for the powerpack is now vacant, several fuel tanks measuring a total of 1,400 litres were installed, along with ammunition storage. The size of the fuel tank allows the vehicle to attain a maximum range of 650 km. In other vehicles of the Léiw family, the space normally used for ammunition storage is used to accommodate up to 8 fully-equipped infantrymen.

For the suspension system, engineers proposed the use of the Hydropneumatic Vehicle System (HPVS), which had already been used on a great number of wheeled military vehicles, to great success. The HPVS system of the Léiw is equipped with a computer that can measure pitch, roll, acceleration and deceleration in both lateral and longitudinal directions , as well as various other variables in relation to the actions of the driver and the condition of the surface. The computer, also connected to several gyroscopes, can thus monitor the movements of the vehicle, and anticipate and act upon changes in the suspension level by reducing or increasing the level of hydraulic fluid in specific cylinders or in all cylinders, through a central pump with a reservoir for hydraulic fluid. The driver also has the ability to make the vehicle kneel or tilt to one side, but can also choose to lower or higher the entire suspension, thus allowing the AFV to reduce its silhouette by being lower, or having more ground clearance in a higher suspension setting. The body computer also knows when the gun is discharged, and the system will move to counteract the recoil of the system to make sure the vehicle will remain stable.

The cylinders used in this system have very few moving parts, meaning they require little maintenance, and will not require replacement often. The system itself is light, reliable and relatively small, and ready for a long service life. Furthermore, should replacement be necessary, a mechanic can mount a new cylinder unit (which can be ordered complete or in parts, with complete units only requiring basic mechanical skill to mount into the hull and connect the hydraulic tubing). All cylinders are encapsulated in armoured units behind armoured skirts, protecting the system from being damaged. Should one of the cylinders be damaged, despite these protection measures, the central body computer of the suspension system can detect a leak in the system and shut off the leaking cylinders by closing valves. This prevents a leak from draining the system and allows the Léiw to continue, despite damage to the suspension system. Next to these features, HPVS also offers a vehicle weight indicator, making it easy to remind the driver or commander of the weight of the vehicle.

Armament

In order to comply with the Arméi demands, the Léiw was fitted with a 120mm L55 smoothbore main gun, produced by Hembrug Wapeninrichtingen. Unlike its wheeled counterpart, the Ghepardo, the Léiw is equipped with a 4th crew member, who acts as the loader of the vehicle. The main gun is capable of firing a variety of ammunitions, including APFSDS-T, HEAT, but also gun-launched anti-tank missiles. Due to the additional space in the vehicle, owing to the location of the engine, the Léiw can carry a total of 54 rounds, of which 25 in the turret bustle.

In addition, the Léiw was equipped with more secondary weaponry, including two Fiorentini FVM-56 7.62mm light machine guns. One of these weapons serves as the coaxial weapon of the main gun, whereas the other is at the disposal of the loader, normally used in an anti-aircraft or anti-personnel role. The commander meanwhile has a remote weapons system at its disposal, equipped with a BRG-15 15.5mm machine gun, as well as smoke grenades. There have been plans to equip the RWS with a missile launcher in addition to its current armament, however these plans were shelved following cost and weight concerns; it was deemed that other vehicles in the Léiw’s supporting cavalry units already filled with missile roles.

Protection

Ceramic armour, well-protected, heavy, etc, should be completed.

Variants

The Léiw is a large family of vehicles related to the main battle tank. Most of these vehicles were built to support the cavalry of the Arméi in its role.

Léiw MBT family
The Léiw MBT  
A Jaguar IFV  
A Serval APC  
A Nashorn self-propelled howitzer  
A Hippo bridgelayer  
A Muli armoured recovery vehicle  
A Zebra armoured engineering vehicle  

Jaguar

The SASDI Jaguar is an infantry fighting vehicle based on the Léiw. Equipped with a 35mm autocannon, as well as a 7.62mm Fiorentini FVM-56 light machine gun as a coaxial weapon, the Jaguar can carry a total of 8 fully equipped soldiers, and has a crew of 3 (driver, gunner, commander).

Serval

The SASDI Serval is an Armoured Personnel Carrier which does not feature the turret of the Léiw but is equipped with a remote weapons system similar to the commanders’ weapon on the Léiw, instead. Unlike the RWS of the Léiw, however, the RWS system of the Serval is capable of mounting a total of four guided missiles, in two boxes on either side of the 15.5mm main weapon. These guided missile launchers can be used for up to 4 missiles, either anti-air or anti-tank. Capable of carrying 8 fully equipped soldiers, the APC has the same capacity as the Jaguar IFV. It however only has a crew of two, consisting of a driver and a gunner, who at the same time acts as a commander.

The Serval-AT is a specifically modified version of the APC, which carries the supersonic Springer anti-tank missile from a special launcher array. The vehicle was specifically designed to act as a tank destroyer and is to be used against highly advanced modern tanks. A total of 20 rounds are carried inside the vehicle, and the launcher in the RWS can be reloaded through an automated reloading system.

Luuss

The Luuss (Lynx) is a self-propelled anti-air gun, which features a turret consisting of a radar array operating in the X and Ka radar bands, two 35mm anti-air guns, and up to twelve IRIS-T anti-air missiles. The radar array consists of a target acquisition radar and a dual waveband tracking radar, with a detection range in excess of 30 km and a tracking range in excess of 20 km. The vehicle is capable of targeting helicopters, UAVs and aircraft flying at both low and medium-high altitudes, up to 15,000 metres. In addition, it is capable of targeting cruise missiles and guided munitions, thanks to its accurate radar system. It has a crew of 3, consisting of a driver, gunner and commander. For self-defence, it is also equipped with a single 7.62mm Fiorentini FVM-56 light machine gun.

Nashorn

The Nashorn (English: Rhinoceros) is a self-propelled howitzer based on the Léiw platform. It is equipped with a Hembrug Wapeninrichtingen 155mm L52 gun, capable of accurately firing at targets 40 km away (with assisted projectiles). It can fire rounds in rapid succession, with a rate of fire of 10 rounds per minute. It has a crew of five, consisting of a driver, commander, gunner and two loaders. For self-defence, the vehicle is equipped with a single 7.62mm Fiorentini FVM-56 light machine gun.

Hippo

The Hippo is a bridgelaying vehicle.

Zebra

The Zebra is a combat engineering vehicle. Equipped with an excavator, mine-clearing plow/bulldozer, as well as a powerful winch, the vehicle can assist in combat operations by breaching or demolishing obstacles, or create them. For self defence, it is equipped with a remote weapons system consisting of a BRG-15 and smoke grenade launchers.

Muli

The Muli (English: Mule) is an armoured recovery vehicle. Equipped with a crane, winch and bulldozer, it can quickly recover vehicles of the Léiw family or vehicles of similar weight with relative ease. It can defend itself using a remote weapons system consisting of a BRG-15 and smoke grenade launchers.

Operators

 Van Luxemburg The Arméi makes extensive use of the vehicle family, operating all variants for its cavalry forces, combat engineers, artillery and air defense units.

Potential operators

The SASDI Consortium, with Müller Maschinenbau and VLT Automotive N.V. in particular, have been actively offering the Léiw to a number of foreign states over the past years. These include nations with close relations with Van Luxemburg in particular, including states such as Brunswick-Swabia, Sondstead, Jungastia and a number of others.