|Thaspian Armory Leopard|
Leopard Model 1
|Type||Main battle tank|
|Place of origin||Dacia|
|In service||2001 to present|
|Used by||Dacian Republican Army|
|Variants||Model 1, Model 2, LeoARV, LeoBLV, LeoENGV|
|125mm Thaspian Armor Snub Cannon|
|2 x Type 59T 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun, Type 54 12.7 mm air-defence machine gun|
|Engine|| Pantra Trucks S-74 liquid cooled V-12 diesel engine|
|410km, 600km with external tanks|
DesignThe Thaspian Leopard was first envisioned in 1994 as the Dacian government came to realize it was faced with an aging fleet of Type 59 tanks. The massive expense required to develop a new tank was not in the defense budget. Several options were reviewed, including the purchase of Type 90 main battle tanks. A deal was struck with Tarsas to purchase T80125 MBTs, the Tarsan variant of the Type 90. Delivery was slow, however and in 1995 when renewed conflict with the Namilian Liberators broke out, it was necessary to quickly acquire a new vehicle. Thaspian Armory, the primary Dacian arms manufacturer, started work on the vehicle in September of 1995. With the existing Type 59 as a template, development progressed quickly and the first vehicle was ready in May of 1996.
This initial vehicle was rejected, however, on the grounds that the barrel required too much steel to produce and the request for a 125mm gun was not honored. The advanced 105mm gun was removed and replaced with a 125mm Snub series gun with a shorter barrel for saving resources. The turret was enlarged and the engine was replaced with the latest engine from the Pantra S15 heavy military truck. The Leopard M2 was finally accepted for production in 1997.
The TA125 Snub was produced for the primary armament of the tank. It was decided that, in order to cut costs and save resources, developmental focus would be on increasing barrel pressure in order to achieve the same performance stats as the weapon it was developed off of, the TCS125, the latest Tarsan tank weapon. Several of the guns ere delivered to Thaspian Armor Works to test aboard the design for a new tank but were determined to be too expensive to effectively produce. The gun was developed into the TA125 Snub. The gun is capable of firing all but the most advanced modern ATGMs. The most attractive feature is the manufacture process, which consists of a simple steel barrel mated to a unibody gun system within the tank. The gun is installed in two parts, creating a weaker overall structure but reducing cost and time of manufacture. The snub's barrel was also designed with an extra layer of low grade steel lining inside, keeping the barrel useful for longer. The smoothbore design means that rifling is not present, reducing manufacture complication. The tank is also additionally armed with a machine gun.
The Leopard is propelled by an S-74 liquid cooled V-12, which first debuted in 1974. The engine was sourced from Pantra for its reliability and durability in all circumstances. The tank's reduced weight meant that the lower horsepower rating would be more than adequate. Production of the engine switched to a Pantra owned plant in Dacia for equipping aboard the tank.
- Leopard Mark I - Initial production variant launched in 2001. Initial problems with the weapon forced upgrades to be completed and all subsequent weapons swapped out.
- Leopard Mark II - In production from 2002 onward. Provided increased engine power and slightly more armor on the turret face.
- Leopard Mark III - 2010 update featuring newer fire control and sights. The main gun was upgraded slightly with increased barrel durability. Additional explosive reactive armor was placed across the hull.
- Leopard Gladiator - Tarsan assisted redesign of the vehicle completed in 2012. Features an all new technology suite taken from the latest model of the T80125. A Tarsan designed main weapon was put in place of the Thaspian Armory weapon. Manufactured jointly in Tarsas and Dacia, with the vast majority of the vehicles being shipped in from Tarsas.