The Leopard 2 is a main battle tank developed by Krauss-Maffei in the early 1970s for the West German Army. The tank first entered service in 1979 and succeeded the earlier Leopard 1 as the main battle tank of the German Army
According to information published on the Twitter account of Nicholas Drummond, the Leopard 2A7A1 main battle tank of the German Army (Bundeswehr) has now been fully integrated with the Israeli-made Rafael Trophy Active Protection System (APS) and will be deployed with NATO forces.
The new upgraded Leopard 2A7A1 fitted with the Rafael Trophy APS (Active Protection System) will be deployed with the NATO Very High Joint Readiness Task Force (VJTF). The VJTF is made up of land, air, maritime and Special Forces, and is part of the Alliance’s 40,000-strong NATO Response Force.
In February 2021, German company Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) has announced a contract to install the Israeli Trophy on German Leopard 2A7 MBTs (Main Battle Tanks). It is expected that in the future German Army will procure additional TROPHY systems to equip most of its modern fleet of Leopard 2 MBTs with APS capabilities.
The Leopard 2A7 is one of the latest generations of MBT in the Leopard 2 family. The main features of this new upgrade of the Leopard 2 tank include a new armor, an energy system, crew compartment cooling system, and new weapon engagement system. The first tanks were delivered to the German army in December 2014. A total of 14 vehicles were produced for Tank Battalion 203, plus four more going to the Armoured Corps Training Centre and one vehicle at the Technical School for Land Systems and School for Technology of the Army.
The main armament of the Leopard 2A7 is similar to the Leopard 2A6 that includes one L/55 120mm Rh 120 smoothbore gun, one MG3A1 7.62x51mm caliber coaxial machine gun, and 7.62mm MG3 machine gun mounted on loader hatch located on the left side of the roof turret.
The Israeli Trophy APS is now in service with three countries including Israel on the Merkava 4, United States on the M1A2 SEPV V3 also called M1A2C and the German Leopard 2A7A1. The Trophy APS consists of radar antennas, countermeasure, launcher and autoloader. When a projectile is detected, the internal computer calculates an approach vector before the projectile arrives. Once the incoming weapon is classified, the computers calculate the optimal time and angle to fire the counter-measures. The response comes from two rotating launchers installed on the sides of the vehicle which fire a very small number of MEFPs (Multiple Explosive Formed Penetrators) which form a very tight, precise matrix, aimed at a specific point on the anti-tank projectile’s warhead.
According to the picture released by KMW, one radar antenna is mounted on each of the main armament at the front of the turret while for the Israeli Merkava IV and American M1A2C, the radar antennas are mounted on the side of the turret.