In 1988, German engineers began work on modernizing the Leopard 2 main battle tank. Improvements were made to the tank’s defensive capabilities, primarily the turret armour. Moreover, the 2A5 model was fitted with an electric stabiliser instead of the electro-hydraulic variant that the previous versions used.
The gunner received improved and less vulnerable optics, and the tank commander – a panoramic periscope with thermal imaging. The build of the driver’s hatch was also modified, along with several other minor improvements made to the general design.
Leading to the 2A5 modernization program being officially approved by the military officials of Germany, Sweden and the Netherlands. It is interesting to note that the models exported to the last two countries on the list were actually different from the ones issued to the German army – for instance, the Bundeswehr tanks received no extra frontal hull armour. Production of Leopard 2A5 tanks began in 1995. Overall, 350 earlier-version Leopards were upgraded as a result of the program.