The Leopard 2A4M CAN main battle tank features a four-man battle crew, including the commander, the gunner, the loader and the driver. The weight of the vehicle increased to 62.5 tons, the length of 9.61m including gun barrel, width of 4.05m and height of 2.5m.
As a close ally, the interesting thing is that Canada says no to American tanks, instead European tanks. In the mid-2000s, Canada became increasingly aware of the importance of the main battle tanks as their Leopard C2 were deployed in Afghanistan. They need the tanks that have better protection against mines and improvised explosive devices than the Leopard C2.
At that time, the Leopard C2 platform was 40 years old, no longer modernization potential, and increasingly difficult task of ensuring combat. To speed up the strengthening of armored forces, Canada decided to buy 80 Leopard 2A4 and 20 Leopard 2A6 tanks from the Dutch Army, in addition to 20 more Leopard 2A6s borrowed from Germany.
Old and less capable Leopard 2A4 tanks were used for Canadian training units. In 2009, Canada signed a contract with Germany’s Krauss-Maffei Wegmann Group to refurbish and upgrade 20 Leopard 2A4 purchased from the Netherlands to 2A4M CAN standard. The process was completed in 2010 and five were sent to combat in Afghanistan.
The Leopard 2A4M CAN version has mainly been upgraded to an additional level of protection thanks to the mounting of composite armor plates, which is especially effective against against high-explosive anti-tank warhead or improvised explosive devices. The armor is similar to the one used for Leopard 2A7 but has a different detail, including a mine protection belly plate was added.
The rear area of the hull and turret is fitted with cage armor, making it highly effective against RPG-7 rockets. Another change is that the turret uses an electric control system rather than the original hydraulic system.
The “heart” of Leopard 2A4M CAN is the MTU MB-837 Ka501 turbocharged diesel engine with a capacity of 1,500 horsepower. The tank can reach a maximum speed of 72 km/h, a range of 550 km. 2A4M CAN is able to cross 60% slope, on 30% inclined plane, over obstacles 1.15m high, 3m wide trench, 1m deep water wading when not prepared or up to 4m if fitted breathing tube.
Leopard 2A4M CAN retains the 120 mm L/44 smoothbore gun with the same 42 rounds as its predecessor, although it was originally planned to install the 120 mm L/55 gun similar to the Leopard 2A6 version. L/55 guns have a longer range and more accurate, deployed more powerful shells, promoting a clear effect when participating in tank battles. But because the Afghan battlefield did not require this ability, the L/44 gun was eventually retained. Its auxiliary weapons include two C6 7.62 mm machine guns, the number of bullets is 4,750 rounds. In addition, when necessary, Leopard 2A4M CAN can attach a dozer blade, mine clearance kits, etc.The familiarity with the use of Leopard tanks and its high level of protection led Canada to choose this variant rather than the American M1 Abrams. What is even more strange is that Canadian armored forces are largely self-equipped or purchased from Europe rather than using American armored vehicles, except for armored personnel carrier M113 because it is too popular.