Developed from a 1956 French-German specification and mass-produced since the beginning of the ’60 by a group of German firms headed by Krauss-Maffei (and later license-built also by Oto-Melara) the Leopard 1, thanks to its wide diffusion in the western countries (6000 units of different variants have been built for some ten nations) can be considered the reference armoured vehicle of the period 1970-90 for the NATO allies.
The Leopard 1 in the Italian Army:
In 1971 the Italian Army acquired the first 200 Leo-1 A1 directly from Germany.
In 1974 Oto-Melara started license production of further 720 Leo 1 A2 (equipped with a new reinforced-steel turret and improved firing capabilities) with which the armoured units of the Italian Army renewed and standardised the first-line equipment.
Recently, in the frame of the modernisation program undertaken by the Italian Army, 120 Leo-1 A2 have been updated to the “A5” standard by replacement of the old turrets with as many new turrets directly brought from Germany.
Characteristics (Leo-1 A1):
Powered by a D.B. M.B. 838 dual-fuel engine with 618 kw (830HP); battle weight: 40t; max speed: 65 km/h; road range: 600 km.
Main armament is a 105/51 Vickers L7 A1 gun, two t,62 MG (one coaxial and the other roof-mounted), 8 smoke dischargers placed on the turret sides.
Total length: 9,54m
Hull length: 7,00m