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Canuck Armor
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blair
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:15 pm
Post subject: Canuck Armor

As a Canadian I'm confused as to why our governemnt thought it prudent to purchase the Leo Tank as opposed to the M1. If the Australians got such a good deal then why didn't our brothers across the border cut us the same slack?

I know we have an existing history with the Leopard, but when you consider the cost of having that armor shipped back to Canada and the logistics of spare parts wouldn't the price difference per unit be closer?

Also, by having the same system as the Americans, wouldn't the cost of ammunition and transportation of the original units and spare parts be considerably less than a Transoceanic supply "line"?

Did our government somehow decide that the Leo was far more capable in the Canadian Tundra than the M1?

I mean we dropped our FN's for the C+ versions of the M16, so why wouldn't we do the same for armor?
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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Sat Apr 14, 2007 10:58 pm
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

Blair,
Have you ever wondered why there are more users of the Leopard II than the M1 series ?? Until Austrailia got the M1 the only foreign users were Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Kuwait. Same thing applies to automobiles. Unless the buyer has some incentive to puchase from a particular maker, they usually go with what best suits their needs and within their budget. Budget usually winning out. In my personal opinion for what it's worth, I believe the M1 would have been exported in greater numbers if it had a diesel engine.

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bsmart
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:37 am
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

Aren't the Canadian tanks coming from excess stocks of NATO allies? If so it may have been a very sweet deal. I agree that there may be reluctance to go to a vehicle with a turbine instead of diesel when you won't have enough units to justify the extra training and support structure.

But I would not discount the 'We want to prove we are not subserviant to the U.S. in our procurement choices' line of thought either

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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:41 am
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

I think I would agree with Joe D - I suspect support costs (ie fuel) for the M1 Abrams' turbine engine may have been too much for the Canadian army. A diesel is much cheaper...

Otherwise the US can probably offer just as sweet a deal, if not better, on used Abrams than anyone can on used Leopard 2s... In fact, US foreign military sales and excess defense article transfers usually have a big advantage in terms with the extremely large support & spare parts packages that come with them...

Abrams would also have the advantage of coming with some of the neater whizzbang tech like FBCB2 that wont come with Leos... Thats a big reason why the Australians bought Abrams IMO... But then again the Australians probably see a bigger requirement to possibly fight alongside the US Army in the future than the Canadian army does...

Neil
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bsmart
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:06 am
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

- Neil_Baumgardner
I think I would agree with Joe D - I suspect support costs (ie fuel) for the M1 Abrams' turbine engine may have been too much for the Canadian army. A diesel is much cheaper...

Otherwise the US can probably offer just as sweet a deal, if not better, on used Abrams than anyone can on used Leopard 2s... In fact, US foreign military sales and excess defense article transfers usually have a big advantage in terms with the extremely large support & spare parts packages that come with them...


I agree about support costs but also I wonder how many non DU armor M1s there are available for FMS? Wasn't that a requirement for Australia? I could see that being a requirement (or at least a desire to keep down fringe media stories)


Abrams would also have the advantage of coming with some of the neater whizzbang tech like FBCB2 that wont come with Leos... Thats a big reason why the Australians bought Abrams IMO... But then again the Australians probably see a bigger requirement to possibly fight alongside the US Army in the future than the Canadian army does...

Neil


The Canadians won't be fighting alongside the U.S.?? Are you hinting that we need to watch out for leopards rolling out of Saskatchewan and Manitoba into Montana & North Dakota??? Shocked Smile

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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:26 am
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

Nah, I'm just hinting that Australia appears to see itself as a coalition partner for the US for almost whereever it goes. Australian strategy is undergoing a change from the post-Vietnam focus on continental defense to expeditionary operations alongside or in cooperation with the US. The ability to fight alongside the US is a big reason why they are mechanizing their forces and they're in Iraq today... And interoperability drives requirements for equipment...

For better or worse, Canada does not see the same purpose or have the same objectives for its military. Its focus has and is on peacekeeping operations... Warfighting (especially alongside the US) tends not to be a primary objective, although the current CDS has decried that somewhat...

Neil
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Roy_A_Lingle
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 8:55 am
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

Hi Folks!

I agree with the 'cost of support' idea but I think there maybe another issue that was also factored in. The Leo 2s are surplus and available now.

From what I am seeing, there are not a lot of surplus Abrams waiting for someone to buy or rent. The Army is transfering rebuild Abrams to the USMC to replace high mileage vehicles that need to be overhauled.

It sounds like the Canadians want the first batch in time for their next rotation. That means delays only for training and minor upgrades.

The news here at Ft. Bliss is the FCS test BCT is facing delays in receiving Abrams and Bradleys because there are none available due to overhaul/rebuild schedule and funding crunch.

My guess is there are at least three reasons to go with that group of Leos. The Leo 2s are cheaper to use, a group of vehicles that have not been ran into the ground are available and factory space for upgrading is available to support the Canadain time line for deployment and training.

You can also add to the above the fact that almost everytime a group of international AFV experts rank the worlds MBTs, the Leo 2 is rated number one and the Abrams as second best. As a retired member of the US military, that fact is hard to take, but it is a fact.
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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 9:36 am
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

Roy,
As an M1 Tanker (Former unfortunately) I hate to admit it but I agree with you. One tank that I think does not get enough recognition is the UK's Challenger II. I spent about 5 hours with a British Master Gunner in the Udari Desert in early 2003 getting a full tour and an honest ( I believe ) Pro's and Con's of the tank. I was very impressed. Some things made so much more sense in maintenance, reliability and simplicity. They also seem to have the APU problem well covered, something we have yet to fix.

Joe D
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Jason_Bobrowich
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 10:03 am
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

Blair,

Being an ex-Canadian Leopard commander I am still very much in contact with Armoured Corps members who are in the know about the Leopard 2 purchase.

The Abrams was looked at and considered to replace the Leopard C2. The deal that was struck with the Dutch and the Germans at Kraus-Maffei was far better than anything as far as cost, availablility, and long term servicing the US could offer for the Abrams. The deal includes not only the tanks, but state of the art upgrades, and parts, training, and extras for five years.

All of the tanks purchased will be upgraded to the Leopard 2A6 version as I previously had posted. The 2A5/2A6 has already been tested by the Germans for further upgrades such as:

-IFF Identification Friend/Foe system
-Europower pack to increase the 1500 hp to 1800 hp and reduce fuel consumption...this will make the Leopard 2 the most powerful tank in the world.
-active defence systems to defeat both RPG and guided weapons

The LKE II DM 53 120 mm round used by the Germans in the Leopard 2A6 can penetrate double reactive armour up to 4000 meters....this is without the use of a DU penetrator.

Ammunition transport is not an issue. All of the Leopard C1 and C2 ammunition was made in Quebec. This has been done for years. It will be easy for them to convert to producing 120 mm ammunition....after the technology is passed from the Germans to the Canadian company. The 120 mm is also capable of firing US made rounds also so more ammunition can be bought from them....no problems that I can see.

You also have to see the bigger picture too. Canada is buying the Leopard 2 not only as its new main battle tank but every heavy armoured support AFV will also be based on the Leopard 2 chassis.

-Leopard 2 Buffel ARV
-Armoured Engineer Vehicle...likely the Kodiak AEV-3
-Leguan or PSB-2 AVLB

This is very very smart for logistics, common parts, and training.

Not even the US forces can boast that. They are spread out with different vehicles for different uses. They have to train techs, crews, and maintainers on multiple vehicles.....M1A1, M1A2, M88A2, M104 Wolverine AVLB, M1 Panther 2, M60 AVLB, M9 ACE....and they don't even have an AEV except for the Assault Breacher Vehicle that will enter service in 2007 with the USMC.

You cannot compare the purchase of rifles to the purchase of tanks. But if you want to...the Canadian C7 is produced in Canada by Diemaco/Colt Canada. The C7 was based on the US M16A2 but had many improvements. The C7/C8 is now produced in Canada for the Canadian Forces, Norway, Denmark, Netherlands, and British SAS.

The Royal Canadian Armoured Corps Master Instructors made the recommendation to their chain of command and on to the government that the Leopard 2 was the better tank overall when compared to the Abrams as far as cost, future upgrades, armour protection, and user friendliness. The US could not match all of this with any deal they offered.

Neil, I have to disagree that the Canadian Forces are focused on Peacekeeping operations now or in the future. Things have changed since 9-11. Canadian Forces primary mandate has always been to maintain an overall combat capability and the "peacekeeping/peacemaking" operations are just a testament to how flexible the forces can be to be able to go into a foreign nation and be neutral yet tough and not bring its political agenda.

Why does any nation that will "fight" alongside the US have to have the same equipment? The British don't have a bit of US equipment yet they did just fine in both Gulf wars. The chances of Canada deploying to another mission on foreign soil and "fighting" along side another Leopard 2 user nation are far greater than with the Abrams. The Danish have some of their Leopard 2A5DKs on standby for Afghanistan.

Look at the UNPROFOR, IFOR, SFOR, and KFOR missions and the use of both the Leopard 1 and Leopard 2:

UNPROFOR-Danish Leopard 1A5DK, Canadian Badger AEV
IFOR- Canadian Leopard C1, Danish Leopard 1A5DK, Italian Leopard 1A5IT, Dutch Leopard 2A4
SFOR- Danish Leopard 1DK, Italian Leopard 1A5IT, Dutch Leopard 2A5
KFOR- German Leopard 2A5, German Leopard 2A4, Canadian Leopard C1, Danish Leopard 1A5DK-1, Belgium Leopard 1A5BE, Norway Leopard 1 Bergepanzer, Norway Leopard 1 AEV, Norway Leopard 1 Leguan AVLB, Italian Leopard 1A5IT

Those are just off the top of my head there may be more users...only the US used the Abrams in the Balkans.

With the purchase of the four C-17 Globemaster aircraft Canada will be able to transport its new tanks anywhere in the world...no reliance on the US for this anymore.

The German loaned Leopard 2A6Ms will be in Afghanistan for the fall 2007 rotation. The first Canadian modified Leopard 2A6Ms will go to Afghanistan and replace the German loaned tanks in 2008.
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:12 am
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

- Jason_Bobrowich
Blair,

Neil, I have to disagree that the Canadian Forces are focused on Peacekeeping operations now or in the future. Things have changed since 9-11. Canadian Forces primary mandate has always been to maintain an overall combat capability and the "peacekeeping/peacemaking" operations are just a testament to how flexible the forces can be to be able to go into a foreign nation and be neutral yet tough and not bring its political agenda.

Why does any nation that will "fight" alongside the US have to have the same equipment? The British don't have a bit of US equipment yet they did just fine in both Gulf wars. The chances of Canada deploying to another mission on foreign soil and "fighting" along side another Leopard 2 user nation are far greater than with the Abrams. The Danish have some of their Leopard 2A5DKs on standby for Afghanistan.


Yeah, I figured I'd get in trouble for that somehow Wink However, General Hillier, even post 9/11, has commented on how the Canadian military has been too focused on peacekeeping rather than warfighting. But I will grant that has started to change...

The missions you mentioned are all very good examples of peacekeeping missions... Look at ODS, OIF, you'll see a different mix of systems - and no Leopards...

Of course not every nation needs to have the same platforms, but rather what comes inside - battle management, comms, etc - is what counts in terms of interoperability. Its easier to get those systems if you get Abrams rather than something else. Although its not impossible to get them otherwise of course - the Brits got some, but not a lot, of BFT systems during the initial combat ops of OIF. But even then, look at the different roles & responsibilities that were taken during those initial combat ops & the drive to Baghdad...

At the very least, you have to admit there is a pretty big difference in how Australia and Canada see their future military capabilities and warfighting requirements vis-a-vi the United States. IMO, JMHO, that influences the procurements that each has made... You made an excellent point that more often than not the Canadian army will be deploying alongside Leopard users and not Abrams...

Neil
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Jason_Bobrowich
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 11:53 am
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

Canada wanted to send an Armoured Battlegroup to the 1991 Gulf War...it was called Operation Broadsword and would have included the 8CH in the Leopard C1....logistics proved to be the failing point of the operation....not the crews or tanks.

I think Canada has a realistic way of looking at how to maintain a new main battle tank and work side by side with NATO forces over the next couple of decades...the Germans plan to keep the Leopard 2A6, with further upgrades for the next 25+ years.

The Canadian, US, British, Dutch, and Australian forces are all fighting side by side in Afghanistan without integrated battlefield management systems...and doing a fine job too.

It will be interesting to see how long it takes for US, Australian, Egyptian, Kuwaiti, and Saudi Arabian Abrams to go into battle along side each other compared to the Leopard 2 user forces.
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:25 pm
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

Jason, some very good points. But I think we're talking about a different kind of "fighting." The United States, Australia and UK seek to have a "full-spectrum" military capability - from peacekeeping through low-intensity conflict, small-scale contingencies and counter-insurgency all the way right up to large-scale conventional warfare - and are making procurement decisions that support that objective. Not many countries aspire to have that complete range of capabilities, and you may not need integrated battle management systems for the lower end.

In terms of "going into battle," will we ever see a record of engagement of Leopard 2 tanks against other tanks? Maybe... The Abrams & Challenger 2 already do... And I dont think thats so much a statement upon the tanks, but rather on the users and their foreign policy and military choices & objectives... Not to say that Leopard 2s arent useful for other situations & missions, but they were designed primarily to fight other tanks...

But as I said, Hillier and others would apparently like to see a more balanced mix in the Canadian military - and the Leopard 2s are part of that...

Neil
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 12:40 pm
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

- Roy_A_Lingle
Hi Folks!
You can also add to the above the fact that almost everytime a group of international AFV experts rank the worlds MBTs, the Leo 2 is rated number one and the Abrams as second best. As a retired member of the US military, that fact is hard to take, but it is a fact.
My pocket full of pennies.
Sgt, Scouts Out!


Thats only if you measure the tanks by very traditional, static measures such as armor, firepower (gun), and mobility... But IMO, those arent even competitive discriminators anymore. Tank development has been stagnant for almost a decade now... They all have sufficient levels of protection for most warfighting requirements, they all have 120mm guns with similar ranges, ammo & firepower, and they all have at least enough mobility for modern requirements.

Again, IMO, its what inside that counts as the real discriminators right now- O&S costs for turbine engines not withstanding. Look at the engagement ranges in Operation Desert Storm and Operation Iraqi Freedom - what really set the US and its allies aside was the capability to detect, acquire and destroy enemy armor at greater ranges. In most cases in the initial combat ops of OIF, Iraqi armor (the little that there was that did fight) didnt even know where it was being engaged from, let alone able to fire upon their opponents. For those engagements, what counted was blue force tracking, radios & optics... In most cases, US armor protection wasnt even tested by Iraqi tank rounds...

Similarly, what were the real discriminators in 1940? Was it armor, firepower and mobility? Those factors appear to have mattered relatively little for the French S35s and Char Bs vs the German Pz Is and IIs, and precious few IIIs and IVs. Rather, what mattered was doctrine, maneuver and the ability to coordinate forces - by which radios (which the French tanks lacked) that were a critical element. Certainly, the static measures mattered more in 1944 - but I dont think the Leopard 2 has a Tiger-scale of advantages over the Abrams... And they all had radios at that point to level that part of the playing field...

Frankly, if you intend to fight full-up large-scale warfare - against other tanks - its what comes _with_ the Abrams tank that matters a lot more than the "advantages" that the Leopard 2 has... But thats just MHO...

Neil
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Jason_Bobrowich
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 5:39 pm
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

I personally wouldn't say that Australia is going for a "full-spectrum" military capability. They only bought 59 M1A1 AIMs and only 45 or so of them will be in Regimental service the rest are for training. They still use M113s as APCs, it can't keep up with the Abrams...are they going to buy Bradleys too?

I don't see a rush to get Aussie tankers to Iraq in loaned or leased or purchased Abrams....where's the heavy support for the objective? There is about 850 total Australians involved in the operation in Iraq. This includes Navy, Airforce, and HQ related members. They have one Squadron (strength of 90 men) of ASLAVs to provide diplomatic escorts in Baghdad. They have about 700 troops in Afghanistan and will be adding 300 more SF troops. A commitment yes, but not even as much as Canada has in Afghanistan(2500 deployed)...and Canada already has tanks over there.

I don't think full up large scale warfare has been fought for a very long time. It is great that the Coalition and allies had victory in the Gulf and you are right that no tanks there were really tested against equal tanks or well trained crews. But the lessons learned in the Gulf wars is why Germany developed the Leopard 2A6 so it could engage and destroy the enemy at ranges up to 4000 metres. Only the Israelis have fought large scale tank against tank battles....they have learned lessons the hard way.

There are new rounds under development by the Israelis (120 MM APAM) which will give the Leopard 2 a huge cabability to engage any type of threat. Both the US and Germans already use a 120 mm HEAT Multi-purpose rounds to engage targets that aren't tanks.

Foreign policy and military choices & objectives...ah yes, where are those weapons of mass destruction again? Actually, I don't really care about the foreign policy because when the bullets start flying it's your tank crew that matters and you do your job.

Were the Abrams and Challenger not primarily designed to fight and destroy other tanks? They were designed during the cold war to battle the Warsaw Pact tank hoards not to fight against non uniformed insurgents. All tanks crews' primary threat is enemy tanks...the rest is just gravy.

The Canadian Forces with the Leopard 2A6 will be fully capable of any operation also. However, Canada is limited to Combat Team Battlegroup deployments simply because of the size of the combat forces....the same as Australia with the Abrams.

To me, I think the M1A1 Abrams and the Leopard 2A6 are pretty much equal. Yup, the Abrams has fully integrated battlefield managements systems but that doesn't mean that the Leopards can't be upgraded. All the systems in the world don't help when an enemy is using IEDs and simple RPG-7 to disable the Abrams.

Maybe we will see full up large scale warfare when Iran is invaded or how about North Korea as an opponent?
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Neil_Baumgardner
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2007 6:27 pm
Post subject: Re: Canuck Armor

I agree with many of your points Jason...

As for Australia, they have LAVs (like Canada) in addition to the M113s and are currently looking at buying self-propelled howitzers... IMO, you dont buy SPHs unless you're planning to be able to fight on the high end of conflict.

I certainly didnt want to turn this into a discussion of the politics and merits of Iraq, never mind Iran or North Korea... But I would observe that, regardless of the merits of any particular conflict, certain countries are making the investments to be able to fight on the high end of conflict.

Requirements for conducting different kinds of military operations drive procurement decisions... As you pointed out, its more likely that the Canadian army will be operating Leo 2s alongside other Leo 2s in operations like Afghanistan rather than alongside Abrams or Challenger in large-scale military operations (which admittedly may be few & far between). In operations like Afghanistan, or even Iraq right now, where protection against IEDs and RPGs is what counts most, there probably is very little difference...

Neil
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