The Military Museums

The Leopard 1A5 is a German built main battle tank acquired by the Canadian army in 1978 to replace the aging Centurion tank.

The Leopard 1A5 is a German built main battle tank acquired by the Canadian army in 1978 to replace the aging Centurion tank.

Leopard 1A5

The Leopard 1A5 is an upgraded version of the original Leopard 1A model with a new turret and Krupp-Atlas fire control system. The upgrade also included the introduction of new ammunition, including the APFSDS (Armour-piercing fin-stabilized discarding-sabot), a kinetic energy penetrator used to attack modern vehicle armour.

The Leopard 1A5 tank could also be fitted with bolt-on lexan armour panels to increase the effectiveness of the armour. The first modified vehicle was delivered in early 1987. Since then, almost all users of the Leopard 1 have applied similar changes to their own vehicles, and in most ways the 1A5 can be considered the "standard" Leopard 1 today.

Since 1965, the German manufacturer, Krauss-Maffei has produced over 4,700 armoured vehicles, and the Leopard 1 continues to be in service with the armed forces of eleven countries throughout the world.

This great success is attributable to the fact that measures for the continuous improvment of combat effectiveness has kept the weapons system in line with the latest state-of-the-art technology.

Leopard 1A5 Features

During its time in service, the Leopard 1A5 tank logistic system was optimized to ensure ease of maintainance and available parts. The operational requirements placed on the Leopard tank meant that numerous technical modifications and upgrades were implemented during its lifetime.

This included high first-round hit probability with all types of ammunition day or night; short preparation time to fire, high accuracy and stability, fast testing of ready-to-fire systems and improved reliability. Weapons system could be matched to individual mission profiles given different threat scenarios and deployment conditions.

History of the TMM Leopard 1A5

The Leopard 1A5 battle tank on display at The Military Museums was built in 1978. It has an A-4 hull and a turret modified by the Belgians to an A-5. Although details are not complete, this particular tank was deployed to Bosnia and Afghanistan.

It was acquired by the museum through the Dept of History and Heritage in December 2016, and kept in storage until its arrival at the museum in 2017.

Dedication to Corporal John Unrau

During the restoration of the Leopard tank in early 2017, the word "Unrau" was found inscribed on the gun shield inside the turret. Further research into the tanks history revealed that Corporal John Unrau had served with the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians) in Afghanistan. John had been a crewman on this tank and had apparently inscribed his name onto the gun shield during his time in Afghanistan.

After John graduated from high school in 1992 he enrolled in the 2nd Battalion Irish Regiment of Canada. Within 3 years he had transferred into the Regular Force where he served as a crewman with Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians).

In Aug 2004 - Feb 2005 he deployed with Reece Squadron LdSH (RC) into Kabul Afghanistan. Upon completion of his tour he spent the next 3 years in Wainwright AB.

Shortly after his return to the Regiment in Edmonton (3rd Brigade) he participated in Op Podium (Olympic Games Security) in 2010. Later on he was posted to the Joint Personnel Support Unit (JPSU) until his release in 2012. After his release from the military he lost his battle with PTSD by taking his own life on 1 July 2015.

The John Unrau Memorial

The screen with John's name on it has been placed on permanent display inside the museum along with photographs and other personal artefacts. It remains a visual reminder of Corporal John Unrau's presence as part of the crew of the tank known as "Buffalo", and of the service he gave to his fellow Canadians.

Leopard 1A5 - Main Battle Tank

Specifications

  • Crew - 4
  • Weight - 42 Tonnes
  • Engine - MTU Multi-fuel engine, 10 cylinders, 820 hp
  • Fuel capacity: 1400 L
  • Consumption: 2.80 L/km
  • Suspension: Torsion-bar

Performance

  • Maximum Speed - (road) 65 km/h
  • Off-road range: 450 km
  • On-road range: 600 km

Armament

  • 1 x 105 mm Royal Ordnance L7A3 L/52 rifled gun (55 rounds)
  • 2 × 7.62 mm MG 3 (5,000 rounds)
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