Fragile desert cat: what can not a Turkish armored Leopard

After the Turkish army entered the first clashes with ISIS militants, it became clear that not all mechanisms of the military machine of Recep Tayyip Erdogan are functioning correctly. However, the main disappointment not only for Turkish but also European military and manufacturers of armored vehicles was the destruction of tanks “Leopard 2”, which was considered one of the most protected in the world.


Rocket around the head



Analysis of the tactics and actions of the Turkish armored vehicles to begin with, anything like Turkish armed forces has never faced. Alcotexa war with the Kurds, the anti-terrorist operation with the use of light armored vehicles – this is the “ceiling” of the Turkish experience in the use of heavy weapons. Dense fire “meetings” on the part of radicals to Turkish tank crews were new.


Unlike their Syrian counterparts on military Affairs, who during the conflict have greatly succeeded in combating antitank complexes, the Turkish military not yet demonstrate a high level of operations. Last but not least the military of Turkey was surprised by the richness of the protected area in a variety of means to combat armored vehicles.


By the way, trophies ISIL militants in the area of contact with the Turkish army enough. According to experts still have not found spent in the warehouses of the Syrian army anti-tank systems of Soviet production in different years. If you consider that the number of missiles in containers to the Soviet anti-tank systems in the thousands of units we can safely say that the loss of Turkish mechanical parts is unavoidable. Another important factor is the timely selection by ISIS anti-tank systems of American manufacturing, which the us administration has generously supplied the “rebels.”


For radical militants, who actively defend themselves on several fronts, as they say in such cases, “the very stars were formed”. According to some experts, the Turkish military “gets” more anti-tank missiles than fighters spend on the destruction of armored vehicles of the government of the army of Syria. On average, according to calculations of experts, the “Turkish” direction radicals produced on the same machine three anti-tank guided missiles. All this happens at relatively large distances – an average from a thousand to a thousand feet. However, the worst the Turkish army is avoided.


At the beginning of 2017, the Turkish military, despite the increased attention to the army, not the main thing – experience working in densely populated areas. Experts urge not to impose on Turkish armored vehicles of great hope, Recalling the experience of Russian tanks in Grozny during the first Chechen war. Then some vehicles can withstand more than ten hits from RPGs just wandering along the quarter. The main question is whether the bear Turkish armored vehicles such pressure, given that hand-held antitank grenade launchers from the militants of ISIS may be more than anti-tank guided missiles.


Fragile cat



The news of the loss of a few tanks “Leopard-2A4”, leafless all the world’s media, have alarmed not only the Turkish General staff, but the manufacturer of these machines in Germany. It will be recalled that almost from the beginning of the cold war in Western Europe replicated the myth about the reliability of German vehicles and reverse the findings of experts about the unreliability of the tanks made in the USSR. However, the Soviet tanks (since T-64) was actively at war as much as European and American designers and manufacturers were engaged in bringing their products before the presentation. According to many experts, the lost of the Turkish army “Leopard-2A4” indicate not only errors in the design of the tank, but allow to argue about the inability to use armored vehicles for their intended purpose.


Last but not least Turkish tanks lined the radicals just because the machine is permanently left in an open area without military escort and without any cover at all. Do not use this fact in the context of the war – the folly, and great folly. Despite the fact that the quality of manufacture and equipment electronics “Leopard-2A4” head and shoulders above its predecessor, according to the manufacturer data on the armor were in practice, if not completely fictional, it definitely is seriously exaggerated. Otherwise it is impossible to explain the defeat on modern machines even Soviet anti-tank systems “Fagot” and “Competition”.


If you look closely at videos and photos posted by the militants on the Network, it is possible to detect that the German tanks were struck by missiles in the most vulnerable places. Given this fact, we can assume that the operators of ATRA on the other side well you know where and how this technique is affected. Head leaves with large angles of inclination of the “German big cat” also didn’t help.





In conditions when the enemy has no “tank armadas”, and funds for anti-tank combat scattered along the front on collision “head-on”, you can not even hope for. Another important factor that caused the loss of “Leopard-2A4” in Syria is the low qualifications of crews. Experts note that even in such medium-measurements of the intensity of the fighting crew of the tank, equipped with various detection devices and guidance, unable to act effectively. Experience the Turkish military has been discussed on all relevant electronic platforms not only in Europe but also beyond.


Many experts believe that 80% of the losses of combat vehicles to blame the crew. As an example, experts cite the crews of the Syrian tanks. If you watch the video from 2012-2014, where the Syrian army riding on the surface barely alive T-72 gives to light fighters, it is possible to detect important differences in the tactics and teamwork of the crew. T-72, released in the late 80s, energetically maneuvering in a dilapidated neighborhoods, “take out” the militants ‘ firing positions to cover the infantry.


At the same time with this striking and survivability of Soviet machines. Some videos of T-72 tanks can withstand up to nine hits from an RPG and two hits guided missiles, after which its course leaving the battlefield. Data about the survivability of “Leopard-2A4” under heavy fire yet – Turkish tankers, even the tree didn’t come close to the conditions that Syrian crews fought for many years. However, if we analyze the loss of “Leopards” and to compare the data about the vulnerabilities and the number of weapons from the militants, then we can conclude that under equal conditions of Turkish tanks and anti-tank crews in the grinder is not likely to survive.


A critical situation could fix supply a couple of hundred “Leopard” in a relatively “fresh” versions. Tanks in versions of 2A5 and 2A6, combined with blocks of dynamic protection, and with proper use could theoretically survive. Serious support of the Turkish military could have another German product – tank “Leopard 2” in the version A7+. The German colossus booked almost everywhere where only can let fantasy additional booking was not only the vulnerabilities of the tower and the hull, and even the bottom.


Situational awareness of the tank “Leopard 2A7+” the same is significantly higher than previous versions. Sensors and imagers, and a weapon control system can theoretically improve the chances of survival. However, without a spoon of tar in a barrel of German honey has not done in this time. The total mass of the 2A7 is selected close to around 68 tons, making the machine virtually unusable on the battlefield in the city.


The stated increase in the armor protection in this case will not help – armor heavy machines are not infinite, and ammunition to the radicals over the years has accumulated so much that last not one hundred tanks. To combat the problem of Turkish tankers would facilitate a complex of active protection, which is the German experts have long developed their own. However, there is still no data about whether a commercial offer for KAZ equipment of European production not only within Europe, but also all other shipped abroad. Another difficulty, according to a military expert, Andrei Frolov, is the ability of the manufacturer to sell the required number of tanks to all in need.


“To build 100-200 tanks even level A5-A6 or to re-equip the same number of cars a manufacturer can not physically. And therefore the issue of the supply of these tanks, as well as a more modern version 2A7 for the needs of anyone, including Turkey, in the foreseeable future can not be raised,” – said the expert.


What is left, is left



Experts explain that there is nothing new in the near future as part of the protection of the Turkish military does not appear. This means that you can smoke out the enemy, who now and then will take tanks and other armored vehicles on the fly you will need to use the same “Leopards”, the old M-60 in different versions, which are already long overdue for retirement. In the promising Turkish tank “Altay” in the creation and production of which invested huge amounts of money, yet hope not. Military expert Andrei Frolov in interview to TV channel “Star” said that the tank is still damp, and throw it into battle, the Turkish military will not.


After a series of controversial decisions, the crisis of land forces of Turkey have gained not a point but a large scale. This is due not only low-skilled personal and team composition, but also with the controversial choice of direction of development of their own armored vehicles. Problems with the tank “Altay”, which is 65-70% copied from South Korean tank XK-2, and armored vehicles of its own production, in General, be irreversible. Scientific and production potential (at least in the last half dozen years) makes it impossible to create a single platform to create a heavy armor or master the production of modern individual serial samples.


Experts explain that if in the next few years the Turkish military-industrial complex will not make a qualitative leap in this direction, the armed forces of this country may forever remain to fight on “imported” military technology, which from year to year becomes more expensive. The quality of and opportunities for export of equipment from Europe in turn can put an end to the combat capability of the Turkish land forces, because if the infantry at a critical moment will not support a modern, well protected machine, the combat missions will have to forget.

Author: Dmitry Yurov

Photo: Kay Nietfeld Globallookpress, fagot_1, the defense Ministry, screenshot 2 Pomahawk / Youtube screenshot Pomahawk / Youtube, David Enders / Globallokpress