Leopard 2E of the Spanish Army at a parade in Zaragoza, Spain on June 1st
The Leopard 2E
or Leopard 2A6E
stands for España
, Spanish for Spain
) is a variant of the German Leopard 2
main battle tank, tailored to the requirements of the Spanish Army
, which acquired it as part of an armament modernization program named Programa Coraza
, or Program Breastplate. The acquisition program for the Leopard 2E began in 1994, five years after the cancellation of the Lince
tank program that culminated in an agreement to transfer 108 Leopard 2A4s to the Spanish army in 1998 and started the local production of the Leopard 2E in December 2003. Despite postponement of production owing to the 2003 merger between Santa Bárbara Sistemas and General Dynamics, and continued fabrication issues between 2006 and 2007, 219 Leopard 2Es have been delivered to the Spanish army.
The Leopard 2E is a major improvement over the M60 Patton IV tank, which it replaced in Spain's mechanized and armored units. Its development represented a total of 2.6 million man-hours worth of work, 9,600 of them in Germany, at a total cost of 2.4 billion euros. This makes it one of the most expensive Leopard 2s built. Indigenous production amounted to 60% and the vehicles were assembled locally at Sevilla by Santa Bárbara Sistemas. It has thicker armor on the turret and glacis plate than the German Leopard 2A6, and uses a Spanish-designed tank command and control system, similar to the one fitted in German Leopard 2s. The Leopard 2E is expected to remain in service until 2025.