The Leopard 1 has been the first Main Battle Tank built in West Germany after the Second World War.
Born as a collaboration between France and West Germany at the end of 1950s, the project was eventually developed only by the latter. Aimed to replace the obsolescent US M47 and M48 tanks, it relied mainly on mobility and firepower (with a 105 mm British-designed main gun) rather than on its armor, because the contemporary armors were too weak to protect from hollow charge anti-tank warheads (HEATs). It had also, like all the tanks of the same epoch, NBC protection, in order to operate in an hypothetical nuclear war scenario.
The first version of Leopard 1 was delivered in September 1965. Further improvements led to the variants from A1 to A6, together with several vehicles (recovery, anti-aircraft, bridge-layer) based on its hull; it was also sold to other NATO and allied countries. Since 2003 Leopard 1 has been replaced in Germany by the Leopard 2.
The A4 variant (1974) respect to the first one has a welded turret instead of a cast one, a new computerized fire control system and an independent night vision device for the tank commander.
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