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Leopard C1 Modifications

September 16 2017 at 2:09 AM
Jason Bobrowich  (Login jasonbobro)
from IP address

The "early", "mid", and "late" versions of the Leopard C1 are terms coined by modellers to identify various modifications and upgrades. They are not official designations. The tank was simply identified as the Leopard C1 from start to finish. As with almost every Canadian AFV various modifications and upgrades occurred over the life cycle.

Here is an overview breakdown of the timeline for larger visible operational and training modifications. As the tanks got older there were variations seen across the entire fleet due to time delays in changes occurring, modifications being completed over extended periods of time, or that some modifications were simply not applied to all tanks. I have compiled this information from available technical information, studying a very large variety of personal, private, and published images, personal accounts from crewman who served on the Leopard C1s beginning in 1979 all the way to the tanks being retired, and my own experiences as a Leopard C1 Crew Commander and Advanced Armoured Gunnery Instructor. That being said there are always exceptions and I am not professing this to be the ultimate list. However, I have faith in the information compiled and I believe this provides the modeller with a very good sense of the evolution of the Leopard C1.

There is no black and white with the Leopard C1 modifications and upgrades. Some modifications were done on all Leopard C1s and others were not. Seeking out appropriate reference material, asking questions, and understanding the modifications will greatly assist those modellers desiring to build a specific version of the Leopard C1.

As you can see this amount of information below would be impossible to include in a small conversion box as part of the instructions and it would likely need to be accompanied by images of both the conversion parts undergoing multiple builds for the different versions and the real tanks to be fully in depth. So, no...a list of modifications is not provided in the Legend Productions instructions. Now you have one for free to use and share.

1978-1979- The original version of the Leopard C1s are delivered. This version can be identified by the PZB 200 mounted on the mantlet with the smaller protective cage. This version can be referred to for modelling purposes as the "early" Leopard C1.

Early 1980s - 1986/1987- The German KADAG gunfire simulator (Hoffman Device) used on the main gun during exercises in Germany.

1986- The modification to mount the IRS 100 Thermal Pointer is implemented. The IRS 100 was mounted to the left of the PZB 200 and resulted in the identifiable larger dual protective cage. This can be noted for modelling purposes as the introduction of the "mid" version.

1987- The Leopard C1s are repainted from the original Gelboliv paint to the three colour NATO camouflage during rebuilds in Germany. Not all tanks were repainted and some served in single colour their entire lifespan.

1987- Ballistic synchronization mount added to upper right side on the mantlet.

1987-1988- Loader's C6 GPMG mount begins receiving the modified .50 Cal box to hold the 7.62 mm belt instead of the original caged ammunition box holder (the original holder remained in service the duration of the C1 as well).

1987- 1990- The modification to the glacis plate and the upper hull to the left of the driver's hatch in order to optimize the protection of the cables for the implements occurs. This consisted of the armoured cable cover for the cable connections, cable guide plate, the armoured cable cover, and the lower front glacis mounted U-shaped attachment point. Some Leopard C1s already repainted in NATO camouflage colours could be seen without these particular modifications but they eventually caught up in the modification cycle.

1988- SIMFIRE gunfire simulator used and attached to mantlet lifting eye during exercises. This replaced the German KADAG system.

1988-1989- In an effort to increase external stowage capacity simple stowage racks were added to the left and right rear sides of the turret. Due to issues encountered with fenders and side skirt stability front and rear track guard brackets were also retrofitted during this time period.

Late 1980s- The standard antenna mounts and antennas were replaced on tanks in Germany with a simplistic non-spring antenna mount and a 3 foot antenna incorporating an integrated flexible rubber/spring base. These antennas primarily aided in tactically reducing the turret profile and secondarily reduced camouflage nets snagging during set up and tear down. The short antennas were not used on all tanks and were primarily in Germany until the tanks returned to Canada. The short antennas were retained on tanks after they returned to Canada from Germany in 1993. Into the late 1990s the antennas and mounts reverted back to the standard U.S. versions as replacement parts became sparse.

Late 1980s to early 1990s- The Leopard C1s remain status quo overall for modifications. There are minor additions such as Velcro strips to the turrets of tanks in Germany in the 1980s in order to use the MILES gear and small brackets added in between the turret jerry can racks for carrying a naphtha can on tanks in Germany and some in Canada.

1991-1992/1993- A single "mid" version Leopard C1 from the 8th Canadian Hussars in Germany was retrofitted with the Royal Ordnance 105 mm Improved Weapons System (IWS) main gun. This main gun was designed to increase the firepower of the 105 mm to the equivalency of the 120 mm L44. The barrel was unique looking with a British style thermal jacket and a muzzle-brake. Internally the horizontal sliding breech block of the L7 was replaced with a heavier vertical sliding breech block. A muzzle reference system was also attached to the turret roof to align with the mirror on the muzzle. The 105 mm rounds had combustible casings and a new propellant to increase the kinetic energy and reduce salvage inside the tank. The performance of the IWS was excellent. About 25% of the recoil energy of this powerful gun was dissipated by the muzzle brake. The issue created was the massive pressure and blast created by the firing of the IWS was directed back toward the turret by the angled fins of the muzzle brake. This resulted in all live firing having to take place hatches down. Infantry on the ground during combined arms tactics would have been at significant risk even well behind the gun trunnions. The project was eventually cancelled and the IWS gun removed.

1995- Two of the Royal Canadian Dragoon Leopard C1s (call signs 23 & 24B) are fitted with full MEXAS packages for trials. Once attached the MEXAS modules are repainted in full three colour NATO camouflage making for very unique looking tanks. The MEXAS modification to the turret required the hatch for the PZB 200 and IRS 100 storage bin to be removed in order to attach the turret bustle bin. The hull required the modification of the grouser rack layout in order to attach the MEXAS mounts and the movement of the side hull tow cable mounts to a more rearward position resulting in the cables crossing at the rear hull when they were stored. The slave cable and jerry can fueling hopper stowage bins were removed from the hull sides and attached to the left and right front turret MEXAS modules on these two trial tanks with their call signs visible. The MEXAS modules were eventually removed and the tanks retained the turret and hull MEXAS mounts while in service.

1996- Two Leopard C1s are fitted with hull and turret MEXAS mounts but without the MEXAS modules or the add-on turret bustle bin and deployed to Bosnia for the IFOR mission. The slave cable and jerry can fueling hopper stowage bins were removed from the hull sides. These two tanks were not the same tanks used in the MEXAS trials listed previously.

1997-1998- The remaining Leopard C1s received the hull MEXAS modifications as previously mentioned. Most but not all Leopard C1s were also modified with the addition of the turret bustle bin resulting in the removal of the hatch for the PZB 200 and IRS 100 storage bin. Some crews created a wooden cover for the open top of the bin and lined the side walls with hessian to keep out the elements. The large majority of the Leopard C1s did not receive the MEXAS mounts on the turret. These modifications could be considered the embodiment of the "late" or final version of the Leopard C1.

1999- Five Leopard C1s from the Lord Strathcona's Horse (Royal Canadians), C Squadron, 3rd Troop were fitted with full MEXAS packages and deployed to Kosovo with KFOR from June 1999 to June 2000. The Strathcona crews were relieved by Royal Canadian Dragoon crews at the six month mark. Each tank tallies up over 3500 kilometres of patrolling during Operation Kinetic.

2000- On a very limited scale some Leopard C1s were repainted in CARC green during extended maintenance. This was at the end of the Leopard C1 lifespan as the Leopard C2 was entering service.

If you want to know about Leopard C1 markings...that is a whole other story.

This message has been edited by jasonbobro from IP address on Sep 17, 2017 1:46 PM

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Michael Shackleton
(Login michael.shackleton)


September 16 2017, 2:42 AM 

Many thanks for the detailed explanation Jason.

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Steve Hearn
(Login SteveHearn)

Thanks Jason N/T

September 16 2017, 2:54 PM 

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Anthony Sewards
(Login recceboy)

I see you copied and expanded my original list from a few years ago.

September 16 2017, 10:22 PM 

• June 1978 first Leopard 1A3’s (C1) arrives in Lahr Germany.
• July 1978 9 Leopard C1’s issued to Royal Canadian Armoured School. They were divided between Gunnery
and Driving and Maintenance squadrons. The turrets were taken off, placed on turret stands, the hulls
were fitted with an Instructors cabin for driving training.
• Official Leopard C1 roll out, 16 October 1978, Royal Canadian Armoured School.
• July 1979 last Leopard C1 arrives, complete order in Canadian hands with 3 squadrons in Germany, 1 at
the Armoured school.
• PZB 200 camera issued late 1979 early 1980, single protective cage installed.
• Velcro strips for M113 US Miles gear mounted on the turret, 1985.
• IRS 100 thermal pointer issued, double protective cage installed 1986.
• Leopards in Germany now start to receive a new NATO three tone paint job arriving back from rebuild at
KMW, 1987.
• Leopards are now able to mount Implements, Dozer, Plough, Rollers, 1987.
• Protective guard and armoured “U” shaped cover for the implements cables and connections added to hull,
late 1987.
• Front track guard guide plates 1988.
• The side turret stowage racks were added to rear of turret , 1988
• Reinforced rear track guard bracket modification, 1989.
• 4 Leopard C1’s sent to Kanesatke (Oka), Quebec as a quick reaction force equipped with Dozer and Mine
ploughs , crewed by C SQN RCD’s., 1990
• Last live fire tank range at Bergen – Hohne , Germany, 27 November, 1992.
• All Leopard C1’s brought back to Canada, marking end of cold war 1993.
• The tanks are split amongst the three Regular forces Armoured units. Each unit received a tank
squadron. The rest sent to Armoured School.
• 2 Leopard C1’s fitted with trial camouflaged MEXAS armour at CFB Petawawa.
• The antenna mounting units started to change from the short low 3 foot type to the standard US type,
with new AMU mounts and 2 part antennas.
• 2 Leopard C1’s sent to Bosnia from the Royal Canadian Armoured School , crewed by members of the RCD’s,
one each with mine rollers and mine plough for IFOR Mission,1996. Add on MEXAS mounts added, but no
armour mounted. These Leopards were originally stationed at CFB Petawawa with trials MEXAS armour
fitted. A Badger and ARV was sent as well for the mission.
• Fleet wide modifications that incorporate the hull MEXAS armour mounts, the tow cables mounts
repositioned towards the rear of hull, new rear bustle bin and removal of the rear storage hatch for
the PZB 200 & IRS 100 cameras, late 1997. 19 sets of MEXAS armour bought from the German firm IBD
Deisenroth Engineering.
• 5 Leopard C1’s from 3rd troop C Squadron, Strathcona’s fitted with add on Armour MEXAS deployed to
Kosovo, June 1999. RCD’s took over in Dec 1999 till June 2000.
• Leopard C2 Rollout Ceremony in Gagetown, New Brunswick November 23, 1999.
• Leopard C1’s returning from 2nd line repair painted CARC green, early 2000.
• Leopard C1 fleet conversion to C2 by adding German 1A5 turret.

All this information was researched a few years ago by myself, from official maintenance records and included in my Leopard C1 & C1 history doc, that came from my reference DVD on the C1 & C2....

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Jason Bobrowich
(Login jasonbobro)


September 17 2017, 1:31 PM 

The list that you posted in 2014 is good but somewhat generic. It is a bit segmented which could make it a challenge for modellers to read and digest unless they have a very good understanding already of the Leopard C1.

Your list was also absent of the points which are included in the list I compiled. Not a major concern overall but during my assistance with the new Legend Productions Leopard C1 conversion and future Canadian Leopard conversions to come I knew it would be important for both model producers and modellers to have a detailed view of the modifications in a manner they could understand and apply to master creations and model builds.

The list I created has similarities to yours because the facts in both of our lists are accurate...the actual timeline and modifications would not change from one list to another.

Members on this site were talking about the modifications and timelines on the Leopard C1 started long before your list was ever posted. You don't have a monopoly on information.

Here is a discussion dating back to 2007...


and 2005...




This discussion below even talks about the 105 mm IWS main gun...which neither of us included the IWS in our lists (I've updated my list)...I forgot about the IWS even though I was on the IWS equipped Leopard C1 in Gagetown in 1992 and have personally spoken with 8CH crewman who did the crew trials on the IWS Leopard C1 in the UK.




and then back to 2004...


and then back to 2003..


and even back to 2002...


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Anthony Sewards
(Login recceboy)


September 17 2017, 8:39 PM 

Seeing that you pretty much copied my published work, I don't have to defend it , plus I also completed another word doc to show each external modifications as well, with complete supporting information, and photos to explain each one...., let's hope you don't copy that as well ..

End of.........

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Ron O'Brien
(Login Sapper042)

Not the end of ...

September 19 2017, 1:49 PM 

Are such accusations productive or warranted?

It may be in the interest of the site to have such mudslinging removed.

To claim a monopoly on the right to record historical facts and dates does seem a bit odd, but amusing to me. Particularly as many posts predate the work you claim to have been copied.

The joint efforts of posters on this site should be commended rather than slandered.

A more open minded and more professional approach to posts were once a characteristic of this site. Have we started down the slippery slope?

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Anthony Sewards
(Login recceboy)

Just pointing out how very close the new list is

September 19 2017, 2:46 PM 

I have never claimed a monopoly on anything, just bringing this up that how very similar the new list is compared to the one completed a few years ago, and published in a word doc.

I have nothing against anyone , just find it really interesting to see the new list is pretty much the same on more than a few points, my list appeared in a reference set that was done a few years ago, and was researched using maintenance and technical manuals to get the points for the word doc, hopefully correct.

Also, in the reference set, are other completed word docs that describe each modification, and included are photos of each modification as well for the turret and hull to work hand in hand with the history doc.

I have no ill will against the poster of the new list, but as we both work behind the scenes with model companies as tech advisors , and information is shared freely on various platforms, some of which is copyrighted, or rights reserved.

I make no claim of infringement, but pointed out how very close the "new" list is to previously published work.

Like I said, I have no issues against the poster, just questions.


Author Canadian Leopard Project Reference Series

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