C2 MEXAS TAKOM Tweak List:
Not for the faint of heart:
This tweak list is compiled from my firsthand knowledge as a C2 MEXAS crew commander. I commanded all four different types of deployed C2 MEXAS during the hardest fighting any of the Canadian Tank squadrons faced throughout the whole deployment of the tanks in combat operations from late December 2006 until July 2011. On my tour with the combat deployed C2 MEXAS tank squadron from mid-February till mid-September we lost 26 Canadians the most of any rotation while conducting combat operations.
Timeline of changes for the C-2 MEXAS:
- Late August early September 2006 17 Leopard 1 C-2 tanks designated as deployable and work to repair and refit starts.
Once complete MEXAS armour installed on the Leopards, Ballard hooks installed for transport.
- September 29, 2006 the Leopards are shipped via transport plan to Kandahar airfield.
- October 3, 2006 The Tank assistant team goes through each tank and confirms that they are ready to go. Oct 10, B-SQN advance party arrives at KAF.
- November 2006 most of the tank squadron have been deployed and have taken over their tanks and start to prepare them for combat operations. Live fire and tactical exercises are completed in and around the Kandahar airfield.
- December 3, 2006 the tank squadron deployed to the forward operating base ( Masum Ghar) to conduct operations in support to the Infantry battle groups.
- January 2007 the front sand shields are attached to help cut down on dust washing over the turret while on the move. Constructed of rubber matting and sheet metal.
- February 2007 the modification for the Thales electric counter measure (ECM) is fitted, just behind the loaders area. A SQN Strathconas start to arrive 18 Feb for handover.
- March 2007 all troop warrant call signs fitted with mine roller attachment adapter.
- April 2007 News of the new Leopard 2 A6M fleet coming to the Afghanistan.
- May 2007 All Leopards received new radiators while stationed at the FOB. June 2007 mid-June starting with call sign 13B the thermal cover and cooling units are starting to be added. Each Leopard was shipped back to Kandahar airfield for refit.
- July 2007 modification for the Saab barracuda crew umbrella fitted to call sign 13A. End July last call signs were fitted with thermal covers and cooling units. Crews were wearing cooling suits to keep their body core temperature down in the Leopards. Average temps were in the 50 degrees area, plus inside the turret would be 5/10 degrees warmer. C2 MEXAS plough and Dozer tanks have new MEXAS armour added to the front area due to frontal threats.
- August 2007 New fleet of Leo 2A6Ms start to arrive at KAF.
- September 10, 2007 A SQN Strathconas start handover with C-SQN Strathconas.
- October 2007, SAAB Barracuda umbrellas installed on C2 MEXAS turrets
- September 2007 until July 2011 the C-2 MEXAS soldiered on right next to the two other versions of Leopard 2s that Canada fielded. At the end of combat operations, all Leopards were brought home, a C-2 CFR 78-85139 was the last Canadian Leopard to leave KAF.
- 2008 mine protection added to the bottom of the hull, 72 hours of welding.
These are the real list and timeline of Modifications completed to the C2 MEXAS, no real modifications were completed after these dates, as the Canadian Tank squadron started to us the new Leopard 2A6M.
Now the kit built out of the box, will not represent a true combat deployed version. Here is the tweak list required to update the kit. The kit will represent either the Squadron/ Troop commanders & troop Warrant officers tank. The other C2 MEXAS in the troop of four were mounted with a armoured dozer and track wide mine plough.
TAKOM Tweak List:
1) The MRS (muzzle reference sensor) located on the tip of the barrel is was too small and is the wrong size. Should be 50% bigger.
2) The canvas mantlet cover is incorrect for a C2 version, should have Velcro panels for the maintainers to work on the mantlet. The mantlet sim-fire plate should be 25% larger and add l shaped brackets.
3) The Commanders TRP sight cover is small, will need to be 25% larger. The TRP rubber seals require to be spit apart to look like two flat rings.
4) Leopard turret top should have a coat of anti-skid added.
5) The MEXAS armour side panel attachment pads (pucks) are not correct, the bottom rear ones should be tear drop shaped. The front pads should have additional ladder type brackets .And with the MEXAS armour removed you should see the attachment mount that would be fitted to the turret (metal ladder bolted onto the turret side, to swing the armour away from turret for engine maintenance )
6) Top steel plate fitted on top of the MEXAS armour should have a coat of scale anti-skid.
7) Smoke grenade launchers missing chain for caps and launcher wiring.
8) Side bore brush bin and signals wire container on the left rear of the turret right behind the loaders side. Not all C2 MEXAS had them added.
9) The crew commanders area has the wrong number of episcopes, missing one. Both turret hatches are missing combat lock hinges.
10) The left hand armoured plate that mounts the bore brush and signals wire container, needs to be removed and replaced by the field modified armoured plate to protect the Thales electric counter measures unit. The ECM unit is missing as well.
11) The antenna mounting units (AMUs) are not the correct type, will need to be replaced.
12) Missing flag post mounts left and right sides by the AMUs.
13) The GPS antenna mount is wrong and will require to be modified.
14) Rear back bin, will require a coat of scale anti-skid on the top cover.
15) Right rear back bin stowage lid, should have a red air recognition panel attached to it. Standard on all deployed C2 MEXAS.
16) Missing the antenna bag under the back bin (not all had them mounted)
17) Supplied Jerry cans are incorrect shape.
18) The road wheels require back plate, and the hubs are the wrong shape.
19) The divers armoured cover for the episcopes require the wiper cable.
20) Missing the fording plug posts on left side of upper front hull.
21) Missing headlight cables.
22) The tow cables hull attachment points are way too thick, PE would fix this problem.
23) The rear drivers tool box is missing the locking chain and stowage bracket and hinges are incorrect.
24) The rear track adjustor tool mounted on the rear deck to wrong. We operated with a modified type due to the Mexas side armour. And was never mounted there.
25) The gun crutch or travel lock is undersized by 25 %.
26) Tank telephone handle will require to be replaced as they are very noticeably L angled.
27) Will have to drill out gun crutch spare position brackets.
28) Missing rear side skirt half-moon brackets on both sides of the rear hull.
29) Mexas hull armour attachment bolts should be hex bolts, not round.
30) The C6 mount requires a gun travel lock, and not all had the MG version. The barrel is missing the barrel handle mount.
The only set of markings on the sheet that are correct are the ones for SHQ. The other marking are for a combat deployed C2 MEXAS. The troop markings were applied in March/April 2007. The markings for 2nd troop are in correct for the kit. The rear marking are from my C2 MEXAS which was the Dozer tank, the tool box sticker. The Canadian Forces Registraion number just below the tool box is incorrect, it should read 78-58132. The markings for 3rd troop are incorrect; they never ever had the MEXAS side armour markings.
The barrel marking that have the Canadian Forces Registration last three are and Squadron names incorrect. By the time these C2 MEXAS entered into combat they were crewed by another tank squadron, almost all of these names were erased.
The maple leaf decals should have had two different types. There should have been added with another set with the leafs outlined in white.
Once again this list will address most questions on building an accurate version of the C2 MEXAS as deployed in combat. To build any particular C2 MEXAS that was deployed you will need to do your research as they looked all different. If more information is required in the way of photos and reference a copy of the Canadian Leopard Project DVD reference set of 2 DVDs full of close to 3,400 photos and word documents that explain a complete working history of the C2 MEXAS as deployed in Afghanistan can be made available from myself.
Author of the Canadian Leopard Project and the C2 MEXAS 2 DVD reference set