In December 1998, the Spanish government approved the acquisition of 219 Leopard 2E tanks, one of the most advanced in the world and 16 recovery vehicles. GDELS-SBS was the main contractor assigned to this project, in a vote of confidence in the company's technological capacity.
The Leopard 2E/ER, the specific Spanish model, and its accessories, are manufactured in Spain, with the support of the German technology firms Klauss Maffei-Wegman and MAK, the original manufacturers of the Leopard and the Büffel recovery vehicle, respectively. Santa Barbara Sistemas factory at Las Canteras (Seville) are responsible for the final assembly of most of the units, while the factory at Trubia (Asturias) will manufacture hull and turrets. The main subcontractors for the program are IZAR (engines), SAPA (transmission system, track and road wheels), AMPER (command and control computer programs and radio communications) and INDRA and the German company STN for the combat system.
The first tanks from the Leopard 2E and training lines, assembled in Germany with the assistance of Spanish technicians, are expected to be ready at the end of 2012. The rest of the units will be integrated and assembled in Spain, and GDELS-SBS has built special premises in Seville with 10,000 square meters investing 19 million euros in new machinery and additional facilities such as an engine test stand, automated storage and exterior test work.
The tank has the following basic technical features:
- In terms of weight and size, its weight in combat is 62.5 tons. It has a width with side armor of 3.78 m, a length with the cannon at 2h:11.3 m and with the cannon at 6h: 10.1 m and a maximum height of 3.65 meters.
- In passing obstacles it has a capacity in crossing ditches of 2.9 m; in fording, its capacity reaches up to 1.2 m with the fording system conditioned, up to 2.23 m with on-board equipment, and up to 4 m with deep fording equipment, and the water input/output slopes of up to 15º. It clears vertical obstacles to a maximum height of 1.1 m and, lastly, has a roll proof maneuverability on lengthways slopes of 60% and on widthways slopes of 30%.
- In terms of the mobility of the tank, its operating range is worth noting: 340 Km at 50 Km/h, with a capacity to reach a maximum speed of 68 Km/hour.
- The armament consists of two 77 mm batteries of 8 launching tubes (6+2) (smoke and fragmentation) mounted on both sides of the tower. It also has a smooth-bore barrel Rheinmetall cannon, caliber 120 L55 mm, stabilized, with horizontal sector of fire of 360 degrees and vertical of -9 to 18+ degrees. Two 7.62 mm MG-3 machine guns, one coaxial with the cannon and the other on the tower