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ELVO Leonidas-2 - Бронетранспортер (Греция)

ELVO Leonidas-2

Leonidas-2 represented an effort made by the Greek vehicle manufacturer ELVO to produce an advanced armoured personnel carrier (APC) of its own. It is named after Leonidas, king of the ancient city-state of Sparta. The first version of the Leonidas was the Austrian Saurer 4K 4FA armoured personnel carrier built with minor modifications by the Greek company (then known as Steyr Hellas S.A.) from 1981 until 1987. Initial production was essentially assembly, however Greek content progressively increased. The APC had a 320 hp engine and a weight of 14.8 tons.

Leonidas-2
Type - Armoured personnel carrier
Place of origin - Greece/ Austria
Service history
In service - 1981-present
Used by - North Macedonia / Greece / Cyprus
Production history
Produced - Austria, 1976
Greece 1981-2001
No. built - c. 800
Specifications
Mass - 14.8 t
Length - 5.87 m (19 ft 3 in)
Width - 2.50 m (8 ft 2 in)
Height - 1.7 m (5 ft 7 in)
Crew - 2
Passengers - 8
Armour - welded steel / 26-32 mm front / 15 mm sides and rear
Main armament - 1 x 12.7 mm MG (1,500 rounds)
Secondary armament - 1 x 7.62 mm MG3
Engine - Steyr 7FA inline 6-cylinder water-cooled diesel (320 hp (745 kW) at 2,300 rpm)
Power/weight - 21.62 hp/t
Transmission - ZF Synchronized, 6 gears forward and 1 reverse
Suspension - torsion bar
Ground clearance - vertical obstacle: 0.8 m / trench: 2.1 m
Operational range - 520 km (320 mi)
Maximum speed - 63 km/h (39 mph)

The 'Leonidas-2' development involved extensive modification of the previous model. This was done by ELVO in 1987 with the aim to essentially develop it as an armoured infantry fighting vehicle (AIFV). The new version had a weight of 18.8 tons and it used a 450 hp engine; maximum speed was 70 km/h. The construction of the turret became a matter of debates involving interested companies (three versions with different types of turrets were proposed, while there were "demands" that the turret should constructed by EBO), but the vehicle was finally produced without a turret. About 700 were produced, including a number exported to Cyprus. Plans to develop the vehicle further as 'Leonidas-3' for different roles were abandoned in 2002, as the vehicle was considered outdated. ELVO continued efforts for a modern AIFV development, starting cooperation in 1988 with Steyr-Daimler-Puch of Austria on a joint development, but soon pulled out due to the high cost of the vehicle compared to the Greek Army specifications (Santa Bárbara Sistemas of Spain continued development with the Austrian company, resulting in the ASCOD Ulan/Pizarro AIFV). Eventually ELVO worked on its own, developing a completely new armoured infantry fighting vehicle, the Kentaurus in 1998.
...
The table below shows the production run based on the history of publicly known orders, as published in the press. The total appears as 700 vehicles, yet the company ELVO in its internet site mentions a total production of "about 800 vehicles".

Production history
Year - Origin of order - Quantity - Notes
1981 - Greece - 2 - Leonidas 1 version. 2 prototypes delivered from Austria for testing.
1981 - Greece - 100 - Leonidas 1 version. Delivered between 1982 and 1983, originally only assembled in Greece, progressively Greek participation increased (including manufacture of certain parts).
1986 - Cyprus - 56 - Leonidas 2 version. 16 built in Austria, 40 in Greece.
1987 - Greece - 344 - Leonidas 2 version. Built in Greece.
1993 - Cyprus - 76 - Leonidas 2 version. Built in Greece.
1995 - Cyprus - 65 - Leonidas 2 version. Built in Greece.
1998 - Greece - 57 - Leonidas 2 version. Built in Greece.
2001 - North Macedonia (donation from Greece) - 10 - Leonidas 2 version with new automatic transmission. Built in Greece.
Total -  - 700 - 503 vehicles delivered to Greece. 197 vehicles delivered to Cyprus.

Current operators
Cyprus - 197
Greece - 493
North Macedonia - 10

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