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Land Platforms

Eurosatory 2016: Rheinmetall lifts the lid on new 130 mm tank gun

16 June 2016
Rheinmetall's new 130 mm smoothbore gun may be a suitable armament for future MBTs. Source: Rheinmetall

Rheinmetall Weapon and Munition has unveiled a new 130 mm smoothbore tank gun at Eurosatory 2016 in Paris.

Development of the gun commenced in 2015, with the company using internal funding for the project. The first technical demonstrator (TD) was completed in May 2016.

After Eurosatory the gun will commence its firing trials from a static stand at Rheinmetall's proving ground, where its performance will be compared to the extensive simulation work already carried out on the weapon and its ammunition.

The new 130 mm smoothbore gun is an L/51 weapon and has a vertical sliding breech mechanism, increased chamber volume, and is chrome lined. However, it is not fitted with a muzzle brake.

Only scant details of the 130 mm L/51 tank gun have been released by Rheinmetall, with the company quoting an all-up weight of 3,000 kg, which includes the recoil system - the barrel alone is stated as weighing 1,400 kg.

The example shown at Eurosatory 2016 is fitted with a thermal sleeve and muzzle reference system (MRS) and these will be fitted for the upcoming firing trials. The MRS enables the weapon to be bore sighted on a more regular basis and without the crew needing to leave the platform.

In parallel with the new gun, Rheinmetall is developing a new generation armour-piercing fin-stabilised discarding sabot (APFSDS) round, which will feature a semi-combustible cartridge case, new propellant, and a new advanced long rod tungsten penetrator.

This will be followed by new 130 mm high-explosive air-bursting munition (HE ABM) that will have a number of fuze options depending on the target.

This HE ABM round will leverage from technology from the 120 mm DM11 HE ABM, currently in production for the home and export markets for use with Rheinmetall's 120 mm L/44 and L/55 smoothbore tank guns installed on Leopard 2 main battle tanks (MBTs).

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