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Eurosatory 2022: Rheinmetall unveils KF51 Panther tank with 130 mm gun

Rheinmetall unveiled its KF51 Panther MBT technology demonstrator armed with a 130 mm gun at Eurosatory 2022. (Rheinmetall)

Rheinmetall unveiled its new KF51 Panther main battle tank (MBT) concept vehicle armed with a 130 mm gun on the first day of the Eurosatory 2022 defence exhibition being held in Paris from 13 to 17 June. During the ceremony presenting the tank, Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger described the tank as a “gamechanger”, combining lethality, protection, reconnaissance, networking, and mobility.

The MBT's lethality is provided by the 130 mm smoothbore Rheinmetall Future Gun System (FGS), complemented by a 12.7 mm co-axial machine gun for close defence and to counter unmanned aerial vehicles. Options include Rheinmetall's Natter 7.62 mm remote-controlled weapon station and Rheinmetall partner UVision's Hero 120 loitering munition to hit targets beyond line of sight.

The FGS can fire kinetic energy, programmable airburst, and practice rounds. The autoloader in the rear of the turret carries 20 ready rounds, compared with 15 plus 27 in the magazine of a Leopard 2 tank.

The tank's weapon systems are connected to the commander and gunner's optics and fire-control computer via the vehicle's fully digitalised NATO Generic Vehicle Architecture (NGVA), enabling it to be operated in hunter-killer and killer-killer mode supported in the future by artificial intelligence. Papperger said the KF51 had 50% greater effectiveness than current MBTs and a much longer range.

The autoloader frees one of the tank's four crew members to perform other tasks such as operating the subsystems or can accommodate a tank company or battalion commander.

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