(ORDO NEWS) — The last time a German tank received the name “Panther” in the 1940s, during the Second World War, and the weapons for it were developed by Rheinmetall-Borsig, the predecessor of the developer and the current novelty.
At the international exhibition Eurosatory 2022, which takes place from June 13 to 17 in Paris, the new main battle tank from Rheinmetall, the KF51 Panther, was officially presented.
KF stands for “Kettenfahrzeug” (tracked vehicle). There is not much specific information about the new product: there is no data on contracts signed, armor parameters and armor penetration of the vehicle.
Nevertheless, the general description of the tank from the manufacturer strongly resembles another main tank, presented several years ago in a completely different country. Despite this, in a special brochure dedicated to the new Panther, Rheinmetall considers it a game-changing factor.
The key feature of the new tank is the 130mm cannon. For the first time for German (and indeed serious Western) tanks, we are talking about a caliber of more than 120 millimeters.
Previously, the most powerful western cannon was the Rheinmetall Rh-120 (with a barrel length of 55 calibers), standing on the Leopard-2 and Abrams (licensed version).
The weight of the 130 mm gun (with auxiliary systems) is 3,000 kilograms, and that of the 2A82 is 2,700 kilograms. For the first time in German tank building, the gun has a full-fledged automatic loader, where 20 shells are loaded (after they are finished, the rest of the ammunition must be loaded into the machine manually).
Unlike the “Armata”, the “Panther KF51” has a 12.7 mm machine gun coaxial with a cannon.
The German manufacturer mentions that auxiliary remote-controlled weapons can be installed on his car. Specifically, in the copy at the exhibition, this is a machine gun of 7.62 mm caliber. It is also mentioned that a system for launching a HERO 120 kamikaze strike drone can be integrated into the tower.
The tank has not only passive protection (armor), but also reactive (probably dynamic armor integrated into the body, like the “Armata”), as well as some kind of “active protection”. Moreover, the latter can be used against armor-piercing projectiles.
Most likely, we are talking about some kind of analogue of the “shock core”. This is probably a variation on the Afganit theme, the Armata active defense system, which is also capable of shooting down enemy sub-caliber shells flying towards the tank in the air.
Since the tank has automated loading, its base crew is three people, although Rheinmetall notes the possibility of finding a fourth person – for example, to control an airborne drone.
According to information from the company, the weight of the tank is 59 tons, the cruising range on one gas station is 500 kilometers. That is, it is six tons heavier than the Russian counterpart, but has the same power reserve.
The developer claims that the KF51 is the first representative of a new generation of combat vehicles. However, from its description it is extremely difficult to understand exactly what features of the Panther KF51 tank the Armata does not have.
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