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Rheinmetall unveils KF51 Panther

KF51 Panther

The global defence prime has officially unveiled a new main battle tank.  

The global defence prime has officially unveiled a new main battle tank.  

Rheinmetall has debuted its KF51 Panther — the latest addition to its tracked vehicle offering.  

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The KF51 Panther, debuted at Eurosatory 2022, is tipped to offer enhanced lethality, protection, reconnaissance, networking and mobility.

The tank’s weapons systems are linked to the commanders and gunners optics, and the fire control computer via a fully digitalised NGVA architecture.

This is expected to enable both a hunter-killer and a killer-killer function, supporting instant target engagement, which could be enhanced with artificial intelligence.

The KF51 Panther’s features include:

  • a 130mm Rheinmetall Future Gun System (FGS) capable of firing kinetic energy (KE) rounds, programmable airburst ammunition, and corresponding practice rounds;
  • a 12.7 mm coaxial machine gun complementing the main weapon;
  • a fully integrated, weight-optimised protection concept, incorporating active, reactive and passive protection technologies;
  • an operating concept designed for a three-person crew, with an additional operator station available for a weapons and subsystems specialist or for command personnel;
  • a SEOSS optical sensor and EMES main combat aiming device, enabling the commander and gunner to observe and engage targets independently of each other, while a stabilised daylight and IR optic with integrated laser rangefinder is available to both;
  • an operational weight of 59 tonnes, tipped to deliver greater mobility than current systems, with a maximum operating range of around 500 kilometres; and
  • adaptability for future modifications.

The unveiling of the KF51 Panther comes just a week after Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) established a joint venture in Lithuania, aimed at supporting the provision of logistical support for combat vehicles operated by Lithuanian armed forces and other NATO nations deployed in the Baltic States.

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According to the companies, the joint venture — referred to as Lithuania Defense Services — would leverage synergy effects and promote multinational interoperability between the armed forces and defence sectors of NATO member states.

Each firm holds a 50 per cent stake in the joint venture, set to be led by Sebastian Dietz who has been named managing director.

The services are expected to be conducted from a maintenance and logistics centre in Jonava, built on a 12,000-square-metre site.

The joint venture’s responsibilities include supporting the “Vilkas”, Lithuania’s variant of the multipurpose Boxer wheeled armoured vehicle.

Combat vehicles deployed during Enhanced Forward Presence rotations by NATO forces would also be supported, with platforms including the Puma infantry fighting vehicle, the Bergepanzer 3 Büffel/Buffalo armoured recovery vehicle, versions of the Leopard 2 main battle tank, and the PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzer.

[Related: Rheinmetall, KMW enter NATO combat vehicle partnership ]

Rheinmetall unveils KF51 Panther
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