KF51 Panther, German Future Tank Capable of Launching Missiles and Drones

KF51 Panther, German Future Tank Capable of Launching Missiles and Drones
Germany KF51 Panther Tank

International Military - German manufacturing company, Rheinmetall, has introduced a tank with future technology named the KF51 Panther, this MBT (Main Battle Tank) was first launched at the Eurosatory Military Exhibition in Paris, France, on Monday, June 13, 2022.

Over the past few years, many military enthusiasts have debated which is the strongest MBT? Is it the Chinese Type 99A, Russian T-14 Almatta, German Leopard, Indian Arjun MK1A or US M1A2SEP? And the arrival of the KF51 Panther might end this debate.

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Quoted from Interesting Engineering, this battle tank is equipped with the latest technology and is seen as the successor of the 43-year-old Leopard 2 MBT but is still relied on by many countries. The Leopard tank itself is a very famous remnant of the Nazis in World War II. Although there is not much detailed information regarding this new German tank, it is certain that the KF51 Panther weighs around 65 tons.

If true, this makes it lighter than both the MBT Leopard 2 and the US-made M1 Abrams tank which weighs over 70 tonnes. So, thanks to the help of a 1,475 horsepower diesel engine and a lighter weight, this new MBT is much more agile.

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The company did not use engines with more modern systems, such as hybrid engines, the goal was to keep making the KF51 Panther lighter and faster. According to the company's official website, Rheinmetall Defense claims that the development of the KF-21 Panther was self-funded.

Lighter weight with bigger cannon

Although the tank hull is based on the Leopard 2, the gun design on the KF51 Panther underwent several changes and improvements. Quoted from Defense View, it is said that the cannon from Germany's latest MBT is 130mm caliber. Where the main gun of the Western MBT is 120mm and the tanks made in China and Russia adopt the design of the 123mm gun.

Its predecessor, the Leopard 2 tank, used the Rh120-L55 smoothbore gun which is renowned for its immense power. The cannon is capable of launching bullets at a speed of 1750 meters per second that can penetrate armor as thick as 700 mm at a distance of 2000 meters.

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Rheinmetall says the KF-51 Panther's 130 mm main gun is 50 percent more powerful than its predecessor. So that the fire from the KF51 Panther MBT is able to penetrate armor with a thickness exceeding 1,000 mm.

In short, Germany's latest MBT is believed to be able to penetrate the armor of any tank in the world. In addition to firing conventional ammunition, the KF51 Panther MBT can also fire programmable explosive shells. So the result of the tank fire will increase the effect of the attack with a wider area.

The Panther secondary weapon is a 12.7mm machine gun and a 7.62mm Remote Control Weapon Station with 2,500 rounds of ready-to-use ammunition. As for the armor, Rheinmetall says the crew will be safer than in the Leopard 2. Because the Panther MBT uses the "StrikeShield active protection system" active, reactive and passive protection technology.

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Is a very strong armor, even able to withstand attacks from anti-tank guns and suicide drones, quoting from Interesting Engineering. Because it has been digitized, the Panther only requires a crew of three (commander, gunner, and driver), while the Leopard is operated by four people.

That's because the ammunition reloading of the cannon is fully automatic, but a fourth person can still be brought in as a specialist or platoon commander.

A Tank with a future concept

The most interesting thing about this German KF51 Panther tank is that it is able to integrate an unmanned vehicle (drone) and launch cruise missiles. Being "accompanied" by a drone makes missions with the Panther much safer as it effectively reduces the chances of an enemy ambush, reports Defense View.

The company claims that its MBT is the world's first digital battle tank concept, and is fully designed for future combat. All weapons in the KF51 Panther tank are connected to a fully digital control computer.

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That overall efficiency is also increased thanks to the NATO Generic Vehicle Architecture (NGVA). Is an open architecture system that allows sensors and weapons to operate quickly and integrated. It can be said, that the KF21 Panther MBT is the look of the future tank, which is more sophisticated compared to other current MBTs.

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