Home Defense Panther Tank to Get Cutting-Edge Firepower with Rheinmetall’s 130mm Gun

Panther Tank to Get Cutting-Edge Firepower with Rheinmetall’s 130mm Gun

Rheinmetall, an armaments conglomerate from Düsseldorf, appears to have reached a significant milestone in the serial production of a 130mm tank gun of its own design. The company’s CEO, Armin Papperger, said during a conference with analysts a few weeks ago that the company has signed research and technological contracts in Germany for the 130mm gun and the necessary ammunition.

Papperger stated in the transcript that Rheinmetall will equip the main battle tank Panther with a 130mm gun. This is a “fantastic product” that could serve as a mid-term solution until the introduction of the Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) in the 2040s, which could be either “Leopard 3” or “Leopard 2+,” depending on how the German government decides to name it. Rheinmetall’s CEO firmly believes that the Leopard 3 could incorporate several technologies from the Panther.

Rheinmetall Panther KF51
Rheinmetall Panther KF51 Scheme

The introduction and use of the 130mm gun, which Rheinmetall has been developing for many years, will mark a new chapter in armored vehicle development. Many experts view the main gun as the primary component that drives the development of all armored vehicles.

Rheinmetall states that the 130mm L/51 cannon, “combined with an advanced automatic loader,” significantly increases lethality “when threats are multiplying.” Autoloaders have been in regular use on Russian tanks, and Western companies are following suit.

In December 2023, it emerged that the smoothbore 120mm L55A1 cannon would replace the initially envisioned 130mm cannon on the KF-51, which is being developed for Hungary. The latter is stated to “guarantee logistical uniformity with the Hungarian fleet of Leopard 2 tanks” and has “proven itself.”

It should also be noted that one of the sticking points of the armament of the Franco-German tank, the MCGS, is to equip the tank with Rheinmetall’s turret equipped with a 130mm/L51 cannon paired with an “advanced automatic loader, or the Nexter proposed the innovative concept “Ascalon” [Autoloaded and SCALable Outperforming guN], which relies on a cannon using telescoped ammunition, stored and integrated into an automatically loading turret.



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