Rheinmetall unveils new German ‘super tank’
Germany's leading armaments manufacturer Rheinmetall has landed a surprise coup at the Eurosatory 2022 armaments fair. It presented the public with a complete new main battle tank, which is being touted as a technical answer to the world's currently most advanced tank, the Russian T-14, also known as the Armata.
Published: June 17, 2022, 4:38 am
The new tank project operates under the product code KF51 – but Rheinmetall presented the new tank to the public under a surprising name: Panther. Its forerunner was used during the Second World War.
The Wehrmacht used it from 1943 onwards but its weight caused logistical problems, such as an inability to cross certain bridges, even though the tank had a high power-to-weight ratio which made it very mobile.
Interestingly, the old Panther tank was one of the most expensive tanks to manufacture. Using forced labour on the production lines greatly reduced costs, but also greatly increased the risk of sabotage. French-army studies in 1947 found that many of these tanks had been sabotaged during production.
The new KF51 is meant by Rheinmetall as a relatively short-term response to changing armament needs and is to be available before Western tank manufacturers develop their answer to the Russian T-14.
But notably, Rheinmetall now puts the Franco-German Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) project at risk in moving ahead with the new prototype. The MGCS has long been mired in political bickering. During 2020 bilateral talks with his German counterpart, the Italian Undersecretary for Defence Giulio Calvisi said that the possibility of allowing Italy to participate in the Main Ground Combat System programme emerged, but then Italy offered participation in its own development to Poland, and potentially to Spain.
In 2020, the Dutch government asked France and Germany to become an observer. However, both countries were still negotiating the conditions in which to allow other countries to take part in the project.
In 2022, the Belgian government increased defense spending. Part of these plans includes participation in the Main Ground Combat System programme.
On 4 January 2020 Poland was reported to have been excluded from the project and Warsaw ordered M1 Abrams from the United States in 2022.
Early in 2021, the United Kingdom entered talks to be allowed into the project as an observer, looking into options for the future replacement of their Challenger 2 force but as of 2022 Challenger 3 is in development.
On 15 October 2021 Sweden asked to be included in the project as an observer.
European analysts have previously insisted that all countries modernise their tank stocks relatively promptly in view of new challenges, and they now ostensibly have an alternative in the form of the Panther. American media outlets have however questioned the need for a new tank like the KF51, especially an “expensive” one.
In terms of design, the KF51 is based on the Lynx infantry fighting vehicle – also developed by Rheinmetall – but is heavier, larger and more heavily armed than the latter. The new Panther weighs 59 tonnes, which is less than the Leopard 2, and is equipped with a 130 mm calibre combat vehicle gun instead of the previous 120 mm gun. Experts believe that the new main battle tank will also have its own drone and a remote-controlled turret without a crew. There is also talk of other specifications depending on customer requirements.
The Franco-German tank project MGCS now hangs in the balance because of the KF51. After all, many buyers who will opt for the Panther are unlikely to switch again ten years down the line, when the MGCS project is supposed to be finalized. At the same time, pressure on the MGCS project is growing – the higher costs and the later delivery must now be measured against the Panther.
At Eurosatory, the consensus is that Rheinmetall has primarily promoted its own business with the new tank design, but it clearly also has some geopolitical implications.
Therefore, technological innovation appears to be the only way to safeguard sovereignty. Germany’s central and southern regions have forested hills and mountains cut through by the Danube, Main, and Rhine river valleys, but in the north, the landscape flattens out to a wide plain that stretches to the North Sea.
In such a geographical situation, tanks provide a unique combination of mobility, firepower and protection, and are crucial for defending territory.
Despite this fact, the number of MBTs in EU Member States has steadily decreased, from 15 000 in the year 2000 to just 5 000 today.
All rights reserved. You have permission to quote freely from the articles provided that the source (www.freewestmedia.com) is given. Photos may not be used without our consent.
Consider donating to support our work
Help us to produce more articles like this. FreeWestMedia is depending on donations from our readers to keep going. With your help, we expose the mainstream fake news agenda.
Keep your language polite. Readers from many different countries visit and contribute to Free West Media and we must therefore obey the rules in, for example, Germany. Illegal content will be deleted.
If you have been approved to post comments without preview from FWM, you are responsible for violations of any law. This means that FWM may be forced to cooperate with authorities in a possible crime investigation.
If your comments are subject to preview by FWM, please be patient. We continually review comments but depending on the time of day it can take up to several hours before your comment is reviewed.
We reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive, contain slander or foul language, or are irrelevant to the discussion.
CLIMATEThe United States' government scientific organization, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), predicts zero sunspots from 2031 to 2040. This is an extreme situation that has not occurred in as long as humanity has been counting sunspots, and it leads us into uncharted territory in terms of our solar system. However, this prediction aligns with the warnings of the world-renowned solar researcher Valentina Zharkova for many years, who indicated in 2019 various signs of this catastrophic phenomenon, including the extreme hailstorms we have seen in Europe and the world this summer. The forecast and various observations this year give cause for very significant concern. In this unique analysis, Free West Media explains why.
EUROPEAN ELECTIONSOn Saturday, August 26, representatives of six European nationalist parties gathered in Budapest. The meeting was initiated by the Hungarian party Mi Hazánk and took place in the national parliament. Representatives of the parties signed a joint declaration that not only reaffirms the parties' friendship but also their unity on a range of complex political issues. A surprisingly clear and radical manifesto was established. The hope is that this cooperation will lead to success in the EU elections and eventually result in the formation of a group in the European Parliament. For Swedish nationalism, this meeting marks a success as Sweden, for the first time, has a party represented in a leading nationalist cooperation in Europe. Free West Media was present at this historic event.
Sweden will have to wait a bit longer for NATO membership, according to Turkey's Justice Minister Jilmaz Tunc. First, Sweden must extradite the "terrorists" Turkey wants and stop the desecration of the Quran.
The Russian attack helicopter Ka-52 is considered one of the world's best and has struck fear in Ukraine, where it has hunted down tanks and other armored vehicles, often beyond the range of many light anti-aircraft systems. However, it has met its match in the Swedish air defense missile system RBS 70, which has quickly led to significant losses for the Russian helicopter forces.
Alternative for Germany (AfD) held a party conference on July 29-30 to select candidates for the upcoming EU election next year. EU Parliament member Maximilian Krah, belonging to the party's more radical, ethnonationalist faction, was appointed as the top candidate. The party's two spokespersons delivered powerful speeches criticizing the EU's failed migration policy and trade sanctions that isolate Europe and Germany from the rest of the world. They argued that it's time for the EU to return a significant portion of its power to national parliaments. However, they have dropped the demand for Germany to exit the EU.
The rising popularity of AfD has raised strong concerns within the establishment. Despite lies and demonization in the media and isolation from the overall political establishment, the party continues to grow. Certain representatives of the party are accused of becoming increasingly "extreme," and in an unusual move, the influential weekly newspaper Der Spiegel demanded that AfD be "banned."
What is happening in the Netherlands? It is often difficult to follow events in other countries, especially when distorted by system media. We give Forum for Democracy (FvD) the opportunity to speak out on the political situation in the Netherlands and the staunch resistance they face in trying to save the country.
After a criminal complaint in Belgium against the President of the European Commission, the so-called SMS-case, now takes a new turn. The judge responsible for the investigation will likely gain access to the secret messages exchanged between Ursula von der Leyen and Albert Bourla, CEO of Pfizer, at least if they haven't been deleted.
Arktos has distinguished itself by publishing groundbreaking philosophers and social critics. Now, the publisher's international distributor has abruptly terminated the cooperation, and more than 400 already printed titles cannot reach their audience. There is strong evidence that the distributor has been under pressure, something that has also happened in Sweden. We have spoken with Arktos founder Daniel Friberg about the ongoing struggle for freedom of speech in a shrinking cultural corridor.
The Catholic bishops of the Scandinavian countries presented an open five-page letter criticizing transgender ideology on March 21, just before Easter. The document primarily expresses care and advice and was read aloud in Catholic churches in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Denmark, and Iceland. Cardinal Anders Arborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, is one of the signatories of the document.