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.
The weather in Europe is usually difficult to predict because conditions are dictated by several remote factors, but Europe may experience a colder winter with less wind and rain than usual, according to the European Weather Forecast Agency. This is bound to heighten the challenges facing governments trying to solve the continent’s energy crisis.
ParisFrench General Christian Blanchon, aged 58, commanded the 1st Parachute Regiment at Toulouse. He served as an officer in operations in Lebanon, Chad, Central Africa and Kosovo. And on September 9, 2022, this highly respected general published a tribute to the unvaccinated, which has gone viral on social media, but is being ignored by the mainstream media.
MoscowMuch is being said about Putin's grand speech on the annexation of former Ukrainian territories. But the alleged “madman in the Kremlin”, in contrast to the geriatric US President Joe Biden, offered valuable insights into the neoliberal and neocolonial Anglo-Saxon world view.
RomeFor those who had hoped that cooler heads would prevail, Italy's likely new head of government, Giorgia Meloni, has made an important political announcement: immediately after her election victory, she declared her solidarity with Ukraine and assured Kiev's President Zelensky of Italy's continued full support.
Gdansk/RønneMore and more disturbing details are coming to light in connection with the bombing of the Nordstream pipeline in the Baltic Sea.
The politically motivated sabotage behind the apparently serious and wanton damage to the gas pipelines Nordstream 1 and Nordstream 2 were likely ordered by a technically and militarily highly developed state. The aim of this crime, a very large-scale crime, could only have been to destroy any hope of further gas deliveries from Russia to Germany.
New YorkAt the UN General Assembly in New York, Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjártó made an interesting observation: Europe has long since lost the "race of narratives" in connection with the Ukraine war.
Burladingen German industrialist Wolfgang Grupp, the CEO of textile giant Trigema, does not understand why Germans suddenly see Vladimir Putin as a mortal enemy. He believes that the US is controlling everything in the background and are the only winners of this war.
BerlinAnyone who criticizes the German system is quickly labelled as an "extremist". But because the state still has not found enough "right-wing extremists", it has decided to help a little bit.
BrusselsThe member countries of the European Union have revived the debate on whether to introduce majority voting on some issues of foreign or security policy instead of the current need for unanimous consent of all the bloc's states.