KF51 Panther (HERO 120) - The New Apex Predator
Hi and welcome to by 11th suggestion, which is about the KF51 Panther and the specific HERO 120 module configuration
After I already suggested other vehicles, the russian Flankers, some Rafale and Leopard 2 ATD, its time for another Tank, which is also more future prove than the ATD. Since we finally received Hardkill APS in game along with Challanger 2 Black Night, Merkava Mk.4 and T-55AMD-1, I think other Nations should get thiers to. This one is, in my opinion, Germanys coolest option and best option for a top tier MBT with Hardkill APS.
First of all:
- This is a suggestion for a Tank we could see in game at some point in the Future , that doesn´t mean next Patch or somewhere in the near Future
- I don´t want to force Gaijin to rush Top-tier ground in any way
- Feel free to share more Data and / or correct me if something is wrong
- Discuss respectfully, any aggressive kind or verbal abuse will be reported, the Forum rules also apply here
- Disclaimer: This suggestion is specific for the HERO 120 configuration of the KF51 Panther, since it comes with 3 different optional moduls, the Hero 120 module is one of them, there is also the Spike 2LR and an extra 10 round ammunition storage modules
The emergence of the new Russian main battle tank T-14 Armata has shown that the German tanks are no longer up to date. The Ministry of Defense demanded the redevelopment of a Leopard successor. However, according to current estimates, this new tank should not be able to be introduced before 2030. But in addition to the constant improvement of the Leopard, currently in version 2A7(V), further research and development has already been carried out on the basis of the Leopard 2. As a result, the MBT Revolution emerged. However, since the Leopard design is now slowly coming to an end and the competition is not sleeping, it was time for a completely new series of more modern armor systems, which could also keep up well into the future. According to rumors, work has been going on on the KF51 Panther and its soon-to-be-followed siblings since 2014 / 2015, and we should now see the first demonstration product at Eurosatory 2022.
Compared to the Leopard 2A7, which is currently in good numbers in diesnt, the KF51 Panther is a good deal superior. The 120mm L/55, which we also find on the 2A6, is now replaced by a massive 130mm L/51, which can penetrate over 1200mm LOS of RHA armor with its current APFSDS. According to Rheinmetall the automatic ammunition loading/management system achieves a minimum loading time of < 4 seconds and a feeding time of < 2 seconds, while the optimal time between two shots is < 3 seconds. Additionally the ammo variation includes a HEMP (multifunction HE) and ASM grenade with a tandem HEAT warhead.
With its main armament, the KF51 Panther offers superior firepower against all current and foreseeable mechanized targets. In addition, further armament options are available to provide concentrated firepower for long-range strikes and against multiple targets. A 12.7 mm coaxial machine gun complements the main weapon. The KF51 Panther presented at Eurosatory 2022 is equipped with Rheinmetall’s new Natter RCWS in the 7.62 variant, which is able. Integrating a launcher for HERO 120 loitering ammunition from Rheinmetall’s partner UVision into the turret is equally possible. This enhances the KF51’s ability to strike targets beyond the direct line of sight.
Rheinmetall’s Top Attack Protection System (TAPS) warns off threats from above, while the ROSY smoke systems conceals the KF51 from enemy observation. Moreover, its digital NGVA architecture enables integration of additional sensors for detecting launch signatures. Designed to operate in a contested electromagnetic environment, the KF51 is fully hardened against cyber threats.
The KF51 Panther features an innovative operating concept, which is basically designed for a three-person crew: the commander and gunner in the turret and the driver in the hull, where an additional operator station is available for a weapons and subsystems specialist or for command personnel such as the company commander or battalion commander in the hull next to the driver.
Designed in accordance with NGVA standards, the tank’s fully digital architecture enables seamless integration of sensors and effectors both within the platform as well as into a networked “system of systems”. Operation of sensors and weapons can be transferred instantly between crew members. Each operator station can take over the tasks and roles from others, while retaining full functionality. Means technically even a single crew member can control the tank alone. Since the turret and weapons can also be controlled from the operator stations in the chassis, variants of the KF51 Panther with unmanned turrets or completely remote-controlled vehicles are also planned in the future.
Thanks to the panoramic SEOSS optical sensor and EMES main combat aiming device, the commander and gunner are both able to observe and engage targets independently of each other, both day and night, while a stabilized daylight and IR optic with integrated laser rangefinder is available to both. In addition, via a display in the fighting compartment, the crew has a 360°, round-the-clock view of the vehicle’s surroundings. Integrated, unmanned aerial reconnaissance systems enhance the crew’s situational awareness in built-up areas and in the immediate vicinity of the vehicle.
The base specifications of the KF51 Panther, for comparison, are as follows; The crew consists of 3 members, an additional member can find space in the chassis with the help of another command station. - The total weight amounts to a maximum of 59 tons, the KF51 is powered by a 1.475 hp diesel engine and, according to Rheinmetall, should have a range of 500km.
UVision develops the HERO family of Loitering Systems. The HERO 120 is a sensor-to-shooter system used for surveillance, targeting, and attacking a variety of targets on the battlefield. It flies to the target area, hovering over the point of interest, tracking and attacking the target. Its controlled remotely and in real time by a communication system and equipped with an electro-optical camera, the images from which are received by the command and control station (i.e. the commander of the tank). In particular the HERO 120, mounted in the swappable module contained in the KF51 Panthers turret, has a range of over 60km, endurance of 60 minutes, a warhead weighing 4.5kg and has a total weight (with canister) of 18kg. Four of these kamikaze drones can be accommodated in the tank’s module and fired either simultaneously or individually.
The Panther has a fully integrated “comprehensive, weight-optimized protection concept, incorporating active, reactive and passive protection technologies” as well as StrikeShield APS. Without a doubt, the concept’s most compelling feature is its active protection against KE, which operates without threat speed limits, making it possible to intercept dart rounds with very high speeds. Thanks to its pre-shot detection capability, the KF51 Panther can recognize and neutralize threats at an early stage. The KF51’s StrikeShield system is equipped with numerous sensors. The number of APS modules is 6 in the front, 4 (6?) in the rear and an unknown amount on the sideskirts (charges not visible, possibly not built-in yet).
The AMAP-ADS and StrikeShield systems are so far the only ones that rely on “Opto-Electronically diractable energetic charges with low volume expansion” countermeasures, which pose almost no danger to people and animals in the immediate vicinity, in contrast to the Drozd (-1 / -2) system, whose splitter even at 1000m can still be dangerous in the distance.
The multi-frequency Radars detect a threat 10m to 35m before impact, targets are attempted to be soft-killed here, the Electro-Optical Sensors cover everything in a range of 2m around the tank, 1m before impact the hardkill countermeasure is used to defeat the threat.
“Wouldn´t the Skirt and its Electronics be destroyed as the countermeasure explodes” ?
AMAP-ADS and StrikeShield are built on the same principle, what makes them different is the circumstance of use. Example; the StrikeShield modules all have roughly the same structure, a sensor module, a softkill jammer and the ADS charge, as well as a “guidance channel” for the countermeasure. This channel is there to concentrate the countermeasure mass on one area (more or less), here is an example picture (newer gen, compared to Boxer 8x8s side skirts):
The ADS charge is separated from the rest and placed in a kind of armored box. In any case, if the ADS explodes, the countermeasure will only damage their own housing, everything else is spared. This has the advantage that the material loss per protective measure remains minimal and the batch can be easily replaced after use. In addition, the countermeasure used is a very safe one, damage to the vehicle and the surrounding area remains almost unharmed, which is also evident from numerous tests.
In comparison, the KF51 has significantly better protection and firepower. The ATD, unlike the Panther, is still based on the Leopard 2A4 chassis with C-Tech armor and additional add-on armor (similar to the 2PL and Strv 122B), while the KF51 relies on a new turret design as well as D-Tech armor. In terms of firepower, the L/51 is obviously far superior to the L/55, not to forget about the new HERO 120 drone and the new .50 cal which is a significant upgrade to the old 7.62 MG3A1, thats mounted next to the gun. The new APFSDS can be expected to perforate more than 1200mm.
The StrikeShield APS system installed on the KF51 is in no way inferior to the AMAP-ADS of the ATD, on the contrary, we find significantly more sensors, radars and countermeasures here, which leads to a significant plus in protection. The Natter RCWS machine cannon fights all kinds of targets (with the exception of tank shells), the mini-drones from Rheinmetall fight incoming drones and top-down missiles.
In terms of mobility and future security, the KF51 is also a clear winner, considering Rheinmetall’s plans for the future.
[Will add more if there are some (more) important / declassified things]
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