KF51-U Panther CUT, the German alternative

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caid’s suggestion #125

I would like to suggest the KF51-U Panther CUT

The KF51-U Panther CUT is a new MBT of the next generation presented for the first time during the EuroSatory 2024 as an alternative for the EMBT for Germany. as there is major delay and disagreement between Nexter and KMW for the selection of the compartment for the new MBT future Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) Rheinmetall AG offered a short term alternative to the project with a new upgrade of the KF51. the “Concept Unmanned Turret” or KF51-U Panther CUT.
the KF51-U offers improved protection for the tank, especially from above. the recent conflict in Eastern Europe shows the real threat Drones can be for a tank and this tank is said to be more suited for this kind of threat. The chassis is a KF51 the turret is unmanned and offers higher protection for the crew who are located In the chassis. the tank also carries active defense such as soft-kill and Iron fist. this makes it capable of surviving in high and low-intensity conflict. the KF51-U is aiming to be produced for Germany first as the EMBT is estimated to be in service in 2040. the KF51-U presents itself as a long-term alternative and not just a stopgap. now it remains that the MGCS has not yet cancel and officially the EMBT is going to be the standard MBT for France, Germany, and possibly Italy and other countries.
as for now the KF51-U is an early development and prove of concept. Rheinmetall is trying to see if some nation would be interested in investing in the development of this tank. the production would be ready in the early 2030s.

Firepower
the gun is the 130mm Future gun system (FGS) more likely called the RH-130 L/52. this gun is the German alternative to the 140mm Ascalon which already features in the KF51. the gun is paired with a 25-round autoloader. it is unlikely that more ammunition is carried in the tank as the crew does not have access to the turret as far as we know. the coaxial is a 12.7mm M2HB which provides a decent additional firepower against soft targets. for close defense, the turret features an auxiliary turret on the top with an RMG762 triple barrel. this gives the tank the capacity to just suppress any soft threat with an extremely high rate of fire for protection against the infantry and drones. the tank features all the usual devices we expect to find on the modern MBT. a two plane stabilizer, thermal vision, night vision, and laser-rangefinder

Mobility

the tank mobility is unknown. it must be at least as good as the KF51. the tank features an MB 873 Ka-501 V-12 water-cooled diesel providing 1479 hp at 2600 rpm. the weight has been stated to be in the mid-50s making it a bit lighter than the first KF51. the transmission is the Renk HSWL 354 offering 4 forward and 1 backward. Altogether the tank should get around 68 km/h forward which is pretty decent.

Protection
there is little known about the actual armor. the tank is stated to offer better protection from above which may mean there is some extra armor on the roof. outside this, there is a little hint about the level of protection the armor offers. the tank also features active protection which is not hidden. it’s even marketed. the most notable is the Iron Fist who can be seen on each side of the turret and can deal with ATGM. it also features the Hensoldt Muss 2.0 soft-kill system and a laser warning system. The crew is made of 3 men who are all in the chassis a bit under the turret.


Sources

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I thought I remember reading that it used both Iron Fist and StrikeShield at the same time, giving it twice the hard-kill protection. Add MUSS 2.0 to that and I’d say this is the most well-protected tank against rockets and missiles yet produced! Plus, the RCWS can operate independently to automatically detect and engage UAVs. With the RMG 7.62, you get a ton of firepower (though it isn’t a rotary machine gun but rather a single barrel weapon with two extra barrels which rotate in when the first gets too hot). Such a cool system! +1 for sure, though it’d be a lot to model!

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