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Rheinmetall from Germany unveils new Main Battle Tank MBT with 130mm cannon.

| 2020

On July 31, 2020, Rheinmetall broadcasted a video showing a new main battle tank, fitted with new armor and a 130mm gun. Rheinmetall’s 130 mm smoothbore technology for main battle tanks (MBT) embodies a significant lethality leap in times of more sophisticated protection systems and increasing threats. Combined with a state-of-the-art auto-loader, this system is the latest evolvement in Rheinmetall’s, MBT. Update: the new tank seems to be based on British Challenger 2 MBT.
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The new Rheinmetall Main Battle Tank MBT with its new armor and 130mm gun (Picture source: screenshot of Rheinmetall's video broadcasted on July 31, 2020)

Besides a new shape of the hull front and turret, which leads to assume that the armor is also an upgrade of what characterizes the current versions of the Leopard 2, the main feature is the tank’s new 130mm gun. The video released on July 31, 2020, by Rheinmetall is really impressive on this point.

UPDATE: According to a second analysis, the new tank unveiled by Rheinmetall seems to be based on a Challenger 2 MBT. The Challenger is in service with the British Army. At the InternationalDefense Exhibition held in London on September, Rheinmetall unveiled details of its proposal for the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme (LEP).

At Eurosatory 2016, the German company Rheinmetall unveiled its new 130mm/L51 gun to counter new Russian combat vehicles based on the Armata heavy tracked platform. Prompted by initial considerations for a future MBT, Rheinmetall's Weapons and Ammunition division launched a company-financed 130mm demonstrator program in 2015 to confirm the anticipated significant increase in performance against modern threats.

The new Rheinmetall 130mm/L51 is a new upgrade component for the Leopard 2 main battle tank. At Eurosatory 2016, Rheinmetall was presenting concepts aiming at enhancing the firepower of present and future main battle tanks.

This 130mm/L51 weighs (without mounting components) 3 tons, while the current barrel length is 6,630 mm. A Leopard 2 successor would thus be capable of successfully engaging better-protected opponents in duel situations at longer ranges with superior firepower. According to Rheinmetall MBT’s development road map, the gun will also be used in the new Main Ground Combat System (MGCS) being developed by Rheinmetall. Officials from the company said that the increase of the caliber to 130 mm enhances the gun`s armor-piercing capability by half.

To complement the new weapon, Rheinmetall is developing a new 130 mm armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) round with elongated rod penetrator, which is supposed to be made of a new tungsten alloy. The new APFSDS round also features a semi-combustible cartridge case and new propellant.

Rheinmetall is intending to develop a new 130 mm high-explosive air-bursting (HE AB) round that is planned to replace DM11 HE AB round, which is fired by Rheinmetall`s 120 mm L/44 and L/55 tank guns. According to the company`s representatives, both APFSDS and HE ABM rounds will be in high demand on the global arms market. The new gun will be able to eliminate the Russian T-14 Armata MBT and T-15 heavy infantry fighting vehicles (HIFV), they pointed out.


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