Rheinmetall will work with the government of Hungary to develop the next-generation tank, Panther KF51.
The German arms and land systems manufacturer recently signed a development contract valued at $314.5 million in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary.
“The Panther KF51 is the world’s most advanced main battle tank. It sets a new standard for the combat effectiveness of mechanized formations while delivering a high degree of future adaptability,” Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said.
Rheinmetall first presented a concept for a new MBT at the international defense and security exhibition Eurosatory 2022. Panther KF51 is highly digitalized and supports connected weapons. It only requires a crew of three soldiers: a driver, a gunner and the commander.
The upcoming military vehicle will be equipped with Rheinmetall’s L55A1 120 mm smoothbore gun, the same weapon on the latest variants of Leopard 2, and an autoloader. Its turret architecture allows for future retrofitting for the company’s new 130 mm gun.
Rheinmetall will work with state-owned Hungarian holding company N7 on the software-defined battle tank. N7 holds a 49 percent stake in Rheinmetall Hungary.
Initially, the company will produce a demonstrator vehicle for qualification before moving forward to full production.