The German concern Rheinmetall, one of the largest weapons manufacturers in the world with a 133-year history, is very keen to sell heavy weapons to Ukraine. Even the most modern. There was information that the government of Ukraine is negotiating with Rheinmetall regarding the purchase of promising Panther KF51 tanks, which should replace the modern Leopard 2, and the latest Lynx KF41 IFV. This is reported by Militarnyi with reference to the German newspaper Handelsblatt Business.
“Ukraine is interested in Lynx and Panther – the most modern infantry fighting vehicles and battle tanks,” the media quotes the words of Armin Papperger, executive director of the Rheinmetall concern.
Apparently, negotiations are ongoing, and after their conclusion, the German government will have to approve the export of armored vehicles. With a positive decision, Rheinmetall predicts the first delivery of the Panther KF51 in 15-18 months and even suggests the possibility of opening a tank assembly and repair plant in Kyiv!
If the agreement takes place, the Armed Forces of Ukraine will become the first operator of the Panther KF51 main battle tank in the world, moreover, one of the few countries that will have fourth-generation tanks in service!
As a reminder, the Panther KF51 tank has been developed since 2016 on the Leopard 2 chassis, but has a new 130 mm Rheinmetall Future Gun System (FGS) gun, its own kamikaze drones (!), a modern active defense system, an automatic loading system and a complete digital stuffing, which in the future may even use artificial intelligence.
Panther KF51 specifications
Weight – 59 tons
Range – 500 km
Speed - 65 km/h
The main weapon – 130-mm gun Rheinmetall Future Gun System (FGS)
Ammunition – 20 shots in the machine gun
Additional weapons – 1 12.7-mm machine gun, 1 7.62-mm machine gun in the Natter module RCWS, 4 HERO 120 kamikaze drones
Crew – 3-4 people
As for the Lynx KF41 IFV, last year Rheinmetall tested a version of this vehicle with an integrated module of the Israeli Spike ATGM, and in general, Rheinmetall together with Raytheon are trying to push Lynx as a replacement for M2 Bradley IFV.
The Lynx KF41 is a highly protected heavy infantry fighting vehicle and even has a Lynx 120 light tank armed with a 120 mm gun on its platform. The only country that has already ordered the Lynx KF41 is Hungary. It should receive the first IFV as soon as this year.
Lynx KF41 IFV specifications
Weight – from 34 to 50 tons
Length – from 7.22 to 7.73 m
Width – 3–3.6 m
Height – 3.3 m
Сrew – 3 people
Passengers – 6 or 8 people
Armour – steel armour with various appliques, the details are not disclosed
Armament – Lance turret (KF31) with 30 mm Rheinmetall MK30-2/ABM or 35 mm Wotan 35 or Lance 2.0 turret (KF41) with 35 mm Rheinmetall Wotan 35 autocannon
Secondary armament – co-axial 7.62 mm light machine gun, smoke grenade launchers, and optional Spike LR2 ATGMs or UAV launchers
Engine – a Liebherr diesel engine
Power – 750 hp. (563 kW) or 1140 hp. (850 kW)
Operational range – 500 km
Maximum speed – 65–70 km/h