News 2022

The new German tank KF51 Panther will be produced in Hungary

Currently, of all European countries, only Germany has retained its own tank production. Tank production in the UK and France has been curtailed, and its resumption requires political decisions and huge investments. But it seems that Hungary is laying claim to being a country capable of producing heavy armored vehicles. This was reported by the Polish military analytical publication Defense24.

As stated in the publication, the German concern Rheinmetall AG and the Hungarian authorities signed an agreement to bring the newest Panther KF51 tank to the stage of production readiness. This combat vehicle, which is essentially a technology demonstrator for now, was first shown to the general public at the Eurosatory 2022 arms exhibition.

The agreement between the parties was signed in the Hungarian city of Zalaegerszeg. Its cost is estimated at 288 million euros and provides for the production of a test tank with its subsequent qualification tests. If the tests are considered successful, then serial production of the Panther KF51 will begin with the participation of the Hungarian industry. The production of a new type of tank is planned to be launched at the plant in the same Zalaegerszeg. The KF41 Lynx infantry fighting vehicles and their specialized versions will be produced in the same city. The controlling stake in these plants (51%) belongs to the joint venture Rheinmetall Hungary. The remaining shares go to the Hungarian state holding N7.

The German side proposes the KF51 as a new generation main battle tank. The combat vehicle is armed with a 120-mm Rheinmetall L55A1 cannon with an automatic loader. The manufacturer also offers an option with a more powerful gun – the 130 mm L52. The tank gun is coaxial with a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun. There is also a remote-controlled combat module NATTER with a 7.6 mm machine gun, developed by Rheinmetall. In addition, a launcher for the Hero-120 loitering ammunition can be installed on the tank's turret. This launcher is placed instead of one of two “magazines” with shells.

As stated in the material of Polish experts, the hull of the new tank is based on the solutions that were used in the production of the Bergepanzer 3 ARV. In turn, the latter is built on the chassis of the Leopard 2A4 tank. The weight of the new tank is estimated at 59 tons. It is driven by an MTU MB 873 Ka-501 engine with 1,500 horsepower. The KF51 crew normally consists of three people, but a fourth crew member is also possible. It may be needed to control drones interacting with a tank or Hero-120 loitering ammunition. The tank will be equipped with its own drone to increase situational awareness. In addition, the combat vehicle will receive the StrikeShield active protection system.

In general, the plans of the joint German-Hungarian venture are simply global. It's just a matter of small things, namely, that the new tank is recognized as having passed the tests. In addition, even if mass production of the new Panthers is launched, who will these very expensive tanks be offered to? Perhaps the Hungarian army will buy something. It is possible that the Germans themselves will acquire something. So what is next? Interesting question.
World news