Düsseldorf, Germany-based Rheinmetall, which is an arms manufacturing firm, has developed its first tank in nearly 40 years. The tank named “KF51” has a camouflage-like outer appearance and is a descendant of the Leopard 2, which was launched in the 1980s and is continuing its operations till now. Engineers kept on making amendments to Leopard 2, and the most updated version that has been formulated is “Leopard 2A7”. At this stage, a new system became more important than updating the old one and, in this way, this incredible KF51, which is also known as “Panther,” has emerged.
It is based on highly sophisticated technology, having a 130-millimeter main gun, which is the first one to be installed in such tanks. It should be noted that the US, Germany, and France deployed this 130-millimeter gun in their tanks back in the 1990s, probably at the termination of the Cold War era, but they stopped using this technology after seeing good neighborly relations and a sense of harmony with Russia.
However, there are some similarities between the Panther and the Leopard 2, like the autoloader used for the main gun. It was there in Leopard 2 and now the Panther is also equipped with this. Three main crew members are required for its operation, including the tank commander, gunner, and driver. The only distinction between this and that which KF51 is integrated with is a space for the fourth crew member, and he can be a company-level commander or a drone operator. Another similarity is the battery pack. Both the Panther and Leopard 2 can provide the power of 1,100 kilowatts from the 1500 hp engine.
Now, coming towards the distinctive features that the Panther offers, is the 12.7-millimeter machine gun, which is placed on the side of the main gun. This is bigger than the machine guns used on previous tanks, which constitute a range of 7.62 millimeters. However, this new range of machine guns would provide the gunner an ability to lock on to the targets that are smaller and less protected, like armored vehicles and ground troops, etc., rather than unnecessarily deploying a 130-millimeter gun on these targets, which would only contribute to its depreciation.
Besides this, the most noticeable feature of this tank is its lightweight. Even the updated version of the M1 Abrams weighs 73.6 tonnes, but the Panther only weighs about 59 tons. Due to its lightweight, it can easily incline at larger angles with greater agility and also outperforms the rest of the tanks.