Hungary, Rheinmetall Forge €288M Deal for Panther KF51 Main Battle Tank Development

Panther KF51 will be based on the Leopard Main Battle Tank
  • Defensemirror.com bureau
  • 07:51 AM, December 16, 2023
  • 907
Hungary, Rheinmetall Forge €288M Deal for Panther KF51 Main Battle Tank Development

The Hungarian government, in collaboration with Rheinmetall, has signed a €288 million contract in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, to develop the Panther KF51 and move it towards production maturity. A demonstrator vehicle will be constructed, paving the way for full-scale production.

Rheinmetall is working with the state-owned Hungarian holding company N7, holding a 49 percent stake in Rheinmetall Hungary. Together, Hungary and Rheinmetall will jointly develop the next-generation tank, presented at Eurosatory 2022. Unlike the Eurosatory demonstrator, the Panther KF51 EVO will feature Rheinmetall’s L55A1 120mm smoothbore gun, ensuring logistical consistency with Hungary’s Leopard 2 tanks. The Panther KF51 EVO will also have an autoloader, with a turret architecture allowing subsequent retrofitting of Rheinmetall’s new 130mm gun.

The Panther KF51 boasts advanced digitalization, networkability, and force protection technologies like StrikeShield, contributing to a low aggregate weight. Its chassis, based on the Buffalo armored recovery vehicle, enhances mobility, resulting in logistics, maintenance, and training synergy effects with the Leopard 2 family.

The Panther KF51’s basic crew comprises the commander, gunner, and driver, with a fourth station for a subsystem operator or as a mobile command post for a company or battalion commander.

Rheinmetall unveiled the KF51 Panther at Eurosatory 2022, featuring Leopard 2 components in its bare chassis, a new turret, and the Rheinmetall 130mm L/52 smoothbore gun. The recent agreement between the Hungarian government and Rheinmetall marks a significant step towards the next-generation Panther KF51 MBT's production.

The development contract, valued at €288 million ($315.7 million), includes the construction and qualification of a demonstrator vehicle, paving the way for full-scale production. Rheinmetall collaborates with the state-owned Hungarian holding company N7, holding a 49 percent stake in Rheinmetall Hungary. The Panther KF51 MBT will heavily rely on Leopard 2 components in its bare chassis.

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