Hard blow for the KF51 Panther of Rheinmetall, Berlin turns towards Leopard 2A7V to replace tanks sent to Ukraine

Apart from doing a handstand, Armin Papperger, the CEO of Rheinmetall, will probably have tried everything in recent weeks to convince the Bundeswehr to turn to its new tank, the KF51 Panther, in particular to replace the 18 Leopard A26 sent by Berlin to Ukraine in support of Kyiv's defense effort against Moscow. Unfortunately for him, this will not be the case. Indeed, the president of the defense committee in the Bundestag, Agnès Strack-Zimmermann, confirmed yesterday in an interview with Frankfurter Rundschau, that the Bundeswehr was going to order new tanks Leopard 2 in their final A7V version, but also Pzh2000 self-propelled guns, to replace the armored vehicles sent to Ukraine, to the great pleasure of Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, which manufactures the two armored vehicles (with the assistance of Rheinmetall), and who sees, these In recent months, its order book has been filling up after the success of Leopard 2 in Hungary and Norway, and while waiting for the Czech Republic.

This is a big blow for Rheinmetall, which was hoping for support from the Bundestag to launch production of the KF51 Panther, so as to be able to position yourself effectively in international competitions, including in Europe. To convince German parliamentarians, Armin Papperger even let certain negotiations around projects that were risky to say the least filter through, such as the construction of a production factory in Ukraine for €200 million which would be capable of producing 400 Panther per year, values ​​that all experts in the field agree on to find unbelievable. Fortunately for Rheinmetall's stock market price, the Berlin arbitration was made public 10 days after the publication of its results and outlook, otherwise good and promising.

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Rheinmetall's hopes of seeing its Panther joining the Bundeswehr were reduced to nothing, at least in the short term, by the decision to acquire Leopard Additional 2A7.

The choice of Leopard 2A7V, on the other hand, makes perfect sense for the Bundeswehr, which has already modernized part of its fleet of heavy tanks to this standard, and which in fact has both the maintenance infrastructure and the training adapted to implement them. With a combat mass of 63 tonnes, the Leopard 2A7V is indeed one of the best heavy tanks of the moment, both well protected by composite armor combining steel, tungsten, titanium and ceramic, well armed thanks to its 55mm smoothbore L120 cannon and 55 calibers powered by 42 shots, and powerfully motorized with its MTU Mb 873 ka 501 turbo-diesel engine. It also has, in this version, modular armor reinforced with the frontal glacis giving it a steel equivalent of more than one meter, a reinforced hull to resist mines, a new 20 kw APU allowing it to operate the all systems, including air conditioning, stationary, as well as modernized on-board and vetronics systems.

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