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New 130 mm. tank gun is the German response against Russian T-14 Armata tank

BERLIN, (BM) – The German concern Rheinmetall has presented a video demonstrating the latest smooth-bore 130mm tank gun, which is sometimes seen as a response to the appearance of the Russian T-14 tank, learned BulgarianMilitary.com.

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Now the main battle tanks of the leading NATO countries, such as the M1 Abrams or Leclerc, use 120 mm guns. At the time of the development of combat vehicles, such a caliber fully met the requirements of the time, but today experts are increasingly talking about the need for a fundamentally new gun.

One of the reasons for this is the development in Russia and China of completely new tanks with extremely high protection.

Earlier it became known that Rheinmetall is creating a new 130mm tank gun. Now the German concern has presented a demo video of its development.

Experts expected that the gun would be installed on the Leopard 2 tank, but the British Challenger 2 was chosen as the base. It is obvious that the promising gun will be able to find its use on other combat vehicles, including a promising new generation tank, which is being jointly developed by France. and Germany. It is expected to replace the Leclerc and Leopard 2 in the future.

For the 130 mm gun, Rheinmetall has created an automatic loader. Thus, the developers moved away from the classic Western scheme, in which the tankers manually load the gun. Recall that the automatic loader has been used on domestic tanks for many decades.

The developers did not provide detailed information about the armor penetration of the new gun, as well as its other characteristics. Earlier, however, it became known that by increasing the caliber it would be possible to increase the firepower of tanks by about 50 percent in comparison with the existing Western models.

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The Germans are not the only ones who are working in this direction. Last year, French defense giant Nexter was testing a modified Leclerc main battle tank with a new 140mm gun.

As reported at the time, the tank fired over 200 successful shots. Nexter said the new gun is 70 percent more efficient than NATO’s existing 120mm tank guns.

As for the United States, now they are betting not so much on increasing the firepower of tanks, as on increasing their survivability, including through the use of active protection systems. Recall that the US Army recently received the first serial tanks M1A2 SEP V3 Abrams.

Leopard 2 design features

The vehicle has a layout, which has become classic for German tank building, with a rear engine, a self-supporting turret in the center of the hull with control units in the bow of the tank.

Surveillance and Communications – German tanks make full use of the best examples of the famous Zeiss optics. The main sight of the Leopard 2 tank is the EMES 15 device with a 12x electro-optical laser rangefinder from Zeiss-Eltro Optronic.

Surveillance equipment includes a solid-state laser, an additional turret sight, and thermal imaging surveillance systems were used in the form of three successive generations of devices.

The main means of communication for the tank from the A3 version is the SEM 80/90 digital radio station.

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Means of camouflage – German “Leopards” – long-term NATO leaders in the implementation of the latest means and methods of camouflage. Since the 1980s, they were the first to use the three-component camouflage paint. A very recent novelty is the specialized coating Leopard 2 PSO, which is an alternation of large rectangular spots of sufficiently contrasting colors. At the same time, the achieved effect was a decrease in the visibility of the tank in urban conditions with optical detection from the air.

In terms of ensuring radar and thermal invisibility, the Leopard-2 tanks do not practice any special innovations, only in the latest vehicle modifications the engine characteristics have been adjusted towards a decrease in the thermal signature.

Armor – The hull and turret of the tank are welded from rolled armor steel sheets. The main defense is concentrated in the front of the tank, where the upper armor plate and the forehead of the turret have a strong slope, which also increases the likelihood of a ricochet. The armor was made using the Chobham technology, based on the use of several layers of combined armor. As additional protection for tracks and bots, there are hinged screens made of reinforced rubber.

Open sources, starting with the version of the Leopard 2A4 tank and above, provide the following data on its armor protection in the equivalent of homogeneous armor: the thickness of the frontal projection of the hull is from 600 to 920 mm, the thickness of the frontal projection of the turret is from 590 to 1960 mm.

Tower – The tower is equipped with seats for all crew members, with the exception of the driver. To the left of the gun is the loader, to the right is the commander and gunner. In the left wall of the tower there is a hatch designed to eject spent cartridges and supply shells when replenishing ammunition.

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Interior of the Fighting Compartment – The fighting compartment of the tank contains ammunition racks and some of the electronics. The location of the “first stage” shells for the cannon in the aft niche from the point of view of their protection is assessed by specialists contradictory. However, in the event of a detonation of ammunition, it is envisaged that the blast wave will knock out special knockout panels and be directed outward from the vehicle, saving the crew.

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