Faced with a rapidly evolving geopolitical situation, more and more European countries have been rethinking the role of mechanized armoured forces. The scenarios involving MBTs for national defence are currently experiencing a renaissance. At the same time many LEOPARD 2 user nations plan to use the weapon systems for a further 15-20 years. At Eurosatory 2016 Rheinmetall is presenting concepts for enhancing the firepower of present and future main battle tanks.
Rheinmetall is the main developer and manufacturer of all LEOPARD 2 120mm smoothbore weapon systems in service today, supplying both the gun and the ammunition. Furthermore the Group is a top specialist for LEOPARD 2 upgrade programmes. Continuously improving the performance of 120mm tank gun and ammunition technology is therefore one of Rheinmetall’s principal tasks.
LEOPARD 2 users who want to upgrade their MBT fleet or parts of it to the more powerful 120mm L55 barrel are the target group for this technical approach. The intention is to achieve an upgraded 120mm L55 weapon system (working title L55A1) and a new generation of KE ammunition with a significantly improved performance against modern protection systems by 2018. Technically comparable solutions will also be offered for the standard barrel L44, i.e. the L44A1.
Prompted by initial considerations for a future MBT, Rheinmetall's Weapons and Ammunition division launched a company-financed 130mm demonstrator programme last year to confirm the anticipated significant increase in performance against modern threats.
Unveiled at Eurosatory for the first time, this 130mm/L51 weighs (without mounting components) 3,000 kilograms, while the current barrel length is 6,630 mm. In coming months, the 130mm/L51 gun will undergo comprehensive testing which is expected to confirm a quantum leap in performance compared with the tank main armament currently in use. A Leopard 2 successor vehicle would thus be capable of successfully engaging better-protected opponents in duel situations at larger ranges with superior firepower.
If a medium term requirement for a quick introduction of this weapon would come up, integration into an existing or new platform can be completed as a fall-back position in a reasonable time frame.
MBT Advanced Technology Demonstrator
Mechanized forces continue to be an essential element of modern high-mobility warfare. As a leading partner of the world’s armed forces, Rheinmetall Defence has been supplying sophisticated combat systems for well over a century. To underscore its leading role in the field of superior combat systems Rheinmetall has developed a Main Battle Tank Advanced technology Demonstrator which is on show at Eurosatory 2016.
The MBT Advanced Technology Demonstrator is deployable for all kind of missions and outstandingly superior in Firepower, Protection and Mobility. It is designed to fulfil all tasks in all thinkable scenarios of modern warfare: high intensity conflicts, peace keeping missions and counterinsurgency/ -terrorism operations, at all climate conditions and is fully night fighting capable. The MBT Advanced Technology Demonstrator is based on a maintained and repaired standard pre-owned MBT Leopard 2 A4, consists partly of different unchanged configurations with new additional integrated upgrades and enhancements.
With the MBT Advanced Technology Demonstrator Rheinmetall offers a comprehensive future concept for main battle tanks – a modular approach capable of meeting the current operational needs of user nations as well as assuring adequate future growth potential.
Revolutionary aspects of the Rheinmetall concept include, in particular, a force protection package, a digital turret concept, a remote weapon station, an auxiliary power unit, climate control as well as an extensive array of reconnaissance systems with a comparatively modest increase in weight. Moreover, an optimized stowage concept keeps alteration of the vehicle’s contours to a minimum.
The MBT Advanced technology Demonstrator at a glance:
· Protection concept: Comprehensive protection from all current threats, including RPG 7, landmines, IEDs, bomblets, large-calibre KE ammunition and EO-, IR- and laser-guided weapons.
· Digital turret core system: Fully integrated network capabilities, fully interoperable subsystems and components, with significantly shorter reaction times and smaller additional space requirements.
· Fire control technology: An improved first round hit probability, especially when firing on the move.
· New commander's periscope: Night fighting and observation capabilities, improved range and higher elevation angles (up to 70°).
· Situational awareness system: 360° day and night near-field view of the vehicle's immediate surroundings, with automatic alarm and target-tracking functions.
· Command and control system: New capabilities include real-time blue force tracking and red force visualization, augmented reality and MIP-DEM-based interoperability.
· Commander's brake: A revolutionary innovation that enables the commander to stop the tank in critical situations
· Secondary armament: State-of-the-art remote control weapon station, fully stabilized and flexibly configurable.
· Ammunition: The world's first temperature-independent KE tank round and the latest generation of programmable HE ammunition.
· Climate control: High performance air conditioning coupled with a new insulation concept in the fighting compartment, improved ventilation and thermal protection for the magazine.
· Auxiliary power unit: High electric power generation (17 kW) and optimized intelligent energy balance of the vehicle.
· External two-way communications system: Enables the crew to communicate with people outside of the tank.
· Embedded logistics: Provides comprehensive monitoring of vehicle- and weapon system-relevant logistical data; linked with a central logistical information and evaluation system.
· Weight class: MLC 70