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Rheinmetall opts for direct replacement for turret on Panther Evolution Upgrade

18th June 2024 - 10:38 GMT | by Christopher F Foss in Paris

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Rheinmetall’s Panther Evolution Upgrade (PEU) turret pulls through from the Panther KF-51 MBT which was shown in Paris at Eurosatory 2022. (Photo: Christopher F Foss)

The German defence giant is unveiling a host of MBT upgrades at Eurosatory 2024 and has been optimising its Panther MBT for a Hungarian order.

Rheinmetall is embarking on an upgrade programme called the Panther Evolution Upgrade (PEU) which is pulling through from the Panther MBT unveiled just two years ago. The Main Battle Tank (MBT) is being optimised for production following a contract awarded from Hungary.

Along with the PEU, the company is showcasing other MBT upgrading concepts at Eurosatory 2024 in Paris this week, including the current Leopard 2 MBT, Leopard 2A4 and a concept demonstrator of an uncrewed turret at Eurosatory 2024 in Paris this week.

PEU is a brand new all-digital turret and the same computerised fire control system as the Panther. It is armed with the Rheinmetall 120mm L55A1 smooth bore gun fed by a bustle mounted automatic loader which holds 31x120mm bready rounds, but with a growth potential for the 130mm smooth bore gun fed by and automatic loader.

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A 7.62mm machine gun (MG) is mounted co-axial and on the roof is a remote weapon station (RWS) armed with a 12.7mm MG.

Alexander Kuhrt, director of product portfolio tracked vehicles at Rheinmetall Defence, said: “The new turret is a direct replacement for the existing turret with virtually no modifications to the hull.”

When compared to current Leopard 2 turrets, it is a more compact design with a turret crew of commander and gunner, each of whom have a two-axis stabilised day/night sight incorporating a laser rangefinder enabling hunter-killer target engagements to take place.

It features advanced armour and is fitted with an active protection system (APS) which is already in production and service. Other survivability features include banks of grenade launchers and laser warners.

The uncrewed turret, which is called Concept Unmanned Turret (CUT) and is currently at Technology Readiness Level 4 (TRL4), is armed with the Rheinmetall 130mm smooth bore gun fitted with a muzzle reference system. The system was developed by the company as a private venture to provide a step change in firepower capability.

Mounted co-axial is a 12.7mm MG which could be used against many battlefield targets and saving 130mm ammunition for MBT targets.

The commander has the latest Rheinmetall Stabilised Electro-Optical Sighting System (SEOSS) 400 day/night sight incorporating a laser rangefinder with a 7.62mm MG mounted to the right and smoke grenade launchers to the left.

The commanders 7.62mm MG also has an anti-UAV capability and would be slewed onto the target by radar sensors and the gunner has a similar sighting system to commander. The hull and CUT incorporate advanced passive armour plus explosive reactive armour in some areas of the hull.

Cameras are provided for situational awareness through 360 degrees with images displayed at all crew stations. It also has the MUSS soft-kill active protection system (APS).

Kuhrt noted that there would be “some flexibility in the design of the RCT to take into account specific end-user operational requirements”.

The crew of three consists of commander, gunner and driver, all seated in the hull for maximum protection like on the Russian T-14 Armata MBT.

Shephard's Eurosatory 2024 coverage is sponsored by:

BAE Systems

Leopard 2A0/A1/A2/A3/A4

KF-51 Panther

Christopher F Foss

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Christopher F Foss


Christopher F Foss is an internationally recognised authority on armoured fighting vehicles, artillery and other weapon systems, …

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