Saturday, May 14, 2016

Rheinmetall's new 130 mm gun to be presented at Eurosatory

According to Jane's IHS, the new 130 mm smoothbore gun from Rheinmetall will be first unveiled at Eurosatory 2016 in June. The gun will be ready for production by 2025. Also a new turret with the 130 mm gun for the Leopard 2 will be developed.

The new 130 mm smoothbore gun was first announced by Rheinmetall during an investor's meeting in 2015. The gun will also be utilized for the future Main Ground Combat System, which sometimes has been nicknamed "Leopard 3".

Previously we speculated that the choice of developing a new 130 mm calibre instead of reusing the older 140 mm smoothbore gun design of the late-1980s and early-1990s was result of the smaller calibre being compatible with the existing Leopard 2 turret. This seems to have been somewhat confirmed by Jane's, whose article states that "[a] new MBT turret is also being designed", which will be "based on an existing Leopard 2 MBT turret".
This leaves some questions: Will the future turrets be newly built or manufactured from already existing Leopard 2A6 turrets (such as the Leopard 2A5/6 turret was created by remanufacturing old Leopard 2A4 turrets).

The future 130 mm smoothbore gun of the Leopard 2 and MGCS is understood to deliver comparable or even slightly more performance than the old 140 mm smoothbore gun design of the 80s & 90s. Overall the new gun will offer about 50% increased performance and penetration compared to the 120 mm L/55 or an improved version of the L/55 gun.

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