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The trend for a bigger gun and an unmanned turret: what is known about the new Leopard, Leclerc, K3 and KF51-U tanks

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jun20,2024

Trend for a bigger gun and an unmanned turret: what is known about the new Leopard, Leclerc, K3 and KF51-U tanks

On At the French arms exhibition, four new vehicles made their debut at once, which represent the vision of Western and Asian manufacturers of the future of tank construction.

The Eurosatory 2024 defense exhibition is being held in France, at which manufacturers of armored vehicles showed new tanks. Focus< /em> has prepared a selection of what is known about the new combat vehicles.

Leclerc Evolution — French vision of tanks of the future

The Franco-German conglomerate KNDS presented its vision of the French Leclerc Evolution tank, which is currently under development. The new main battle tank has received a number of features and is an intermediate solution between the current machines and the future MGCS.

The Leclerc Evolution has a new Ascalon ADT 140 turret with a 140 mm gun, but the traditional 120 mm can also be installed. The tank is an illustration of the vision of the integration of future technologies in armored vehicles: the integration of the complex of active protection, the presence of artificial intelligence, cybernetic and hybrid programs.

At the same time, the 120-mm gun is also new — a reduced version of Ascalon, which is under development. It will be compatible with all standard NATO ammunition.

To protect against drones, a 30 mm ARX30 automatic cannon was installed on the tower under ammunition with remote detonation, so that the drone could be destroyed without a direct hit. The prototype shown also has three containers for kamikaze drones. With them, the crew should attack enemy targets beyond the range of the cannon.

The previous version of the Leclerc had a crew of three, which distinguished it from most Western tanks with four crewmen. The Leclerc Evolution now has a fourth crew member on the right side of the hull instead of an automatic loader.

Generally known, the Leclerc Evolution in the version with a 120 mm gun weighs about 62 tons, the top speed will be 68 km/h and the reserve move — 470 km.

The second brainchild of KNDS — Leopard 2A-RC 3.0

The KNDS group of manufacturers consists of German KNW and French Nexter Defense Systems presented the Leopard 2A-RC 3.0 tank. We have already analyzed the new tank in detail. Among its features:

  • an unmanned tower;
  • dynamic and active protection;
  • reduction of crew members to 3 soldiers, because there will be an automatic loader;
  • 140 or 120-mm cannon;

Leopard 2A-RC 3.0 is also an intermediate stage to MGCS. It will have an advanced control system that will allow hitting targets beyond direct line of sight and while moving. For this, the installation of anti-tank missiles of the NLOS type is envisaged.

The weight of the machine will decrease to less than 60 tons, and the height will decrease to 2.44 meters. For comparison, the height of the Leopard 2A7 on the roof of the tower reaches 2.64 meters. Thanks to the unmanned turret, the vulnerable area of ​​the tank has decreased by 30%.

Korean evolution — Next-Gen K3

Hyundai Rotem is not far behind its European colleagues and has already shown a prototype of the K-3 tank. It has several features, including an unmanned turret. In general, there is a definite trend in the world for the protection of the crew and the placement of tankers in the front of the vehicle in an armored capsule. The obvious reason for this is the development of cheap and efficient FPV drones, which proved their effectiveness in the Russian-Ukrainian war.

The Next-Gen K3 will have a 130 mm gun, as well as multi-purpose anti-tank guided missiles with a range of up to 8 km . Optionally, remote-controlled machine guns with a caliber from 12.7 to 30 mm can be installed on the car. There is also a complex of active protection and composite modular booking for better protection. The hull and turret were additionally covered with camouflage to reduce radio frequency and infrared traces.

The manufacturer integrated AI algorithms into the tank to provide full situational awareness, as well as high-speed satellite communication with the possibility of creating manned and unmanned tanks.

Rheinmetall — the latest KF51-U

The German defense giant Rheinmetall presented its vision for the development of Leopard tanks. An updated version of the KF51-U was introduced, which also received an unmanned turret. The caliber of the gun is optionally available in two sizes: 120 or 130 mm.

The innovative tower was named CUT (Concept Uncrewed Turret). A charging machine was placed in it, which made it possible to reduce the number of crew members to three people. Ammunition reaches 25 shells. A .50 caliber machine gun and a three-barreled Rheinmetall RGM765 machine gun are also integrated into the turret. The second is needed to fight drones. Three barrels allow for sufficient fire density.

Rheinmetall integrates state-of-the-art optics inside and a fire control system that allows independent observation of several targets at once.

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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