One of Germany’s largest armored vehicle manufacturers, Rheinmetall, claims that their new main battle tank, the KF-51 Panther, will surpass the Russian T14 Armata tank in all respects. Let’s examine the KF-51 Panther versus T14 Armata comparison to verify this claim.
KF51 Panther vs T-14 Armata: Weapon System
The main weapon system of the KF-51, known as the Future Gun System, features a 130-millimeter L52 smoothbore barrel capable of firing Next Generation Kinetic Energy Munitions, Programmable Multi-Purpose High-Explosive Munitions, and the Hero 120 loitering ammunition. Compared to the 120-millimeter guns, the Future Gun System has optimized sensor-to-shooter links, providing a 50% longer firing range and a superior rate of fire aided by autoloader performance. The autoloader stores 20 ready rounds, and the Future Gun System can fire up to 6 kilometers.
The primary weapon of the T14 Armata is a 125-millimeter 2A82-1M smoothbore barrel, which is also adapted for launching missiles. The Russians claim that the Armata’s 2A82-1M cannon is more accurate than the 120-millimeter L55 mounted on the Leopard 2A7 tank, while the wear resistance of the Russian barrel is much better than that of its competitors.
The T14 tank uses guided missiles from the barrel, providing armor penetration of up to 1,200 millimeters. According to Russian media, the Rheinmetall Rh-120 gun has a muzzle energy that is 1.17 times greater than the Russian cannon, and its firing range is around 7 kilometers.
Additionally, the Armata can be equipped with a 152-millimeter 2A83 gun if required and is ready for production; undoubtedly, the T14 Armata gun has better characteristics based on the information above.
KF51 Panther vs T-14 Armata: Tank Digitization
The maker of the KF-51 Panther claims that the tank is fully digitized according to NATO Generic Vehicle Architecture standards. This digitization enables future decision support and the use of artificial intelligence in the future.
Any of the tank’s four crew members can operate any function of the tank at any time without preparation. The Panther is a software-dominant tank that collects and distributes information on a multi-domain battlefield.
With its cutting-edge Battle Management System (BMS) and software-based communication systems, it is able to establish links between sensors and weapons operating on different platforms. Drones, loitering ammunition, and unmanned ground vehicles are all within the Panther’s range of command.
The fully digitized system and common crew stations facilitate human-machine teaming and control of wingman Unmanned Tactical Vehicles (UTVs) capable of performing platoon-level air and drone defense. The model also features a fully autonomous target designation, firing system, and smart projectile protection.
The Russians refer to the Armata as an Armored Combat Computer. The Armata is equipped with electronics and autonomous systems, with many functions fully automated and requiring only control from the crew. Armata tanks, helicopters, and UAVs can communicate and share targets with other platforms, such as the T90M.
KF51 Panther vs T-14 Armata: Crew
The Armata has a three-member crew, whereas the Panther can have a fourth crew. The Panther’s automated loading system gives it an advantage over Western tanks that currently lack this feature. The Panther’s fourth crew member controls unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), which is an undeniable advantage of the Panther.
KF51 Panther vs T-14 Armata: Tank Defense
The Panther has a pre-shot capability and utilizes active and passive protection with top protection capability. It has both onboard and off-board sensors and defense systems like UAVs and UGVs.
The Armata also features active and passive defense but may rely on external methods for top attack protection. It does not carry its own off-board sensors like UAVs or UGVs. At the same time, Armada has both got it active and passive defense systems.
Since its sensors and weapons are located above the vehicle, not on board, the K-51 has an advantage in Tanks Defense. The tank crew on Armata appears to be safer as they are enclosed in a bulletproof capsule. Each tank is also equipped to fight effectively in an electromagnetic conflict.
KF51 Panther vs T-14 Armata: Generational Difference
The Russians say that the Armata is a fourth-generation tank, which means that it is made with the most recent technology and is designed to work in the advanced warfare setting of today. Based on what we know about it, the Panther is a third- or fourth-generation piece of technology.
KF51 Panther vs T-14 Armata: Engine
The Panther is assumed to use the MTU-883 V12 diesel engine, developing 1475 horsepower at 3000 RPM, which is also used with the Leopard 2 tanks. The Panther can travel 500 kilometers without refueling and has a combat weight of 59 tons.
On the other hand, the Armata uses a newer engine capable of developing 1500 horsepower. The Armata’s engine accelerates to 90 kilometers per hour and can travel 500 kilometers without refueling.
The Armata has a weight of about 48 tons. While an onboard computer manages the engine and transmission of both tanks, the Armata’s engine has a higher power-to-weight ratio.
KF51 Panther vs T-14 Armata: Production
The KF-51 Panther is still in its conceptual stages and has yet to be built. There is a lot of engineering work to be done before it can go into production. However, 45 Armata tanks have been produced and have seen action in Syria. The tank may have been developed in Ukraine. However, there is no evidence of this at this time.