The Rheinmetall Rh-120 is a 120 mm smoothbore tank gun designed and produced by the West German Rheinmetall-DeTec AG company, developed in response to Soviet advances in armor technology and development of new armored threats. Production began in 1974, with the first version of the gun, known as the L/44 as it was 44 calibers long, used on the German Leopard 2 tank and soon produced under license for the American M1A1 Abrams and other tanks. The 120-millimeter (4.7 in) gun has a length of 5.28 meters (17.3 ft), and the gun system weighs approximately 3,317 kilograms (7,313 lb).
By 1990, the L/44 was not considered powerful enough to deal with future Soviet armour, which stimulated an effort by Rheinmetall to develop a better main armament. This first involved a 140-millimeter (5.5 in) tank gun named Neue Panzerkanone 140 (“new tank gun 140”), but later turned into a compromise which led to the development of an advanced 120 mm gun, the L/55, based on the same internal geometry as the L/44 and installed in the same breech and mount. The L/55 is 1.32 meters (4.3 ft) longer, giving increased muzzle velocity to ammunition fired through it. As the L/55 retains the same barrel geometry, it can fire the same ammunition as the L/44.
This gun was retrofitted into German and Dutch Leopard 2s, and chosen as the main gun of the Spanish Leopard 2E and the Greek Leopard 2HEL. It was tested on the British Challenger 2 as a potential replacement for its current weapon, the rifled L30 120 mm cannon.
A variety of ammunition has been developed for use by tanks with guns based on Rheinmetall’s original L/44 design. This includes a series of kinetic energy penetrators, such as the American M829 series, and high explosive anti-tank warheads. Recent ammunition includes a range of anti-personnel rounds and demolition munitions. The LAHAT, developed in Israel, is a gun-launched missile which has received interest from Germany and other Leopard 2 users, and is designed to defeat both land armour and combat helicopters. The Israelis also introduced a new anti-personnel munition which limits collateral damage by controlling the fragmentation of the projectile.
Skyshield is a short range ground-based air defence system developed by the German corporation Rheinmetall based on the work of the subsidiary Swiss company Oerlikon Contraves.
Skyshield Air-defence system is a modular, light weight, Short Range Air Defense (SHORAD) system developed by the Swiss corporation Oerlikon Contraves (now a subsidiary of Rheinmetall of Germany). The successor to the Skyguard defense system, Skyshield is intended to rapidly acquire and destroy threatening aircraft and missiles, as well as to fulfill a C-RAM role.
The weapons system itself consists of two 35 mm (1.38 inch) revolver cannons with a rate of fire of 1,000 rounds per minute, a fire control system made up of a sensor unit and a detached command post. The Skyshield can also use up to two surface-to-air missile 8-cell modules for an expanded air defense capability. The Skyshield is designed for traditional anti-aircraft roles in addition to defense against missiles (see anti-ballistic missile).
The Skyshield is easily deployed by trucks and other transportation systems. The fire control system (FCS) uses an X-band search and tracking radar, and another unit for radar/TV and/or laser/FLIR precision tracking. The command post can be placed up to 500 meters, roughly, from the fire control unit (FCU), using encrypted radio-waves. The Skyshield system can also be networked with other air defense systems for wider and more effective air coverage, expanding its roles from point defense to area defense.
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