The Rheinmetall Rh-120 is a 120 mm smoothbore tank gun. It was developed in response to Soviet advances in armor technology and development of new armored threats. The first version of the gun, known as the L44, was used on the German Leopard 2 tank and soon produced under license for the American M1A1 Abrams.
About Rheinmetall Rh-120 in brief
The Rheinmetall Rh-120 is a 120 mm smoothbore tank gun. It was developed in response to Soviet advances in armor technology and development of new armored threats. The first version of the gun, known as the L44 as it was 44 calibers long, was used on the German Leopard 2 tank and soon produced under license for the American M1A1 Abrams and other tanks. The L55 is 1. 32 meters longer, giving increased muzzle velocity to ammunition fired through it. A variety of ammunition has been developed for use by tanks with guns based on the original L44 design. The Israelis also introduced a new anti-personnel munition which limits collateral damage by controlling the fragmentation of the projectile. 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. It has also been tested on the British Challenger 2 as a potential replacement for its current weapon, the rifled L30 120-mm cannon. It is also used as the main gun of the Spanish Leopard 2E and the Greek Leopard 2HEL. The gun has a length of 5. 28 meters, and the gun system weighs approximately 3,317 kilograms. 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 led to the development of the L55, which can fire the same ammunition as theL44. The German Bundeswehr felt a more powerful gun was needed for its new tanks. In 1965, the Soviet Union’s T-62 made its first public appearance, armed with a 115-millimeter smoothb bore tank gun, and was armed with the 105-millimeters M68 gun. In the early 1960s, an Iranian tank commander defected over the Soviet border in a brand-new M60 Patton tank, which was armed. The decision to increase the power of its tank’s main armaments had come when, in the early 60s, the Soviets developed the T-72M1 tank. In response, Israel developed the Merkava main battle tank during the 1982 Lebanon War. This is similar to the decision to replace the U.S. M68 with the Israeli M68 105- millimeter tank gun during the battle. The T-64AA tank was also developed in the same year, with a 125 millimeter gun. The new tank carried a three-man crew, a crewman with the tank driver, and a tank driver with the new tank caliber, the MBT70-70. In 1963, Germany and the United States had already embarked on a joint tank program, as known as MBT-70, as well as the MB-T70 tank. The introduction of the 120mm gun in 1976 had raised the question within the armor community whether the new ammunition for the existing tank could effectively deal with new Soviet tank armor.