Abrams, Challenger 3, Armata…: What are modern battle tanks worth? 2/3

After their programmed disappearance has almost been announced with the appearance of new weapon systems, the tank once again becomes a key marker of the military power of an armed force, in all theaters. This article is the second in a series of 3 designed to present the main models of modern tanks that equip or will equip armed forces around the world. A first article presented the German Leopard 2, the Chinese Type 99A, the Israeli Merkava Mk IV and the French Leclerc. This presents the American M1A2C Abrams, the British Challenger 3 and the Russian T-90M and T-14 Armata. A final article will present the Turkish Atlay, the South Korean K2 Black Panther, the Japanese Type 10 and the Italian C1 Ariete.

United States: M1A2C Abrams

In 1972, at the end of the Vietnam War, the US armies were bloodless, handicapped by 10 years of investments in a specific theater, and many of its land and air equipment no longer offered significant added value in the face of their costs. Soviet equivalents. This was particularly the case with the M60 Patton tank, a derivative of the M48 and in service since 1960, but which, in many areas, was surpassed by the Soviet T-64, as well as by the new T-72 which will enter service in 1973. To face it, and not without great difficulties, the US Army engaged a great program which will be designated BIG 5, and which will give birth to 6 of the most efficient equipment of the 80s: the Infantry Combat Vehicle M2 / M3 Bradley, the M108 / 109 self-propelled gun, the Patriot anti-aircraft system, the AH-64 Apache and UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, as well as the most symbolic of all, the M1 Abrams main battle tank. Breaking with the doctrine of simplicity inherited from the M4 Sherman, and perpetuated by the M48 and M60, the Abrams was at the same time a rolling monster, a concentrate of technology, and had a firepower equaled to the only Leopard 2 German at that time. He demonstrated this power during the First Gulf War, taking a very clear ascendancy over the Iraqi T62 and T72, destroying the majority of the tanks encountered for minimal losses, largely linked to fire from others. Abrams or M2 Bradley's HOT missiles.

The first version of the M1 Abrams was equipped with a 105mm gun like most battle tanks of the 60s and 70s

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