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Modern Main Battle Tanks

This section contains information about some of the modern Main Battle Tanks featured as variousn products on Tankzone. Our aim is to build it up over time to be a useful reference source for tank enthusiasts.

British Tanks
German Tanks
US Tanks
Tanks from other countries
Centurion - 1947
Chieftain - 1964
Challenger I
Challenger II

Leopard 1 - 1964
Gepard - 1964
Leopard 2 - 1980
Leopard 2A5 - 1990


Modern British Tanks From Centurion to Challenger 2

Centurion

The British Centurion main battle tank was developed towards the end of the Second World War.

Specification:


Specification:Abrams M1A2
Country of originUK
Crew:4: Commander, Loader, Gunner and Driver
Armament:One Rheinmetall smoothbore 120mm main gun, one M240 7.62 machine-gun co-axial with the main gun, one M2 12.7 heavy machine-gun and one M240 7.62 anti-aircraft machine-gun on turret roof. Multi-barrelled smoke discharger on each side of the turret.
Performance:Road speed: 41mph (67km/h), Range: 300 miles (480km),
Vertical obstacle: 3ft 6in (1.07m), Trench: 9ft 0in (2.74m), Gradient: 60 degrees.
Powerplant:Textron Lycoming AGT-1500 gas-turbine engine developing 1,500hp at 30,000rpm.
Dimension:Overall Length: (hull) 25ft 11in (7.92m), (including main gun) 32ft 3in (9.83m), Width: 11ft 11in 3.66m, Height: 9ft 6in 2.89m.
Combat Weight:125,890lb (57,154kg), 13.65lb/in2 (0.96kg/cm2)
Brief HistoryPrototype began trials 1976, Production commenced 1980, Entered service with US Army 1980. Currency users: US Army (8,444), US Marine Corps (403), Egypt (555), Kuwait (218), Saudi Arabia (315).
Major Variants:
M1 (original base version) -British Chobham armour. 105mm main gun.
M1 (improved version) - better armour.
M1A1 - 120mm smoothbore main gun, use of additional Depleted Uranium armour.
M1A2 - improved command and control, electronic, optical and electrical systems. USMC version all have deep water fording kit.


Modern US Tanks From M26 Pershing to M1 Abrams

M26 PershingIntroduced during the closing months of the Second World War, The M26 Pershing was originally classified as a heavy tank but was reclassified after the war as a medium tank when the US Army acknowledge that the M4 Sherman was no longer viable against its modern counterparts like the German Panther. M26 Pershings were field alongside the M4A3E8 Sherman during the Korean War against the Russian T34/85.
M46 PattonAccepted into service in 1948, the M46 Patton was essentially a rebuilt version of the M26 Pershing with a new more powerful engine and a new transmission system to improve maneoverability. This engine and transmission package would provide the basis for US tank design for the next 35 years until the advent of the M1 Abrams in 1981. About 2,400 M26 Pershing were rebuilt to the new M46 Patton standard by 1951. Many saw action in the Koren War. The M46 Patton is distinguishable from the M26 Pershing by presence of large mufflers on the rear fenders and addition of a small return roller between the last road wheel and the drive sprocket.
M47 PattonIn 1948, the US Army initiated a programme to design the next generation of light (76mm gun), medium (90mm gun) and heavy tanks (120mm gun). The light and medium designs were known as T41 and T42 respectively. The T41 resulted in the M41 'Walker Bulldog' which replaced the M24 Chaffee as the standard US light tank. However, because of the frantic scramble to build tanks at the height of the Cold War, it was decided to married the turret from the failing T42 prototype which has a better layout onto a modified but well-proven M46 hull as a stop-gap to speed up delivery. This new tank, with a host of other automotive improvements and in particular animproved fire control system, was designated the M47 Patton. Production began in 1951 but the haste and inadequate testing meant the M47 was plagued with technical problems during its short service life. No M47 Patton served during the Korean War. Though it had a relatively short life in the US Army, the M47 served in various NATO armies for nearly 15 years.
M48 Patton

Work on a replacement for the M47 began in December 1951. This new design retained the same engine and transmission as the M47 but was otherwise a completely new design with new turret and hull. Like the M47, over-hasty schedule without adequate testing resulted in the first batch of M48 coming off the production line in April 1953 with serious technical problems. The M48 was distinguishable y its distintive round turret. ABout 3,200 M48 were built.
Variants:
M48A1 - Identical to M48 except for a completely enclosed cupola housing the ,50-cal machine gun previously exposed.
M48A2 - This version addressed the M48A1's greatest tactical deficiency with its short range of only 112km with a new fuel injection engine and a larger fuel tank beneath a new rear engine deck which also reduced its infra-red signature. The M48A2 became the standard US medium tank of the late 50s and 60s. Nearly 12,000 were built by the time production ceased in 1959.
M48A2C - Improved fire control system and the deletion of a small return roller between the last road wheel and the drive sprocket.
M48A3 - Rebuilt M48A1s with improvement from the M60 programme and the new engine deck and improved fire controls of the M48A2C. A host of other minor improvements resulted in the M48A3 (Late Model).
M48A4 - Originally intended to refer to M48A3s with M60 105mm gun turrets released by the M60A2 programme, delay to this programme due to this beiing cancelled but the designation was used for administrative purpose to refer to the Israeli-modernised M48A2s with improved engine and 105mm gun provided by the US.
M48A5 - Until production of the new M60 has ramped up sufficiently, it was decided to upgrade all mothballed M48s, M48A1s etc. to M60 standard by a variety of packages. These upgraded tanks were designated M48A5s.
M88 - Armoured recovery vehicle version of the Patton.
XM246 - Entering service in the mid-80s, essentially a M48A5 with a new turret mounting twin 40mm Bofor cannons and a fire control radar for anti-aircraft defense.

M60 Patton

Design began in 1956 when the arrival of the Soviet T54 prompted the requirement for a heavier main gun from the standard 90mm medium tank main gun of the time. Again because of the pressure to react to the new threat and the fact that the M48 series is so well established, it was decided to upgun the M48 from 90mm to the new British-designed L7 105mmb and designated this new tank the M60 Patton. The M60 Patton also contain a whole series of improvements from the automotive system to the fire control system.
Variants:
M60A1 - New version featuring a new larger turret allowing more ammunition to be stowed. A new more powerful engine was added to handle the additioanl weight. The M60A1 also introduced a gun stabilisation system which enable the main gun to stay in the general direction of the target no matter which direction the tank was travelling in. Infra-red night sights were also added which necessitate the addition of a large Xenon serchlight above the main gun. Nearly 8,000 M60A1 were produced by the end of 1981.
M60A2 - Attempt to marry the Shillelagh 152mm gun/missile launcher system to the proven M60 hull to produce a lighter, more easily transportable vehicle, to counter the threat of improved Soviet armour in Europe
. Resulted in a completely new long narrow turret on esentially the same hull. The plan was to upgrade all M60A1 to this new system but the new gun never lived up to the expectations of the planner and and only 526 units were built between 1973 and 1975. It was completed withdrawn from service in 1980. The 60A2 turrets being removed and scrapped and replaced with the M60A1 version.
M60A3 - Latest version of the M60 with improvement to all areas that will provide a capable main battle tank well into the 21st Century. New equipment includes aaser range-finder, a computerised fire control system together with thermal imaging aiming and tracking system, improved weapon stabilising system, a cross-wind sensor and a thermal sleeve for the main 105mm gun. All M60s are being replaced with M1s in the US inventory but still serves with many armies all over the world.
M728 - Combat Engineer Vehicle.
G2 - Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridge.

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Modern US M1A1/A2 Abrams MBT

Specification:Abrams M1A2
Country of originUSA
Crew:4: Commander, Loader, Gunner and Driver
Armament:One Rheinmetall smoothbore 120mm main gun, one M240 7.62 machine-gun co-axial with the main gun, one M2 12.7 heavy machine-gun and one M240 7.62 anti-aircraft machine-gun on turret roof. Multi-barrelled smoke discharger on each side of the turret.
Performance:Road speed: 41mph (67km/h), Range: 300 miles (480km),
Vertical obstacle: 3ft 6in (1.07m), Trench: 9ft 0in (2.74m), Gradient: 60 degrees.
Powerplant:Textron Lycoming AGT-1500 gas-turbine engine developing 1,500hp at 30,000rpm.
Dimension:Overall Length: (hull) 25ft 11in (7.92m), (including main gun) 32ft 3in (9.83m), Width: 11ft 11in 3.66m, Height: 9ft 6in 2.89m.
Combat Weight:125,890lb (57,154kg), 13.65lb/in2 (0.96kg/cm2)
Brief HistoryPrototype began trials 1976, Production commenced 1980, Entered service with US Army 1980. Currency users: US Army (8,444), US Marine Corps (403), Egypt (555), Kuwait (218), Saudi Arabia (315).
Major Variants:
M1 (original base version) -British Chobham armour. 105mm main gun.
M1 (improved version) - better armour.
M1A1 - 120mm smoothbore main gun, use of additional Depleted Uranium armour.
M1A2 - improved command and control, electronic, optical and electrical systems. USMC version all have deep water fording kit.

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Modern JGSDF Type 90 MBT

Specification:Type 90 MBT
Country of originJapan
Crew:3: Commander, Gunner and Driver
Armament:One automatic loading Rheinmetall smoothbore 120mm main gun, one 7.62 machine-gun co-axial with the main gun, one 12.7 heavy machine-gun on turret roof. One triple-barrelled smoke discharger on each side of the turret.
Performance:Road s peed: 43mph (70km/h), Range: 250 miles (400km), Vertical obstacle: 3ft 2in (1m), Trench: 8ft 10in (2.7m), Gradient: 60 degrees.
Powerplant:Mitsubishi 10ZG 10 cylinder water-cooled diesel engine developing 1,500hp at 2,400rpm.
Dimension:Overall Length: (hull) 24ft 7in (7.5m), (including main gun) 32ft 0in (9.76m), Width: 11ft 3in (3.43m), Height: 7ft 8in (2.34m).
Combat Weight:110,000lb (50,000kg), 12.6lb/in2 (0.89kg/cm2)
Brief HistoryPrototype began trials 1982, Production commenced 1991, Entered service with JGSDF 1992, About 180 in service by 2000.

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Modern German Leopard 2A5 MBT

Specification:Leopard 2A5 MBT
Country of originGerman
Crew:4
Armament:One Rheinmetall smoothbore 120mm/L44 main gun, one MG3 7.62 machine-gun co-axial with the main gun, one MG3 7.62 machine-gun on turret roof. Eight single-barrelled smoke grenade launchers on each side of the turret.
Performance:Road s peed: 45mph (72km/h), Range: 310 miles (500km), Vertical obstacle: 3ft 7in (1.1m), Trench: 9ft 10in (3m), Gradient: 60 degrees.
Powerplant:MTU MB-873 Ka-501 4-stroke, 12-cylindere, liquid-cooled, exhaust supercharged diesel developing 1,500hp at 2,600rpm.
Dimension:Overall Length: (hull) 23ft 7in (7.72m), (including main gun) 32ft 8in (9.97m), Width: 12ft 3in (3.74m), Height: 8ft 8in (2.64m).
Combat Weight:131,614lb (59,700kg), 12.6lb/in2 (0.89kg/cm2)
Brief History:Prototypes 1990, Upgrade programme started 1995. In service with Germany (225), Netherlands (180), on order for Sweden (120) and Spain (219).

Modern German Gepard Anti-Aircraft Tank

Specification:Gepard
Country of OriginGermany
Crew:3: Commander, Gunner and Driver
Armament:Two 35mm cannons and four smoke dischargers
Performance:Speed: 65 km/h, Range: 550 km
Powerplant:Diesel engine develolping 830 hp at 2,200rpm.
Dimension:Overall Length: 7.68 m, Width: 3.27 m
Combat Weight:47,000 kg
Brief History:A variant of the Leopard 1 MBT.


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