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Contemporary Western Tank Rumble!

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I'm too lazy to check; what model of Abrams upgraded the thermal sight?  The earliest thermal sight (TIS) was considered slightly inferior to the TTS retrofitted to the M60A3.  I think this was a legacy of the Abrams being a "cheaper" MBT after the implosion of the MBT-70 program.

Hopefully the British crews weren't doing anything wildly irresponsible with that single-piece ammunition like lap-loading it the way they were accustomed to with sabot rounds for their L11s!

 

I am also dubious that the Abrams has a particularly easy powerpack to swap.  @Xlucine had mentioned that Challenger's powerpack was significantly slower to change out.  I suspect that the British crews would have been just as blown away by a Leo 2.

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1 hour ago, Collimatrix said:

I'm too lazy to check; what model of Abrams upgraded the thermal sight?

 

M1A2, it's interesting to read something from 1989 and know what complaints have long been rectified (boiling vessel!).

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dOy_IvdfFX4.jpg

 

This is an extract from a British document from 1988. Apparently the British military believed that the "uparmoured Chieftain" has better frontal protection than a Leopard 2, while the Challenger 2 has inferior protection against KE than an uparmoured variant of the Abrams announced "recently" by 1988 standards. IMO the latter refers to the DU armor upgrade of the M1A1 HA. Interesstingly this is said to provide better protection only over a narrow frontal arc... does this mean that the Abrams' armor array does not provide full protection of the 60° frontal arc? At least other images also imply the that...

 

QvTYhpl.png

Sg5RQIw.png

The graphic above is from a Swedish document and might have been taken from an official M1 sales/info brochure, as Sweden tested the Abrams. Based on this, the "turret front" arc for the M1A2 covers the crew compartment only at angles of about 17-21° to each side of the centerline.

 

As for the Leopard 2 and the Chieftain: Honestly I am quite confused. In 1988 the second generation armor package for the Leopard 2 was adopted (based on German marketing documents send to Sweden) - if that is true, the British assessment might still be based on an earlier Leopard 2 model with the original first generation armor package from 1979. That this would provide lower protection than the Challenger 1, Challenger 2 and M1A1 HA Abrams is quite easy to believe (weight 55.15 tons vs 61-62.5 tons).

Apparently the document does not disclose what tank variant exactly is meant with the uparmored Chieftain and how armor protection was rated (disclosed figures, estimates, weighting for KE/CE protection, etc).

I don't believe that they meant the Chieftain with Stillbrew armor, based on the fact that its protection against shaped charges seems to be extremly weak (no composite armor on the hull, except for a bit Stillbrew armor at the turret ring) and at best should have comparable protection at the turret (weight of both tanks is  very similar, but the Chieftain's turret is made from inferior cast steel, that offers less protection per weight).

 

Maybe the British military was still toying with the idea of upgrading Chieftain tanks? In the end they had concrete plans for upgunning the Chieftain with the L30 tank gun and adopting the Challenger 2's FCS, which were only canceled after the end of the Soviet Union. So it seems possible that the uparmored Chieftain statement is refering to a hypothetical armor upgrade that was not adopted in service. Maybe something similar to the original Chobham armor upgrade concept form the 1970s, the Chieftain Mark 5/2 or the Chieftain 900:

 

Chobham+Type+1.png

post-11038402-0-63974600-1409039850.jpg

 

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18 hours ago, SH_MM said:

dOy_IvdfFX4.jpg

 

This is an extract from a British document from 1988. Apparently the British military believed that the "uparmoured Chieftain" has better frontal protection than a Leopard 2, while the Challenger 2 has inferior protection against KE than an uparmoured variant of the Abrams announced "recently" by 1988 standards. IMO the latter refers to the DU armor upgrade of the M1A1 HA. Interesstingly this is said to provide better protection only over a narrow frontal arc... does this mean that the Abrams' armor array does not provide full protection of the 60° frontal arc? At least other images also imply the that...

 

QvTYhpl.png

Sg5RQIw.png

The graphic above is from a Swedish document and might have been taken from an official M1 sales/info brochure, as Sweden tested the Abrams. Based on this, the "turret front" arc for the M1A2 covers the crew compartment only at angles of about 17-21° to each side of the centerline.

 

As for the Leopard 2 and the Chieftain: Honestly I am quite confused. In 1988 the second generation armor package for the Leopard 2 was adopted (based on German marketing documents send to Sweden) - if that is true, the British assessment might still be based on an earlier Leopard 2 model with the original first generation armor package from 1979. That this would provide lower protection than the Challenger 1, Challenger 2 and M1A1 HA Abrams is quite easy to believe (weight 55.15 tons vs 61-62.5 tons).

Apparently the document does not disclose what tank variant exactly is meant with the uparmored Chieftain and how armor protection was rated (disclosed figures, estimates, weighting for KE/CE protection, etc).

I don't believe that they meant the Chieftain with Stillbrew armor, based on the fact that its protection against shaped charges seems to be extremly weak (no composite armor on the hull, except for a bit Stillbrew armor at the turret ring) and at best should have comparable protection at the turret (weight of both tanks is  very similar, but the Chieftain's turret is made from inferior cast steel, that offers less protection per weight).

 

Maybe the British military was still toying with the idea of upgrading Chieftain tanks? In the end they had concrete plans for upgunning the Chieftain with the L30 tank gun and adopting the Challenger 2's FCS, which were only canceled after the end of the Soviet Union. So it seems possible that the uparmored Chieftain statement is refering to a hypothetical armor upgrade that was not adopted in service. Maybe something similar to the original Chobham armor upgrade concept form the 1970s, the Chieftain Mark 5/2 or the Chieftain 900:

 

Chobham+Type+1.png

post-11038402-0-63974600-1409039850.jpg

 

k8kLP7y.jpg

8zOtgt5.jpg

 

I  am getting the impression that they are talking about the tanks pictured above (Stillbrew Chieftain Mk10, Challenger 1, Leopard 2A4 (early), M1A1, Vickers Mk7/2) The picture seems to have been taken some time in 1990.

 

According to the Challenger 2 book by Osprey the Leopard 2A4 and the other contestants were "current production models". As we know; the latest models of these tanks were the Chieftain Mk11, Challenger 1 Mk3 (minus ROMOR armor), Leopard 2A4 with 2nd gen. special armor, M1A1 HA, Vickers Mk 7/2.

 

There is at least 1 problem with this statement.  The Leopard 2A4 pictured above seems to be one of the Leopard 2A4s that still features the 1st generation special armor. If take a closer look at the heavy side skirt mountings we see that they seem to correspond to the earlier models not the latter vehicles (vehicle 97+ batch 6, batch 7 and batch 8) as seen below.

 

Batch 8 Leopard 2A4:

Leo2A4-KMW-01.jpg

 

It seems that this protection feature above the heavy side skirts was dropped in post 1992 Leopard 2A4s.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, Laviduce said:

According to the Challenger 2 book by Osprey the Leopard 2A4 and the other contestants were "current production models". As we know; the latest models of these tanks were the Chieftain Mk11, Challenger 1 Mk3 (minus ROMOR armor), Leopard 2A4 with 2nd gen. special armor, M1A1 HA, Vickers Mk 7/2.

 

There is at least 1 problem with this statement.  The Leopard 2A4 pictured above seems to be one of the Leopard 2A4s that still features the 1st generation special armor. If take a closer look at the heavy side skirt mountings we see that they seem to correspond to the earlier models not the latter vehicles (vehicle 97+ batch 6, batch 7 and batch 8) as seen below.

 

Batch 8 Leopard 2A4:

Leo2A4-KMW-01.jpg

 

It seems that this protection feature above the heavy side skirts was dropped in post 1992 Leopard 2A4s.

 

The British document is from 1988, so it  might contain information on another variant than tested in the UK. But as you said, it appears that they tested the Leopard 2A4 with first-generation armor package.

 

The upper section of the heavy side skirts found on late-productiton Leopard 2A4 tanks was never removed; if you look closer at the tank, you should notice that the complete side skirts are changed. This tank features completely improved side skirts (rear sections made of a high-hardness steel plates rather than rubber-encased perforated plates, lower section of the frontal skirts is thicker and seamless, upper section was added). 

 

You won't find a Leopard 2A4 with such skirt armor anymore, because all hulls were used for the Leopard 2A5. The German Leopard 2A5 tanks were all created by converting Leopard 2A4 tanks. The hulls were taken from the latest batches, because these had the lowest wear (so engine, running gear etc. could be kept), while not much other work had to be done on the hull (maybe swapping out the armor inserts). The original plans from the German army saw a major hull upgrade happening in the third stage of the upgrade (KWS) program (originally schedule for 2008), when the 140 mm gun in a new turret would be added. Then the hull would need to be reworked (due to the 140 mm calibre being incompatible with the existing ammo rack), the hull armor of the Leopard 2A5 prototypes (also used on the Strv 122, Leopard 2A5DK, Leopardo 2E and Leopard 2A6HEL) would be added and the torsion-bars would probably be replaced (to deal with the increased weight). The turrets were taken from the very early batches Leopard 2 tanks, because pretty much everything needed to be changed. The turrets from the late batch Leopard 2A4s were then mounted on the hulls of the early batch Leopard 2s creating so called "hybrid Leopard 2" tanks.

 

leopard_2a5_10_of_28.jpg

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