Best Modern Tank?

I was have a discussion with a friend about NATO Tanks. Specifically, which one is considered the best and how is that detemined? For instance, we were talking about the German Leopard II vs. the US MIA2 Abrams tanks. On paper like look on par with each other, but surely there have been studies done to determine how good each tank would probably(actually) perform in combat? He’s heard that the Leopard is the better tank, but he also lives in Germany, so there’s always the possibilty that the person who said that had a hometeam bias.

So I guess I’m asking, what is considered the Superior NATO Tank(s)(all other things being equal)? Are there any studies to determine this?

The Challenger II doesn’t rate a mention?

Challenger II

My first thought was Challenger II on seeing the title.

I’m biassed but I’ve seen it said that it really is the best tank.

You really can’t look at the effectiveness of a tank in isolation.

With the advent of information technology, and the ability to link it between differant units, the tank becomes integrated into a system.

You might have your AWACS flying overhead, and pilotless drones buzzing about, along with detection systems for em, and if radiation, and these can all be used to provide targetting information, which when linked to an overall system of supervision, can determine exactly which targets to engage, and no doubt the ability to directly control the tanks main weapons, rather than just the crew.

This all requires huge support, perhaps thousands of miles away from the vehicle.

Result is that in large scale actions, no-one has a better system than the US within which to integrate one more tank, improving its effectiveness far beyond anything previously imagined.

Even if, tank for tank, there is anything better than, say, the Abrams - it’s true to say that militarily, US tanks are the best there is, all because of the overall command structure.

Well, both the Abrams M1A1 and the Leopard II tanks happen to use the same 120 mm smooth bore gun; however, the US uses depleted uranium armor piercing rounds, while Germany uses less effective tungsten rounds, giving the Abrams a slight edge here. The Leopard II also relies on conventional steel armor, while the Abrams has a Chobam-derived armour made of steel and ceramic plates, and have since been upgraded with depleted uranium armor reinforcments.

All three (C2, L2, M1A2) have strengths and weaknesses. I don’t think there is an answer. It’s like asking which is better - Airbus or Boeing?

There was a documentry on UK TV last week (Channel 5 - The Worlds Greatest…) which produced it’s own Top Ten Tanks. In it’s opinion the Abrams lost out the #1 slot to the Leopard. I don’t remember all the details but the Leopard was praised for it’s simplicity & modularity. The Abrams was criticised for it’s hot turbine engine, making it an easier target for heat seeking missiles - perhaps more of a problem had it been pitted against better equiped, more advanced foe than recent actions.

Hear, hear!

Sure, it would be really cool to set up individual tank crews in a series of one-on-one engagements, or even five-on-five engagements, in various terrains (urban, desert, river valley, thinly forested plains) – but you’re never going to see tanks battle alone ever again. Crew skill & discipline, good intelligence, strong junior officers, sound doctrine, and the right tactics (roughly in that order) will very quickly blur the hardware differences between any two modern main battle tanks.

A tank-on-tank training battle wouldn’t really even serve to train the tanker crews, because they need to train like they fight – heavily supported.

Of course the Challanger II is in the running, but the disucussion we were having just talked about Abrams vs the leopard II. That’s why I expanded the question to all NATO tanks(and as far as I know, the Russian/Chinese tanks are still a generation behind for the most part).

So you’re saying Abrams, if it’s prepared :wink:

The Military Channel did a Top Ten Tanks ranking about a week ago. The Leopard never made the Top 10. The Challenger came in at #7 I believe. The #1 tank was…

The T-34.

They included in the rankings production, as well as mobility, armor, firepower, crew safety, etc. The Leopard and Challenger II both got creamed on production. You could have the best tank in the world. If you only build three of them, they are targets, not battle-winners. The T-34 gets the nod for being produced in such overwhelming numbers that it blanketed the Wehrmacht.

So it all boils down to how you define “best.”

Yup, I guess I am, but more to the point, almost any US tank with good information links is an extremely devastating weapon, it can call in support in a way no other military force in the world is currently capable of.

Ah, but you can’t pit an Airbus and a Boeing against eachother in a one-on-one dual, or a fleet of Airbus’s vs. a fleet of Boeings in a mass dogfight.

Well, you could, and watching a bunch of huge airliners trying to ram each other would be kinda fun, but they’re not really designed for taking out other airliners.

Tanks, on the other hand… :slight_smile:

I think most analysts would rank the M1A2 slightly behind the Challenger II, Leopard II and the Japanese Type 90 simply because of its engine. Comparing most other features (multi-terrain speed, swim depth, targetting systems, main weapon, armour, etc.), it’s mostly a wash, with none being clearly better on average. The aging, obsolete engine (discontinued by the manufacturer 13 years ago) is the Abrams’ anchor.

Well, Boeing has made some armed warplanes in the past. Granted, a B-52 would have to use some unique tactics to bring it’s quad 50 tail turret into play, and even then, you’d have to retrofit the B-52 to put the tail gun back since they were removed some time ago. I would suggest using a B-29/B-50A, but I’m not sure if either of those planes are fast enough to keep up with their Airbus oponents…

Then you have the X-34… which I don’t think was armed anyways… but this all assumes that Airbus has never made an armed aircraft. Anyone know if they did? :slight_smile:

Of course, this all comes from the guy who once got into a debate about “Who would win in a fight, Israel or Sweden? I mean, assuming they could somehow move their countries close enough to eachother to fight.” :smiley: