Top 12 Armored Tanks In The World
Top 12 Armored Tanks In The World many advanced nations have started manufacturing tanks, inspired by their success in military operations spanning two centuries.
The tank’s ability to move quickly is a variable advantage in battle, influenced by its armor, terrain adaptability, and weapon systems. It’s essential to comprehend the definition of a main battle tank before delving into the top 15 armored tanks in the world.
Modern armies heavily rely on the main battle tank (MBT) due to its manoeuvrability and ability to provide direct firepower. Technological breakthroughs during the Cold War era led to the development of more powerful engines, upgraded suspension systems, and lightweight composite armour.
During the 1960s, the Main Battle Tank (MBT) became a standard fixture in armored units worldwide. These tanks are deployed alongside infantry in armored formations and are backed by reconnaissance and assault aircraft.
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The Stridsvagn 103, also known as Strv 103, is a formidable armored vehicle created in Sweden following the Second World War. It’s also referred to as the Alternative S and the S-tank. The number 103 indicates that it was the third Swedish tank to receive a 10 cm gun. The Swedish military abbreviation “Strv” represents “Stridsvagn,” which means “battle wagon and tank.”
During its construction in the 1950s, the only other mass-produced tank to lack a turret since World War II was the German Kanonenjagdpanzer. Moreover, the Strv 103 was the first significant battle tank to incorporate a gas turbine engine. It features a single fixed gun instead of a turret and uses a groundbreaking gun-laying procedure. Its top speed reaches 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph).
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Challenger 2, United Kingdom
BAE Systems Land Systems’ most advanced main battle tank is called the Challenger 2. The British Army and the Royal Army of Oman both employ this tank in their operations.
The Challenger 2 is equipped with a David Brown TN 54 gearbox that has six forward and two reverse gears, a hydraulic track tensioner, and a Perkins Caterpillar C v12 diesel engine with 12 cylinders. It also has a second-generation hydrogen suspension, and its maximum speed on highways is limited to 60 kilometres per hour (37 mph).
This tank unit of the British Army, a descendant of a long line of tanks that originated in the country, is unique in the world due to its 120-millimeter L30 gun, which still has a rifled barrel. Despite considerable redesigns, the tank shared only five percent of its components with its main competitor, based on the older Challenger 1.
The Challenger 2 is known as one of the most well-protected tanks globally, built with Chobham Armor second generation, a structural matrix made of high-quality ceramics and metal over traditional homogeneous armor rolling in steel.
The T-90 is a third-generation combat tank and the primary tank of Russia’s Land Forces. It is equipped with a 125 mm smoothbore main gun, a gunner’s thermal sight, an upgraded engine, and the A45T fire-control system.
To protect itself, the T-90 uses conventional measures such as explosive reactive armor (ERA), smoke grenade launchers, and a mix of steel and composite armor. It also employs advanced systems like the Kontakt-5 anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) jammer and the Shtora system. Although it has a low profile and is difficult to target, the T-90 has a major drawback with its carrousel-type autoloader, which is housed in the main compartment. Once the hull is penetrated, the crew and tank are vulnerable.
The T-90 has been in production since the 1990s and is operational in Russia (around 700), Algeria (50-100), Azerbaijani (20), India (620), Turkey (40), and Venezuela. However, the tank lacks enhanced thermal vision and a panoramic screen, and the original version has a low power-to-weight ratio. Later models feature more powerful engines. It’s important to note that a tank’s quality depends on the crew’s strength, and no tanks that are not in production or at the prototype stage are included in this list, except for the Russian Armata, which is still being researched and analyzed.
Merkava Mark IV
The Merkava Mark IV tank is also equipped with the Trophy active protection system, which can intercept and destroy incoming anti-tank missiles and rockets. This system has been used successfully in combat situations. The tank’s advanced fire control system includes a thermal imager, laser range finder, and a ballistic computer. The main gun is a 120 mm smoothbore gun capable of firing a variety of ammunition types, including high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) rounds, high-explosive squash head (HESH) rounds, and armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) rounds.
The Merkava Mark IV also features a crew escape system that can quickly evacuate the crew in case of an emergency. In addition to serving in the Israel Defense Forces, the Merkava Mark IV has also been exported to other countries, including Chile, which operates a modified version of the tank. Overall, the Merkava Mark IV is a highly advanced and capable tank designed for both offensive and defensive operations. Its unique design and advanced features make it a valuable asset for the Israel Defense Forces and other militaries around the world.
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T-50-2 Soviet Union
It is important to note that the T-50-2 is not an official designation for any tank in the Russian military. It is, in fact, a fan-made name for a tank that was briefly introduced to the popular game World of Tanks, based on a real-life prototype that never saw active service. The T-50, which was developed in the late 1930s, was supposed to replace the T-26 light tank in the Soviet Army. However, due to various technical problems, the tank was not put into mass production, and only around 100 T-50 tanks were built.
The T-50-2, as it is known in World of Tanks, is a modification of the original T-50 tank. It features a larger turret and improved suspension, making it more stable on rough terrain. The cupola that allowed for an all-around view was also removed, and the tank was given a more conventional commander’s cupola. Despite its brief appearance in World of Tanks, the T-50-2 has gained a cult following among tank enthusiasts and gamers alike. Its unique design and impressive speed make it a popular choice for players who enjoy fast and agile tanks.
Al Khalid, Pakistan
The Al Khalid main battle tank is a product of a collaboration between China and Pakistan. It is a modification of the Type 90-II Chinese tank that was not adopted by the Chinese Army. The tank was initially marketed as the MBT-2000 for international sales in the late 1990s, and Pakistan obtained the production license for it. The tank was named Al Khalid after the renowned military leader Khalid ibn al-Walid. The first delivery of the tank took place in 2002.
Pakistan is currently using the Al Khalid, with plans to build around 600 of them by 2007. The design of the Al Khalid main battle tank was based on concepts developed in China and the Soviet Union. It is relatively lightweight and compact compared to western MBTs. The tank features composite armor, reactive and explosive armor blocks, as well as NBC protection and computerized fire suppression systems. A laser detection and alerting system is also included. The maximum velocity of the tank is 72 kilometers per hour (45 mph).
The upgraded package for the M1 Abrams main battle tank is now called the M1A2 Abrams SCP v3 system. It offers significant improvements in protection, durability, and lethality over previous versions. The Honeywell-manufactured gas turbine engine that powers the tank has a rating of 1500 horsepower. The tank can achieve a top speed of 67 kilometers per hour (42 miles per hour) and 40.2 kilometers per hour (25 miles per hour) over rough terrain.
The M1 Abrams is the primary battle tank used by the U.S. Army and Navy Corps. Since its initial development in the late 1970s, it has undergone several upgrades, including the addition of German-designed 120-millimeter guns, depleted uranium armor, and networking capabilities like Blue Force Tracker. On this list, the M1 is the unrivaled leader in terms of strength, safety, and agility. While other tanks may be good, they lack the combat record to match the M1’s proven track record.
Type 90 Tank Japan
The Japanese ground troops rely heavily on the Type 90 tank, which was developed by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries to replace the Type 61 and Type 74 tanks. It was first deployed in 1990 and features a Mitsubishi ten-zg 32 w t10 cylinder two-stroke cycle diesel engine that generates 1,500 horsepower, connected to a Mitsubishi mt 1500 automatic gearbox. The tank has four forward ratios and two reverse gears, with a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour (43 miles per hour) and a long-distance speed of 45 kilometers per hour (28 mph).
The Type 90 tank, also known as the Kyū-Maru-Shiki-sencha model 90, was designed in collaboration with German tank manufacturers Krauss-Maffei and MaK. Production began in 1992, and while Japan had originally planned to build 600 tanks, only around 340 were produced due to the high unit cost. The tank is armed with a licensed German-designed Rheinmetall 120 mm smoothbore gun, which can fire standard NATO rounds using its automatic ammunition loader. It also features lightweight ceramic/metal armor and a hydropneumatic suspension that allows it to “kneel” and “lean” for various combat situations.
T-84 Oplot-M, Ukraine
In 2009, Ukraine introduced the T-84 Oplot-M, an upgraded version of the T-84 tank that was first produced in 1994. The Oplot-M features improved electronic countermeasures, upgraded armor, and a PNK-6 panoramic tank sight. Its 6TD-3 opposed piston 6-cylinder diesel engine allows it to reach a maximum speed of 70 kilometers per hour (43 mph).
The T-80UD main battle tank production continued in Ukraine after the collapse of the Soviet Union, and the Oplot-M is the latest version of this tank. It comes equipped with new generation explosive reactive armor, inherited from its predecessor’s automatic charge system. The explosives are housed in the main compartment instead of a split blow-out set. While not as similar to Western tanks against long-range targets, the Oplot-M can use the same technique as ordinary warheads to fire guided anti-tank missiles up to a distance of 5 kilometers.
The Oplot-M features an autonomous thermal sight control system that enables it to engage in hunter-killer operations. It also boasts modern armor, a powerful engine, and an advanced fire control system, making it superior to the Russian T-90 tank.
K2 Black Panther, South Korea
The K2 Black Panther, a main battle tank, was developed through the XK2 program in South Korea using solely domestically developed technologies. Production began in 1995 and the first model was publicly revealed in 2007. Extensive testing was conducted to ensure functionality before the manufacturing deal for the first 100 tanks was officially signed in 2014. The delivery of the initial batch of 100 tanks reportedly took place in 2016, and there are rumors that additional tanks are currently being manufactured. The South Korean army plans to acquire a total of 300 of these highly advanced tanks, which will be used alongside the upgraded K1 and K1A1 main battle tanks.
The K2 Black Panther is considered one of the most advanced main battle tanks in the world and surpasses the capabilities of both China and North Korea. It is also the most expensive main battle tank, costing more than the Japanese Type 90 MBT. The tank can reach a maximum velocity of 70 kilometers per hour (43 mph). The South Korean Army began receiving delivery of the K2 Black Panther in 2016, with approximately 100 tanks completed to date. An additional 200 tanks are expected to be delivered in the near future. The tank is equipped with advanced defensive systems similar to the German Leopard 2A7, including lightweight structural armor, Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA), and state-of-the-art passive protection. It also features an automatic targeting and firing system as well as an updated hydro-pneumatic suspension system.
Leopard 2A6, Germany
The significantly enhanced Leopard 2A6 tank was unveiled to the general public in 2010, with modifications made by the manufacturers to enable it to conduct both conventional combat missions and operations in urban areas simultaneously. Equipped with a 120mm, 55-calibre smoothbore gun, the Leopard 2A7+ is built using the usual construction method for German tanks. Its power compartment features a V-shaped, liquid-cooled and turbocharged diesel engine, which produces 1,500 horsepower to power the combat vehicle.
The tank can reach a maximum speed of 72 kilometres per hour (45 miles per hour) on the highway, and 45 kilometres per hour (28 mph) on the road. The Leopard 2 tank, produced by Germany, shares many similarities with the M1 tank. The enhanced Leopard 2A6 tank was revealed to the public in 2010 with modifications that allow it to carry out conventional combat missions and operations in urban areas simultaneously, made by the manufacturers.
With a 120mm, 55-calibre smoothbore gun, the Leopard 2A7+ follows the usual construction method for German tanks. Its power compartment is equipped with a V-shaped, liquid-cooled, and turbocharged diesel engine, which generates 1,500 horsepower to operate the combat vehicle. The tank can attain a top speed of 72 kilometres per hour (45 miles per hour) on the highway, and 45 kilometres per hour (28 mph) on the road. The Leopard 2 tank, produced in Germany, has numerous resemblances with the M1 tank.
Due to the end of the Cold War, Germany has dismantled 90% of its tanks, resulting in the availability of some affordable surplus tanks for purchase. Nevertheless, the Leopard remains highly sought-after. Despite minor variations between countries, the standardization of the Leopard 2 by NATO simplifies logistics for the alliance, particularly in mixed units.
M1A1 Abrams, United States
Since 1979, the United States has produced more than 10,000 units of the M1 Abrams main battle tank, solidifying its position as one of the world’s leading tank manufacturers. The key difference between the M1A1 and other models of the M1 is the armor-resistant shell of the former.
Apart from the US Army, the M1A1 is also in use by certain Middle Eastern military forces, including the Iraqi Army. The top speed of the M1A1 is 72 km/h (45 mph).