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Who's winning the tank war?


Seedorf81
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7 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

I'll admit, I have a soft spot for the manual-loading, coincidence-range-finding era of tanks. I've got a thing for the T-62s. So, my analysis warrants skepticism. However, even the lumbering NATO beasts are switching to auto-loader, sadly. No more slick loaders -- just push the button. I guess the Type 10 will be my new favourite tank. The Lexus of fire extinguishers. 

The Abrams still uses manual loading, and likely will for years to come. 

 

5 hours ago, IMHO said:

IMHO the idea of T-14 supplementing T-72 lineup is like when one tries to move from wooden construction to masonry and instead of working on the bricks production and new architecture techniques one starts spending money like crazy on the best grooming process for the lawns.

I agree. Designing a prototype for a "super-tank" (now meant to mean an actual super tank, not an MBT) doesn't help at all if it is operationally irrelevant because it cannot actually be produced. Upgrading old tech, especially if it is all you can do industrially, is preferable to doing nothing of course. 

 

16 minutes ago, FoxZz said:

Human factor will always be the most important one.

No one here is arguing against this. 

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15 hours ago, IMHO said:

IMHO the idea of T-14 supplementing T-72 lineup is like when one tries to move from wooden construction to masonry and instead of working on the bricks production and new architecture techniques one starts spending money like crazy on the best grooming process for the lawns. Hardly anyone would argue a nice lawn helps a nice house but is it really the first thing one starts with? I'd say the major technological areas where Russia is lagging behind are:

  1. Thermals and light intensifiers
  2. "Really long" long rods
  3. New armour laminates and/or NERA, SLERA or at least enhanced ERA
  4. Day-time targeting and observation
  5. Engines - engine life/MTBF, power output, power-to-weight ratio
  6. APS
  7. Tube life
  8. Powder stability / Burning regimes

Seems like I listed half of a modern tank :D The only point that T-14/T-15 could help designers with as opposed to T-72 platform major upgrade is "long" long rods. And even in this case Black Eagle option was a possibility. But surely they started designing full tank having none of the component technologies. Money's gone, no T-14 in sight and T-90 and T-80 upgrades are fashionable again.

PS And who would think the trick of designing a forward engine heavy APC is to take a tank of classic configuration and to put it hinder part forward :D

I disagree. I think Russia lags in training. Russia lags in keeping a trained force in uniform and having low-level initiative rewarded. But, I'm glad they lag in those areas. Call me biased. ;)

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@c3k,

  1. That depends on who you compare with. Lagging behind IDF and US Army - for sure. China - may be, I know so little about them. The rest of Europe - I really doubt. Division level exercises is common practice nowadays. What's the last time UK or France or Germany repositioned hundreds of tanks, tens of thousands of personnel supported by hundreds of aircraft to a farthest corner of the country in the middle of the night? Certainly it cannot make up for the deficiencies in equipment of an individual military unit but sheer numbers and training in massive application of force do count as well.
  2. Hierarchy is still culturally very much ingrained in the heart of Russian military. But from warfare point of view it's rapidly disappearing. The main tactical element now is a Battalion Tactical Group (BTG). I mean not on paper but in real life. Russian Army may be not as capable as a combined team of all of Europe due to deficiencies in air power but it's certainly stronger in continental warfare than any two biggest European militaries taken together. It's not much of a threat to Europe as Europe is protected by the Russian dependence on Europe as a trading partner. It's a kind of non-nuclear MAD - Russia would plunge into stone age should European economy collapses.
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Just now, IMHO said:

@c3k,

  1.  What's the last time UK or France or Germany repositioned had hundreds of tanks, tens of thousands of personnel supported by hundreds of aircraft...

^^^

Fixed that for you. ;)

UK, France, and Germany have been emasculated. 

(Rough numbers: UK, 249; France, 406; Germany, 543 (a lot (greater than half?) are not ready for combat due to maintenance issues. I don't have the link at hand.) Combined, they have less 1,000 combat-ready tanks. (That assumes that the UK and French numbers represent combat-ready.)

Your other points? Yes, Russia is trying to gain an increase in proficiency, as well as in equipment. It is better than it was.

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My point is Russia is already strong enough to counter any threat at the regional level and it will never ever be strong enough to compete at the global level as Russia's is only 1.9% of global economy whereas US, EU, China are around 19-20% each. Russia's strategy of trying to look menacing, using aggressive rhetorics in the hope "they" will fear us and will sit at the negotiation table crosses all limits of reason and costs dearly to the future of the country. And it brings no benefits whatsoever. Even military ones.

PS @c3k, sorry I answered the question you didn't ask :) Sorry, I misread your reply.

Edited by IMHO
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13 hours ago, IICptMillerII said:

The Abrams still uses manual loading, and likely will for years to come. 

As will the Leopards, from the looks of it -- unless they get rid of the smooth-bore 120mm. I've heard the main reason for the Japanese switched from the manual loading to autoloader, from the Type 90 to the Type 10, is because the tanks are easier to transport by rail. Which gave me deja vu to WW2-era tank designs having to comply to narrow railways.

1 hour ago, IMHO said:

Russia's strategy of trying to look menacing, using aggressive rhetorics in the hope "they" will fear us and will sit at the negotiation table crosses all limits of reason and costs dearly to the future of the country. And it brings no benefits whatsoever. Even military ones.

It benefits the people who run the Neo-Tsardom. Aggressive rhetoric helps encourage the taxpayer to not complain, and keep paying for projects that never materialize.  Any time people think they are getting a raw deal, they can poke the west and receive new sanctions. The oligarchy can blame the west, and come up with new overly-ambitious projects. However, back to tanks:

I don't see the requirement, especially for Russia, for super-tanks, at all. They need numbers to secure their wide borders. I think it is much better to develop a more cost-efficient vehicle, much like the T-72 was in its day. One that is not top of the line, but meets modern MBT criteria. I actually really like the T-90M. It addresses the main issues with the T-72 platform: an  ammo bustle, new fire control and a new auto loader. I assume that the new gun can take new ammunition, as well as old.

I remember hearing that the T-80s would be put in storage, and then hearing they would be modernized. I would be quite excited to have a T-90M-esque upgrade for the T-80. After all, it is a more modern chassis.

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26 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

As will the Leopards, from the looks of it -- unless they get rid of the smooth-bore 120mm.

The Leopard uses an autoloader. The 120mm isn't going anywhere for a while. 

27 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

I don't see the requirement, especially for Russia, for super-tanks, at all. They need numbers to secure their wide borders. I think it is much better to develop a more cost-efficient vehicle, much like the T-72 was in its day. One that is not top of the line, but meets modern MBT criteria. I actually really like the T-90M. It addresses the main issues with the T-72 platform: an  ammo bustle, new fire control and a new auto loader. I assume that the new gun can take new ammunition, as well as old.

If your tank cannot go toe to toe with the enemy tanks, you need a new tank. That is a massive simplification of course, but it holds true if you don't get bogged down in the nuance. The point is, Russia throwing 50,000 T-55s on the border and saying "good enough" is in fact not good enough. For the same reason no one uses bi-planes as fighters anymore, or wooden ships with black powder cannons. 

The fact remains: if you want to be competitive on a modern, conventional battlefield, you have to  field competitive vehicles. 

All of that said, the main issue with Russian tanks are not the tanks themselves. Upgrading existing models is definitely the right decision. The United States has been using upgraded versions of the M1 Abrams since 1980. The Germans and other nations have been using the Leopard for even longer. The key is in the upgrades. 

Russian tanks are not competitive with Western MBTs because they lack the optics (specifically thermal optics) to see their targets first, and arguably more importantly, they lack ammunition that can reliably kill Western MBTs in standard combat conditions. There are other issues such as armor protection, but these are less important in the scheme of things. If you cannot see, and you cannot kill what you do see, you are not effective. 

The only real reason why the Armata received attention among credible circles is because the Armata specifically promised to be the tech leap forward in these critical areas that would actually make the Russians competitive again. The Armata promised to come with new ammunition that was advertised as being capable of reliably penetrating Western MBTs from the front at combat ranges. It also promised to come with a completely new optical suite that would finally bring Russians quality functioning thermal optics. Is any of this likely or practical? No, but the fact that they were saying it was enough to draw some attention. 

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37 minutes ago, IICptMillerII said:

The point is, Russia throwing 50,000 T-55s on the border and saying "good enough" is in fact not good enough.

Isn't this the same argument the Germans had for fielding wonderful advanced systems like the Panther and Tiger?   The Russians are good at making equipment that runs on spare alcohol and spits out gravel whereas ours need to be mollycoddled in pristine conditions.  As what's his name once said "Quality has a quality of its own". 

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11 minutes ago, IICptMillerII said:

The Leopard uses an autoloader. The 120mm isn't going anywhere for a while. 

I was sure that the Leo 2 had a manual loader. However, I am rather behind on their newer upgrades. Which one introduces the auto-loader?

illustration-of-sectioned-view-of-leopar

Little picture of a 2a4. Here's a video of the loading of the 2a5: 

 

I do agree that modern day/night and thermal optics are very important and do provide a critical tactical advantage. I am skeptical that older thermals, or no thermals, make a tank completely useless. Besides, not all of Russia's neighbors have NATO tanks stationed and the T-72 is the new T-55. I've always been curious how useful the barrel-launched ATGMs are. If they are anywhere as effective as their man-portable counter parts -- they're a serious threat besides the shorter-range APSDFS rounds.

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36 minutes ago, Erwin said:

Isn't this the same argument the Germans had for fielding wonderful advanced systems like the Panther and Tiger?   The Russians are good at making equipment that runs on spare alcohol and spits out gravel whereas ours need to be mollycoddled in pristine conditions.  As what's his name once said "Quality has a quality of its own". 

Except the Allies and Soviets didn't spit out tanks 3 generations behind...they produced tanks that were more than competitive with the enemy and in certain places objectively superior.

Piss poor analogy imo.

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1 hour ago, IICptMillerII said:

The Leopard uses an autoloader.  

No it's a 4 man; doesn't detract too much from your argument but a point worth correcting. In fact the Leo loader has the additional burden of tracking what round is in the breech: something a gunner on an Abrams is responsible for.

Are you perhaps confusing it with the Leclerc?

Edited by Rinaldi
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24 minutes ago, Rinaldi said:

Except the Allies and Soviets didn't spit out tanks 3 generations behind...they produced tanks that were more than competitive with the enemy and in certain places objectively superior.

Piss poor analogy imo.

The Germans produced P4s and StuG 3s to the end of the war, which were quite antiquated at that time. Early war Allies and Soviets saw the successes and failures of various inter-war designs pitted against P3s and P4s. The Sherman was designed while the war was going on, based on experiences from it -- which, made it better than pre-war designs. Even if you equate WW2 medium tanks to modern MBTs, they required MAJOR overhauling (or replacement) every year or so. No plan survives contact with the enemy, in this case. No country, to my knowledge, "spits" out tanks like they did in WW2 -- partly because the operational requirements are completely different.

How do you define a generation? Which tanks are part of which generation? From what I gather, the T-90 and current T-80s and T-72s are considered to be in the same generation as the current Leopards and Abrams. Are they inferior? Yes. However, I seriously doubt they are useless.

Edited by DerKommissar
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35 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

I was sure that the Leo 2 had a manual loader. However, I am rather behind on their newer upgrades. Which one introduces the auto-loader?

 

1 minute ago, Rinaldi said:

No it's a 4 man; doesn't detract too much from your argument but a point worth correcting. In fact the Leo loader has the additional burden of tracking what round is in the breech: something a gunner on an Abrams is responsible for.

Argh, my mistake. I had the Leopard 2 confused for a moment. Apologies for the brain fart, and thanks for the correction. 

38 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

I am skeptical that older thermals, or no thermals, make a tank completely useless.

Completely useless is definitely a stretch, though the advantages provided by quality thermal optics really are big. 

39 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

I've always been curious how useful the barrel-launched ATGMs are. If they are anywhere as effective as their man-portable counter parts -- they're a serious threat besides the shorter-range APSDFS rounds.

In short, no. ATGMs have largely been dealt with as a threat going back to the original M1, Leopard 2, and Challenger tanks. They were all designed with new composite armor (chobham armor is one example) that was designed to defeat HEAT projectiles. The protection these tanks have against even modern tandem HEAT warheads is massive. For example, the M1A2 SEP Abrams has over 2000mm RHA equivalent protection against HEAT rounds, without ERA. For comparison, the AT-14 Kornet ATGM has around 1300-1500mm RHA equivalent penetration capability, if Wikipedia is to be believed. Even if Wiki's numbers are off by hundreds of mm, the M1A2 still has more than enough armor to defend itself. The AT-14 is a top of the line, modern, tandem HEAT warhead as well. Other tanks, such as the Challenger 2 and Leopard 2 have even better protection against HEAT warheads than the Abrams does.

Yes, there are some certain, small areas on the front of Western MBTs that have less protection and a lucky hit will penetrate (turret ring for instance) but by and large, from the front ATGMs will do little to a modern Western MBT. Do note, that the same is NOT true for export models of the same tanks. This is why you see Saudi/Iraqi M1 Abrams getting blown up by ATGMs fired by ISIS, etc.  

55 minutes ago, Erwin said:

Isn't this the same argument the Germans had for fielding wonderful advanced systems like the Panther and Tiger?   The Russians are good at making equipment that runs on spare alcohol and spits out gravel whereas ours need to be mollycoddled in pristine conditions.  As what's his name once said "Quality has a quality of its own". 

No. Not even a little. There are like 4 stereotypical generalizations here that are not true. I'm not going to bother with the Panthers and Tigers part, as I could easily write an essay on that. The Russians USED TO be good at making lots of efficient machines that were rugged but more than got the job done. This is no longer the case, mainly due to industrial and specialty limitations. Western gear does not have to be "mollycoddled" or kept in "pristine" conditions in order for them to function. This has never been the case. In fact, the Abrams is well known for its reliability (despite what the Australians may claim) and was one of the most operationally reliable and capable tanks during the Gulf War. As for "quantity having a quality of its own," this is only true in a relative sense. Again, if this were an absolute, then we should scrap all of our expensive jet fighters and revert to using 10s of thousands of bi planes. After all, quantity has a quality of its own right?

Thats a rhetorical question. The answer is obviously no in that context. 

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6 minutes ago, IICptMillerII said:

In short, no. ATGMs have largely been dealt with as a threat going back to the original M1, Leopard 2, and Challenger tanks. They were all designed with new composite armor (chobham armor is one example) that was designed to defeat HEAT projectiles. The protection these tanks have against even modern tandem HEAT warheads is massive. For example, the M1A2 SEP Abrams has over 2000mm RHA equivalent protection against HEAT rounds, without ERA. For comparison, the AT-14 Kornet ATGM has around 1300-1500mm RHA equivalent penetration capability, if Wikipedia is to be believed. Even if Wiki's numbers are off by hundreds of mm, the M1A2 still has more than enough armor to defend itself. The AT-14 is a top of the line, modern, tandem HEAT warhead as well. Other tanks, such as the Challenger 2 and Leopard 2 have even better protection against HEAT warheads than the Abrams does.

Yes, there are some certain, small areas on the front of Western MBTs that have less protection and a lucky hit will penetrate (turret ring for instance) but by and large, from the front ATGMs will do little to a modern Western MBT. Do note, that the same is NOT true for export models of the same tanks. This is why you see Saudi/Iraqi M1 Abrams getting blown up by ATGMs fired by ISIS, etc.  

I think the Leo 2s, M1s and Challengers are top of their game. That being said, they are not virtually immune to HEAT. Challenger 2's frontal armour was penetrated by PRG-29. A few Leopard 2s were lost in Syria. Still, better track record than T-80s and T-90s -- which also can take some punishment, but are smaller and lighter tanks. I looked over penetration data for 120mm versus 125mm platforms on Dziennikz Brojny (Polish Army - Military News) and the Steel Beasts wiki. The ones from the last 20 years or so look pretty neck-in-neck, albeit the 120mm are consistently superior, as a general trend.

I am fascinated by multi-spectral camo. Considering Soviet doctrine of disguising tanks -- I am curious if they are coming up with ways to hide from thermals.

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1 hour ago, DerKommissar said:

I've always been curious how useful the barrel-launched ATGMs are. If they are anywhere as effective as their man-portable counter parts -- they're a serious threat besides the shorter-range APSDFS rounds.

Not very.

GLATGMs are for obvious reasons restricted to the diameter of the gun, which means 120-125mm. A hollow charge warhead of that size is inadequate for penetrating the frontal armor of modern MBTs: even big 150mm+ ATGW like Kornet are not really capable of that.

ATGMs are useful for infantry because you can't make a 120mm cannon man-portable. They are not really that useful for a tank, because a tank with a 120mm gun can sling APFSDS, and a 120mm LRP is better than a 120mm GLATGM in basically every way.

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1. I remember reading an interview with a Soviet Union MoD bigwig of Ustinov times - means the swan song of Soviet military industrial complex. He said many people accuse military leadership of those times of being too fond of immense tank armadas. But in reality armadas were the result of extremely unfavourable kill ratios dictated by technology gap between Western an Soviet industry and paramount political task of being a credible threat to the West. Industrial leadership understood all too well the destructive effects on the national economy of playing cat-and-mouse with the West but the political leadership took the bait of the arms race and wouldn't settle for the second place.

2. CIA once used technology assymmetry in a very clever operation. They made contact with certain young and very ambitious guy in Soviet technology intelligence and started to feed technology information to advance this guy's career. The guy became a star within the intelligence. The information he supplied was perfectly authentic yet it was useless as each technology diamond he provided required a full stack of new industrial methods implemented across multiple industries. So each time it turned out the Soviet Union required another 20 years to make use of his breakthroughs. And yet it was authentic.

Edited by IMHO
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13 minutes ago, DerKommissar said:

The ones from the last 20 years or so look pretty neck-in-neck, albeit the 120mm are consistently superior, as a general trend.

Nope, the last time APFSDS were on par was in 80-s. To save space Russian autoloaders separate projectile from propellant charge. This limits the long rod length so it limits the weight or length-to-diameter ratio for long rods. It's a well known issue but to address it one needs to rework half a design for all the tanks in service. Too expensive.

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3 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

It benefits the people who run the Neo-Tsardom. Aggressive rhetoric helps encourage the taxpayer to not complain, and keep paying for projects that never materialize. 

No, it's not so. Top people do not do it for self-enrichment they do it because they really believe in it. That's part of the problem and part of the misunderstanding between the Western and Russian leaders.

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1 hour ago, IICptMillerII said:

Again, if this were an absolute, then we should scrap all of our expensive jet fighters and revert to using 10s of thousands of bi planes. After all, quantity has a quality of its own right?

Not suggesting that lots of bows and arrows are a match for automatic weapons.  Although it is a question of numbers.  A thousand guys with bows and arrows or spears would win over one guy with a MG.  But, it's silly and snippy to pretend that analogy is what was intended.

The question is how many "inferior" T-whatevers would it take to win against one modern western tank?   Yes, it depends on the terrain and other factors.  But, the question is still valid until the numbers of T-whatevers required become silly.

 

 

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24 minutes ago, Artkin said:

So hey. What's so special about the Type 10? What justifies the cost of this thing? Is the nano crystal armor really worth a damn? The tank is like 50 tons. Can somebody shed some light please?

Well, it has active hydropneumatic suspension. Allowing it to do cool tricks and absorb recoil.

tumblr_ov8jziICyi1rqpszmo1_500.jpg

1280px-JGSDF_type10_Tank_higashi_fuji_Fi

erm... Ignore the last one.

The Type 90 (50 tons) was only deployed to the northern island, because they had appropriate bridges there. The Type 10 (44 tons) can cross any Japanese bridge, and therefore can be deployed anywhere! CVT transmission, allowing it to reach 70 km/h in forward and reverse. A new domestic cannon that can fire both new domestic ammunition and NATO standard 120 Rheinmetall rounds. It's got sophisticated communication equipment (C4I). It's also a pretty future proof design, with modular armour and options for larger cannons. 

59 minutes ago, IMHO said:

No, it's not so. Top people do not do it for self-enrichment they do it because they really believe in it. That's part of the problem and part of the misunderstanding between the Western and Russian leaders.

Do they really? I'd ask them to put their money where their mouth is. However, their money is in western banks, western football teams and western real estate -- and their children are in western universities.

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2 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

 The Sherman was designed while the war was going on, based on experiences from it -- which, made it better than pre-war designs. Even if you equate WW2 medium tanks to modern MBTs, they required MAJOR overhauling (or replacement) every year or so. 

Yes, and? The Russians and the US have ample experience with their current-gen MBTs in two semi-recent conventional conflicts and a smattering of low-intensity deployments each. Their main chassis have undergone or are undergoing extensive upgrades and RnD. This is (i) much more cost effective than trying quantum leaps in armor technology when the resources are lacking and (ii) much saner and realistic than re-activating museum pieces to 'cook the books' roster wise.

2 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

 No country, to my knowledge, "spits" out tanks like they did in WW2 -- partly because the operational requirements are completely different.

I think you are either taking my point too literally, or deliberately failing to understand: there is an entirely fallacious circlejerk going on here about having wild amounts of armor 'in service' (despite being an outright display of ignorance, and don't take that as a personal shout @Erwin) over what the Russians can actually deploy, but the analogy was about little-deployed "super tanks" versus many "good enough tanks." At the risk of sounding like a goddamned broken record, because apparently what I type is Swahili to a select few on this forum:

1) In terms of tank fleet sizes, NATO as a whole, and US individually, outweigh the Russians ponderously in 'current-gen' or 'near-current' MBTs. @IMHO has already said this, multiple times, in various ways throughout this thread, as have others. You shouldn't be thinking in raw numbers, you should be thinking in GDP, manufacturing potential and relative fleet sizes. 

2) "Operational requirements" seems to be getting tossed out as a catch-all phrase here meaning 'there isnt going to be a conventional war' - there isn't, yes. That's no excuse for either side to let their top-line equipment atrophy. We're not talking about tin-pot dictatorships who's armies are meant to merely quell and control their own domestic population. The first, middling and final 'operational requirement' of any of the armed forces being spoken about here is the ability to defeat enemy threats that are at least equal to their own. Its exactly this type of fetishizing the small-war that got both sides in a serious state of conventional decay to begin with.

3) In terms of reliability, the Abrams has both of its major conventional combat experiences in sandy hellholes. Both times it, and the logistical tether supporting it, rose to the challenge. Operational ready rates were entirely satisfactory. What exactly is the point here about fragile/over-engineered Western MBTs? It flies in face of all evidence - which is amazing given the 2003 deployment of Abrams was done on the closest thing the US army has had to a wing-and-a-prayer logistical shoestring since September 1944. 

2 hours ago, DerKommissar said:

How do you define a generation? Which tanks are part of which generation? From what I gather, the T-90 and current T-80s and T-72s are considered to be in the same generation as the current Leopards and Abrams. Are they inferior? Yes. However, I seriously doubt they are useless.

Oh Goodness, totally irrelevant to the post I was responding to: someone was trotting out the notion that re-activating a bunch of museum pieces is the perfect solution to a perceived imbalance in military capability. A naive notion at best.

Since you brought up the subject though, yes; the T-72B1 is what I would call a last-generation tank; hence why the Russians are scrambling to make the B3 a more universal product :) 

If I sound terse, its because I am - the constant referral to WWII in a modern conventional context has slipped from being mildly annoying to exasperating; it smacks of armchair strategist on a scale that even this forum usually doesn't produce and is comparing oranges to rotten apples. 

Edited by Rinaldi
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Japanese Type 10 does NOT cost half a billion per copy. The R&D phase DID cost several billions. However, chunking out each additional tank is only a few million per. (Talking dollars, not yen. ;) )

As in all things fiscal, it all depends on how you amortize the cost. Or which accountant you pay.

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56 minutes ago, c3k said:

Japanese Type 10 does NOT cost half a billion per copy. The R&D phase DID cost several billions. However, chunking out each additional tank is only a few million per. (Talking dollars, not yen. ;) )

Forgot to mention which units I was using -- rookie mistake. 8.4 million in USD and they already made a 100 of them. Still pretty pricey.

1 hour ago, Rinaldi said:

If I sound terse, its because I am - the constant referral to WWII in a modern conventional context has slipped from being mildly annoying to exasperating; it smacks of armchair strategist on a scale that even this forum usually doesn't produce and is comparing oranges to rotten apples. 

Aye, I am sympathetic, in most regards. I thought you were drawing such a comparison, hence the questions. Apologies for any potential tension, on my behalf. The tension was intended for the tracks of that Type 10 up there. My points were mostly in regards to why the conventional decay happened, and why that trend will continue.

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I just dont understand how the tank costs more than the beefier heavier tanks. I figure Western armor is significantly stronger considering the weight. Better networking? Indiginous barrel? Do these really justify the cost? 

I had already known about these stated facts. My guess is it comes down to: 

2 hours ago, c3k said:

As in all things fiscal, it all depends on how you amortize the cost. Or which accountant you pay.

We will see a lot of improvement in Japanese military technology in the coming years considering the recent ratification of their constitution. 

Edited by Artkin
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