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  • Australia's new tanks

    Recently, it was announced in the Australian media that our government was replacing our ageing Leopard 1 tanks with 59 15year old M1 Abrams tanks.The deal also includes logistical support and the establishment of a joint training facility in Darwin.

    I have some concerns about this decision.
    In a recent edition of the Australian Army CONTACT; they compared the Abrams to the
    Leopard 1(currently used by the Australian Army), Leopard 2, the British Challenger and the Abrams. The criteria used were speed, range, trench/vertical obstacle(I will group these 3 together and call it mobility),firepower and armour.
    Without restating the various technical specifications the magazine quoted;I will conclude that the Abrams mobility was similar to that of the Leopard 1 and that the Leopard 2 had the best mobility of the tanks compared.
    The Leopard 2 and the Abrams use the same Rheinmetall 120mm gun so there is no difference in firepower.
    LThe next issue is armour the armour used on the Abrams is "classified" so you can't really compare its armour with that of the Leopard 2. I would assume the Leopard 2's armour is effective but that the Abram's armour is superior. But by how much?
    With my limited knowledge as a civilian I would say that the Leopard 2 better suited the needs of the Australian Army. Apart from better mobility, it is cheaper (we could get 100+ new Leopard 2's instead of 59 15 year old Abrams), the firepower is the same and the armour compareable.
    But what about logistical support-ammuninition, maintenance, training etc? Well, I welcome the new joint training facility in Darwin and having interoperablity with the Americans is a good idea. However, the Australian Army has been using Leopard 1's for 30 years; the Leopard 2 is a development of the Leopard 1. They have a lot in common and Australia already has the logistic setup for the Leopard 1. This offsets the American logistical support and the Leopard 2 seems the better tank. Come on, Americans, defend yourselves. Should the aussies have bought Yank tanks.
    Finally the issue of weight: the Abrams weighs 63 ton. In jungle warfare, in places like New Guinea or Cape York, Australia this could be a serious disadvantage. You need a very strong bridge to carry 63 ton. You need Heavy lift aircraft to air transport it. Australia would have to borrow American planes or move the tanks by ship. But the port facilities in places like New guinea are primitive.
    Has the Abrams been tested in jungle conditions? As far as I know it has not. If it has I would love to know how it went?
    I suspect the decision to buy the Abrams was a political decision and not the best decision for the Australian Army. Please prove me wrong.
    My recommendationb for the Australian Army:
    buy 100+ Leopard 2's
    plus for fighting in the jungle or Pacific say 50 air transportable tanks such as the American Stingray used by the Thai army or the American Close combat vechile light.

    The light tanks weigh I think about 30 ton. They can be rapidly deployed in a Hercules transport aircraft--far more quicker than the Abrams by ship. They have adequate firepower and armour for low intensity operations in places like Timor or New Guinea.
    The Thai army uses them and not mbts so I assume they are well suited to jungle warfare.
    WE still need the Leopard 2's for a conventional high intensity conflict in our deserts or open plains wher the light tanks would be at a serious disadvantage.

    I am open to debate. Please argue with me.

  • #2
    Hmmm,I hadnt heard about any of this. I wish I could
    disagree with you but it sounds as if your right on about it being politically motivated.
    Delegate, MN GOP.

    PATRIA SI, COMUNISMO NO

    http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/p...?id=1156276727

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Australia's new tanks

      Originally posted by David.Takacs
      Recently, it was announced in the Australian media that our government was replacing our ageing Leopard 1 tanks with 59 15year old M1 Abrams tanks.The deal also includes logistical support and the establishment of a joint training facility in Darwin.

      I have some concerns about this decision.
      In a recent edition of the Australian Army CONTACT; they compared the Abrams to the
      Leopard 1(currently used by the Australian Army), Leopard 2, the British Challenger and the Abrams. The criteria used were speed, range, trench/vertical obstacle(I will group these 3 together and call it mobility),firepower and armour.
      Without restating the various technical specifications the magazine quoted;I will conclude that the Abrams mobility was similar to that of the Leopard 1 and that the Leopard 2 had the best mobility of the tanks compared.
      The Leopard 2 and the Abrams use the same Rheinmetall 120mm gun so there is no difference in firepower.
      LThe next issue is armour the armour used on the Abrams is "classified" so you can't really compare its armour with that of the Leopard 2. I would assume the Leopard 2's armour is effective but that the Abram's armour is superior. But by how much?
      With my limited knowledge as a civilian I would say that the Leopard 2 better suited the needs of the Australian Army. Apart from better mobility, it is cheaper (we could get 100+ new Leopard 2's instead of 59 15 year old Abrams), the firepower is the same and the armour compareable.
      But what about logistical support-ammuninition, maintenance, training etc? Well, I welcome the new joint training facility in Darwin and having interoperablity with the Americans is a good idea. However, the Australian Army has been using Leopard 1's for 30 years; the Leopard 2 is a development of the Leopard 1. They have a lot in common and Australia already has the logistic setup for the Leopard 1. This offsets the American logistical support and the Leopard 2 seems the better tank. Come on, Americans, defend yourselves. Should the aussies have bought Yank tanks.
      Finally the issue of weight: the Abrams weighs 63 ton. In jungle warfare, in places like New Guinea or Cape York, Australia this could be a serious disadvantage. You need a very strong bridge to carry 63 ton. You need Heavy lift aircraft to air transport it. Australia would have to borrow American planes or move the tanks by ship. But the port facilities in places like New guinea are primitive.
      Has the Abrams been tested in jungle conditions? As far as I know it has not. If it has I would love to know how it went?
      I suspect the decision to buy the Abrams was a political decision and not the best decision for the Australian Army. Please prove me wrong.
      My recommendationb for the Australian Army:
      buy 100+ Leopard 2's
      plus for fighting in the jungle or Pacific say 50 air transportable tanks such as the American Stingray used by the Thai army or the American Close combat vechile light.

      The light tanks weigh I think about 30 ton. They can be rapidly deployed in a Hercules transport aircraft--far more quicker than the Abrams by ship. They have adequate firepower and armour for low intensity operations in places like Timor or New Guinea.
      The Thai army uses them and not mbts so I assume they are well suited to jungle warfare.
      WE still need the Leopard 2's for a conventional high intensity conflict in our deserts or open plains wher the light tanks would be at a serious disadvantage.

      I am open to debate. Please argue with me.
      The Abrams has several advantages: 1) the classified Chobham armor. This is equated with approximately 1200-1400 mm (47-55 inches) of standard steel armor. None but the most heavy anti-tank weapons have a chance of defeating this armor though, of course, the tracks and drive wheels are vulnerable, as with any tanks; 2) safety: the Abrams has a fire suppression system for the crew compartment. In addition the ammuntion compartment is so designed that if it is penetrated, the explosive force with go upwards rather than into the crew compartment; 3) While the Abrams and Leopard have the same main weapon, the Abrams optics and guidance are far superior to any tank currently in service. 4) the Abrams has a gas turbine, much quieter than most tanks that are equipped with diesels. In urban, jungle or other areas of poor visibility, this is a distinct advantage; 5) logistic and support should not be an issue. With the exception of gunnery and electronics, the Abrams is a tank like any tank - there is not a great difference in powerplant, drive train and weaponry - a mechanic working on a Leopard I will need little time or training to service an Abrams, and the same for other areas; 6) finally, as you noted, that Leopard I is 30+ years old, so it is easily defeated by ANY currently available anti-tank weapon, also, its optics/ranging equipment is obsolescent, if not obsolete. It is akin to fielding a force or F-4 or F-105 aircraft, WWII destroyers and cruisers, Korean era half-track, or such. Almost universally, quality defeats quantity.

      Yes, the weight (65-70 tons depending on model) is an issue, but wet/muddy terrain is not, in and of itself an issue. For transport, heavy-lift aircraft are, as you noted, a necessity for rapid transit.

      To my knowledge, jungle ops have not been tested. As with any such terrain, the prime concern would be ambush
      Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
      (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

      Comment


      • #4
        I think both sides make valid points. Perhaps the best solution is something in the middle.

        While the Abrams might be hindered by it weight in the wet, northern territories it would be the queen of the battlefield in the vast desert areas that make up much of Australia.

        A combination of the above mentioned hardware might serve Australia better than concentrating on only one type.
        Lance W.

        Peace through superior firepower.

        Comment


        • #5
          Austrailian Tanks

          I think Australia should stick with the Leopard's. The fewer people using the Abrams the better. The Leopard2 will provide adequate service at less cost. There is no need to buy a Cadillac or a Rolls Royce when a Volkswagen will do.

          Comment


          • #6
            Does anybody know if Australia has ever considered South African weapons. Seems like they would be a good fit.
            Scientists have announced they've discovered a cure for apathy. However no one has shown the slightest bit of interest !!

            Comment


            • #7
              The Abrams' survivability is far superior to that of the Leopard II's. Even with less of them, they'll have a larger positive impact on Australia's armored punch.

              I respectfully disagree with the 'why buy a rolls royce when a VW will do' statement, in that (imo) there is never a time when bargain-weapon systems should be purchased at the potential cost of troops' lives.

              In my opinion the purchase of Abrams tanks was a no-brainer.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Tigersqn
                Does anybody know if Australia has ever considered South African weapons. Seems like they would be a good fit.
                yes, many SA weapons are superb. Their artillery is superior (note how many nations have purchased it), their Rooivalk attack chopper, while not at the level Apache, is also a brilliant weapon. Of course their arms industry arose from their international pariah status, owing to the Apartheid regime. Their involvment, covert or overt, in the various regional conflicts, provided ideal opportunities to test and refine their weapons. As for Australia, I don't know if they have considered SA weaponry, but it would make sense to do so.
                Mens Est Clavis Victoriae
                (The Mind Is The Key To Victory)

                Comment


                • #9
                  Something funny.

                  Leopard IIs were sold to Spain to be built by the local company Santa Barbara. GDLS buys Santa Barbara and will there fore be making Leo IIs and M-1 Abrams.



                  Cheers!



                  Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                  "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                  What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by hogdriver
                    As for Australia, I don't know if they have considered SA weaponry, but it would make sense to do so.
                    SA does indeed make good weapons. For the swampy north of Australia the Rooikat 105 or Centauro could be good choice.

                    http://www.army-technology.com/proje...kat/index.html

                    http://www.army-technology.com/proje...uro/index.html

                    However wheeled tanks seem to be ignored.

                    Cheers!


                    Eagles may fly; but weasels aren't sucked into jet engines!

                    "I'm not expendable; I'm not stupid and I'm not going." - Kerr Avon, Blake's 7

                    What didn't kill us; didn't make us smarter.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Tigersqn
                      Does anybody know if Australia has ever considered South African weapons. Seems like they would be a good fit.
                      Tigersqn,

                      You might have something there. The two countries have simular terrains....
                      Lance W.

                      Peace through superior firepower.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        United Defense had just recently successfully test-fired a 120mm gun from a converted hybrid-engined XM8 Buford Chasis.

                        The project is called THUNDERBOLT.

                        Apparrently through the compactness of the new Hybrid powerplant the THUNDERBOLT possibly could still carry the same amount of main-gun ammo as the 105mm version (about 30 rds).

                        I think if Australia would show some interest to get this project going it will make the right choice for it's needs.

                        As far as I know the RAAF has the C130H and J Hercules Transports.

                        Since the Buford/THUNDERBOLT has a modular armor concept, and still light enough for a Herc to carry, this vehicle would be more flexible and effective choice for the Australian Army, rather than puchasing the expensive gas-guzzling defensive heavy tanks.

                        Having such a weapon system as the THUNDERBOLT can increase the military and political influence of Australia.

                        It is significantly cheaper to purchase and maintain and operate than the Abrams.

                        I would recommend this vehicle over the Abrams, on the basis of costs, utility and deployability.
                        "To know the weapons the enemy has is already to beat them!"

                        http://www.anft.net/f-14/f14-photo-vf213-01l.jpg

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Actually at 30 tons(?!) the US Stingray light tank is too heavy for both the H and J model Hercs currently in the RAAF inventory.

                          Hercs carry a maximum of about 20 to 25 tons, but more closer to 20 tons.

                          The United Defense XM8 Buford/THUNDERBOLT system weighs in at about 19-20 tons and is C130 capable as per specs when the XM8 was originally concieved and developed in the 80's-90's.
                          "To know the weapons the enemy has is already to beat them!"

                          http://www.anft.net/f-14/f14-photo-vf213-01l.jpg

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