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Australia requests more armor


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On 02/05/2021 at 00:43, Slater said:

Presumably, Australia's M1A1's (and associated vehicles) are reasonably satisfactory or they wouldn't be ordering more? I will say that their camo schemes are some of the more striking on modern armor.

 

http://QrezConl.jpg


Yes that camo is great. It is simply the geo map of Australia of course: a huge desert with some interesting stuff on the edges.

Edited by Steben
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20 hours ago, Steben said:


Yes that camo is great. It is simply the geo map of Australia of course: a huge desert with some interesting stuff on the edges.

FWIW - I’m standing outdoors in the central Pilbara right now and just looking around I’d say the Australian Army got those colours ‘bang-on’! 👍

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I remember the discussions that accompanied the original selection of the M1 tanks for Australia, and it was clear that among the resons was the idea of interoperability. That of course meant being able to operate along US forces in operations like Iraqi Freedom and similar.

That makes sense, afterall this is the kind of mission that are most likely to be accomplished by Australian armoured units, so why not have the same tanks of the most important ally, so to be able to work closely together when in operation. This of course means that whatever technical advantage any other tank (read Leopard II) may have is going to be sacrificed for the advantages of using a "common tank" with the allies.

A political decision ? Sure ! In the end weapons do not exist to "defend the country", weapons exist so that a country can implement their foreign policy, something that sometimes require being involved in armed conflicts, be it for defence, offence or meddle into other people's businesses. If a country's current foreign policy involves participating in actions alongside a more powerful ally, then having equipment commonality is from many points of view also a sound technical choice, even if such equipment may not be the best in every other aspect.

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5 hours ago, Giorgio N said:

I remember the discussions that accompanied the original selection of the M1 tanks for Australia, and it was clear that among the resons was the idea of interoperability. That of course meant being able to operate along US forces in operations like Iraqi Freedom and similar.

That makes sense, afterall this is the kind of mission that are most likely to be accomplished by Australian armoured units, so why not have the same tanks of the most important ally, so to be able to work closely together when in operation. This of course means that whatever technical advantage any other tank (read Leopard II) may have is going to be sacrificed for the advantages of using a "common tank" with the allies.

A political decision ? Sure ! In the end weapons do not exist to "defend the country", weapons exist so that a country can implement their foreign policy, something that sometimes require being involved in armed conflicts, be it for defence, offence or meddle into other people's businesses. If a country's current foreign policy involves participating in actions alongside a more powerful ally, then having equipment commonality is from many points of view also a sound technical choice, even if such equipment may not be the best in every other aspect.

Not the Allies, the US. ;) The UK never adopted the M1. Neither did most of Europe.

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Picking up on the reference to pre-loved tanks:
The currrent Australian Abrams are remanufactured earlier versions and any 'new' ones they buy will be as well, but then almost all the worldwide Abrams fleet is the same.

 

The US hasn't manufactured a new Abrams since 1994. The last new tanks were the initial small batch of M1A2s (60-ish?) manufactured using the last of the hulls ordered under the A1 programme. Every 'new' A2 since then and all of the upgraded A1s have been retreads (apart from some built specifically for Egypt and Saudi Arabia).

 

There are still large stocks of older tanks available in storage (M1s, IPM1s, M1A1s etc). When required, they are pulled out for upgrade and go through a complete strip-down to component level before being rebuilt to the customer's requirements and issued 'as new'. Older versions are sent back into storage to await future rebuild.

 

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Americans believe that the basic Abrams design will remain flexible enough to accommodate continual upgrades and new major components (powerpacks, armament and protection) until at least mid-century - much like the B-52 fleet has been continually rebuilt and upgraded for the past 60+ years.

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The US doesn't seem to want to plan for an entirely new MBT, unlike France and Germany. And of course Russia has the Armata.

 

I can recall the abortive "Future Combat Systems" program, which had a notional Abrams replacement. Called the "Mounted Combat System" (or something like that), it was to be much lighter than the M1 series. Lacking heavy armor, it was to survive by essentially avoiding taking severe hits. This was to be accomplished by FCS's "superior situational awareness" achieved through various new sensor systems, drones, etc. The original specification called for it to be C-130 transportable (perhaps with removable armor packages)  . That turned out to be an impossible engineering challenge

 

The Iraq conflict, with it's widespread use of IED's, put all that into question. Heavily armored MBT's seemed to be the right answer after all, although weight reduction is still seen as a desirable goal.

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On 5/4/2021 at 11:52 AM, Harry Callahan said:

The Leopard II would be a better choice. Its still one of the best tank world wide.

Not with the completely unprotected wine rack of death main armament stowage next to the driver. Worse ammunition stowage as a T-55 or T-72. 
 

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The Leopard 2 wasn’t offered back in 2004/5, only second hand Pz.87s from Switzerland. 
 

Challenger 2 was assessed as being a technical orphan and out of production, plus the rifled gun & communications systems incompatible with the rest of the Army didn’t help matters. 
 

All candidates offered & assessed at the time were “pre-loved”. The Abramses were re-manufactured from M1A1 into M1A1 AIM SA standard, having spent the first part of their life idle in pre-positioned stocks in Germany. The Pz.87 were very early batch Leopard 2A4s with the early (Batch 2?) armour. The CR2s were coming from British Army stocks, so would’ve been delivered “as is”. Only the Abrams package was offered with 100% re-manufacture prior to delivery.
 

@Crayons experience at introduction into service is sadly not uncommon with new vehicles when they’re delivered. The support systems & experience not being bedded in can lead to bad experiences (Boxer, G-wagon, M113AS4, take a bow). Abrams seems to have matured nicely (according to currently serving crew that I talk to) and the new M1A2 SEPv3 will be a great replacement for the M1A1s. 

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14 hours ago, John Tapsell said:

Picking up on the reference to pre-loved tanks:
The currrent Australian Abrams are remanufactured earlier versions and any 'new' ones they buy will be as well, but then almost all the worldwide Abrams fleet is the same.

 

The US hasn't manufactured a new Abrams since 1994. The last new tanks were the initial small batch of M1A2s (60-ish?) manufactured using the last of the hulls ordered under the A1 programme. Every 'new' A2 since then and all of the upgraded A1s have been retreads (apart from some built specifically for Egypt and Saudi Arabia).

 

There are still large stocks of older tanks available in storage (M1s, IPM1s, M1A1s etc). When required, they are pulled out for upgrade and go through a complete strip-down to component level before being rebuilt to the customer's requirements and issued 'as new'. Older versions are sent back into storage to await future rebuild.

 

I seem to remember reading somewhere that the Americans believe that the basic Abrams design will remain flexible enough to accommodate continual upgrades and new major components (powerpacks, armament and protection) until at least mid-century - much like the B-52 fleet has been continually rebuilt and upgraded for the past 60+ years.

Not a new idea that happened with Chieftains in BAOR! Went onto a line in the workshops at Willick completely stripped down and came out the other end to all intents and purposes a ‘new’ tank!

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