Top 10 most powerful and Best Main Battle Tank (MBT) 2018
Often we receive many questions which is the best main battle tank in the world. Which is the greatest modern MBT and why. Our Top 10 analysis is based on the combined score of protection, firepower, accuracy and mobility. All of the tanks mentioned here are incredibly powerful and devastating, however none of them have seen combat against each other during military operations yet. Analysis is based on specifications and available data. Crew training of the tank is also important, as performance of the actual tank depends from the crew performance. This list do not contains tanks that are currently under development or are at the prototype stage.
This article looks at 10 of the most sophisticated tanks used today. These tanks are here because they have the most advanced array of weaponry, protection and electronics that can be found in a tank. Don’t be fooled however. Some of these tanks were first produced as far back as the 1970s and 1980s. While their designs may date back to the disco era, these tanks have been continually upgraded and enhanced over the decades to make them as capable (if not more so) and advanced as some of the models produced over the last few years.
NO.10 AMX-56 Leclerc (France)
The Leclerc entered French service in 1992 and today there are over 400 serving with the French military and over 350 with the United Arab Emirates. For much of its production run, the Leclerc was the most expensive tank in the world, thanks in large part to the sophisticated systems found on board. The tank is unusual for a Western-designed MBT in that it uses an autoloader. Nonetheless, this autoloader is very fast and can reportedly load up to 12 rounds a minute for the 120mm smoothbore gun. An all-digital fire control system allows the gunner to pick out six targets and engage them all in a little over 30 seconds. Thermal sights and laser range finders all help in identifying and targeting the enemy as far out as four kilometers. Armor on the newest models of this tank includes tungsten and titanium modules and explosive reactive armor modules. All of this sophisticated technology is further protected by laser and missile warning systems, as well as infrared decoys and anti-personnel grenades.
The Type 99 is built by NORINCO and originally entered service in 2001 with the more advanced A2 variant entering production in 2009.
The latest tank has advanced composite armor with additional explosive reactive armor modules installed. Like Russian and Western tanks, the 99 A2 has a heavily digitized interface and battle management system which improves the tank’s efficiency and ability to operate on the battlefield. Like many other tanks on this list, the Chinese tank is also reported to be equipped with an active protection system which can detect and defeat incoming missiles with a high degree of success.
T-84 Oplot-M (Ukraine)
Like most Russian/Soviet-style tanks, the Oplot is armed with a 125mm smoothbore gun which can fire a variety of explosive and armor piercing ammunition, as well as laser guided anti-tank missiles. The ammunition is loaded by an autoloader which takes around eight seconds per round. To find and hit targets accurately the crew use panoramic and thermal imaging sights while the gun utilizes a ballistics computer – part of a fire control system which allows the tank to fire accurately while on the move. In addition to the Oplot’s regular armor, the tank also has advanced explosive reactive armor and a countermeasure system to jam and confuse enemy anti-tank missiles.
Merkava IVm (Israel)
Protection is the #1 priority of the Merkava and the tank makes considerable use of modular armor which can be removed and replaced quickly. Even the paint and exhaust were taken in consideration as developers wanted a tank which was hard to see, even with thermal viewers. Extra protection is provided by the ‘Trophy’ system which can detect and alert the crew to incoming threats and destroy anti-tank missiles and rockets with small explosive charges. For offense, the tank uses a 120mm smoothbore gun which fires high-explosive and armor-piercing rounds as well as the domestically produced LAHAT guided anti-tank missile.
Leopard 2A7+ (Germany)
The Leopard 2 is armed with a 120mm smoothbore gun which fires a range of ammunition, including the ability to fire the Israeli-made LAHAT guided missile. The gun is fully stabilized and linked to a laser range finding system – all of which allows the tank to hit a target at up to 5km while on the move. An integrated command and information system, along with enhanced daylight and thermal sites give the newest Leopard 2 an advantage on the battlefield when it comes to hunting other tanks. For protection, the Leopard 2 doesn’t use explosive reactive armor but instead uses a base of multi-layered composite armor over which is placed modular shaped armor for increased protection.
In terms of protection, the new tank is superior to the T-72 thanks to a new welded turret and the use of the advanced ‘Relikt’ explosive reactive armor which has been purpose built to stand up to the newest American armor piercing rounds. Additional protection is provided by a laser and missile detection and jamming system which makes it far harder to hit the tank with guided anti-tank missiles. For weaponry, the T-90AM uses an improved version of the 125mm smoothbore cannon found in other Russian/Soviet tanks. The gun uses an autoloader which, in around 6 to 8 seconds, can load a variety of explosive and armor piercing rounds or a highly accurate anti-tank missile.
Challenger 2 (United Kingdom)
In service since 1998, the British Challenger 2 is often stated to be the best protected tank in the world. This is thanks to its highly classified ‘Dorchester’ armor which is said to be a composite of ceramic and various metals layered together. The Challenger 2’s armor is so strong that on more than one occasion in Iraq it withstood a barrage of enemy rocket-propelled grenades. Only one has ever been destroyed and that was thanks to friendly-fire from another Challenger 2. In addition to its regular armor, this tank is also equipped with explosive reactive armor modules. Unlike most other MBTs, the Challenger 2 is armed with a rifled 120mm gun which gives it a high degree of accuracy. Helping the crew use the tank and its gun to the best of their ability is a Canadian-made fire control computer and a British-made battle information system which integrates all of the tank’s systems and displays together.
M1A2 SEP (USA)
In terms of protection, this tank uses a design based on the British “Chobham” which is made up of layered steel, ceramics, plastic and Kevlar. The M1 goes a step further by adding depleted uranium which is extremely dense and hard to penetrate. The latest Abrams has greatly improved sights, displays and computers for the crew to use. This improvement includes newer thermal viewers for the commander and gunner, modernized GPS system and higher resolution displays. This means the crew can operate with each other and communicate with other friendly units far more efficiently on the battlefield. Additionally, a remote controlled weapons station on the turret means that the commander no longer needs to expose himself to snipers when operating the machine gun.
K2 Black Panther (South Korea)
The gunner and commander have the newest day/night and thermal sights and in combination with the tank’s battlefield management and command and control systems, makes the K2 one of the most efficient and capable hunter-killer tanks around. Protection is provided by a classified composite armor and additional explosive reactive armor modules. For protection against enemy anti-tank missiles and rockets, the K2 is equipped with an active and passive protection system. The passive system warns of incoming threats and can start jamming and firing off decoys. The active protection system, similar to the Merkava’s ‘Trophy’ system, will attempt to destroy any missiles which are about to hit the tank by using a small explosive charge
T-14 Armata is a new-generation main battle tank (MBT) developed by Russian company Uralvagonzavod (UVZ). It was officially unveiled for the first time during the Moscow Victory Day Parade in May 2015.
The T-14 Armata is fitted with an unmanned turret mounting a 125mm 2A82-1M smoothbore gun fed by an automatic loader. The turret carries a total of 45 rounds of ammunition, including ready-to-use ammunition. The main gun can also fire laser-guided missiles.
The 2A82 125mm gun can be replaced with a new 2A83 152mm gun in future. The tank can also be fitted with secondary weapons including a Kord 12.7mm machine gun and a PKTM 7.62mm machine gun.
The hull is equipped with a modular armour system made of steel, ceramics and composite materials. The low-silhouette of the tank avoids exposition of the parts to enemy fire, which significantly enhances the safety and survivability of the crew. The crew capsule is isolated from the automatic loader and ammunition to increase crew survivability during explosions.
The nuclear, biological and chemical (NBC) protection, automatic fire suppression system and smoke grenade dischargers aboard the tank further enhance the crew survivability. The new Afghanit hard-kill active protection system on the tank defends incoming anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), rockets and RPGs.
There you have it folks! Top best tanks in 2018. Please share your views with us.