Pentagon will test light tanks developed by British and American companies

WASHINGTON, (BM) – The US Department of Defense will test two light tanks in the first half of next year, which are being developed by the British company BAE Systems and the American General Dynamics, learned According to the test results, the military plans to decide on the model of the future tank.

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The development of new tanks for the Pentagon is carrying out within the MPF tender framework announced in 2018. According to the terms of the agreement, the competition participants must develop light tanks suitable for transportation by C-130 Super Hercules and C-17 Globemaster III aircraft. The British company BAE Systems and the American General Dynamics received contracts for the production and supply testing of 12 prototypes of combat vehicles.

The military is planning to carry out checks of equipment at the military base “Fort Bragg” in North Carolina. General Dynamics is developing a light tank based on the British AJAX infantry fighting vehicle – it has received updated communication and control systems. The AJAX turret has been replaced with the turret of the M1 Abrams main battle tank. AJAX weighs 38 tons with a length of 7.6 meters, a width of 3.4 meters, and a height of three meters.

The infantry fighting vehicle is designing for a crew of two and four paratroopers. The AJAX combat vehicle is armed with a 40mm cannon and a 7.62mm machine gun. BAE Systems offered the military an upgraded version of the M8 Buford light tank, which was under development in the early 1990s but was then discontinued. The British have updated communication systems, control, and engine.

The M8 weighs 24.8 tons with a length of 8.9 meters, a width of 2.7 meters, and a height of 2.6 meters. The vehicle is equipping with a 105 mm gun and two 7.62 and 12.7 mm machine guns. The US Department of Defense will sum up the MPF tender results in 2022, after which the winner will receive a contract for the supply of combat vehicles to the troops. According to current plans, the first light tanks should enter the troops no later than 2025.

Israel is about to sell Sabrah light tanks to the Philippine land forces

As reported by the Israeli media on October 15, the Elbit Systems concern in cooperation with General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) offers the Sabrah vehicle in the program of acquiring a new light tank for the Philippine land forces. According to unconfirmed information, he was to be pre-selected the winner of this procedure.

As part of the submitted offer, Elbit Systems is responsible for the tower system, and GDELS for the chassis in two versions – wheeled and tracked. The first one is based on the Pandur II 8 × 8 wheeled armored personnel carrier, and the second one is based on the ASCOD 2 infantry fighting vehicle. Both of these designs will compete with three other proposals.

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The first was presented by the Korean Hanwha Systems concern with the K21-105 structure based on the K21 infantry fighting vehicle chassis with the Cockerill XC-8 turret system. The second, in turn, is the Turkish Otokar concern with the Arma 105 structure based on the chassis of the Arma wheeled armored personnel carrier with the Cockerill CT-CV turret system.

The third is the Indonesian company PT Pindad with the Harimau / Kaplan MT light tank developed in cooperation with the Turkish company FNSS. All these vehicles are to be armed with 105mm rifled guns.

According to unconfirmed information, the Filipino Ministry of Defense was to decide on the Israeli offer at the beginning of this year, but the COVID-19 pandemic thwarted plans to conclude the planned contract and finalize the program. The first batch of orders for the new Philippine light tanks is expected to be worth around $ 30 million.

Previously, the favorite of this tender was the Korean proposal, which offered the lowest price and launched local production. The redefinition of the Israeli offer, including the replacement of the previously offered tower system from the Italian Oto Melara HITFACT 105 with a native solution, and other additional changes were to ensure its final victory.

According to the declaration of Elbit Systems, the offered turret system for the Sabrah light tank is to be characterized by a modular structure that allows this solution to be used on any tracked or wheeled 8 × 8 platform. This solution was developed in cooperation with the Merkava “MATAK” Program Administration and the South African industry armaments.

The main armament of this turret system will be a 105mm rifled cannon (with 36 rounds in reserve, including 12 in the turret and 24 in the hull) with an autoloader and a 7.62mm tank machine gun coupled with it. The gun can be powered by a wide range of ammunition, and its effective range is 3600 m.

The equipment includes a fire control system, a laser rangefinder, and a panoramic sight in the form of an optoelectronic head. The turret drive is fully electric with stabilization in both planes. The additional tower is equipped with a set of eight smoke grenade launchers [four on each side of the tower].

Currently, the Filipino land forces do not have classic MBTs or light tanks in their service. The only exception is 14 M113A2 tracked armored personnel carriers in the fire support version. These cars were rebuilt by Elbit Systems with the installation of turret systems with the 76mm L23A1 rifled gun removed from the British FV101 Scorpion light tanks. The introduction of new light tanks into line service will allow the Philippine army to significantly increase its combat capabilities.

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