The iron titans of the modern world clash
As this tank versus tank article series comes to a close, we compare two of the most powerful tanks of the modern world. Leopard 2 is from modern day Germany, and is that country?s main battle tank in use for the German military. The M1 Abrams is from the United States, and is thatcountry?s main battle tank in use today, though its variants are more prominant than the original. There are variants for both tanks, but we will be focusing on the originals, the tanks that were used before they received upgrades and new variations.
Courtesy of wallpaperhi.com
Ok, so the helicopter is not the Leopard 2. The tank is the Leopard 2. Now, there is a Leopard 1, but the Leopard 2 is not an upgraded version of the 1. the 2 stands as its own, and it entered production, and later service, in 1979. The Leopard 2 has seen action in Kosovo and Afghanistan, where it was found to be very durable against improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Because of this, NATO commanders praise the Leopard 2 and its effectiveness in combat. As such, the Leopard 2 is currently serving the militaries of Germany, Austria, Denmark, Canada, the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, and Spain. Becuase of its effective design, says Cowper and Pannell, the German military plans to keep the tank in service until 2030, making the Leopard ine of longest serving tank designs in history. Let?s fin out what makes the Leopard 2 so great.
The Leopard 2 comes in weighing 60.4 tons, but for a modern tank, that is pretty average. Though it may seem heavy, the Leopard2 has a modern engine built to handle that weight, affording it a maximum speed of 42 mph. Yes, that is fast for a tank. The Leopard 2 also has 800mm thick armor on its front, and variants of the 2 have armor as thick as 1,500mm. Now, i know it?s a big jump from the tanks of World War II, but this is a modern tank guns are bigger. And speaking of bigger guns, the Leopard 2 mounts a Rheinmetall 120mm L/44smoothbore main gun, giving this cat plenty of power. Time to bring out the American tank.
Courtesy of defenseindustrydaily.com
This is the M1 Abrams, arguably the best tank in the world, right now, along with its variants. The M1 was in production design since the 1960s, as M1 was meant to replace the then in use M60 Patton tank. As new technologies were created for tanks, the M1 incorporated all these new design features. When the M1 finally saw action in 1991, it destroyed over 2,000 Iraqi tanks without a single Abrams being lost to enemy fire, according to Cowper and Pannell. Since the M1 has recieved many variants, like the Leopard 2, the tank desgin is slated to last for awhile, with replacement design decades away.
The M1 Abrams, is a little heavier than the Leopard, coming in at 62.6 tons. Even with a modern engine, the tank only has a maximum speed of 30mph. The Abrams has 700mm thick armor, but though it is thinner than the Leopard, the Abrams armor is composite armor, meaning it incorporates, kevlar, lead, and sometimes ceramic in the armor. All three of these can add weight to the tank, but also affording it more protection over already thin (by modern standards) armor. The gun, though, is anything but thin or small. the Abrams utilizes the M256 120mm cannon, a very powerful gun, and one that fires a unique projectile. The round most used for this gun is the depleted-uranium sabot round, nicknamed the ?silver bullet?, and it is this round that allows the Abrams to rip almost any kind of armor.
These two tanks would make great adversaries in a real fight, but we can only compare since both belong to allies. The Leopard 2 is praised by NATO, and sees service with a multitude of countries, with plans of continued production because of tis effectiveness. The M1 Abrams, is revered as one of the best tanks in the world, and the U.S. military plans on using this tank for the foreseeable future. I?m going to give this victory to the Leopard 2, as it beats the Abrams in the basics, such armor, weight, and speed.