Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Did a US Army General by omission indicate that the Leopard 2 sucks?

via Defense Tech.
A handful of foreign tanks — including Russia’s — now match the power of the U.S. Army’s main battle tank, the M1 Abrams, an American general recently testified to Congress.

“I think for the very near term, the Abrams is still near the very top of its class,” said Lt. Gen. John M. Murray, deputy chief of staff for financial management, referring to the third-generation tank built by General Dynamics Corp. that entered service in 1980.

“I think we have parity,” he said during a March 22 hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee’s Airland Subcommittee. “I think there is parity out there. I don’t think we have overmatch.”

Murray’s comments came in response to a question from Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican from Alaska and a Marine who served in Afghanistan. He later elaborated on the topic in response to a question from Sen. Tom Cotton, a Republican from Arkansas and chairman of the subcommittee, who asked what foreign tanks are competitive with the Abrams.

“I would say that the Israelis’ — the Merkava — would be one,” Murray said. “The [Russian] T-90 is probably pretty close. People talk about their Armata tank and that’s still, in my mind, not completely fielded. Probably the British tank [Challenger 2] is pretty close. I would not say that we have the world-class tank that we had for many, many years. I’ll be an optimist and say that we’re at parity with a lot of different nations.”
This is a US Army Armor Officer and he should know his stuff.

The Merkava and T-90?  No surprise.  They're good to go when operated by competent crews in the doctrine they were designed for.  The Challenger? Quite honestly that kinda shocked me.  From my chair it's fallen behind.

No mention of the LeClerc but by rights it's probably the only REAL expeditionary (operated by the West) main battle tank in service today.  It's relatively light, it has a big gun that hits hard and it's got decent armor.  56 tons?  With that being the combat weight I might not list it in my top 5 but its credible and a contender in some scenarios...including many USMC applications.

But the big surprise is that he didn't immediately talk about the Leopard 2.

I ran with this story (it was posted by Sputnik two days ago) but missed the force of connection.  Of all the tanks he listed as being on par with the M1 Abrams, the one tank he didn't list was the "Nato Standard MBT" (many call it that because so many countries in Europe operate the Leopard 2 MBT)!

I guess the debate is over. A dedicated professional, testifying to Congress, says the Leopard 2 is not on par with the M1 Abrams!

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