Multi-national Tank Programs

Multi-national tank programs have a rocky history.  A previous attempt, the US-German MBT-70 had all the qualities of a committee tank in that it was overpriced and delayed due to various problems caused by its revolutionary design (F-35 anyone?).  The entire crew was housed in the turret and as a result the driver became nauseous and the 152mm gun did not function as designed.  When the Germans pulled out they went on to develop the Leopard 2, and the Americans developed the M1.  The Israelis had been hoping to buy the MBT-70 but instead created the Merkava.

It will be interesting to watch the Franco-Polish-German program.  The Leopard is serving the Canadian Forces well, and there does not appear to be any reporting of a replacement in the Forces’ capital program, or any speculation on need of a replacement.  Besides any lessons from the multi-national programs, the main lesson, emphasized in the last decade or so, is to bear in mind the necessity of retaining a tank capability in the Canadian Army as part of being a balanced combat-capable force.

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Colin Darlington

Colin Darlington is a retired naval officer of the Canadian Armed Forces. This work is the sole opinion of the author and does not necessarily represent the views of the Canadian Armed Forces, the Canadian Department of National Defence, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police or the Royal United Services Institute of Nova Scotia.