via National Interest.
The Army is developing a new variant of the long-serving Abrams main battle tank. But while the Abrams is still among the best tanks in the world, the design is more than three decades old—and at least one senior Army official told the National Interest that there is not much room left for growth in the venerable design. The Army needs a new clean sheet design that has room for future growth.Read the entire article. Dave is talking about which weapon systems to cut to save money in this time of budget distress (self imposed distress) that the Pentagon is facing.
Russia is developing a new series of armored vehicles called the Armata—which includes a main battle tank. China too is developing modern tanks. Meanwhile, Germany has recognized that it cannot keep upgrading its excellent Leopard 2 main battle tank—arguably a superior vehicle compared to the Abrams—indefinitely. As such, it is embarking on developing a new Leopard 3.
The U.S. Army too should consider building a new clean sheet design. That would not only preserve the superiority of the Army’s heavy mechanized forces, but would preserve the engineering design talent to build a new tank.
The last item about the M1 upgrades is interesting and points to why the Pentagon nomenclature systems works the way that it does. In the Russian system it could easily be argued that the M1A2 SEP v3 would be called the M1A5....or maybe even the M7A1....
I think Dave got it wrong on this one. The US Army needs to hold the course with its upgrades. Perhaps instead of calling it the M1A3 they need to continue the fiction with M1A2 SEP v5 instead! Dave does hit out of the park with his cry that we need to work on a clean sheet next gen tank though. We're falling behind the Russians, Chinese, Germans and others. The Abrams is good but we can't continue to live off the hard work of previous generations. Its past time to roll up sleeves and get to it.
Side Note: The nomenclature/designation system for armored vehicles in the US military is broken. We've gone to "naming" and its usually done by a bunch of people in a backroom trying to figure out what to call a vehicle to garner a bit of support. I point to the ACV as a prime candidate. The move from Landing Vehicle Tracked Personnel (LVTP-7A1) to the AAV was a mistake. For the sake of clarity, and tradition we should re-adopt standard conventions and go back to the future on the AAV (SUP), which should instead be called LVTP-7A4. As for the ACV, how about LVW-1 (Landing Vehicle Wheeled-1). Yeah its a BAE idea but its a good idea non-the-less.