Why, for goodness’s sake, would Australia be wanting to buy more tanks? Is it a distant memory of World War 2 and fighting in North Africa, or deployments more recently in the Middle East? The die appears to be cast with purchases going ahead for the moment.

When APDR asked Defence about the current Abrams tank situation their spokesperson gave an unequivocal answer “Defence will invest $3.5 billion in the Main Battle Tank Upgrade (LAND 907 Phase 2) and Combat Engineering Vehicle (LAND 8160 Phase 1) projects with approximately $2 billion approved in acquisition and $1.5 billion in sustainment.

“Upgraded M1A2 SEPv3 Abrams Main Battle Tanks and Combat Engineering Vehicles are being acquired via the United States Government Foreign Military Sales program.”

The author of this article considers there can be no basis for requiring tanks for any military operations in South East Asia, our most likely engagement area in the near future. Hopefully the Defence Strategic Review currently underway will agree.

Interested readers know the love of firepower goes all the way back to Oliver Cromwell, at the Battle of Edgehill in 1642, who is supposed to have told his Roundhead troops in that opening fight of the English civil war, ”Put your trust in God, my boys, but mind to keep your powder dry.’

Have those who plan future equipment requirements for the ADF not even noticed the trend for a lightly armed adversary to use loitering small aerial vehicles, similar to the AeroVironment Switchblade kamikaze drone, to fly and hover over tanks, descend onto them, then explode their onboard munitions causing destruction of the tank including killing all of its crew.

This is an excerpt from APDR. To read the full story, click here.

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  1. A few years ago the Army future strategy pointed out that urban warfare is the growing trend as megapolis spread, particularly in our region. As the Canadians found out in Afghanistan, light wheeled armored vehicles could not overcome the obstacle even in Afghan villages, even as we found in the jungles of Vietnam when the Centurion tanks had to be bought in from Australia. Now the author seems to ignore the fact that the M1A2 SEPv3 tank is now fitted with Israeli Trophy system to shoot down incoming projectiles and possibly drones.

    • I’m open minded on the question of MBTs – but let’s keep in mind the cost of an outrageous $3.5 billion for 75 of them. Also remember that these tanks are not new. The Abrams production line closed down in 1996. Yes, that’s 25 years ago. What we are receiving are upgraded vehicles that have been warehoused since the end of the Cold War.

  2. Saying they are superfluous in modern warfare seems to miss the point, when you need them and don’t have them, you are in that creek without a paddle. Tanks support the infantry, are you insinuating the infantry are no longer needed to take and hold tactical objectives? We aren’t just getting tanks, we are getting the best, most combat proven tanks available, and that is a wise decision, for at some point, out infantry will treasure each and every one of them. To be honest, I believe the number is about 120 too few.

  3. This is a sorry excuse for an article, containing straw man arguements. The Author exposes his ignorance of the difference between soviet era armour technology and that of modern western armies.

    He also completely fails to recognise that, like the German navy in WWI, the existence of tanks makes the task of invasion of Australia much more difficult. Any potential invader has to include heavy armour in his invasion force. That makes the task a much more significant undertaking!


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