Pouring $6 bn into tank factory, Trump says the M1 Abrams is ‘best in the world.’ Is it really?

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US President Donald Trump pledged a hefty sum of $6 billion to upgrade America’s M1 Abrams tanks, lauding them as the best tanks ever built. The statement has more PR value than truth to it, military experts have told RT.

“America does not need conflict. But if conflict comes, and you know the story – you’ve got to be strong if conflict comes – we will dominate the battlefield, and we will win, win, win. We’re now set up to win, win, win,” Trump said on Wednesday, as he appeared at the Lima Army Tank plant in Ohio.

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The facility used to produce the M1 Abrams main battle tanks, and now it will be busy again, as Trump has pledged to pour $6 billion into it over the next three years in order to upgrade the ageing war machines.

The US president praised the plant, its workers, himself and, naturally, the tank, describing it as a true “warhorse” of the US ground forces and dubbing it “the most effective, reliable, and lethal battle tank in the history of war.”

“So how does this compare with the tanks made in China and Russia and other places? What do you think? Can we take them? They say it’s much better,” Trump bragged, as he pretasted the game-changing upgrades.

The assessment raised a few eyebrows, as the M1 Abrams could hardly have attained such a title. Trump’s statement, however, is perfectly legit as an over-the-top advertisement for the tank, Viktor Litovkin, a military expert with TASS, believes.

“They have to advertise American weaponry. Trump is making such advertising, yet it’s a big question if it really corresponds with the reality,” Litovkin told RT.

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Modern war machines, produced in Russia and China, surpass the iconic US tank in many respects, military expert Alexey Leonkov told Vzglyad newspaper.

“The latest [Chinese] Type 99 model is quite a decent tank with an automatic loader,” Leonkov said. “The top-notch M1 Abrams lacks an automatic loader. Its ‘loader mechanism’ is a serviceman. The rate of fire, the aim precision depends on how fast this soldier operates. And a loss of him makes the task hardly doable altogether.”

Abrams is a decent tank, but it belongs to the past century.

Adding further upgrades to the M1 Abrams could make the machine, which weight over 60 tons, even heavier, turning it into an old-school heavy tank rather than a modern main battle one, Leonkov speculated. Aside from the tonnage, the Abrams has quite impressive dimensions, which make it easier to hit.

“If we compare its silhouette with one of the T-90, the Russian tank has significantly lower projection. It is a hard target at the battlefield at a distance of 2 km.”

The history of the M1 Abrams use clearly shows it’s not the “best ever” tank, as Trump described it. Whereas the US campaigns in Iraq – where the majority of Iraqi armor was destroyed by aviation and not in land combat – might have produced such an impression, the ongoing conflicts in the Middle East have clearly shown its vulnerabilities.

“If we recall how these tanks were fighting for Saudi Arabia against the flip-flop-clad Houthis – the latter have shown in Yemen that Abrams can be penetrated from various sides and burns very well. Therefore the experts simply cannot call the M1 Abrams a flawless tank.”

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