Comparative analysis of the American M1A1 and the Chinese Type 99

9
  • Monday, April 25, 2011
  • Archimedes
  • Labels: , , ,
  • The M1A1 tank, long since a formidable threat on the battlefield, has continued the tanks reputation as an unstoppable force. One of the most important features that allows it to crush opposition unscathed is its unique Chobham armor, a ceramic material developed as a joint research project with the British. There are only three types of armored vehicles that have been revealed to be equipped with this armor, the British Challenger 1, Challenger 2, and the American M1 and its variants. Operational history has proven such armor to be nearly indestructible, and it seems that the American's plight for the safety of their armed forces has finally paid off, seeing as how one can count on their fingers how many times any of the listed Chobham equipped vehicles have been destroyed due to accidents and combat in over 20 years of operation.

    Quite recently, China has upgraded its own antiquated and mostly Soviet era tank divisions with a new tank, the Type 99 Main Battle Tank. The tank itself was only recently developed and barely in production before the turn of the century, the final variants are now in mass production.

    The T99 may actually be superior to its American counterparts because of its low cost and higher speeds. The armor of this newcomer is still classified, but we think it may be some form of an aluminum alloy/composite. Armor put aside, the T99 tank has the same, of not better performance in speed, with a top speed of 80km/hr in comparison to the M1's 60, but then again the M1 actually has a top combat speed of approximately 80km/ hr after a speed governor is removed, roughly the same as the T99. But the operational range, which is how far the tank can go before it becomes an immobile turret, is definitely in favor of the T99, with its top range of 600 kilometers compared to the M1's 450 kilos. But I do believe that the M1 still holds the edge in firepower, as it does not use an auto loader like the T99, despite the fact that the T99 has a bigger gun. An auto-loader is actually slower than a human loader, is prone to jamming, and its only advantage is that it reduces the necessary crew by one. The M1 is also capable of firing a variety of different shells, making it a much more flexible weapons platform, the auto loader on the Type 99 however has nto shown itself able to quickly switch ammo types. Targeting for the actual gun on the Type 99 is unclear, the Chinese 155 mm gun is stabilized along all axis of rotation, and the computing software has the advantage of the latest software and hardware packages. The system used by the M1 has already been tested to be effective by long ages of field experience.

    Finally, what I think of as the most important factor is the price per unit, the M1 is a fancy toy that costs upwards of 6 million dollars and even more to maintain the beast. While on the other hand, the slightly weaker and untested T99 costs a tiny 2.5 million US Dollars per unit to manufacture. So when you can field two slightly weaker tanks against one slightly superior tank at the same cost, I would believe that the two T99s would win. Very much the same thing happened in WWII, with the American Sherman tanks, whose shells bounced off the from armor of Tigers and Panzer IVs, winning by sheer numbers and ease of manufacture. We also have to take into account the aircraft which are no doubt supporting any armored cav, something I hope to cover in my next post.

    9 comments:

    1. jupao-13 said...
    2. Nice indepth post!

    3. sandman said...
    4. yep I agree. I think if it came to a ground war china would have the upper hand. Which it probably will, as If these two super powers ever met the first thing that would go would be satellites.

    5. Lich said...
    6. I really think the days of ground warfare between armored divisions are over, and those funds are better to be invested in some new kind of transportation which doesn't get destroyed by a teenager with panzerfaust

    7. mac-and-me said...
    8. great information here

    9. Archimedes said...
    10. @ Sandman, the battle would depend on where its fought, if its on plains then China has the tank advantage. But in the mountain, I have my doubts regarding the competency of China's infantry divisions, although they got a nice rifle, the QBZ-95

    11. Archimedes said...
    12. @ Lich, I would like to see the day when a kid with a panzerfaust or even an RPO put a nick in the armor of any modern tank, besides, the T99 has a nice little laser disruption system, its basically a laser pointer on steroids which point right into the sensor package of whatever is trying to shoot it...

    13. amBored said...
    14. 6 million dollars ? that's interesting

    15. Matt said...
    16. A very good read. I can't believe those tanks can fetch up to 6 million each... A lot of money! Look forward to your next installment!

    17. SweetShop said...
    18. OMG 6 millions for a single tank! I can't believe it.

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