By James Favata
All the talk around the water cooler these days is about the Russians.
You can’t open a newspaper or flip on the TV without seeing stories about collusion… or election interference… or shady uranium deals.
But the U.S. military has been locked in a different confrontation with the Russians for decades – a battle over who has the most powerful and technologically-advanced tanks.
And it looks like the United States is about to win this arms race once and for all.
For years, the staple of the American tank arsenal has been the trusty – and lethal – Abrams.
The current version has massive firepower and a top speed of 45 mph – and this rolling fortress has been all but unstoppable in conflicts in places like Afghanistan and Iraq.
However, from behind the former Iron Curtain, a new threat has emerged -- the Russian T-14 Armata.
The Armata has thermal sights and is able to take out tank-sized objects during the daytime from more than 3 miles away. It reaches brisk top speeds of 55 mph, has a 12-round-per-minute firing range and a 125 mm smoothbore cannon.
The Russians even claim it has three times the range of the M1 Abrams.
I’m a little skeptical that the Abrams wouldn’t be able to hold its own against the Armata – after all, no tank in the world has come close to matching the Abrams in over three decades.
But it looks like that debate will soon be moot. Because the U.S. military is developing a new, state-of-the-art tank that will make the Armata look like a beat-up used car.
The Army is working on something known as a “SEP v4” variant tank which will begin testing in 2021.
And it sounds like an absolute beast. This variation of the Abrams has a “lethality” upgrade which will make it the most threatening main battle tank in the world.
This tank will include new laser range finders, color cameras, integrated onboard networks, advanced meteorological sensors, ammunition data links, laser warning receivers, and a FAR more lethal multi-purpose 120 mm tank round.
It even comes with a high-tech third-generation Forward Looking Infrared imaging sensor, or FLIR.
FLIR helps the tank crew see in fog, extreme weather and battle debris, using high resolution and digital imaging.
Russia plans to keep ordering Armata tanks at least through 2020 – and about a year later, they’ll be obsolete.
The new Abrams variant will mean to tank superiority what the B-2 Stealth Bomber meant for air superiority.
This improved tank is the latest evidence that America is committed to having the strongest and most technologically capable military in the world. And once America’s new “super tank” hits the battlefield, expect the Russians to stop crowing about the Armata… fast.
James Favata is an Air Force veteran and freelance writer based in Virginia. He covers military issues for America Uncensored.