Friday, March 18, 2011

Type 88

The Type 88 is a series of second-generation main battle tanks (MBTs) from China. Based on the Type 79 design, the Type 88 entered service with the People's Liberation Army (PLA) in the 1980s. As of 2003, an estimated 500 Type 88 MBTs are currently in service with the PLA. The tank was followed by the Type 96 MBT.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

T54/T55 Tank Pictures

The T-54 and T-55 tanks were a series of main battle tanks designed in the Soviet Union. The first T-54 prototype appeared in March 1945, just before the end of the Second World War. The T-54 entered full production in 1947 and became the main tank for armored units of the Soviet Army, armies of the Warsaw Pact countries, and others. T-54s and T-55s were involved in many of the world's armed conflicts during the late 20th century.

The T-54/55 series eventually became the most-produced tank in history. Estimated production numbers for the series range from 86,000 to 100,000.

T-54/55 tanks were replaced by the T-62, T-72, T-64 and T-80 in the Soviet and Russian Armies, but many remain in use by up to 50 other armies worldwide, some having received sophisticated retrofitting.

Soviet tanks never directly faced their NATO Cold War adversaries in Europe. However, the T-54/55's first appearance in the west in 1960 spurred the United States to develop the M60.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

T-62 Tank Pictures

The T-62 is a Soviet main battle tank, a further development of the T-55. Its 115 mm gun was the first smoothbore tank gun in use.

The T-62 was produced between 1961 and 1975. It became a standard tank in the Soviet arsenal, partly replacing the T-55, although that tank continued to be manufactured in the Soviet Union and elsewhere after T-62 production was halted. The T-54/55 and T-62 were later replaced in front-line service by the T-64 and T-72.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Type 59 Tank Pictures

The Type 59 (Chinese industrial designation: WZ120) main battle tank is a Chinese produced version of the Soviet T-54A tank, an improvement over the ubiquitous T-54/55. The first vehicles were produced in 1958 and it was accepted into service in 1959, with serial production beginning in 1963. Approximately 9,500 of the tanks were produced by the time production ended in 1980 with approximately 5,500 serving with the Chinese armed forces. The tank formed the backbone of the Chinese People's Liberation Army until early 2000s with an estimated 5,000 of the later Type 59-I and Type 59-II variants in service in 2002.

The Type 59 was modified several times during its service with the replacement of the 100 mm Type 59 rifled gun with a 105 mm rifled gun. It was also the basis of several later Chinese tank designs including the Type 69 and Type 79 tanks.

Monday, March 14, 2011

T-34/85 Tank Pictures

The T-34 was a Soviet medium tank produced from 1940 to 1958. Although its armour and armament were surpassed by later tanks of the era, it has been often credited as the most effective, efficient and influential design of World War II. First produced at the KhPZ factory in Kharkov (Kharkiv, Ukraine), it was the mainstay of Soviet armoured forces throughout World War II, and widely exported afterwards. It was the most-produced tank of the war, and the second most-produced tank of all time, after its successor, the T-54/55 series. In 1996, T-34 variants were still in service in at least 27 countries.

The T-34 was developed from the BT series of fast tanks and was intended to replace both the BT-5 and BT-7 tanks and the T-26 infantry tank in service. At its introduction, it was the tank with the best balanced attributes of firepower, mobility, protection and ruggedness, although initially its battlefield effectiveness suffered from the unsatisfactory ergonomic layout of its crew compartment, scarcity of radios, and poor tactical employment. The two-man turret-crew arrangement required the commander to aim and fire the gun, an arrangement common to most Soviet tanks of the day; this proved to be inferior to three-man (commander, gunner, and loader) turret crews of German Panzer III and Panzer IV tanks.

The design and construction of the tank were continuously refined during the war to enhance effectiveness and decrease costs, allowing steadily greater numbers of T-34s to be fielded. In early 1944, the improved T-34-85 was introduced, with a more powerful 85 mm gun and a three-man turret design. By the war's end in 1945, the versatile and cost-effective T-34 had replaced many light and heavy tanks in service, and accounted for the majority of Soviet tank production. Its evolutionary development led directly to the T-54/55 series of tanks, built until 1981 and still operational as of 2010 and which itself led to the T-62, T-72 and T-90 tanks which, along with several Chinese tanks based on the T-55, form the backbone of many of the world's armies even today.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Type 69/79 Tank Pictures

The Type 69 and Type 79 are two models of Chinese main battle tanks. Both developments of the Type 59 (based on the Soviet T-54A), they were the first independently-developed main battle tanks by China. Their lineage can be seen through the distinct gap between the first and second roadwheels. Other improvements included a new engine, ballistic computers, and laser rangefinders. The more advanced Type 79 was equipped with a 105 mm rifled gun, also seen on the later Type 88 tank.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

T-72 Tank Pictures

The T-72 is a Soviet-designed main battle tank that entered production in 1970. It is a further development of the T-62 with some features of the T-64A (to which it was a parallel design) and has been further developed as the T-90. Chronologically, and in design terms, it belongs to the same generation of tanks as the US M60 series, German Leopard 1, and British Chieftain tank.