The tank is not dead. In its annual analysis “The Market
for Tanks,” the Forecast International (FI) Weapons Group
projects that the international market will produce over 7,600
new main battle tanks, worth in excess of $31.5 billion, through
2016. Significant spending is also directed to retrofits and
According to FI analyst Dean Lockwood, “in 2006, U.S.
Department of Defense contract awards for the maintenance, RESET,
and upgrade of the existing M1 Abrams inventories carried a
total value in excess of $2.514 billion, equivalent to a staggering
79% of the total value of all new-production main battle tanks
entering the international market in 2006 (nearly $3.176 billion).
associated with the modernization and retrofit of high-end main
battle tanks pales in comparison with the prospect of new tank
procurement. Thus, FI believes new production of high-end tanks
will remain relatively low, accounting for 13.96 percent of
all production, worth 20.14 percent of the market, through the
forecast period. In terms of sheer numbers, Forecast believes
Pakistan’s Al Khalid, the Type 98 of the People’s
Republic of China, and the Russian Federation’s T-90 will
maintain their combined market share, accounting for 44.96 percent
of all new tanks rolling out worldwide, worth 39.86 percent
of the market, through 2016.
Last year, the Chinese Type 98 program maintained its position
as the single largest new-production program. Yet, with a total
value of $375.32 million (for 110 new-production tanks), the
Type 98 program was worth less than 15 percent what the U.S.
DoD spent on the M1 Abrams in 2006. In the international market
for main battle tanks, the days of U.S. and European domination
of new production appear to be long gone. Nevertheless, the
established U.S. and European players continue to make their
presence felt. The 120mm Reinmetall 120 smoothbore ordnance,
the state-of-the-art Leopard 2, and the combat-proven M1A1/A2
Abrams continue to set the standard for main battle tank design