Military Review

Tanks and their generations

Usually in the literature devoted to issues stories and the development of armored vehicles, under the concept of "generation tanks"It is customary to understand a group of such combat vehicles, which are characterized by approximately the same technical parameters and design decisions, regardless of the time the tanks were taken into service.

Despite the variety of designs and types of tanks developed before the Second World War, there is no generation among them.

The first generation falls on the 1950 — 1960 years.

The tanks that were developed or were already in operation during this period were generally very similar (from a technical point of view) to the best combat tracked vehicles of the second world war, such as the T-34-85 or the Panther.

Designers of all tank-building countries adopted the achievements of Soviet tank builders and metallurgists in the manufacture of cast turrets, the US - in the production of fire control systems (new optical range finder on the M47 tank), transmissions (hydrokinetic gear) and running gear elements (rubber-metal tracks). Crew tanks everywhere dropped from five to four people.

The first generation tanks include the American tanks M47, M48A1 and M48A2, the English Centurions, the Soviet T-54 and T-55, and the Japanese Type 61 (this tank entered service in 1961 year, but was designed in 50-e.) As for the "Centurion" and T-55, then we are talking about the basic models, which over time underwent a deep modernization.

The second generation of tanks refers to the 1960 — 1970 years.

For tanks of those years it was typical:

• widespread use of the main armament stabilization systems

• extensive use of active combat systems in conditions of limited visibility (night vision devices);

• use of mechanical ballistic solvers;

• start of application of protection systems against weapons mass destruction;

• an increase in the caliber of the guns used (the T-62 had an 115-mm gun; the English 105-mm rifled gun L7 was widely used).

The second generation tanks include the American M60, M60A1, English Chiften, Vickers, MK 1 (Vijayant), Soviet T-62, French AMX-30, German Leopard (A1, A2 and XXXXXX and XXXXXXX and XXXXXX, X3). Pz61, Swedish Strv-103.

The next decade (1970 — 1980) is considered by specialists as transitional. The best tanks of those years were, as a rule, modernized models of previously built vehicles. They installed more sophisticated fire control systems (analog computers, laser range finders, etc., etc.), and stabilization systems for surveillance devices were tested. There were passive surveillance systems for conducting combat operations in conditions of limited visibility. Far advanced work on new types of reservations. During this period, new designs also appeared, the level of which, in general, did not differ from the prevailing standards at that time, although the decision of some components and assemblies was very original and innovative. An example of this is the Japanese tank Type 74 with adjustable hydropneumatic suspension and the American M60-2 with the 152-mm ATGM launcher.

The main representatives of this first transitional generation are the American tanks M60A2 and M60AZ, the English “Vickers” Mk 3, the German “Leopard-1A4”, the Soviet T-64 and T-72, the Italian OF-40, the Swiss PzXNHXX, and the T-68, the Italian OF-74, the Swiss PzXNHXX, and the T-1, the Italian OF-XNUMX, the Swiss PzXNHXX, and the T-XNUMX, the Italian OF-XNUMX, the Swiss PzXNHXX, and the T-XNUMX, the Italian OF-XNUMX, the Swiss PzXNHXX, and the T-XNUMX; Merkava »MkXNUMX.

Tanks that appeared before the beginning of the 90s belong to the third generation of tanks, which currently form the core of the ground forces of the armies of highly developed countries.

Their distinguishing features are:

• the presence of an integrated fire control system, which includes a digital ballistic computer, a laser range finder, a set of external and internal sensors, a thermal imaging observation and targeting system that allows effective fire at any time of the day or night;

• the use of even larger caliber guns (Soviet tanks began to be equipped with 125-mm smooth-bore guns before, other countries switched mainly to 120-mm smooth-bore guns);

• use of hydrostatic transmission in control systems, providing rotation with any radius;

• the possibility of using alternative power plants (gas turbine engines on МХNUMX Abrams and T-1);

• downsizing crew to three (T-80 and Type 90);

• extensive use of hydropneumatic suspension (“Challenger”, Type 90, Type 88);

• refusal of further attempts to use ATGM launchers as the main armament.

Third generation tanks include the American M1 Abrams and its modification A1, the English Challenger-1, the Soviet T-80 in several modifications, the German Leopard-2, the Israeli Merkava MK 3 and the Italian C1 Ariete. The last two tanks were developed much later, but the decisive factor is not the date of manufacture, but the level of design.

The presence of a significant number of second-generation tanks and the high cost of third tanks pushed for the idea of ​​implementing a deep modernization of the first to the level of the most modern machines. As a result of the work carried out, tanks of the so-called second transitional generation appeared: American Super NXXX, English Chief 60 and Chief 800, French AMX-900 and AMX-32. True, none of them went beyond the prototype stage offered for production for export.

In the process of mass production, third-generation tanks are constantly being upgraded in order to improve their combat properties. A sharp increase in the number and quality of the latest electronic systems used on the latest modifications of tanks for controlling fire, power plant, transmission, as well as for collecting, processing and transmitting information about the tactical situation, the enemy targets to be fired, the shooting and movement conditions, and the state of the systems the tank even gave rise to a new term - “wind turbine” (vetronics - from the English word combination vehicle electronics - tank electronics). The tanks are equipped with multi-layered armor with the inclusion of depleted uranium, modular armor with interchangeable elements, a new generation of reactive armor has appeared, In some countries, the Drozd and Arena active protection systems are being developed, and in Russia. Based on the considerations that the tanks M1А2 "Abrame", "Challenger-2", "Leopard-2A5", "Leclerc" and the latest models of T-80 differ significantly from the basic machines in their design features and equipment; them in the so-called third transitional generation (up to about 2005 year).

The above division into generations reflects the point of view of many domestic and foreign experts in the field of armored vehicles. At the same time, there is another approach to this problem: all the vehicles developed before the start of the Second World War, the second — the wartime period — are accepted as tanks of the first generation; the machines created in 1945 — 1970 are included in the third generation, and the most modern models are to the fourth. Such a division is too simplistic and practically unsuitable for comparative evaluation of tanks.

In general, the time frame of generations should be interpreted fairly freely, because they have not been officially fixed by anyone. The same is true of the reckoning of some tanks to one generation or another. In each case, you can find a number of arguments that will allow you to start a fruitful discussion and thus find the optimal solution.

Source: "The full encyclopedia of tanks of the world 1915-2000."
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  1. self-propelled
    self-propelled 23 March 2013 09: 36 New
    an interesting trend - the timing of the next generation of tanks is constantly increasing. request
    1. Reddragon
      Reddragon 23 March 2013 09: 51 New
      It’s just that it’s more difficult to invent a new one.

      PS It is necessary to clarify that the post-war generation of tanks is taken.
      NAPOLEON 23 March 2013 13: 32 New
      the tanks are becoming more technologically advanced and therefore the time is also increasing and they have ceased to be of paramount importance to the armies and of course the disappearance of the threat of the Cold War.
      1. Civil
        Civil 24 March 2013 09: 12 New
        how cleverly the author went around the t-90, leaving him with the role of modernizing the t-72)))
  2. avt
    avt 23 March 2013 10: 06 New
    request “In general, the time frames of generations should be interpreted quite freely, because they have not been officially fixed by anyone. The same is the case with the reckoning of some tanks to one generation or another. In each specific case, you can find a number of reasons that will allow you to start a fruitful discussion and thus find the optimal solution. "---------- If the framework is not fixed, maybe no one needs it? And if not, then maybe there is nothing to discuss?
  3. evgenii67
    evgenii67 23 March 2013 10: 07 New
    Hello everyone! And today’s interesting articles about generations hi I read this article, well, I don’t even know what to say, dividing tanks into a generation with such a time interval (vehicles created in 1945-1970 are considered to be the third generation, and the most modern models to the fourth) as it’s yes, not quite objective, yes okay. I’m interested in another question: what AvtoVAZ x .... generation produces his car laughing
    1. ivachum
      ivachum 23 March 2013 13: 32 New
      "I am interested in another question here. What kind of AvtoVAZ .... generation produces its own car"

      3 - - (three minus minus) bully
  4. svp67
    svp67 23 March 2013 11: 19 New
    An interesting idea of ​​the author about the first generation "The designers of all tank-building countries have adopted the achievements of Soviet tank-builders and metallurgists in the manufacture of cast turrets,". As if there were no achievements of the French and American metallurgists and tank builders in this area ...
    1. Navigator Basov
      Navigator Basov 13 June 2015 16: 01 New
      An interesting idea is to snatch a phrase not even out of context, but out of sentences. It is clearly noted in the text that the Soviet metallurgical achievements were taken for the production of towers, which means that the leading position in this area was recognized, and other countries were leaders in other areas, and their achievements were also taken as a basis. For example, the superiority of American fire control systems over Soviet for a long time is universally recognized, no one is offended (as well as the advantage of the hemispherical tower IS-3, T-54-2 and T-54-3, copied to M48, M60, is universally recognized and much later - in AMX-30 and early Leopards). Apparently, only those who rejoice at the victory of the Canadian national ice hockey team on the principle are offended by the achievements of Soviet metallurgy: Canadians are better, Canada is almost North American Ukraine laughing
  5. svp67
    svp67 23 March 2013 11: 26 New
    The author largely "digs widely, but not deeply", for example, he attributed the T64 to the transitional generation, what kind of "subclass" is this? And to which class or subclass does he classify T64B?
    1. Kars
      Kars 23 March 2013 14: 31 New
      Quote: svp67
      And to which class or subclass does he attribute T64B

      To the third
  6. MRomanovich
    MRomanovich 23 March 2013 13: 38 New
    as already tired of seeing that in all articles on the topic of tanks, references, listings, reviews begin with American tanks. Their tanks were never the best, they themselves are not the fathers or leaders of tank building, so why are they imposing on us that their tanks occupy a special place. Previously, such a picture of things was inherent in Western articles and reviews, but now Russian authors pick up this habit with might and main. The sequence in these reviews or lists is interesting - American tanks are necessarily English, then German, etc., ours are always in the back rows. The most paradoxical is that such a sequence is observed in 99% of articles, both Western and ours.
    1. svp67
      svp67 23 March 2013 14: 29 New
      And what can you say about the place where "Mk1", Renault Ft17, "Leclerc" should be mentioned?
    2. ed65b
      ed65b 23 March 2013 15: 18 New
      I fully support.
  7. Langeo
    Langeo 23 March 2013 13: 41 New
    The best of the best.

    At the parade in Volgograd
    1. svp67
      svp67 23 March 2013 14: 37 New
      The best of the best.

      We just need to remember to add - for a Russian soldier. No matter how unpatriotic it may sound, this armored vehicle can be reckoned with a big stretch in this category on a "global scale" ...
      1. Langeo
        Langeo 23 March 2013 14: 56 New
        What is your option?
        1. svp67
          svp67 23 March 2013 17: 09 New
          You know that each country has its own answer to this. Since the countries that fought in that war tried to give their soldiers all the best they could release ...
        2. Tartary
          Tartary 24 March 2013 13: 29 New
          Quote: svp67
          this armored vehicle in this category on a "global scale" can be reckoned with a big stretch ...

          Quote: Langeo
          What is your option?

          Gee-gee-gee ... Duc he drags on from "Sherman" ...
          After all, it was the "Sherman" and others who were actually recognized by experts from all over the WORLD as the best tanks of the 2nd World War.
          But the T-34-85, and the T-34-76 so-so, are not quoted among democrats ...

          Why so - you ask?
          Yes, everything is simple ... Who wants to remind oneself over and over again the horror that the predecessors of these today's "smart specialists" experienced 65/70 years ago, imagining themselves in the place of poor German soldiers ...
          They themselves persuade (blabber) not ssssssat - is not it clear ?????????
          1. svp67
            svp67 24 March 2013 14: 26 New
            Quote: Tartary
            Why so - you ask?

            Dashingly, you ... You yourself have posed a question, you yourself answered it. You and opponents do not need. Not afraid to be alone?
            1. Tartary
              Tartary 24 March 2013 14: 36 New
              Quote: svp67
              Dashingly, you ... You yourself have posed a question, you yourself answered it. You and opponents do not need. Not afraid to be alone?

              There is such a literary technique, student ... Learn materiel by reading fiction and not only, if you don't want to suddenly find yourself in a (stupid) position in a real situation ... In a position ... (oh), not that position, but in the sense of an ignoramus ... But everything leads to the fact that more and more young people will appear, not well-read, illiterate writing not only stylistically, but also with errors in a simple "father's" word of three beeches, but with three mistakes.

              No, son, I’m not afraid to stay alone, but if necessary, I can talk with my inner self ... I’ll talk, and make HIM do the right thing, and not like HIM according to the situation ...

              And you???????????
              1. svp67
                svp67 24 March 2013 14: 50 New
                Well, and in the years of our cadet youth, we usually let such "empty talk" out of the nose, and then realized that there was nothing to even pay attention to, because apart from clownery and resentment towards people, they had nothing behind their backs and souls .. .. So have pleasant conversations with yourself.
                1. Tartary
                  Tartary 25 March 2013 06: 10 New
                  Quote: svp67
                  Well, and in the years of our cadet youth, we usually let such "empty talk" out of the nose,

                  The bestowal did not torment these We?
                  Or let the crowd see the yushka?
                  That is why it is clear that one by one each other was "allowed", head injuries are still affecting ...
                  Quote: svp67
                  So have nice conversations with yourself.

                  And your inner self, it is immediately obvious, does not obey its master at all - it lives on its own, a disease ...
        3. svp67
          svp67 25 March 2013 11: 17 New
          Each army that fought in that war has its own version .... Do you disagree with this?
      2. family tree
        family tree 23 March 2013 19: 42 New
        Sergeant Reynaud Lehveslayho as part of the tank crew knocked out and destroyed 7 (5 according to other sources) T-34 tanks and one ISU-152 self-propelled gun ..
        And this is his tank. Fucking Russian soldier? request
        1. svp67
          svp67 24 March 2013 06: 52 New
          Well, there are exceptions to each rule.
          Well done Finn, especially since he did it on a machine, which our specialists evaluated as follows:
          "... The report on the tests of serial T-34s in November - December 1940 contained quite a few unpleasant moments.

          “As a result of conducted combat firing with the solution of fire missions, the disadvantages were identified:

          1) The tightness of the crew in the fighting compartment due to the small dimensions of the tower on the shoulder strap.

          2) The inconvenience of using ammunition stacked in the floor of the fighting compartment.

          3) Delay in the transfer of fire, due to the inconvenient location of the turret swivel mechanism (manual and electric).

          4) The lack of visual communication between the tanks when solving the fire problem due to the fact that the only device that allows circular viewing - PT-6 is used only for aiming.

          5) The inability to use the TOD-6 sight due to the overlapping scale of the aiming angles with the PT-6 device.

          6) Significant and slowly damping oscillations of the tank during movement adversely affect the accuracy of firing from a gun and machine guns.

          The noted shortcomings reduce the rate of fire, cause a large expenditure of time to solve the fire problem.

          Determining the rate of fire of the 76-mm gun ...

          The resulting average practical rate of fire is two rounds per minute. The rate of fire is insufficient ...
          1. Langeo
            Langeo 24 March 2013 14: 10 New
            The rest were even worse. Yes, in fact, and the rest there were only t-3 and t-4. On one was a 37 mm cannon, on the second do not understand what.
        2. svp67
          svp67 24 March 2013 07: 04 New
          If Finland let out your tanks, you look and the accounts of their tankers would be higher, for example, like in:
          Captain Billot (Bilotte), in one battle, knocked out and destroyed 2 Pz. IV, 11 Pz. III, 2 3,7-cm PTO PaK. In one battle 16 May 1940 year
          and this is his tank
        3. svp67
          svp67 24 March 2013 08: 33 New
          Yes, and the best Finnish tankers fought on this technique

          Awesome German soldiers ..
        4. svp67
          svp67 24 March 2013 09: 32 New
          Quote: perepilka
          Sergeant Reynaud Lehveslayho as part of the tank crew knocked out and destroyed 7 (5 according to other sources) T-34 tanks and one ISU-152 self-propelled gun ..

          And last but not least, Well, Dear, you offend our grandfathers. Finns, of course, serious soldiers, but ours, Russian soldiers on the same technique were better
          No. 1-. Lieutenant Dmitry Lavrinenko (fought on the T-34 tank, served in the 4-th tank brigade) - destroyed the 52 tank and assault guns
        5. tomket
          tomket 25 March 2013 00: 09 New
          and the Finnish aces shot down the SOVIET p-38 "lightning" and p-51 "Mustang", this is a word about the brave Finnish wars, and their impressive victories both in heaven and on earth.
          1. maxvet
            maxvet 26 March 2013 11: 40 New
            not in the Soviet-Finnish war, if so then probably in the diet of Finnish pilots included a decoction of fly agaric for courage
    2. 755962
      755962 26 March 2013 21: 00 New
      Quote: Langeo
      The best of the best.
  8. Prapor Afonya
    Prapor Afonya 23 March 2013 17: 37 New
    Quote: svp67
    And what can you say about the place where "Mk1", Renault Ft17, "Leclerc" should be mentioned?

    About ms-1, bt-2, 5, 7, etc. forgot!
    1. svp67
      svp67 23 March 2013 18: 17 New
      Not that I did not forget, but ...
      MK I - the world's first production tank, on this account there is something to argue ...
      Renault Ft17 - a very revolutionary car - the vast majority of tanks, its direct heirs ...
      Leclerc - became a new generation tank, thanks to its appearance, a new characteristic was introduced into the tank's characteristics - tactical controllability ...
      And what can you tell about the tanks from the list you proposed.
    2. maxvet
      maxvet 26 March 2013 11: 42 New
      ms1 essentially Renault FT17, bt2-christie1939
  9. ramsi
    ramsi 23 March 2013 18: 31 New
    in my opinion, at the modern level, a tank should be a universal platform capable of standing up for itself against a ground and air attack (in the maximum configuration), or just a good tank in a minimum
  10. opkozak
    opkozak 23 March 2013 21: 07 New

    For fans to discuss tank upgrades, for fun, toad about the modernization of the T-34.
    The T-34-76SS tank (Terrible Force) is produced at the Verkhne-Zhuntag steam locomotive plant, for deliveries under a contract to South Somalia. The crew of 2 people are in an armored capsule between the transmission and the engine compartment, which provides additional survivability. A 76-mm automatic cannon of enormous-enormous destructive power, telemetered and has a rate of fire of 15 rounds / min. The total ammunition load is 126 rounds, of which 21 are located in the self-replaceable cartridge, 105 rounds in the stores of the automatic loader (contains 5 cartridges).
    Two front rollers are reinforced with torsion shafts similar to the T-64A HKBM. In addition, the tank used an original reverse transmission allowing the tank to have 13 reverse gears and develop a reverse speed of up to 72,5 km / h.
    The case is equipped with the fifth generation anti-tandem dynamic protection, made of pan-type elements with an interference coating that does not give glare in the infrared range. To go through marshy or sandy areas, the tracks are equipped with pelvic expansion elements that reduce the specific pressure on the ground to 0,001 kg / m2.
    The tank is equipped with defecation equipment used on TU-22 bombers.
    Prospective development was presented at the exhibition of arms and military equipment IDEX-2013 held in Abu Dhabi and aroused irresistible interest in representatives of the countries of Central Africa and the Middle East.
    Representatives of "Verkhne-Chzhuntagparovozoboronexport"
    ot; position
    the T-34-76СС (Terrible Power) tank, as an inexpensive alternative to the enemy Oplot (Ukraine) and T-72M2 Moderna (Slovakia) tanks.
  11. Yankuz
    Yankuz 23 March 2013 21: 10 New
    Good review! I love tanks! Probably because the tanker himself served in the tank forces of the SA. Thanks to the author!
  12. majorlnb
    majorlnb 23 March 2013 23: 21 New
    Minus set due to an incorrectly defined third generation of tanks.
    T-64 and T-72 are transition vehicles. Everything that was before them and before the T-62 is the third period.
    Even on the Panther, a night vision device appeared. So in itself this can not be a sign of any generation of tanks.

    Tanks of the transition period bring such revolutionary changes in the concept of building tanks that they force the whole world to change the whole BTT. Only T-64 and T-72 fall under such. It is after their appearance that a general change in the design of the entire BTT begins.
    1. cth; fyn
      cth; fyn 24 March 2013 08: 27 New
      I don’t agree about the fact that the T-72 belongs to the transition period. In my opinion, transitional vehicles have such a number of innovations that they rarely remain in service, but give a ticket to life for more balanced and balanced machines. Which is the T-72 in relation to the T-64. There were constantly problems with the T-64 due to its innovative engine and transmission, as well as an automatic loader that was not brought to the end and gave a large number of delays. On the T-72, everything was fixed and balanced, for which they paid a little low performance, but in general they got a more combat-ready car.
      1. mark1
        mark1 24 March 2013 09: 28 New
        It is not necessary to set T-64 and T-72 so far apart, in general the entire line of T-64, T-72, T-80, T-90, T-84 are different variations of the same theme. As well as M-47 - M-60, T44-T-62, Leopard2-Leopard 2A7 ...
      2. svp67
        svp67 24 March 2013 10: 50 New
        Quote: cth; fyn
        The T-64 was constantly having problems due to its innovative engine and transmission, as well as an automatic loader that was not brought to the end and gave a large number of delays. On the T-72, they all corrected and balanced it, for which they paid a little with low characteristics, but in general they got a more combat-ready car.

        Let's start with the fact that the transmission on the T64 and T72 is the same, and to be completely honest, on the T72 it is more complicated due to the introduction of the "guitar".
        And if you think that refusing the first T72 from multi-layer booking is the price you had to pay to fix the shortcomings of T64, then I'm sorry, you just don’t understand much in tank building
  13. gameover65
    gameover65 24 March 2013 10: 52 New
    But in my opinion, there is no practical value in dividing military equipment into generations, except for marketing.
    I don’t think that third-generation Abrams’s tankers will feel better from the fact that they learn that T-62 or T-72 of the second generation burned them. smile
  14. Sinbad
    Sinbad 24 March 2013 14: 54 New
    The plus sign article is interesting. But there are too many inaccuracies and simplifications!
  15. svp67
    svp67 24 March 2013 15: 36 New
    Of course, all these divisions into classes are very arbitrary, in this article a "western" standard is adopted, we have it different, but it is always interesting to know how the opponent thinks.
    And here's another question, who thinks "Merkava" is it still a tank or is it a "combat vehicle"?
  16. Sinbad
    Sinbad 24 March 2013 16: 36 New
    The plus sign article is interesting. But there are too many inaccuracies and simplifications!
  17. Algor73
    Algor73 24 March 2013 18: 25 New
    It seems to me that the second division of tanks is more objective. Well, how not to take into account the tanks of the pre-war period and the war ?! Only World War II gave that impetus to new developments that all previous decades did not give. And only the "cold" war gave impetus to the development of the latest generation of tanks, starting with the T-2. After this tank, I don't see any new cardinal developments. "Body kits-awnings" is not a radically new generation.
  18. Artmark
    Artmark 24 March 2013 20: 21 New
    The armor is strong and our tanks are fast ....! good
    1. master_rem
      master_rem 25 March 2013 11: 22 New
      And people, x / ul say ....
  19. Zhmurkis
    Zhmurkis 29 March 2013 23: 19 New
    Well, I'll put in my 5 cents. I consider such tanks as Abrams and T-80 dead-end branches of the development of tank building. The first is good in peacetime and in parades, the second is for shooting your own government (Supreme Council remember who shot), well, like a bunker. And all because of their gas turbine engine, in Iraq, the Nazi forces faced a serious problem of refueling their monsters, refueling and refueling tanks at any free minute, and still their tanks were often idle without fuel. And this is in a relatively small country. And if they decide to ride in the vastness of Russia? Tankers will have to shoot themselves immediately, so as not to suffer later with gas stations, especially if saboteurs appear in the rear, and they will certainly appear to cut long supply routes for troops. Plus, the fuel to them must be of a certain quality, This is not a multi-fuel engine, in which I found something and poured it, even moonshine. Well, in general, this is my personal opinion.
  20. the47th
    the47th April 4 2013 13: 46 New
    Some Western experts believe (there will be no proofs, I don’t remember where I read and I don’t remember when) that Panther and Pershing are first-generation MBTs. According to the Soviet classification - the first MBT - T-64A. And the T-62 was not a tank, but a fighter tank.
    1. mkpda
      mkpda April 9 2013 14: 52 New
      Then the T-28 is the first MBT in the world.
    2. Langeo
      Langeo April 9 2013 22: 51 New
      The Panther certainly can not be the main tank, because the caliber of its guns does not allow enough explosives in a high-explosive shell.
      1. the47th
        the47th April 11 2013 15: 57 New
        In the West, at that time it was believed that MBT was a cross between their medium tanks (up to 30 tons) and heavy tanks (more than 50).