The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been actively enhancing its military capabilities in the ever-changing landscape of modern warfare. One of the key aspects of this effort is the procurement and deployment of a diverse range of battle tanks, each with its own unique strengths and tactical advantages. This article will provide a brief analysis of the top 5 tanks of UAE that have become an integral part of its armoured divisions: the French Leclerc, the AMX-30, the Italian OF-40, the American M60A3, and the Russian BMP-3.
Top 5 Tanks Of UAE
The Leclerc, a French main battle tank, is a product of Nexter Systems and belongs to the third generation of tanks. It is named after Marshal Philippe Leclerc de Hauteclocque, a prominent figure in World War II who led the 2nd Armoured Division of the Free French Forces. Weighing 57 tons and equipped with tracks, the Leclerc is capable of firing various types of ammunition, including arrows, explosives, and canisters, both in stationary and mobile modes. Currently, it is in active service with the French Army and the Armed Forces of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The UAE acquired the Leclerc tanks in 1993 through a $4 billion contract with the French Company Giat Industries, now known as Nexter Systems. This deal included the purchase of 436 combat vehicles, consisting of 388 Leclerc MBTs, two driver training tanks, and 48 armoured recovery tanks based on the Leclerc MBT chassis. The tanks currently in use by the UAE are primarily replacements that were shipped from France. The objective of this partnership was to modernize the Leclerc MBT, ensuring the operational superiority of the UAE armed forces for the next three decades. The Leclerc became operational with the French Army in 1992 and with the UAE in 1995.
The AMX-30, a main battle tank created by Ateliers de construction d’Issy-les-Moulineaux (AMX, later GIAT), was initially delivered to the French Army in 1966. This tank is equipped with a multi-fuel, 12-cylinder engine and mechanical transmission, as well as torsion suspension and metal tracks with detachable rubber pads. The tank can ford water obstacles by travelling along the bottom. The AMX-30 was designed to prioritize mobility over protection, as the French believed that adding more armour to protect against anti-tank threats would hinder the tank’s manoeuvrability. Instead, the tank’s speed and compact dimensions, including a height of 2.28 meters, provided protection. The tank’s 105 mm gun fired an advanced high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead called the Obus G. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) acquired the AMX-30 tanks as part of their military modernization efforts, and other countries also ordered the AMX-30 and its variants.
The OF-40, a joint venture between OTO Melara and Fiat, is an Italian main battle tank primarily designed for export sales. It was developed to be a powerful yet straightforward final product. The tank features a conventional design with a crew of four, a well-tilted turret mounting a 105mm main gun, and a chain hull with a rear-mounted powerplant. The engine is equipped with a German MTU MB 838 Ca M500 V10 supercharged diesel system, delivering an output of 820 hp. The vehicle’s suspension is based on a torsion bar configuration, and the sprocket system includes seven twin-tire wheels on one side, with the drive sprocket at the rear and the chain idler at the front. The upper part of the chain linkage system is protected by a thin skirt armour. The OF-40 boasts a top speed of 37 mph and a range of 370 miles. The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the sole customer for the OF-40 tank. It was unveiled in 1980 and quickly received orders from the UAE. A Mk.2 upgraded version was introduced shortly after, addressing the deficiencies of the initial vehicle highlighted by the customer and optimized for desert combat. The most significant improvement was the addition of fully stabilized sights, enabling the tank to fire accurately while on the move. The UAE acquired a total of 39 OF-40 tanks. Production of the OF-40 took place from 1980 to 1985.
The M60A3, an upgraded version of the M60 Patton tank, was developed by the United States during the 1970s and 1980s. It boasts enhanced turret armour, all of the RISE upgrades, improved gun stabilization, an improved fire control system, and a new selection of 105mm ammunition. Equipped with the AN/VSG2 Tank Thermal Sight (TTS) for the gunner, it is referred to as the M60A3 TTS. Although the exact date of the UAE’s acquisition of the M60A3 tanks is unknown, they were undoubtedly utilized by the UAE armed forces. The M60 series main battle tanks have been utilized by 22 countries and have demonstrated their battlefield effectiveness for over four decades. They have been continually improved with advanced weapon control, ammunition, applique armour, and increasingly powerful engines.
The BMP-3, an infantry fighting vehicle developed by the Soviet and Russian military, succeeded the BMP-1 and BMP-2. It is renowned for its exceptional firepower, boasting a low-velocity 2A70 100mm rifled gun that can fire conventional shells or 9M117 Bastion ATGMs. The United Arab Emirates has the largest fleet of BMP-3 vehicles in the world, with approximately 600 delivered between 1992 and 2000. In 2000, 400 of these vehicles were fitted with reactive armour panels as part of an armour upgrade. In 2011, the UAE announced a $74-million contract with Rosoboronexport, a Russian arms exporter, to modernize 135 of their BMP-3 amphibious infantry fighting vehicles.