Due to the historical nature of relationships between South America and the USA, a sizeable part of all AFVs used by Argentina, including tanks, were of American manufacture (British Sherman V Firefly tanks, M3 Half Tracks, and then M113 APCs). The previous Argentinian domestic tank was the Nahuel, in 1943, which had strong similarities with the Sherman.
Nahuel D.L.43 specifications
|Dimensions||6.22 x 2.33 x 2.95 m (20.7 x 7.8 x 9.8 ft)|
|Total weight, battle ready||35 tons (77,160 lbs)|
|Crew||5 (commander, driver, co-driver/machine-gunner, gunner, loader)|
|Propulsion||FMA-Lorraine-Dietrich 12 Eb, W12, WC, 500 hp, 14.3 hp/tonne|
|Maximum speed||40 km/h (25 mph)|
|Suspension||Vertical Volute Springs (VVSS)|
|Range on road||250 km (155 mi)|
|Armament||Main: 3 in (76.2 mm) Krupp M1909
Secondary: 1 x 7.62 mm (0.3 in) Allan machine gun
3 x Madsen 7.62 mm (0.3 in) light machine-guns
|Armor||Maximum glacis front 80 mm (3.3 in)|
Nahuel data tanks-encyclopedia.com
In the meantime, by the 1960s, Argentina turned to Europe (“Plan Europa”) for the delivery of AMX-13/105s (40 Patagon are still in service) and the comparable Austrian Kürassier (112 still in service). Although armed with a 105 mm main gun, both were light tanks, lightly protected, and therefore not suitable as main battle tanks. French AMX-30 and German Leopard 1 were examined for purchase or under licence production. Therefore in the 1970s, the government launched an ambitious program for a European-based domestic medium tank, the TAM (Tank Argentino Mediano). Largely inspired by the German Leopard 1 it became the sole example of a large production main tank in south America during the cold war. Source tanks-encyclopedia.com
The Tanque Argentino Mediano (“Argentine Medium Tank”), or TAM, is the main battle tank in service with the Argentine Army. Lacking the experience and resources to design a tank, the Argentine Ministry of Defense contracted German company Thyssen-Henschel. The vehicle was developed by a German and Argentine team of engineers, and was based on the chassis of the German Marder infantry fighting vehicle. The TAM met the Argentine Army’s requirement for a modern light-weight and fast tank with a low silhouette and sufficient firepower to defeat contemporary armored threats. Development began in 1974 and resulted in the construction of three prototypes by early 1977 and full-scale production by 1979. Assembly took place at the local 9,600 meters squared TAMSE plant, founded for the purpose by the Argentine government. Economic difficulties halted to production in 1983, but manufacturing began anew in 1994 until the army’s order of 200 tanks was fulfilled.
TAM VCA : ambulance version
TAM VCA 155 : self-propelled howitzer with Palmaria turret 155mm gun
TAM VCCDT : Artillery command post
TAM VCDA : anti-aircraft armoured vehicle with 30 mm or 35 mm guns
TAM VCLC : rocket launcher system vehicle
TAM VCLM : sol-air missile system Roland 2
TAM VCLP : bridge layer vehicle
TAM VCPC : command post VCTP infantry armoured vehicle
TAM VCRT : armoured recovery vehicle
TAM VCTM : mortar carrier
TAM VCTP : armoured infantry fighting vehicle with 20 mm gun.
VCA (Vehiculo de Combate de Artilleria) self-propelled howitzer
VCA 155 Palmaria howitzer variant – Image @taringa.net
The Vehículo de Combate de Artillería de 155 mm had the TAM’s elongated chassis, and the Italian Oto Melara’s Palmaria turret and a main 155 mm gun-howitzer. The original Palmaria was developed on the basis of the OF-40, a locally built Italian Leopard. So both models shared a lot of parts in common. 28 rounds were stored, including 23 in the turret bustle. Maximal range is about 45 to 50 km with additional round booster. In addition there was a roof-mounted FN MAG GMPG. The VCA is the heaviest of all models, weighing 40 tons, and the slowest (55 kph). Source tanks-encyclopedia.com
TAM VCTP – Vehículo de Combate Transporte de Personal
TAM VCTP – Image @themarshall.wikia.com
The first historical variant developed alongside the TAM called Vehículo de Combate Transporte de Personal. It was given a rear compartment large enough for 12 infantrymen, the squad leader being posted into the central rapid-fire 20 mm Rheinmetall Rh-202 autocannon, while the personnel could discharge their weapons from the inside, through pistol ports. The autocannon had 880 rounds in supply, including the armor-piercing DM63. There is also a roof-mounted FN-MAG GMPG. The commander cupola is a modified 7-vision blocks cupola. This vehicle had obvious similarities with the Marder, but was at least 70% Argentine. 350 of all the 500 planned were built until 1995. Source tanks-encyclopedia.com
TAM VCTP- Image @tanks-encyclopedia.com
|Dimensions||6.90 x3.29 x2.67 m (22.6 x10.8 x8.8 ft)|
|Total weight, battle ready||28.2 tons (31 long tonnes) (68,343 Ibs)|
|Crew||2+10 (driver, commander platoon)|
|Propulsion||720hp MTU MB833, V6 diesel 25,6 hp/t|
|Suspension||6 torsion bar units|
|Speed (road)||75-80 km/h (50 mph)|
|Range||520-870 with additional tanks km (367 mi)|
|Armament||1 x20 mm Autocannon KAD18, 800 rounds
2x 7.62 mm GMPG 2000 rds
|Armor||45 to 75 mm front (1.77 to 2.95 in)|
|Total production||350 in 1976-1995|
VCTP data tanks-encyclopedia.com
TAM VCTM “Vehículo de Combate Transporte de Mortero”
VCTM Brandt AM-50 120 mm smoothbore – Image @taringa.net
The VCTM (for Vehículo de Combate Transporte de Mortero) carries an AM-50 120 mm (4.7-inch) internal mortar. Maximal effective a range is 9,500 meters (31,167.98 ft) with an average rate of fire of 8 to 12 shots per minute depending on the crew’s skills. Source tanks-encyclopedia.com
The TAM Light Tank is armed with the L7A2 105-mm Rifled Gun, stabilized in both planes. Gun’s barrel is completed with a very effective muzzle-brake, thermal sleeve, and ejection device. This gun fires all 105-mm NATO standards compatible projectiles.
L7A2 105-mm Rifled Gun – Image @wikimedia.org
Ammunition load consists from 50 projectiles. 20 of them are placed in the turret, while remaining – in the hull. Additional armament consists from the MG-3 7.62-mm Machine Gun coaxially mounted with the main gun. One more similar machine gun can be mounted over the commander’s turret to defend from air and ground targets. Smoke grenade launchers are mounted from the both sides of the turret.
Basically the TAM was given the same main gun and fire-control systems (FCS) of the German 1980s Leopard. At the origin, it was to be armed with the British Royal Ordnance L7A1 105 mm main gun, but is replaced by the modified L7A2 and then the Rheinmetall Rh-105-30 105 mm (4.13-inch), manufactured in Argentina as the FM K.4 Modelo 1L. This version was relatively more compact and light than the original L7, but had even better performances. However the Argentine version did not have a muzzle brake. The FM K.4 had a 18°/-7° elevation/depression, and its hydraulic recoil mechanism run was 580 mm (22.8 inches) for absorbing a 34-tonne recoil force. The regular ammunition was the M735A1 APFSDS, (370 mm /14.6 inches) @ 1 km /1,100 yd)), completed by HEAT rounds, HESH, and smoke rounds. Secondary armament includd a co-axial 7.62 mm (0.30-inch) FN MAG 60-40 general purpose machine gun. The FCS of German manufacture included a Nd:YAG laser rangefinder with a range of 9,900 meters (32,480 ft) coupled with a FLER-HG ballistic computer to provide a fire solution for the gunner. There was no hunter-killer mode but the gun was fully stabilized. Source tanks-encyclopedia.com
FN MAG general purpose machine gun
Image @armyrecognition.comImage @kjclub.com
105 mm gun
TZF-LA gunner’s sight
TZF-LA gunner’s sight – Image @kjclub.comTZF-LA gunner’s sight – Image @kjclub.com
Commander’s periscope – Image @kjclub.com
The hull and the turret are welded from steel armor plates. Frontal armor of the hull and the turret protects from up to 40-mm armor-piercing projectiles, board armor – from firearm bullets. Hull’s boards and chassis are covered with a steel anti-cumulative screens. Furthermore front arranged engine and transmission serve as additional protection for the combat compartment.
MB883 Ka-500 6-cylinder diesel engine
Image @dieselenginemotor.comImage @dieselenginemotor.com
MTU MB-833 Ka 500 diesel engine, which output was 540 kW or 720 hp at 2,400 rpm. Power-to-weight ratio was therefore of 24 horsepower per tonne, allowing a maximum speed of 75 kph (47 mph) on road, and up to 40 kph (25 mph) off-road. It was connected to a Renk HSWL-204 automatic transmission, coupled with a hydrodynamic torque converter for better flexibility and handling. Fuel capacity was provided by a 680-liter (180-US-gallon – 150-imperial-gallon) internal capacity, traduced as a 500 km (310 mi) autonomy. however this range was extended to 900 kilometers (560 mi) by the use of the two rear-mounted drum-type 200-liter (53 US gal – 44 imp gal) external fuel tanks. Source tanks-encyclopedia.com
The TAM is powered with the MB883 Ka-500 6-cylinder diesel engine. It is developed by German “MTU” company and reaches a maximum power of 720 hp. under 2 400 rpm. It is made in one block with HSWL-204 hydro-mechanic transmission, designed by German company “Renk”. Planetary gearbox provides 4 forward and 4 backward gears.
Engine and transmission – Image @kjclub.com
Chassis use individual, torsion suspension. There are 6 rubbered wheels and 3 supporting rolls from the each side. The first, second, fifth, and sixth wheels are completed with hydraulic absorbers. TAM is completed with tracks, similar to the “Marder” Infantry Fighting Vehicle. Tracks feature internal and external rubber run course. Furthermore track is fitted with dismountable rubber pads.
On cross-country terrain it manages 60º slopes, 0.9 meter height vertical step, 2.9 meter wide trenches. Tank fords 1.4 meter depth water obstacles without preparation and up to 4 meters with an underwater driving equipment. The TAM is also equipped with fire control system, sight and optical rangefinder, ballistic computer. TAM is completed with air filtering device, fire prevention means, heater and radio equipment.
TAM – Image @tanks-encyclopedia.com
|One 125 mm gun, one 7,62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun, one 7,62 mm coaxial machine gun. (Error by Army Recognition the main gun is 105 mm)|
|fire control system, sight and optical rangefinder, ballistic computer, heater, fire prevention system|
|Against small arms and sheel splintersa|
|650 km a|
|Length: 6.75m; Height: 3.25m; Width: 2.42m|
Main material source armyrecognition.com
The original TAM upgrade has been designated “TAM 2C”. It’s development was initially started as part of the TAM modernization project in 2009. As reported here previously, a contract for the upgrade of 74 TAM tanks was signed in 2015.
TAM 2C – Image @www.taringa.net
The APU is externally mounted at the rear of the hull – Image @pohnews.org
While some TAM tanks supposedly already have one, many still lack a proper thermal sleeve for the main gun. The TAM 2C includes a new thermal sleeve, which will reduce the temperature influences on the barrel and thus will increase accuracy.
TAM 2C turret – Image @below-the-turret-ring.blogspot.com
A new commander’s sight — the COAPS sight from Elbit Systems — has replaced the earlier PERI RITA. The COAPS includes a CCD zoom camera, a thermal imager and an eye safe laser rangefinder. Compared to the earlier PERI RITA this enhances the night vision and enables faster hunter/killer operations, however the lack of a proper optical daysight is a disadvantage due to the lower image quality of a digital sensor.
Commander Open Architecture Panoramic Sight (COAPS) – See video below
The gunner’s sight is also replaced with a newer model from Elbit Systems, it appears to be a variation of the gunner’s sight of Elbit’s Thermal Imaging Fire Control System (TIFCS). The sight includes at least an optical day-channel, an eyesafe laser rangefinder and a thermal imager, although there is also an option for incorporating a CCD camera. This new FCS allows the tank to accurately fire on the move, something the original TAM could not achieve.
TAM 2C interior – Image @aviacionargentina.netTAM 2C interior – Image @aviacionargentina.net
Laser warning system (LWS) circled in red
Auxilary power unit (APU) is fitted to the vehicle rear
With all the upgrades, the TAM 2C is supposedly about one metric ton heavier than the original version, increasing the weight to 31 metric tons. Source below-the-turret-ring.blogspot.com
TAM 2C – Image @tanks-encyclopedia.com
Argentina unveils TAM tank prototype with added armour (TAM2IP)
The Argentine Army has unveiled a prototype for its TAM medium tank modernisation programme, for which it is working with Israel Military Industries (IMI), Elbit, and Tadiran.
An initial prototype, TAM 2C, was unveiled in March 2013. In 2015, after a proposal by IMI and Elbit, a second prototype called TAM 2IP was developed that added armour to increase the tank’s protection (and giving it an appearance similar to that of a small Merkava tank).
The new armour, based on IMI’s Iron Wall design, could be added to any TAM tanks, modernised or not, without any modification and includes extra protection for the turret on all sides, as well as the sides and front of the chassis.
Extra armor protection by Elbit on the right – Image @taringa.net
IRON WALL – Hybrid Protection Module against IEDs
Image @imi-israel.comImage @imi-israel.com
IRON WALL is designed to defeat Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) employing Explosively Formed Penetrator (EFP) and Self Formed Fragmentation (SFF) charges.
Compared to equivalent Rolled Homogenous Steel Armor (RHA), IRON WALL offers superior protection, with lower weight. Based on ahybrid compound of composite materials and metal, an appliqué of IRON WALL adds only 110-150mm to the base armor. According to the level of protection required, IRON WALL is available at an aerial weight of 200~230 kg/m2.
The prototype was displayed for the first time during the Argentine Army Day celebrations on 29 May, and the army said it is now starting tests.
According to IMI, Iron Wall fullfills the STANAG 4569 level 4 requirement for protection against kinetic energy penetrators such as AP and APDS ammunition. This means it cannot be penetrated by 14.5 mm AP ammunition from relatively close ranges (200 metres), which can penetrate about 32 to 38 mm of steel armor at point blank. If the new armor of the TAM 2IP is really only Iron Wall as claimed by Jane’s, the actual protection of the TAM 2IP is not much superior to the spaced armor of the late Marder IFV versions in German service (Marder 1A3 and follow-up models). In best case the frontal armor would offer protection against up to 30 mm APFSDS at medium ranges, while the side armor would only offer protection against 30 mm AP ammunition at long ranges only. Against EFPs and IEDs Iron Wall would likely offer much more protection, however these threats are usually only found in assymetrical warfare.
Apparently for pure KE protection Iron Wall is a rather poor performing composite armor system – a 25 mm steel plate has an areal density of about 200 kg/m² areal density. If this steel plate is not normal armor steel (RHS; rolled homogenous steel), but rather high-hardness armor steel (HHS), it should provide enough protection to reach the STANAG 4569 level 4 requirements for ballistic protection.
For protection against kinetic energy penetrators, Iron Wall seems to have a mass efficiency of about 1.3 – in best case about 1.5. The thickness efficiency is much lower. Ceramic armor system for ballistic protection like MEXAS and AMAP-B developed by the German IBD Engineering has managed to reach a mass efficiency greater than 3 against armor-piercing ammunition. Source below-the-turret-ring.blogspot.com
The current installation is to check fittings and the tank’s basic performance with the extra armour, and more tests will be conducted throughout the year to determine the extra weight’s impact on suspension and performance, as well as the level of protection it provides.
Army officials declined to provide information regarding the weight and capabilities expected of the extra armour. Posted on 31 May 2016 janes.com