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World's most powerful tanks ranked: How does Russia's fleet compare to US?

WorldWorld's most powerful tanks ranked: How does Russia's fleet compare to US?

Ukraine: Russian tanks get blown up in Mariupol

Last week, NATO resupplies meant that the Ukrainian military now had more tanks on the battlefield than Russia, according to the Pentagon. The alliance delivered Soviet-era T-72 tanks to Kyiv from NATO member states including the Czech Republic, effectively eroding Russia’s advantage. An unnamed senior US defence official told reporters on Thursday (April 21): “Right now the Ukrainians have more tanks in Ukraine than the Russians do, and they certainly have the purview to use them.”

Ukraine had previously claimed that Russia had lost more than 680 of its tanks during the invasion, most of which were destroyed.

In October 2021, before Russia invaded Ukraine, a top ten list of the world’s most powerful tanks was published by hot cars.

At number 10 on the list is Russia’s all new T-14 Armata, which the publication claimed could be the “very best tank in the world”. 

Weighing just 55 tons, the Armata has great mobility while it features a new upgraded main canon ‒ the 2A82-1M 125mm smoothbore cannon. 

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Russia and China have some of the most powerful tanks in the world (Image: GETTY WIKICC)


Ukraine have a bigger tank fleet involved in the war than Russia (Image: Getty)

It also comes with an active protection system and a reduced crew of three. 

At nine in the list is the US’ M1A2C Abrams, which has been in production since 1979 but has, of course, been upgraded since. 

The most current variants like the M1ARC Abrams boast advanced features like an Israeli-made Trophy active protection system, while the main armament is the M256A1 120mm smoothbore gun, which fires a variety of rounds. 

The eighth most powerful tank is Germany’s Leopard 2A7+, one of the most produced Western tanks after the US’ Abrams. 

The T-14 Armata

The T-14 Armata is one of the best tanks in the world (Image: Getty)

The Leopard 2A7+ is Germany’s most modern variant, and fires programmable HE munitions. 

Seventh on the list is the Israel’s Merkava IVm Windbreaker, which also doubles up as an armoured personnel carrier. 

It is fitted with Israel’s advanced Trophy active protection system ‒ a system that even the US had bought from the country and incorporated into their own tanks. 

Sixth on the list is France’s Leclerc, which has been in production since 1991, and retains the advantage of being comparatively light, weighing just 55 tonnes. 

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France’s Leclerc has been in production since 1991 (Image: Getty)

The Leclerc is also armed with a 120mm modèle F1 smoothbore gun, a 12.7mm coaxial M2 heavy machine gun and a roof-mounted 7.62mm machine gun. 

The fifth most powerful tank is the UK’s Challenger 2 CLEP, which uses a L30A1 120mm rifled gun ‒ a strange feature considering most tanks today use a smoothbore gun. 

A Challenger 2 is also armed with a L94A1 EX-34 7.62mm chain gun, and a machine gun, while it can also be fitted with a grenade launcher and a Leonardo ‘enforcer’ remote control weapons system. 

Fourth is South Korea’s K2 Black Panther, which has a top speed of 43 miles per hour and a weight of around 55 tonnes. 

Japan’s Type 10 is the third most powerful tank in the world

Japan’s Type 10 is the third most powerful tank in the world (Image: Getty)

The Black Panther is also armed with a CNO8 120mm 55 calibre smoothbore gun that also features an autoloader system. 

Capable of firing up to 10 rounds per minute, the Black Panther is one of the most expensive tanks in production, costing $8.5million (£6.67million).

Japan’s Type 10 is the third most powerful tank in the world, and has only been in production since 2012. 

The Type 10 has a completely new gun developed by Japan Steel Works, and fires an APFSDS round composed of amorphous metals.

Only 104 of these tanks have been produced however, making it the rarest tank on the list. 

The second most powerful tank in the world is China’s Type 99A main battle tank.

More than 4,000 Type 99 tanks have been produced, making it the most numerous tank on the list.

The tank’s main armament is a 2-plane stabilised ZPT-98 125mm smoothbore gun with a carousel-style autoloader as well as a QJ-881.27mm machine gun and a coaxial 7.62mm MG. 

The most powerful tank in the world however is Russia’s T90-MS, which first entered production in 1993. 

The T-90’s main armament is a 2A46M 125mm smoothbore gun while it also features an NSV 12.7 remotely controlled anti-aircraft heavy machine gun.

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