Military Factory

Main Battle Tanks (MBTs)

Authored By Staff Writer | Last Updated: 10/18/2015

Despite advances in armor-defeating systems, the Main Battle Tank remains the symbol of every modern army's true strength on the battlefield.

The Main Battle Tank (MBT) became a primary battlefield fixture in the years following World War 2 (1939-1945). During the conflict, land forces relied on a mix of light, medium and heavy tank types to fulfill various requirements. The MBT arose out of a need for a "Universal Tank" concept capable of achieving the same results through a single design. With the advent of lighter composite armor, engineers fashioned a new fighting machine which has remained the mainstay of modern land forces today.

The first true Main Battle Tank came from the British who unveiled their Centurion A41 in 1945. This was then followed by competing designs from the Soviet Union (the classic T-54/T-55 lines) and the United States (through their M60 "Patton"). In more recent years, some land forces have been abandoning the MBT concept in favor of more mobile, lightweight wheeled armored vehicles. Additionally, Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs)) have increased their lethality and forced major protection revisions from MBT designers - leading to the thought that the MBT may very well be seeing its last decade of battlefield dominance.

There are a total of (69) Main Battle Tanks (MBTs) in the Military Factory. Entries are listed below by initial year of service descending. Flag images indicative of country of origin.

T-14 (Armata) (Object 148)
The T-14 "Armata" was debuted during the 2015 Moscow Victory Day Parade as the Main Battle Tank (MBT) component of the propos...
Thumbnail picture of the T-14 (Armata) (Object 148)

Altay MBT
As one of the latest generation of Main Battle Tanks (MBT) currently in development, the new "Altay" tank is set to become on...
Thumbnail picture of the Altay MBT

MBT-3000 (Main Battle Tank 3000)
The MBT-3000 is a 3rd Generation Main Battle Tank (MBT) currently in the development stages for both export customers and the...
Thumbnail picture of the MBT-3000 (Main Battle Tank 3000)

T-99 Armata (Universal Combat Platform - UCP)
The current frontline Russian Main Battle Tank (MBT) remains the Third Generation T-90 introduced in 1991 (1,670 produced to ...
Thumbnail picture of the T-99 Armata (Universal Combat Platform - UCP)

ROTEM K2 (Black Panther)
The ROK (Republic of Korea - i.e. "South Korea") Military has four branch divisions - the Army, Air Force, Navy and Marines. ...
Thumbnail picture of the ROTEM K2 (Black Panther)

Type 10 MBT
The Type 10 (TK-X) was developed under the project designation of "MBT-X" by the Japanese military establishment in the late ...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 10 MBT

T-90M Bhishma
The Indian and Russian governments have maintained close military ties for some time leading India to stock its forces with e...
Thumbnail picture of the T-90M Bhishma

Sabra (M60T)
The Israeli-developed "Sabra" is a highly modified form of the American M60 "Patton" tank complete with a revised turret, mor...
Thumbnail picture of the Sabra (M60T)

Ramses II (T-54E)
The Soviet Union managed a strong foothold across nations of the Middle East and North Africa during the Cold War and this le...
Thumbnail picture of the Ramses II (T-54E)

HIT Al-Zarrar
In 1958, China undertook local production of the Soviet T-54A Main Battle Tank as the Type 59. Some 9,500 were produced until...
Thumbnail picture of the HIT Al-Zarrar

DRDO Arjun (Lion)
The Arjun (named after the Indian mythological hero "Arjuna") represents the first indigenous Indian tank design. Having rece...
Thumbnail picture of the DRDO Arjun (Lion)

HIT Al Khalid (MBT 2000)
The Al-Khalid is essentially a hybrid tank design with systems, armament and subsystems originating from a variety of global ...
Thumbnail picture of the HIT Al Khalid (MBT 2000)

DIO Zulfiqar
The Zulfiqar is a relatively recent main battle tank addition of Iranian design. The design is attributed to Iranian Brigadie...
Thumbnail picture of the DIO Zulfiqar

T-84 (Oplot)
The nation of Ukraine was under the Soviet sphere of influence up to 1990 when the Empire was dissolved amidst a move to a mo...
Thumbnail picture of the T-84 (Oplot)

Stridsvagn 122 (Strv 122)
The Stridsvagn 122 (or Strv 122) is the Swedish designation for German Leopard 2A5 series main battle tanks in Swedish Army s...
Thumbnail picture of the Stridsvagn 122 (Strv 122)

Type 99 (ZTZ-99 / WZ-123)
The Type 99 is a formidable addition to the armored line up of the People's Liberation Army of China (PLA). The Type 99 first...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 99 (ZTZ-99 / WZ-123)

Challenger 2
The Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank represents the current standard MBT of the British Army. The type represents the pinnacle o...
Thumbnail picture of the Challenger 2

Type 96 (MBT)
With decades of experience in owning and operating Soviet/Russian combat tanks, it was only natural for the Chinese military ...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 96 (MBT)

DIO T-72Z (T-55)
Not one to rest of its laurels concerning its military power, the Iranian Army took to modernizing its extensive fleet of T-5...
Thumbnail picture of the DIO T-72Z (T-55)

CIO Ariete
In 1984, the Italian concerns of OTO Melara and Iveco-FIAT came together to form CIO - "Consorzio Iveco Oto Melara". The goal...
Thumbnail picture of the CIO Ariete

The T-90 is the current Main Battle Tank of the Russian Army and developed from the successful qualities of the preceding T-7...
Thumbnail picture of the T-90

PT-91 Twardy
The Main Battle Tank of the Polish Army is the PT-91 "Twardy", developed from the popular Soviet-era T-72 MBT (T-72M1). The P...
Thumbnail picture of the PT-91 Twardy

Duro Dakovic M-95 Degman
In 1985, the nation of Yugoslavia introduced an indigenous development of the famous Soviet-era T-72 Main Battle Tank as the ...
Thumbnail picture of the Duro Dakovic M-95 Degman

Type 90 (Kyu-maru)
The Japanese-produced Type 90 Main Battle Tank is in service with the Japanese Self-Defense Force and features the German-des...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 90 (Kyu-maru)

AMX-56 Leclerc
The AMX-56 "Leclerc" has become the pinnacle of French combat tank design in the modern world. It represents the current main...
Thumbnail picture of the AMX-56 Leclerc

Pokpung-ho (Storm Tiger) (M-2002)
Despite a design origin that possibly dates back to the late 1980s, the Pokpung-ho ("Storm Tiger") Main Battle Tank remains s...
Thumbnail picture of the Pokpung-ho (Storm Tiger) (M-2002)

CM-11 Brave Tiger (M48H)
The CM-11 was a Taiwanese creation that evolved the American-made M48 Patton series (in particular the M48H production model)...
Thumbnail picture of the CM-11 Brave Tiger (M48H)

Engesa EE-T1 Osorio
In the early 1980s, the Brazilian concern of Engesa undertook a private venture initiative to produce a modern Main Battle Ta...
Thumbnail picture of the Engesa EE-T1 Osorio

The AMX-40 was an abandoned French main battle tank design intended for export to succeed the equally export-minded AMX-32 se...
Thumbnail picture of the AMX-40

TR-85 (Tanc Romanesc Model 85)
From 1944 to 1958, the Soviet military maintained a heavy presence in the nation of Romania, spoils of its war as it were, du...
Thumbnail picture of the TR-85 (Tanc Romanesc Model 85)

ROTEM K1 (Type 88)
The South Korean military has used tanks developed and produced in the United States from the time of the Korean War. In the ...
Thumbnail picture of the ROTEM K1 (Type 88)

Type 85-II
The Type 85-II Main Battle Tank (MBT) of the Chinese Army is a further evolution of its Type 80 MBT line. Key changes to the ...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 85-II

Type 80 MBT
The Chinese Army Type 80 Main Battle Tank (MBT) is a further development of its Type 69 MBT of 1982, itself an outgrowth of t...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 80 MBT

M-84 (MBT)
In January of 1946, Yugoslavia accepted a communistic government aligned with the Soviet Union. This allowed for political an...
Thumbnail picture of the M-84 (MBT)

Bernardini MB-3 Tamoyo
The original M41 Walker Bulldog Light Tank was an American product of lessons learned through World War 2. Design work on the...
Thumbnail picture of the Bernardini MB-3 Tamoyo

Challenger 1
The original combat "tank" was born out of the fighting that was World War 1. However, these were hardly representative of th...
Thumbnail picture of the Challenger 1

Type 69 MBT
The Type 69 Main Battle Tank (MBT) was a Chinese evolution of its own Type 59 MBT series first appearing in 1959. Production ...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 69 MBT

OTO Melara OF-40
Recognizing the need for a budget main battle tank on the world market, the Italian concerns of OTO Melara and FIAT combined ...
Thumbnail picture of the OTO Melara OF-40

Chonma-ho (Pegasus)
At present, the Chonma-ho (or "Sky Horse" or "Pegasus") represents one of the more numerous and modern of all the North Korea...
Thumbnail picture of the Chonma-ho (Pegasus)

Khalid (Sword) MBT
The Khalid Main Battle Tank was born out of the aborted "Shir 1" initiative undertaken by the British to fulfill an Iranian A...
Thumbnail picture of the Khalid (Sword) MBT

M1 Abrams
The M1 Abrams was designed by Chrysler Defense and produced under the General Dynamics brand. The tank was introduced in 1979...
Thumbnail picture of the M1 Abrams

Leopard 2 MBT
For much of the Cold War, it fell upon NATO and the West to match wits against the latest Soviet combat tank / Main Battle Ta...
Thumbnail picture of the Leopard 2 MBT

Merkava (Chariot)
The Merkava series of main battle tank represents the backbone of Israeli armor elements. The system was the result of extens...
Thumbnail picture of the Merkava (Chariot)

The AMX-32 was a further development of the commercially successful French-made AMX-30 main battle tank. Along with improveme...
Thumbnail picture of the AMX-32

Denel Olifant (Elephant)
The South African "Olifant" became a further evolution of the original British Cold War-era Centurion Main Battle Tank (MBT)....
Thumbnail picture of the Denel Olifant (Elephant)

TR-580 (Tanc Romanesc Model 580)
The TR-580 existed as a local Romanian offshoot of the popular Soviet-era T-55 Main Battle Tank (MBT). The design was brought...
Thumbnail picture of the TR-580 (Tanc Romanesc Model 580)

The T-80 of the Russian Army was born in the era of the Soviet Empire during the Cold War. The type was a further evolution o...
Thumbnail picture of the T-80

Type 74 (Nana-yon)
A joint partnership between the Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force (JGSDF) and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries in 1972 led to the...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 74 (Nana-yon)

T-72 (Ural)
The Soviets/Russians have always maintained a penchant for successful (and globally popular) tank designs since they unveiled...
Thumbnail picture of the T-72 (Ural)

Panzer 68 (Pz 68)
The Korean War (1950-1953) tied up major Western powers both logistically and politically leaving nations such as Switzerland...
Thumbnail picture of the Panzer 68 (Pz 68)

Magach (M48 / M60)
Israel needed tanks to defend her borders from the Arab states and the American M48 tank was the best choice based on reliabi...
Thumbnail picture of the Magach (M48 / M60)

The AMX-30 stemmed from a post-World War 2 design that saw many nations in Europe attempting to refit and update their armor ...
Thumbnail picture of the AMX-30

Stridsvagn 103 (Strv 103) (S-Tank)
The Swedish-originated Stridsvagn 103 (Strv 103) - also known as the "S-Tank") was one of the more extreme departures from co...
Thumbnail picture of the Stridsvagn 103 (Strv 103) (S-Tank)

The natural progression of Soviet tank design during the years following World War 2 eventually produced the T-64 Main Battle...
Thumbnail picture of the T-64

Vickers MBT
The Vickers Main Battle Tank series was created with export customers in mind. It was soon discovered that foreign operators ...
Thumbnail picture of the Vickers MBT

Chieftain MBT
The original Centurion Main Battle Tank (A41) of 1945 was a hugely successful British Army initiative enacted during World Wa...
Thumbnail picture of the Chieftain MBT

Leopard 1 MBT
The German war-making capacity was dismantled by the victors following the end of the war in Europe. The Soviet Union took Be...
Thumbnail picture of the Leopard 1 MBT

MBT-70 (KPz-70)
The Cold War in Europe spanned from 1947 into 1991 and the undisputed enemy to the democratic world was the nuclear-armed Sov...
Thumbnail picture of the MBT-70 (KPz-70)

Panzer 61 (Pz 61)
With American and European military and political commitments focused attention on the Korean Peninsula for the Korean War (1...
Thumbnail picture of the Panzer 61 (Pz 61)

Type 61
After the close of hostilities in World War 2, the Japanese Empire was rightfully stripped of all war-making capabilities tha...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 61

After the end of World War 2, the Soviet military had officially replaced their war-winning T-34 Medium Tank series with the ...
Thumbnail picture of the T-62

M60 (Patton)
The M60 "Patton" Main Battle Tank began development in 1957 to counter rumors that the Soviets were working on a new main bat...
Thumbnail picture of the M60 (Patton)

Type 59
The NORINCO-produced Type 59 was actually based on the purchase and subsequent local licensed production of the Soviet T-54 m...
Thumbnail picture of the Type 59

The T-55 was a further improved version of the T-54 Main Battle Tank series of 1949 intended to counter the new American M60 ...
Thumbnail picture of the T-55

Stridsvagn 74 (Strv 74)
The Swedes have long held a history of capable indigenous arms production and this was showcased to good effect prior to and ...
Thumbnail picture of the Stridsvagn 74 (Strv 74)

Panzer 58 (Pz 58)
Long reliant on foreign products to stock its armored corps, the small European nation of Switzerland was forced to turn to a...
Thumbnail picture of the Panzer 58 (Pz 58)

Stridsvagn 104 (Strv 104)
The Strv 104 became the Swedish version of the storied British "Centurion" Main Battle Tank (MBT) line detailed elsewhere on ...
Thumbnail picture of the Stridsvagn 104 (Strv 104)

The T-54 series of Soviet main battle tank came about in the search for a viable replacement for the war-winning T-34 Medium ...
Thumbnail picture of the T-54

Centurion (A41)
Though requested as early as 1943 and entering production in January of 1945, the British Centurion Main Battle Tank arrived ...
Thumbnail picture of the Centurion (A41)