The Abrams also hasn’t encountered modern tanks. In fact, the Abrams is hardly unrivaled in its (very heavy) weight class: other vehicles such as the German Leopard 2, the British Challenger 2, the French Leclerc, and Israeli Merkava 4 possess similar firepower and protection levels, though of course each type has its advantages and disadvantages.) However, none of them were likely to ever be shooting at an Abrams, so it wasn’t a problem. For decades, the most threatening potential opponent was the Russian T-90 tank—a vehicle which has a fighting chance against the Abrams, but is hardly a peer.
Russia’s new T-14 Armata tank finally does present a peer challenge to the Abrams. While the Abrams still appears to have a slight edge in conventional armor, the Armata compensates with a combination of explosive-reactive armor and a sophisticated radar-guided Afganit Active Protection System (APS) intended to shoot down incoming projectiles. The T-14’s new 2A82 125mm also has improved armor penetration, meaning the Abrams’s frontal armor may be vulnerable at shorter combat ranges (possibly 1,500 meters and less).
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