Second only to the infantryman in terms of combat effectiveness, the “mailed fist” of heavy armor remains a highly adaptable force multiplier on the modern battlefield. Forecast International Weapons Group’s “The Market for Tanks” report projects that more than 3,800 main battle tanks, worth over $17.2 billion, will be produced through 2025. According to the report, high-end tanks will account for 24.1 percent of all new production, worth 43 percent of the market, during the next 10 years.
The international market for main battle tanks continues to exhibit two distinct product tiers. The upper tier consists of state-of-the-art designs with correspondingly high price tags, while the lower tier features cheaper, more widely available tanks, mostly designs from the former Soviet Union.
According to the analysis, in terms of sheer numbers, Pakistan’s Al-Khalid, Russia’s T-90 (including India’s licensed T-90S), and China’s Type 98 will continue to drive the market, accounting for 53.7 percent of all new tanks rolling out worldwide and representing 37.9 percent of the market’s value through 2025.
Ghost Factor: Modernization & Retrofit
Although not covered in the analysis, increased modernization and retrofit is becoming a significant force in the international tank market. Through ongoing maintenance, RESET (repair of field/battle damage), and upgrades, the U.S. Army intends to maintain its M1 Abrams tanks in active service through 2050. Likewise, the British Army intends to maintain an active Challenger 2 force through 2035.
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