Similar to plaid flannel and denim overalls, MBTs are back on the scene after decades of post-Cold War neglect, when most countries were investing in smaller, lighter armored vehicles, such as US-made Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected (MRAP) trucks.
However, this changed after Russia presented its cutting-edge T-14 Armata, arguably the deadliest tank in the world, during the Moscow Victory Day Parade on May 9. Americans and Europeans tensed up and shortly announced their own plans to invest in MBT development, Vice News said.
Now, as Russia has the T-14 Armata, everyone's a bit alarmed. Germany announced plans to update its MBT, the Leopard 2, only three weeks after the Armata's debut. Germany said it would work with France to come up with a better and stronger Leopard 2, Vice News said.
Siemon Wezeman, senior researcher for the Arms and Military Expenditure Program at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), stated the following:
"In Europe, with the tension with Russia, there is a growing fear that to tackle that you need top-end armored vehicles, and you see the Germans reacting to that with their Leopard 2 tanks… You can't go in there with a light armored vehicle, light helicopters. You need big things, heavy things, well-protected things."
The United States will not be left out either. A new MBT, successors of the M1 Abrams, will be designed in the future, because what the US Army currently has is "not good enough for potentially fighting against an enemy that is very heavily armed," Wezeman said.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said although the plans to build more MBTs are not the start of a new arms race, it is "time for everyone to update their military vehicles to keep pace with the changing threats," he said according to AP.
And all of these just happen to "magically coincide with the debut" of the Russian T-14 Armata, Vice News ironically concluded.