|Yep I said it. Tanks don't kill tanks. Not that they can't, they just don't get the opportunity to do so very often as of late.
MBT's in acutality have 2 roles: Supporting ground forces (what they really do in the field) and deterring aggression from neighbors (what they do on paper). Tankers would argue that mission #2 is more important. The grunt would prefer a tank optimized to support his vulnerable arse and wants a machine that doesn't give him a concussion when the main gun goes off shooting at a building 200 meters away.
While it is fun comparing M1A2 vs T90, and discussing the relative merits of an upgraded T-72, a modernized T-55, the PT-91, etc. the fact remains that these machines are far more likely to shoot at buildings than other armor, that their defensive armor is more important than a big, honking 120mm - 125mm L55 gun.
Yes, Abrams and Challys did take out Iraqi armor, but Bradleys took out more. Substitute a Bradley's turret and armamant but maintain a M1's armor on all Abrams and the strategies and outcomes of both Gulf wars would remain unchanged. And all the Abrams, Challengers and Leopard 2's in Afghanistan have yet to kill another MBT. If ever they do, it will be a case of friendly fire.
The Russians and Israelis are finally recognizing this fact and are converting T-55 and Merkava hulls into heavy APCs, better suited for the real-world mission of MOUT/counter-insurgency.
The next-gen MBT should be of a modular design, capable of being fielded with a counter-insurgency kit or an anti-armor kit. Give it a turret with room for 4 (plus driver) and 3 remote weapon stations for 360 degree and high-elevation operations.
And the Merkava design that facilitates rear ingress/egress as well as a litter would serve us well today and for the mext 20 years that we will be in IRaq and Afghanistan. Did I say 20 years, silly me. I meant to say 20 months (no I didn't).