Press Release

Contact: Dean Lockwood, Weapons Systems Analyst

Phone: (203) 426-0800

Fax: (203) 426-1964

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Main Battle Tank Rolls On as a Dominant Battlefield and Market Force


NEWTOWN, Conn. (March 1, 2006) ― Despite the transformational nature of modern armed forces, the Forecast International Weapons Group is confident the main battle tank will remain an integral part of modern force structures throughout the coming 10-year forecast period. In its annual analysis “The World Market for Tanks,” the Forecast International Weapons Group projects that the international market will produce nearly 7,800 main battle tanks, worth in excess of $31.6 billion, through 2015.


This year’s analysis notes the increasing, and largely hidden, impact of modernization and retrofit work on the market.  According to Dean Lockwood, Forecast International Weapons Systems Analyst, “While generally transparent to this analysis of new-production tanks, increased modernization and retrofit is becoming a significant force on the international market.” Through its Challenger Lethality Improvement program (CLIP), the British Army now intends to maintain its Challenger 2 tanks in first-line service through 2035. In 2004, U.S. Department of Defense contract awards for the maintenance, RESET (repair of field/battle damage), and upgrade of the U.S. Army and U.S. Marine Corps M1 Abrams inventories were equivalent to 32.6 percent of the total value of all new-production main battle tanks rolling out that year onto the international market.  In 2005, U.S. DoD contract awards supporting existing M1 Abrams tanks were equivalent to 21.3 percent of the total value of all new-production main battle tanks that year.


The international market for main battle tanks continues to exhibit two distinct product tiers. The upper tier consists of the state-of-the-art designs with correspondingly high price tags (over $5 million). The expense associated with the modernization and retrofit of these high-end main battle tanks pales in comparison with the prospect of new tank procurement. Thus, new production of high-end tanks (AMX Leclerc, Ariete 2, Challenger 2, Karan, Leopard 2, M1A1 Abrams, and Merkava Mark 4) continues to decline, accounting for less than 13 percent of all production and worth about 17 percent of the market through the forecast period.


The lower tier features cheaper, more widely available tanks (mostly designs of the former Soviet Union). In terms of sheer numbers, Lockwood believes that Pakistan’s Al-Khalid, the Type 98 of the People’s Republic of China, and the Russian Federation’s T-90 will account for nearly 45 percent of all new tanks rolling out worldwide, worth about 40 percent of the market, through 2015.


On the international market for main battle tanks, the days of U.S. and European domination over new production appear to be long gone. Nevertheless, the international market for main battle tanks remains a vibrant, dynamic environment. According to Lockwood, “As threat scenarios and force structures continue to evolve, the main battle tank rolls on as a significant force multiplier and the quintessential symbol of modern mobile warfare.”


Forecast International, Inc., is a leading provider of Market Intelligence and Analysis in the areas of aerospace, defense, power systems and military electronics.  Based in Newtown, Conn., USA, Forecast International specializes in long-range industry forecasts and market assessments utilized by strategic planners, marketing professionals, military organizations, and governments worldwide.  To arrange an interview with Forecast International’s analysts, please contact Monty Nebinger (203-426-0800,