Endurance Main Battle Tank

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Endurance Main Battle Tank
Chieftain right size.jpg
Endurance MBT of A Squadron, 24th Mounted Volunteers
Place of origin  Arthurista
Service history
In service 1965-present
Used by Commonwealth Army,
Eagleland Army
Madrastan Army,
Keralam Army
Production history
Manufacturer Arthuristan Dynamics
Produced 1964-1979
Number built 4,000 units
Specifications
Weight 60 tonnes
Length 10.6m (gun forward)
Width 3.66 m
Height 2.9 m
Crew 4

Armor Cast steel and rolled homogeneous steel, applique composite armour (Mark 2 and 3 only), explosive reactive armour (Mark 3 only)
Main
armament
120mm L/52 rifled cannon
Secondary
armament
L6A2 7.62x51 co-ax, M2 Browning 12.7mm pintle mount
Engine Arthuristan Motors AVE-2 V-12 turbodiesel (Mark 1)
Arthuristan Motors AVE-A3 V-12 turbodiesel (Mark 2)
800 kW
Transmission Hydropneumatic
Operational
range
550km on road
Speed 55 kph on road


The Endurance Main Battle Tank was conceived as a successor to the Cavalier. It was designed with the armoured warfare doctrine of the Commonwealth Army of the 60s in mind - to stop an enemy advance at a pre-determined line, then push them back in a measured counterattack. The design thus called for a powerful main gun, able to disable contemporary armoured threats at very long range, as well as high levels of armour protection, up to 400mm RHA-equivalency taking into account the sloped shaping of the vehicle's frontal arc. It also incorporated what was for the era an advanced fire control system based on an optical range-finder, which replaced the 12.7mm ranging gun of the Cavalier. By contrast, mobility received little attention. As a result, the Endurance became known as "the tortoise" in Arthuristan service, heavy, expensive, slow and sometimes mechanically unreliable, but beloved for its firepower and survivability, a reasonably good match against the Type-65 and Type-73 favoured by rival armies of the period. Due to its cost, it only fully replaced its predecessor, the lighter Cavalier, just before the Boudicca was about to entered service in the early-80s.

The Mark 2 was introduced in 1976. It featured the first Arthuristan composite armour design: "Rowan" applique plates which were attached to the surface of the turret and the glacis, consisting of a laminate of rubber and triple-hardened steel. With it, the Endurance's resistance against HEAT rounds was approximately equivalent of 600mm of RHA, or 450mm against KE munitions. The tank received a new fire-control system with a laser rangefinder, replacing the mechanical optical range-finder, allowing for a faster engagement cycle against distant targets. It was also tri-axially stabilised to allow for accurate firing on the move and linked to an early fire control computer system.

The Mark 3 upgrade of 1984 incorporated many advanced features developed for the Boudicca project. The most important improvement was the fire control system. The gunner and commander received passive thermal sights, which replaced the earlier IR-illuminator. The tank could also launch the ASTAM (Arthuristan Smart Top-Attack Munition), a gun-launched precision attack round, after its introduction in the mid-90s. All of them these sensor modules tie into the vehicle's new Pythagoras Digital Ballistics Computer, which could take into account data such as range, movement speed, barrel wear, wind speed and other trajectory-affecting factors to maximise first-shot accuracy. Protection was enhanced with Rowan 2 applique modules on the turret front and glacis, comprised of a laminate of rubber, triple-hardened steel and titanium, as well as explosive-reactive armour bricks. Unlike the ERA of most main battle tanks, these blocks are installed virtually without gaps between them, allowing them to provide up to 30% more resistance towards KE munitions and 70% versus HEAT.

Significant numbers of Mark 3 Endurances remain in storage for mobilisation formations of the Territorial Command.

The Endurance is the most numerous MBT in service with the Madrastan Army. Madrastan imported its first batch of Endurance tanks in the late-60s and procured a domestic production license in the early-70s and as of the mid-2010s most have been upgraded to the Mk 3 standard. The most modern of Madrastan's main battle tanks, the Kaurava, combines the Endurance's hull and main gun with a new up-armoured turret and a more powerful and mechanically reliable powerpack.

Keralam received 360 second hand Arthuristan Endurance MBTs, as well as engineering, bridge-laying and recovery vehicle variants as a replacement for their obsolete Cavaliers in the late-90s as part of an Arthuristan defence assistance program. These tanks were upgraded to the Mark 3 standard and received new turbodiesel engines before delivery.