Meet Tank 122: Sweden’s super tank that Russia hates
Sweden’s Tank 122 Tank is not a well-known name like M1 Abrams or even Russia’s new T-14 Armata. And yet this main tank can do some serious damage – Sweden is not the first country that comes to mind when it comes to armored maneuver warfare. But they have a main tank, based on a German one Leopard import, which serves the Swedish army well. Tank 122 has some enviable characteristics for the Scandinavian country that is now taking the opportunity to join NATO seriously since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. New Swedish conscripts are trained on Tank 122, which shows that the Swedes perform the Home Guard in a more serious way.
Ukraine Jumpstarts Swedish Tank 122 Readiness
The Swedes began planning their own combat training activities at the end of last year when the Russians increased their military build-up at the Ukrainian border. They began to remove some of the rust from their armored maneuver battalions that had not trained on Tank 122 for several years.
Get the new soldiers trained on the tank
For example, the Swedish Gotland regiment had not trained in an exercise in live fire with Tank 122 since 2000. It is an astonishing lack of training and shows that the Swedes have neglected realistic military maneuvers for new troops. So it took the war in Ukraine to wake up the Swedish army.
Spend more on new ammunition
The Swedish army also began to supplement Tank 122 with new ammunition recently. In a deal of 27 million dollars, the Swedes ordered just new Israeli M339 tank projectiles manufactured by Elbit Systems. It is a step up for Tank 122 that needed to take place.
According to Yehuda Vered, general manager of Elbit Systems, “M339 not only meets the requirements of the Swedish army but will significantly improve the accuracy and firepower of the Swedish main tank Tank 122 when operating on the battlefield and hitting various types of enemies. Targets, he said. Boyko Nikolov from BulgarianMilitary.com on March 21 this year.
Good that it is based on German technology
Tank 122 joined the Swedish military in 1996 and in 1998 there were 180 tanks. It is based on Leopard 2A5 Main Battle Tank. It was a good move for the Swedes to choose such a proven platform. The significant advantage of the Leopard 2A5 is that it provided Tank 122 with modern armor on the hull and tower. It also borrowed from the French a first-class survival system that could detect an infrared anti-tank missile and fire infrared decoys to counterfeit the incoming missile.
Internal controls have been modernized
The 68 ton Tank 122 is known for digital fire controls and an encrypted radio and internal communication system. The tank commander has his own computer terminal. The driver has a video monitor and there is a state-of-the-art navigation system.
Top of the Turret Armor has been improved
The Swedish main tank has improved armor along the top of the tower, which is a weakness for many tanks when anti-tank missiles use a lethal attack angle downwards. The fire control system has also been modernized over the original Leopard platform.
Tank 122 – No fault in engine or firepower
It retains the twin-turbo diesel engine from the Leopard with a solid 1,500 horsepower. There is a 120 mm main pistol with a smooth hole. A 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun and a 7.62 mm anti-aircraft machine gun are included.
The tank is made for the front lines and to excel in tank-on-tank warfare, plus it can survive against improvised explosive devices and armored mines.
There is much to admire with Tank 122. Leopard tanks are known for reliability and survivability. There is plenty of firepower. The fire controls, navigation and internal and external communications are up to date. The new Israeli projectiles will help even more.
But the Swedes need to increase the number of troops that are qualified to operate their main tank. They must increase the operational pace and practice realistic training in all weathers and during night and day conditions. They will need to show that they can carry out exercises with live fire and maneuverability, preferably against “red teams” opposing forces that can be compared to the repetitions performed by tank forces in NATO countries.
If they can carry out this type of training, Tank 122 will be the foremost tank that can better perform Home Guard missions for the Swedes.
Now serving as the 1945 editor of Defense and National Security, Brent M. EastwoodPhD, is the author of People, machines and data: Future trends in warfare. He is an Emerging Threats Expert and former US Army Infantry Officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood.