TAM - Replacing The Old Guard
The TAM is a medium tank, jointly developed by Argentinian and German engineers in the 1970s, intended to replace the outdated WW2 tanks in service with the Argentinian army at the time. Tankers can look forward to the addition of the TAM to the German ground forces tree with the release of the upcoming update 1.81 The Valkyries!
Briefly: The TAM is a highly compact, mobile and deadly Argentinian medium tank that will provide German tankers with a very capable frontline scout at the higher ranks.
We have already presented this vehicle to you at gamescom 2018, but today, we are going to talk about the TAM in greater detail.
During the 1960s, Argentina was looking far and wide for offers to update their aging fleet of WW2-era tanks. After obtaining some vehicles, the U.S. refused to make further vehicle sales. This forced Argentina to shift their attention towards the European market, resulting in the purchase of a number of French AMX-13s and its variants.
In 1973 however, the Ministry of Defense drew up a set of requirements for a completely new combat vehicle that would be produced domestically and would to enter service by 1980. Despite knowing what they wanted, Argentinian engineers lacked the technical know-how in order to actually design and produce such a vehicle. Faced with this problem, the Argentinian government seeked a collaboration with a foreign company in order to design and build the vehicle they wanted. Eventually, a contracted was signed with the German Thyssen-Henschel company, a joint development effort soon ensued.
The TAM (Tanque Argentino Mediano, eng: Argentinian Medium Tank), as it would be designated, was based off the German Marder IFV and equipped with a modification of the British, the Royal Ordnance L7A3 cannon that was produced in Germany. The first two prototypes of the TAM were built in 1976 and 1977 respectively and underwent extensive testing over the course of two years.
After successfully passing testing, the TAM was put into mass production in 1979. The vehicles were armed with FMK.4 Modelo 1L cannons, which was a domestic licensed copy of the original German cannon. The government ordered 200 vehicles of the IFV variant. However, economic difficulties resulted in the order being only partially fulfilled, before production was restarted later on. Argentina was also very keen on exporting the TAM to other countries, but despite interest and some contracts being signed, the TAM was never widely exported for various reasons.
A total of around 280 TAMs were built and most of them still serve in the Argentinian army, albeit with upgraded equipment. The TAM was never deployed in any combat operations to this date.
In War Thunder, the TAM will become available to all tankers, not as a medium tank, but as a light tank, at the high ranks of the German ground forces research tree, with the release of update 1.81 The Valkyries. The TAM features a great combination of mobility and firepower, whilst somewhat neglecting armor protection. In many ways, it can be seen as a vastly improved Begleitpanzer 57, which will likely suit the tastes of a wider selection of tankers out there.
One of the most important design aspects of the TAM during its development was to keep the vehicle’s weight close to 30 tons. Whilst this ensured that the vehicle could cross bridges in Argentina, it placed some limitations on the vehicle’s protection features. Therefore, engineers had to limit the vehicle’s armor protection at a maximum of 32mm. In game, this is unlikely to provide you with sufficient protection against various top tier vehicles, but it will offer some levels of protection against light autocannons and aircraft machine guns.
However, despite the fact that aspiring TAM commanders can’t effectively rely on their vehicle’s armor protection to save the day, mobility is an entirely different subject matter. Providing a respectable 720 horsepower, the MTU engine of the TAM is capable of pushing the vehicle up to speeds of 75 km/h on roads, both forward and in reverse! Apart from that, thanks to the excellent power to weight ratio, the vehicle can reach its top speeds very quickly and traverse even some rougher ground with relative ease.
Fun fact: Production of the TAM and its variants took place in a brand new factory complex that the Argentinian government had purpose-built for that occasion.
Arguably one of the TAM’s highlights is its primary cannon armament. Equipped with an Argentinian derivative of the British L7A3 cannon, sporting a wide selection of highly effective ammunition choices ranging from fin-stabilized sub-caliber rounds over HESH and HEAT, the TAM is perfectly suited for engaging a multitude of targets even at longer ranges. Apart from the main cannon, TAM drivers will also have two 7.62mm machine guns - one mounted coaxially and one on top of the turret to serve as an anti-aircraft deterrent.
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