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National Geographic – Planet Science: Triumph of the Tank (2006)

NG Planet Science Triumph of the Tank

The tank has been in existence for almost 100 years. They changed the face of warfare but how can science explain their effect? After every major war the tank is written off by its critics as a relic, but with every generation it reinvents itself and is victorious on the battlefield once again. Naked Science gets into the worlds best tank and asks how technology has made these machines triumphant.
What is the deadliest tank ever built? What are tanks and where do they come from? We answer this using the best tank on the planet, the American made Abrams M1A2. This truly is a tank of today. It is fully integrated with computers, state of the art detection and communication systems. It can detect and kill its prey from miles away even in the dead of night.
Despite its modern electronic technologies its design is based on ideas developed at the start of the last century – mobility, firepower and armor. These three features must be balanced, too much armor or too big a gun and it will be too heavy to move a round, too little and it will be mobile but vulnerable to enemy fire. We investigate what the design of the Abrams tank has learnt form WW2 tanks like the Russian T34 and how it has become the most deadly tank on the planet. But it still shares all its main features with its relatives of 90 years ago. It is designed on a principle established in WW1- the balance between: Mobility, Armor and Gun.

Produced by Pioneer Productions for National Geographic Channel

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