If you can’t beat ‘em, make replicas of their tanks?
A few months back, a bizarre picture started circulating on social media which showed a full-sized Chinese Type 99-A main battle tank on the back of a tractor-trailer. Well, a picture of a tank isn’t really that bizarre nowadays but what was unique about this was that it was taken somewhere on a highway in Arkansas, US, a good thousand miles away from where one might expect it to be, oh I don’t know, China? Well turns out, it was a life-size replica of the Chinese tank which the Americans had made as a souvenir of sorts…
Turns out, it wasn’t just the Americans making replicas of the Chinese tanks. At China’s Zhuhai Air Show earlier this month, many people spotted a target vehicle that resembled the American M1A2 Abrams which sounds too good to be just a mere coincidence. It seems like both armies are preparing and ready to fight their most powerful adversaries whenever the time comes.
The Chinese Type 99 tank replica looks just like the real deal, from its rear-mounted fuel storage tanks, to its boxy turret shape and diamond-shaped side skirts. The tank’s wind sensor and gunner’s thermal viewer can also be seen on the fake one as well but it looks like the painter mistakenly used an old Chinese camouflage theme instead of the updated one which is the most prominent difference between the two tanks.
Meanwhile, the American M1A2 Abrams tank in China is a remote-controlled target drone which sports the same angular turret of the M1, including a wraparound bustle rack for crew gear and the same side profile with side skirts. This tank, however, features the wrong main gun; an older, smaller-caliber M68 gun that was used in the 1980s and also the camouflage pattern is off on this as well.
On the criteria mentioned above, it seems like the Americans are the winners when it comes to replicating their enemies’ tanks although we hope they won’t have to use them in real anytime soon.