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Main Battle Tank

Volume 979: debated on Tuesday 26 February 1980

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asked the Secretary of State for Defence what discussions he has held with his French, West German and United States of America counterparts to secure the selection of a common gun for the new Franco-German, American and British main battle tank; and whether, as a result, he can ensure that the ammunition for the gun of the proposed British MBT 80 tank will be compatible with that required for the other new Allied main battle tank guns.

There were several attempts in the 1970s to standardise tank guns; but different time scales, operational requirements and design philosophies have led to different approaches. It is intended that a British 120 mm rifled-bore gun having a considerable degree of ammunition interoperability with the existing Chieftain gun is planned for MBT 80, whereas the new tanks of our major Allies are likely to use 120 mm smoothbore guns. In these circumstances our ammunition will not be interoperable, but we are continuing to keep in close touch with our Allies on both gun and ammunition technology.