Model of the final design MBT-70.JPG
A model of the United States MBT-70 design
TypeMain battle tank
Place of originUnited States
West Germany
Production history
No. built14 (prototypes and pilots)
Weight50.4 tonnes (49.6 long tons; 55.6 short tons)[1]
Length9.1 metres (29 ft 10 in)
Width3.51 metres (11 ft 6 in)
Height1.99 to 2.59 m (6 ft 6 in to 8 ft 6 in)

ArmorSpaced armour
Two layers spaced with 127mm, the inner a softer steel that also served as a spall liner (46mm), and the outer of harder cold-rolled steel (34mm).
152 mm XM150E5
20 mm RH202 autocannon[2]
7.62 mm M73 or MG-3 machine gun (coaxial)[2]
Engine1,470 horsepower (1,100 kW) (MBT-70 Continental V-12)
1,500 horsepower (1,100 kW) (KPz-70 Daimler Benz)
Power/weight29.2 hp/t (MBT-70)
29.8 hp/t (KPz-70)
TransmissionRenk HSWL354
Fuel capacity1,300 litres (343 gallons)
644 km (400 miles)
Speed69 km/h (43 mph)

The MBT-70 (German: KPz 70) was an AmericanWest German joint project to develop a new main battle tank during the 1960s.

The MBT-70 was developed by the United States and West Germany in the context of the Cold War, intended to counter the new generation of Warsaw Pact tanks developed by the Soviet Union. The new tank was to be equipped with a number of advanced features such as newly developed "kneeling" hydropneumatic suspension and housing the entire crew in the large turret, and was armed with a 152mm XM150 gun/launcher, which could use conventional ammunition and the Shillelagh missile for long range combat.[3]

By the late 1960s, the development of the MBT-70 was well over budget and affected by design issues. West Germany withdrew from the project due to costs and new difference in requirements. The United States continued development of the MBT-70 until 1971 when the program was finally cancelled, with funds and technology from the MBT-70 project redirected to the development of the M1 Abrams. West Germany independently developed the Leopard 2 as its new main battle tank.


In the early 1960s the German Leopard 1 and the US M60 were the newest main battle tanks in their respective country's service. While designed to counter the T-54/55 tanks, it became clear that the next generation of Soviet tanks would have increased firepower and protection, and both designs would be placed at a disadvantage by the new smoothbore gun in the T-62. An upgrade project for the Leopard was planned,[3] but it appeared this model would not be enough of an advance to be worthwhile.

In order to develop a vehicle that would meet the standards of both armies, Germany and the United States drafted a memorandum of understanding that specified certain desired characteristics and organized a Joint Engineering Agency and a Join Design Team with equal representation from both countries. Despite these measures, conflicts between the differing engineering practices of each country plagued the MBT-70 project throughout its development. Arguments arose over almost every part of the design: the gun, the engine, and the use of both metric and SAE units in the separately-manufactured components of the tank. While this last dispute was settled by an agreement to use a common metric standard in all interface connections, the resulting complexity contributed to delays in the development schedule and the ultimately inflated budget of the project.[4]

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