The Tanque Argentino Mediano ("Argentine Medium Tank"), or TAM, is the main battle tank in service with the Argentine Army. Lacking the experience and resources to design a tank, the Argentine Ministry of Defense contracted German company Thyssen-Henschel. The vehicle was developed by a German and Argentine team of engineers, and was based on the chassis of the German Marder infantry fighting vehicle.
The new tank's firepower requirements were met by fitting a British Royal Ordnance L7A1 105 mm (4.13 in) main gun. This gun was later replaced by the modified L7A2 and finally by Rheinmetall's Rh-105-30 105 mm (4.13 in.) gun. This gun is manufactured in Argentina as the FM K.4 Modelo 1L.
The TAM met the Argentine Army's requirement for a modern light-weight and fast tank with a low silhouette and sufficient firepower to defeat contemporary armored threats.
The TAM's engine requirements included low weight and volume, but with a fast rate of acceleration and high reliability. The program chose MTU's MB-833 Ka 500 diesel engine, producing 720 horsepower (540 kW) at 2,400 rpm. This gives the TAM a power to weight ratio of 24 horsepower per tonne and a maximum speed of 75 km/h (46 mph) on road and 40 km/h (25 mph) off-road. With a 680-liter internal fuel tank, the TAM can travel 500 km (310.7 mi). Its range is extended to 900 kilometers (559.23 mi) if the vehicle is equipped with two 200-liter external fuel tanks (44 gal). The TAM's transmission is a Renk HSWL-204 automatic, with a hydrodynamic torque converter. A double brake system includes hydraulic disk brakes on the roadwheels, and the suspension is a torsion bar.
Development began in 1974 and resulted in the construction of three prototypes by early 1977 and full-scale production by 1981 to 1995.
The TAM and VCTP were manufactured for the Peruvian Army, only to be integrated into the Argentine Army when Peru canceled the contract. The TAM also competed for other export orders, but the TAM was ultimately not exported.
The TAM series includes seven different variants, such as a 155 mm (6.1 inch) self-propelled howitzer and a self-propelled mortar vehicle.
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