QUITO (Feb. 10)
Military sources revealed recently that an Israeli armaments firm has been awarded a multi-million dollar contract to modernize the People’s Republic of China’s 9,000 aging Soviet-designed tanks.
The military experts, who insisted on anonymity, maintained that Israeli expertise in rebuilding and adapting various features of Soviet battle tanks, in particular, guidance systems, was the deciding factor in awarding the contract. (Israel, as a matter of routine, will not comment on such reports.)
This puts an end to Argentina’s hopes for a break-through contract with China for its TAM tank, produced under a licencing agreement with the German arms manufacturer Thyssen-Henschel.
According to the Center of Investigation And Study For The Defense of Argentina, the Argentinian TAM is supperior to both the Russian T-55 and the French AMX-30 in battle characteristics. However, disappointing sales and industry opinion have not borne out this claim to date. The only sales of the TAM so far, except for the 300 slated for the Argentinian Army, are 100 to Iran, 80 to Peru and 60 to Panama for re-export to an unnamed third party.