Murphy's Law: Why 50 Year Old Tanks Are Still Worth Having


July 7, 2007: Little noticed in the last few years, but we are witnessing the, long delayed, passing of some pretty elderly armored vehicles from active service. For example, five years ago, the the Dominican Republic retired their last Swedish Landsverk L-60 tank. These vehicles was designed in the 1930's, entered Swedish service in 1938, and some were sold to the Dominican Republic in 1955. As recently as the 1990s, the last World War II era armored vehicles were taken out of service in several countries.

There are still thousands of Russian designed T55 tanks in service, and a few of them were built in the late 1950s, but most still around are more like 20-30 years old. South Africa still has some British Centurion tanks from the 1950s, as does Israel. In both countries, these elderly tanks have been much upgraded over the years.

There are a lot of 1960s vintage armored vehicles still in use, including U.S. built M113 armored personnel carriers, and Russian BTR-50s. Many of these will continue to serve until it is cheaper to replace them with new vehicles. With upgrades, it's less expensive to keep the old stuff going. This works in parts of the world where armored vehicles are used mainly for paramilitary duty, or potential war against a foe who is similarly armed. More modern, and expensive, armored vehicles are simply a bad investment under such conditions.




Help Keep Us From Drying Up

We need your help! Our subscription base has slowly been dwindling.

Each month we count on your contributions. You can support us in the following ways:

  1. Make sure you spread the word about us. Two ways to do that are to like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.
  2. Subscribe to our daily newsletter. We’ll send the news to your email box, and you don’t have to come to the site unless you want to read columns or see photos.
  3. You can contribute to the health of StrategyPage.
Subscribe   Contribute   Close