Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Tanks in Alcovia

It seems even the smallest nations in the world can afford high end military equipment. Regardless of who they are and how small they are, a country can gain access to hardware that is maybe one or two steps behind the current state of the art. Such equipment is still rare and expensive for these nations, but politics and useful resources can often provide a tidy discount making such equipment available in useful numbers. Such advanced equipment is usually reserved for elite units and provides a heavy duty backbone to the main body of older hardware. Alcovia is such a nation.

Having been under constant threat of invasion from its neighbors across the Borka river, Alcovia has always needed to maintain a disproportionately high level of military build-up. As such, the military in Alcovia is equipped with several still serviceable tanks. In many cases there may be several versions of a particular tank in the same unit as small procurements of arms may be spanned across several upgrades on the basic design.

Alcovia's main tank is the T-55 as well as several T-54s brought up to T-55 standards. Due to an early license procured from the USSR for production of the tank within Alcovia, the T-55 was able to be produced in high numbers. During the civil war, these tanks serve on both sides of the conflict being found in both NAA and APA regular army forces. T-55s have been phased out of the lifeguards units in favor of newer, better equipment.

of the 250 T-55s in Alcovian service, at least 35% have been given additional applique armor to improve their survivability on modern battlefields and most are capable of firing APFSDS (tungsten not DPU) rounds. All are equipped with laser rangefinders and IR spotlights.

Despite these efforts to keep these tanks modernized, recent economic hardships have resulted in improper maintenance and breakdowns among Alcovia's T-55s are not uncommon.

Alcovia's 52 T-72s mark the most advanced armor in Alcovia. Procured in two lots, once in 1979 and then again in 1987. The earlier procurements of the tank were the inferior export models known as "monkey models" but subsequent upgrades using independently procured electronics, locally made ammunition and armor upgrades have them quite modernized. The later models we actually M84 tanks imported from Yugoslavia. These tanks form the elite Lifeguard units and are kept close to the capital and other important cities in Alcovia. At the time of the civil war, most of the T-72s in Alcovian service had been updated to ERA though resupplies of the reactive armor are in short supply

Future Developments
Alcovia's growing economic issues will likely make any large scale procurement of new armor assets or the advancement of existing armor systems difficult. If the economy of the nation can be stabilized, there are talks of developing an indigenous tank design, derived from the T-72. This tanks, named the "Rubel" after a famous Alcovia hero, will be a joint Alcovian/Elistonian venture utilizing the resources of both nations to develop and produce the vehicle. Sources indicate that the Rubel is very similar in nature to the Russian T-80, inviting suspicions that it may not be a purely Alcovian/Elistonian design.

[Updated 10/20/10 - I felt that the text on the T-55 was a little thin and after reading about some of the armor being done in other smaller former Soviet states, I felt I was selling Alcovia a bit short. also updated the information on the T-72s to bring them a bit more up to date.]

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