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THIS is the first picture (above) of Britain's latest weapon of war - the Tupperware Tank.

The nickname belies the great strength of the world's first plastic tank, which has just passed its field trials with flying colours.

The trials by the Defence Evaluation and Research Agency, which developed the tank, reveal that it has huge advantages over conventional ones.

-THE density of its moulded plastic hull is less than 20 per cent of the steel used to build traditional tanks, yet it is capable of withstanding attacks even by the controversial depleted uranium shells.

-IT is less than half the weight, which adds to its mobility and enables it to be rapidly airlifted to war zones.

-THE plastic hull makes it invisible to radar - unlike main battle tanks like the Challenger.

-IT can travel at speeds of up to 50mph - more than double that of the present tanks.

The document reveals that the tank also has increased survivability, enabling crews to achieve priority battle aims, described as "see first, kill first", "don't be seen" and "don't be hit".

Tests on the new tank, called the ACAVP - Advanced Composite Armoured Vehicle Platform - were carried out by scientists from the research agency and Vickers Defence Systems, based in Leeds.

Dr Mark French, leader of the agency's tank design team, said: "It is the world's first tank to use these composite materials for the hull structure.

"It has passed all the tests as a fully operational military vehicle.

"The technology for constructing the new tank has been completed and it is now ready to go into production."

David Luxton, national defence officer of the Civil Service union IPMS, said: "This is a ground- breaking achievement.

"The Tupperware Tank is at the cutting edge of military innovation and will keep the crew in action for longer.

"It has already attracted considerable interest from the USA and other NATO partners."


BIG BROTHER: A Challenger tank
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Copyright 2001 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Publication:Sunday Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 21, 2001
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