Purpose of this blog

Dmitry Yudo aka Overlord, jack of all trades
David Lister aka Listy, Freelancer and Volunteer

Sunday, December 15, 2019

The MBT-70 story (part two)

A few weeks ago, you'll remember me putting up an article on how TACOM scrapped the MBT-70 prototype. Well there has been some movement to the story, but not one that ends with someone getting double timed into an office for an interview without coffee and a "chance to explore new career options", as far as anyone can tell. 

First, we need the full background. The site where most of the destroyed kit was being housed was rented and closed in 2017. The landowner requested that all the military equipment that was still there be cleared away. Thus, with no-where to store the items TACOM decided to start gas axing exhibits. 
Upon hearing of this the owner of another museum requested that the exhibits be moved to him. This request was not dealt with by the relevant office; indeed, it seems to have been ignored. By this time the scrapping alluded to in the previous article was done. 
The other collection then contacted senator Richard Blumenthal, who started creating a bit of noise and asking some pointed questions. TACOM responded agreeing that the treatment of the other museum had been wrong, and they had received poor customer service. They then shot back that the other collection did not meet the exact requirements to be considered a museum, and thus they could not dispose of the items to this second location. Which all seems a little bit too much like trying to deflect blame to me. 
TACOM's "defence" letter
The picture that was supplied with above letter to prove the MBT-70 was too dangerous!
Another vehicle that was given the chop, but its not American, so no one cares... according to TACOM
Anyway, TACOM also said there were other reasons why the exhibits were destroyed. For several the answer was "They are not American items, so no one cares" or words to that effect. The other reason was because the exhibits were a bit rusty and thus not safe to be a display piece. Unless this is a new sort of rust that generates airborne toxins, massive amounts of ionising radiation or spontaneously explodes, I feel that someone is grasping at straws. 

I say this because I am qualified and have done quite a bit in the Health and Safety field, and my approach to such a problem would be to make a display where the tank is a safe distance away from the public, if there is any danger of a collapse. Either way, it’s not TACOM's call to make, it’s up to the organisation who would be displaying it. As the very blurred shot (and the unblurred shot of the tank) shows the suspension is in very bad shape. But the MBT-70 had hydro-pneumatic suspension, so its likely collapsed as there is no fluid. That means the bottom of the hull has rested on the ground and is likely where the rust is. But the sides of the tank would still form a solid footing to prevent a collapse. 
Such Danger! How would anyone survive visiting Bovington... I mean it'd be utterly foolhardy to place a car park next to this hazard!
But I can understand your reluctance of believing some bloke on the net, so let’s look at another example. Bovington Tank Museum. One suspects they know rather a lot about displaying tanks and safety of their visitors. At the overflow car park, they have several display pieces that are pretty much giant lumps of rust. They have unfortunately, I fear, been classified as restoration impossible, and so have been parked out there to await their fate. This include some very rare tanks such as the Churchill Gun Carrier. Yet, despite the presence of so much very dangerous rust, you can get to within a few feet of them. 

Italians joining in the Gas Axe party.

In other news, OTO Melara has joined in the scrapping madness. They recently are reported to have chopped up a prototype Palmaria hull for scrap. It is thought this was the prototype OF-40 hull as well.