by Robert Morgenstern, with Peter Walker and Pieter Thomassen
edited by Tim Wing
- M-21 reference file
- M-21 gallery
Designation: Kraus Maffei Destroids GmbH / Mitsubishi Heavy Industries M-21 Anaconda Main Battle Tank
- Length: 9.7 meters (with gun forward)
- Width: 3.4 meters
- Height: 2.5 meters
- Weight: 50 metric tons (with base armor package)
- Armored main battle tank
- 3 Crew: driver, gunner, commander
III. Service History
- M-21: Adopted by the UEDF in 2020.
- M-21A1: Refit in 2025 by the UEDF to use the M2018 cannon.
- Engine: 1 MTU MB 875 Ka 503 diesel 4 stroke 12 cylinder multifuel, turbocharged, liquid cooled engine providing 1500 hp at 3200 rpm
- Transmission: Automatic transmission providing 6 forward and 2 reverse gears.
- Power-source: 1 x Turbomeca auxiliary power unit supporting the engines alternator for power when the engine is off.
- Fuel Capacity: 1200 liter diesel or JP8.
- Power-Weight Ratio: 30 hp / ton
- Maximum road speed: 90 kph
- Maximum cross-country speed: 60 kph
- Maximum water speed: 9 kph
- Maximum range, diesel: 550 km
- Maximum range, petrol: 480 km
- Fording depth: 1.5 m
- Fording depth with snorkel: 4 m
VI. Electronics Suite.
- Westinghouse APG-144 X-band pulse-doppler phased array radar (Logan short range derivative with battlefield surveillance mode)
- Philips AllView I multi-band motion-stabilized digital spherical camera system, for medium range 360 degree infra-red imaging, optical and ultra-violet band detection and tracking
- Thomson LT-4 multi-frequency laser ranger and designator.
Tactical Electronic Warfare System (TEWS):
- OlDelft Infra-red Warning Receiver (IRWR)
- Selenia Gladiator active/passive sensor jammers.
- 1 x Rheinmetall M2004 120mm motion-stabilized smoothbore cannon. Feed is automatic via an autoloader, firing at a sustained rate of 22 rounds/minute, faster for short periods. The turret stores up to 50 rounds without resupply. Mix of shells is mission-dependent. A typical anti-armor load is 30% MP-HEAT, 20% HESH, 50% DU-APFSDS-T. See the addendum for listings of the shells. Maximum effective direct-fire range is 5.3km, indirect fire possible out to 16km at maximum accuracy. This weapon is fully recoil-compensated.
- 1 x Rheinmetall M2018 120mm liquid-propelled motion-stabilized smoothbore cannon. Feed is automatic via an autoloader, firing at a sustained rate of 25 rounds/minute, faster for short periods. The turret stores up to 48 rounds without resupply. Enough liquid propellant is carried for a full load, at direct-fire velocities. Mix of shells is mission-dependent. A typical anti-mecha load is 50% HEAP, 30% MKEP/SMDM-C/FAE, 20% SPIGOT. See addendum for full shell listings. Maximum effective direct-fire range is 5.6km (less for HEAP), indirect fire possible out to 18km at maximum accuracy. This weapon is fully recoil-compensated.
- 3 x Stinger II surface-to-air missiles for air defense located on the right top of the main turret.
- 1 x coaxially-mounted 7.62mm machinegun in the main turret. The machinegun has an ammunition capacity for 5000 rounds.
- 1 x 12.7mm machinegun in the commander’s cupola turret. The machinegun has an ammunition capacity for 500 rounds.
- 2×8 Smoke dischargers capable of firing a smoke grenade up to 50m mounted on the top rear of the main turret.
The armor on the front of the Anaconda is composed of a standard Chobham laminar reinforced by a heavy depleted Uranium mesh on the outer plate. Denser than the standard Chobham, this armor was designed to defeat projectiles striking the forward surfaces of main battle vehicles, and is also effective against beam weapons. The armor stops all small arms, heavy infantry weapons fire, and light mecha-mounted weaponry, provides excellent resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry and provides good resistance to heavy mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Centaur’s 120mm smoothbore shells. This impressive front armor was second only to the Monster’s armor in effectiveness, leading combatants to try to target this tank from the sides and rear at all costs.
The armor on the rest of the M-21 is composed of a standard Chobam laminar developed in the late 20th century and improved with the materials science advances made during the Robotech era. This armor was mainly designed to defeat projectiles and other kinetic weapons. The armor stops all small arms, heavy infantry weapons fire, and light mecha-mounted weaponry, and provides excellent resistance to medium mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Valkyrie’s 55mm APFSDS round, and fair resistance to heavy mecha-mounted weaponry, such as the Centaur’s 120mm smoothbore shells.
The Anaconda provides full protection from nuclear, biological, and chemical hazards, using an overpressure cockpit environment activated by radiation and hazardous chemical sensors, or manually when biological warfare conditions are anticipated. The internal consumables supplies can provide atmosphere for one week maximum.
The M-21 Anaconda was developed by the United Earth Defense Force (UEDF) to replace the mish-mash of M10 Aztecs, M1 Abrams and Leopard 2s operated by the service in the post war years. The M-21 used more advanced materials to drastically increase the armor capability of the tank to improve its battlefield survivability.
The Anaconda is a conventional tank that makes use of improved materials technology to provide an extremely well-armored assault platform. With the knowledge gained from the SDF-1, materials technology made drastic advances related to the structures needed for variable technology mecha. In a lower risk implementation, these materials were applied to existing technology to increase the armor and significantly reduce the weight of the modern tanks. In a joint venture by Kraus Maffei Destroids GmbH of West Germany and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries of Japan, the Anaconda was developed. The lighter weight, corresponding increase in speed, and ability to withstand a frontal attack by standard anti-tank weapons makes the Anaconda a significant breakthrough in armored combat for its time. This tank used a liquid-propelled upgrade of the successful 120mm cannon used on the M1A1 Abrams and Leopard 2 tanks, and added an autoloader to decrease the crew complement and increase the rate of fire.
For survivability, the ammunition compartment for the main gun has a blast door on the top of the turret similar to the M1A1 Abrams and Leopard 2 tanks, so if the ammo is ignited, it will blow out the top of the tank instead of inside the turret killing the crew. The tank also has an internal fire detection and suppression system.
The success of the Commanchero heavy attack helicopter led the designers to include some air defense missiles in the design to improve the survivability of the tank. UEDF tank crews began referring the Stinger II missiles as “Commanchero-killers” after their successful use in a battle near Buenos Aires. The Commancheros were able to decimate the ranks of ancient Leopard 2 and Abrams tanks, but the Anacondas faired well in the exchange.
A number of versions were developed including an armored recovery vehicle, a minesweeper, a bulldozer and an armored command post.
Robotech (R) is the property of Harmony Gold. Megazone 23 (R) is the property of A.D. Vision and studios AIC, Artland & Tatsunoko. This document is in no way intended to infringe upon their rights.
Original artwork by: Shinji Aramaki, Toshihiro Hirano, Haruhiko Mikimoto, Yasuomi Umetsu and Hiroyuki Kitazume
Acknowledgement is extended to Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide. Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen and Robert Morgenstern are given credit for all quotes and paraphrasing of the unofficial Robotech Reference Guide that has been utilized in this publication.
Artwork from – Megazone 23 Maneuver Book (April 2007)
Content by Robert Morgenstern, Peter Walker, and Pieter Thomassen
Copyright © 1997 Robert Morgenstern, Peter Walker, Pieter Thomassen
21 thoughts on “Kraus Maffei / Mitsubishi M-21 Anaconda Main Battle Tank”
I’d like to find out more? I’d want to find out more details.
HEAT, HESH, and APFS-DU are all anti armor munitions…… Why carry three types?
Why not some High Explosive (HE) for destroying obstacles and bunkers. Smoke for screening movement by friendlies. Anti-personnel (APERS) composed of tungsten pellets or flechettes to kill or wound troops and suppress anti tank missile crews. High Explosive Fragmentation (HE-FRAG) a blast explosive with fragmentation for wounding to defeat troops in the open, such as support weapons crewmen.
All three are anti-armor, but they accomplish their task in different ways, thus making them suitable for different armored targets.
HEAT, long being the standard anti-tank round, is only really good against medium armored targets such as Infantry Fighting Vehicles and the like. Against modern (Western) main battle tanks, they rarely pack enough ‘chemical’ energy to piece the frontal armor.
Sabots, on the other hand, will go through just about anything, but don’t seem to impart the same amount of incendiary effect as a HEAT round. This was demonstrated during the Gulf War when M1 crews were double taping T-72 and T-55 tanks with sabots, then HEAT rounds. The sabot rounds were certainly penetrating, by no actual effects were observed. No secondary explosions, no ammo cooking off, the tank would just stop… or keep rolling with its dead crew. The crew would then put a HEAT into it, and watch the ammo inside the tank cook off and launch the turret into the air.
HESH, in our world, has actually fallen out of use. On older, thin skinned tanks, the spalling effects created by the HESH round was very effective. Now days? Not so much. But against something like a Battle Pod, which would have been expected to be the M21’s primary adversary, we decided that the HESH round would actually be VERY effective! It would either spall the whole inside of the pod, or maybe blow a hole in it out right. It would also be useful against light APCs.
So, it would break down like this:
APFS-DU (Sabot): Anti-tank
HEAT: Anti-IFV, APC and human Mecha
HESH: Anti-Battle Pod
As for the other rounds, I thought I included them… must have left them out for the sake of brevity. I’ll have to add them in the future.
Except for smoke, which doesn’t work that well out of a tank main gun. Large smoke rounds are still seen in artillery, but I have never seen them in use in the armor community. At least not in the last 16 years since I joined.
Thanks for the input Paul! I’ll be adding more rounds in the future!
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