Army Tanks
Switzerland

Pz 68 MBT

Active: 1971
Crew: 4
Weight: 39 tons (39,700kg)
Length: 22ft 6in (6.88m), 31ft 1in (9.49m) with gun forwards
Height: 9ft (2.75m) to commander's cupola
Width: 10 ft, 3in (3.14m)
Weapons: Main - 4.13in (105mm) gun, Secondary - 1 x 0.295in (7.5mm) coaxial machine gun, 1 x 0.295 in (7.5mm) anti-aircraft machine gun, 3 pairs of smoke grenade dischargers
Armor Maximum - 4.72in (120mm)
Engine: MTU MB 837 8-cylinder diesel, 660hp
Speed: 34mph (55kph)
Range: 217 miles (350 km)

The Pz 68 main battle tank is an indigenous Swiss main battle tank.

It is no longer in service.

Pz 68 main battle tank. Source: Jane's Tanks and Combat Vehicles Recognition GuidesIn the early 1950s, Switzerland began to work on developing its own main battle tank.

A prototype of a new tank was built in 1958, and another was built in 1959.

Between 1960 and 1961, 10 preproduction tanks, known as the Pz 58 (Panzer 58) were built.

These tanks used a British 20 pounder gun.

The Pz 58 was later upgraded to the Pz 61, which had a British 4.13 inch (105mm) gun.

By the end of 1996, the Pz 61 had been phased out of service.

The Pz 68 was based on the Pz 61.

In 1968, the first prototype of the Pz 68 main battle tank was completed.  Production of the Pz 68 began that year.

The Pz 68 MBT has a gun stabilization system, which was not available on the Pz 61.  It also has a modified transmission, a more powerful engine, wider tracks and a greater length of track that remains in contact with the ground.

There is a torsion bar suspension on the Pz 68.  The tank has six pairs of road wheels and three track return rollers. The idler is in the front and the drive sprocket is in the back.

The hull and turret are both of one-piece cast steel.

In addition to the 4.13 inch (105mm) main gun, the PZ 61 MBT has a 0.295 inch (7.5mm) coaxial machine gun, a 0.295 inch (7.5mm) anti-aircraft machine gun and 3 pairs of smoke grenade dischargers.

The main gun can be elevated from -10 degrees to +21 degrees and fires HE, APDs, APFSDS and smoke projectiles.

There is a four man crew on the Pz 68 main battle tank.  The driver sits in the front. The commander and gunner sit in the right side of the turret, and the loader sits in the left side of the turret.

The engine is in the back of the tank.

The Swiss army received 170 Pz 68 Mark 1 main battle tanks between January 1971 and July 1974.

A later variant, Pz 68 Mark 2, which approved for production in 1974 and delivered to the Swiss army in 1977, has a thermal sleeve for the gun, a carbon monoxide extraction system and an alternator.

The Mark 3, which was delivered between 1978 and 1979, has a larger turret.

The Mark 4, which resembles the Mark 3 very closely, was delivered between 1983 and 1984.

In 1988, 195 Pz 68s were upgraded to the Pz 68/88, which has a new fire control system, an improved NBC system and an improved suspension.

Variants of the Pz 68 main battle tank include a bridgelayer, an armored recovery vehicle and a training vehicle.

The Pz 68 main battle tank was retired from service in 2000.

It has been used only by the Swiss army.