|“|| Preserving freedom.|
- Paladin Tank emerging from the War Factory
|“|| Protecting our people!|
- Paladin Tank
When the original M1 Abrams main battle tank was introduced in 1980, it was during the Cold War, when Western military planners were most concerned about the possibility of thousands of Soviet tanks and infantry rolling across Europe. The M1 Abrams was a product of those times, weighing in at 67 tons, protected by thick slabs of composite armor, and armed with a powerful smooth-bore gun.
Up to the new millennium the Abrams remained the main battle tank off the United States military, with a plethora upgrades to keep it viable, and saw action in overseas deployments when the United States intervened in the Middle East. However, it was around this time the Abrams' issues began to be exposed. Though it was powerful, proving itself superior to Iraqi main battle tanks during the Second Gulf War, as the focus of conflicts shifted towards asymmetric warfare the United States started to seek a lighter, more nimble vehicle that could supplement the Abrams. After several attempts that failed to meet their expectations, the highly successful Crusader tank was introduced in 2016, and began replacing the Abrams in many overseas deployments.
Despite this, the Abrams remained the primary main battle tank of the United States Army, and around this time began to be used as a testing platform for several new weapon systems, including 120mm ramjet-assisted shells and an anti-missile Point Defense Laser system, at the time considered by many as exorbitant and outlandish. This experimental variant of the M1, dubbed the M1A4 Paladin, was adopted by several elite armored units for field evaluation.
However, the Paladin would only truly prove itself when the United States committed itself to the destruction of the Global Liberation Army. Against the obsolete Scorpion tanks and ramshackle Marauders of the GLA, the Paladin excelled, the Point Defense Laser efficiently destroying anti-tank rockets and missiles, and surprisingly proving to be an effective and gruesome anti-infantry weapon as well, capable of inflicting lethal burns on infantry at short range. Impressed by the Paladin's performance, the US Army greenlit a conversion program to upgrade all existing Abrams tanks to Paladin standard, a project that was completed shortly before the US recalled most of its overseas forces to America.
Today, the Paladin Tank project is considered a complete success by the US military, though with American power projection capabilities a shadow of what it was a few decades ago, most Paladins remain at home, while the lighter and more flexible Crusader II is used for conflicts outside the American continent. The exception to this are the Paladin tanks of the United States Marine Corps, since the USMC is meant to be deployed overseas. While the Paladin is inferior to super-heavy tanks such as the Overlord and the Sentinel, it still performs remarkably. US armor may lack in brute strength when compared to Russian and Chinese armor; however, what they lack in brute strength they make up for with technology and ingenuity.
|Build a Battle Drone that follows the vehicle, engaging enemies with its machine gun and repairs the vehicle when damaged.|
Costs $200 and takes 5 seconds to complete.
Incompatible with Targeteer Drone.
|Build a Targeteer Drone that follows the vehicle, extending its sight radius and increases the vehicle's rate of fire by 25% (except for Avengers, WASP Hives and Microwave Tanks).|
Costs $150 and takes 5 seconds to complete.
Incompatible with Battle Drone.
|“|| Doing what's right.|
- Paladin Tank
The heaviest, most advanced tank in the United States arsenal, the M1A4 Paladin is a highly durable and well armed main battle tank. The Paladin's main gun makes it effective against armored vehicles and structures, and its composite armor is more resilient than that of the Crusader, but its true strength lies in its point defense laser, which can neutralize all manner of missiles. Their coaxial machine gun kills enemy infantry that get too close for comfort.
Like all US vehicles, each Paladin can be individually upgraded with Battle Drones or Targeteer Drones. Also, when a veteran Paladin is destroyed, its experienced Pilot will escape the vehicle relatively unharmed and can enter another US vehicle to boost that vehicle's veterancy.
The Paladin's already robust armor can be increased by 25% against all damage types with the Composite Armor upgrade, making it capable of going toe to toe against the heaviest of vehicles fielded by other factions. The Advanced Training upgrade allows it to gain veterancy at a much faster rate.
|“|| Enemies of the free world!|
- Paladin Tank attacking
Paladins are excellent at destroying vehicles and buildings, while being capable of defending themselves against infantry. Their point defense laser also ensures that they can protect themselves and nearby units from missile-based attacks. While this affords some protection against missile-firing aircraft, their inability to attack aircraft means they must be escorted by anti-air units.
As Paladins lack built-in anti-air defense, they are vulnerable to aircraft. They are also susceptible to artillery and large groups of anti-tank infantry. Their point-defense laser has a limited rate of fire, meaning it is unlikely to be able to stop all missile attacks if a large number of them are targeted at a single unit or area.
- In real life, there is an American vehicle called the M109A6 Paladin. However, it is a self propelled howitzer, unlike the in-game Paladin Tank.