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In 1972, the Army began developing the XM-1 main battle tank to replace the M-60 tank. Two earlier efforts to develop a new tank were terminated because of cost and complexity problems. The first, the MBT-70, was a bilateral effort of the United States and the Federal Republic of Germany. Afterward, the Army began developing its XM-803 tank. Meanwhile, Germany completed its Leopard 2 tank in 1974. Interest in the Army's development of its new tank was heightened by the emergence of weapons standardization as an issue of increasing importance in the Western Alliance. The evaluation of a weapon system commanding so much international interest warranted greater involvement by the Office of the Secretary of Defense to dispel concern that the Leopard might not receive fair consideration.

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