The M6 Edwin is the former main battle tank and current heavy battle tank of the Imperial Military. Being in service since 2103, it is also one of the oldest pieces of equipment in the Military, but shows almost no signs of becoming obsolete for the foreseeable future, due to constant upgrades and the unique circumstances in which it was built. Named after former (then current) Grand Marshal Buck Edwin, the M6 is considered by many to be one of the most effective armored vehicles ever conceived, and is still widely looked up to as an apex of tank design. The Edwin spawns from the MBT-2100 Initiative, a joint Frenco-European project to develop a next-generation, land superiority MBT. Though the project fell through after the nations wanted to go separate directions with the tank (the Frenks not wanting to "jump the shark" with new concepts, and opting for a more traditional-styled tank, while the Europeans wanted to incorporate more features, such as treads that could double as "legs" for traversing rough terrain and larger missile launchers for more adequate long-range combat), the two militaries took the technologies developed through MBT-2100 to create new vehicles. The Frenks developed the M6 Edwin Main Battle Tank, while the EFeds developed the Panzer Schlachtross Heavy Hybrid Tank.
The main weapon of the Edwin is the Rheinmetall M400, a heavy-duty 152mm railgun originally conceived for artillery, sea vessels and spacecraft. Due to the large caliber and extreme velocity of the gun, the M400 is capable of ripping into armor of almost any kind, even energy shielding. Over the years, advances in energy storage have only been kind to the gun, as more and power can be directed into the velocity, increasing range and penetration. As secondary weapons, the Edwin features two Bofors 20mm Coilguns (one as a Coaxial and one as part of the commander's nest) and two small rocket pods, typically outfitted with small columns of Pilum Smart Missiles.
Though revolutionary at the time of it's conception, the extremely thick Uranium-Composite armor the Edwin sports is actually considered "obsolete" in most forms and fashions, with the less-hardy (but lighter and cheaper) Nano-Composite succeeding it. The armor add-ons have been upgraded as the years have gone by, with Electro-Reactive panels from the EFed and Liquid Kevlar plating providing additional protection. Several smart-grenade launchers along the side are also capable of surrounding the tank in a smokescreen, obscuring enemy targeting. Most impressive, however, is the advanced HADES system providing the bulk of the tank's protection, capable of stopping most any projectile and many kinds of intense energy blasts dead in it's tracks.
Comparison vs. Others
Though the Edwin is objectively a superior tank in most regards to it's successor, the Edwin's few flaws have proved great enough for production to focus more on the M5. Unlike the Greatsword, the Edwin is slow (at roughly 37 MPH on road), making it less desirable for highly-mobile assaults. The Edwin is also extremely heavy at 80 tons (vs. the Greatsword's 50), making it extremely difficult to transport in larger amounts for the increasing focus on doctrines of power projection. Finally, production is the final thing to be considered, as the Greatsword is much, much cheaper and easier to mass-produce than the Edwin, making it a more reliable pick for Operation Clone Wars and other total war scenarios.
The Edwin's estranged half-brother, the two are roughly equal in defense, as they feature the same armor and countermeasure features. Weapon-wise, they share a main cannon, though the secondaries vary. The Schlachtross features two heavy missile pods, while the Edwin has much smaller pods that can fold into the turret to reduce the visual profile. With the Schlachtross capable of throwing more powerful missiles in greater quantity, this gives it an edge in long-range combat, however, the Edwin doesn't need to store a large, high-explosive payload like the Schlachtross does, and in the latter's case, the payload is stored under the tank, giving it a clear 'Achilles Heel' that the Edwin doesn't have. Unlike the Edwin, this makes the Schlachtross extremely susceptible to landmines. The Edwin also sports a much smaller and less distinctive profile, making it a less obvious target. Mobility-wise, the Edwin is faster, though since the Schlachtross' treads can fold into legs (making it a "walker tank"), it is more capable in the roughest of terrain.
The primary foe of the Edwin, the Russian tank has been mostly ruled as an inferior vehicle overall. While specialty vehicles in the class (such as the SU-125-4) or the upgraded T-100U can pose a threat to the Edwin, this is generally disregarded, as the combination of the HADES system and powerful 152mm gun has yet to be matched by any T-100 derivative.
When T-200 prototypes assaulted Imperial forces on Mars in 2153, they annihilated the M2A5s with relative ease. It was only when the Edwins arrived did the tide begin to change. Heavily-shielded and highly mobile, they proved a fair challenge for the heavy armor and firepower of the Edwin. Had the Edwins not had skilled Vanguard crews and the T-200s relatively inexperienced Narodnaya Volya militants, it might have turned out differently. The Imperial Military was quite unsure of how to respond to the new threat, with some arguing that the next-generation M2A6 upgrade (developed as an answer to the T-100U) should be tweaked to account for the T-200's strengths, others suggesting a new MBT altogether, and some questioning the harm in reintroducing the M6 back to the production lines with new modifications, leading to the M6A8.