Watch the NATO tank competition where the US lost to Austria and Germany

For the second year in a row, a US armored brigade competed in the Strong Europe Tank Challenge against a range of European partners — and lost.

Austria, which didn't participate in the challenge last year, took gold, while Germany came in second. The US came in a strong third, but given the purpose of the challenge, that's nothing to be ashamed of.

"This is a competition, but it's not really about the competition," said Sgt. Maj. David Glenn, 7th Army Training Command's operations senior noncommissioned officer in a US Army statement. "It's really about training, partnership, esprit de corps and interoperability."

Given Russia's invasion of Ukraine — one of the participating states — the competition takes on a whole new air of seriousness beyond a medal or ranking. With Russian forces in Eastern Europe outnumbering deployed NATO forces in the region, the US has increasingly sought to bolster the smaller European states with ground forces and even F-35s.

In the slides below, see how the NATO and the Ukraine push themselves to stand ready against the looming threat of Russia:

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NATO tank competition
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NATO tank competition

Here's the Austrian Leopard 2A4 tank that ended up taking gold.

Crew: Four soldiers

Armament: 120 mm smoothbore, 2x 7.62 mm

Speed: 45 mph

Range: 310 miles

Length: 32 feet

Weight: 62.5 tons

US Army photo by Pfc. Javon Spence

Here's the German tank that competed, the Leopard 2A6.

Crew: Four soldiers

Armament: 120 mm smoothbore, 2x 7.62 mm

Speed: 42 mph

Range: 310 miles

Length: 36 feet

Weight: 62 tons

US Army photo by Pfc. Javon Spence

Poland brought the Leopard 2A5.

Crew: Four soldiers

Armament: 120 mm smoothbore, 2x 7.62 mm

Speed: 45 mph

Range: 310 miles

Length: 32 feet

Weight: 62.5 tons

US Army photo by Pfc. Emily Houdershieldt

France brought its domestically built Leclerc tank.

Crew: Three soldiers

Armament: 120 mm smoothbore, 1 x 12.7 mm, 1 x 7.62 mm

Speed: 45 mph

Range: 340 miles

Length: 32 feet

Weight: 57 tons

US Army photo by Spc. Javon Spence

Ukraine brought the only Soviet-designed tank, the T-64BM, an update of a much older model that lacks some of NATO's newer technology but is battle hardened. Ukraine's T-64BM boasts a bigger main gun to pierce modern tank armor and was the only tank at the competition that brought explosive reactive armor plating, as it's used regularly against Russian separatists.

Crew: Three soldiers

Armament: 125 mm smoothbore, 1 x 12.7 mm, 1 x 7.62 mm<

Speed: 37 mph

Range: 310 miles

Length: 30 feet

Weight: 45 tons

US Army photo by Pfc. Javon Spence

Then there's the US's standby, the M1A2 Abrams. The Abrams was designed in the 1970s and has had some roaring successes in battle, but the competition has been catching up.

Crew: Four soldiers

Armament: 120 mm smoothbore, 12.7 mm, 2x 7.62 mm

Speed: 41 mph on road, 25 mph off road

Range: 240 miles

Length: 32 feet

Weight: 62 tons

US Army photo by Pfc. Javon Spence

Like at any good military competition, there was an obstacle course.

Photo by Sgt. Justin Geiger

But this is the so-called tank Olympics, so soldiers had to carry heavy tank rounds and ammo around the course.

Photo by Sgt. Justin Geiger

Crew members had to dismount their tanks to engage several targets during the combat pistol shoot-off at Grafenwoehr Training Area.

Photo by Sgt. Justin Geiger

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For the full gallery, please see the original Business Insider article.

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