posted on Sep, 12 2005 @ 11:51 PM
Not all that impressive really.
I mean, the physical performance is easy when you consider the power:weight of a the M113A4 engine and NO TURRET. Slap on something that makes it a
weapon rather than a concept car and it's nothing more or less than the Stingray or CCVL, with the weight of the LI battery back taking back much of
what you gain in terms of an autoloader.
I also don't like the wording inherent to 'C-130 Capable' and 'When Added To Other Advanced Armors'. Typically, this means under 20 tons ramp
weight and add on ballistic protection packages added /after/ insert to the combat area.
The XM8 Buford was basically a 7.62 rated vehicle with 12.7mm frontals, just like an M113. You could add upgrade 'composite' packages which brought
that up into the 14.5/30mm class and then slap reactives atop that which -supposedly- gave you 'full spectrum' defense against shaped weapons.
But nobody ever once pretended that even the most primitive (T-55/62) round was going to be much less than a through and through kill.
Yet BAe talks about 'winning the close fight' as if the vehicle is specifically designed to be an all-round armor protected envelope. And a few
sentences on, admits sotto voce, that the design is inherently biased towards the NLOS-C and M _over horizon_ gun platforms.
Something smells funny.
Even as an 'ammo carrier' I have my doubts because AC works best as an automated SLIDE of prepalletized rounds off of one bed and into the back of
the fires vehicle (think MLRS). And I just don't see an M548 here either.
Reality Check People:
If it's unmanned, you can pop the 'cockpit section' right out of the volumetric requirements of the _entire_ design. This effects everything from
trackwidth ('side by side' on the wheeled at least is a pure waste of enclosed protection as well as an increase to frontal area vulnerabilities) to
number of roadwheels to distribute system weight and running loads and depth/slope of frontal armor. Even the location of the powerpack.
All as a function of overall weight.
If this FCS-T _is_ manned then most of your ability to design a multimission platform goes right the hell out the window because you MUST design
(powertrain, chassis, suspension) for the most weight intensive mission platform in your family of vehicles and typically that's going to be your
There is not a 'polymer' on the planet that will stop a mile per second worth of 50MJ penetrator. Yet I would suspect that the armor displacement
loads for a frontal slope four times the thickness of other vehicles would greatly alter the suspension design requirements.
And while there is something to be said for an AMX-13 type turret block as a function of /allowing/ more weight of armor directly in front of the
blood bags, you must still ask and answer the question of how many kills you expect to get with a light tank /before/ it is hit 'the first and only
time' required to kill it by a medium/heavy 'legacy vehicle' (we're talking a 105 upgun M48 as a threshold lethal threat here people).
At which point, it makes no sense to integrate a heavy cannon (big ring, big hydraulic stabilizer, massive autoloader) when you can get the same
effect with a missile (LOSAT or CKEM) and indeed engage more /immediate/ targets (4-6), simultanerously, across a wider arc off the bow of the tank.
And indeed, going with the LAM/PAM or SPIKE-ER (OTH) missiles makes even more sense.
At which point the question becomes, 'what class of secondary target needs more than the 35-45mm round of an improved Bushmaster? i.e. a really big
machine gun. And the answer is damn few.
Even so, to keep the crew remotely survivable in a 'close' fight where even the /possibility/ of a shared-LOS encounter with a Tyrannosaur
equivalent MBT must be acknowledged, IMO, requires putting them at the MID REAR of the tank with as many cross-frame (which should also help stiffen
the chassis) baffles worth of gas and engine and battery pack spaces ahead of them as possible. At least the driver hatch/direct vision block breach
in the frontal slope must GO. And be replaced by multiple synthetic equivalents.
All so that, while the first round will likely kill the tank. The hairless apes /may/ be able to dismount and run away.
Looking at the Stryker as a key casepoint example, careful volumetric design consideration is also a requirement for lowering the total crew count in
that you _cannot_ jam the remaining commander-gunner and driver-loader roles into a (forward) crew area like sardines and expect them to make decent
use of even more 'digital battlefield' technology with several masted/datalinked aperture suites providing 360` awareness and control over multiple
remote firing post weapons with ranges of up to 5-6km to also look after while maintaining overall own-vehicle SA via the large AMLCD all around
This even before you consider things like gun boresight and automotives 'housekeeping' when the platoon or troop halts for the night.
Now throw in the need for a sufficiently relaxed posture as to reasonably endure a long operational maneuver period -while doing all these combined
And It just _ain't gonna happen_ in a 20 ton class vehicle. Not crew-forward anyway.
2 man crew in cadillac style aft. BANG. Goes your ammo carrier, missile/UAV popup launcher or IFV/APC troop compartment space. Also (presumably)
whatever compatibility you have with crew station technology and DVO/hatchery with these vehicles.
BAe and Co. make it seem too simple. And it's not. Because the question of wheeled vs. tracked. Manned vs. 'later robotic' and plug'n'play
addon systems basically can only be defined by the methods of employment you intend the whole system of systems to be used in. Something to find the
enemy. Something to attrite/slow him early as a speedbump while you get your primary shooters up and online. And something to smack him hard before
or after horizon-cross in a way that _minimizes the total number of exchanges_ of fire. Before a decisive engagement or withdrawal phase.
Fail to answer how you are going to use your 'Objective Force' and all the testbeds in the world aren't going to mean diddly for the way you
integrate individual components onto a vehicle class whose design has _nothing to do_ with the prototypes. And for whose individual power, fuel,
weapons, protection, crew integration must be done all over again with just as much chance of failure as if you had had no prototype to begin with.