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What features will we see in the future tank?

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posted on Oct, 27 2005 @ 11:34 PM
What features will we see in the future tank?
Will there be a future tank or any tanks at all in the future?

I have searched for posts on tanks of the future but ATS search isn't rewarding me. Can any members suggest their thoughts?

I personally believe we will move towards stealthy medium tanks with optical stealth perhaps. The tank of the future will likely use a ETC (electro-thermal cannon) and maybe in 25 years time we will see the use of railguns (and the death of heavy tanks). Protection systems will likely be superlightweight composites/silk steel/ carbon nanotubes and the electric RPG field. We will likely see a move away from unstoppable giants to stealthy, networked tanks.

Post your thoughts, you know you want to.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 01:52 AM
I Think you are right on the stealth aspect and most probably some type of optical camoflage in the future both would help against their arch enemy the helicopter.
Maybe Tanks might go the way of ucav's and be controlled from a driver elsewhere.
The rail gun idea is intresting i could see it happening as well given time.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 02:07 AM
Low profile hulls, unmanned turrets, high mobility, easily air transportable to name a few

Laser based point defence systems against artillery, ATGMs, RPGs and Mortars.

Maybe some indirect fire capability al'a Merkavas mortar, or ATGMs like most Russian tanks of the day

Main armament will most likely remain as it is for a long time, since the power consumption of rail guns, or direct energy weapons is beoynd tanks power generating capabilities (unless you want to do a "land based battleship" that runs on nuclear power)

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 03:56 AM
I recon it will be something like this:

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 04:33 AM
i think that they will have some form of optical stealth

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 07:39 AM
Some sort of non solid metalic armor. Most likely laminatad material including Blended Metal technology that changes is hardness depending on the velocity/hardness of the projectile. (this is not science fiction, its real)

Northworlf hit the nail on the head with most of his assertions.

With the advent of some "super' batteries someday soon I could imagine an all electric powerplant as well. Quiet, powerfull, smaller, and far less maintinance than any fuel powered power.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 08:32 AM
I think 6 or 8 energizer titaniums should do the job... good battery that

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 08:41 AM
You could allways use Hydrogen Fuel Cells to get electricity, the new german U-212 Class uses them, but i'd rely on good old Diesel engine atleast as a backup... and for the armor, if you can get point defence working, you can lighten the tank and make it faster.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 09:32 AM
You guys hear about the Blended Metal bullets? They aren’t NATO legal, but private contractors can’t get enough of them in Iraq. Hits that normally wouldn’t be fatal, even minor for that matter, are out right killing insurgents dead.

It’s a solid state metal material that gets harder when it comes in contact with a hard surface, the harder the surface, the harder the bullet. But it gets soft and basically explodes when it hits flesh or soft material.

If all this is possible, I don’t see why they could not adapt this material to work as armor. Laminate it with DU and maybe sandwich that between tungsten or something simular. Nothing could get past that baby.

[edit on 28-10-2005 by skippytjc]

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 09:40 AM
Jo Stalin (among others) has been noted as saying "Perfection is the Enemy of Good Enough." Along with "Quantity Has A Quality All It's Own". Ironically, with the burgeoning age of cybernetic intelligence upon us, that willingness to sacrifice the blood for the treasure of victory is now no longer as big a moral dilemma and so the 'white hats' would be well advised to THINK about the bad guy's understanding of war.

Namely, for a tank force, you win battles by being able to sustainably lose warfighters. 10:1, 12:1, was not uncommon as a kill ratio for PKpfw VI Tigers. The two tanks leading the retreat from Finland came up with something like 36 and 48 kills (in repeated engagements) respectively. Yet when the odds are 20:1 and 50 more T-34's will roll off the lines tomorrow, they roll you up anyway.

Similarly, shortly after Desert Storm, the USMC ran a 'Khafji Simulation' and found that /provided/ each maneuver unit remained X-distance from it's cousin while retaining a given Y ability to defeat the fixed objective defenses, U.S. Air and Artillery tasking units could not find and reallocate fast enough, with enough bombs, to stop armor from achieving it's end phaseline goals. The losses were horrific by our standards but only amounted to about 1/3rd the total force.

Much of this will likely change with 70mm FFAR through JCM and GBU-39/GBU-49 class weapons multiplying the number of onboard kills in a given airframe as well as the sophistication (multispectral in the case of the Joint Common Missile) of targeting. But the fact remains that by 2015 we will be entering field trials with a 100KW DEW and the VERY first target that such a weapon will likely be pointed at is airpower. When everybody and their cousin Larry copies U.S. (or even beats us to the mark.).

Such will take away a lot of the presumptions of 'air superiority' and probably leave us with hypersonic missiles and terrain huggers as principle penetrating strike weapons. They are already superior to manned airpower for cost in small strikes and application of productionization techniques should reduce even the $295,000.00 for Tactical Tomahawk by half or more. While applying hyper intelligent hunting submunitions and variable release carriage (without compromise to parent aerodynamics or stealth) using LOCAAS or MALI type weapons to help solve for multitargeting.

It is because of this that I see tanks as being much more like the WWII Goliath crossed with a modern day Wiesel than any great hulking MBT.

20-40mm is _just fine_ for both walk knockdown and direct fire support in cities and in open field conditions, if you can saturate your enemy from multiple angles, you can defeat his frontal arc protection to get mobility kills into the engines and tracks.

Optical stealth doesn't work without one of two things going for it:

1. Small size.
2. Long range.

To effect the visual field mechanics of contrast vs. feature size. Armor and ground vehicles in general are very vulnerable in this regard because the viewing distances are VERY close and vehicle interactions with the continually changing background environment can both damage and invalidate any specific camouflage effort. Only aircraft, operating at upwards of 10km altitude and 60-100km standoff against a uniform thermal/mmw backdrop can really make use of sophisticated optical camouflage and then only because they themselves cost so /very/ much.

OTOH, there is no reason that a small vehicle shouldn't be able to /carry/ deployable sideskirts equipped with the kinds of door-mat artificial turf systems as Barracuda have designed to 'blank off' the track spaces as a principle thermal and visual signature variation. Even as using similar technologies (like the Aussie Leopards) to literally applique plate the vehicle might provide some upper surface matching (Oz uses them for 'crew relief' in the baking heat).

Once you have thermal down, you can devise something like a convertible ragtop mounted camoflage net to generate 3D relief separation from the generally flat plates of the vehicle chassis and because it is retractable, it should be more commonly accepted as a function of USING C3D tactics.

Whether this 'net' should be conventional or something like a VCSEL AMLCD with active/adaptive optical qualities remains to be seen.

Again, IF you keep the vehicle small. It becomes not only easier (fewer square feet per dollar cost) but more necessary to do more as a function of denying detection as an alternative to denying penetration.

Obvious, stealth ambush systems deployed at WWII levels of unit TOE and sacrificial tactical employment methodology (the Sherman vs. Panther schtick) almost demands an unmanned design because you may well end up letting a threatfor roll up part of your ambush team as a sacrificial gambit force means of turning the threat to allow for secondary closure and engagement from an unexpected quarter.

Of a certainty, 60+ minitanks can /easily/ take 20 M1 class (equivalent cost) systems if they can simply breach the 1,000m range point. Because the heavy turrets are not designed to engage 50-70mph targets that are only 4-6ft tall and maneuvering under smoke. Even as the lack of autoloaders will prevent adequate cleanup reengagement in a 120mm tube size or better.

The old logic was that once you achieved a certain threshold mass of Armor or Armor Penetration they tended to reinforce each other as 'the weight was already there' to take newer, bigger, denser, systems.

Unfortunately, SMART thinking looks at burned out M1's hit by LAW class weapons and ATGW and realizes that, where protection is not global and it is just as easy to increase fullcaliber small barrel MVs as it is subcaliber large bore guns, the 'next threshold' will take the MBT right out of deployability regime altogether.

At which point your forced entry or 'stabilizing/implementation' force becomes just as vulnerable. Since you can only bring in 1 super-MBT (or 2 mediums) per airlift when, to secure your operating area and logistics LOCS you need 20, 40 or more.

Even with the imminent KT boundary effect upon airpower, it is just TOO DAMN EASY to destroy large ground formations using other-than-LOS means. At the same time, Maneuver UAs which adopt discrete COE force sizes designed to operate independently in small kampfgruppe sizes for say a 1,000km or more are unstoppable IF they have (living there in the case of U.S. 'expeditionarism' responses) the numbers to sustain casualties.

Which leaves the Western response force to play Rat Patrol in like numbers and with similar 'ability to win by willingness to lose'. Major numbers of _unmanned_ force assets as either blocking/pin force or patrol CS/CSS security.


P.S. EVERYTHING get's easier when you design small. Hybrid electric drives, in-wheel motors. New transmissions. Band tracks. More rigid suspension blocks (or alternately, hydropneumatic variable ground clearance), independent stabilization for turrets and sensors. Armor sectoring thicknesses and faceting vs. hull widths for structural carrythru. Comparitively, as a function of 'experimentalism' in armor design, putting a 6X4X3 foot void in the hull behind the front glacis is _dumb_. Multiplying that void space by 2 or 3 becomes moronic. Because you cannot trade anything for what it gives you and it gives you damn little. Not least because the choice to risk the vehicle is based upon the inefficiency of vulnerability volumetrics you've forced upon it, unnecessarily, (thinner armor etc.) to protect the bone bag which you 'cannot throw away'.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 10:11 AM
i thought that point laser defence was only on games like command and conquer generals shows how much i know lol

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 10:12 AM
Small Unmanned vehicles are ofcourse, an asset to force, but can a weasel sized tank with 20-40mm autocannon, hold ground against even determined infantry with IFV support? Modern portable AT weapons (LAWs, ATGMS) can make minced meat (so to say) out of those...
Plus 40mm may not be enough to give you a proper support (unless you have the airsupport and/or artillery available at all times.

and can modern 40mm rounds penetrate MBT armours at high enouhg probability to be relied on as a main weapon system?

PS. could you clarify your remark on Last tanks in Finland (German?) never heard of Tigers being in Finland?

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 05:10 PM
Wow, I didn't realise I'd get so many replies. Thanks to everyone who posted. I definitely agree with many of the ideas suggested here (most especially the call for hybrid tanks). If we can reduce tank's operating costs then we can have more of them and more is what we need. Also, similar to DDX idea of using electrical motors and any spare power for DEWs then we can implement laser point defence/air defence systmes and microwave emitters for crowd control (making the new tank multirole) and electronic systems destruction (anti-vehicle).

We will likely see a use of unmanned tanks among the more developed nations who can afford them. However, the technology isn't mature enough yet to rely completely upon. (Are we talking about UAVs or ROVs?)

If ROVs then we shouldn't trust our entire armoured force to be outfitted this way as signal delays, jamming and other vunerabilities might be exploited by the enemy.

Perhaps there would be a supersmart command tank(s) which when it received orders would be able to interpret them and tell its UAV force what to do (giving local command and therefore less chance of jamming/delays.

I don't however agree with just 20-40mm unless we will be designing infantry support tanks or tanks to take out APCs and IFVs. If we want to retain AT capability then we should either use larger caliber ETC guns (providing the same muzzle velocity as 120mm) or have a 20-40mm gun combined with a hellfire like on the bradley. And maybe this weapon (if it doesn't go black) as an anti-personel system:

Maybe instead of optical stealth which some of you find to impractical digital camoflauge patterns.

Some very interesting ideas here.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 05:25 PM
I think future tanks will use a internal 360 dergee display for optics.

Something like this

But it will wrap around the entire inside of the tank and will allow crews to see everything in 360 dergees around the tank.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 06:50 PM
Small, unmanned semi automated drone vehicles that will either fire from stand off distances or lay 'doggo" for surprise / ambush / surveillance.

A high velocity rail gun would be nice ... providing the powersource problems are surmountable ... but I think that a missile solution would be more cost effective where the drone either dispatches disposable sensors for long range bvr missile tracking or perhaps a small recon drone copter for sensor work.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 07:09 PM
ShadowXIX: I like that 360 degree optics system. Maybe in the future the view will be patched right into the crew's optic nerve (if there is a crew) and the crew will be the tank and control it directly through neural impulses (think of the response time).

LCKob: A high velocity railgun would be more be cost effective than a missile launcher as railgun projectiles are basically big lumps of metal (unless you add fins and laser guidance/other kind of guidance). The tanks could have a companion unit of very small UAVs/UGVs built around laser designators to provide pin point accuracy. These small companions would be very fast to avoid counterfire.

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 07:14 PM

Originally posted by fatcat2
ShadowXIX: I like that 360 degree optics system.

They tested a system like this not to long ago and found the older guys had a harder time getting use to it. But the Younger what they called the "Nintendo Generation" took to the new system very well.

Video games might be training the next generation soldier. Makes you wonder why F.P.S games are so popular in America

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 07:16 PM
Sounds like a conspiracy to me!

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 07:47 PM

Originally posted by fatcat2
Sounds like a conspiracy to me!

Yes, that's the conspiracy right there... C&C Generals is about war against terrorists and china...... well, if you're the us side...

Maybe those are really watchdog type programs to find good online generals...

posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 07:51 PM

LCKob: A high velocity railgun would be more be cost effective than a missile launcher as railgun projectiles are basically big lumps of metal (unless you add fins and laser guidance/other kind of guidance). The tanks could have a companion unit of very small UAVs/UGVs built around laser designators to provide pin point accuracy. These small companions would be very fast to avoid counterfire.

I agree with your appraisal for the most part ... from a materials standpoint, it is the most effecient in regards to "disposable" components ... but even with superconducting technology ... it still takes alot of power to create a functional rail gun ... not to mention the problem of magnetic fields ... I am guessing that this would increase the chances of electronic detection ... unless the area is saturated with iron ore deposits haha ... missiles may cost more from the expendibles standpoint, but the conventional nature of the existing weapons systems means much sooner deployment ... along with the flexibility of non linear flight path ... i.e over a hill or even from another direction entirely!

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