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'.