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What features will we see in the future tank?

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posted on Oct, 28 2005 @ 07:54 PM

Small Unmanned vehicles are of course, an asset to force

More importantly, they are a speed bump and breakout (cav) capability, respectively. If you use them for more, in a conventional main force battle, you are thinking wrong.

If I want to kill a heavy vehicle equipped with a stabilized, well aimed, 3-5km capable, 120mm main tube, I'm going to do so with a 240mm mortar with a reach of 8-10km, firing Stryx or Merlin type smart topattackers or LOCAAS (LAM) lookalikes.

And while I'm doing it, I'm gonna stick my thumbs in my ears and make "Nah-nah-nah-nah-nah-NAH!' flapping fingers noises. Because I'm not there to do die for the betterment of barbarians.

The minitanks roll is then to force the massing of the enemy at a given point of contact AWAY from the vulnerable M113A4 (or other 'light tank' weapons carrier) center group and DELAY them for a reasonable period of target sort and flightout engagement/cleanup shots.

Without forcing me to just up and run constantly (since inevitably you are running TO your enemy as much as from them when you are on their turf.)

But can a weasel sized tank with 20-40mm autocannon, hold ground

Why should it? _Never Bleed For Dirt_.

Bleed for lives.

Bleed for time.

Bleed for victory.

But never put yourself in a situation where you lack the opportunity to fire-evaluate-reengage entotale decisively engage an enemy such that they can put you in overrun conditions. Because it looks bad. And it's a waste of equipment and men whether you have the overwhelming logistics to replace and rearm them or not.

Khe Sahn, while ruinous to the Viets and a useful means of keeping them out of Saigon, was an AMERICAN DEFEAT.

Because we chose to 'hold ground' and the massive attrition and publicized pounding of our forces under a so-desparate-we-risk-C-130s scenario made it seem like we were being given a thrashing. Even before we abandoned the facility within a month of the battle's conclusion 'anyway'.

Never once in either DS or OIF has American armor been in a position where it had to 'hold ground' against a superior force so much as go out and meet it (pin it) for either direct or secondary eradication. That worked when we had the numbers and the technical edge. It will not in future because the technology will be copied if not sold and our ability to finance multibillion dollar forays will vanish as our economy weakens.

Yet look at the 'alternatives'.

In Khafji they won the town. So Damn What. Despite massive failures all up and down the (remote sensing, ground mounted sensors, and A-10 pilots ALL spotted the convoy formup) all it took was Harriers and Cobras along with Saudi National Guard /armored cars/ to winkle them out for precision kills.

Because they were predictably FIXED trying to 'hold ground'.

In the USMC advance up to Baghdad, the Medina sent the better part of a brigade spearhead south. The LAV's couldn't handle them so they did what they were SUPPOSED to do which is keep the main force screened from nuissance threats and then 'faded from the center' while a B-52 dropped a WICMID full of Skeet on the Iraqis.

Who held the ground there? Ans: _Who Cares_?

Ground exists to put space between you and your enemy because air is the the best armor short of horizon line dirt and you need TIME to get individual advantaged weapons system kills with point attack weapons systems which are all we are being left to fight with. Ground does not exist (in main force battles at least) to be 'held' like a lover. Coffins are filled that way.

Against even determined infantry with IFV support?

IFV's are armor+silouhette compromised by the need to haul cannonfodder gut sacks inside. The very presence of which prevents them from being used as exploitational vehicles able to 'get in among them'. Rather they are self escorting battle-taxis, little more (really) useful than M113s in getting the debussers to the EDGE of the combat area. Where they may die in piecemeal fashion and not spike your attrition graphs.

Take out the men altogether and you can sortie even a forlorn hope type force to tackle a threat armor formation from a direction and 'intent' of never trying to get back to friendly lines. And thus wreak holy hell in slowing them down, disrupting their maneuver spacing and fire discipline and making them generally take count of their ammo and status after the engagement as they catch their breath with a massive "Where the heck did that come from and why didn't they retreat when they were so clearly outnumbered?!" morale check.

STRESSING THEM. Because you don't intend to get the toy tank back across your lines. Only to keep them from hitting you as an organized force.

Modern portable AT weapons (LAWs, ATGMS) can make minced meat (so to say) out of those...

Modern (man) portable AT's work on chemical energy principles which are defeatable with reactives, obscurrants and shootdown systems that /all together/ only weigh a _fraction_ of what the Burlington on an Abrahms or C2 does. You also are (again) becoming vulnerable to the assumption that I am going to sit there and let the enemy debuss, form up and hit me.

I _will not_ play Alamo sir. I will put 90+% of my force outside the walls and leave just enough visible attractants to let the enemy pin himself to the location at which I DECIDE to let my maneuver teams score decisive kills against his logistics, command and support elements. WHAT IF Santa Anna had been sitting in that damn hut when a 'hero' buried in the dirt underneath blew it up with a pistol pointed at a barrel full of black powder?

WHAT IF we had attacked their artillery with a suicide raider force and left OUR GUYS with the only working cannon on the battlefield?

The answer is that we would be Japanese and Texas would be an independent Republic.

But since the whole effect of 'assymetrics' is to glorify suicide attack, it's about time we made _allinear_ warfare work on the opposed principle of silicon chips not being alive to begin with.

i.e. I won't give you a front line to hit because my robodobermans can 'live in the field' for weeks without logistics support and because they don't need to survive the war to win it.

Gambitable forces are those which leverage the battlefield out of all proportion to their 'real' value because they can be sacrificed at need to shape the enemy up for proper slaughter.

Which is why pawns are the most important pieces on the chess board.

Plus 40mm may not be enough to give you a proper support (unless you have the airsupport and/or artillery available at all times.

30mm Rardens on Scorpions sure made a lie out of that argument when employed against Argie trenchlines on the Mounts. Right through the upperworks and down into the trench proper they went.

In any case, WHO am I supporting? If it's infantry walking down a back alley in Baghdad or The Mog, then they will be grateful just to have _any_ armored intimidatory presence available when the gophers pop up with infantry weapons.

If it's a 'proper assault' with a mechanized enemy trying to take X, why the /hell/ am I a sitting there waiting for them to come? Hitler made the mistake of making every fight an absolute engagement while constraining his fastest maneuver forces to the rate of infantry advance of early Barbarossa.

It cost him Russia.

My only concern is getting X to commit in sufficient numbers that I can bleed them for...nothing. Before fading away. Because I have no intention of dying for their damn dirt. Not when I can inherit it after they're dead and I've had their women, killed their kids and kicked their dogs.

DO NOT underestimate the negative psychology inherent to silicon-defeats-coup effect of men fighting and dying to capture ground held by a machine. It is a true morale killer that takes 'bloody mindedness' right out of the equation because the Bolo has no mind and no blood. And no use for dirt. Only the man does.

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

With the right round 25mm weapons on the LAV and Bradley can and did kill Iraqi T-55/M-54 'Dolly' mod tanks. From the side. For me, the question becomes whether I want to have a dedicated tank killer or a modular weapons platform that can mount ATGW (CKEM vice Javelin) or MANPADS (SStreak 'multirole') as well.

If I go for the heavy gun effect, can I make the (light and fast) small tank use a Stug like mantlet system for a fixed turret with say 20X20` of fine aiming and largely (S-103) use vehicle maneuver on a flexible chassis for gross aimpoint selection?

Look at that side elevation and now imagine it's only 4-5ft tall. Further envision that the entire chassis can /lean/ like a high performance motorcylce or even use a global bias wheel to spin on a hairpin. We MUST stop thinking inside the box. And begin to reenvision warfare as something optimized without the 'articulation' of manned enclosure required.

Particularly if I go as high as 40mm in the caliber game weight trades will demand it.

And ONLY kinetic massXvelocity is really a 'sure thing' vs. heavy/composite armor, let alone advanced APS and cued reactives. Chemical charges just don't work in a manpack format against conventional armor. That said, I want to make my enemies pay through the nose to have that heavy armor. ALL AROUND. Rather than just front slope. Ronnie the Robot gets me there because I can maneuver him and his herd of fellow lethal-lemmings at roughly 1 vs. 6 million dollar tradeable force structure economics (not to mention training and housing and and and).

Furthermore, only a gun is cheap enough to be economically workable in COIN fights where you may need explosive/beehive rounds one minute and APDS the next.

Lastly, if they choose to copy me with their own robots, fine. I will play that (software and weapons engineering) game.

I _will not_ enter a futhest-fustest-with-mostest marathon when I'm starting out 6,000 miles behind the lead runners. You win wars by shortstopping battles. And that 'halt phase' interdiction of attack is something you cannot do six months after the fact as the last 60 ton behemoths finally get to theater. It is a window-perishable opportunity before the bad guys dig in and remove maneuver options from the game altogether, leaving you to dig them out through THEIR minefields etc..

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

Give me a bit. It may have been Courland. I read it on a web page.


posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 12:03 AM
Just read up on the MCS (Mounted Combat System) the U.S' next generation of tank which is part of the FCS, to see what future tanks will most likely be like.

posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 05:26 AM
i always thought future tanks to just have greater speed probley demonted from the classic tracks,and to have some sort of long distance clock device but that could be within the next 30-50 years nothing to soon depending on technology

posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 07:57 AM
IMO we will be stuck with chemical reaction weapons (cannons, missiles etc.) for the groundbattle for a long time to come. As effective as energy weapons would be, I still have to see a working engine concept that could deliver the amount of energy needed for magnetic or light weapons. If I understood CH1466 correctly, he proposes a switch from the "multitask" mechanized arms we currently have to mobile, small, specialized unmanned drones that partly erase the need for infantry armor support, because they can effectively cover each other. That is also what I would think.

I say that a differentiation has to be made between the old tank-killer task of tanks and the new "urban" fighting they get adapted to. Look at this concept of a Wiesel 1 with the revolutionary Mauser RMK30 weapon system, which has an autonomous target acquisition and fire control system. Basically it detects threats, and once given the order to engage, the weapon system itself engages the threat until it is taken out (some call it a "assign-and-forget" system). Then take into account that in such a small package the space for the 2 crewmen are the largest inhibitng factors (see the man in the background for size comparison). If this thing was remodelled into a remote-controlled vehicle it could even further made smaller and optimized for armour and protection.

There is a Wiesel version with a TOW missile system installed, too (which even has 3 crewmen - again a lot of spare space). Take out the crew, and split the vehicle into the basic carrier and a weapons module (So we have a TOW/missile and cannon module with which the small carrier could be outfitted with depending on the sitation). This would also decrease the danger of a complete system loss, because when hit probably only one of the two would get damaged/destroyed. Both modules would also be very useful against infantry and/or in urban areas.

But there also should be a larger weapon system that would be the core of the Anti-Tank strike force. CH1466 mentioned the Stridsvagen 103, basically a tank reduced to the single task of killing other tanks/armored vehicles. Some interesting studies in this regard were made, again, in Germany. All three publicly known prototypes had exceptional speed and mobility, a "small" silhouette and massive firepower. Addtionally they are smaller and lighter than regular MBTs. And they are all from the 70s, one could argue about what they would be capable of with more modern production technologies and materials. Heres a picture of one of them:

Another concept already reduced the size of the crew compartment to a minimum:

All three can be seen here: Versions 1a, 1b, 2, 3

So in conclusion I think that such a combined force of small and large, fast and agile, specialized and remote-controlled vehicles could be an improvement over existing "one-size-fits-all" MBTs in most aspects. The specialization on a single task makes remote-controlling and logistics easier, they would probably be more cost-efficient and the loss of life is nothing to worry about. And one other thing: The new A400M military transporter could deliver 10 ready-for-action Wiesels directly to a battlefield (or at least to the next safe unprepared runway).

[edit on 29/10/2005 by Lonestar24]

posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 03:50 PM
Damn and bloody blast, I've just deleted my entire post again.

Well, I guess I'll just have to write it out again.

Lonestar 24 said, "So in conclusion I think that such a combined force of small and large, fast and agile, specialized and remote-controlled vehicles could be an improvement over existing "one-size-fits-all" MBTs in most aspects. The specialization on a single task makes remote-controlling and logistics easier, they would probably be more cost-efficient and the loss of life is nothing to worry about. And one other thing: The new A400M military transporter could deliver 10 ready-for-action Wiesels directly to a battlefield (or at least to the next safe unprepared runway)."

This is a lot more sensible than the current FCS system approach, which is trying to stuff too much into too little. This concept of swarm specialization we are discussing is already starting to be used in UUVs for minehunting (please don't ask me to write out exactly how it works again, I just deleted it). On they said, “The 'peace dividend' has meant shrinking defence budgets with a consequential need to design new equipment that fulfils a wider set of roles - the emphasis is now on reliability and availability, versatility and flexibility, commonality, and interoperability.” Although this is more relevant to a European point of view it is a lesson the US should be prepared to learn. New small fast stealthy UGVs would be able to put down almost anywhere in the world in strength at short notice. However, in regards to the A400M military transporter, I don’t know if the US would buy European or insist on American, like they usually do.

Lonestar 24 also said, “IMO we will be stuck with chemical reaction weapons (cannons, missiles etc) for the groundbattle for a long time to come.” I personally disagree and I think within the next decade we will see land-based energy weapons (in fact, the US already have a crowd control microwave weapon mounted on Humvees being deployed to Iraq, I think). We will also likely see the first ETC s being deployed/developed in the next few years as they don’t use very much electricity and hybrid drives (which will feature in the FCS) will provide that small amount of electricity. ETC will also make the small barrel sizes required for small UGVs equivalent to larger ones.

I like the look of those two-cannon prototypes but do you think that having the barrels on opposite sides of the tank might present a few aiming problems? The concept of a Wiesel 1 with the Mauser RMK30 weapon system looks pretty effective, although I’d prefer if the turret was a bit more flush with the vehicle (which would be possible if it was unmanned).

BTW, lepracornman, what did you mean when you said, “and to have some sort of long distance clock device”? I live in New Zealand as well, man. Funny, Hey?

[edit on 29-10-2005 by fatcat2]

posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 04:03 PM

it will probably look somthing like dis. of course if new technologies come in then the tanks probably look different. right now with the current technology and concepts we may accept wat these tanks may look like.

posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 05:03 PM
Yeah, it will probably look like that except the turret mechanism (if there is one) will be more flush, the tank will be slightly smaller (no crew), and there will be loads of them. Good picture deltaboy.

posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 05:05 PM
Have to agree with lonestar on this one. The idea of a single future tank profile is a bit far-fetched. Tanks are both defensive and offensive in their nature.

For defensive tanks, mobility should come secondary to firepower and protection. At present, the main upgrades for this type of weaopn system are the ability to identify and engage well armoured and fast moving targets at long range, while at the same time being able to withstand multiple hits from attacking forces.

An offensive tank should put manouverability higher up on its' agenda. The main upgrades in this area should be in the form of a better powerpack and a faster firing and more powerful main weapon.

If there is a major improvement in armour then there may be a scope for one major tank development that can fulfil both of these roles.

BTW, nice doodle deltaboy!

[edit on 29-10-2005 by PaddyInf]

posted on Oct, 29 2005 @ 05:19 PM
For the defensive tank, you could probably use a larger more stabilised platform and you could probably use the 240mm mortar with a reach of 8-10km, firing Stryx or Merlin type smart topattackers or LOCAAS (LAM) lookalikes ch1466 mentioned. However, it is really a fallacy to consider this tank a defensive tank as the best defense as someone said is offense.

This tank/or whatever it is would be more like a long range tank killer artillery platform. I also think speed will be more important in this defensive tank as if you can just move out of way of the enemy's artillery barrage and attack from lots of angles in a short space of time you can have more versatile tanks that have a defensive role but don't require the strategically limiting/deployment limiting factors of the weight of lots of armour.

I actually think armour will be more important on the offensive tank you mentioned because it is at the sharp end and isn't a tank killer, although there could be embedded groups of these. For the offensive tank (these labels are misleading though) mobility for harassment capability and strong armour to keep it harassing the enemy are more important than a large-calibre LOS cannon.

Just my opinion, but you did make lots of great points about the dual nature of tanks, PaddyInf.

posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 03:59 AM
what about putting a twin 120mm mortar able to fire 12 rounds in less than 60secs, strix rounds available... tested and ready to use, range is 10+km

posted on Oct, 30 2005 @ 04:56 AM
How about main battle tank whose turret and chassis were enclosed in a Ram covering shaped to reduce the RCS, while cold air was pumped between the covering and the hull in order to minimise the vehicle’s IR signature.
Design innovations also incorporate advanced thermal and erosion management technologies to ensure extended barrel life and to minimize infrared signature.
A shape unique to armored vehicles, proprietary materials in the hull and turret, special paint, and almost completely covered tracks and suspension.

posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 09:17 PM
Good ideas, Jezza.
This ( Military Watch: A high-tech answer to sniper fire) was recently posted. If we connected this up to a machine gun or other weapons system the future tank would be an effective anti-sniper platform as well. As we are seeing the increase of assymetrical warfare (and therefore snipers) such systems will become even more important in the future.

posted on Oct, 31 2005 @ 10:10 PM
This is a link to what the future tanks will be...

(think terminator movies)

[edit on 31-10-2005 by Shaker]

posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 09:26 PM
Yes, very funny. There are several vulnerabilities to that design though that would make it unsuitable for use as our future tank, notably, the unprotected treads, the high profile and no camouflage.

posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 09:51 PM
How about the scorpion tank from halo. Quad treads with independent suspension, and awesome cannon and a laag. Instead of having someone driving and someone firing, have one person do it all. More tanks, more people=more devastation.

posted on Nov, 1 2005 @ 09:57 PM

cant wait to see how the tanks look like in the next 3 to 5 decades. if i live dat long.

posted on Sep, 16 2008 @ 11:36 AM
it would probably be unmanned and controled by remote bak at the head quarters away from danger

posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 01:21 PM
I think economy and versitality will be more important for future combat systems. Just like airplanes have gone from beeing bomber or fighter or recon to beeing able to handle all 3 tasks equally good with a quick adjustment of armament.

This is the veichle that comes into mind, it's called a SEP (splitterskyddad enhetsplattform=shrapnelprotected unitplatform) and is ready for production today. This veichle allows the user to rapidly change turrets, armour etc allowing it to be used as an heavy escort veichle one day and a fast personell carrier the next. This particular veichle would be too light for a main battle tank. However, a similar concept for a main battle tank was considered by swedish Hägglunds in the late 90s, but was abandoned when the govt decided to buy the german Leopard 2 instead. The company still used this concept when they developed the SEP which is now beeing considered by the english army.

the above link is the data etc for the main battle tank that was never realized.

I do belive that unmanned veichles will substitute infantry shortly too, but that's a different story.

posted on Oct, 14 2008 @ 01:47 PM
Mobility over armor. That is the latest war lesson to be learned by us down treed monkeys.

posted on Oct, 20 2008 @ 01:43 PM
I guess that the next set of features on a tanks would be catapult seats for the crew. They could use the Russian K-36D-3.5A catapult seat which is an excelent seat. They would need to be blasted pretty high, say 100-200m in the air and scatterd over a large area. Making them harder to kill

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