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A history of excellence: British tanks

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posted on May, 8 2006 @ 06:47 AM
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Originally posted by rogue1
HESH rounds really are a throwback, the Americans don't use HESH because they have the MPAT a far more versatile High Explosive round.
HESH rounds could be quite easily built to be used with a smoothbore cannon, rifling isn't a prerequisite to being ablr to use HESH.
Also, the main problem with the rifled cannons come to the fore when using AP ammunition. The effectiveness of a sabot is reduced significantly if it spins during flight, the Brits have fixed this problem at considerable expense by developing the DU CHARM-III round, which I believe uses some type of collar which will spin with the rifling but will not spin the DU penetrator.
So anyways the advantages of a smoothbore cannon far out weigh those of a rifled gun.


I am the first to admit that I don't have a background in Armor and my interest isn't deep enough to dig too deep. Nor am I here to blindly sing the praises of the Challenger. But the "HESH" advantage argument is widespread within the British tank fraternity.

Re HESH being usable from smoothbore cannon - whilst obviously this is the case, the lack of rifling would reduce accuracy and range(?) for an equivilent round.

Re discarding sabot rounds not being suited to rifled guns - they have obviously been used for some time. The M60 had the ubiquitous Royal Ordinance L7 105mm rifled gun and fired M900 105mm APFSDS-T rounds.

With google it is easy to get stats for APFSDS rounds for the L-7 105mm rifled gun:www.pof.gov.pk...

Specifications:

COMPLETE ROUND
Length
946 mm

Weight 19.24 kg


PROJECTILE
Projectile Tungsten alloy core with discarding sabot and fin stabiisation
Length 486mm
Weight 6.12 kg

CARTRIDGE CASE
Case Drawn brass 70/30
Propelling charge Triple base multi tubular NQ/M 0.046, 6.0 kg
Primer Electric L 20 A1

BALLISTICS
Effective range 3,500 metres
Muzzle velocity 1,490 metres/sec
Services pressure 4,340 kg/cm 3

ACCURACY at 1,000 metres
Accuracy at 1,000 metres:
SD (Vertical) 0.3 mil
SD (Horizontal) 0.3 mil
Penetration 300mm, against RHA target at zero obliquity, conforming to DEF-STAN 95-13/1


My googling couldn't find performance stats for the CHARM-3 round but Janes did make this very relevant comment, presumably relating to a CHARM-2 round:
www.army-technology.com...

During Operation Desert Storm a British Army Challenger tank achieve the longest range confirmed tank-to-tank kill at 5100 meters or 5.1km with an rifled 120mm APFSDS 'Charm' depleted uranium round.




[edit on 8-5-2006 by planeman]




posted on May, 8 2006 @ 02:56 PM
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Originally posted by Char2c35t wish the us would field a warrior like apc, i have never been a big fan of the bradley, I love the one-two punch of the Abrams and the chall2 just wicked.


You may get your wish. the U.S. military is shopping for a different APC as we speak. Bradley rides too high, and its weapons package is not modular. It was meant for battle during the Cold War.

If you look at most armies, they've got a few prestige weapons. System they have just to have. Cool toys meant to scare the opposition. In today's world, even the M3 Bradley is a prestige weapon.

MBT's have their place, and so do APC's. Trouble is, today's U.S. army fears the body bag more than they fear the enemy's bullets. I do blame this on our politicians, who refuse to let the military do its job. time and time again, our elected leaders snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

Now, let's get back on track. Since you brought up the APC, and we seem to know where th tank is going...will the armored personnel carrier get bigger as the tank gets smaller?

In any future war, we will see politicians who insist that their troops should and must have the protection of self-propelled armor in urban environments.



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 03:27 PM
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In terms of MICVs to replace the Bradley, they are in hand. The leading company to produce the next generation US MICV is British firm BAE Systems (who produce the Challenger 2 etc). They own United Defense which makes the Bradley and they also produce (via merger inheritence) the increasingly popular CV-90 family (arguably the best MICV of the current generation) and the Warrior.
CV-90 latest vesion:

The CV-90 also comes in air-defence, 105mm tank, 120mm tank etc versions.


Among their current programs are the SEP:

Rubber tracks, hybrid electric drive, low observable technology.....
Video shows how quite it is: www.baesystems.se...


[edit on 8-5-2006 by planeman]



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 04:40 PM
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This gets back to a question I raised earlier. We do have factories in the United States capable of making IFV's. What happens to us if our politicians decide to have these future MICV's made outside the U.S.?

It's not an impossibility. Remember that we have the best Congress that money can buy. If enough raw cash changes hands, we could see a non-U.S. company getting a sweetheart deal to build these vehicles for us.

As an author, I have some experience with using money to open doors. The only difference between me and a defense contractor is the amount of money we push around. I say, as long as the leaders of any country are willing to farm out their domestic needs, there will always be somebody overseas to fill that need.

Even if we get the ideal IFV for our future needs, we could be in trouble if we're not making it for ourselves.



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 04:53 PM
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Originally posted by Justin Oldham
This gets back to a question I raised earlier. We do have factories in the United States capable of making IFV's. What happens to us if our politicians decide to have these future MICV's made outside the U.S.?

It's not an impossibility. Remember that we have the best Congress that money can buy. If enough raw cash changes hands, we could see a non-U.S. company getting a sweetheart deal to build these vehicles for us.

As an author, I have some experience with using money to open doors. The only difference between me and a defense contractor is the amount of money we push around. I say, as long as the leaders of any country are willing to farm out their domestic needs, there will always be somebody overseas to fill that need.

Even if we get the ideal IFV for our future needs, we could be in trouble if we're not making it for ourselves.


Well BAE Systems have factories in US to build these vehicles and are a PLC so there's nothing to stop US citizens sharing the profits if they chose to invest.



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 05:33 PM
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As long as a country has the factories to build modern military hardware inside its own borders, it may not matter who owns them.

Let's change gears. Given that the tanks ofthe future will be smaller, what will will be done withthe old MBT's? In the case of America's M-60's, I can see them being to some politically correct overseas buyer.

Tanks like Challenger and Abrams are, to some extent, prestige weapons. They're too expensive and too sophisticated to sell to just anyone. The very nature of their armor virtually guarantees that they will be in service 'til there's a portable rail gun on the battlefield. Maybe even a particle weapon.

I'm not ready to write off the MBT. In the right place, at the right time, they can upset the desired outcome of almost any battle.



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 05:48 PM
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Originally posted by Justin Oldham
Given that the tanks ofthe future will be smaller, what will will be done withthe old MBT's? In the case of America's M-60's, I can see them being to some politically correct overseas buyer.

Well the market for second hand M60s probably isn't too big since there are already a huge number floating around the second hand market and there are better choices for second hand MBTs, either cheaper Russian ones (T-62/72 maybe even 64/80) and better European ones (Loepard 1 and early model Leopard 2s).

Having said that numerous M60 operators have already modified them with completely new turret assemblies - Israel, Jordan, Iran and Turkey come to mind. This obviously extends their useful life but they are still somewhat disadvantaged by the M60s hull design and power unit limitations.

Another increasingly common use for older MBTs is to use the chassis as the basis for a "Heavy APC". These types of vehicle are used by Israel (based on T-55/62, Centurion and Merkava MBTs), Jordan (Centurian chassis) and Russia (T-55/62 and possibly 72).

The Jordanian "Temsah" Heavy APC (Centurion MBT chassis)



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 06:45 PM
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Originally posted by planeman
Another find through internet research; the BAE Systems CV-90-120 "tank"

Basically this is the originally Swedish CV-90 vehicle with a 120mm main gun(!).


Looks like an Alvis Scorpion to me. CVR(T)/FV101 in official terminology.

The Scorpion has gone through a couple of upgrade programmes. One was the Scorpion 90, which had the short 76mm replaced with a Belgian Cockerill 90mm and another was for the Thais, where the 4.2 litre petrol Jag was replaced with a Perkins Diesel.

Scorpion produced Scimitar, Samson, Saracen, Spartan, Sultan...

The Brits do like their alliteration!



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 06:48 PM
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Based on everything I can find, it does seem more and more likely that we will see this heavier personnel carrier concept take to new levels. I do expect U.S. procurement officers to embrace the wheeled vehicle concept. In the mean time, it may come down to recycling the older MBT's. If nothing else, cost will be a factor.

I would expect that future MBT's will make the most of modular turrent configurations. Mission specific packages should be a lot more common by the end of this decade.



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 07:54 PM
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Originally posted by Justin Oldham
...
Now, let's get back on track. Since you brought up the APC, and we seem to know where th tank is going...will the armored personnel carrier get bigger as the tank gets smaller?

In any future war, we will see politicians who insist that their troops should and must have the protection of self-propelled armor in urban environments.


As to IFVs getting bigger:

new german PUMA IFV


HiRes front picture

In this configuration, with add-on armor, it already weighs 43 tons (without them 31t)... with enough "air" upwards to accomodate ATGMS, too. This might be the best-protected "real" IFV (not to count in the various Israeli experiments), in some places it is better armored than the Leopard 2 and the mine protection is more or less unrivalled by any MBT.

Also has some nice features like a close-in protection system...


...and rooftop bomblet protection (this is actually nothing else than rubber spikes!):


Dont buy that slimline underweight CV90 stuff, go for the real thing (and pay a real price)!



Germany also has a huge APC in the make, the 8x8 GTK Boxer, a dutch-german coproduction.


Originally posted by Justin Oldham
This gets back to a question I raised earlier. We do have factories in the United States capable of making IFV's. What happens to us if our politicians decide to have these future MICV's made outside the U.S.?

...

Even if we get the ideal IFV for our future needs, we could be in trouble if we're not making it for ourselves.


IMO the production of armored vehicles isnt one of the strong points of the american industry. Lets look at the Abrams: A tank that shares key parts with the Leopard 2, as a result of its development history, and the two tanks are also to an extent comparable in their capabilities. Still, the M1 tank is about a third more expensive than the Leo2! And still it doesnt excel in all areas...one of the reasons why the gas turbine was chosen was the very mundane fact that the american industry did not have a powerful and reliable enough Diesel engine at that time.

One of the developments that are obvious with military High-Tech is that the complexity (and the cost) of the systems grows exponentially, and this leads to a definitive increase in international cooperations. Even the US military with its insane budget is not invulnerable to budget shortages. So you are facing a decision: Either sustain the domestic production on all levels, which results in higher overall spending and in the end less overall capabilities - OR you decide to buy off the international market and instead focus your money and manpower on developing the areas in which the USA has a decisive edge, or those that are really security-relevant.

Namely, the kings of the modern battlefield: electronics and computers, also aerospace tech.

That being said, the USA already has to look abroad to in some aspects to find the world´s technlogical edge.


Originally posted by Justin Oldham
...
Let's change gears. Given that the tanks of the future will be smaller, what will will be done withthe old MBT's? In the case of America's M-60's, I can see them being to some politically correct overseas buyer.
...


Hmm, to buy the M-60 one has to be really desperate or the price better be that of a japanese small car each


The 2nd hand tank market is a very hot playground, and it is hard to actually make money there. OTOH, it might simply be cheaper to give away all the old stuff at the lowest sustainable price than to keep the tanks somewhere in a depot... one of the reasons why Germany is so eager to sell their incredible stockpiles of Leo1 and 2.



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 09:05 PM
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Originally posted by HowlrunnerIV

Originally posted by planeman
Another find through internet research; the BAE Systems CV-90-120 "tank"

Basically this is the originally Swedish CV-90 vehicle with a 120mm main gun(!).


Looks like an Alvis Scorpion to me. CVR(T)/FV101 in official terminology.

Sorry, that's definately the CV-90 chassis with a 120mm gun. BAE Systems do own Alvis though and do still make the CVR-T family.

Re heavy APCs. There are no designs coming out of Britain or America as far as I know, and almost certainly the best is the Israeli "Namera" (sometimes spelt Namerah) which is a conversion of the Merkava-1.



posted on May, 8 2006 @ 09:26 PM
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I've got a taste to write something military. As I work on the research for my next book, I find myself guessing that APC's will get bigger as MBT's get smaller. At this point, I presume that the next generation of MBT's will have some sort of active air defense system. We should see this upgrade on existing vehicles before it goes in to service on next generation units.

Now then, let me try to get back on topic.

In the event that Britain goes in to Iran with the United States, we may very well see Challengers facing off against IRG units fielding T-74G T-80M and various T-55 variants. As one-sided as this appears to be, I can't help but wonder if the Iranians might pull off one serious engagement in which they could make numbes matter.

Near as I can tell, IRG formations would be at their best early on, as long as they stayed mobile. Anyone who stays in place will die. Challenger's engagement radius and night-time operations capability would ensure this. Crew training outclasses anything the Iranians stand to offer in the next five years.

Using this as the backbone for a purely hypothetical scenario, we might ask one question. How could the Iranians beat Challenger?



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 09:35 AM
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Originally posted by Justin Oldham

In the event that Britain goes in to Iran with the United States, we may very well see Challengers facing off against IRG units fielding T-74G T-80M and various T-55 variants. As one-sided as this appears to be, I can't help but wonder if the Iranians might pull off one serious engagement in which they could make numbes matter.

Near as I can tell, IRG formations would be at their best early on, as long as they stayed mobile. Anyone who stays in place will die. Challenger's engagement radius and night-time operations capability would ensure this. Crew training outclasses anything the Iranians stand to offer in the next five years.


Well Iran also has a number of upgraded and modern MBTs although deployment and details of numbers is unclear.
The basics are:
T-90. A recent acquisition, it is not lear how many are in service yet.
T-72 - Some (all?) have been upgraded with explosive reactive armor probably second generation which also has effect against APFSDS.
Chieften. legacy system from Imperial era.
M60 - most (all?) upgraded to Zolfaqar-1~2 standard which includes new turret: b.1asphost.com... The Zolfaqar-1 seems to retain the 105mm L7 rifled main gun whereas the -2 has a Russian 125mm smootbore.
Zolfaqar-3. Latest indiginous tank - maybe an upgrade or maybe a new build. Probably based on M60 but looks more like Abrams: iranatom.ru...
T-55. Upgraded but of questionable use re Challengers.


OK, the Iranian armor outnumbers the British Challenger 2s - there are less than 100 Challenger 2s in the whole UK arsenal.

One advantage that the Iranians may have is gun launched ATGWs (miisiles) which have longer ranges than the Challenger's APFSDS rounds. The better Iranian tanks probably have Chobham style (i.e. layed steel-ceramic) armor which is probably better than anything either the Abrams or Challenger have faced before. Whilst it isn't likely to be much of a 1:1 match - the Western MBTs are almost certainly superior, the battles would probably be far less one sided than Iraq.

Iran would also probably make great use of mines and similar asymertical counters. And Iran probably has better ATGWs than the Challenger has previously faced.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 12:08 PM
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Justin, this artist's impression expresses my own guesswork as to what a next generation British tank might look like:



It incorporates much of the current British (/Western) technology and thinking:

* Smaller than current MBTs to allow air-deployability

* Hybrid-Electric drive for quiter operation

* Use of composites to reduce weight of basic hull

* Modular add-on armor, both Chobham and Slat but not explosive-reactive. Possibly active defence although I am not aware of any British active defence projects.

* Use of "Electric Armor" to make it imprervious to HEAT rounds. Dual-warhead HEAT defeated by external SLAT armor and/or Chobham creating multiple layers of armor

* Crew in centre of vehicle offered maximum protection/survivability

* Electro-Thermal Chemical technology offers 50% improvement in gun performance - allowing smaller calibre (lighter) main gun and more ammunition. The gun would be better than current 120mm guns but worse than 140mm Electro-Thermal-Chemical notional weapons.

* Better mobility than current MBTs

* Low observable technology centred around RAM, shapping and composites.

* Network-centric battlefield control technology offers better crew awareness


Rough comparrison with the Challenger 2:


[edit on 9-5-2006 by planeman]



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 01:54 PM
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You've done a good job of summarizing the Iranian equipment situation. Unless they start buying more than they are, it seems unlikely that they'll put enough armor in the field to get the job done. From what I can see, the next two years will be taken up with political posturing and arms purchasing on both sides. Even so, it's not likely that the Iranians will make the investment.

A quick review of sources suggests that they will train with a Soviet-style tactical model when they do gear up for war. My suspicion is that they will de-centralize their armor. In a worst case scenario, they will use their tanks as mobile gun platforms. If they do that, we should see no real threats to Challenger.

If, on the other hand, they decided to prove me wrong, the might use their limited numbers as part of an opening thrust in to Iraq. This would presume that the Iranian air force is willing to be destroyed so that the IrG can move ground units for 1-3 days with only light to moderate punishment.

As long as UK commanders avoid using Challenger as an urban assault vehicle, we may not see any casualties. In many respects, the Iranians have it in their best interst to fight this as a mechanized infantry contest.

This assumes an offensive Iran. If, on the other hand, the U.S. takes a poke at Iran and hey go def-fense....Things get interesting. Under ideal conditions, the Iranians should learn from Iraq that they can't have tank battles with the Western powers.



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 03:22 PM
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I'n a "fair" armor on armor open battle iranians will be beaten (but i do expect the T-90 to score at least some kills)
If i was iranian Cinc i'd start distriputing my MBTs as we speak, and start hiding them among possible attack routes (movement in small groups, using as much disguise as possible) Then when US/Coalition forces advance i'd just ambush/flank them and try to break through to softer rear area targets (supply, comms, HQs, Artillery) inorder to maximize personel casualities and thus break the morale of US public... Don't fight the spearhead, brake the saft!


As for future tank, i'd like to see a AMOS system mounted to MBT chassis, It would give you a top attack cabability to 7km with smart munitions (10 STRIX rounds impacting simuktaneosly)... that coupled with 30-40mm High velocity gun



posted on May, 9 2006 @ 04:10 PM
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It would seem that the Iranians would do better on defense. I wouldn't rely on the high performance of a few scattered high end units. As a wargamer, and a military historian, I'd have to say that defense in depth appears to be their best option.

If it was up to me, I regionalize my defense. Mobile units wouldn't travel more than a few kilometers. I'd have to assume that I would NOT have local air superiority. To beat units like Challenger, I've got to capitalize on the mistakes they make. that means having lots of man-portable anti-tank.

The whole point in any war is to win. That means no fair fights. It's not impossible, or even hard, to take away the range advantage of Western units. You'd just have to be deliberate and consistent about it. Even so, you're going to take a lot of punishment.



posted on Apr, 18 2007 @ 01:30 PM
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I think you will find that, Ton Spelt TON is in fact a Imperial Ton, And Tonne is the metric ton, The UK having gone from Imperial to metric .



posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 04:05 AM
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Originally posted by planeman
I can't be bothered with a pointless Challenger-v-Abrams-v-Leopard argument but i can add this in to the pot:

It's a Challenger with a fully automatic L50 120mm main gun in a crewless turret.


Well Planeman what can I say? I was intrigued by this mod for Chally 2 and did some research. This is what I came up with:

www.janes.com...

www.janes.com...

www.scml.com...

www.kaddb.com...

As you can see, the articles are dated 2002, so it is far from breaking news.

My main concern about autoloaders, is their reliability and their load out.

(Most TCs will tell you that modern tanks loadout are mission specific - by that I mean tank v tank, or tank support to infantry or just employed as the initial 'Vanguard' force used to achieve penetration of the enemy's FEBA)

What happens to the tank if the autoloader jams, breaks down or worst case scenario, runs out of ammo? If you read the 3rd link, max ammo loadout is 34 rounds. Hardly awe inspiring, is it?

I also came across this article which I believe, sums up the smoothbore over rifled barrel debate.

www.ciar.org...@posting.google.com.txt

In my view, there is no substitute for the human gunner and loader and we Brits are by far the best.



posted on Apr, 19 2007 @ 05:01 AM
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Originally posted by stephenizzy
...And Tonne is the metric ton...


err...for someone who has always been metric (we converted way back in the dark ages of the late '60s), I'm assuming that when you say metric ton you mean 1,000 kgs, which is to say one tonne...

I'm only being this pedantic because I a) have never heard of TON referred to as metric and b) have never actually needed to know how many pounds (lb) are to be found in a TON.



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