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US ARMY next generation tank prototype

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posted on Mar, 3 2007 @ 05:56 PM

Originally posted by gone_wrong

Originally posted by crusader97
my guess is that the armor for the crew has been increased dramatically since you only have to protect two soldiers.

Ah! But what about its other armor?

I don't really know, but increased electronics should mean increased redundancies in the drive/target acquisition/firing systems - I would think that this is one way to overcome any reduction in armor around the rest of the tank.

posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 09:42 AM
Also, in the video, one of the project leads says

"One of the main goals is to reduce internal volume"

That means more room for armor, not less.

You know, looking at it now, the gun is actually QUITE a bit longer and wider than the one on the abrams. Probably at least 1.5 times longer. And we know that it can be changed from 120mm to 140mm...

[edit on 5-3-2007 by BlackWidow23]

posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 01:09 PM
crusader97 - makes sense

BlackWidow23 - yeah i noticed too, that just further supports my theory

posted on Mar, 5 2007 @ 07:57 PM
I dont see how internal volume would decrease armor protection.

Here is what I see:

If internal volume is decreased, and the tank is substantially longer, I would think armor production would be equal or greater. Also, the slopes are extreme, they are becoming more horisontal than vertical. That in turn increases protection, even with lower thickness.

posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 07:54 AM
Did any one watch the programme about tanks on Discovery with the British Warrior apc equiped with the prototype electric armor.
They showed a test of it defeating 2 rpg rounds. The rpg rounds hardly even scratched the hull. I think the armor works by putting a massive electric current through the armor.

posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 09:45 AM
The biggest probelm that I see is that it looks too close to the ground, in a urban or wooded terrain, you may want more ground clearance, retreat or not, you get hung up on something, you stuck there, might put you into a bad spot. I also know that I would not want to be jumping dunes, hills, or anything else with that. As far a manual loading of the main gun. While your loader my get killed now, someone else can always load the gun, with this platform, I don't see that happening, but who has really seen the inside of this tank, maybe there is crew access to the main gun area, who knows. -muzz

posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 08:32 PM
:'(...china doesnt have it....but we can get it with spies!!! =)

posted on Mar, 6 2007 @ 09:51 PM
Ground clearence can be adjustded up to abrams height according to

posted on Mar, 27 2007 @ 05:47 PM
I have read all of the comments and have a few of my own...

There have been a lot of mentions of possible deficiencies regarding this possible design. Some have been reasonable, others strike me as ill-informed.

Here are my thoughts:

There are 3 things that can kill a tank:

1. Kinetic energy release - the physical impact of the projectile destroys the tank by means of shock damage. This is actually not a great concern to modern tanks with decent armor. Rail guns will change this, but most modern armor piercing projectiles in service no longer rely on kinetic energy to do the job. Abrams tanks can do this because they use a DU penetrator that can deliver megajoules of kinetic energy, but few others can do this.

2. Heat energy - This is what AT missiles rely exclusively on. This is superheated metal impelled by a shaped charge. They penetrate armor by melting it and a second charge exploits the gap. Layered armor avoids this problem because ceramics can with stand the heat and protect the second layer of metal armor. Reactive armor can also do this, the latest advances can generally overcome it.

3. Secondary Disruption - This means overcoming the sensors and electronics by other means, such as EMP destruction of topside or internal systems or directed energy weapons that act something like a taser to electrocute inhabitants, destroy gear or ignite fuel and ammo. The easiest way to defeat a tank is to deny it supplies of fuel, spares and ammunition.

This system is meant to minimize all 3 of these threats. First of all, plastics of the type we are discussing absorb kinetic energy better than many metals. Any kinetic energy is distributed across the larger hull much better. The external layer will fail, as it is designed to, but the succeeding layers of metal will have much less kinetic energy to repel. Metal is very strong, but one it bends it fails completely. High density plastics are far more resilient.

These plastics can also be impregnated with gases that absorb heat energy and can instantly cool a superheated penetrator. Impregnating plastics with highly pressurized chemical coolants create opposing kinetic energy while cooling the penetrator so conventional layers of armor can deflect it much more easily.

The result is the same stopping power with much less metal.

There are current penetrators that can pierce a 12 inches of steel plate. The future of tanks has nothing to do with thickness of steel.

They will use crystallized titanium alloys anyway. The same stuff aircraft engine blades are made of.

As for other disruption, this tank is lighter and airmobile, meaning it can get to the fight without lots of fuel sucking ground travel. It can do this in a fraction of the time with no wear on mechanical systems. This changes the game entirely.

The biggest maintenance problems on tanks are the treads and drivetrain because they are heavy. They also suck fuel and have limited range to sustain offensive maneuvers without a fuel truck nearby.

Lower weight = greater mobility and less fuel consumption. You saw almost not sensors on the outside of that tank because it can make use of external sensors. Drones can be flown from the tank or support vehicles and provide tremendous intelligence that is fed to the tank.

As for the threat of EMP, there is none. EMP can only kill internal components if it can propagate through the hull. Static electrical energy does not pass through high density plastics. Abrams would likely lose some topside sensors, but those have spares inside.

It used to be that US tanks had an advantage because they had computers with greater power. This no longer exists, and today's processors can easily provide the computing power to run this tank. If they are using anything but high-end off the shelf components they are stupid. It does not take a supercomputer to target a round.

Will continue on next post....

posted on Mar, 27 2007 @ 06:07 PM

You will be able to replace most components at your local comp usa. The magic is no longer the chips, it is the software.

Likewise, the computers are smaller and have multiple locations.

Someone said this will not have good mobility due to the low profile. Nuts. This will have a hydraulic or actuated suspension. For rough terrain, it will adjust to have greater ground clearance than abrams. In stealth mode, it lowers to reduce visibility and heat signature (of which there is little due to plastic insulation). Lower weight means it will interact less with terrain. Try and drive an Abrams through a swamp and you will know what I am talking about. This will be light enough to be amphibious if it has inflatable air buoys underneath it. Not sure if that is in the spec, but could be.

As for the gun, it is undoubtedly a prototype rail gun. It is probably not as powerful as those alluded to, but enough to reduce the size of ammunition to the point where if could kill anything with a DU projectile of dramatically smaller size. The barrel may be oversized to allow for air cooling or the use of a vacuum. If you evacuated the air from the barrel prior to firing, you could dramatically reduce heat transfer and resistance. The instant the gun fires the tube is opened. With less medium to travel through, the heat would probably stay with the projectile, which is exactly what you want. It could also be a hybrid design that uses a little chemical accelerant and is augmented by less powerful EM propulsion. This would keep the heat manageable also.

Any way you slice it, this thing is likely to be lethal to any known foe. Even a hybrid rail gun would dispatch an Abrams tank like a hot knife through butter. It would have incredible range and be unbelievably mobile. No signature of any kind. Less heat, little or no chemical exhaust to aid in spotting, external sensors for superior intelligence, reliability, fuel economy, range, etc. This thing could hold a hundred rounds easy and have range and accuracy that could make even one of these placed on an inaccessible hilltop by airdrop or Helo potentially as powerful as a company of tanks (or more). It could hit them from a range that they would never spot it and so indirect fire could not even touch it.

In a close in fight, assuming you could hit it, it is going to be like a rubber ball of steel. Cushioned with embedded reactive armor and supercooling armor. (high density plastic is stronger when supercooled, unlike steel)

Air attack is the only way to stop it, and I think we got that one covered for the most part.

posted on Mar, 27 2007 @ 06:26 PM
Its interesting that the "younger" generation of soldiers adapt better to the new internal 360 display system being tested out.

The Nintendo Generation at work

posted on Mar, 27 2007 @ 08:09 PM
MFSheldon - The next generation prototype and the plastic tank idea are two different tanks.

ShadowXIX - LoL your right.

posted on Mar, 28 2007 @ 10:19 AM

I know that. The next generation prototype uses plastics as well, as do most next generation vehicles. They are different, but use similar technologies.

Why do you think it is less than 40 tons? It uses less steel and more advanced materials that weigh less and have equal stopping power.

Thanks, but I also know that the sky is blue.

Just kidding...


posted on Mar, 31 2007 @ 05:08 AM

I was just watching the Military Channel (274 on Comcast) and there was a thing on about land warfare. After they finished talking about all the current MBTs they looked at a prototype of the FCS.

Blather. The future of the tank is a vehicle that weighs no more than 25 tons and is configurationally closer to an IFV for shape and design features (aka 'all slope' front end and large open multimission compartment aft).

It looks like a *removed by mod* Ipod Nano. It is SO LOW TO THE GROUND.

In at least some of the of the shots it also appears to have _very_ narrow tracks. Assuming these are throwaway band tracks, your surface loading is going to be very high even as the exposed area and stressing requirements for mine threats also goes up. I frankly also don't see this thing going in the back of a Herk.

Other notable features were a two man crew, in the hull, not the turret. Also, the gun had a sort of Diamond shaped barrel.

Worthless. You saw in the video how the other tank FIRES TWICE for their toy prototypes single engagement and only because the enemy _misses twice_ does it get the 'killing blow' in. Which is ridiculous because LOS systems seldom have the convenience of walls to drive behind and who in their right freaking minds is going to turn sideon to a threat vehicle optics, particualrly without ALSO refusing their own damn gun into lay.

The diamond shaped gun is simply a cheapo way to sorta-stealth the main tube while enclosing a bore evacuatore and probably IR sheath within a positive (forced air) ventilation duct. To which I can only say that if you are down to trying to 'hide' your ground forces from threat _AIR_ ISR which would reasonably lock up with radar. Or sharing a horizon with a thermal imaging _ground_ force that can see the barrel geometry, you have already bleeped the duck someplace else far more important.

I dont have a pic, sorry, I was wondering if anyone had more information on this tank.

Read the book on the Bradley abortion. It was in the mid 70s what the FCS is striving to be today. A multirole scout-as-MBT wannabe that never configurationally met any role requirement after the engineers sandbox of it's protracted development extracted the mutant thing which is the M2/3 we know today.

EDIT: I forgot to mention - the target wieght is 40 tons.

So. Freakin' What. The Abrams is nominally a '50 ton' tank but after the 1A2 and TUSK mods it's actually closer to 68. A C-130 can't haul more than 20 and then only in about half the volumetric door and ceiling clearances as a C-17. If you want to put that in the back of a CH-53, you're down to 10 tonnes and if you want to put it in a V-22 it's less than 5X5@5.

If you want to airlift armor forces to theater you have to do so WITH all the other basic (much more volume efficient) goodies like ammo and trucks and food and water and and and that a forced entry team is going to need. It's not just the tankettes alone.

This means that _even if_ you could get **1** 'developed' FCS into the hold of a C-17 (and assuming we have any C-5Bs left) you will be delivering no more than about 50 such vehicles to theater and they will be intermixed with wheeled whatevers to road-mobilize the rest of the airmech force.

Since the wheelie crews can't stand with the tanks for either offroad mobility OR fires driven /survivability/, the utility of the tank which itself needs their support (for logistics if nothing else) is questionable.

And the notion that a 40 ton medium tank is going to survive a LOS fight against a 60-70 ton 'already there' heavy MBT is equally questionable, 'plastic or paper' force be damned, you would /think/ the lessons of ODS would have taught us that from the WINNING perspective vs. the Soviet designed baselines.

If you want a portable armor force based on conventional solutions, BUY RIGHTS to PPME and sail to a friendly SPOD from the likes of Diego or Subic with a container ship preloaded with the real deal. Putting a LOS heavy force into a forced entry (C-17 on highway) fight condition is a great way to ensure slaughter without cause. Trying to do it off the back of an Amphib carrier is gutting your volumetric efficiencies and throw weights on the basis of surfline demarcators as to how and through what medium you bring your armor to the fight.

1. APS work.
Until the speed gets too high or the threat volume/interval too dense. What this means is that if you can loft a TERM-with-TGSM or equivalent smart round (at half the caliber weight in recoil and round size) you should. Because 3-4 such munitions, each firing EFP from upwards of 200ft over the threat, are still going to do better than 'bouncing off my shield' attempts to fend off 120-150mm HV rounds, no matter how few squishies are hogging out the internal volume.
The real difference being that a low recoil, soft-loft means you can push the entire diameter of the round out rather than needing 5" bore pressures to drive a 50mm sabot. Lord knows, even today, a 120mm AMOS firing Stryx rounds to 8-10km from an M113 installation makes a helluva lot more sense than STUPIDLY waiting for another 5 klicks of closure so that your Abrams can slug it out like cavemen with 2km clubs.

2. There is a video out there, supposedly sponsored by 'Rick' Shinseki which shows a LOSAT hitting the front glacis of an M1 Abrams and coming out the back engine grill in more or less the same shape. By which he bent the Armor punks over a barrel on keeping their tracked toys in trade for expediting the OBCT into the Stryker Force (i.e. Forcing them to field a readily available system rather than spend 20-30 years 'studying' how wheeled systems were incompatible with their tread head perspective of how things work). Undoubtedly, Shinseki's fall from grace is part of what destroyed the LOSAT program and made it's replacement CKEM 'half as good'. But the fact remains that we can put 6-8 CKEM on a MULE or Crusher which is _half again_ as tall as the FCS dreamware shown. And only a 10th the cost. And because it can fire and guide multiple rounds over a very short interval, it will STILL BEAT even auto-loader tank gun systems in achieving multiple kills from a '5ft not 8ft' height perspective.
The tread heads know this and they are scared pissless of being chockablock rendered obsolescent by a robotic weapons platform (politicians can command robots, only generals can inspire men).

mod edit: added quote tags
Quote Reference (review link)

[edit on 31-3-2007 by UK Wizard]

posted on Mar, 31 2007 @ 05:09 AM
3. THERE IS NO DAMN NEED FOR A FULL BODY TURRET. Because your tubed weapon of choice is most likely going to be a dual feed 35-50mm upgun of the existing Bushmaster (Chain Gun) with after armor/smart grenade type munitions for dealing with prepared infantry positions. And a high velocity APC or UAV killer round.
The rest of the vehicle is better off dedicated to followon ATGW as LAM/PAM Netfires type system. Because if-not-when the Army _SMARTS UP_ and stops pretending a 10" aperture on a 1000sq ft armored chassis is 'just as capable and survivable' as it is on a 20,000 square foot UAV 200 miles from a land mine, you will see all vehicles employed as smart-bus for palletized missile loads (including AAW and ISR). And we will deal with insurgents at 50 grand apop in mass production. Small pedestal turrets get you there. Big Hulking Abrams wannabe equivalents DO NOT. They add weight. They add height. They add total target area for a weapon that DOES NOT do as good a job, even in it's primary anti-armor role, as missiles would.

4. By 2015, most predict we will see the first generation of soldier robots. Even now, R-Gator has a fairly decent autonomous navigation system including independent obstacle recognition and negotation routines (i.e., it's not just milspec ONSTAR). Where vehicles automotive systems are simpler than bipedal robots. Where their cost REQUIRES more redundant/fail-operative design capability. It makes no sense to presume that /at least/ the equivalent of modern Goliath mobile autonomous mines are not _already here_ as a baseline technology capability. If that is true, then larger platforms like Wiesel and MULE will follow on rapidly, simply because the investment in armor and a weapons system will outweigh the throwaway costs and single-role specialization of a Goliath type system. And if ANY threat force starts to field these in numbers, no conventional tank team will be able to suppress them sufficiently rapidly (especially with the moronic sight systems we now have) to be self-protective. You will see 70-100mph assets literally dodging between the 120mm shots and indeed _welcoming_ bypass and overrun conditions so that they can stage suicide attacks from unprotected flanks. With all these considerations and the rising percentage of urban battlefields as well, it is foolish in the extreme to invest in warfighter platforms by the ton-mile weight of both initial costs, deployment costs and in-field logistical sustainment costs. Not when half the world thinks we're oil-guzzling bastards already.

Never bleed for dirt. Bleed for lives. Bleed for time. Bleed for victory. But never bleed for dirt. This is the inherent and crippling paradox the USAr faces as a force structure -designed- around achieving 'local force superiorities' in exactly that land warfare mode. Because where Nuremburg basically made open grabs for land and strategic resources as illegal acts of nationalism rather than one of the implicit duties of federal government, we can only stay in any given theater so long as we are decent enough guests to be welcome in Alliance as friendly conquest. And that means not tearing the place up in acts of revolution which we cannot stop because we lack the grounded forces to do so. And those forces /were they available/ are too soft to be survivable without massive attritition. As bleeding for _someone else'_ dirt.

There are three basic laws of firepower:
1. Shoot Shoot Shoot.
Because for any given SSPK (single shot probability of kill) the more you shoot, the more you 'load the volume' of time:space in which to gain kills and the less time or intent the enemy can spare in shooting back to kill you. Yet where even a conventional, mainforce, enemy increasingly uses desultory engagement as a principled tactical model before fading goat-into-sheep of collaterals, it is often hard to gain fires superiority. This means that you MUST make a concerted effort to both lower the value of the units exposed (60 grand training, 100 grande insurance bounty, per man in a 9 man squad as the baseline pricing threshold for a robotic followon). And increase their ability to ACQUIRE targets by being survivable on their own. i.e. Generate engagement conditions by which even fleeting massed enemy can be attacked as discrete targets, somewhere.

2. Maneuver to Target, Never to Engage.
Nominallly a reinforcement of the above.
Where this includes the option to use small munitions OVER a horizon instead of on a shared one, you also increase the ability of more allied units to respond supportively against conventional threats while denying the enemy the opportunity to escalate to a firefight conditioned collateral intensive combat based on a mutual exchange theory of volume fire. Let him run. And put fires or a fires platform in the line of his retreat.
Which means you have to also be able to see beyond local LOS constrained fighting conditions to put those fires into a prepositional advantage.
Smaller individual forces thus break most commonly perceived rules of force protection by inviting LARGER numbers of enemy to come to them. And then dying in the act of 'defending' their passage lanes. Such is only true if you have a blood vs. silicon chip engagement condition and the enemy sees that he is risking all for something which can be reincarnated through or as cannibalized spares.

3. NEVER associate your fires with your Targeting.
Because that is where the value of a platform lies. In it's sensorization and bandsoak and the less of either you have, the more you can renew and reenable the kill mechanisms themselves while /saturating/ the target space with sensorization to the point where independent maneuver is simply not possible. Similarly, you can protect sensitive databases and encryption systems by using 'broadcast mode' and post-launch control to dictate whether you yourself are engaging a low-intensity threat with LOS contact precision weapons. Or are in fact the 'desultory force' model which attacks a massed enemy based on OTH conditioned saturation of their battlespace.
Light forces only work so long as you _conserve exposure as cost_.

Since apparently the idiots in the TACOM R&D branch are incapable of such basic thinking, I believe we should do to said ol' boys club what the Russians did with their 'Polish Prince'. And after we fire them back over the wall at Ft. Knox, we should nuke Kentucky.

Clearly the inbreeding problem has gotten waaaay out of hand down there.


P.S. The instream LINK doesn't work for me so here's the hardcopy-

[edit on 31-3-2007 by ch1466]

posted on Mar, 31 2007 @ 05:23 PM
ch1466 please check your u2u's by clicking

[edit on 31-3-2007 by UK Wizard]

posted on Apr, 1 2007 @ 08:35 AM

1: hull design on the turret (front) allows incomming projectiles to be DEFELCTED easily vs what we see now.

But the 'turret', as an external scabon, should be forward like it is on the AAV to allow for both easier fields of fire and to free up the back end for a mission compartment aka VLS.

2: TURRET: The diamon shape DEFLECTS attacks, so if you get that chance hit on the turret no big deal, also the weight will add stability and be less likely to bounce around. Thus more accuracy.

Whoopy. You're enclosing a dead space which has had all the 'people volume' removed. Topattack and Diver (HV) weapons will still go through the 'narrow side' and that will destroy the autoloader and ammo stowage, rendering the vehicle worthless.

3: Speed, lighter and faster

Than what? A speeding APFSDS bullet? The biggest flaw in all modern MBTs is the inability to create what the AF calls 'shoot lists' of stacked targets which are slewed to and engaged as _automatic_ trackfiles. This is why systems like the LOSAT are superior to any gun system out there. They combine the same round velocity with the ability to shoot-correct-shoot-correct multiple rounds /very/ quickly.
If you combine that with a light, cheap, robotic systems design, you need only make X number of kills (4-6-8) before your unit dies for the entire FORCE metric to still remain dominantly victorious overall. Indeed, the reality of things is that it's better to go small and replace losses _directly_ after each battle than it is to go heavy and drive to an objective because not only can a CH-53 probably carry 2-3 MULE type systems as replacements for combat losses. It can actually _deliver_ them to the objective to begin with.

4: faster to produce from the metal standpoint.

According to what standard? Chelyabinsk was producing something like 30 T-34s /a day/ by early 1944. Just as importantly, they were also shipping them by rail, not air or sea. 100 tanks on a 50 car train moving at 60mph on secure tracks for 2,000 miles beats 200 tanks on a container ship moving at 20 knots for 6,000 miles. And 50 tanks on a similar number of jets moving at 500 knots for 12,000.

No. Particularly with the intensity of modern warfare you will finish the fight with what you started minus whatever attrition _you cannot replace from existing stocks_. And thus it is better to go to war with a system that allows you to preposition a given number of them as can /rapidly/ be resupplied _in theater_ from the maximum distance your tactical airlift can come to the fight from. Notice I said fight, not front. In this, 3-5 tanks on a C-17 starts to look mighty good when the difference between an XM8 and a 'real' M1A2 is zero on the offensive penetration end. And that between a MULE with CKEM and an Abrahms is PLUS 2,000 meters. In favor of the 'bot.

5: smaller, harder to hit and see (heh)

Compared to what? The original Mechanical MULE or M274 was little more than an open flat bed trailer with an exposed driver and powertrain. The Goliath mobile mine was even shorter than even that. If you were to pull the monkeys out of the German Wiesel and give it all wheel drive (no track return system height requirement and the ability to incorporate multi-axle lateral steering while maintaining the minimum mass needed to mount a 30-40mm gun and a pair of Javelin type missiles at say 1 million dollars each, you would be able, with the resulting 7:1 difference in price, to go nose to nose with an Abrams and _beat it_ because, by the time it engaged all of you, you would be behind it's flanks where the autocannon would chew it up.

The reason cavalry didn't work after the invention of mechanized armor wasn't vulnerability perse. It was instead because the horses were too damn slow and their riders had nothing which could penetrate even the side and rear armor areas of the panzers. Such is NOT the case today. So you need only ditch the crew to enable the tactics of the unmounted charge again.

70mph and extreme agility, combined with white smoke, artillery and a medium caliber autocannon with smart ATGM will allow will BEAT the elephantine MBT. Over and Over and Over.

1: the two people are so close 1 anti-tank round would wipe them out. The cockpits being connected would be the best target for any aircraft (Heli or otherwise) and any smart anti-tank gunner or tank guy would fire on that one part and take 2 guys out with one shot. Two birds, one stone.

No. Take a sheet of steel 2 inches thick and 6X8ft in dimension. Now reduce the square area by half and _maintain the weight_. Your steel is now 4 inches thick. While the structural support for it can also be shorter and thicker for increased rigidity and fewer total members.

2: The tank is easy to distrupt, it relys HEAVILY on electronics, any EMP wave would fry the tank leaving them virtually blind and they loose all "advantages" they had.

We can't fight a modern war without electronics. Nobody can. Cold Plasma sheaths and other active/passive replacements for the Farraday cage will largely obviate the direct EM threat. They will have to. We will pour money into the problem until they do. A more immediate threat is that of networking. HERE I believe you may be correct. The more you rely on network systems, the more you give yourself away and the easier it becomes to spoof and/or sample the network itself. For jets it's easy. The standoff numbers involved and the weight+speed+LO of the platforms makes it relatively easy to spot an interloper and avoid being targeted by virtue of very high power, directional transmission systems. For the ground forces, 'in your face' means you cannot help but be vulnerable.

3: Cost, those electronics are going to HURT when it comes to cost, the steel loss is probably an attempt at alleviation of the price.

Drivel. Small, high tech, forces beat cheap but ugly massive ones all the time. WWII was an exercise in the Germans defeating the Soviets at the tactical level and losing at the strategic one with a HUGE numeric difference. Tanks are also massively overburdened, overengineered, pieces of automotive engineering whose very size /causes/ more maintenance and reliability problems than their armor saves lives defeating direct threats. Since we refuse to stop overvalueing our warriors (and thus overstating their role in our treasure-for-blood society) it is easier to pull as many of them as you can. Then reduce the enclosed volume and the resulting cube of steel as an area:mass fraction which in turn allows you to lighten all the other chassis/running gear elements. Unfortunately, a 40 ton MBT is only fractionally easier mechanical problem than a 70 ton one in terms of dealing with basic engineering issues.

mod edit: added quote tags
Quote Reference (review link)

[edit on 1-4-2007 by UK Wizard]

posted on Apr, 1 2007 @ 08:35 AM
In any case, the place to concentrate costs in is the kill mechanism itself. And smarter bullets WILL cost more. Even as they vastly open up the engagement space so that an MRL equivalent salvo now has the precision of the best tank gunnery over ranges which make line of sight engagement ludicrous. There is no current MBT which can viably defeat top attack systems using armor alone. I doubt if their ever will be. Because of this, it is INSANE to defeat a horizontal, high value, threat with another horizontal, high value LOS-shot platform.

i.e. Why have a tank when a NETFIRES trailer, pulled by a Hummer, can do the same job for a quarter the price from 40nm downrange? Tanks only FIND targets as long as they share the same horizon. This means they shoot perhaps 1/100th as much as they simply /drive/. If you're gonna find targets by tripping over them, then at least do so with a drone that can MOVE at 200mph or more. Because those are the forces which will cue OTH missile systems that move 1/100th as much as they FIRE (indeed, a missile based support force need only displace to avoid counter fire or to maintain pacing on the maneuver elements it supports so it's travel legs are much shorter and more pre-determinative for force exposure risk and logistics requirements).

4: Loss of all gunners, unless someone in the cockpit drives and runs a .50cal at the same time on top of the tank they lost that advantage. Current tanks have 2 guns on top to fight off people when they are low on ammo or cannot keep up the fire rate.

Depends on the target type and conditions.

First off, the WHOLE crew is vested in making the main gun work when fighting other tanks. The gunner lays, the loader loads and the commander tries to target and coordinate with the bigger picture.

Second, tankers playing whackamole through the roofhatches in an urban fight are gonna get plinked as we have, gassp, 'freshly discovered'. Armor is no better than on a hummer when you stick your head out of it. SA systems that function like the DAS on the F-35 will become increasingly essential, simply because they will also be integral parts of the MLDS and APS cueing systems. It is thus reasonable to assume that, with artificial visionics will come the potential of robotic targeting. Of course you can go to a cupola but that merely raises your overall vehicle profile.

It should also be noted that, in an urban fight, the tank is only as useful as it is survivable overall and in this dedicated 'infantry support' (Panzer Mk.III) vehicles may well be superior to the MBT simply because they _do not_ have heavy main ordnance but rather something which can be successfully employed as the equivalent of a heavy machine gun with variable round types to better match the environment (no overpen). Don't see too many FN-MAGs or M2s atop a Bradley now do you? Drop the moronic assumptions of turret weight and you can _increase_ the surround sound protection against ORM, IED, ATGW and LAW.

Finally, again, the worst design feature of the tank is the assumptive stupidity inherent to believing a human gunner can recognize an amorpheous blob on a TV monitor or DVO flashup tube less than 6" across better than a computer which 'sees the math' of signature variance at far greater spectral detail than any visual display can account for 'pixel to pixel'. Given this, it is foolish to assume that the gunner on a future tank will be doing more than consenting to shared shoot lists with his wingmen's tank computers and this may well give him quite a bit of time to do other things.

Myself, I see weapons like autoloading Metal Storm systems being the true wave of the future, simply because they are the only systems which can put enough projectiles in-air from sufficient standoff, as to possibly defeat inbound KE penetrators and HEAT shots while retaining some element of their 'anti materiel/personnel' roles from a position of greater coverage literally around rather than atop the vehicle. As such and given the extent to which signature management and M&R issues drive the utility of current roof-MG installations (which are largely useless against the aircraft they were originally installed to fend off) it seems to me that your secondary armament package is going to become fully enclosed within a slab-sided auto pintel a lot lower down. Meaning that the weapon will be available from any seat that is not busy at that moment even as they will HAVE TO be serviced by synthetic vision systems because there will be no hope of muzzle:eye coordination.

5: Less needed to blow it sky high, the tank is smaller true, but it lost the advantage of people being highly seperated, because of this critical hits are easier. Take one shot and put it square through the tail pipe, or put it from above and straight down since there are no longer any gunners. Also, you have the problem of there being LESS protection in the drivers area from what I saw, so it will be easier to blow up.

Crap. DU penetrators come into a turret compartment as a shower of fragments which tend to bounce around inside like the blades of a cuisanart. HEAT is similar. The combination of heat rise and flensing shrapnel/spall makes life in a large open volume no easier to hang onto than a small one. Individual encapsulation may help but since the biggest idiocy is the presence of men at all, you are better off removing the need for a human _tracking_ mechanism as a function of substantively reducing the turret block size and redistributing it's weight elsewhere in the vehicle.

Nor can you assume that the vehicle will remain fightable if it is hit at any given station. A gunner could be dragged from his seat but a loader may not be competent to shoot and the commander may be equally hurt or busy. Similarly, the sheer mechanical forces involved may well throw out the hydraulics or electronics circuits anyway. At which point the notion of spinning the turret round with a million cranks of a handwheel becomes ridiculous compared to having _another_ tank to continue the mission, fully operational. Something which becomes easier to achieve if the manning ratio is down from 4:1 to 2:1.

6: flaw in side design, as usually the sucker is meant for HEAD ON attacks, hit it from behind or the sides and they are in serious trouble.

Yep. Though tanks like the Challenger MOUT package can go a long ways towards preserving overall integrity of the vehicle; it is all too easy to either mobility or fighting platform 'kill' the vehicle to the point where it can no longer contribute to the battle at hand. That said, you kill tanks with missiles not with ballistic rounds and so the REAL THREAT is from top attack delivered from across the local horizon. Remove the large caliber turret weight and the protection can be redistributed quite effectively.

7: Turret movement, unless they add more power to the turrent design it will be harder to move, thus slower turret movement. Remember they added A LOT of weight to the barrel. So unless they drop the caliber they are going to have movement trouble.

Doesn't really matter. Try tracking a 40-70mph vehicle which is about as tall as a child (say 4-5ft) and can laterally displace it's ground track without changing it's heading. Try defeating a 30mph threat which only has to cross a street to roll under your tank with a 200lb charge. Even on a conventional battlefield, nothing we have today, let alone 'bigger and badder' tomorrow, can defeat the PROPER response to current tank design.

Which is to saturate with ATGW while charging in under effective (multispectral) obscurrants and supporting fires while destroying optics with and then tracks and then engine compartments with high rate autocannon fire.

Take this unconventional and the tank is simply a fires magnet because it's main gun is not really useful in urban conditions and it's weaknesses plus cost require you to support it with other vehicles rather than use it as the vanguard means to force the enemy to engage or be overrun so that they cannot fade from contact faster than you can leg-it assault their position. Such is the biggest single problem with MBT today. Given that it IS a tank. Not a troop carrier.

Tomorrow, things will get worse because the effective kill systems are the smallest ones that neither the gunner nor the turret drive itself can track, manually, fast enough to kill in saturative numbers before the vehicle is either knocked out or rendered ineffective in the use of it's primary weapons systems by threats which can maneuver (and close beyond it's frontal arc) faster than it can kill them.

The fact that the delivery platforms for these kinds of small/smart kill mechanisms would be so cheap as to generate 3-4:1 odds on EACH tank they attacked only further heightens the unrealism of expectation by which expect to Gulliverize the Lilliputian threat we cannot even see until we are in among them.

Quote Reference (review link)

[edit on 1-4-2007 by UK Wizard]

posted on Apr, 1 2007 @ 08:36 AM
While I generally agree that composite repairs are harder than metal patches, the simple fact is that from this assumption-

500 plastic toy tanks drop out of the sky and roll towards their armored battalions...

Onwards you have mistaken both the logistics requirements to deliver 500 tanks 'from the sky' and the proper role of a future armor killing vs. _armored_ system.

Namely that the former kills heavy threats from _over the horizon_. If you are never sharing the same LOS as the threat, you can up the investment in the kill system which does.

While the threats you have to worry about are those which you step-on-snake run into in ambush conditions beyond your control /after/ 'end of major combat operations' during which both small arms and LAW/ATGW can be defeated with the right combinations of ceramic-acryllate armor and active/reactive protection systems. But only if they cover a full 360` global arc.

As soon as you realize that a threat the size of a coffee can can take out an M1A2 with ease FROM ABOVE, the notional value of metallic armor is repealed because the kinds of systems an Abrams will use to protect itself from top attack will not themselves be armor based but skysweeper and CM systems which can be fitted to ANY vehicle.

Indeed, 'from the sky', an EFP in a Skeet type round will kill a tank as readily from 200ft over head as 60 and this effectively means that even an APS has to beat the inbound stream /after/ formation (into slug or shotgun pellet mass) rather than -as- the round detonates. Something which will be increasingly hard to do when that EFP itself comes in on a LAM-as-LOCAAS type missile with 10 hungry brothers. i.e. Don't be in a position to be shot on the same horizon LOS. Deny the enemy his own OTH targeting by killing his (relatively few) UAV/UGV/UGS scouting assets as they expose themselves by motion.

And kill HIS armor (whatever of it is actually present) with veritable thickets of smart arrows lofted over-horizon.

The irony here folks is simply this-

A. You control the chances of losing or winning in war by controlling the numbers of assets in place which you may have to defeat. This is an economics and foreign policy type decision by which would be tigers like Iran are best defeated by controlled export proliferation of escalatory weapons. If the enemy has 150 MBT, you don't need to bring 2 divisions to find and kill them all. If the enemy has 2,000 MBT, killing them on the cheap may well require the brutal simplicity of direct fire.
B. SMART opfors are finally realizing the chief lesson from 1991 is simply that creating huge conventional forces just makes for an unwieldy and huge-signatured target mass that in turn multiplies the number of other warfighter platforms, from artillery to rockets to airpower, as well as types of counterforce missions (logistics kills, traffic denial, C2 isolation etc.) by which they can be attacked. Small forces (the Khafji assault comes to mind) do better IF they can leverage their capabilities towards larger missions which divert key enemy combat assets to alternate missions and throw off the timing of the op to a useful rather than merely protracted endgame result.
C. As a result of B, even conventional forces are shifting to a 'guerilla mindset' whereby small units defeat larger ones in a continuing speed-bump type approach to attacks on high value targets as or after they have passed by and are exposed in their combat support units. These warfighters, as well as the guerillas they immitate are already cellular compartmentalized from both morale and real combat effects driven losses. And because they count on remote cued kill systems rather than armor to survive (Lebanon MRLs last year) they are also FAR faster to maneuver and go to ground.
D. The REAL need for 360` effective armor comes /after/ the main forces fight is over and occupation of a hostile enemy civillian populace requires the ability to soak shortrange attacks while responding with _measured_ fires in return. Thanks do not make measured responses. A HEAT round will collapse a building. An APFSDS will go thru multiple houses in a row. They are USELESS compared to smaller autocannons on IFV which both have the under-armor protected ROF to service area targets. And the variable round types to get effective behind-armor kills without overpenetration.

As a result of the above, you will likely never /find/ a future dedicated armor force larger than platoon or at most, company, strength. Because neither their armor package nor their design opponent type will be effective or present in numbers sufficient to be make the logistics tail necessary to support them worthwhile.

Yet to find THEM; an American force may well have to either maintain our own structure sizes (making us the big target with the large CS/CSS inertia penalty as well as the slowest to respond to a given emergency deployment need) to look under every possible rock the enemy can be hiding under. Or be able to multiple-engage and cross-support from distantly networked combat teams that are equally small.

Multiple engagement means taking the human out of the loop and fitting a high rate cannon and auto-tracking fire control system to the vehicle which can engage no matter how fast or bumpy the ride is. Distant support means the ability to fire OVER a horizon while supporting units that you frankly don't mind losing as skirmisher type light screening units.

In this, the nature of the game becomes strictly one of value-by-weight vs. target acquisition distances. If you can bring a dozen robots over a hill and lose every damn one of them when the enemy stages a combined arms ambush (mines, arty, LAW and vehicle fires) then YOU WIN, if the combined value of those vehicles is still half or less the equivalent cost of an Abrams type heavy force _which would also be lost_. And if the combined WEIGHT of those vehicles means you can not only afford but realistically -portage- a much larger overall mechanized team to the fight, then you are in a position whereby 'as the UAV which saw it all sends the NETFIRES missiles plunging down', there is already a second platoon of robotic ready force reestablishing the vanguard lead and a CH-47 or 53 (or 130) flight is loading up another 12 pack from a staging area further back to replace the battalion reserve.

In this kind of warfare, the real driver is TIME. Because it takes time to prepare a fighting position and the longer the enemy takes to enable his covert force with manually emplaced overlapping fires, the more likely you are to pick up their prep process before you run into it. And the less able they are to react to a bypass or escape to a new position once you blow by them or annihilate them in place.

Again, you need only look at Israel's recent **stupidity** in making this a 'border war' without deep enough penetration to throw the enemy off his gameplan to realize that you DO NOT fight a linear war with a guerilla force. Because your fixed objectives are the predictably easy points of defense by which he wins the day by denying you dirt.

And as I have long said: NEVER BLEED FOR DIRT.


Quote Reference (review link)

[edit on 1-4-2007 by UK Wizard]

posted on Apr, 2 2007 @ 12:38 PM
Pardon my stupid newbie question, but why the heck does this tank need to have the gunner sitting right next to the driver? One well placed shot could kill them both!

Why can't he be in the turrent so he can man the big gun when needed, use the pea shooter on top, and not have to use needlessly complex and expensive electronic video to see what he's shooting at!

Give me a Bonepart 2-man tank any day...

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