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
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
Quote Reference (review link)
[edit on 1-4-2007 by UK Wizard]