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Future Armour

a_majoor

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Although MBTs and heavy vehicles are out of fashion now, and perhaps for a generation, lets think a bit about what sort of fighting machines may be needed farther on. Going over a lot of different threads, I have seen many ideas, ranging from the good to the bad and the ugly.

Different sorts of AFVs have different attributes so there is no "one" perfect vehicle, an enterprising enemy will find a weakness and work to exploit it, so if you are going to advocate for a particular project/idea, then spell out where it is good and where it has weakness.

Some ideas from other threads and magazines to start:

1. Heavy forces for making lodgement, breaching defenses or acting as the countermove force. These are the traditional roles of armoured forces. Current tanks are well suited, but IFVs are not, lacking in protection. Heavy IFVs like the Achzarit are needed IMO, but the logistics and transportation burden of deploying these vehicles is high. Are there alternatives which either exist today or are available in the near term which do not impose such a burden?

2. Specialized support vehicles. Infantry love supporting arms, but tanks often are not available and the MGS dosn't cut it. A miniature SP gun like the WWII Hetzer is one way to go, or a heavily armoured "gunfighter" with the ability to carry out a 3600 firefight in close quarters is another. Other possibilities exist as well.

3. Common fleet(s). The CV 90 and LAV are present day examples of using a common chassis to perform multiple tasks. Is this really a good idea? How far can it go?

4. Evolution of the Tank. Many armies have developed "through tube" missiles to suppliment tank rounds, and both the Merkava and Centurio are configured in such a way as to allow sections of infantry to ride in the back. Are multi-purpose vehicles the wave of the future?

let loose the hounds of speculation!
 

Love793

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I wouldn't say that MBTs are out of fashion, they're just not feasible for a small army.
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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Personally, I think most vehicles out there are fine for traditional cold war type operation.

The weak point is IFV's operating in urban areas where you are more likely to take an RPG hit from short range.

In my opinion what that requires is a specialty-built urban escort vehicle that can scan a 360 degrees horizontally and at least 35 degrees vertically.

Perhaps, something similar to Namer/Achzarit with heavy armour and three separate stabilized 7.62mm PWS systems.  With such a set-up you would have a much better battlespace awareness than any single turreted vehicle could hope to creating a significant deterence perimeter for potential insurgents, while being survivable and able to return fire, should it take a first hit.

I would add that using VTOL UAV's as escorts with live feeds into the convoy vehicles and organizing the combined UAV/Ground Force into "Urban Operation Units" seems logical.




Matthew.  ;)
 

a_majoor

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Interesting you only suggest 7.62mm OWS. Would adding HMGs or AGLs make the "urban escort" more effective? I would imagine the enemy would certainly be "bunkering" or fighting out of strongpoints as much as possible to negate the firepower of Infantry small arms.A small on board mortar like the Israeli 60mm carried in the Merkava and Achzarit would also be usefull for supressing enemy strong points, or screening off areas for the infantry advance.

I would also increase the vertical arcs of the weapons, and include a signifigent depression angle as well, since enemy troops could fight not only from the rooftops, but also fire out of ground floor or basement windows. The OWS mounts would be rather tall to give the guns wide vertical arcs.

Doctrinally, where would the gunfighter go? Is it part of the Combat support company of an Infantry battalion, or does it belong in an Armoured regiment?
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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a_majoor said:
Interesting you only suggest 7.62mm OWS. Would adding HMGs or AGLs make the "urban escort" more effective? I would imagine the enemy would certainly be "bunkering" or fighting out of strongpoints as much as possible to negate the firepower of Infantry small arms.A small on board mortar like the Israeli 60mm carried in the Merkava and Achzarit would also be usefull for supressing enemy strong points, or screening off areas for the infantry advance.

I would also increase the vertical arcs of the weapons, and include a signifigent depression angle as well, since enemy troops could fight not only from the rooftops, but also fire out of ground floor or basement windows. The OWS mounts would be rather tall to give the guns wide vertical arcs.

Doctrinally, where would the gunfighter go? Is it part of the Combat support company of an Infantry battalion, or does it belong in an Armoured regiment?

I went with the 7.62mm because I was most concerned with getting as many OWS on board as possible (3) and was afraid if you moved up a size to accommodate either an 40mm AGL or .50cal HMG due to size and weight, you'd probably only be able to accommodate 2 stations, and with only 2, you are still going have significant blind spots.  That being said, if you could create a small OWS with both the 7.62mm and 40mm AGL, I think it would be near-perfect.

RE:  Vertical Arcs - Agree....I was just thinking about Mogadishu and 45 degrees wouldn't have been enough.

RE:  Doctrine - For Canada since we're no longer going to have MBT's, I would eliminate Armoured.  That being said, I think it would greatly increase the capability of both the discussed Armoured Cavalry structure (as it would allow advance into cities) as well as your heavy/medium infantry units in the combat support role as you suggest.



Matthew.  :salute:
 

Meridian

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Love793 said:
I wouldn't say that MBTs are out of fashion, they're just not feasible for a small army.

I dont know anything really personally, but paraphrashing from the blog of a US Army 1LT who won medals and accollades on the attack on Fallujah in his tank, it would appear that prior to this latest war  in Iraq, the US military itself was not very keen on the future existence of the Abrahms or an MBT.

He alludes to the fact several times that he is happy his tanks are able to show their usefulness on the battlefield, and that he was getting severely annoyed (even during ROTC I think) by all the talk of the armcav going byebye


http://avengerredsix.blogspot.com

Interesting read if you are armoured, and want a (clearly biased) account of tanking it in the desert and firing the Main.
 

George Wallace

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I find it interesting that many who are advocating the 'extinction' of the Tank, as an obsolete piece of kit, are usually not all that familiar with Tanks, Armour Tactics and capabilities, and Manoeuvre Warfare.   Sadly to say, that includes some Senior Canadian Armour officers.   I suppose the Armour Corps is being just as betrayed today, as the Airborne were betrayed by their Senior Officers in 1995.   No one in the Senior Officer ranks is willing to lay his reputation on the line to defend them and ensure that their skill will not be lost.

I look at our situation as being one of "No one has the Balls to stand up for the Corps".   They are too easily accepting defeat.   They are not imaginative enough to create the means to preserve the skills for future emergencies.   To me, I feel betrayed.   I feel they have rolled over and given up.

Don't even get me going on "Change is Good!".   I can assure you that it is not necessarily true.   Ask the people of Germany in 1939, or the Soviets under Joseph Stalin; I am sure change was not all that great for them.   Remember Idi Amin, Dadda, or Poppa Doc.   Two more fine example of "Change is Good"   Crap.   We They have given up, sadly to say.   I haven't.
 

GK .Dundas

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George Wallace said:
I find it interesting that many who are advocating the 'extinction' of the Tank, as an obsolete piece of kit, are usually not all that familiar with Tanks, Armour Tactics and capabilities, and Manoeuvre Warfare.   Sadly to say, that includes some Senior Canadian Armour officers.   I suppose the Armour Corps is being just as betrayed today, as the Airborne were betrayed by their Senior Officers in 1995.   No one in the Senior Officer ranks is willing to lay his reputation on the line to defend them and ensure that their skill will not be lost.

Well George ,
Theres an old saying " Those that can do! Those that can't become CDS.The truly sad thing is he used to have one hell of a rep both as an officer and as a thinker.Questionable humour aside I just don't understand what has happened in the last 20 years .In 1980 the corps looked like it was entering a golden age.
Each brigade would have an tank regiment with M 1 A1's there was to be an armoured recce regiment  based on lynx's some Leo C1's.The reserves would have  the Cougar and Milita training ctrs. would be set up  with both Leos and Abrams for the reservists to work on. The future was so bright we had to wear shades.
Now It looks like the corps may be on it's last legs..... God ! How I hope I'm wrong.
 

George Wallace

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Um.....I wasn't picking out the CDS......besides, that is a Politician's job  ;D.  There are many others in strategic positions, making decisions.  Reminds me of the new tank hangar we were going to get in 1994, designed by some Engineer somewhere with no knowledge of where or what a tank looked like.  When I looked at the building foundations, before going to Bosnia, I noticed that the "door" locations were too small for a tank.  Sure enough, once the walls and roof were up, a tank would barely fit through the doors.  Not a good thing.  Guess some Engineer did some cost accounting and decided to chop a few feet off the doors to save some bucks.  In the end a new tank hangar had to be built; one which would accommodate tanks.  How many more examples as this do we see on a day to day basis?

 

mainerjohnthomas

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    Future tanks will not have gunners in the turret, the turret will be a weapons platform coupling 20-30mm cannon, and a 120mm or higher tube capable of launching missles, direct fire munitions, self or terminaly guided indirect rounds.  The way sensor technology is advancing, how long is it going to be before CCCI computer integration gets good enough that a platoon of tanks is integrated into a single entity, linked by computer control for common air defence, and who fire as a unit at targets identified by info from scout units and drones, prioitized by human commanders, and fired on in sequence with munitions and from platforms selected by the computer?  Human tankers will still require weapon override for those targets that pop up at close range, but computers will handle most of the firing.  As computer and sensor technology improve, they get smaller and more efficient, the tasks requiring an Aegis level system today, may be in a 60-80ton chassis in a few decades.  Will the tank go away?  No.  Will look like monstrosities that ambled slowly across the WWI battlefields? No.  Just as in the airwar, EM, ECM, and ECCM will become important metersticks of the effectiveness of the new tanks, as whoever wins the battle for information, will be the only side alive after the first salvoes land.  The same transformation that took place in the air arm, will overtake the armour.  I don't think it will happen as fast, because ground combat is much harder for modern sensors, and even the best computers to handle in real time (terrain is tougher than cloud cover, after all), but it will come.  Tanks may be out of style at the moment, but the combination of protection, mobility, and firepower will still form the heart of future combat systems, and we will still call them tanks.
 

GK .Dundas

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George Wallace said:
Um.....I wasn't picking out the CDS......besides, that is a Politician's job   ;D.   There are many others in strategic positions, making decisions.    Reminds me of the new tank hangar we were going to get in 1994, designed by some Engineer somewhere with no knowledge of where or what a tank looked like.   When I looked at the building foundations, before going to Bosnia, I noticed that the "door" locations were too small for a tank.   Sure enough, once the walls and roof were up, a tank would barely fit through the doors.   Not a good thing.   Guess some Engineer did some cost accounting and decided to chop a few feet off the doors to save some bucks.   In the end a new tank hangar had to be built; one which would accommodate tanks.   How many more examples as this do we see on a day to day basis?
I really should'nt pick on 'the poor guy.It's really not his fault I know I would 'nt want his job I sure could 'nt do it either.
As to the topic of waste every dollar the CF gets  is taken from from every tax payer in the country an aweful lot of them do'nt make that much  .It is not a cliche it really is a sacred trust.Those who dole out the dollars must think long and hard before spend those monies.
we can'nt seem to save money either ,clothe the soldier is probably the longest running example of how not to do things .
 

George Wallace

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mainerjohnthomas said:
      Future tanks will not have gunners in the turret, the turret will be a weapons platform coupling 20-30mm cannon, and a 120mm or higher tube capable of launching missles, direct fire munitions, self or terminaly guided indirect rounds.   The way sensor technology is advancing, how long is it going to be before CCCI computer integration gets good enough that a platoon of tanks is integrated into a single entity, linked by computer control for common air defence, and who fire as a unit at targets identified by info from scout units and drones, prioitized by human commanders, and fired on in sequence with munitions and from platforms selected by the computer?   Human tankers will still require weapon override for those targets that pop up at close range, but computers will handle most of the firing.   As computer and sensor technology improve, they get smaller and more efficient, the tasks requiring an Aegis level system today, may be in a 60-80ton chassis in a few decades.   Will the tank go away?   No.   Will look like monstrosities that ambled slowly across the WWI battlefields? No.   Just as in the airwar, EM, ECM, and ECCM will become important metersticks of the effectiveness of the new tanks, as whoever wins the battle for information, will be the only side alive after the first salvoes land.   The same transformation that took place in the air arm, will overtake the armour.   I don't think it will happen as fast, because ground combat is much harder for modern sensors, and even the best computers to handle in real time (terrain is tougher than cloud cover, after all), but it will come.   Tanks may be out of style at the moment, but the combination of protection, mobility, and firepower will still form the heart of future combat systems, and we will still call them tanks.

After reading mainerjohnthomas's post above, this story is brought to mind :

http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/29086.0.html

I don't want to insult your intelligence too much, but you seem to fail to realize what Cbt Arms soldiers do for a living.   I can not agree with very much of what you have posted here at all.   When was the last time you saw a computer get down off your CP or any vehicle, in this case a future tank, and do a Blind Corner drill, or NBC/Air Sentry, or Sentry, or occupy a listening post or OP, or cam a vehicle, or do maintainance on the tank, gun, or comms, or make a meal?   We have found that in our four tank Troop, a four man crew is ideal.   Everyone has a job to perform.   There is enough manpower to maintain, cam, defend a position (ie. Radio Watch, NBC/Air Sentry, 2 man sentry/OP, Troop Runner, and still do defence, cam, maint, replen, and rest.)   I have yet to see a Computer load, clear a Missfire or jammed round, (Perform the IAs and Stoppages) on any weapon system yet.   We have also discussed, elsewhere in this forum, disadvantages of three man crews vs four man crews.

Unless we do like the fictional "Air Show" and have Robotic tanks controlled by "PlayStations", your theories are bogus.   This from experience.
 

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http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/28903.0.html

Reading this thread, one could say that the eventual path will lead us to a fused "Armoured" and the "Infantry" soldier.  An individual "Cap Trooper" ( ;D) will command his own suit which combines the mobility, survivability, shock and firepower that we are missing in an Army without tanks.  How many generations is this Heinlein-esque ideal away - 2?  3?  Far or near?

Mobile Infantry, here I come....
 

GK .Dundas

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George Wallace said:
After reading mainerjohnthomas's post above, this story is brought to mind :

http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/29086.0.html

I don't want to insult your intelligence too much, but you seem to fail to realize what Cbt Arms soldiers do for a living.   I can not agree with very much of what you have posted here at all.   When was the last time you saw a computer get down off your CP or any vehicle, in this case a future tank, and do a Blind Corner drill, or NBC/Air Sentry, or Sentry, or occupy a listening post or OP, or cam a vehicle, or do maintainance on the tank, gun, or comms, or make a meal?   We have found that in our four tank Troop, a four man crew is ideal.   Everyone has a job to perform.   There is enough manpower to maintain, cam, defend a position (ie. Radio Watch, NBC/Air Sentry, 2 man sentry/OP, Troop Runner, and still do defence, cam, maint, replen, and rest.)   I have yet to see a Computer load, clear a Missfire or jammed round, (Perform the IAs and Stoppages) on any weapon system yet.   We have also discussed, elsewhere in this forum, disadvantages of three man crews vs four man crews.

Unless we do like the fictional "Air Show" and have Robotic tanks controlled by "PlayStations", your theories are bogus.   This from experience.
I believe ther was an american study done in the late fifties that concluded the optimum number in a crew was five men.
 

mainerjohnthomas

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George Wallace said:
After reading mainerjohnthomas's post above, this story is brought to mind :

http://forums.army.ca/forums/threads/29086.0.html

I don't want to insult your intelligence too much, but you seem to fail to realize what Cbt Arms soldiers do for a living.   I can not agree with very much of what you have posted here at all.   When was the last time you saw a computer get down off your CP or any vehicle, in this case a future tank, and do a Blind Corner drill, or NBC/Air Sentry, or Sentry, or occupy a listening post or OP, or cam a vehicle, or do maintainance on the tank, gun, or comms, or make a meal?   We have found that in our four tank Troop, a four man crew is ideal.   Everyone has a job to perform.   There is enough manpower to maintain, cam, defend a position (ie. Radio Watch, NBC/Air Sentry, 2 man sentry/OP, Troop Runner, and still do defence, cam, maint, replen, and rest.)   I have yet to see a Computer load, clear a Missfire or jammed round, (Perform the IAs and Stoppages) on any weapon system yet.   We have also discussed, elsewhere in this forum, disadvantages of three man crews vs four man crews.

Unless we do like the fictional "Air Show" and have Robotic tanks controlled by "PlayStations", your theories are bogus.   This from experience.
    Actually, when I took the gunners out of the turret, I never advocated taking them out of the tank.  I don't see tanks getting less complicated, or requiring less support, if anything, I think they will go the opposite direction.  Driving, handling the weapons, sensors, comms, and establishing targets from the sea of data requires not just good computers, but a trained crew able to work together to fight their tank not only as a single vehicle, or part of a platoon, but part of a battlegroup that links every asset down to the farthest pongo forward.  I simply think that with the types of systems that a tank can reasonably be expected to mount in the not to distant future will bring the tank back into its own.  Tanks firing munitions linked to targeting data from infantry klicks away, tanks firing "over the horizon" at targets acquired by drones, firing air defence in co-ordinated groups at fast-movers, or to interdict incoming missle fire or drones. And, as always, tanks firing direct fire on targets acquired by its own sensors.  Information control requires more people, I don't see it reducing the crews, I see it shifting the duties from low level formation HQ to individual tank platoons.  With information from recce vehicles, infantry, air assets, sat info, and their own onboard sensors, and muntions ranging from seeker headed missles, terminal guided missles and artillery shells, beam riders, and good old fashion direct fire the tank really comes into its own.  For decades, the advantage has been with aircraft, they have the ability to anhillate tank formations caught in the open.  I just don't see this as necessarily sustainable.  With point defence systems getting better, how long is it going to be before the sensors and computers get good enough for tanks on the roll to be able to stand off, or knock down fighters and attack helocopters sent against them?  Right now air defence required dedicated platform, in short supply, and the sensor envelope advantage is hugely in the attackers favor.  If each tank is able to take part in that defence, directing coordinated cannon/missle fire along the threat axis with the reasonable speed, then tanks regain the ground they lost since WWII.  The tanker and the infantryman cannot be replaced, technology only makes them more effective, extending their reach and hitting power.  I don't see "playstation" controls taking away tankers any more than AWAC control and fly-by-wire systems made jet-jockeys obsolete.  I do see it making them more effective.
 

a_majoor

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A coordinated fire control system would give tankers and the battlegroup as a whole lots of advantages in a linear battle against a symmetrical opponent (bring on the PLA!), but I can think of two objections:

1. Who is actually running the system? A land based Aegis system like you are describing would need to coordinate the input of several hundred sensors to define the battlespace, and coordinate one hundred or more vehicles in a battlegroup. The system will also have to be "aware" of blind spots caused by terrain or enemy action (jamming, smoke screens, weapons effects). A central fire control system or centre would use a huge amount of bandwidth, and be the prime target in any action. Decentralized systems would be more robust, but the multiple data links would probably use even more bandwidth....

2. Would this system give any advantage against an asymmetrical enemy? Shooters who melt back into the crowd, enemies who use IEDs and suicide bombers would give few "signals" or other indications that they are there until the moment of contact. A tank firing back at a single shooter in a crowd would be overkill in both the tactical sense, as well as causing PR damage to the force.

Your idea has merit, tanks do indeed make the best possible MMEVs, and future tanks with crew pods and external weapons mounts are probably the wave of the future despite the various objections raised against them: the smaller size and silhouette gives them tactical advantages, reduces transport and logistics footprints; the reduced crew size works well in a smaller forces (which draws on a smaller demographic) and so on.
 

George Wallace

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mainerjohnthomas said:
    Actually, when I took the gunners out of the turret, I never advocated taking them out of the tank.   I don't see tanks getting less complicated, or requiring less support, if anything, I think they will go the opposite direction.   Driving, handling the weapons, sensors, comms, and establishing targets from the sea of data requires not just good computers, but a trained crew able to work together to fight their tank not only as a single vehicle, or part of a platoon, but part of a battlegroup that links every asset down to the farthest pongo forward.

Being an EX-Tanker, I would say that that is what we have always done.


mainerjohnthomas said:
  I simply think that with the types of systems that a tank can reasonably be expected to mount in the not to distant future will bring the tank back into its own.   Tanks firing munitions linked to targeting data from infantry klicks away, tanks firing "over the horizon" at targets acquired by drones, firing air defence in co-ordinated groups at fast-movers, or to interdict incoming missle fire or drones. And, as always, tanks firing direct fire on targets acquired by its own sensors.

Tanks have always operated this way.   They are fed information throught their Nets (Troop, Sqn, Regimental), from their own eyes on the ground, and from FOO and FAC sources within their SHQ.   They can not only fire in the Direct Fire Role, but also in the Indirect Fire Role.   Their gunnery is sophisticated enough that they can perform a limited AA role.....I always wanted to fire a SABOT Rd through a Helio.....but alas never did.


 
mainerjohnthomas said:
Information control requires more people, I don't see it reducing the crews, I see it shifting the duties from low level formation HQ to individual tank platoons.

Once again, this is the way we in the Cbt Arms have always operated when we used COMBAT TEAMS.   As for a requirement for more people to process the info; I don't think that that will be the case.   If it is, it will require more people, also, to defend that influx of "data sorters", so more Infantry in the D&S role.   Would become too combersome.




 
mainerjohnthomas said:
With information from recce vehicles, infantry, air assets, sat info, and their own onboard sensors, and muntions ranging from seeker headed missles, terminal guided missles and artillery shells, beam riders, and good old fashion direct fire the tank really comes into its own.   For decades, the advantage has been with aircraft, they have the ability to anhillate tank formations caught in the open.

Again, nothing new.   The Cbt Arms have been evolving along those lines for a long time.


 
mainerjohnthomas said:
I just don't see this as necessarily sustainable.   With point defence systems getting better, how long is it going to be before the sensors and computers get good enough for tanks on the roll to be able to stand off, or knock down fighters and attack helocopters sent against them?   Right now air defence required dedicated platform, in short supply, and the sensor envelope advantage is hugely in the attackers favor.   If each tank is able to take part in that defence, directing coordinated cannon/missle fire along the threat axis with the reasonable speed, then tanks regain the ground they lost since WWII.  


Here you are talking Science Fiction.   A dedicated AA System is required, not a Tank that can do all/be all.   We should have had Gepards integeral to our Armour Sqns from the beginning to make them more effective and survivable in the battlefield.   As I said before, a Tank would easily take out a single Helio, but would have no defence against Fast Air, or multiple Targets.   It would not have the ammo load to handle any sustained role.   Gepards have that role and can also be used in the Ground Attack role in an emergency.   Remember, also, that Gepards travel with three crews and an Ammo Train to keep them supplied.   Three crews are used, due to the strain of operating that system.   The strain is from the speed that the turret turns, not the operation of the electronics and vehicle.   One crew is always rested, and the third is manning the supply vehicles.    





mainerjohnthomas said:
The tanker and the infantryman cannot be replaced, technology only makes them more effective, extending their reach and hitting power.   I don't see "playstation" controls taking away tankers any more than AWAC control and fly-by-wire systems made jet-jockeys obsolete.   I do see it making them more effective.

So, if I understand you correctly, you are not talking of any real manning changes or any real operational changes; just the upgrading of the "Information Delivery Systems" to Tankers and all Cbt Arms.
 

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    The beginnings of every change I discussed can be seen in technologies already in service (although not always on armour), the shift is in the level of integration, and the force multiplier of the changes en masse.  Do I see this as being all possible now, I don't think so.  But I do see our shift in ISTAR as moving us in this direction already, I just think that the potential for improvement in tank perfomance cannot be underestimated.  Smaller LAV type vehicles simply do not have the capacity to carry enough munitions or diverse enough weapon systems to make the most of these improvements.  Only the MBT has the mass to milk the most of these improvements, and thus to be the greatest force multiplier to the battlegroup to which it is attatched.  It is all stuff we are trained to do now, it is just that we are seeing the point where the technologies are getting small and sophisticated enough to be applied to the MBT, and increasingly, the munitions they fire.
 

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Good ideas...

I agree that we still need our MBT's and that alot of what is being chatted about as new, is actually old. Its just how the info is being exchanged is new.

People will always be required.

With what is being said here with tube launched missiles, etc. And with Majoor's ideas of urban armoured vehicle with 360 degree firing arc, should we not perhaps go into the sci fi a little to get our inspiration?

Its already being done by the US weapons development teams.

Small arms ammo that is "smart" and explodes at a targeted range killing those behind cover. And if I remember correctly, is able to be steered to a limited degree.

The "new" Infanteer in their full body armour and full helmet with HUD systems, infra red and light amplification, to convey information, find and paint targets more efficiently. The cross hairs on the HUD being tied into your weapon so as to shoot around corners without exposing your body.

Development of powered exo-skeletons to augment an individuals strength and speed. Armoured ones to give more protection. Weapon mounts on them to allow for larger weapons to be carried by an individual.

Lower profile tanks that are remote controlled and tied into the command and control systems on the above mentioned Infanteers for faster fire support and situational awareness.

All of these things are being looked at in US weapons labs and are of the sci fi nature.

Hell, I remember reading a GI Joe comic book as a kid and seeing things that the US came out with a few years (revealed) later as experimental. (That swept wing fighter for one).

So I think paying attention to some of the "foolish" far reaching sci fi ideas are not so foolish. Some of the concepts are well within our reach with today's technologies.

Now with that being said, it still does not take the place of a well trained soldier since we all know how reliable and easy it is to knock out higher and higher technologies.
 

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click on http://www.army.mil/fcs/ and have a look at where the U.S. is heading. 4 classes of UAV, UGV, unmanned missile launchers, etc. Plus a huge increase in situational awareness. Its also interesting to look at the new anti-tank systems out there that can wipe out a 50-70 tonnes monster with a fire and forget missile (Javelin, spike, predator, etc).  The USMC has a similar changing plan.
The vehicles they are displaying are based on a common chasis and I think it is a GDLS design. United defense is also working on some new stuff.

I listen to too many people who go on and on about losing the tank will be the end of the world. No it won't be.
 
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