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Future Armour

George Wallace

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ArmyRick


Here we go again.....We have Javelin, Spike, Predator, etc. all of which can blow the living Shyte out of a Tank.  Therefore, Tanks are obsolete.  Hell! We've had the Long Bow, the Cross Bow, the Musket, the Rifle, the Machine Gun, and the Assault Rifle, the Sub-Machine Gun, etc. not to mention Grenades, Mortars, Artillery; all of which are improving every day in their capabilities to blow the living Shyte out of Infantry.  I use your attitude and philosophy now to say that Infantry are obsolete.  Well isn't that a load of Bull!
 

George Wallace

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I suppose I should add the development of Counter Battery Radars and such in defending against Mortars and Artillery.  Would developments along those lines now render Artillery and Mortars obsolete?  Of course not.  If we followed all this logic, we'd only have one Cbt Arm left....the Engineers.....  ::)

;D
 

a_majoor

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The "Urban Gunfighter" is an idea for an escort vehicle which has armoured mobility and protection, and firepower to support dismounted infantry in complex terrain, such as urban ops.

It needs to cover a 3600 arc, as well as be able to shoot up into the rooftops and down at basement windows, but the illustration of an Achzarit shows the broad outline of what a "gunfighter" could be. This Achzarit is hatches up, the front weapons station is an OWS with a 7.62mm GPMG, and there are two pintle mounted GPMGs on either side. If these were replaced by OWS, then the crew could fight while protected by armour, and cover multiple arcs and multiple engagements. Heavier weapons like an HMG or AGL are probably required for this role, and OWS mounts with wide vertical arcs are also needed.

"New" doctrine suggests armoured vehicles should act as cut offs, which the gunfighter could do, but the armour would also allow it to provide intimate support, and it could be used in a defensive position as well. The second picture shows an Achzarit operating in urban terrain; there would not be much time or space to fend off an attack, hence the armour protection.

Now that I think more on this subject, the Achzarit itself makes an interesting common chassis for a heavy formation. The basic version would be the Infantry and Engineer carrier, while emptying out the section compartment leaves room for various versions like a mortar carrier, Engineering vehicle, missile carrier (TUA or otherwise), "gunfighter" and even a "tank", either with a turret or a low profile weapons mount.

T-55 chassis are by far the most common AFV on the planet, so getting the basic components isn't hard, and clever use of lessons learned and modern composite armour could give us a machine in the MCL 30 range, a decent compromise between the LAV and Generation Three tanks.

LAVs are still useful in the screening, economy of force and exploitation roles, as described in the Cavalry thread, but now we have the potential to create a follow up force for the "act" function. The need will become brutally obvious in some deployment inside the next ten years, so the powers that be should start thinking about it now.
 

a_majoor

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Just shifting and expanding a post from a different thread to where it is somewhat more relevant. Beware the wandering posts!
 

a_majoor

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Versatile armour

A tank makes an excellent MMEV due to its versatile sight and weapons suite. Shells fired from a 120mm gun tube have effective ranges from 0-@4000 m depending on the type and desired terminal effects, while through tube missiles currently can strike targets at @ 8000m or even 13,000m in the case of a LAHAT fired semi-indirect. (Presumably someone spots the target and paints it with a laser). Gun tanks can carry a lot of shells, have a high rate of fire and offer traction and mobility in many types of terrain. They also have the protection to manoeuvre under contact, and can carry several secondary weapons as well, such as co axial machine guns and HMGs mounted over the barrel of the main gun (as Israeli units do) to deal with other target types.

In a medium force or Cavalry unit, a wheeled MMEV based on a gun armed vehicle makes sense for many of the same reasons. Obviously a successful fire support vehicle will not resemble the MGS, but perhaps the AMX-10RC  or Centurio might be the model instead. As a wheeled FSV or MMEV, it will have the armour and mobility issues that plague the MGS as well, but doctrine and TTPs can be written to reflect strengths, mask weakness and devise work arounds. The emphasis here would be more for offerig support beyond the range of enemy light and medium weapons systems, and covering the force if it has to withdraw from enemy "heavies".

The reason I bring this up is that logistically it is much easier to support one fleet of vehicles rather than the "troika" we are getting. Through tube missiles are becomming more advanced, and I would expect something like a LOSAT or FOG-M to become available in the next decade. The main difference between a tank or FSV and the MMEV version would be a vastly upgraded information suite, capable of transmitting and recieving target data to the troop, the combat team and higher formations such as the ISTAR CC.

 

George Wallace

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You know we have been at "Peace" for too long and conducting "Peacekeeping" Operations for too long.  We are forgeting some very basic points, that are going to come back to bite us severely on the arse.  Many of us are 'old tankers' and we know how to manoeuvre and use ground.  That knowledge is being lost.  Wheels do not offer the same maneuverability as tracks, and as such we are 'headed down a very bad road' if you will excuse the pun.  Being roadbound is not a good thing.  The enemy can easily watch and target roads.  It will simplify the enemy's abilities to ambush a wheeled column, when they know that it will stick to a road network and not likely be able to manoeuvre off of it.  As Martha Stewart would say:  "This is not a good thing!"

I just thought that I should bring up this point, as it seems to have been forgotten already.

GW
 

Zipper

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Good point GW.

Not to mention mines and their intended uses, or lack there of in our case.
 

a_majoor

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We all know wheels are a fact of life for the next generation, so future armour needs to take this into account. Since the cross country mobility and armour will be lacking (compared to a track), we need to think out of the box a bit more.

Firepower is the one thing we can upgrade on a wheeled platform, and this can be done in two ways: missile launchers or guns. Through tube missiles remove most of those distinctions, and a properly designed platform such as the AMX-10RC or Centurio have the ability to use a large calibre weapon and stow a usable amount of ammunition on board. An upgraded fire control system give the crew the ability to engage targets they can't see on their own, and allows the battlegroup commander to employ his force differently; shaping the battlespace with firepower and hopefully being able to choose the time and place to engage.

Hopefully, we will eventually get the right balance of light medium and heavy forces to perform the "Full Spectrum Operations" (aka "Three Block War"), but 'till then....
 

mainerjohnthomas

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a_majoor said:
We all know wheels are a fact of life for the next generation, so future armour needs to take this into account. Since the cross country mobility and armour will be lacking (compared to a track), we need to think out of the box a bit more.

Firepower is the one thing we can upgrade on a wheeled platform, and this can be done in two ways: missile launchers or guns. Through tube missiles remove most of those distinctions, and a properly designed platform such as the AMX-10RC or Centurio have the ability to use a large calibre weapon and stow a usable amount of ammunition on board. An upgraded fire control system give the crew the ability to engage targets they can't see on their own, and allows the battlegroup commander to employ his force differently; shaping the battlespace with firepower and hopefully being able to choose the time and place to engage.

Hopefully, we will eventually get the right balance of light medium and heavy forces to perform the "Full Spectrum Operations" (aka "Three Block War"), but 'till then....
    With the increased use of drones, and the increased ability of infantry spotters to provide not only targeting, but guidance for munitions, perhaps a more lightly armoured wheeled platform can still reach out and touch someone the way their tracked bretheren could.  Using the mobility of the infantry (because lets face it, when the going gets tough, we always hoof it) to go where wheeled armour can't, and engage from distances that make their armour a secondary concern; a wheeled platform could still provide a MMEV using tube launched missles, or even "seeking" shells (similar to the technology used in some of the newer bombs) to engage targets it sees only through its drones, or infantry spotters.  This is simply taking the technology that is being battle tested today, and taking it to its next logical step.
 

Long in the tooth

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The Israeli Merkava 4 and 3 (retro) will have point defense systems a la naval CIWS.  Janes Defenses states that 4 antennae can detect incoming threat (vertical and horizontal) separate the wheat from the chafe (that's a funny) and prioritize threats.  Although classified, they are confident enough that they will be reducing the armour weight in order to make the veh more mobile.

Janes didn't elaborate on ERA or not.
 

mainerjohnthomas

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Worn Out Grunt said:
The Israeli Merkava 4 and 3 (retro) will have point defense systems a la naval CIWS.   Janes Defenses states that 4 antennae can detect incoming threat (vertical and horizontal) separate the wheat from the chafe (that's a funny) and prioritize threats.   Although classified, they are confident enough that they will be reducing the armour weight in order to make the veh more mobile.

Janes didn't elaborate on ERA or not.
    The difference between science fiction, and science fact is time, sometimes not much of that either.  The IDF have a long history of thinking outside the box, and a powerful motivation for staying on the leading edge.  Since Canada has been out of the warfighting business for a while, it pays to take a look at what those with current experince in armoured warfare are exploring.
 

a_majoor

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Sounds like some variation of the Drozd or Arena system. Best not be too close when someone takes a shot at the tank....

I was thinking a bit more about the idea of a gun armed MMEV, and realized the tactical employment would be a bit different. Assuming the Centurio/AMX-10RC layout so we can actually use a gun, we might see "Cavalry Teams" operating with one troop up, armed with shells and fire and forget through tube missiles suitable for engagements at fairly short ranges. The next two troops would be in support of the main body (however constituted) with a fairly even mix of ammunition natures, while another troop would trail behind as the overwatch/support troop, armed with a high proportion of through tube missiles.

The troops would be datalinked together, and also with the rest of the team. The lead troop would have the traditional job of "bumping" the enemy (since it would be foolish to assume the enemy will not develop technology or techniques to fool sensors and TUAVs), although the savvy troop leader should have potential ambushes marked out, and rely on his "spider senses" to suppliment the technology and warn him of impending danger. The trailing troop provides the means to screen the Cavalry team with fire to protect them on the move, and assist the commander in shaping the battle (even if the shape turns out to be covering the withdrawl).

Centurios have a large space in the rear hull which can also be configured to carry a "close support section" of four men. This feature might be useful in close country or urban operations where the long range sensor and firepower advantages are negated, but comes at the price of reducing ammunition stowage.

These thoughts are based on a fairly conventional "square" combat team model, but new capabilities can breed new organizations as well.
 

a_majoor

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Reading Ralph Peters in an old issue of Parameters I found this tidbit:

The Future of Armored Warfare, Ralph Peters, http://carlisle-www.army.mil/usawc/Parameters/97autumn/peters.htm

"Flying tanks" have long been objects of speculation, but it is likely that fuel-logic and the psycho-physical dynamics of battle will demand grounded systems for many years to come. While attack helicopters already incorporate many of the characteristics previously imagined for flying tanks, we have found them a complement to, not yet a substitute for, armored vehicles. If we do work toward flying tanks--in the interests of systems economy--the more successful approach would probably be to ask how helicopters could change so that they can move, shoot, and survive on the ground. Aircraft are conceptually more mutable than ground systems, and, if the flying tank proponents are right, this might become the back-door means to change the parameters of armored warfare. A very real danger, however, is asking any system to do too many things, resulting in a system that does nothing especially well. Striking a proper balance between specificity of purpose and flexibility of application is a fundamental systems-design problem.

Picture a ducted fan VTOLsimilar to the Moller Skycar( http://www.moller.com/skycar/m400/), but carrying only the pilot and a brace of lightweight anti-armour weapons like the Javelin and maybe a machinegun or AGL for close support. It would operate like a "Little bird" gunship most of the time, but its size and ducted fan propulsion would allow it to come right down to street level in an emergency (where it might fly more like a hovercraft than a helicopter). "Hull down" would have new meanings,  the flying gunship could hover behind a building. Being so small (it is advertised as being able to fit into a garage, so say the size of an SUV), it can be dispersed in lots of not so obvious places while waiting for the call. Troops could use something like this as well to land on the rooftops and quickly bypass or secure areas in Urban Operations, although the physical form of the Skycar makes this design difficult to rapidly enter or exit.

Certainly a very "edge of the envelope" idea to give light forces the mobility and power of mechanized forces.
 

TCBF

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Give Al Qaeda a chance, and they will pack a dozen of their suitcase nukes into these here aero-cars, and better have your iodine pills handy.
 

Zipper

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Jeez Tom, you really are paranoid about terroists with nukes arn't ya? You better start digging that bomb shelter, or maybe you just need to find the keys to the one you dug back in the 60's... :dontpanic:

As for flying tanks. Neat idea. But I think the Robotech ideas are still a ways off. There has been a couple of flying cars invented recently that pose some interesting thoughts though.

 

a_majoor

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As for flying tanks. Neat idea. But I think the Robotech ideas are still a ways off. There has been a couple of flying cars invented recently that pose some interesting thoughts though.

Um, if you look at the post, it refers specifically to the Moller Skycar concept: http://www.moller.com/skycar/m400/
 

TCBF

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"Jeez Tom, you really are paranoid about terroists with nukes arn't ya?"

- Do you wear a seat belt when you drive, Zipper?  Why?  Are you 'paranoid' about getting into a car accident?

'You better start digging that bomb shelter, or maybe you just need to find the keys to the one you dug back in the 60's...

- Having lived through the Cuban Missle Crisis at the tender age of 7, I have a healthy respect for those who plan ahead.  In Canada, you won't need a bomb shelter.  Which is good, because the Army has taught me to hate digging.  I would, however, suggest you may want to look into the effects trans-Pacific radiation would have on North America.  Nothing too serious, but bring your cows - you live in Alberta, you must have some mad milk cows around - inside the barn for a few weeks if the situation over there erodes in a few years.  Cover the feed too, while you're at it, and protect their water supply.  Having safe milk when others did not take similar precautions will make you a millionaire - relatively speaking - in the new economy.

Buy a few bricks of .22 cal ammo, lock it (safe storrage) in a Canadian Tire red metal toolbox ($14.99), and forget about it.  Ammo will be the local currency of the mid 21st century.  You don't need a gun, you can trade ammo for whatever.  Till you run out. 

Keep some topical Iodine/Betadine around, too.  Don't drink it - that would kill you.  There won't be enough Iodine pills to go around, but that is no big deal.  Google topical Iodine application.  If you want oral Iodine, there are many  local non-pill sources.  They need mixing, but so does Gatoraide.

Google the rest.  Look up the 10/7 rule of radioactive decay.    Did you go to the ice storm?  Just extrapolate that panic on a national scale for six months.  No big deal.

You could pepare for this in about a day.  Do a "Paranoia Pepperoni Pizza night"  order a pizza, say to yourself "Self, if Pakistan and India had a twenty megaton day, what could I do to make sure my wife and kids won't die of leukemia?'  Then Google your evening away.  Go for the simple stuff that will have the most effect. The answer is - a lot, and most of it very simple.  Hint:  I don't own a bomb shelter.  You probably won't need one either.  Most of the preparations are the ones they want us to take for a Tornado or an Ice Storm anyway.

You don't live in a trailer park, do you?  If so, all bets are off.  ;D

Even if you don't need this for yourself, it's nice to know to help others.
 

Zipper

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Nice post Tom. ;D

However, you kind of went a little astray there with your reference to Pak/Indo mega tonne missle exchange. I thought you were refering to the ideas of the terrorist dirty bomb idea?

As for the rest. Agreed. Any Asian mass nuke use would definatly cause a radioactive cloud to be blown around the earth (Ie. Krakatoa, St. Helen's, etc) and we'd all be screwed.

Otherwise, I think you've watched Mad Max a few to many times (good movie otherwise). Oh and as an avid camper, I have all the supplies I need for water treatment. Its amazing what a ceramic/carbon filter will take out as far as chemical and radioactive material is concerned.

Thanks Majoor. I saw that. Its a cool idea and I hope it works. But the idea of a flying tank of the same ideal is a ways off is what I was refering too.

 

a_majoor

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Zipper said:
Thanks Majoor. I saw that. Its a cool idea and I hope it works. But the idea of a flying tank of the same ideal is a ways off is what I was refering too.

Never say Never, this is the "Future Armour" thread after all.

Ralph Peters did bring up an interesting point however, airmobility would be a huge asset in avoiding or bypassing opponents, obstacles or even just difficult terrain and choke points, but current machines are just too fragile (even the AH 64 has been shot down by SA fire in Iraq). On the other hand, although there are improvements to be made in terms of flight dynamics (such as the ducted fans sported by the Skycar), I can't envision a flying weapons platform with anything near the same level of protection as a tank for quite some time to come.

Advances in "beamed" energy or developing compact fusion reactors aside, a "flying tank" would need an entirly new set of TTPs for effective use in order to maximize the advantages of an airborne weapons platform, while hiding the weakness inherent in the concept (lack of protection, limited "on station" time, airspace management, integration with other units and forces).

As part of a larger formation, units with this sort of mobility (ideally backed by some sort of Infantry carrier with similar characteristics) would be a huge compliment to conventional forces, they could leapfrog over advancing forces on the ground and threaten enemy flanks or establish cut offs along potential escape routes for an asymmetrical enemy. The technology is "almost" there, so perhaps some concentrated thought is needed now before we get surprised by the introduction of this type of vehicle in someone else's hands.
 
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