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Future Armour

suffolkowner

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If they are a sensor first then lets have flying unmanned sensors. Which we do.

I can easily visualize a situation where all four tanks in a Troop are firing their main armament. I have having a harder time visualizing them all operating Class 1 UAS at the same time. We have structures for Class 1 UAS and a C2 network.

Does each tank need a crewman dedicated to looking at UAS feeds and comms? In the OCs and BC's tank the operator is an Sgt/MCpl who is there to help the OC/BC with battlefield information management. They are the loader, but since those tanks shouldn't be firing too much its not a crisis. If the OC's panzer is firing then his C2 of the sqn takes a back seat for a moment - Maslov's hierarchy of needs places not blowing up ahead of talking to Tp Ldrs and the CO on the net. For the tanks in the Troops? Seems wasteful to have a fourth crewman when you have an auto-loader. I am not a fan of auto-loaders but perhaps that is my arch-conservatism speaking.
With a possible move to 130mm is the weight of the cartridge a factor in moving to an auto loader?
 

KevinB

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With a possible move to 130mm is the weight of the cartridge a factor in moving to an auto loader?
Reduce operator strain, and errors.
Theoretically they will be safer as one doesn’t need a human to be exposed to ammunition during the load cycle.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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With a possible move to 130mm is the weight of the cartridge a factor in moving to an auto loader?
I am not a tank designer! There is an upper limit to what can be handled by a human inside the turret. There are also real limits on things like the width of the tank due to rail cars which in turn limits the size of the turret ring.

The Brits tried separate ammo pieces, but I wouldn't call that an unqualified success.

All that to say, there may well be a point when an auto-loader is a necessity.
 

Underway

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This is why an autoloader for the 130mm. It's at least 40lbs 20lbs heavier than the 120mm round, and significantly larger.
Side by side comparison below. KF 51 carries 20 in the ready magazine. There is no separate bagged propellant like in an artillery piece.
1655859153732.png
 
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FJAG

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Every time I talk to a tanker about autoloaders I hear the same excuse. What are we gonna do if we need to repair a track or something? That's at least a four-person job. But now I see that the loader is the cook for the tank. No one wants to boil their own IMP's...
I actually have the same reservation about autoloaders for artillery. They add a lot of weight and mechanical complexity to the system. I work on the presumption that any mechanical system will fail just when you need it most. Artillery also has a variety of ammunition to use and various fuze requirements (which are being sorted out through multifunction fuzes). There are only so many spaces in an autoloader magazine which can effect your useful load. (That's also a problem in a standard turret but not to the same extent). I always want a manual backup and the term manual infers that there's a man or woman to run it.

Maybe I'm old fashioned, but IMHO a human still makes the most versatile loading system that there is.

With a possible move to 130mm is the weight of the cartridge a factor in moving to an auto loader?
Can't speak for tankers but a 130mm cartridge weighs around two thirds of that of a 155mm projectile and arty gunners handle those all the time. That said, I came across this:

The issue of increased cartridge weight is another important aspect. The cartridge, which contains the shell and its propellant, is loaded into the breech of the gun the gun before it can fire. The 130 mm cartridges are 30 kg, whereas the 120 mm cartridges are 21 kg. Because of this significant 9 kg increase in weight, Rheinmetall engineers believe that the 130 mm cartridges must be autoloaded. Autoloading is the process by which mechanical means are used to reload the gun, as opposed to manual loading, in which a human loader performs the task.

🍻
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Weight is one thing, but length can be even more restrictive. You need to be able to manipulate the shell in the turret to load it in the breech. I believe that was part of the reasoning for the Brits to go with separate propellent and projectile (not to mention a third part for the primer I believe). Complexity with the ammo, though, can lead to mistakes.

So I can believe that a 130mm unitary APFSDS munition could be too long for a human to manipulate within a turret. Perhaps a designer could have a simple two part ammo system to keep a human loader.

My preference for human loaders is based on reliability and flexibility. Having four people for crew routine is a bonus but is not the reason in and of itself.

Anyhoo. I don't see the point in "feather-bedding" the fourth crewman in a tank if an auto-loader is required.
 

NavyShooter

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Weight and length are two factors - the real 'concern' would be having a human trying to lift, maneuver, and insert that heavier shell into the breech while the vehicle is moving.

An artillery piece is sitting static when firing - the troops are lifting a heavy shell, but do not have to deal with the additional factor of being on a moving platform and having extra G-loading impacting them as they try to maneuver the round. A tanker has to be able to pull the round out of the ready-use location, probably spin it around, then slam it into the breech, while the tank is driving, going up or down hill, slamming around.

Having a much longer, heavier round in their hands while dealing with the pitching/rolling/yawing movement of the tank is the real hazard.

I suspect that a 120mm is close to the limit of what a person can manage in that kind of environment.
 
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