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M1 Abrams MBT Replacement

rabid stoat

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My first post, I think. Bear with me...

I've tried several times now to find more info on this Abrams CATTB (Component Advanced Technology TestBed), but Google and co lead me to VERY limited information. Text in the pic tell you all I know. Does Anyone know if Jane's International Defence Review is archived online anywhere?
 

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Antonio

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Found that pic on a Spanish newpaper from 1991. Anybody knows details about it?
 

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Abraham Gubler

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Its just a nice drawing for what the Future Main Battle Tank (FMBT) could look like. In the end it turned out looking like this (XM1201, the XM1202 is similar but with bigger gun):
 

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Antonio

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Thanks Abraham

Antonio
 

Antonio

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Kadija_Man

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pometablava said:
Found that pic on a Spanish newpaper from 1991. Anybody knows details about it?
I remember it when it was going the rounds of the various defence journals. It was used in some advertising and intended to be an "artist's impression" of what a possible future MBT would look like, rather than a serious contender for the M1's replacement. It was supposed to feature modular armour which could be added depending upon what threat it was felt it would be facing, while the basic vehicle would be light enough to be easily air-transportable.
 

flateric

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FCS FMBT concept from Western Design HOWDEN (WDH)

The Future Combat System (FCS) - A Technology Evolution Review and Feasibility Assessment
by Asher H. Sharoni and Lawrence D. Bacon

ARMOR — July-August 1997
 

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Antonio

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Thanks Flateric!,

I find a very interesting feature in this design which is its main weapon.

Does it means that the big classical guns are obsolete for future MBT?

Is the MBT role evolving to act in a different role according to that change in its main weapon?
 

flateric

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Oh, here's the link to original article http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/news/1997/4fcs97.pdf
 

Ranger6

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pometablava said:
Does it means that the big classical guns are obsolete for future MBT?

Is the MBT role evolving to act in a different role according to that change in its main weapon?
Pometavlaba:

What all this means is that the US Army's concept of an FCS is still very much in a state of flux (you might also want to see the discussion on the FCS thread from late last year and early this year -- I can't seem to insert the link, but it was quite a heated discussion).

As matters stand now, the Future MBT is on hold. The FCS Mounted Combat System (MCS) is supposed to supplement the Abrams and possibly replace it in some roles. However, because the MCS is basically a light tank (weight is supposed to be 24 short tons), it will not completely replace the Abrams. The latter, indeed, is supposed to remain in service in one guise or another until at least 2050.

Regarding major caliber weapons: The MCS is going to mount a 120MM gun; efforts to produce weapons in larger calibers have not yet succeeded in an unequivocla fashion. Thus, in the 1990s it was widely reported that the US, Germany, Switzerland, and Israel were developing 140MM MBT guns. None have come into service. The truth is, that the bigger the gun, the more unwieldy the ammunition is and the greater the need for an autoloader, which complicates the vehicle to a point where it might no longer be economical. That doesn't mean that there won't be an MBT with a large caliber gun in the US Army's future, just not in the immediate future.

And BTW, the utility and wisdom of replacing a 60+ ton MBT with a 24 ton "MCS" is being hotly debated within the ranks of the Army's TRADOC and TACOM.

R6
(AKA Abraham E.)
 

Kadija_Man

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Pah! They should go straight to a 7.2in gun, like the FV4005 had!

 

Ranger6

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Rickshaw:

I'm not sure that would necessarily solve the problem -- but that sure does look like an awesome tank killer. You wouldn't have a three view and specs for that puppy would you?

R6
 

robunos

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You wouldn't have a three view and specs for that puppy would you?
don't know if this link's of any help..

http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/7413/conway.html

cheers,
Robin.
 

Just call me Ray

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The FCS concept that Flateric posted appears to have a railgun, so small projectile, but lots of bang in that projectile :)
 

Antonio

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Thanks a lot for that comprehensive post Ranger6.

Antonio
 

Abraham Gubler

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Ranger6 said:
As matters stand now, the Future MBT is on hold. The FCS Mounted Combat System (MCS) is supposed to supplement the Abrams and possibly replace it in some roles. However, because the MCS is basically a light tank (weight is supposed to be 24 short tons), it will not completely replace the Abrams. The latter, indeed, is supposed to remain in service in one guise or another until at least 2050.
There is NO Future MBT program. The only reason the FCS XM1203 MCS won't replace all M1 tanks before 2050 is the US Army doesn't have the budget to build enough. As for a MLC30 vehicle replacing an MLC70 vehicle... Well if they were both designed and built with the same technology weight would be an adequate measure of comparison. But since there are 30 years separating the two and a massive range of design and technology features it’s a very inaccurate measure.

Any way the REAL project from the 1980s to replace the M1 was the Block III tank. The Block II tank being the M1A2/M1A1D aka M1A1 AIM. The idea was to use a base M1 hull but with crew in hull configuration and modular assembly so it could cover a range of missions.
 

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Firefly 2

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Field artillery???

Not unlike the French who placed a AUF1 turret on the AMX30 chassis.
These are probably feasability studies without further info? I would love to know more about that artillery system.
 

flateric

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Abraham Gubler said:
Any way the REAL project from the 1980s to replace the M1 was the Block III tank.
I suspect this illustration goes from R.P.Hunnicutt's 'Abrams. A history of American main battle tank Vol.2.' — Presidio Press, 1990?
 

Kadija_Man

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flateric said:
Abraham Gubler said:
Any way the REAL project from the 1980s to replace the M1 was the Block III tank.
I suspect this illustration goes from R.P.Hunnicutt's 'Abrams. A history of American main battle tank Vol.2.' — Presidio Press, 1990?
I suspect the illustration is very general indeed. The IFV has merely a turret plonked into the middle of a tank hull. Where do the infantry sit and how do the debus? Over the sides?
 

Abraham Gubler

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The drawings don't represent actual serious engineering studies because at that stage the Block III tank was only a concept. Kind of like those early FCS drawings showing wheeled vehicles and the like. But the idea was to leverage the M1 vehicle with a crew in hull configuration.

There was an old Armor Magazine with a pre-Crusader concept for a 155mm L52 SPH version of the M1 tank.

https://www.knox.army.mil/center/ocoa/armormag/backissues/1990s/1995/nd95/6chassis95.pdf

But it was another Western Design Howden (WDH) concept like that 1990s EML gun tank.
 

Abraham Gubler

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If you want to read a good then contemporary article about how the US Army approached the Future MBT between Block III and FCS. Then check out:

A Future U.S. Main Battle Tank For the Year 2010 — A New Vision
by J.B. Gilvydis
https://www.knox.army.mil/center/ocoa/armormag/backissues/1990s/1994/Mj94/3gilvydis94.pdf
 

RobertWL

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I have a picture of what was 'suppose' to a model of the Block III MBT, and whenever I get my computer back I'll post it. But finding information on the Block III and Armor Modernization Program it fell under has kinda been the holy grail for me. :/
 

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Greetings everyone, if I recall the Block III tank was originally supposed to be a heavily upgraded Abrams, but eventually became a whole new design with a common hull that would serve as the basis for a future SPG (which became the Crusader), a future infantry fighting vehicle, and an engineering vehicle.

A heavily modified Abrams called the CATTB was used to test technologies that may have been included on the Block III tank. As far as I know however the actual Block III design never made it to prototype stage.

The Block III tank along with the rest of the AMS (Armored Systems Modernization) program was killed off by post Cold War budget cuts and the switch to the whole lighter Future Combat Systems concept.
 

Just call me Ray

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The last two links Abraham posted don't work for me :( Even though all the ones he posted on the front page, and all images, do
 

RobertWL

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Here is the picture I have of whats 'suppose' to be the Block III MBT. I also found some posts I kept from another message board years ago with some details on it.

The Block III Abrams concept is indeed drying up, due to the M-1A1's success in the Gulf
War (which proves that the design still has a lot of life in it....now as M-1A2), as well as
the breakup of the Soviet Union. However, a lot can change over the next decade.....

The Block III Abrams concept focused primarily on a new main gun (most likely XM-291
140mm conventional main gun), as well as an autoloader to replace the human loader.

Based upon Jane's Armor and Artillery, as well as Steve Zaloga's New Vanguard M1
Abrams book, both Conventional turrets and external guns were considered (the external
gun concept appeared to have 2-3 crewmembers in the hull), as were multiple
Television/Thermal scopes and/or Millimeter Wave Radar Sensors. Millimeter wave radar
enables the gunner to see through thermal blocking smoke and extreme fog. The radar
system also enables the computer to track the outbound round and provide correction
factors, which would mitigate downrange crosswind errors (current crosswind sensors
just detect the wind around the tank, not the wind 1-4 km downrange). The testbeds
used for these concepts were the CCTB (Close-Combat Test bed) and the CATTB
(Components Advanced Technology Test Bed).

A new powerplant, the AIPS (Advanced Integrated Propulsion System) was also looked
at. It would offer an approx. 1650 HP turbine engine in about half the space of the
current 1500 HP model, and would offer fuel savings.

An active defense System, the multiround smoke grenade launcher, appeared similar to
Shtora, but without the Optical Dazzlers. The system focused on detecting enemy laser
rangefinders/designators then firing a Thermal blocking smoke grenade in that direction.
The system could also fire grenades upwards, giving hemispherical 360 degree protection.
This system can be added to all current M-1 tanks.

The Block III tank was axed for the following reasons.

[1] Soviet Union collapsed, which slowed down tank competition.

[2] The 120mm main gun still has plenty of life in it. Take for instance M829A3 and the L55 120mm gun.

[3] The M-1A2 has plenty of life in it and can take many of the above listed upgrades to
make a simpler M-1A3.

[4] Since the Cold War ended, funding is short. Current funds are a "Near term/far term"
mix: M-1A2 SEP and M-1A1D for near term, and the 2 man (or robotic) Future Combat
System for the future. Block III was caught in the crossfire and was canceled.
There was also a proposal/paper concept called the Future Main Battle Tank ((FMBT)) which was intended as a bridge between the Abrams and FCS, a 55 Ton MBT with a 120mm Cannon plus Autoloader. It was also suppose to have a front mounted engine. ((Which makes me wonder if perhaps the Block III did as well? Would make since with the IFV version)) And I have a little information on it, but not much. These guys were tankers and have given me more hard information on this program then anything. Actually, the only element of the ASM Program to survive to prototype stages was the Crusader which of course was canned as well.
 

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Speedy

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Hi
robunos said:
http://www.geocities.com/Pentagon/Quarters/7413/conway.html
Maybe someone know something more about this 183 mm gun? Ballistics, ammunition etc.? I try to find something but I can't. I found only that there was one more British AT vehicle with 180 mm gun (probably the same 7,2"?), Conqueror-based FV215B.
 

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Not much. It was designated L4, calibre 7.2" (or 183 mm), developed for HESH rounds only. Tested on FV4005 stage 1 and 2, plus FV215B (aka heavy tank no. 2). Program was probably started around 1950, one year later it was found at US-UK-Canada conference to be possibly nice anti-IStank gun for future vehicles, and tested untill ca. 1957 when cancelled.
 

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I've dug up some photos of the CATTB over the years but I think most of them can be found easily online. Supposedly the XM291 cannon was used for ETC technology development and then later used (in 120mm format) on the M8 "Thunderbolt" technology demonstrator. I've heard some people claim the turret is based off the Leopard 2 but I don't know what that is based on.

This document has a lot of information beyond my expertise about stresses on the hull and turret. I don't know if anything else useful can be gathered from it, but here is a link.

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/GetTRDoc?AD=ADA228389&Location=U2&doc=GetTRDoc.pdf
 

bobbymike

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Silicon Makes It All Better - From Strategy Page

August 11, 2010: Over the last five years, the U.S. Army has had to reform the way it takes care of its M-1 tanks and their components. Given that these tanks are now full of computers, as is the army in general, new maintenance and supply systems could be connected to the Internet. This made it possible to better monitor the status of armored vehicles, and improve maintenance and rebuilding of some components. In particular, the 1500 horsepower gas turbine engine of the M-1 has seen downtime reduced considerably, along with the cost of maintenance. The service life of rebuilt engines has doubled, to 1,400 hours. The gas turbine engines are, essentially, jet engines, and they took a beating in Iraq (with all the sand and airborne grit.) Maintaining jet engines is a tricky business, but the army was doing this for its helicopter fleet several decades before the M-1 came along. But all those computers and the Internet allowed for unprecedented precision and timeliness when it came to maintenance.

All this is the result of the impressive performance of the U.S. M-1 tank in Iraq. Not just during the 2003 invasion, but during the five years spent battling Islamic terrorists after that. All this prompted the army to scrap plans to retire the M-1, and replace it with a radical new FCS (Future Combat System) design. None of the proposed FCS designs showed much potential, especially compared to how well the M-1 was doing.

This led to upgrades for the M1 tank. Now there's an M1A3 version of the M1 in the works. This would be a radical upgrade, compared to previous ones. It would even be possible to make the 62 ton M-1A2 a few tons lighter. This would involve a lightweight 120mm gun, which would allow for the installation of an autoloader, new fiber optic wiring, and new (and lighter) armor. A new engine and running gear would also save weight. The M-1A3 might get down to 55 tons, or less.

But the most important changes would be the new computers, communication, sensors and navigation gear intended for the unrealized FCS tank. The FCS vehicle was to use new heavy weapons, that fire guided projectiles to a range of 12 kilometers. These can also be mounted in the M-1A3.

There would be no new tanks built, just upgrades of existing ones. Nearly 9,000 M-1s were manufactured during the 1980s and 90s. The U.S. Army and Marines only use about 1,600 now, with foreign operators accounting for another 1,500. So there are plenty of older M-1s in storage, ready for upgrading. The M-1A3 could remain in service for another forty years or more.
 

Ranger6

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pometablava said:
Thanks a lot for that comprehensive post Ranger6.

Antonio
Any time Antonio! Sorry for the delay in responding -- I've been out of commission due to health problems :-[ -- but I'm back now.

Regards,

R6
 

Grey Havoc

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From 1991, a RAND report regarding the results of an "analytic exploration of future armored
vehicle designs", carried out on behalf of DARPA:

An Exploration of Integrated Ground Weapons Concepts for Armor/Anti-Armor Missions

We developed four designs for a near-term MBT. All have large (-140-mm) solid propellent
guns, carousel autoloaders, and telescopic sensor masts. All use 95th percentile crew
members, and to the degree possible, all achieve the same armor protection levels and have
the same propulsion, suspension, and electronics. The first of the four configurations is a
remote gun design with two men in the hull. This is something of a baseline, since it is the
smallest and lightest (55 tons) of the designs. For comparison, the current M1-A1 weighs
some 63-66 tons, is 41 in. longer, and has a turret cross-section area roughly twice as large
from the front and 60 percent larger from the side. The second MBT design expands this to
include three men in the hull, with the crew staggered (three abreast does not allow sufficient
side armor for the crew compartment). This vehicle adds 30 in. in length and 5.5 tons
to the two-man system, but has advantages in crew tasking and habitability. The third
design places two men in the hull and one behind the turret, still with a remote gun. This
design gives the commander good overall viewing and orientation with the gun, but results in
special vulnerabilities and major weight penalties (74.5 ton estimate). The fourth design is a
more conventional manned turret design, with a driver in the hull and two crewmen in the
turret. It is somewhat comparable to the new French LeClerc, but with a larger gun and
more armor. The problems are a massive turret and increased crew vulnerability. The estimated
weight is 74 tons.
 

Avimimus

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Thanks for posting that. It is a really neat study that is high enough quality that it almost certainly parallels the thinking in classified sources to some extent. Interesting overlap with a lot of the Soviet concepts in the 1980s.

I wonder if the simulation is accurate though (regarding how lopsided the exchange ratio would be).
 

F-14D

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Interestingly, Poland has actually built a prototype of such a tank


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I5tzKYwpT1o

http://www.armyrecognition.com/poland_polish_tanks_heavy_armoured_vehicles_uk/pl-01_concept_direct_fire_support_vehicle_technical_data_sheet_specifications_pictures_video.html
 

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I remember seeing a TV programme a few years ago, that feature a prototype or technology demonstrator of a tank that was about 2/3 of the size of an M1 and had a hexagonal gun tube. Has anyone got any details on this?

Regards
 

bobbymike

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JohnR said:
I remember seeing a TV programme a few years ago, that feature a prototype or technology demonstrator of a tank that was about 2/3 of the size of an M1 and had a hexagonal gun tube. Has anyone got any details on this?

Regards
I know the show and have a VHS tape somewhere (indication how old the show is) but if I recall it was like a giant had squished an Abrams.

See if I can locate it anywhere.
 
C

CostasTT

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JohnR said:
I remember seeing a TV programme a few years ago, that feature a prototype or technology demonstrator of a tank that was about 2/3 of the size of an M1 and had a hexagonal gun tube. Has anyone got any details on this?

Regards
All I have is the pictures below... And a link: http://www.militaryphotos.net/forums/showthread.php?89616-the-new-US-tank
 

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TomS

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I saw this at a couple of trade shows circa mid to late 1990s. Not many more detail except that it had a two-man crew and was very preliminary. IIRC, the turret was plywood at this stage.
 

bobbymike

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Grey Havoc said:
From 1991, a RAND report regarding the results of an "analytic exploration of future armored
vehicle designs", carried out on behalf of DARPA:

An Exploration of Integrated Ground Weapons Concepts for Armor/Anti-Armor Missions

We developed four designs for a near-term MBT. All have large (-140-mm) solid propellent
guns, carousel autoloaders, and telescopic sensor masts. All use 95th percentile crew
members, and to the degree possible, all achieve the same armor protection levels and have
the same propulsion, suspension, and electronics. The first of the four configurations is a
remote gun design with two men in the hull. This is something of a baseline, since it is the
smallest and lightest (55 tons) of the designs. For comparison, the current M1-A1 weighs
some 63-66 tons, is 41 in. longer, and has a turret cross-section area roughly twice as large
from the front and 60 percent larger from the side. The second MBT design expands this to
include three men in the hull, with the crew staggered (three abreast does not allow sufficient
side armor for the crew compartment). This vehicle adds 30 in. in length and 5.5 tons
to the two-man system, but has advantages in crew tasking and habitability. The third
design places two men in the hull and one behind the turret, still with a remote gun. This
design gives the commander good overall viewing and orientation with the gun, but results in
special vulnerabilities and major weight penalties (74.5 ton estimate). The fourth design is a
more conventional manned turret design, with a driver in the hull and two crewmen in the
turret. It is somewhat comparable to the new French LeClerc, but with a larger gun and
more armor. The problems are a massive turret and increased crew vulnerability. The estimated
weight is 74 tons.
Thanks for the document link some very interesting concepts carrying hypervelocity missiles. I have always wondered why the Army hasn't pursued putting LOSAT or CKEM on many vehicles (meaning LAV's, Humvees, other light vehicles) to me they would even be effective in places like A-Stan, a hell of a 'door knocker' on fortified structures.
 
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