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M1 Abrams MBT Replacement

marauder2048

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The question is how many LOS "anti-tank" stowed kills is needed?
Why is it strictly an LOS argument? MRM had greater range that surface launched Hellfire and was (I think) just as volumetrically efficient
as AMP or the KE penetrators. If you want lightweight MBT guns they can be made lightweight; they just kick harder.

The gun is giving you that initial impetus for a rocket assisted projectile that's very hard to achieve for the same volume of
all-up ATGM. You could appeal to ETC or other techniques to reduce propellant volumes if you really wanted to improve
loadouts; that doesn't seem to have been a major goal recently.

For the non-AT roles, like say wall breaching, it doesn't look like any of the ATGMs or other missiles are nearly as
efficient (in terms of rounds expended to create the desired hole) as the MBT fired multipurpose rounds.
 

shin_getter

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Well, optimizing the gun for BLOS fires and maximum penetration LOS fires is different so the design have to figure out what to do. Propellant and sabot length are important factors for KE penetration, while BLOS fire favors sheer payload, more modest acceleration, variable charges, high gun elevation and so on. The maintenance of reliable non-Sabot anti-tank ammo means sabot performance is not that important unless one faces minimum range engagements.

From the perspective of upgrading existing tanks, adding sensor masts to tanks for organic turret down capability, combined with good GLATGM option does make some outdated vehicles semi-competitive, on the defense, for cheap.

The talk about LOS is describing what it is exactly I don't think is necessary to preempt counterarguments like:
Omg the APFSDS pen is terrible, this tank is a useless waste of money as "electronics thingys" are all junk if you "insert jamming/emp/lasers/smoke" and swarms of 50+ 152mm armed Armata will start 500meters from you and Zerg you do death. We need liquid propellant 183mm to provide suitable overmatch against Russian swarms across Poland!

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If one starts leaning on indirect fire anti-tank, the role gets mixed up with dedicated howitzers. The question becomes "why not just get more howitzers" and all the arguments about force structure explodes.

The thing to think about is probably whether BLOS gun tubes as a important constraint. If battle network targeting capacity constraints is smaller than fleet weapon rate of fire than adding tubes don't do much, while if the former is plentiful than adding tubes can be helpful. If we are talking about effective high volume targeting by both sides (peer-ish conflict) however, the battle evolves to a artillery duel so the tilt probably falls to more howitzers for the range.

The development of deep battles will also provoke greater defensive capability on part of artillery as they are threatened by recon-fire networks more so than before. Networked early warning, soft kill, armor and some hard kill (against loitering munition/ISR at least: formation based yes, integrated: depends) We can see convergence here.

I guess the end game differentiator will be responsiveness in close combat (things like gun stabilization/handling, organic sensors, etc) and frontal armor trading off improved gun range.
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Some ideas I'm working on:
I.


Then there is autonomous loitering munitions: just fire a swarm of them and not worry about communications as much. I guess the combine arms in this domain, is that the bandwidth and "fast, high performance weapons" get reallocated to reliable defeat of high value targets like AD radars and effective area C-RAM that can neutralize a swarm, while cheap swarms help maintain situation awareness and take out unprotected targets.

One thing that have not fully developed is aerial counter mini-UAV capability: what would it look like and how efficient and how the offense-defense co-evolution work? Prelim thinking is high performance (say fighter) aircraft packing area sensors to direct narrow sensor anti-air drones, with directed energy armed aircraft sweeping the air in more permissive environments. The question is the operating ranges and scale, the size of aircraft deem recovery worthy, and sustainment constraints. how far forward the basing, with what terrain constraints and cycle/pack up time? The answer to these questions will shape the availability of swarm to influence battle on land, and published analysis is limited.

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Some ideas I'm working on:
II.



In any case, for me what is interesting to think about is the future of maneuver as opposed to the vehicle that have a turreted gun.

Having thought about the future deep threat environment, what does the survivability onion say about threat to the "leading" land vehicle?. Note of course you'd send cheap UAV or use long range sensors to scout first.

So what would the leading vehicle face? Well anything standoff sensors can not reliably spot and clear by ranged fire must be dealt with.
1. Stealthy, underground, indoor threats from sensors, mines, tunneled forces, infantry.
2. Fast threats, approaching from outside sensing network range. Enemy ranged fire.
3. Resilient threats: hard to kill at standoff despite detection -> used to be the classical tank, What would this look like today?.

As I see it, the really stealthy threat is volume constrained and it is possible to defend via armor. Fast threats have no hard constraint but is expensive, the question is whether to go expensive and defeat them, or cheap and take attrition.

If we go by mine warfare logic, there is no detecting the threat first, only taking hits and carrying on. Perhaps trying getting the first shot against stealthy platforms is wrong. Perhaps the equation of trying to defeat missile trying to hit slow land vehicle by using projectiles capable of hitting another missile (aka hard target) is a losing proposition.

Perhaps:
1. Really cheap but armored UGVs, demand either hit to kill and/or sizeable warhead (armor can be cheap)
2, with rather poor ranged sensors (sensor arms race gets expensive) as the enemy spots you first always, just have enough (or off board support) to pick up the firing signature to shoot back. Must be able to detect stealthy threats at very short range though, if the opponent tries to hide and fight follow on forces.
3, and not very good firepower (low organic ammo/weapons performance to cut cost/internal volume/weight, provision for but generally not with, higher performance missiles). Off board things can shoot instead.
4. not sure how much mobility do I want this, maybe look at costs first
5. while operating on autonomy, poor behavior reliability means investing much into the platform is a waste anyways.

It is practically a decoy but real enough to force a real response, ranged interdiction fires have lowest effect relative effect compared to different vehicle designs.
 
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GTX

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A step towards the future:


 

GTX

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sean hunter

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would be hilarius to put an m109 howitzer in the place of the hypervelocity cannon. would reduce performance.
 

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What effect has the fitting of the MTU diesel had on the performance of the M1A3?
 

GTX

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What effect has the fitting of the MTU diesel had on the performance of the M1A3?
Has this actually been built and trialed? Apart from the one off demonstrator shown at AUSA years ago (see below), I'm not aware of any other.

EY7m6QwXYAAN7pF
 

JohnR

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Apologies, I read an article on Global Security which I took to mean the M1A3 had started to enter service, teach me to read more slowly.
 

Moose

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Apologies, I read an article on Global Security which I took to mean the M1A3 had started to enter service, teach me to read more slowly.
GS isn't what it once was, some of the articles aren't worth your time these days.
 

Ravinoff

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What effect has the fitting of the MTU diesel had on the performance of the M1A3?
Has this actually been built and trialed? Apart from the one off demonstrator shown at AUSA years ago (see below), I'm not aware of any other.

EY7m6QwXYAAN7pF
According to this a variant using a 1500hp MTU was tested in 2000. And in the '80s the M1 CATTB was fitted with a 1450hp Cummins XAV-28 V-12 diesel, but that thing was hella weird and used the same oil for cooling and lubrication.
 

phil gollin

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.

Have there been any feedback (official, or "unofficial") on the experiences of the Russians with their experimental/pre-production T-14 Armata tanks ?

Is the three man crew with unmanned turret regarded as a practicable, workable solution ?

.
 

uk 75

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When the M1 was developed, the US Army was focussed on the defence of West Germany from masses of Soviet tanks so weight was not a great issue.
Since 1991 the M1 has been mainly used in the peace enforcement role from Bosnia to Iraq/Afghanistan. Apart from Iraqi T72s it has not had to kill enemy tanks and certainly none of the post-Soviet Russian or Chinese designs.
Back in the day when the latest Sov tank drove NATO tank design it was a whole lot easier, but we still got lemons like the M60A2.
 

shin_getter

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Some thoughts:

Disaggregate sensor and shooter? Had that with WWI artillery, the fundamental limitation remains (response time, reliability, etc). Direct fire weapons can get firing data via narrow view organic sensors fairly cheaply and simply compared to datalinks. What all this adds up is artillery is improving, which is no news. Disaggregation also is not directly related to crews, especially in an AI enabled environment.

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Some people want say magical new tech and tactics will mark a return to old tank concepts, but that just isn't so: the change from passive defense to alternative methods is one matching the change from 8" gun armed cruisers to missile armed ones.

A combat vehicle is optimized for its operating environment, and the modern environment involves a huge volume of low cost, long range, easy to employ, "low tech" munitions from loitering munitions to various missiles. Defeating such weapons is of greater value than defeating rare weapons like tank sabots.

An arms race between attack and defense will naturally happen, and unless the defense cost curve invalidates the attack concept completely or is completely useless, increasing cost and payload fraction can improve performance. A tank with $1mil 500kg APS would lead to missile countermeasures/tactics which defeats such defenses, and "next gen" systems of $2mil system 1ton APS system gets developed and so and so on. Given that $30mil Air defense vehicles commonly failed to defeat attacking munitions, and $3bil 10,000ton AD ships are still vulnerable to missiles, the upper limit to offense/defense evolution is far beyond $10mil 70ton platform.

It is however wrong to assert that because defense can not cost effectively defeat offense that it is not valuable: many missions can not be achieved by offensive firepower alone. Submarines and naval bombers can't escort a merchantman, while artillery and standoff munitions can't protect trucks. Note that with new offensive platforms, the defensive mission is now the focus.

Intercepting very high speed, numerous, low signature, targets like munitions require high performance sensors, weapons and fire control. It is easy to extend this capability via multi-functionality for a 80% solution than purchase specialized systems that nonetheless need escorts to be functional. The vulnerability of sensors means armor defeat is not necessary for effectiveness, and faster sensing and opponent sensor kill is sufficient for superiority. Improving masts and micro-air vehicles means detection ranges increase, and the side that can keep their own sensors alive (C-RAM protection) while defeating enemy sensors (anti-aerial observation firepower, long Range strike) have a huge advantage.

I think strapping anti-tank weapons to C-RAM capable (soft and hard kill) vehicles is what'd define the front edge of heavy maneuver formations. Moving up from a 0.5ton APS system to a 30+ton AD system greatly improves capability to defeat munitions and sensors a lot, especially on a formation level when it enables mutual support. Moving up from an heavy ATGM tubes of a 1ton, plus ~10 tons of fragmentation protection armor to 40tons of armor and 10tons of HV gun do not provide all that much over match in the vehicle fight. For other mobile land targets, a MBT gun is overkill while AD capable autocannon have faster engagement times and cycles, greater ammo efficiency. With DEW laser AD vehicle, the ammo efficiency is absurd in the sensor kill sense, and wide area blinding would enable huge advantage against EOIR limited opponents.

There are niches that tanks fit best even in this environment, but it isn't general maneuver:
First is against opponents without huge volumes of missile and long range fire (lowering defensive fire needs) while behind in direct fire contest. Those are non-peers.

Second is urban warfare. Interception and anti-sensor defense don't work in point blank fights. The opponent weapon is also volume, weight and time constrained (man portable systems in constrained space under suppressive fire), as opposed to cost constrained for mech on mech fights, so enough armor is actually possible. Men and robots in buildings are also the case of mobile, stealthy, very resilient and yet cheap and numerous targets: a tank gun have the economy and performance to do the job. Artillery is limited by geometry, response time, and the difficulty in observing opponents moving in this environment, while smaller weapons often just lack power.
 
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