M1 Abrams MBT Replacement

Foo Fighter

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Our 120mm was two piece, rounds in the turret and bag charges in the hull in double skin water filled containers. Then again, ranging was achieved with a .5" Browning mg firing triple taps.

The latest news on the Challenger 2 is that it will be getting the MTU 1500hp engine and a Renk gearbox along with the Rheinmetal 120mm L55 which I think is a counter intuitive and derogatory backwards step rather than an upgrade. Pity they could not get upgrades instead.
 

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https://www.defensenews.com/industry/techwatch/2018/02/07/nexter-foresees-future-tank-prototype-contract-talks-ai-and-robot-aspirations/
 

Kadija_Man

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Foo Fighter said:
Our 120mm was two piece, rounds in the turret and bag charges in the hull in double skin water filled containers. Then again, ranging was achieved with a .5" Browning mg firing triple taps.
Until they were the first to introduce laser range finding and ballistic computers to tanks.

Today, they use lasers, meteorological sensors and ballistic computers to work out Fire Control Solutions.

The latest news on the Challenger 2 is that it will be getting the MTU 1500hp engine and a Renk gearbox along with the Rheinmetal 120mm L55 which I think is a counter intuitive and derogatory backwards step rather than an upgrade. Pity they could not get upgrades instead.
Installing a rifled 120mm gun is a good first step. From there, larger guns can be installed. The real problem is reworking the ammunition stowage in the fighting compartment. Perhaps installing an autoloader as well. There is still a lot of "oomph!" in the 120mm round.
 

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sferrin said:
Colonial-Marine said:
The M1 may be a good place to start with yet there is a whole lot to do in my opinion. I think the basic turret layout could use some rework at this point due to the need to fit an active protection system and all that involves. I have to give the Israeli's credit for doing a really good job at seamlessly integrating Trophy onto the Merkava IV.

Whatever happened to that 140mm gun tested by the US and others that several NATO countries hoped to utilize on a future main battle tank?
Or even an L55 with a DU round (M829A4 if it would work).
XM256E1 died because it would have required replacing the gun laying drives and adding counterweights to balance the gun. Given the performance of M829 series ammo with the L/55, it's also not worth it.

Kadija_Man said:
All reasons why an autoloader would be necessary. While the US may have a surplus of large muscled men, most other Western European nations were looking at a decrease due to the end of the baby-boom when the Cold War ended. They were looking seriously at the need to introduce female soldiers to make up the shortfall.
Building muscle is easy. Just go to the gym. Needing four arms isn't so easy a fix. As illustrated, each piece of 140mm ATAC's ammunition was the size of a 120mm round.

The "Leopard 2-140" used a really awkward semi-automatic system where the front ammunition rack held the projectile end of the 140mm round and the rear bustle held the propellant-primer charge. The human loader rammed a projectile into the gun and the autoloader finished the job and closed the breech. It may have been the other way around though. That's not really workable in practice, but KWS III was the German equivalent of the American Thumper. It was to see what changes would be needed to Leopard 2 to make carry the 140mm. Turns out it would need a new turret entirely. So KWS III died and KWS I/II lived because they were just armor and fire control updates to the existing turrets.

Kadija_Man said:
Still nothing about a supposed replacement for the M1. A great deal of discussion about the Soviet Union/Russian strategic viewpoint but not about the US's. Nor about what is going to replace the M1.

I'd suggest more M1s, actually. Up the power, up the armour, up the gun. Perhaps the new Rhienmettal 130mm gun? Alternatively, reduce the power of the gun and put in place, as the armour killer, a battery of ATGWs. Bill or Spike like. Use the gun for the direct support of infantry.

So, let us discuss that idea, not the Russian views about China (which are BTW, incorrect as far as I can tell) nor the Chinese views about Russia.
At this point the USA is going to be buying Leopard 3s in the 2040s when Rheinmetall can finish their work on it and get them in mass production. The last Abrams will probably not be hugely different from the current Abrams. Different armor package, maybe. Better ammo. Newer computers. But no new engine and no new gun. It'll be fobbing off Abrams to the National Guard for decades after the Regular Army gets Leopard 3s, though, much like the National Guard still toils in the M1A1 and toiled in M48A5 in the early 1990s.

It could change in the future, but the USA is currently going through a series of annual growth rates reminiscent of the early 1970s Brezhnev era.

The ideal replacement for M1 would be to make something like TTB powered by AIPS (or GD's MTU 883) and using the 140mm ATAC. All this technology exists, it's relatively modern (1990s), and it's basically what Russia did to make T-14 i.e. dig up a bunch of Cold War fossils from Kubinka and kitbash them together because Object 195 exploded like the Soviet Union when its fire control system failed to materialize. At the moment all America can do is make incremental improvements to M1, ignoring large bits like engines and guns, and making small bits like armor and thermal sights instead. Not bad, but not great, just OK.
 

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If the money exists to buy a Leopard 3 surely we'd be better off designing our own new MBT and retaining those skill sets.

But why not make a more extensive upgrade of the M1 in the short term? Improved turret with appropriate stabilization for longer or larger guns, maybe an autoloader, new engine and suspension upgrades as have been pitched by manufacturers in recent years, and mixed APS. Anything else? Personally I like the idea of a heavier secondary armament but many tankers I've spoken to say they'd rather have more main gun ammunition instead.

Looking it over it seems the end product would be mostly a new tank. So it's the age-old question of how far do you build off an existing design versus starting fresh.
 

marauder2048

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The reduction in ammunition stowage and the cumbersome loading
were in part why the 140mm never progressed. That and it pretty much
required ETC (or other complicated ignition methods) to get reliable and uniform ignition.

ETC would have also facilitated fire-out-of-battery because the muzzle brake that
was envisioned would have had obscuration issues.

This does bring up a need for MMW imagers (possibly passive) to help with
quick follow-up shots and to deal with IR/laser screening smoke; ViSAR recently
demonstrated close to 50W @ 231 - 235 GHz.
 

Foo Fighter

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The hull and turret architecture are not exactly expensive to develop in the greater scheme of things, consider the previous use of alternate turrets on developed hulls in the past for example. This would allow proper consideration to new technology to be introduced. It would be possible to for example, introduce a hybrid power unit/transmission and even an engine forward hull.

My understanding of the rheinmetal gun is that it has a smooth bore barrel not rifled.

"Until they were the first to introduce laser range finding and ballistic computers to tanks.

Today, they use lasers, meteorological sensors and ballistic computers to work out Fire Control Solutions".

I can remember the early laser range finders, very odd results for a long time which required the fitment of a 'second logic' button. All very odd but part of the development fun.
 

Kadija_Man

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Foo Fighter said:
The hull and turret architecture are not exactly expensive to develop in the greater scheme of things, consider the previous use of alternate turrets on developed hulls in the past for example. This would allow proper consideration to new technology to be introduced. It would be possible to for example, introduce a hybrid power unit/transmission and even an engine forward hull.

My understanding of the rheinmetal gun is that it has a smooth bore barrel not rifled.

"Until they were the first to introduce laser range finding and ballistic computers to tanks.

Today, they use lasers, meteorological sensors and ballistic computers to work out Fire Control Solutions".

I can remember the early laser range finders, very odd results for a long time which required the fitment of a 'second logic' button. All very odd but part of the development fun.
I remember many years ago watching the BBC report on the introduction of the Laser range finder to the Chieftain. They put it up against an older model with a .50in spotting gun. The Laser range finder missed. The .50in gun did not. Reflections were a real problem apparently with the early Lasers.
 

Foo Fighter

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Yes, interesting times. We had a batch delivered which had the bottom prism reversed which meant a less than timely return for a fix. Did very little to help the testing schedule. Modern sensors are fascinating with many avenues used to achieve the same goal. I wonder if Lidar is being considered yet.
 

Kadija_Man

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Foo Fighter said:
Yes, interesting times. We had a batch delivered which had the bottom prism reversed which meant a less than timely return for a fix. Did very little to help the testing schedule. Modern sensors are fascinating with many avenues used to achieve the same goal. I wonder if Lidar is being considered yet.
The Americans have put mm wave radar into an M1 in a "hunter-killer" set up.
 

sferrin

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Kadija_Man said:
Foo Fighter said:
Yes, interesting times. We had a batch delivered which had the bottom prism reversed which meant a less than timely return for a fix. Did very little to help the testing schedule. Modern sensors are fascinating with many avenues used to achieve the same goal. I wonder if Lidar is being considered yet.
The Americans have put mm wave radar into an M1 in a "hunter-killer" set up.
I'd think that'd pretty much say, "hey everybody, I'm right here". Would anybody want to turn it on?
 

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Depends on how it's used, especially since OPFOR does not carry any ESM that I am aware of to even detect it. If it's a decent LPI set then there should not be a problem.

5 Minutes of Google-Fu could only turn up MMW being part of an APS system like Trophy which means it's extremely short range at best.
 

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mm wavelength radar is known for short ranges, but those short ranges still add up to several kilometres in the Longbow radar and some others.
mmW is not very accurate at rangefinding, but capable of creating imagery without SAR tricks.

The addition of mmW radar to tanks for APS and as complementary sensor to IIR will likely drive up the costs even further - MBTs risk becoming too expensive.

It doesn't help to calculate that a tank with it will be so and so much more effective ceteris paribus. In the end, the rise in the costs of current tanks (even a plain IFV like Puma is at € 7 million drive away costs, 10+ if you add the periphery) may make them unaffordable in the necessary quantities.

A German army that goes down to 200 Leopard 3 for maybe six brigades would badly lack in MBT power compared to the cost equivalent of 2,000 T-90s, for example.
 

Foo Fighter

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I mentioned lidar as it is extremely accurate in an all aspect way. Smoke and other ways a target can be obscured would not be a problem and a short 360 would enable ranges to landmarks in a defended position for those times it gets loud.
 

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Sorry that I was not clear enough. While MMW is "short ranged" in it's own right (ie Longbow vs a fighter's X-Band radar), the MMW on Trophy is much shorter still (likely less than 1 mile) due to smaller antenna and lower power.
 

marauder2048

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sferrin said:
Kadija_Man said:
Foo Fighter said:
Yes, interesting times. We had a batch delivered which had the bottom prism reversed which meant a less than timely return for a fix. Did very little to help the testing schedule. Modern sensors are fascinating with many avenues used to achieve the same goal. I wonder if Lidar is being considered yet.
The Americans have put mm wave radar into an M1 in a "hunter-killer" set up.
I'd think that'd pretty much say, "hey everybody, I'm right here". Would anybody want to turn it on?
MTAS was ultimately basis for a fire control system for a command guided projectile (X-ROD).
Also you would use it to defeat screening smoke or obscuration (including ownship-induced).

My view is that the best place for the MMW emitter would be offboard (UGV) hence the passive MMW
remark I made above.

Not sure I fully buy the claim that MMW is prohibitively expensive since it can and is riding a consumer market e.g.
5G, medical imaging, autonomous cars, aviation DVE.
 

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Wasn't some sort of MMW radar included in the fire control system of both the Russian T-14 and "T-95"/Objekt 195?
 

bobbymike

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http://www.janes.com/article/78099/challenger-2-mbt-lep-selection-draws-closer?utm_campaign=CL_Jane%27s%20360-Feb-23-2017_PC5308_e-production_E-6951_KP_0223_0500&utm_medium=email&utm_source=Eloqua

The 24-month Assessment Phase (AP) to determine the winning bidder for the British Army Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) Life Extension Programme (LEP) is due to be completed at the end of 2018.

Two competitors – a BAE Systems-led team that includes General Dynamics Land Systems UK, and Rheinmetall – are bidding for the opportunity to update 227 Challenger 2 MBTs operated by the service’s three Armoured Infantry Brigades as well as training contingents in Canada and the United Kingdom.
 

Foo Fighter

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I suppose they will want to introduce the new 24 fl oz cup holders too, that will bump up the budget a bit.
 

bring_it_on

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22zgc9SEpYk&t=3s
 

bobbymike

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https://www.military.com/kitup/2018/03/26/army-test-first-next-gen-ground-combat-vehicles-2019.html

Army maneuver officials on Monday said the service's Next Generation Combat Vehicle will allow it to team manned and unmanned vehicles and create an unbeatable overmatch against enemy armored forces.

Developing the NGCV to replace the fleet of Cold-War era M1 Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles is the Army's second modernization priority under a new strategy to reform acquisition and modernization.

The Army intends to stand up a new Futures Command this summer, which will oversee cross-functional teams that focus on each of the of the service's six modernization priorities: long-range precision fires; next-generation combat vehicle; future vertical lift; a mobile and expeditionary network; air and missile defense capabilities; and soldier lethality.

"The Next Generation Combat Vehicle needs to be revolutionary," Gen Robert Abrams, commander of Forces Command, told an audience at the Association of the United States Army's Global Force Symposium.

"It's got to be 10X better than our current fleet and guarantee our overmatch into the future."
 

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for marauder2048

ref: whether robot tanks in Syria


https://www.c4isrnet.com/unmanned/2018/05/07/russia-confirms-its-armed-robot-tank-was-in-syria/?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=DFN%20DNR%205/8/18&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Daily%20News%20Roundup
 

jsport

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https://www.military.com/defensetech/2018/05/16/army-begin-equipping-heavy-units-active-protection-2020.html?utm_source=Sailthru&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=ebb%2017.05.18&utm_term=Editorial%20-%20Military%20-%20Early%20Bird%20Brief

The Army has the gall to claim US companies aren't ready for APS production when Army incompetence for 20yrs has killed US APS systems like Quick Kill et al.
 

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https://breakingdefense.com/2018/06/army-pushes-bradley-replacement-cautious-on-armed-robots/

he Army is accelerating its efforts to replace the M2 Bradley troop carrier while giving itself “a little more time” to develop a Robotic Combat Vehicle, a senior official told reporters. Exact timelines remain “in a state of flux” pending a July meeting with Army leaders, said John Miller, a senior member of the Fort Benning-based Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) Cross Functional Team. NGCV is No. 2 of the Army’s Big Six modernization priorities.

“Recent guidance from Army senior leadership has us looking at, emphasizing, Bradley replacement,” Miller told reporters in a conference call. “What we have now done is moved to accelerate our optionally manned fighting vehicle, the Bradley replacement, and we want to be able to focus on that.”
 

jsport

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bobbymike said:
https://breakingdefense.com/2018/06/army-pushes-bradley-replacement-cautious-on-armed-robots/

he Army is accelerating its efforts to replace the M2 Bradley troop carrier while giving itself “a little more time” to develop a Robotic Combat Vehicle, a senior official told reporters. Exact timelines remain “in a state of flux” pending a July meeting with Army leaders, said John Miller, a senior member of the Fort Benning-based Next Generation Combat Vehicle (NGCV) Cross Functional Team. NGCV is No. 2 of the Army’s Big Six modernization priorities.

“Recent guidance from Army senior leadership has us looking at, emphasizing, Bradley replacement,” Miller told reporters in a conference call. “What we have now done is moved to accelerate our optionally manned fighting vehicle, the Bradley replacement, and we want to be able to focus on that.”
Putting the RCV operator in the NGCV may not be the best. Some RCVs or GXV (if that is to be continued) could be optionally manned and the controller could control RCVs, NGCVs housing even optionally manned Talos suits. The controller is main show and their concealment, protection and options should be maximized.
 

jsport

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xHckJxWRB-A

GFS CMF #2: Next Generation Combat Vehicle

Gen Abrams may say NGCV is not FCS, but as long as there is RDECOM/TARDEC PM/PEO, a NGCV CFT and TRADOC which has not delivered a operational NGCV concept yet combined w/ a stated reluctance to formalize a requirement (based on future threat and limited funding). This program looks worse than FCS.

Saying we are "nested" and not stepping on each tows. HA Need not to be more leaderless group discussion.

TARDEC needs to run the vehicle, (because it will, in the end, anyway) and Soldier Center the dismounts. TRADOC can work on the future when it all goes robotic ie Talos suits with or w/o humans.

There seemed to be only passing reference to a need to engage targets a max range ie 152/155mm Tardec slides show an In/direct fire vehicle. This should be the first emphasis. Gun launched max range munition/UAS.

BG Lesperance mentioned SWAP+Protection that should be the second emphasis. Plenty of modularity as sensor tech will contine to change but the powerplant/gearbox is the likely the program driver.

NGCV will be obsolete before it enters service if some radical engine/generators aren't explored. Opposing pistons will not cut it. Circular detonation is the only means to shrink and lighten a burner while simultaneously eliminating most of the Gearbox. Shocking to hear GEN Abrams say possibly vehicles w/o fuel. Even supercapcitors mostly yikes.

Third emphasis should the not discussed multiple UGV/UAS lethality and mobility. We hear RCVs will require two operators. the RCV operators are not the crew. OK, that is two members of the squad already taken up. The rest of the squad will need to operate other UGV/UAS ? The vehicle's combat traverse protection needs and infantry's need to support its own dismount could well be often conflicting to UGV/UAS operators. What if there needs to be a separate UGV/UAS operator vehicle.

Soldier issues in and out of the NGCV should be under Soldier Lethality CFT. Soldier Interface w/ the vehicle and UAS/UGVs is Soldier Lethality issue. When the infantry school works it out they fill the vehicle's hull. Otherwise bringing Infantry into vehicle requirements will confuse.

To the infantry NGCV is a taxi w/ benefits. To the crew it is the main show.


If the multi-decade developed Mobile Protected Fire Power (MPF) and these Playstation Play-dates, otherwise called AWEs are example of effective programs, than the US Army is in big trouble. When is real risk and real development.
 

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https://breakingdefense.com/2018/10/army-ampv-on-track-for-milestone-c-ok-early/

AUSA: It doesn’t really seem possible, but there’s a large Army program, the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, that is 90 days ahead of schedule. Built by the tank mavens at BAE Systems, AMPV got a green light from testers and the official decision to begin mass production expected in less than six weeks.

Why does this matter? A modernized but less heavily armed variant of the M2 Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, the AMPV is a well-armored, all-terrain workhorse that will replace geriatric M113s in a host of roles from battlefield transport to armored ambulance to mobile command post. The M113 first saw action in Vietnam, was fairly poorly protected even at the time, and is completely outclassed by modern Russian anti-tank weapons.
 

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Does this mean Skynet is still officially a black project? Seems a shame to waste it's potential.
 

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Mike Peck, Director of Business Development at General Dynamics discusses the company’s latest combat vehicles and future army vehicle and weapon needs during an interview with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian at the 2018 AUSA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Our AUSA coverage is brought to you by Bell, a Textron Company, Elbit System of America, L3 Technologies, Leonardo DRS, and Safran.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBR3l_KMkBA
 

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That's a first-class interview with great answers by Mike Peck. More and better information there than you find 9 times out of 10.
 

Foo Fighter

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A very good set of responses in that interview, I agree on the clarity vis a vis other interviews that come across as information management and disinformation.
 

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bobbymike said:
Mike Peck, Director of Business Development at General Dynamics discusses the company’s latest combat vehicles and future army vehicle and weapon needs during an interview with Defense & Aerospace Report Editor Vago Muradian at the 2018 AUSA Annual Meeting in Washington, DC. Our AUSA coverage is brought to you by Bell, a Textron Company, Elbit System of America, L3 Technologies, Leonardo DRS, and Safran.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CBR3l_KMkBA
The Army, clearly, still has noone in charge of NGCV so the contractor makes excuses for his confused client. as stated earlier one lead for NGCV at TARDEC because they will anyway in the end. TARDEC is a too GD dominated place, the Army needs to take on a new 'Government based design' based on the "Army Strategy " which depicts the classes of vehicles needed to be finally be integrated by a series of contractors (held to final system account). A new vehicle basis which weighs closer to 20tons not Griffin (a 40tn Ajax) able to fit different bodies and guns up to 155mm direct/indirect fire guns.

Hopefully, the Army saying 'power plant agnostic' is some glimmer, as clearly there still is no powerplant solution as current hybrids are a still a step backwards. Energy density for batteries is bad juju need Fuel directly to electricity w/ an efficient engine.

The Dismount community has a basic issue. When is the Army going to risk and spread the contractors on unmanned systems which can enable standoff at all levels down to the individual dismount (including largely replacing the dismount). Depending on the current UAS contractors and Google/BD for bipedal robots is a USG developmental funnel which is National Security Threat, Strait up, Full Stop.

The Army is likely a mistake (if true) by abandoning the 9xpax vehicle. 9apax does not make height. The Griffin III is a house on tracks just like GCV was. Questionable marketing going on there. (Why is SpecOps person talking for close conventional.) There is already the UD look at lengthening the Bradley. It is not about height but length. Nine dismounts is necessary to dominate in close urban squad fights. Two vehicles splits and risks to two vehicles. Like football team starting from two separate places on the field, basic.

The 50mm might be good at countering Swarm UAS but RDEC has shown 60mm would be even better as CRAM and counter uas at range, assured kill. 55mm supershot comes to mind. (The Army would be foolish to go back to 30mm.) Likewise, storing suicide UASs (expensive toy garbage) inside the turret would take up precision turret volume. Armed VTOLs have not matured enough to be matched to a vehicle anytime soon.
 

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Breaking Defense interview with Director, Armored Vehicle Modernization.
By 2023, the Army will decide whether or not to move ahead with a replacement for the M1 Abrams heavy tank. “Anything’s on the table,” said the service’s director for armored vehicle modernization.

Define “anything,” I asked. Are we talking Imperial Walkers from Star Wars? Little robots carrying big missiles?

“It doesn’t have to be a tank, it just has to be decisive and lethal,” Brig. Gen. Richard Ross Coffman answered. “If that is run by a flux capacitor, hovers, and has a ray gun — and we can make it run at a reasonable cost — we’ll look at it.”
That “reasonable cost” criterion, sadly, rules out laser-shooting hover tanks, but behind Coffman’s jocularity is a deadly serious point: The Army wants industry to imagine a wide range of possibilities for a new way to deliver high-powered direct fire. (Indirect fire, at targets over the horizon, belongs to a different modernization team, which is exploring a 1,000-mile supergun). The key thing is to apply maximum killing power at the crucial point in combat, not how you do it. If you have a technically feasible proposal, it sounds like they’ll at least take a look.

“We don’t want to stifle any initiative based on some preset notion of, ‘it has to be tank, it has to have 120 mm or 105 (cannon),'” Coffman told an industry audience at the Association of the US Army conference. “We want options.”
 

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Challenger II Black Knight upgrade

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVyhpK_mjqQ
 

Foo Fighter

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I have seen this but frankly have my doubts. Perhaps it is the L60 ?upgrades? of a similar name for Chieftain. That was a raging success, not.
 

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Either a 120mm or 105mm ETC Buford should be a consideration for Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) and beyond.
 

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jsport

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Anyone know what this pic depicts? Appears to be two diamond shaped arrays off each side of the turret front and large bulbous turret appearing not to be satcom but more like a DEW.
PS: this not a photobash.
 

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MihoshiK

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jsport said:
Anyone know what this pic depicts? Appears to be two diamond shaped arrays off each side of the turret front and large bulbous turret appearing not to be satcom but more like a DEW.
PS: this not a photobash.
Probably some picture taken from a 2000 era powerpoint slide. My guess would be the arrays are radars for the defense suite (It's also got some kind of trainable launchers near the sides of the turret) and the bulb would indeed be some kind of laser.

I found a slightly higher resolution pic with google image search.
 

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jsport

I really should change my personal text
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MihoshiK said:
jsport said:
Anyone know what this pic depicts? Appears to be two diamond shaped arrays off each side of the turret front and large bulbous turret appearing not to be satcom but more like a DEW.
PS: this not a photobash.
Probably some picture taken from a 2000 era powerpoint slide. My guess would be the arrays are radars for the defense suite (It's also got some kind of trainable launchers near the sides of the turret) and the bulb would indeed be some kind of laser.

I found a slightly higher resolution pic with google image search.
Thank you for the find Mihoshik.

A 'Lightweight M1A3' (as depicted) certainly deserves a look as entirely new tank seems a bridge too far minus some political changes.
 
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