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M1 Abrams MBT Replacement

Foo Fighter

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Perhaps not, the US President is all for promoting US home interests. A replacement for the M1 from US industry would go a long way towards protecting jobs AND ensuring US troops retain an MBT close to the best at very least. I hope they get it but, done properly.
 

Void

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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.
The bulb is the Common Medium Range EO/IR sensor that was intended for the FCS.

I don't know the history behind it, but what it shows is an Abrams kitted out with a whole bunch of electronic systems from the FCS including the aforementioned EO/IR, the MFRF radar/communication system and a bunch of other FCS comms.
 

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fredymac

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I figure the technology seen in this Raphael video will eventually make its way into future tanks. It would be interesting to separate the main gun into a robotic carrier and aim/fire it remotely by paired crew vehicles.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R0Nhncg8dmU&feature=youtu.be
 

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jsport said:
Either a 120mm or 105mm ETC Buford should be a consideration for Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) and beyond.
Was the M8 AGS officially named Buford or is that name some unofficial creation? Either way some updated version of the M8 AGS is in the running for the MPF program up against one of BAE's "Griffin" variants, a design based on the SCOUT SV Ajax which is a relative of the ASCOD.

I'm not certain of the specifics of the 105mm and 120mm guns being considered for these vehicles are but the 120mm gun is likely some further development of the XM360.
 

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Colonial-Marine said:
jsport said:
Either a 120mm or 105mm ETC Buford should be a consideration for Mobile Protected Firepower (MPF) and beyond.
Was the M8 AGS officially named Buford or is that name some unofficial creation? Either way some updated version of the M8 AGS is in the running for the MPF program up against one of BAE's "Griffin" variants, a design based on the SCOUT SV Ajax which is a relative of the ASCOD.

I'm not certain of the specifics of the 105mm and 120mm guns being considered for these vehicles are but the 120mm gun is likely some further development of the XM360.
My understanding is that M8 had all the boxes checked, including it's name being made official, when the Pentagon zeroed out the purchase.

GD was showing Griffin with XM360, but I've gotten some indication that their bid is a 105 like BAE's. The Army owns the XM360 and would like to look at upgrading the MPF winner to the 120mm down the road, but the mature and cheap 105s are safer bids.
 

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Moose said:
GD was showing Griffin with XM360, but I've gotten some indication that their bid is a 105 like BAE's. The Army owns the XM360 and would like to look at upgrading the MPF winner to the 120mm down the road, but the mature and cheap 105s are safer bids.
Besides for possibly carrying more shells in the vehicle I don't see much of an advantage for the 105mm these days. I doubt there are still huge stockpiles left over from the Cold War to use and the M8 originally used the XM35 cannon and not the ubiquitous M68A1. Plus there is finally an effective 120mm HE shell entering service with the Army soon and the 120mm can defeat just about any AFV it comes across. The 105mm is going to have trouble against a T-72B or anything newer.

Back to the Abrams I do hope an improved 120mm gun is part of the plan for the eventual M1A3. The basic M256 is getting a bit long in the tooth.
 

lastdingo

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105 mm APFSDS can penetrate any MBT, but not frontal 60° on 80+% of the target area.
That may very well true of 120 mm L/44 APFSDS as well.

The U.S. Army has introduced M829A4 recently to improve penetration - an admission that most of the shell stocks are insufficient qualitatively.
One cannot know for certain how reliably M829A4 will penetrate, either.

Disadvantages of 120 mm compared to 105 mm (rifled) include:
- hardly suitable for HESH/HEP
- more difficult electronic timing of airburst munitions, for spin cannot be used to measure distance
- different munitions storage -> less rounds carried
- greater blast issues for nearby troops
- greater discarded sabot flight safety hazards
- greater mass
- weaker 105 gun can be built for shorter length inside turret and shorter recoil
- quicker loading with smaller, lighter 120 mm round possible


Personally, I see a good case for an even smaller, but much more rapid firing calibre than 105 mm (76...90 mm, with great maximum elevation for AAA and indirect fire tasks with HE) and I would delegate the frontal duel shot MBT killing task to Mach 6 KE missiles like CKEM.
T-14 has a poorly protected turret that could easily be defeated with 76 mm and its crew capsule is so very well-protected that it makes little sense to build a gun to defeat it at 2 km distance.
 

sferrin

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lastdingo said:
105 mm APFSDS can penetrate any MBT, but not frontal 60° on 80+% of the target area.
That may very well true of 120 mm L/44 APFSDS as well.

The U.S. Army has introduced M829A4 recently to improve penetration - an admission that most of the shell stocks are insufficient qualitatively.
Not really. You want to have your forces stocked with the good stuff BEFORE the old is useless. You don't wait until it's useless before saying to yourself, "whelp I guess I need to make a new one".
 

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lastdingo said:
105 mm APFSDS can penetrate any MBT, but not frontal 60° on 80+% of the target area.
That may very well true of 120 mm L/44 APFSDS as well.

The U.S. Army has introduced M829A4 recently to improve penetration - an admission that most of the shell stocks are insufficient qualitatively.
One cannot know for certain how reliably M829A4 will penetrate, either.

Disadvantages of 120 mm compared to 105 mm (rifled) include:
- hardly suitable for HESH/HEP
- more difficult electronic timing of airburst munitions, for spin cannot be used to measure distance
- different munitions storage -> less rounds carried
- greater blast issues for nearby troops
- greater discarded sabot flight safety hazards
- greater mass
- weaker 105 gun can be built for shorter length inside turret and shorter recoil
- quicker loading with smaller, lighter 120 mm round possible


Personally, I see a good case for an even smaller, but much more rapid firing calibre than 105 mm (76...90 mm, with great maximum elevation for AAA and indirect fire tasks with HE) and I would delegate the frontal duel shot MBT killing task to Mach 6 KE missiles like CKEM.
T-14 has a poorly protected turret that could easily be defeated with 76 mm and its crew capsule is so very well-protected that it makes little sense to build a gun to defeat it at 2 km distance.
You're right about the side and rear armor but ideally you still want a gun that can punch through the frontal armor. Depending on the MBT the 120mm might not even be enough as you have said but it definitely has a better chance. I feel that the M829A4 has probably maxed out the potential of the existing M256 though so the Abrams in the future may need something more powerful.

A vehicle of the same size can indeed carry more 105mm shells and that I'd say is the main advantage. Most of the other disadvantages of the larger 120mm gun can be offset to different degrees.

HESH/HEP doesn't really seem necessary if you have a good HE-FRAG type shell and the 120mm has a few options for that now. WP shells might be one thing in favor of the 105mm gun but the way people freak out when WP is used (even for screening movement) seems to limit their use.

The new XM1147 AMP has an airburst option when engaging ground targets so clearly that limitation can be overcome. I think the German DM11 may have an airburst option too. The Israelis also offer a 120mm HE shell and a more unique one that can break apart into several submunitions at the target.

Back in the '90s and 2000s I could entirely understand the choice of the 105mm for a light tank but these days it seems like if you're going to pay the price (in weight and volume) for a 105mm gun you might as well go a bit further for a lightweight 120mm gun. The difference in weight and size might be more relevant if MPF had an airdrop requirement but for whatever reason it does not.

I'd have doubts about a low velocity 75-100mm gun capable of indirect fire as that seems better suited for the mortars and other self-propelled artillery. Yet I like the concept a vehicle armed with an autoloading high velocity 75mm gun like the AAI RDF light tank. That seems to provide a good multipurpose capability that can deal with anything short of a MBT. However I'm not certain how you'd fit it into a force that already contains a mixture of AFVs with different armaments.

Are you proposing missiles like CKEM fill the tank-killing role just in "lighter" formations or in the heavy armored formations too replacing the conventional MBT?
 

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You know, just before the 1990 Gulf War, the West Germans released their study of the T72m1 MBT. They declared that it was impervious to any standard NATO AT weapon in the frontal arc. This caused a bit of a quiet brouhaha at the time.

Then along came the Gulf War in 1990 and Iraqi T72s were blowing up left, right and centre from 120mm rounds fired by Challengers, M1s and so on.

Then the US Army released it's study of the T72m1 and recognised that no NATO AT round could penetrate it's frontal arc.

So what was the difference between a former NVA T72m1 and an Iraqi T72? Well, they were essentially different MBTs albeit in the same form. The NVA T72m1 had better and thicker armour on it, whereas the Iraqi T72 was a "monkey model" vehicle, with less and worse armour. Many Americans refused to accept that, declaring that the T72 was a "piece of junk" and "easily defeated". I wonder what their analysis would have been if the balloon at gone up on the Central German Front?
 

Foo Fighter

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There would need to be a proper analysis on the Iraqi T-72's, where they were defeated and by which weapons. DU was quite prevalent during Granby but not so much in 2003.
 

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Kadija_Man said:
You know, just before the 1990 Gulf War, the West Germans released their study of the T72m1 MBT. They declared that it was impervious to any standard NATO AT weapon in the frontal arc. This caused a bit of a quiet brouhaha at the time.

Then along came the Gulf War in 1990 and Iraqi T72s were blowing up left, right and centre from 120mm rounds fired by Challengers, M1s and so on.

Then the US Army released it's study of the T72m1 and recognised that no NATO AT round could penetrate it's frontal arc.

So what was the difference between a former NVA T72m1 and an Iraqi T72? Well, they were essentially different MBTs albeit in the same form. The NVA T72m1 had better and thicker armour on it, whereas the Iraqi T72 was a "monkey model" vehicle, with less and worse armour. Many Americans refused to accept that, declaring that the T72 was a "piece of junk" and "easily defeated". I wonder what their analysis would have been if the balloon at gone up on the Central German Front?
I've heard speculation before that Warsaw Pact T-72M1s had a different armor configuration than T-72M1s intended for export to the 3rd world but any proof of this is a lot harder to find. A large enough difference between the two to stop 120mm APFSDS seems unlikely however. 105mm APFSDS had no trouble penetrating T-72s back in GW1.

The T-72M1 was derived from the T-72A which was intended for Soviet forces and among other differences is said to have slightly better armor, but it was also estimated that later 105mm APFSDS (M833 and M900) could penetrate its frontal armor at typical engagement ranges. The T-64B and T-80B were considered part of the same generation of Soviet MBTs as the T-72A, they had many advantages over the T-72A but the difference in armor between the three seems to be another unknown factor.

Confusing things further I've also heard it claimed that the T-64BV and T-80BV besides for the addition of Kontakt-1 ERA featured some internal armor improvements as well.
 

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Foo Fighter said:
There would need to be a proper analysis on the Iraqi T-72's, where they were defeated and by which weapons. DU was quite prevalent during Granby but not so much in 2003.
Rather a simplistic response, don't you think? If you don't understand your enemy fully, you'll never know why you were able to defeat him.

One of the problems with Iraqi T72s was that they were produced to a different standard compared to the Warsaw Pact ones. They were called "monkey models" and had inferior fire control, guns and armour. How inferior? I have no idea but I am aware that the Iraqis were firing plain steel APFSDS rounds, rather than tungsten or DU ones. I suspect that the armour was also plain steel and had no ceramic inserts as well. Overall, they appear to be significantly weaker than the NVA's T72m1s. The question is why?
 

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There is a lot of conflicting information out there on the T-72 that makes it hard to find answers to two questions.

First what are the differences in the composite armor composition of the Soviet models and their associated "export" models for Warsaw Pact members? Then the question of if there are any differences in armor between those Warsaw Pact tanks (which were also manufactured within Poland and Czechoslovakia) and those delivered to client states in the 3rd world like Iraq and Syria? Going off the designations used there shouldn't be differences but in reality that could be wrong.

In the case of Iraq besides for buying tanks directly they later had a program to assemble T-72s within the country (with the help of the Polish IIRC) and hoped to eventually manufacture the tanks themselves. There are a lot of different claims on what standard(s) these Iraqi assembled T-72 were built to.

Despite all of these unknowns it's safe to say that the original T-72 "Ural" was pretty similar to the first export T-72 "Model 1975" and the T-72A was pretty similar to the T-72M1.

The latter two tanks feature a laser rangefinder but their FCS is still very primitive compared to the T-64B and T-80B. However it doesn't appear the Soviets downgraded the FCS on their export models.

The original T-72 "Ural" didn't have composite armor in the turret and neither did its associated export model or the T-72M. The T-72M1 did but with the caveat of those earlier questions.

The best APFSDS ammunition any Soviet client state could get was the older BM-15 which was pretty poor compared to the BM-32 and BM-42 the best Soviet units would have.
 

Foo Fighter

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Kadija_Man said:
Foo Fighter said:
There would need to be a proper analysis on the Iraqi T-72's, where they were defeated and by which weapons. DU was quite prevalent during Granby but not so much in 2003.
Rather a simplistic response, don't you think? If you don't understand your enemy fully, you'll never know why you were able to defeat him.
Not at all, I was talking about defeating the armour, not the enemy force. Research into which weapons were used and where on the target is useful in and of itself along with the standard of armour on the target.

Tactics and defeating the force opposite were not mentioned in my post.
 

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Colonial-Marine said:
First what are the differences in the composite armor composition of the Soviet models and their associated "export" models for Warsaw Pact members? Then the question of if there are any differences in armor between those Warsaw Pact tanks (which were also manufactured within Poland and Czechoslovakia) and those delivered to client states in the 3rd world like Iraq and Syria? Going off the designations used there shouldn't be differences but in reality that could be wrong.
I would be surprised given the different industry base and supply chains and access to materials if all three nations were able to produce identically composed armour. There were probably subtle differences in the steel mix and laminates used.
 

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RAMROD at least was still going strong as of 1988. Interestingly though, the Soviets were under the impression that it was a infrared/radar guided artillery shell designed to compliment the Copperhead. This confusion may have arisen because Norden's RAMROD was part of the ATR (Advanced Technology Ramjet) subprogram of DARPA's AIFS program; ATR was established at the same time as the ASST (Autonomous Seeker Technology) subprogram. In addition, there was also a ramjet artillery round being developed under ATR. This was known as the 8" Howitzer Solid Fueled, Variable Thrust (Thrust=Drag) Ramjet projectile.

Another thing of note is that RAMROD was adaptable (and such a variant probably was developed) to the M256 120mm gun.
 
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jsport

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Thank you Grey Havoc. Hope these Norden (small company- good) programs didn't completely lapse. The new Nammo (partially government own -bad) Boeing (bureaucracy -bad) 155mm seems to be reinventing the wheel.
The 140mm armament system, (XM291 Gun, XM91 Autoloader, XM964 APFSDS-T, XM965 MP-T) would have been a nice match for Norden's RAMROD.
 

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You know, just before the 1990 Gulf War, the West Germans released their study of the T72m1 MBT. They declared that it was impervious to any standard NATO AT weapon in the frontal arc. This caused a bit of a quiet brouhaha at the time.

Then along came the Gulf War in 1990 and Iraqi T72s were blowing up left, right and centre from 120mm rounds fired by Challengers, M1s and so on.

Then the US Army released it's study of the T72m1 and recognised that no NATO AT round could penetrate it's frontal arc.

So what was the difference between a former NVA T72m1 and an Iraqi T72? Well, they were essentially different MBTs albeit in the same form. The NVA T72m1 had better and thicker armour on it, whereas the Iraqi T72 was a "monkey model" vehicle, with less and worse armour. Many Americans refused to accept that, declaring that the T72 was a "piece of junk" and "easily defeated". I wonder what their analysis would have been if the balloon at gone up on the Central German Front?
While your point about T-72's armor varying between variants is right, I think that you may have confused German testing of different T-72s. From what I know, the T-72M1 wasn't actually impervious to any NATO weaponry (but some weapons, like some 105mm APFSDS and HEAT rounds).
However, only the T-72B with a much a stronger composite armor layout and Kontakt 5 ERA was actually impervious to weapons as strong as 120mm DM33 and M829A1 APFSDS or TOW 2 missiles.

The T-72B was certainly a very tought beast but, at the time, it was less numerous than T-72A/M1s and even rarer was the version with Kontakt 5, which didn't appear until 1989 when NATO was releasing even more advanced weapons like the tandem warhead TOW-2A, so I would argue that the situation wasn't that bad for the West. Still, Soviet and WP T-72s were certainly better (and better used) than Iraqi ones.
 

Kadija_Man

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You know, just before the 1990 Gulf War, the West Germans released their study of the T72m1 MBT. They declared that it was impervious to any standard NATO AT weapon in the frontal arc. This caused a bit of a quiet brouhaha at the time.

Then along came the Gulf War in 1990 and Iraqi T72s were blowing up left, right and centre from 120mm rounds fired by Challengers, M1s and so on.

Then the US Army released it's study of the T72m1 and recognised that no NATO AT round could penetrate it's frontal arc.

So what was the difference between a former NVA T72m1 and an Iraqi T72? Well, they were essentially different MBTs albeit in the same form. The NVA T72m1 had better and thicker armour on it, whereas the Iraqi T72 was a "monkey model" vehicle, with less and worse armour. Many Americans refused to accept that, declaring that the T72 was a "piece of junk" and "easily defeated". I wonder what their analysis would have been if the balloon at gone up on the Central German Front?
While your point about T-72's armor varying between variants is right, I think that you may have confused German testing of different T-72s. From what I know, the T-72M1 wasn't actually impervious to any NATO weaponry (but some weapons, like some 105mm APFSDS and HEAT rounds).
However, only the T-72B with a much a stronger composite armor layout and Kontakt 5 ERA was actually impervious to weapons as strong as 120mm DM33 and M829A1 APFSDS or TOW 2 missiles.

The T-72B was certainly a very tought beast but, at the time, it was less numerous than T-72A/M1s and even rarer was the version with Kontakt 5, which didn't appear until 1989 when NATO was releasing even more advanced weapons like the tandem warhead TOW-2A, so I would argue that the situation wasn't that bad for the West. Still, Soviet and WP T-72s were certainly better (and better used) than Iraqi ones.
The report I read only mentioned the T73m1 version. The US Army also tested it and found it impervious to all NATO AT weapons.
 

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appears to be taken down,
 
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