Tank development if the Cold War had continued

uk 75

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If the Soviet Union had been run more pragmatically in the 70s like China was after
Deng's modernisations and the Cold War had continued after 1989 one area of great interest would have been tanks.
If the Soviet Union had been an active player in 1990 Saddam Hussein would not have invaded Kuwait and the fragile Yugoslavia would have clung on after Tito.
So the M1 Abrams like the Leopard 2 would never have fired a shot in anger.
The constant upgrading of the Tank units with the Soviet forces in Germany would have continued.
Would we by now have seen something like the Armata in service and an M1 successor carrying out trials?
 

CV12Hornet

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Soviet tank development in the 1980s seems to have split along two avenues. The first was modest upgrades to the T-72 and T-80 lines, which produced the T-72BU (T-80 fire control, new engine, renamed T-90 post-fall) and Object 292 (T-80 with a 152mm gun). The second were more radical tank designs that were nonetheless still based on T-72/80 architecture, namely Object 187 and the Black Eagle project, both of which had the intent to rectify deficiencies in the T-72/80 lines. The most notable features were new welded turrets and expanded hulls that offered better protection and ergonomics, as well as better ammunition safety.

What I suspect is most likely to happen is continued development of the Black Eagle design on the high end as a T-80 successor, and the T-72BU adopted as the low-end, with Object 187 and Black Eagle features steadily retrofitted on as time goes by.

As such, I don't think an Armata equivalent would be around at this point. Apparently tech developed for the Black Eagle was applied to the Armata, which suggests to me the Soviets are still going to be improving that tank even in the 2020s.

An M1 successor, meanwhile, is highly likely. While the M1 would still be a good match for the T-72, T-80, and likely even the T-72BU, I do think the Black Eagle would have been fitted with the 152mm gun and that would have prompted a panicked reaction from NATO.
 

GruntFox

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Soviet tank development in the 1980s seems to have split along two avenues. The first was modest upgrades to the T-72 and T-80 lines, which produced the T-72BU (T-80 fire control, new engine, renamed T-90 post-fall) and Object 292 (T-80 with a 152mm gun). The second were more radical tank designs that were nonetheless still based on T-72/80 architecture, namely Object 187 and the Black Eagle project, both of which had the intent to rectify deficiencies in the T-72/80 lines. The most notable features were new welded turrets and expanded hulls that offered better protection and ergonomics, as well as better ammunition safety.

What I suspect is most likely to happen is continued development of the Black Eagle design on the high end as a T-80 successor, and the T-72BU adopted as the low-end, with Object 187 and Black Eagle features steadily retrofitted on as time goes by.

As such, I don't think an Armata equivalent would be around at this point. Apparently tech developed for the Black Eagle was applied to the Armata, which suggests to me the Soviets are still going to be improving that tank even in the 2020s.

An M1 successor, meanwhile, is highly likely. While the M1 would still be a good match for the T-72, T-80, and likely even the T-72BU, I do think the Black Eagle would have been fitted with the 152mm gun and that would have prompted a panicked reaction from NATO.
Oddly enough, that isn't exactly the case. The M1 design is surprisingly future-proof. Especially since they fitted 140mm guns on the damn thing for testing.

What would probably happen would be the US's ETC project would have been forced forward, leading to the first ETC guns numerous decades early (between peace dividends and the data getting wonky during testing of ETC propellants, the program was scrapped). Remember, the US had an ETC project during the late Cold War and was originally started to replace Phalanx CIWS systems (the prototype was a guided 60mm revolving autocannon system). The US Army part of the program was toying with 120mm and 140mm ETC guns (the M1 that was used to work with the 140mm gun was called 'Thumper'). At the velocities that ETC guns can generate (~2-4km/s), DU would be practically useless (the biggest reason that the US uses 'short barreled' guns is that DU has this very useful property of self-sharpening with a side order of setting everything on fire but at the cost of velocity as 1.55km/s is the 'acceptable' velocity for the self-sharpening property) in comparison to tungsten.

So, we'll be seeing M1s with a more efficient turbine (the M1 hasn't gotten its original turbine design replaced in decades, which is why it's considered a gas guzzler, although the APU that was supposed to be fitted onto the M1 got added on in one of the early upgrade packages because Congress thought having one was too expensive at the time).

Eventually you would likely get something that looks like a bog-standard M1 on the outside, but under the hood, it's a whole other beast.
 

GruntFox

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replace Phalanx CIWS systems (the prototype was a guided 60mm revolving autocannon system)
What was this system called?
I haven't seen a name for it in my search.
Is there any place I might be able to read more about this system? I tried looking and couldn't find anything on it.
I do have a PDF of the project available. I'll attach it to this post for your review.
 

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  • etcgun.pdf
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Keyboard Commando

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From what I've researched, the Soviets at least were working on various prototypes during the 80s and there is some uncertainty as to what they were actually going to pick for service. Object 195 and Black Eagle were post-Soviet designs so assuming no collapse I think those are out. For them it comes down to Object 477 and Object 299, depending on how well they do economically and how well they do with technology development I think 299 gets the nod despite its gas turbine as it was the basis for an entire family of vehicles like today's Armata which helps with cost and economy of scale. Object 187 as mentioned was at the time a UVZ alternative, improving the T-72 and banking on the conservativeness of the Politburo and Army staff. If they have the money I think 299 and its family of vehicles gets rolled out slowly to frontline units while older T-72s are moved to category B/C units to replace T-55s and T-62s and unifying the fleet, 187 is an interim front-line tank because it is simpler and can be produced and rolled out quicker than the high tech 299 family which will take years to get up to speed and sort out kinks.

For the US, I think a derivative of the CATTB becomes the M1A3. New LV100-5 turbine and improved armor, in-arm hydropneumatic suspension, and XM291 ATACS which can have 120 and 140mm barrels. Unless ETC technology gets developed to the point of reliability that the Army will accept, I think the conventional gun is here to stay. The UK had the Evolutionary National Tank on the drawing board in the 90s, and with more advanced Soviet designs coming it more than likely goes forward with Challenger 2 having a short service life like Challenger 1. Germany continues work on the NKPZ which never left the drawing board, France puts the 140mm Leclerc in service, and Sweden without the end of the Cold War likely develops the Strv-2000. Until new gun technology like ETC, liquid propellant, or electromagnetic becomes reliable, western nations likely stick with the conventional 140mm.
 

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In this scenario, the really interesting thing to look at is how will the Soviet tank force adapt to
1. FOGM class weapons becoming NATO standard
2. The Russian air force left without solution to the F-22 for decade(s)
3. Some implementation of assault breaker concepts

The Soviets is under pressure to maintain force parity, and they have been fairly serious in procurement, however in this case they lack technological paths that is now available. Stuffing high performance AESA on everything to hard kill is just a non-starter. Perhaps formations will be packing so much smoke that they'd cover Denmark to Italy with thick, thick smoke for hours on end, or that tanks'd get 'de-evolve' to be even less logistically demanding and more expandable.

A alternative is of course denial, until some war breaks out. If the cold war goes on when and where will a big state on state war happen?
 

lordroel

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If the Soviet Union had been run more pragmatically in the 70s like China was after
Deng's modernisations and the Cold War had continued after 1989 one area of great interest would have been tanks.
If the Soviet Union had been an active player in 1990 Saddam Hussein would not have invaded Kuwait and the fragile Yugoslavia would have clung on after Tito.
So the M1 Abrams like the Leopard 2 would never have fired a shot in anger.
The constant upgrading of the Tank units with the Soviet forces in Germany would have continued.
Would we by now have seen something like the Armata in service and an M1 successor carrying out trials?
Have you ever checked out the Last War by Bernard Woolley over at HPCA forum, he has a World War III in 2005 where the Soviets manged to survive, he even created some fact files inducing tanks in service.
 

Pioneer

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Soviet tank development in the 1980s seems to have split along two avenues. The first was modest upgrades to the T-72 and T-80 lines, which produced the T-72BU (T-80 fire control, new engine, renamed T-90 post-fall) and Object 292 (T-80 with a 152mm gun). The second were more radical tank designs that were nonetheless still based on T-72/80 architecture, namely Object 187 and the Black Eagle project, both of which had the intent to rectify deficiencies in the T-72/80 lines. The most notable features were new welded turrets and expanded hulls that offered better protection and ergonomics, as well as better ammunition safety.

What I suspect is most likely to happen is continued development of the Black Eagle design on the high end as a T-80 successor, and the T-72BU adopted as the low-end, with Object 187 and Black Eagle features steadily retrofitted on as time goes by.

As such, I don't think an Armata equivalent would be around at this point. Apparently tech developed for the Black Eagle was applied to the Armata, which suggests to me the Soviets are still going to be improving that tank even in the 2020s.

An M1 successor, meanwhile, is highly likely. While the M1 would still be a good match for the T-72, T-80, and likely even the T-72BU, I do think the Black Eagle would have been fitted with the 152mm gun and that would have prompted a panicked reaction from NATO.
Oddly enough, that isn't exactly the case. The M1 design is surprisingly future-proof. Especially since they fitted 140mm guns on the damn thing for testing.

What would probably happen would be the US's ETC project would have been forced forward, leading to the first ETC guns numerous decades early (between peace dividends and the data getting wonky during testing of ETC propellants, the program was scrapped). Remember, the US had an ETC project during the late Cold War and was originally started to replace Phalanx CIWS systems (the prototype was a guided 60mm revolving autocannon system). The US Army part of the program was toying with 120mm and 140mm ETC guns (the M1 that was used to work with the 140mm gun was called 'Thumper'). At the velocities that ETC guns can generate (~2-4km/s), DU would be practically useless (the biggest reason that the US uses 'short barreled' guns is that DU has this very useful property of self-sharpening with a side order of setting everything on fire but at the cost of velocity as 1.55km/s is the 'acceptable' velocity for the self-sharpening property) in comparison to tungsten.

So, we'll be seeing M1s with a more efficient turbine (the M1 hasn't gotten its original turbine design replaced in decades, which is why it's considered a gas guzzler, although the APU that was supposed to be fitted onto the M1 got added on in one of the early upgrade packages because Congress thought having one was too expensive at the time).

Eventually you would likely get something that looks like a bog-standard M1 on the outside, but under the hood, it's a whole other beast.
If I may, I'm thinking the US Army M1's would have at least adopted 120mm L/55 guns in place of their legacy 120mm L/44's?

Regards
Pioneer
 

GTX

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If I may, I'm thinking the US Army M1's would have at least adopted 120mm L/55 guns in place of their legacy 120mm L/44's?
Interestingly enough neither the SEP V3 or planned SEP V4 include such a gun change.
 

GruntFox

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Soviet tank development in the 1980s seems to have split along two avenues. The first was modest upgrades to the T-72 and T-80 lines, which produced the T-72BU (T-80 fire control, new engine, renamed T-90 post-fall) and Object 292 (T-80 with a 152mm gun). The second were more radical tank designs that were nonetheless still based on T-72/80 architecture, namely Object 187 and the Black Eagle project, both of which had the intent to rectify deficiencies in the T-72/80 lines. The most notable features were new welded turrets and expanded hulls that offered better protection and ergonomics, as well as better ammunition safety.

What I suspect is most likely to happen is continued development of the Black Eagle design on the high end as a T-80 successor, and the T-72BU adopted as the low-end, with Object 187 and Black Eagle features steadily retrofitted on as time goes by.

As such, I don't think an Armata equivalent would be around at this point. Apparently tech developed for the Black Eagle was applied to the Armata, which suggests to me the Soviets are still going to be improving that tank even in the 2020s.

An M1 successor, meanwhile, is highly likely. While the M1 would still be a good match for the T-72, T-80, and likely even the T-72BU, I do think the Black Eagle would have been fitted with the 152mm gun and that would have prompted a panicked reaction from NATO.
Oddly enough, that isn't exactly the case. The M1 design is surprisingly future-proof. Especially since they fitted 140mm guns on the damn thing for testing.

What would probably happen would be the US's ETC project would have been forced forward, leading to the first ETC guns numerous decades early (between peace dividends and the data getting wonky during testing of ETC propellants, the program was scrapped). Remember, the US had an ETC project during the late Cold War and was originally started to replace Phalanx CIWS systems (the prototype was a guided 60mm revolving autocannon system). The US Army part of the program was toying with 120mm and 140mm ETC guns (the M1 that was used to work with the 140mm gun was called 'Thumper'). At the velocities that ETC guns can generate (~2-4km/s), DU would be practically useless (the biggest reason that the US uses 'short barreled' guns is that DU has this very useful property of self-sharpening with a side order of setting everything on fire but at the cost of velocity as 1.55km/s is the 'acceptable' velocity for the self-sharpening property) in comparison to tungsten.

So, we'll be seeing M1s with a more efficient turbine (the M1 hasn't gotten its original turbine design replaced in decades, which is why it's considered a gas guzzler, although the APU that was supposed to be fitted onto the M1 got added on in one of the early upgrade packages because Congress thought having one was too expensive at the time).

Eventually you would likely get something that looks like a bog-standard M1 on the outside, but under the hood, it's a whole other beast.
If I may, I'm thinking the US Army M1's would have at least adopted 120mm L/55 guns in place of their legacy 120mm L/44's?

Regards
Pioneer
One acronym: APFSDSDU. The US has literal tons of the stuff to the point that, comparatively to tungsten, it's dirt cheap.

The US military would hang onto their APFSDSDU until the last possible moment, and not a second sooner.
 
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