The politics of main battle tanks
Whenever the Lima factory is on the brink of closure, Congress rifles through the Congressional couch cushions and comes up with some loose change to buy a few more tanks, and keep Lima in business for a few more months. For example, in 2015 Congress appropriated $120 million to fund tank production.
But here’s the thing: There may be a better way to keep Lima in business — one that doesn’t involve stacking more 72-ton tanks atop the tottering column of surplus M1 Abramses the U.S. already has in inventory.
Simply put, the U.S. could build a new tank — and it just might.
A new, and better, tank
As reported on military tech website Scout.com earlier this month, the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC, is currently hard at work designing a new tank to serve in the Army, and hoping to get it ready by 2030. Equipped with “advanced sensors and light-weight composite armor,” says Scout, this new tank would be “high-tech,” “lightweight,” and able to do things the Abrams can’t, like “destroy a wider range of targets from farther distances, cross bridges, incinerate drones with lasers and destroy incoming enemy artillery fire.” It would also incorporate advanced communications systems permitting it to network with other combatants on the battlefield, and even control its own drone detachments.
Specifics of the new tank design are still being worked out — for example, will it sport the new lightweight XM360 120mm cannon the Pentagon has been working on, or perhaps a futuristic XM813 rapid-fire 30mm auto-cannon capable of rattling off 200 rounds per minute? This all remains to be seen.
What does seem clear, though, is that if the Army decides to proceed with investment in a new 21st-century super-tank, then this would provide the funds to keep General Dynamics’ Lima plant busy building and testing prototypes. Thus, it wouldn’t be necessary to continue pouring money into the production of circa-20th-century Abrams tanks that no one seems to want anymore.
And that would be a win-win-win scenario — for the Army, taxpayers, and General Dynamics.
Original post fool.com
Automotive Research, Development and Engineering Center, or TARDEC, is currently hard at work designing a new tank to serve in the Army, and hoping to get it ready by 2030. Equipped with “advanced sensors and light-weight composite armor,” says Scout, this new tank would be “high-tech,” “lightweight,” and able to do things the Abrams can’t, like “destroy a wider range of targets from farther distances, cross bridges, incinerate drones with lasers and destroy incoming enemy artillery fire.”
Maybe they should go back and take a look at the Stingray light tank which is in service with the Royal Thai Army…….Which coincidentally was used in Cobra Gold 2017 for the live fire exerciser…..
Cobra Gold 17 Update – Video: Details
Seems the US have been working on 30mm and 50mm autocanons……..seen on the Stryker 8×8….
Stryker 8×8 Kongsberg’s MCT30 Remote Turret: Details
Medium [30mm XM814, 30mm Mk310, 50mm PABM] Caliber Weapon Systems (About $10 million in 2015 and 2016 and $16 million in 2017
This effort matures and demonstrates advanced medium caliber ammunition, weapon, fire control, and ammunition handling systems optimized for remote operation. This effort demonstrates cannon-super high elevation engagement, high performance stabilization, remote ammunition loading, weapon safety and reliability, improved lethality, accuracy, ability to fire a suite of ammunition from non-lethal to lethal, and escalation of force capability in one system.
In 2015, Optimized technologies from Weapon, Fire Control and Turret functional areas together in preparation of demonstrating a system level platform integration with an advanced medium caliber weapon system within a Bradley Fighting Vehicle (BFV) variant. In support of this effort, finalized and optimized a prototype turret and drive system to support the XM813 30mm weapon system; optimized and matured the advanced sensors (down range wind sensor, dynamic metrology sensor and improved laser range finder) and the scenario based fire control system supporting the XM813 30mm weapon system, 30mm armor piercing (AP) munition and the Mk310 30mm programmable air bursting munitions (PABM); performed the integration of these technologies within the BFV and demonstrated improved accuracy and lethality performance at a system level. Additionally, finalized 50mm fuze improvements and performed a fuze shoot off and demonstration to down select and optimize the burst point accuracy of the 50mm PABM munition.
Enhance Bushmaster III 50mm
• Semi-automatic; up to 200 rounds per minute
• Computer controlled and electrically driven
• Closed bolt operation
• First round select
• Dual feed
• Optimized barrel
• Integral Mount configuration
• Dual Recoil System
• Semi-closed Bolt firing mode
• Fires the complete family of 30mm x 173mm ammunition
• PABM-T, APFSDS-T, HEI-T, TP-T
• Provides a growth path to fire SuperShot 40mm ammunition
• Improve burst point accuracy and PD reliability of fuze technology for 50mm PABM
• Validate and refine existing 30mm Error Budget model for use in 50mm system projections
• Develop turret to demonstrate growth from 30mm XM813 to 50mm Enhanced Bushmaster III
• Perform platform integration of turret for 50mm system level test and evaluation
In 2016, Continue to mature and optimize weapon, ammunition, fire control, and turret technologies for 50mm cannon; refine the ammunition fuzing approach to improve accuracy and lethality; analyze data collected from integration, test and demonstration to apply to system level improvements; upgrade fire control to meet system level requirements and design turret for integration into a prototype platform.
In 2017, will validate PABM fuze technology and warhead lethality data, iterating and improving as necessary; using a commercially developed barrel, demonstrate PABM and AP effectiveness against personnel and materiel targets; design and fabricate 50mm weapon and ammunition handling system (AHS) prototypes; exploit advances in advanced Fire Control hardware to improve system performance; mature Fire Control software
Two other programs are for improving explosives (energetics) and active protection technology (like the Israeli trophy system).