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Calicifer

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  1. So, there isn't anything which degrades performance of modern body armor no matter how long it was used? You see, I come from Eastern Europe and such things as shoddy equipment comes far more often than in the West. Western standards are in general higher, I can expect that equipment they will be handed out and support it will get will be a lot higher. We did send our elite operatives to Afganistan and into active combat with not enough equipment, I can't remember what exactly they were complaining enough, but in 2000-2010 this problem was accutte here. Same applied to our SWAT officers when I saw campaigns coming from civilians to purchase new body armor to them. Our volunteer and reserve training is equally ridiculous. We have automatic weapons which are so worn down that they can be trusted to fire no more than 1 round reliably before jamming and often our training were more about loud shouting than firing live ammunition. Recently however with change of political leadership, Russia's threat, Lithuania had started purchasing a lot of heavy equipment in bulk and situation is changing as we are the best equipped (at least in some regards) of all Baltic states. Though, it is not you who would had been drafted forcefully which is still a thing here with mandatory military draft and forced to fight first grade military like Russia with an automatic rifle which serves better as a club than a gun. With an expired body armor if you are lucky and ride into battle in venerable M113 if you are from elite formation. Under equipment is/was a big issue in a lot of other, poorer countries. Here you are complaining that your newest weapon is unreliable or expensive, but over here we are given bunch of barely functioning gear anymore and often are given ridiculous tasks to complete.
  2. Those are fascinating statistics. I was always very interested in the cost of vehicles, sadly a theme which is often least covered and researched. In my mind, even T-54 can be a deadly opponent in modern battlefield if used appropriately like ambushing IFV and hiding in the terrain or repurposed as a cutting edge APC or a mobile/imobile pillbox. There aren't enough nations interested in buying second hand old equipment en mass and repurposing them for a new life for a fraction of a cost that new equipment with all its shiny gadgets cost.
  3. That is great post! I wish that such information would be more widely available as I'm likely never will be able to make sense of Russian sources myself. I see that costs of both tanks were about equal and maintenance costs of T-64 were ought to drop dramatically as its critical flaws were worked out. I also looked into both tanks and they seem to be very similar in performance and capabilities. It seems that T-64 price had spiked with B version due to being upgraded with expensive FCS while T-72A maintaining its ballistic computer. Maybe you would remember some sources saying anything about that?
  4. heretic88, you gave me a lot of homework to do before proving or disproving your points. I'm glad that other forum members had helped me with some of the statements too. I will make more in depth comment later, but I would like first to address other minor things. You had ignored my quotes, while you want to see world solely in an interest of private parties wanting to get piece of pie, you also must understand that different parties might have legitimate worldview differences which put them in opposing camps to begin with. An army made out of conscripts do not do well with modern, expensive and complicated equipment. Cost of training and re-equipping massive armies spiral out of control. More so when it comes to economies of scale, having to support an army with huge maintenance costs is prohibitively expensive. This is why the army wanted less complicated tank for their use. T-64 was anything, but that. Saying that USSR was meant to use T-64 as their next MBT is very far from the truth. You can't push a major piece of equipment on military force which does not want it. This was what had happened here, an army objected and Soviets had to shift their plans to develop less complicated and less maintenance intensive tank. Furthermore, when major specifications for a new design is reduced complexity and maintenance, that directly translates to reduced costs. There isn't a problem with tanks like T-64 at all if you have infinite repair shops, engineers, technicians, replacement parts ready to go. USSR could had made such things to be virtually infinite. They did not, because it is expensive to do so. Complaints about complexity and maintenance often boils down to a nation not wanting to spend more money on support elements who are very expensive to maintain. So in my eyes, when an army wants less complicated and easier to maintain design, this directly ties into its costs and its ability to be mass produced. Also keep in mind that an army did not stated that T-64 reliability which was the problem, but rather complexity. Also, T-72 is 40% cheaper in the end to produce, you might be getting wrong numbers from prototype costs or you have different calculations for costs. That is an emotional argument, it is pointless to make such. Btw: I'm looking for more solid sources on costs of those tanks, but I can't find anything solid. Books always reference that decision to go for T-72 was in regards to its cheaper costs, but they do not expand on that. I believe that burden of evidence falls on your shoulders if you want to disapprove this. There is certainly a lot more evidence in favor that rejection of T-64 was due to its high costs, reliability issues and mechanical complexity rather than decision being based solely on politics.
  5. I would be cautious at considering T-64 as replacement for previous models as Soviet politics were confusing and complex area as any nation's politics. Considering that some minister had said or wanted to do is completely pointless when in reality he could had never pushed through his own ideas into becoming a reality. Firstly, army had opposed T-64 as a main battle tank, because it had favored more simplistic designs for its volunteer army. Secondly, Soviet Union had relied heavily on export market and T-64, T-80 models are far less attractive in that role. Thirdly, there wasn't political will to make T-64 as main battle tank. Due from engine production choke point and from its modest production numbers. Soviet politics is a reason why they were producing three lines of battle tanks in late cold war, T-64, T-72 and T-80. Tank factories did not decided what tanks USSR will be producing. In USSR it is political offices who had the final say in determining what weapons will be produced. There were a lot of politics in between, but it was not up to factories to suddenly just decide what army will be using next. Soviet/Russian Armor and Artillery Design Practices– 1945-1995, I-91 Nikolai Shomin, chief designer of T-64 had confirmed that decision to produce T-72 was due to T-64 tank's inherent problems and difficulty of mass production. Soviet Union did not wanted to forfeit its numerical superiority. This is how they had arrived to an idea to combine T-64 strengths with modified T-34 diesel engine. Later it also confirms that export was a major consideration in designing tanks as secondary consideration behind T-72 was its export attractiveness. Statement that it was not cheaper is an odd one since the very reason of T-72 existence was simplification of T-64 design. Its transmission system, cheaper, more reliable engine. Tank was made to be more reliable, easier to maintain and to be mass produced. T-72 was 40% cheaper to produce than T-64 which is a massive difference. Btw: I'm going to ignore if T-64 and T-62 were split between elite units or not, because it will take too much time, but I'm pretty certain that elite formations did received T-64/80 lines together with any other newest equipment Soviets could produce at the time. Also, it seems that in late 60's T-55 were meant mainly for an export. I have my doubts however is Soviet Union still did not produced said tank for its own replacements either. The issue is not whatever current tank can stand its own against new competition, but if current tank is advanced enough to be superior to its competition. 60's is when Soviets had losts its quantitative and qualitative superiority in tanks. In other words, it no longer had numbers superiority together with quality superiority when it came to tanks. Its continued production only exegabareted this problem into early 70's when new generation Nato tanks came into numbers and were refined. M60, Chieftains, Leopards while Soviets had in their inventories more of T-55 tank. In my view, their position would had been better if they would had preferred T-62 tank. M48 had similar armor as M60 and those tanks were tough to beat over range. T-55 had an advantage only, because M48 had sub-par firepower. M60 however had outmatched T-55 tank with greater stand off distances allowing it to destroy T-55 over range reliably. T-62 had equalled this difference by superior firepower, allowing it to destroy M60 from farther away than M60 could destroy T-62 from. Centurion was worse on paper, but from early 60's it was exported in seriously upgraded state, with superior firepower than that of T-55. Chieftains however if in proper firing position makes match up hopeless for T-55, however T-62 firepower still enables it to remain dangerous. HEAT ammunition wasn't popular and I believe it was even in deficit during those years. It also was unreliable, expensive and were far more difficult to accurately fire over distances than any other type of AP ammunition. It is no wonder that in 60's, AP rounds were still a main way of defeating enemy armor. T-55 however could not beat tanks at any range, its AP round was more prone to ricochets and would lose more energy over distance than APFSDS of T-62. 3VBM-1 round was by far superior and Soviets lacked with modernization of T-55 firepower at that time. It was not until 1967 that new round was even made for T-55, 3BM8 APDS. UBR-412 projectile in 60's were not as scary as in 40's and 50's and in my eyes, it shows when using T-55 in any simulator, its firepower feels lacking in 60's.
  6. I had included T-54 too, because they are so related, but just that tank (T-54/55) alone clocks upwards to 100,000 units.. https://www.warhistoryonline.com/military-vehicle-news/t-5455-produced-tank-ever.html Precise numbers are always difficult to come by as various sources quote various figures, but said tank tend to maintain similar monstrous production quotas. It is not up until later, with more expensive tanks like T-72 when production numbers become more sensible ranging only around 25,000 tanks. T-62 being considered as unpopular intermedium solution still clocked up considerable 23,000 units give or take. T-64 on the other hand had 13,000 models produced. Only T-80 had received modest production numbers of around 5000 copies. By comparison, Soviets had built around 84,000 T-34 tanks and around 60,000 during whole duration of WW2. Those production numbers later turned to be a real headache for a Soviet Union to replace as majority of their armed forces in late cold war were made up of tanks who could not compete with Nato armor on equal terms. This is why I consider that the problem was with the Soviets rather than T-62. Too strong of a focus on mass producing one tank had yielded desired short to medium term effect, but in a long run, Soviets were stuck with massive armored fleets which needed monstrous resources to be maintained and to be replaced in full during late cold war years. Resources which we both know Soviet Union simply could not afford anymore to spend on producing so many tanks who became increasingly expensive. This together with increased demand for more armored vehicles of every kind is why we see drop in overall production of later models too compared to production of earlier models. Btw: Soviets always had similar production numbers all the way since interwar period where they casually produced more tanks than rest of the world combined. Also, state of Warsaw Pact's armored forces were often quite horrific by Nato standards as typically most formations did not had enough of a maintenance elements to properly repair and support its armored forces. Overall plan was to keep most of the tanks in reserve and to bring back during mobilization in hopes that they will be destroyed before they break down. That would had resulted in Soviet army who is tremendously capable of short offensive bursts, like famous 7 days to Rhine operation, but after that Soviets would had experienced massive choke on their capabilities as all those tanks would start breaking down at a similar time, completely overloading maintenance crews.
  7. You greatly underestimate what kind of gargantuan Soviet Union was and thus you do not get the essence of the problem I was talking about. T-64A had entered limited production in 1969. First serial production batch lasted from 1969 to 1972 though which 1560 of those tanks were produced + its earlier variants. For comparison, Soviets during 80's were producing around 9000 tanks, SPG and APCs per year. USSR had produced up to 100,000 T-55 and its variants during 30 year span. This comes to an average of 3,333 tanks per year. T-64 having an early production run of 520 tanks per year is a small scale serial production by Soviet standards while in Western world it would be a large scale production. Furthermore, another argument of why Soviets never seriously intended to replace older tanks with T-64 was that they never had expanded upon tank's engine production factories. We had a choke point in T-64 engines where one factory was producing engines for a tank produced in 3 or all major tank factories. When you hear that Soviets had moved to produce vehicle X in a factory, you should not think that they were focusing on producing that vehicle. Those Soviet factories were gargantuan and producing hundred of tanks per year wasn't a big deal for the Soviets. Btw: Soviets had two major tank lines. MBT intended for main army and elite formations. One line was designed to be cheap and effective and was produced in great numbers. These tanks are like T-55, T-72. Another tank line meant to be the very best that Soviets could produce at the time and those tanks were meant for elite formations. Those tanks were models like T-64 and T-80. By saying that I had meant that Soviets were planning replacement for T-55/62, I had meant that they were planning replacement for their first line of tanks. Any theoretical successor to those tanks would had been obviously a lot cheaper than T-64 or else it would had been deemed as a complete failure.
  8. Drones provide negligible combat value and are not in mainstream service yet. Most of high profile projects are still under development. It will take a good decade when such things as drone artillery spotters, tanks using drones to extend their awareness or when drones will be able to perform roles of more complex machinery like military aircraft or submarines.
  9. With the advent of drones, we will be going backwards technologically. AA guns placed on tanks, low caliber AA guns, low caliber missile launchers. These kind of weapon platforms should see comeback as a lot of drones do not require high capability, heavy equipment to beat. Though, it will be good decades until drones will mature technologically enough to pose real battlefield combat threat on their own. At the current moment, they are little more than a cool hype.
  10. Armor technology is something which had raised many questions to me. Armor is something which tends to gain more value the more you put it. For example, on a tank, extra 50 mm of raw armor thickness can sometimes mean over 500 meters of extra range where enemy fire is ineffective. In a same manner, we often do not prioritize protecting ours...anything and always seem to focus on other aspects rather than protection. In my eyes, it is like being in Imperial Guard army. You are just statistic on someone's excel spreadsheet. You do not gain any real combat performance increase if you survive being shot when you consider all the downsides. Thus, protection is here more for morale reasons and providing bare basic levels of protection for maximum benefit as cheaply as possible. Key point, cheaply. Our analogue SWAT officers were forced at one time to serve with expired body vests. Soldiers also seem to suffer from poor quality body armor issues from time to time and this is in USA, the best equipped military in the world. I can only imagine that body armor in less well equipped nations are long expired and is here more for a show. This is also strange, because we do have technology to create video game equivalent of power armor. We have real cases of body armor stopping heavy machine gun rounds, helmets who can stop sniper rounds, body vests who can stop point blank grenade hits. Armor can be so much more, but we somehow do not care about it. Just look at how long it took us to figure out that creating an air gap between an armor plates makes them more effective...
  11. Idea of T-72 comes from 60's as a merging between T-62 and T-64 in an effort to make a mass production variant which would be cheap to produce, but would have increased capabilities of some T-64 features. Soviet leadership would had been extraordinary short sighted at the time if they did not forsee T-55 obsolescence by 60's. As for T-64, tank was never a meant for mass production in a same quantities as their main battle tank lines hence its serial production. What I had meant however was of shifting production from T-55 to T-62. In this scenario, an excessive production of armor vehicles would had been lowered somewhat while industry reshifts itself towards new tank design. In addition of lowering T-62 production cost. Ultimately this would had meant that Soviet would have had several hundred less tanks than they could have had. In return there would not be such gluttony of T-55 reserves later on and Soviet reserves would make up of around 50/50 percent split between T-55 and T-62 models in late cold war.
  12. Well, calling this tank a mediocre design is more of a reputation rather than reality. It was mediocre only in a sense that it had carried its strengths and weaknesses from its predecessor T-55. Its cannon was monstrous at its time. While other anti tank cannons and rounds would struggle to penetrate equivalent enemy tanks from 1000 meters and onwards, often effective zone being somewhere 1500 meters. This tank however still had enough penetrative power beyond maximum effective engagement distances of 2 kilometers to be a threat to tanks of that era. Gun in addition had a flat round trajectory which is an advantage over rifled guns of its time. I would consider this tank to be the best at its time, only surpassed by T-64, but that tank is in a different category. Not only it is a lot more expensive, but also had severe issues with engine and I think it wasn't until T-64B when Soviets had anything better. T-64 had such problems with its engines that it was merely a paper tiger until 1970s with introduction of T-64B. The problems arising from this tank were not technological or poor performance. T-62 was excellent mass production design, outcompeting its analogs in the West at the time. The real issue was that Soviet Union was so invested into mass production of certain vehicle lines that it found it impossible to shift. While it made its tanks very cheap, it by comparison made T-62 almost twice as expensive! Not because T-62 was more expensive, it was because of sunk costs into T-55 which had made its production so cheap. This tendency to mass produce tanks worked in a short run as it allowed USSR to cheaply become that military supergiant with iconic seas of tanks. On the other hand it had inhibited meaningful Warsaw Pact's technological progress, often forcing it to stick to producing outdated models a good decade after they were ought to be shut down. Hence, this is why Soviet equipment had gained such a poor reputation abroad due to investment in mass production. By comparison, T-55 was produced into 80's decade! This is completely insane that Soviets were so invested into mass production which had left with massive amounts of old, rusting equipment which needed modernization which they could not easily receive due to its low internal space and low upper suspension weight. These were real reasons behind T-62 reception. It is a great tank, plagued with poor techno-economical planning of Soviet Union. In my personal view, I would had ceased production of T-55 in early 60's and would had shifted mass production towards T-62 tanks. T-64 was a lemon design. T-72 was still miles away at that time and T-55 was starting to lose its superiority as a tank against new competition. T-62 would had bridged the gap and ensured technological parity with newest Nato tanks. After all, how many tanks do you really need in your military before expenses of maintenance and logistics start to drag you down?
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