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Is there any way Sherman tanks could be upgraded at reasonable cost to still have a role on the battlefield? Assume that your military will never fight with a world-class army (U.S., Russia, China, etc.) and instead will only fight with second-rate armies using 1990s technology at best, or with terrorists, or go on peacekeeping missions. I'm thinking that the Shermans could have their turrets removed and modern autoloading turrets from other armored vehicles--like the 105mm Stryker gun, or the 40mm autocannon from the CV10, or the 30mm from the BMP-2 (would any of these fit in the Sherman's turret ring?)--could be dropped in, along with their sensors and computers. ATGM launchers could be installed as well. Explosive reactive armor bricks could be attached to the outside, as is common among modern Russian tanks. Assume that your Sherman fleet is 1,000 tanks, in various states of (dis)repair, so you have enough spare parts to last for many years. What do you guys think? Thanks.
STURGEON'S NOTE: THIS IS JUST FOR FUN, DON'T TAKE IT TOO SERIOUSLY. Toxn's note: what he said. The in-character stuff is just to reflect how these sorts of proposals end up getting bloated all out of proportion as conflicting requirements get tacked on by committees. I'll also try to provide clarity on the requirements themselves as we go along, so ask away. With a slew of regional conflicts threatening to metastasise and military expenditure rising for the first time in decades, military planners are once again pondering the role of AFVs on the modern battlefield. Recent conflicts seem to indicate that armed forces may be faced with lengthy conflicts in urban and peri-urban areas - places where tight confines and large numbers of anti-tank weapons have resulted in attritional warfare. In other areas, more open terrain has favoured the use of man-portable ATGMs against armoured elements. Finally, there has been a long-standing trend towards the use of IEDs and, on the other end of the scale, ever more sophisticated autonomous and semi-autonomous platforms as methods for inflicting casualties upon mechanised and armour forces. These aspects, when combined with a long-standing trend towards more heavily armed and armoured IFV variants, have potentially created a niche for a class of AFV optimised for general combat rather than specific anti-armour or scouting operations. This class of AFV should ideally be air-transportable or air-deployable using existing transport aircraft, be capable of high mobility and survival against infantry-borne weapons, and should be capable of tackling other armed vehicles (up to and including AFVs of a similar configuration) as well as providing infantry support. Other considerations would include the use of the chassis as a basis for a number of specialised variants, the ability to upgrade and retrofit the design during its life cycle and, of course, the cost of the vehicles themselves. As the head of a design team working within a massive defence conglomerate, your task is to come up with a design to pitch to defence departments around the globe. Your basic requirements are as follows: Must be capable of protecting against small arms from all aspects, and must be capable of withstanding 20-30mm autocannon fire across the frontal arc. Must be capable of engaging and defeating existing AFV designs (not including modern MBTs) at modern combat ranges. Must be air-transportable using existing transport aircraft (preferably AC-130 or equivalent) in either a ready-to-run or partially disassembled state. Must be capable of defending against at least one strike by man-portable anti-tank weapons, including ATGMs Must include weaponry or equipment for engaging with dug-in infantry in urban areas Must be capable of defending against mines, roadside bombs and IEDs Must be highly reliable, including servicing at local depots. Must cost the same or less than equivalent systems (around $4 million per unit maximum) Must be capable of off-road travel Finally, the design must use, wherever possible, existing components and processes in order to minimise development time. As our company specialises in armour arrays (including composites and the like) and electronics, some leeway will be allowed in terms of the armour package and electronic systems. Our extensive contacts within the defence sector mean that any weapon system currently being developed or fielded may plausibly be integrated with our product. Advanced requirements are as follows: May be capable of surviving multiple hits by heavy autocannon (40-60mm) across the frontal arc May be capable of engaging low-flying aircraft and helicopters May be directly air-deployable from existing transport aircraft May be capable of surviving multiple strikes from anti-tank missiles (of all classes) from any angle May include only COTs components May be capable of being serviced in the field. May be in the form of a family of vehicles sharing a common chassis May cost significantly less than equivalent systems (under $3 million per unit) May be capable of extreme off-road travel, including across anti-tank ditches and the like Designs, including at least a picture, description and list of attributes, should be presented by the end of April 2016 for evaluation by a panel of experts. The winning design team will receive a small prize (cash and in-game currency for one of a number of games discussed on this forum) and the adulation of millions of imaginary fans. Good luck! IMPORTANT OOC NOTE: The in-character post is sort of supposed to be maddening, as it reflects the tendency to propose a lightweight expeditionary vehicle (the absolute requirements viewed loosely) and then have everyone shove more and more stuff in until it turns into an MBT with an autocannon on top. The absolute versus optional requirements (some of which simply cannot be reconciled) indicate this. I advise the contestants to look at the trends (including real-life ones that I may not have examined in any detail) and pick their guiding philosophy - bearing in mind that this is supposed to be a vehicle for infantry support and general combat against anything smaller than an MBT. From there you should try to fulfil all of the absolute requirements (some leeway is allowed) and then argue the optional requirements as needed. Above all - have fun!