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Land 400 Phase 3: Australian IFV

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So, last week was the tenderer’s brief to the tender evaluation team. Each of the four tenderer’s had an equal time allocated to brief. 

 

Generally speaking, the Commonwealth structures its evaluation into specific teams, called Tender Evaluation Working Groups (TEWGs). The TEWGs are segregated into commercial, financial, project management, technical/engineering, and user. Depending on the activity, other TEWGs may be generated. Financial aspects of the tenderer’s offers are stripped out before non-financial TEWGs start their evaluations, so that offers are evaluated on their objective merits. 

 

Each TEWG completes its evaluation of the submission against the requirements (ostensibly not against the competing products) and produces a TEWG report. The TEWG lead presents the findings of the TEWG report to the Tender Evaluation Board (TEB), to arrive at a preferred tenderer and a non-preferred tenderer. 

 

So, AS21, KF41, CV90, and AJAX are all being evaluated for short-listing to detailed assessment, similar to L400-2 (AMV35 & Boxer CRV). 

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EOS turret limited by sight.  No way that dinky little RWS sight will meet the Requirements.  When it comes to optics, size matters.  Plus - how many hatches?

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51 minutes ago, DIADES said:

They're showing multiple options the customer can go with. The focus on this one is killer-killer capability. They're also offering the turret with a COAPS with a hunter-killer capability instead. 

A smaller looking sight only indicates it's a day channel. They showed the RWS in one configuration with a night channel as well.

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Yes, there are various sight configurations shown on the various public domain EOS turret images but in all cases, I can only see one hatch.  The turret seems to have Commander and Gunner (two sights) so one hatch seems to make no sense at all

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46 minutes ago, DIADES said:

The turret seems to have Commander and Gunner (two sights) so one hatch seems to make no sense at all

 

Could be like the original Merk 4? Although the tender requires a ‘manned turret’, it doesn’t explicitly call out that both the gunner & commander have to be contained within. 

 

One of the tricky parts of using the M113A1 w/T50 turret in the mechanised (as opposed to mounted) infantry role is where the infantry commander resides. Does s/he man the turret whilst mounted, then dismount in an objective, acknowledging that the turret (& weapons) are unattended while the ‘other’ crew commander gets in? Or does the infantry commander sit in the back, with zero SA while closed down? Maybe the T-2000 configuration addresses this, somehow?

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2 hours ago, 2805662 said:

 

Could be like the original Merk 4? Although the tender requires a ‘manned turret’, it doesn’t explicitly call out that both the gunner & commander have to be contained within. 

 

One of the tricky parts of using the M113A1 w/T50 turret in the mechanised (as opposed to mounted) infantry role is where the infantry commander resides. Does s/he man the turret whilst mounted, then dismount in an objective, acknowledging that the turret (& weapons) are unattended while the ‘other’ crew commander gets in? Or does the infantry commander sit in the back, with zero SA while closed down? Maybe the T-2000 configuration addresses this, somehow?

IFV role is complicated but the RFT is for Mounted Close Combat.  So I suspect the intent is that the infantry commander is a passenger and that situational awareness is indirect, provided by various camera systems and displays,  The vehicle commander must be in the turret - no practical alternative in my view.  I struggle with the idea of the gunner not in the turret.  The gunner/commander team needs to be close and the dual sight setup will blur roles occasionally.  Plus who services the weapon?   From the dismounted infantry section POV, a fully crewed IFV gives them immediate direct fire support.  Huge step up from M113/0.50Cal.  We're talking airburst 30mm...  And the level of protection will allow real dismount on positions.

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3 hours ago, 2805662 said:

 

Could be like the original Merk 4? Although the tender requires a ‘manned turret’, it doesn’t explicitly call out that both the gunner & commander have to be contained within. 

 

..I did not know about the single hatch Mk4.  How is the gunner supposed to exit?   Goes down with the ship I suppose.  Optimize protection for RPG at the expense of KE.  Then again, the Merk as been progressively optimized for urban use and I guess somebody saw an easy trade-off - providing you are happy to toast gunners in the event somebody goes off script and brings a real gun to the party.

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On 3/10/2019 at 12:45 AM, DIADES said:

Yes, there are various sight configurations shown on the various public domain EOS turret images but in all cases, I can only see one hatch.  The turret seems to have Commander and Gunner (two sights) so one hatch seems to make no sense at all

 

Seems like a show of customizability again. The trend is clear - unmanned turrets. But those who want a manned turret can often get that option from the same manufacturer, even within the same turret.

 

A single hatch may be less comfortable for exit and entry, but it's doable, and more importantly it saves a ton of space on the roof to add things. On such small turrets, every square inch is valuable real estate. Even on the large turrets of MBTs you will more often than not see an issue of over-crowded equipment.

 

For normal exit and entry, I suppose they'll just have to take turns unless the Aussies decide they value ergonomics highly enough to sacrifice available space.

 

In any case when that's not possible, one can lock the turret in place, and exit through a hole in the basket. Not all designs permit that. In some it can be very dangerous, but it's also doable if there's will. Not complicated either, as it takes just not welding a piece of metal to the basket, and adding a simple interruption command to the turret controls.

 

On 3/10/2019 at 4:51 AM, DIADES said:

..I did not know about the single hatch Mk4.  How is the gunner supposed to exit?   Goes down with the ship I suppose.  Optimize protection for RPG at the expense of KE.  Then again, the Merk as been progressively optimized for urban use and I guess somebody saw an easy trade-off - providing you are happy to toast gunners in the event somebody goes off script and brings a real gun to the party.

 

In the Merkava 4 there are now 2 hatches - TC's and Loader's.

The single hatch variant was an early production one. 

The idea was maintaining the integrity of the roof armor.

How he got out is fairly easy: Use the back door. It's actually more comfortable in a lot of cases, and allows for a safe evac when the tank's exposed. Only the driver has to actually rely on his hatch.

 

I'm now advancing the idea of a rear-placed hatch-less crew capsule with a back door, center placed unmanned turret, and front placed powerpack.

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5 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

 The single hatch variant was an early production one

 

I think they all had the loader's hatch.

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On 3/10/2019 at 1:35 PM, DIADES said:

IFV role is complicated but the RFT is for Mounted Close Combat.  So I suspect the intent is that the infantry commander is a passenger and that situational awareness is indirect, provided by various camera systems and displays,.

 

You’re right: it is for mounted close combat...that said, the IFV are intended to be issued to the three mechanised infantry battalions. The infantry sections (now) have three ‘teams’ of three pers, two teams for dismounts, and the vehicle team (i.e. crew). 

 

To clarify, the section commander commands the section - dismounts + vehicle - whereas the vehicle commander, being subordinate to the section commander, only commands the vehicle. 

 

Having spoken to British Army armoured infantry JNCO & officers, they do the stop/drop switcheroo: entity commander is in the turret, up to dismounting on the objective (for C2/SA reasons), then exits the turret and the vehicle (via the rear door/ramp) to command dismounted. During this evolution, the gunner continues to engage targets until the vehicle commander gets into the turret. Unsure how US mechanised infantry does it, though Stryker squad commanders have their own hatch/SA, independent of the vehicle commander. 

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9 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

 

Seems like a show of customizability again. The trend is clear - unmanned turrets. But those who want a manned turret can often get that option from the same manufacturer, even within the same turret.

 

A single hatch may be less comfortable for exit and entry, but it's doable, and more importantly it saves a ton of space on the roof to add things. On such small turrets, every square inch is valuable real estate. Even on the large turrets of MBTs you will more often than not see an issue of over-crowded equipment.

 

For normal exit and entry, I suppose they'll just have to take turns unless the Aussies decide they value ergonomics highly enough to sacrifice available space.

 

In any case when that's not possible, one can lock the turret in place, and exit through a hole in the basket. Not all designs permit that. In some it can be very dangerous, but it's also doable if there's will. Not complicated either, as it takes just not welding a piece of metal to the basket, and adding a simple interruption command to the turret controls.

 

 

In the Merkava 4 there are now 2 hatches - TC's and Loader's.

The single hatch variant was an early production one. 

The idea was maintaining the integrity of the roof armor.

How he got out is fairly easy: Use the back door. It's actually more comfortable in a lot of cases, and allows for a safe evac when the tank's exposed. Only the driver has to actually rely on his hatch.

 

I'm now advancing the idea of a rear-placed hatch-less crew capsule with a back door, center placed unmanned turret, and front placed powerpack.

Unmanned turrets are not yet militarily viable - in my view.  The basic problem is that the sensory data fusion a commander has when head out has no technological alternative when head down.  Head out, the brain intrinsically integrates data from eyes, ears, nose, skin.  Head out, peripheral vision works, head down, it does not.  Peripheral vision is where we see least but detect most.  In the pure wonderful world of engagements at weapon limits, say 3k, head out has little value - head down using the tools (sight) is the way to go.  But real engagements are at much shorter ranges, often very short range and the sense of threat that our senses give us if we let them is invaluable.

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9 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

 

Seems like a show of customizability again. The trend is clear - unmanned turrets. But those who want a manned turret can often get that option from the same manufacturer, even within the same turret.

 

A single hatch may be less comfortable for exit and entry, but it's doable, and more importantly it saves a ton of space on the roof to add things. On such small turrets, every square inch is valuable real estate. Even on the large turrets of MBTs you will more often than not see an issue of over-crowded equipment.

 

For normal exit and entry, I suppose they'll just have to take turns unless the Aussies decide they value ergonomics highly enough to sacrifice available space.

 

In any case when that's not possible, one can lock the turret in place, and exit through a hole in the basket. Not all designs permit that. In some it can be very dangerous, but it's also doable if there's will. Not complicated either, as it takes just not welding a piece of metal to the basket, and adding a simple interruption command to the turret controls.

 

How he got out is fairly easy: Use the back door. It's actually more comfortable in a lot of cases, and allows for a safe evac when the tank's exposed. Only the driver has to actually rely on his hatch.

 

I'm now advancing the idea of a rear-placed hatch-less crew capsule with a back door, center placed unmanned turret, and front placed powerpack.

Some of this comes down to basic differences.  An IFV is not a tank, not quite!  Though lethality is getting up a long way.  IFV drivers can exit via the back, not a lot of fun but doable, and not prevented by turret orientation.  Turret crew can only exit via the back if the turret is oriented over a narrow range, basically at zero.  In peacetime, no issue - actual injuries in training much reduced if you can keep crew off the roof!.  Entry and exit can be conducted at leisure and the turret can be where ever you want.  But is operations, you don't get to choose turret orientation at the point where your armour is over matched and everybody needs out fast.  A loaded IFV is going to have an infantry section going out the back door, probably the driver trying to go that way too (many drivers hatches will not open enough for access unless turret is dead ahead).  The turret crew can't even join that scrum unless they were lucky and the turret basket doors are oriented exactly right.  Hatches in the turret roof are the quickest most direct route out

 

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1 minute ago, DIADES said:

Unmanned turrets are not yet militarily viable - in my view.  The basic problem is that the sensory data fusion a commander has when head out has no technological alternative when head down.  Head out, the brain intrinsically integrates data from eyes, ears, nose, skin.  Head out, peripheral vision works, head down, it does not.  Peripheral vision is where we see least but detect most.  In the pure wonderful world of engagements at weapon limits, say 3k, head out has little value - head down using the tools (sight) is the way to go.  But real engagements are at much shorter ranges, often very short range and the sense of threat that our senses give us if we let them is invaluable.

Here's one concept that was posted here a month ago:

Spoiler

 

 

This is a kit developed by Rafael for the Carmel project, in which Elbit also presented its IronVision system. 

According to Rafael, it's ready for integration on existing vehicles. 

 

Elbit's IronVision is already being integrated to multiple vehicles for service by 2021. 

Spoiler

 

 

The idea here is not to merely augment the vision of the crew, but to allow them to complete the mission completely buttoned down. It's designed to keep them sealed in that capsule because having the crew separated from the turret adds substantially to the protection.

Imagine being able to isolate the ammo completely from the crew, like in the Abrams, but actually making a very small turret with a tiny profile. Some call it the T-14 or TTB, whatever you prefer to look at for reference.

Except by placing the crew in the back, it's possible to allow them to quickly enter and exit the vehicle under any condition of the turret, quickly resupply, allows creating a universal family of vehicles on the same platform, and almost as importantly, allows shielding the crew from top attack munitions and mines in a substantial increase over what any front-crew design would allow.

 

 

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2 minutes ago, DIADES said:

Some of this comes down to basic differences.  An IFV is not a tank, not quite!  Though lethality is getting up a long way.  IFV drivers can exit via the back, not a lot of fun but doable, and not prevented by turret orientation.  Turret crew can only exit via the back if the turret is oriented over a narrow range, basically at zero.  In peacetime, no issue - actual injuries in training much reduced if you can keep crew off the roof!.  Entry and exit can be conducted at leisure and the turret can be where ever you want.  But is operations, you don't get to choose turret orientation at the point where your armour is over matched and everybody needs out fast.  A loaded IFV is going to have an infantry section going out the back door, probably the driver trying to go that way too (many drivers hatches will not open enough for access unless turret is dead ahead).  The turret crew can't even join that scrum unless they were lucky and the turret basket doors are oriented exactly right.  Hatches in the turret roof are the quickest most direct route out

 

One more reason why I think unmanned turrets are the way to go, but that's actually easily fixed. Either reorient the turret via a joystick (FCS), or use any manual override. If the manufacturer does not include a manual override, ask them why they didn't include it, not why they didn't want another hatch.

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1 hour ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

One more reason why I think unmanned turrets are the way to go, but that's actually easily fixed. Either reorient the turret via a joystick (FCS), or use any manual override. If the manufacturer does not include a manual override, ask them why they didn't include it, not why they didn't want another hatch.

Battle damage frequently jams turrets.  Even if not jammed, probably no power to operate slew.  Manual reversion is always very slow - and getting slower as turret weights go up.  If the vehicle is on anything other than flat ground, manual forces go way up.  Turrets are generally not perfectly mass balanced around he slew axis as its a lesser priority.

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1 hour ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

The idea here is not to merely augment the vision of the crew, but to allow them to complete the mission completely buttoned down. It's designed to keep them sealed in that capsule because having the crew separated from the turret adds substantially to the protection.

Imagine being able to isolate the ammo completely from the crew, like in the Abrams, but actually making a very small turret with a tiny profile. Some call it the T-14 or TTB, whatever you prefer to look at for reference.

Except by placing the crew in the back, it's possible to allow them to quickly enter and exit the vehicle under any condition of the turret, quickly resupply, allows creating a universal family of vehicles on the same platform, and almost as importantly, allows shielding the crew from top attack munitions and mines in a substantial increase over what any front-crew design would allow.

 

 

Yes, cool idea and pretty near real.  But still does not address my basic concerns re fusion.  I want this glass armour stuff PLUS I want my head out.

 

Yes, your points about rear crew are all good providing you first accept the idea of no direct vision to command the vehicle ever.  Ignoring combat, the commander must have top vision just to maneuver the vehicle.  Yes, I admit that vision systems are getting better every day :)  If there is no direct vision, then there is no possibility of continuing to operate the vehicle in the case of a sub-system failure.  Or mud all over the vehicle or dust across the lenses etc.  AFVs have to operate in all conditions and all conditions of the vehicle - pretty much the same conditions as PBI.

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5 hours ago, 2805662 said:

 

You’re right: it is for mounted close combat...that said, the IFV are intended to be issued to the three mechanised infantry battalions. The infantry sections (now) have three ‘teams’ of three pers, two teams for dismounts, and the vehicle team (i.e. crew). 

 

To clarify, the section commander commands the section - dismounts + vehicle - whereas the vehicle commander, being subordinate to the section commander, only commands the vehicle. 

 

OK, so, based on the RFT which we have to assume is well informed and is congruent with Armys needs and plans (insert demented giggling).

1. We have 3 crew and 6 dismounts.  An Australian infantry section is 8 in 2 teams of 4.

2. We have a turret configured as a MBT differing only in caliber - hunter/killer, killer/killer sights, fairly capable gun (armour and infantry specific rounds), ATGM and APS.  Coax and RWS (7.62 and 050)

 

How is this to be operated?  The vehicle/turret commander needs the full MBT commander skill set.  The turret needs two crew for full functionality.  If the infantry section commander is to command the vehicle, the required total skill set is huge and overlaps Corps.  At 6 dismounts per vehicle, 4 vehicles (6 per) to carry 3 sections plus another 2 for the rest of the platoon = minimum 6 vehicles & 36 soldiers plus 18 crew,  If we have dual role commanders, then we get 7 per vehicle bu still need 4 vehicles and have 4 empty seats so 4 of support 12 fill those leaving 8 which means 2 more vehicles and 6 empty seats = 6 vehicles & 38 soldiers plus 12 crew (2 per)  Lot of gross simplifications in there.

 

If we are splitting sections to stuff them into vehicles, we run short of commanders?

 

I am not up to speed on what is planned.  Thoughts?

 

 

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17 hours ago, DIADES said:

have 3 crew and 6 dismounts.  An Australian infantry section is 8 in 2 teams of 4.

The two teams of eight section in Australia has been superseded by the 3/3/3 model (3 crew, six dismounts). 

 

Check this (excellent) article on the implementation of the IFV within the Australian context. 

 

https://www.cove.org.au/breakin/article-land-400-phase-3-a-case-for-reviewing-that-other-case/

 

it summarises the organisational & doctrinal background to what is coming, set against the 50+ years of M113 operation by the Australian Army. 

 

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