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I realized we don't have a topic for a proper discussion of what future AFVs should look like, in the style of a general AFVs discussion rather than country-specific threads.

 

I spotted a revived potential need for future MBTs - a coaxial autocannon to replace the coaxial MG. The reason? An APS neutralizer. 

Here's my short post on why I think it should happen:

Spoiler

Are Formerly Fantasy Coaxial Autocannons Set To Become A Common Reality?

 
I'm sure everyone reading this are already aware of the funky Stridsvagn 2000 and its 40mm cannon mounted alongside the widely tested (at the time - prior to the breakup of the Soviet Union) 140mm gun, or the two T-72M2 Moderna prototypes fitted with either two 20mm guns (one on either side) or a single 30mm gun on one side.
None of these has actually made it into operational service, and so the largest coaxial secondary armament on MBTs remained the 12.7mm.
 
t72m2_moderna_l2.jpg
T-72M2 Moderna prototype with 2 mounts of 20mm cannons.


It made a lot of sense to stick to only MMGs or HMGs at best. These were possible to pack with a large quantity of ammunition, and were often more than enough for the anti-infantry or anti-material role they took.

Additionally, since the only two schools of tank design were roughly:
 
  • Soviet approach - Use every inch of space to make the tank as small as possible.
  • Western approach - Use a human loader (with the exception of Leclerc and K2) and assign certain free space for crew comfort only.
Neither could really allocate the space necessary to mount an autocannon that would be both far larger in itself and would take several times the space that ammunition took. 
In some cases, even 12.7mm machine guns were deemed too space-hungry.
 
But now there are a few factors that could both necessitate the use of an autocannon, and alleviate some of the issues around its implementation:
  1. By 2021 at least 2 serially produced MBTs should become operational with an APS capable of defeating large caliber KE munitions - The Merkava 4 Barak and T-14.
  2. The T-14 is the reference threat for NATO countries in MBT development.
  3. Kill on first round is still the go-to approach in weapon design.
  4. No APS, operational or conceptual, is able to defeat medium caliber munitions fired in bursts.
  5. 2-man crews will substantially increase the amount of total usable space.
  6. Unmanned turrets will similarly increase the amount of turret-specific usable space.
  7. With a decrease in weight of tanks and increase in their physical protection, as well as the approach to a boundary to which conventional 120mm guns and munition can be upgraded, increased gun diameters such as the Rheinmetall 130mm may have a real chance at becoming operational. Such guns will inevitably have a lower ammo capacity. An autocannon will both deal with softer, less important targets, and will serve as an APS neutralizer.
 
 
 
main-qimg-bd59cab5f16b4f5ac64e8e5a0334f785.jpg
Strv 2000 had only 29 main gun shells, and so the use of an autocannon to deal with some soft targets became a necessity.
 
As you may have guessed, my opinion that autocannons for MBTs should be re-evaluated, arises from the advancements in APS technologies and the need of a certain weapon to be an APS-neutralizer.
 
img23.jpg
Damage caused by two 35mm KETF projectiles, visible all over the turret.
Right now is an amazing opportunity to start thinking about adding autocannons to MBTs.
The new generation of MBTs should start materializing around 2027 to mid 2030's. By that time, there could be well over 1,000 MBTs or AFVs globally with an anti-KE APS in service (300 Merkava tanks plus several hundred Namer and Eitan if they also get a new APS, plus an unknown number of T-14 and T-15 vehicles) even if we don't take into account western developments that are likely to move to anti-KE APS at some point during that time.

 

I didn't add it there, but I see lasers as a potential alternative. However, I don't think they're viable because of the power required to properly neutralize an APS's components, especially if these components are dispersed, or worse yet, effectively camouflaged. An autocannon will be able to disable not only the APS but other external components all at once. 

Similar to the engagement method showcased by Russia where they fired 2 Kornet missiles (almost) simultaneously to defeat an APS, a hypothetical mode of operation could include firing a burst of 2 KETF shells at a target prior to firing a main gun shell.

 

An additional alternative could be to use a single main gun ABM shell that would initiate outside the scope of the APS's engagement range (e.g engagement range is 30m so it initiates at 50m), but it would have 2 main issues that are a longer time to kill a target and a greater consumption of ammunition (up to a 3rd of ammo would have to be allocated to ABM munitions strictly for anti-armor operations).

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If I tried to put "APS neutralizer", I would mount M230 autocannon on RWS in place of MG. And I think that could be a cost-effective solution for current Western III generation tanks. 

 

And additionally - "APS neutralizer" can be also an "ERA neutralizer". 

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1 hour ago, Zadlo said:

If I tried to put "APS neutralizer", I would mount M230 autocannon on RWS in place of MG. And I think that could be a cost-effective solution for current Western III generation tanks. 

 

And additionally - "APS neutralizer" can be also an "ERA neutralizer". 

 

That is definitely a good solution for the current generation of tanks, but not so much about the next generation where the firing of a burst of medium caliber ammunition, followed by a main gun shell, would be done as a single process computed by the FCS.

 

I don't agree however on the ERA neutralizer part. Modern ERA is designed to be insensitive to certain munitions, and it probably includes fragments from the M230. ERA is also one technology that has been successfully countered with the 'kill on first shot' approach (specialized tips).

 

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This might be impractical, but mounting 2 main guns like battleships of yore would also work. But yeah, I think a nice coaxial mounted 30mm Mk-30 or 40mm/L70 Bofors would be more effective. 

 

Oh, maybe they could also mount external ATGM launchers, and launch them to distract the APS before the main gun fires, though that seems a little more complicated. 

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So... in this case it must be a coaxial autocannon. And it means that this autocannon should have a large ammo magazine, KETF rounds and be easy to install in unmanned turret. And it leads to autocannon / chain gun using 30 mm rounds (large amount of ammo and KETF) and which lacks dual feeding.

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2 hours ago, Zadlo said:

So... in this case it must be a coaxial autocannon. And it means that this autocannon should have a large ammo magazine, KETF rounds and be easy to install in unmanned turret. And it leads to autocannon / chain gun using 30 mm rounds (large amount of ammo and KETF) and which lacks dual feeding.

This demonstrated part of the next challenge other than neutralizing APS. 

As I've said, the reduction of crew size to 2, subsequent reduction of protected volume, and additional reductions of weight through material improvements and new production methods, will allow future tanks built in new plants to pack a considerably higher amount of armor, and so Rheinmetall's bet on a rising need for kinetic overmatch against such threats will, IMO, pay off. The 130mm will become standard past the 2030's, but it will include to a limited extent the drawbacks that were discussed when pitting the 140mm against incrementally improved 120mm guns.

 

Here's a comparison between shell sizes:

Q4NeDV2.jpg

 

I have no doubt that ammo capacity will suffer quite greatly from that, and even today the ammo capacity of MBT's is nothing special. 

 

So a coaxial gun will have to then fulfill some of the main gun's tasks in the anti-infantry and anti-material roles. Hence, a dual feed is a MUST!

Here's to hoping the guys at the design bureaus see this as a challenge to be solved and not as some natural obstacle to be avoided.

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Leaving aside the technical and tactical considerations,


how huge and expensive would be a similar MBT, with a 130mm plus autoloader and a dual-feed autocannon, plus APS, last generations materials (and relative armor to protect it), sensors and electronics and so on ?

 

How many of them the european armies, with limited budgets, could buy ?

And if they will be huge, very expensive and few, they also will be a priority targets for enemy NLOS/PGM systems ...

 

Is this the right way ?

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For defeating APS a coaxial autocannon would be the last resort.

The first and if workable ideal choice would be to simply coat the KE penetrator and maybe reshape it to make detection of it as hard as possible and bypass the APS that way.

The second choice would be to cut down the penetrator and add a decoy on top that can be fired ahead of the actual penetrator and absorbs the APS.

The fourth choice would be to try to somehow jam the APS before firing.

The fifth choice would be to get quick data sharing between nearby tanks to allow both tanks to fire almost at the same time at the same target to defeat the APS that way.

Only as a sixth choice would i put an autocannon into my MBT.

 

Problems with using an auto cannon

It needs a lot of space

The time between lasing a target to the KE shell actually hitting will be a few seconds more which gives the opponent time to react

IFVs can already do just that except with an ATGM instead of KE penetrators

 

 

18 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

 

As I've said, the reduction of crew size to 2,

 

 

reducing the crew size to 2 will not happen unless the gunner can be completely replaced with an ai.

Each tank would loose half its situational awareness just from losing half the eyes scanning for threats. On top of that the TC now has to also gun so his attention goes down aswell.

That loss just isnt worth the gains in armour or internal volume.

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   For dealing with tank equipped with APS using autocannons is not so effective, as AC don't give reliable hits on APS modules. Using single programmable HE-frag shell from main gun will do this job better IMO. 

 

   Thinking about this... why not add an "explosive tip" with ready to use fragments on APFSDS round, and this "tip" fires before APFSDS round enters APS zone of interception, working as a shotgun that damages systems and probably intercepting munition on a launcher itself?

 

   Firing autocannons at tanks doesn't sound like a good idea, as enemy can do something with source of fire or try to get out of LOS of a tank that started to fire AC.

 

14 minutes ago, holoween said:

For defeating APS a coaxial autocannon would be the last resort.

/.../

   Agree, especailly because something like 23-30 mm ACs effective range and dispersions are worse than 120/125 mm cannons effective ranges. Firing AC will be like a announcement of your position and your intention to shoot at particual vehicle, as well.

 

19 minutes ago, holoween said:

/.../

The first and if workable ideal choice would be to simply coat the KE penetrator and maybe reshape it to make detection of it as hard as possible and bypass the APS that way.

/.../

   Stealth sabo rounds? That is something new.

 

21 minutes ago, holoween said:

/.../

reducing the crew size to 2 will not happen unless the gunner can be completely replaced with an ai.

Each tank would loose half its situational awareness just from losing half the eyes scanning for threats. On top of that the TC now has to also gun so his attention goes down aswell.

That loss just isnt worth the gains in armour or internal volume.

   Probably thats why Soviet engineers were thinking about making driver work automated instead of deleting gunner. 

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11 minutes ago, LoooSeR said:

      Stealth sabo rounds? That is something new.

 

If it works it would be the best solution.

When i was doing my military service back in 2012 i did read a document where this approach was considered for the PzF3 to defeat APS so nothing really new.

 

11 minutes ago, LoooSeR said:

    Probably thats why Soviet engineers were thinking about making driver work automated instead of deleting gunner. 

 

Seems like a better alternative especially considering that outside of an active engagement the driver is by far the most busy position.

Though i wouldnt trust an ai with either at the moment. this seems more something for the generation after the next.

Though at that point might aswell make it a drone.

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The gun laying process and loading is already automated. What needs to be done is target recognition, and responding in a reasonable way. 

 

If I remember the hunter-killer process correctly, the command assigns the targets and might provide firing data. 

From there on out, the gunner needs to find the target the commander assigns, and pull the trigger. 

 

The process from ammunition rack to target:
1. Commander marks a marks a target.

2. The FCS turns to the targets general direction, and then uses the digital sight to locate the target.

3. Image recognition software is used for to locate the target. You can use machine learning to learn the system the new vehicles. By a sort of natural selection and data sharing between the vehicles, you can quickly improve target recognition and learning of new targets. Though, I would initially still have a operator to rate the image recognition software until the system properly learns to recognize the target. 

4.  The FCS starts taking measures to calculate the firing data.

5. The FCS requests the appropriate round from the autoloader. 

6. The FCS lays the gun. 

7. The autoloader signals to the FCS that the appropriate round is loaded. 

8. The FCS fires. Alternatively, it will ask for confirmation from the commander. 

9. Hit registration, if the target is hit, continue, if the target is missed, repeat step 4,6 and 8.

 

 

A automated driver is a lot harder in practice, outside of roads. Way too many factors and many sensors needed to even make it remotely practical, compared to a automated gunner. Look at modern self driving cars, they still have issues with poor roads, and they have a metric ton of sensors to boot. 

A automated gunner only requires a plug in and a marking system for the commander in a modern MBT. 

A updated BMS system and a upgraded on board computer is all that is needed in theory. 

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22 minutes ago, Xoon said:

If I remember the hunter-killer process correctly, the command assigns the targets and might provide firing data. 

From there on out, the gunner needs to find the target the commander assigns, and pull the trigger.

 

If the gunner spots a targtet he will call it out and the tc gives order to engage.

If the tc spots a target he will give the command to engage and the gun is automatically alligned with the tcs sight. From there on the gunner engages.

Usually the tc never pulls the trigger but after assigning a target immediately goes back to looking for more targets.

 

28 minutes ago, Xoon said:

3. Image recognition software is used for to locate the target. You can use machine learning to learn the system the new vehicles. By a sort of natural selection and data sharing between the vehicles, you can quickly improve target recognition and learning of new targets. Though, I would initially still have a operator to rate the image recognition software until the system properly learns to recognize the target.

 

Machine learning needs a shitton of rated attempts to be even somewhat reliable. so its something that would have to be done before any conflict and it might immediately break down once the opponent camoflages their vehicles. or installs some sheet metal to change the vehicles silouhette.

 

31 minutes ago, Xoon said:

8. The FCS fires. Alternatively, it will ask for confirmation from the commander.

 

If the FCS needs ot ask permission from the tc after its aleady assigned a target it will be simply slower to engage than a human gunner and on top take the tcs awareness away from finding new targets. So at that point the tc might aswell simply engage on his own.

this also leaves the issoew of half the eyes looking for targets compared to having a gunner.

 

38 minutes ago, Xoon said:

9. Hit registration, if the target is hit, continue, if the target is missed, repeat step 4,6 and 8.

 

Hit registration is notoriously difficult since the projectile will be at the target before the muzzle blast is cleared enough to allow observation of the projectile unless the shot is at long range.

On top of that you need your FCS to judge when a target has beeen destroyed since otherwise it will waste shots at a wreck or take the tcs attention away even more by forcing him to check the engaged target to make sure it has been destroyed.

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1 hour ago, holoween said:

 

If the gunner spots a targtet he will call it out and the tc gives order to engage.

If the tc spots a target he will give the command to engage and the gun is automatically alligned with the tcs sight. From there on the gunner engages.

Usually the tc never pulls the trigger but after assigning a target immediately goes back to looking for more targets.

I meant that the gunner pulls the trigger. In a automated system, the commander would "pull the trigger" by marking a target for the system. 

 

1 hour ago, holoween said:

Machine learning needs a shitton of rated attempts to be even somewhat reliable. so its something that would have to be done before any conflict and it might immediately break down once the opponent camoflages their vehicles. or installs some sheet metal to change the vehicles silouhette.

The entire point of machine learning a image recognition software is to be able to adapt to small changes. Something basic vision systems fails at.  In the same time you would use to open your computer, print out some photos of enemy vehicles, and given it to the recruits, a machine learning system could have already gone though hundreds, thousands, even millions of of attempts. The only limit is the computer budget of the developers. 

 

We have already developed very good facial recognition software, recognizing and military vehicle should be a piece of cake in comparison. Camouflage would impact a human eye just as badly, a human eye might even do worse because of how the brain processes images. 

 

1 hour ago, holoween said:

If the FCS needs ot ask permission from the tc after its aleady assigned a target it will be simply slower to engage than a human gunner and on top take the tcs awareness away from finding new targets. So at that point the tc might aswell simply engage on his own.

this also leaves the issoew of half the eyes looking for targets compared to having a gunner.

It was a alternative, for those that care about ethics. Not a requirement for the system. Though I am not disputing the situation awareness. This is why I am for a systems operator, who would take care of UAVs, drones and sub systems.  In the future, he might be replaced by a bot, but that is a lot harder to do.  Ironvision is a alternative. 

 

1 hour ago, holoween said:

Hit registration is notoriously difficult since the projectile will be at the target before the muzzle blast is cleared enough to allow observation of the projectile unless the shot is at long range.

On top of that you need your FCS to judge when a target has beeen destroyed since otherwise it will waste shots at a wreck or take the tcs attention away even more by forcing him to check the engaged target to make sure it has been destroyed.

This depends wholly on the standards for a normal crew. 

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45 minutes ago, Ramlaen said:

How about instead of shooting the APS equipped vehicle with an autocannon to disable the APS, you skip a step and give it a direct APFSDS injection.

We were talking about possible future APS that can intercept APFSDS projectiles, so just shooting it with sabo rounds will not be a solution.

 

4 hours ago, holoween said:

If it works it would be the best solution.

When i was doing my military service back in 2012 i did read a document where this approach was considered for the PzF3 to defeat APS so nothing really new.

/.../

I meant that it is new for me. Sounds like easier way to get projectile through APS than using additional weapon systems to disable APS. 

 

4 hours ago, holoween said:

/.../

Seems like a better alternative especially considering that outside of an active engagement the driver is by far the most busy position.

Though i wouldnt trust an ai with either at the moment. this seems more something for the generation after the next.

Though at that point might aswell make it a drone.

   Current software and solutions that i know don't really understands some things that humans learn through their lives - like snow that can cover something nasty under it. Software now can anylize enviroment and does work somewhat, but not sure how well it will deal with ruined cities, snowy forests and swamps (like around my city) and if enemies will start to use some simple tricks to  confuse AI or non-AI based driving software. Although as was mentioned on discord, automated driving can be tested on logistics and artillery vehicles, as they are dealing with less problems than frontline troops.

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6 minutes ago, LoooSeR said:

 Although as was mentioned on discord, automated driving can be tested on logistics and artillery vehicles, as they are dealing with less problems than frontline troops.

 

Yea and this is where you can save a huge ammount of manpower. Theoretically you could get away with one human to crew an entire artillery battery.

 

1 hour ago, Xoon said:

I meant that the gunner pulls the trigger. In a automated system, the commander would "pull the trigger" by marking a target for the system. 

 

The entire point of machine learning a image recognition software is to be able to adapt to small changes. Something basic vision systems fails at.  In the same time you would use to open your computer, print out some photos of enemy vehicles, and given it to the recruits, a machine learning system could have already gone though hundreds, thousands, even millions of of attempts. The only limit is the computer budget of the developers. 

 

We have already developed very good facial recognition software, recognizing and military vehicle should be a piece of cake in comparison. Camouflage would impact a human eye just as badly, a human eye might even do worse because of how the brain processes images. 

 

It was a alternative, for those that care about ethics. Not a requirement for the system. Though I am not disputing the situation awareness. This is why I am for a systems operator, who would take care of UAVs, drones and sub systems.  In the future, he might be replaced by a bot, but that is a lot harder to do.  Ironvision is a alternative. 

 

This depends wholly on the standards for a normal crew. 

 

There are a lot of problems in an automated system like that.

Even our best facial recognition software has problems with simple balaclavas and if you go further than that they are entirely useless. And even then those factial recognition softwares run on larger servers which defeats the point of saving space by having an ai gunner.

Even if you dont particularly care about ethics you want to make sure that your ai doesnt shoot friendly vehicles (or infantry for that matter). For that to be possible the ai has to positively identify the target. This is simply not possible as soon as you add larger quantities of camouflage. at that point a tank may look more like a moving bush. A human will simply shoot without knowing exactly what vehicle it is because he can make an educated guess that its hostile and be right almost every time. Ai cant do that unless you feed it significant extra information about where all other friendly vehicles in the area are at which point your gunner stops working well as soon as there is a lot of jamming around to block such information.

 

So between the lower situational awareness and the potential unreliability of the system it currently doesnt really make sense.

 

A RC tank would make far more sense from a crew protection and internal volume point of view. It could be made far better armoured and still smaller and if one tank gets destroyed the crew simply takes controll of the next RC tank.

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On 12/27/2018 at 2:17 PM, rob89 said:

Leaving aside the technical and tactical considerations,


how huge and expensive would be a similar MBT, with a 130mm plus autoloader and a dual-feed autocannon, plus APS, last generations materials (and relative armor to protect it), sensors and electronics and so on ?

 

How many of them the european armies, with limited budgets, could buy ?

And if they will be huge, very expensive and few, they also will be a priority targets for enemy NLOS/PGM systems ...

 

Is this the right way ?

 

In terms of cost:

  • 130mm gun - Same as the production costs of a current 120mm plus development costs.
  • Autoloader - Not considered an expensive technology, creates savings in the long run by reducing the resource-hungry crew by 1 in MBTs (or several in SPH).
  • Autocannon - Again, dwarfed by the cost of electronics.
  • APS - Somewhat expensive during peacetime, but significantly lowers the cost of operating a tank formation during wartime (the only time for which MBTs were designed anyway). With the use of napkin math (the best kind of math), I masterfully calculated a factor of 3 in reduction in acquisition costs alone in a medium to low intensity conflict scenario. You can play around with the numbers but it always gets ridiculously cost effective no matter how you do it.
  • Sensors and other electronics - The expensive part for sure, but rather substantial improvements in computational power are made every year, creating a comfortable power/$ curve that is comfortable for industry to work with. It seems that all MBT users nowadays who are packing 3rd gen tanks can afford the sensors, so it's a non-issue.
  • Think about the whole tank like a package deal offered in the JSF program. It's expensive at first but you're buying it in bulk so the price goes down to normal levels pretty quickly.

 

21 hours ago, holoween said:

For defeating APS a coaxial autocannon would be the last resort.

The first and if workable ideal choice would be to simply coat the KE penetrator and maybe reshape it to make detection of it as hard as possible and bypass the APS that way.

Reshaping it is not really an option. Coating it will come at the expense of penetration power due to lower mass of the penetrator, fragility caused by its lowered width, or lowered velocity if the coating is simply added on top of the rod.

Second, a good portion of APS, including those designed to defeat KEPs, are using optical sensors as well, so no coating will help against them.

Quote

The second choice would be to cut down the penetrator and add a decoy on top that can be fired ahead of the actual penetrator and absorbs the APS.

That would require significantly lowering the energy of the actual penetrator to the point where even a 130mm gun might not achieve overmatch against future threats.

Second, the usage of decoys was attempted with the RPG-30 and it ended up a failed project, simply because some APS are designed in a way that part of their engagement process includes discrimination of threats based on a library, and an analysis of weight, size, and velocity if it's an unknown threat. So a decoy would have to be of the same size and same velocity as a typical APFSDS, at which point you're basically just shooting 2 rounds one after the other.

Quote

The fourth choice would be to try to somehow jam the APS before firing.

I guess when APS become so abundant, some will try to make tools to jam their radars and disrupt their optical sensors. But that is only half of a solution and is not guaranteed to work.

Think about how aviation does this. You jam an enemy's radar so they don't get a lock on you, but at the same time you bring enough munitions, specialized munitions, to defeat the SAM battery if needed.

Quote

The fifth choice would be to get quick data sharing between nearby tanks to allow both tanks to fire almost at the same time at the same target to defeat the APS that way.

Again only a part of a solution, because the tank needs an independent capability to engage APS-equipped vehicles.

Quote

Problems with using an auto cannon

It needs a lot of space

The time between lasing a target to the KE shell actually hitting will be a few seconds more which gives the opponent time to react

IFVs can already do just that except with an ATGM instead of KE penetrators

 

Yes, firing off a burst right before a main gun shell is out of the barrel adds a couple seconds, but firing 2 rounds of main gun ammo will take longer and it will also spend more ammunition on the target in terms of volume, for the same effect or less.

 

Quote

 

reducing the crew size to 2 will not happen unless the gunner can be completely replaced with an ai.

Each tank would loose half its situational awareness just from losing half the eyes scanning for threats. On top of that the TC now has to also gun so his attention goes down aswell.

That loss just isnt worth the gains in armour or internal volume.

 

Concepts for operation of an AFV with 2 crewmen are now being developed. At least 2 families of universal AFVs are supposed to enter service before 2030 (both Carmel and OMFV for 2027 IIRC).

The way they work is by improving the situational awareness on the individual level. Through new technologies, a single crewman is as efficient at scanning the environment as 2 men are, or more. 

The commander and driver are the core crew after the loader is replaced by an autoloader, and the gunner's duties are given to the TC.

In the Carmel, both the driver and the TC stations are universal, so through proper training a driver can also fulfill the tasks of a gunner, and the TC can be a driver.

In both projects, a 3rd crewman is added with the specific duty of operating UxVs and specialized payload.

The technological means to improve situational awareness are peripherally mounted cameras that are able to capture panoramic footage and display it on both crew members' HUDs or screens.

 

21 hours ago, LoooSeR said:

   For dealing with tank equipped with APS using autocannons is not so effective, as AC don't give reliable hits on APS modules. Using single programmable HE-frag shell from main gun will do this job better IMO. 

It will, however, use more volume of ammunition (one 120/130mm shell is not equivalent to two 30/35mm or 40mm telescopic shells).

 

Quote

   Thinking about this... why not add an "explosive tip" with ready to use fragments on APFSDS round, and this "tip" fires before APFSDS round enters APS zone of interception, working as a shotgun that damages systems and probably intercepting munition on a launcher itself?

Are you suggesting a detonation mechanism on an APFSDS? It seems the APFSDS would have to sacrifice a lot of length for that, and would potentially throw itself off balance. The way APS defeat APFSDS is by tilting them via a strong pressure wave hitting their sides. Any imperfection will tilt the APFSDS much like an APS would. Not to mention that any detonation will have to come at the expense of the KEP's velocity, as the loss of velocity would be directly related to the desired mass of projectiles hitting the surface of the vehicle.

 

Quote

   Firing autocannons at tanks doesn't sound like a good idea, as enemy can do something with source of fire or try to get out of LOS of a tank that started to fire AC.

If used in the way I suggest it be used, it should reduce the time of engagement by a good percentage relative to firing 2 separate projectiles from the main gun.

 

 

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1 hour ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

Yes, firing off a burst right before a main gun shell is out of the barrel adds a couple seconds

Yeah no. ~30mm autocannons have what, a muzzle velocity of around 1000-1100 m/s? Tank guns are at least 1500 m/s with way superiour external ballistics. I mean, the long rod penetrator has about the same diameter while being at least ten times as heavy. Getting the two types of projectiles to hit in the same place at range will be a timing nightmare. That is, if the autocannons can even reach the required distance in the first place. At 4 kilometers your autocannon rounds are practically falling out of the sky from misery, but 120 mm APFSDS will still be going at a happy 1400+ m/s.

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8 minutes ago, Bronezhilet said:

Yeah no. ~30mm autocannons have what, a muzzle velocity of around 1000-1100 m/s? Tank guns are at least 1500 m/s with way superiour external ballistics. I mean, the long rod penetrator has about the same diameter while being at least ten times as heavy. Getting the two types of projectiles to hit in the same place at range will be a timing nightmare. That is, if the autocannons can even reach the required distance in the first place. At 4 kilometers your autocannon rounds are practically falling out of the sky from misery, but 120 mm APFSDS will still be going at a happy 1400+ m/s.

The intention is to have a burst of medium caliber shells detonate in front of an MBT-sized target and have a high statistical chance of neutralizing an APS. Not to time the impacts to have a main gun shell strike at exactly the same time. 

And isn't 4km already regarded as a range at which engagements between contemporary MBTs are ineffective or of limited value?

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5 minutes ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

The intention is to have a burst of medium caliber shells detonate in front of an MBT-sized target and have a high statistical chance of neutralizing an APS. Not to time the impacts to have a main gun shell strike at exactly the same time. 

And isn't 4km already regarded as a range at which engagements between contemporary MBTs are ineffective or of limited value?

You want them to impact them at about the same time as to not give him time to react.

 

But that doesn't even matter if you can't get them to hit in the same place in the first place. Both projectiles are so ballistically dissimilar it's hilarious.

 

Lets just quickly compare the data of two projectiles I have a bunch of data of, M829A1 and M830. Lets say you have everything dialed in so that they should hit the same thing at 3 km, but lets say you...:

  • calculated crosswinds wrong, it's 10 m/s more than you thought. The impact point of M829A1 shifts by about 1 meter, the impact point for M830 shifts 16 meters.
  • calculated the wrong muzzle velocity, it's 20 m/s more than you thought. The vertical impact point of M829A1 shifts by about 0,5 meters, for M830 it's 2,8 meters.
  • used a wrong expected amount of drag, it's 5% less than you thought. The vertical impact point of M829A1 shifts by about 10 centimeters, for M830 it's 3 meters.

Lemme rephrase that last one, for only a 5% decrease in drag, M829A1 will still hit the target, but M830 overshoots the target by about... 76 meters.

 

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1 hour ago, Lord_James said:

Double cannons FTW! 

 

mammothtank-papercraft.jpg

:anticipation:

 

Spoiler

jbGQh8P.jpg

 See! Autocannons against APS were already done! :D

 

   Anyway, 

7 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

/.../

Reshaping it is not really an option. Coating it will come at the expense of penetration power due to lower mass of the penetrator, fragility caused by its lowered width, or lowered velocity if the coating is simply added on top of the rod.

/.../

   It is an option. Coating penetrator or/and reshaping it can be done without losing penetration. Slightly increased leight can counter decreased mass, some changes in internal design also can be done to accomodate changes in shape/size. Not only that but adoption of new slightly bigger caliber cannons also can be done if problems are way to bog, thanks to not so big size of European tank fleets. Not sure about our side, we don't have good modern APS.

 

7 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

/.../

Second, a good portion of APS, including those designed to defeat KEPs, are using optical sensors as well, so no coating will help against them.

/.../

   Optical systems are not as accurate as radar-based sensors AFAIK, especially with tracking fast moving projectiles with accurate position data extraction from an image. I think that optical sensors can't be used as basis for reliable APS that works against KE reliably as well. Also, how about camouflaged projectiles, kek? 

   

7 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

/.../

That would require significantly lowering the energy of the actual penetrator to the point where even a 130mm gun might not achieve overmatch against future threats.

Second, the usage of decoys was attempted with the RPG-30 and it ended up a failed project, simply because some APS are designed in a way that part of their engagement process includes discrimination of threats based on a library, and an analysis of weight, size, and velocity if it's an unknown threat. So a decoy would have to be of the same size and same velocity as a typical APFSDS, at which point you're basically just shooting 2 rounds one after the other.

/.../

   Duplex APFSDS! Hmmm.. how about APFSDS that consist of 2 similar penetrators flying near each other? AFAIK during ERA design tests it was discovered that if single penetrator was cut to 2 pieces by ERA, overal penetration remains roughly about the same. Although making them hit same spot will be a problem i guess. APS maybe even will not be triggered by that contraption.

   Or adopt 152 mm cannon and fire 2+ normal KE penetrators per shot, haha.

 

7 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

/.../

It will, however, use more volume of ammunition (one 120/130mm shell is not equivalent to two 30/35mm or 40mm telescopic shells).

/.../

   Yes and effect from single 120/125 mm HE round are much higher than several 30/35, especially at long ranges. T-90 can launch HE at 12 km range, including in indirect fire. Maybe this will be a new tactics - to shell each other from long range before getting close enough for APFSDS?

 

7 hours ago, Mighty_Zuk said:

/.../

Are you suggesting a detonation mechanism on an APFSDS? It seems the APFSDS would have to sacrifice a lot of length for that, and would potentially throw itself off balance. The way APS defeat APFSDS is by tilting them via a strong pressure wave hitting their sides. Any imperfection will tilt the APFSDS much like an APS would. Not to mention that any detonation will have to come at the expense of the KEP's velocity, as the loss of velocity would be directly related to the desired mass of projectiles hitting the surface of the vehicle.

/.../

   Yes, something simple and about as big as VOG-25 HE grenade for UGLs or smaller. It doesn't need to be powerfull, just launch a cloud of fragments in front of APFSDS to damage APS system/launchers few moments before round enters into APS active zone/interception area.

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