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Sturgeon

M8 Buford Is Back

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Looks like it has some bolt on stage armor package put on for display but otherwise looks like it is the same vehicle.  I'm assuming it's been modernized quite a but since the 90s. 

Always liked this vehicle. I was bummed when it got cancelled. 

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Looks like it has some bolt on stage armor package put on for display but otherwise looks like it is the same vehicle.  I'm assuming it's been modernized quite a but since the 90s. 

Always liked this vehicle. I was bummed when it got cancelled. 

Actually, it has not been modernized.  According to articles, BAE is basically saying "we can modernize it if there is interest."  It sounds like they brought it to AUSA to have something attention grabbing at the expo, but there is no actual money allocated for by the US for a light tank right now.  

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I had read someplace the electronics and engine had been updated but I might have read it wrong.  

Not on the shown unit. Same unit, same electronics. 

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That turret is so ugly. Looks like it had add-on armor, although not much. So, is there any noticeable need in this vehicle anyway?

 

As I see it, the "need" for light tanks is largely political, the 82nd and 101st (and CAV to some extent) want their own tanks that aren't controlled by the guys in real tanks, rather than any actual need for a light tank. I mean look at it realistically, "airmobile armor" for the US is deploying M1 Abrams units to a neighboring state via C-5 Galaxy. The idea that we're going to be dropping tanks out of C-130s is about as likely to happen as the Marines conducting a opposed amphibious landing.

 

Otherwise (IMO) light tanks don't really offer anything over a IFV with the standard auto-cannon and missile combo. There are exceptions obviously, lower cost, terrain, and potential threats only having older/lighter equipment.

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We had the M551 when I was in the 82d. While pretty much a dud of a vehicle we still used it out of necessity. The M8 would have been a welcome addition to  the TOW mounted humvees of the anti tank platoons. I'm guessing the 173rd would have liked a little armor around when they jumped into northern Iraq in 2003. 

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The problem with M551, as I recall, was the 152mm gun-launcher, which was put into service too early.  Armed with something like the M-41's 76mm, it might have been of a bit more use than it was - including perhaps in Iraq?.

 

M551 in Vietnam suffered from the aluminium LAFV problem - hit a mine and you have problems.  Hit a mine in a vehicle full of propellant from the 152mm gun option, and you usually have a K-Kill, and then some.  Puddle of melted aluminium was not, unfortunately, unusual.

 

Reference the point opposed landings - it is not the chap doing the landing who decides if it will be opposed, it is the chap holding the piece of dirt you are landing on.

 

Cheers

B

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Yeah, and unfortunately it seems like once the M551 got retired, there was no impetus to replace it with anything. So now the choice of light armored vehicles for the Army are the Stryker, Bradley, and M113. Pretty meager pickings, as only the M113 and Stryker can be carried in a C-130, and only the M113 can be air-dropped, so far as I know. And the Brad's the only one with very good armament, besides the MGS (which isn't roll-on/roll-off for a C-130)!

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Also from memory, I recall the ARVN were quite happy with the M-41 as a "cavalry tank".  Hence (perhaps) the comment on M-551 being a better deal for the Vietnam situation with the long 76mm.

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To continue the armament thought - why try to put a 120mm on the M-8?  Surely the 105mm is adequate for the sort of things you would use a LAFV for.  This thing is never going to go toe to toe with an MBT - not for very long, anyhow. 

 

Perhaps the biggest problem with light AFV is that nobody really gets down to working out what they are for.  Tanks are easy - close with and destroy the enemy etc.  Light AFV get reconnaissance and security roles - which bring in a lot of ifs, buts and maybes.  No wheels vs tracks arguments for tanks - but light AFV, it goes on forever.  For tanks, the only serious limit on the size of the gun is how many main armament rounds you want to be able to stow (I know it is not quite that simple, but the pressure is on to match or exceed the gun power of the potential enemy).  For Light AFV there are all sorts of arguments - see the Scorpion and Scimitar gun-cannon competition, not to mention guns or missiles (an argument complicated by smart bastards who can get a shell and a 100mm missile out of a gun on a BMP-3).

 

Umm - am I getting too philosophical?

 

B

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Sturgeon and I actually have a theory that IFVs basically evolved into their current state because the confusion around light AFVs causes everyone to smush their projects (and budgets) together to get something out.

From there on, the whole mess of a battle taxi/fire support vehicle/scout which can't do any of those things particularly well sort of shakes out by itself.

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This video has been around a while but it shows the autoloader in action. The 21 rounds of ammunition are stored vertically in a conveyor on the left side of the turret and meet the autoloading mechanism at the rear of the turret behind the 105mm M35 gun.

 

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