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Competition: A modern medium AFV


Toxn
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Question - first picture shows 119.5 inches and 123.2 inches cargo compartment width. Which one should be used?  

 

119.5 I think is the more important restriction.  The cargo hold pinches in where the wheels retract, which is fairly close to the ramp.  I think for a heavy load like an AFV you would have to get the weight slightly ahead of the MAC of the wing, otherwise you'll destabilize the plane.

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119.5 I think is the more important restriction.  The cargo hold pinches in where the wheels retract, which is fairly close to the ramp.  I think for a heavy load like an AFV you would have to get the weight slightly ahead of the MAC of the wing, otherwise you'll destabilize the plane.

Does it mean width restriction for vehicles is just 3 meters? 

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So, after looking at submissions and evaluating them according to basic and advanced requirements, it looks like they are pretty close with small advantage of Bronez design. When i will have clear understanding of the on C-130 cargo space, than result of evaluation would be ready.

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A the winner is....

 

The MCS from FCS programm!

fcs-3.jpg?w=656

 

https://thearmoredpatrol.com/2016/05/16/the-us-future-combat-system-a-new-philosophy-on-mbts/

 

 

   Today I’ll focus on the Mounted Combat System.

 
   The MCS is the “MBT” of the bunch, while not nearly as armored or heavy as current MBT’s it does have some redeeming qualities. While the exact weight is unknown, it should be about 24 to 26 tons. The light weight is a gift for the mobility and as you’d expect, this baby can shift.(in theory anyway) There are no exact figures concerning mobility, but my sources state 60 to 70 km/h. Fortunately the MCS has more qualities, it was planned to pack a whopping 120mm smoothbore. This gun was allegedly able to penetrate the Russian T-90 at ranges up to 8 km.
 
   So, it scores good in the mobility and firepower categories, there must be a downside now right?
 
   Well, yes and no. While the armor isn’t very good for a MBT it isn’t nearly as bad as you’d expect for 26 tons.
 
   The MCS can provide all-around protection against mines, which is a big plus for the crews. It’s also able to stop even the newest types of RPG’s and it can stop quick-firing cannon shells up to a caliber of 30 mm. In fact, The front protection is better than the sides of the Abrams. The tank won’t bounce the Russian big boy 125 mm, but it’ll do fine against aged tanks and most standard AT equipment.
 
   But what advantages does such a light MBT have? Well, these tanks were planned to be transported to the battlefield using C-130 transports. The weight allowed one tank per plane.

:ian:

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THE COUNCIL OF JUDGES HAS DECIDED:
 

Colli's picks:

 

1)  LCARV

2)  Switchblade

3)  Caracal

 

LoooSeR's picks:

 

1)  Caracal

2)  Slimmie

3)  LCARV

 

Jeep's picks:

 

1)  Slimmie

2)  Caracal

3)  Plesen

 

Caracal shows up on all three lists.  LCARV and Slimmie show up on two out of three lists, but Slimmie gets a first and a second while LCARV gets a first and a third.  Plesen and Switchblade only show up once.

 

So, Caracal gets #1, Slimmie gets #2 and LCARV gets #3

 

 

Judges' comments to follow.

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Colli's comments:

 

 

In general, the entries were extremely close and we were really blown away with the amount of effort and detail that went into all of them.

 

 

Caracal

 

Judges' reception of the Caracal was initially cool, but it eventually proved a solid entry across the board and clawed its way to first place more through consistent scoring across the board than any single killer feature.  But this doesn't mean we didn't have questions:

 

First and foremost, WTF is up with the torsion bar design on Caracal?  The centerline of the torsion bars is several inches up into the hull:

 

bFPm9Rx.jpg

 

That's not exactly wasting space; you can put things like batteries or energy-absorbing material to protect against mines, but it has to be small things that can nestle between the torsion bars.  Big things cannot reach to the hull floor; most importantly this makes the turret basket more shallow and makes it harder to cram in dudes.  In most AFV designs with torsion bars the bars hug the very bottom of the hull.  In T-72 and Armata, the bars are in pods that are basically under the main hull and practically separated from the fighting compartment:

 

tumblr_neu3qtV6WM1r94kvzo1_1280.jpg

SvzNi.png

 

And AMX-30 has a reversed third road wheel swing arm to move the torsion bar back far enough that it clears the turret basket:

 

MzuCl5k.jpg

 

And this picture of the Abrams assembly line shows that the torsion bars in that design, while not protruding from the hull, are basically mounted as low as the swing arm pivot assembly will allow, with only the front idler wheel elevated:

 

Abrams_00.jpg

 

I found this most irksome, but the fact that I was able to catch it at all is because of the extreme rigor and effort that went into completely modelling the design in Solidworks.

 

I am skeptical of the barrel life of a large, telescoped caseless 75mm gun.  Telescoped ammunition has problems in this area.

 

Like the other designs, the Caracal goes above and beyond the anti-infantry in defilade requirement.  Infantry in trenches would die horribly against any of these designs.  How well do programmable fuse munitions work in the real world?  Given the prevalence of dug-in infantry popping tanks with ATGMs in the Syrian War, programmable fuse munitions may become a must-have to armies looking to maintain their edge.

 

The mine protection of the Caracal is a glorious brute-force approach.  The floor of the tank is twice as thick as an M60.

 

This was the only design that was described as being able to improve its protection with an APS, aside from Switchblade 2 which has APS built in.

 

Mobility factors look good for Caracal.  Even with full ERA packages it has 31 HP/tonne, which compares favorably with the 24.3 of the Textron scorpion II.  Nominal ground pressure is 77.7 KPA, which is better than a Leo 2 at 81.4.  Ground clearance is the only unspectacular parameter; with somewhat less clearance than most MBTs.

 

Re-use of M2 Bradley components is a plus for serviceability, especially given that the proposed next-gen M109s are all based on Bradley components.

 

 

LCARV

 

 

This was my top pick.  Like Caracal, it really didn't win us over at first glance.  However, further examination showed that a whole lot of work had gone into the design and that it had a lot of good ideas.

 

The features I really liked were the insanely small silhouette when hull down, the insanely low nominal ground pressure of 44.5 KPA, which is lower than an early model M113, and excellent specific power of 33 HP/tonne.

 

With some elbow grease this design could conceivably fit into a C-130J, and would fit comfortably into Embraer's new KC-390 transport.

 

The tactical and strategic mobility factors are just excellent in general.

 

This is the design I felt had the worst protection, especially from the sides.

 

Rooibaadje

 

This was the early favorite when LoooSeR and I discussed the designs on teamspeak.  The mortar primary armament is a fascinating concept, and allows very heavy firepower and a reasonable ammo load to be crammed into a small, light vehicle.  The range overmatch, and ability to take out ATGMs from outside line of sight looks like an enormous improvement to survivability.

 

After it was explained to me, I quite like the mine protection scheme.

 

The biggest downside of this vehicle is the ground pressure.  At 111 KPA NGP, it has quite a bit less flotation than even MBTs.  Specific power was the lowest of all entries, but still insanely high by real-world standards at 27 HP/tonne.

 

Plesen

 

 

The first thing that jumped out at me is that it's armed with a 100mm rapira with a "T-72 style autoloader."  I don't think this could work; rapira uses one-piece ammo, 2A46 uses two-piece ammo.  Also, I don't know that the rapira's ammo is any smaller.  Thing is gigantic:

 

pushka-mt-12-rapira-02.jpg

 

In fact, if I recall, a large impetus for the development of the U-5TS was the fact that rapira ammo was too long to maneuver inside a Soviet soup-bowl style turret.

 

But other than that, it's a hell of a gun and this entry had the greatest direct fire firepower.

 

Mine protection seems absent.

 

Mobility looks good; a little more specific power than the Caracal and a little more ground pressure.

 

This was the only design with a remote weapon station, a point LoooSeR and I both liked.

 

This design was described as having an ERA up-armor package, even though it wasn't shown modelled.  I liked that.

 

Switchblade 2

 

 

Firstoff, how exactly does this thing steer?  Does it skid-steer like those weird French wheeled AFVs?  Just looking at the picture, I saw no obvious way for the wheels to be steered.

 

I did like the attention to detail in the description of the powertrain.  A hydraulic powertrain would go a long way in ameliorating the lack of space that is usually a problem in wheeled AFVs.  Tracked AFVs have much more complex transmissions, but they only need to deliver power to the drive sprocket.  Wheeled AFVs need power shafts running to each of their axles, which seriously cuts into the available internal space.  Using a hydraulic power distribution system could help a lot free up space inside and give better ground clearance (which evidently it does; Switchblade 2 has ground clearance matched only by MBTs).

 

I felt that it being wheeled would give it an edge in serviceability; wheels simply don't wear out as quickly as tracks do.  Power to weight is nuts; 42 HP/tonne puts a centauro to shame by nearly a factor of two.  However, wheels, even 10x10 vehicles have higher ground pressure than tracks, and Switchblade is not stated to have a central tire inflation system.

 

Inclusion of APS as standard is forward-looking.

 

I'm dubious of the camera mounting; it looks snag prone and seems to offer little over an array of fixed cameras.

 

I do like the crew layout; it seems like a good way to keep silhouette down.

 

This design does fit reasonably into a C-130J without any huffing and puffing, which is very nice.

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   I would like to point at the fact that Caracal won in Toxn's list of requirements, but in judges internal dicsussions Bronez's submission was most interesting with LCARV being second together with Caracal.  

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After it was explained to me, I quite like the mine protection scheme.

To elaborate on that slightly:

The fuel tank is located underneath the transmission and engine, directly above the hull floor. It might seem like a silly place to put your fuel. I mean, what would happen if it drove over an EFP mine? Wouldn't the tank rupture and burn horribly?

 

No, liquids serve as a pretty nice counter to EFPs (Afaik the Chinese have experimented with NERA with diesel instead of rubber). This means I don't have to experiment with hull floor ERA to protect against dug in HEAT warheads. The fuel tank will do that for me.

 

And of course a slight V-hull (10°) to prevent the hull floor from buckling due to an explosion.

 

 

 

This was the only design with a remote weapon station, a point LoooSeR and I both liked.

WHAT? I'M SORRY? MY WHOLE TURRET IS A REMOTE WEAPON SYSTEM.

:ian:

 

Yes I know you're talking about a smaller RCWS for MGs  :P 

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Colli's comments:

 

 

In general, the entries were extremely close and we were really blown away with the amount of effort and detail that went into all of them.

 

 

Caracal

 

Judges' reception of the Caracal was initially cool, but it eventually proved a solid entry across the board and clawed its way to first place more through consistent scoring across the board than any single killer feature.  But this doesn't mean we didn't have questions:

 

First and foremost, WTF is up with the torsion bar design on Caracal?  The centerline of the torsion bars is several inches up into the hull:

 

bFPm9Rx.jpg

 

That's not exactly wasting space; you can put things like batteries or energy-absorbing material to protect against mines, but it has to be small things that can nestle between the torsion bars.  Big things cannot reach to the hull floor; most importantly this makes the turret basket more shallow and makes it harder to cram in dudes.  In most AFV designs with torsion bars the bars hug the very bottom of the hull.  In T-72 and Armata, the bars are in pods that are basically under the main hull and practically separated from the fighting compartment:

 

tumblr_neu3qtV6WM1r94kvzo1_1280.jpg

SvzNi.png

 

And AMX-30 has a reversed third road wheel swing arm to move the torsion bar back far enough that it clears the turret basket:

 

MzuCl5k.jpg

 

And this picture of the Abrams assembly line shows that the torsion bars in that design, while not protruding from the hull, are basically mounted as low as the swing arm pivot assembly will allow, with only the front idler wheel elevated:

 

Abrams_00.jpg

 

I found this most irksome, but the fact that I was able to catch it at all is because of the extreme rigor and effort that went into completely modelling the design in Solidworks.

 

I am skeptical of the barrel life of a large, telescoped caseless 75mm gun.  Telescoped ammunition has problems in this area.

 

Like the other designs, the Caracal goes above and beyond the anti-infantry in defilade requirement.  Infantry in trenches would die horribly against any of these designs.  How well do programmable fuse munitions work in the real world?  Given the prevalence of dug-in infantry popping tanks with ATGMs in the Syrian War, programmable fuse munitions may become a must-have to armies looking to maintain their edge.

 

The mine protection of the Caracal is a glorious brute-force approach.  The floor of the tank is twice as thick as an M60.

 

This was the only design that was described as being able to improve its protection with an APS, aside from Switchblade 2 which has APS built in.

 

Mobility factors look good for Caracal.  Even with full ERA packages it has 31 HP/tonne, which compares favorably with the 24.3 of the Textron scorpion II.  Nominal ground pressure is 77.7 KPA, which is better than a Leo 2 at 81.4.  Ground clearance is the only unspectacular parameter; with somewhat less clearance than most MBTs.

 

Re-use of M2 Bradley components is a plus for serviceability, especially given that the proposed next-gen M109s are all based on Bradley components.

 

 

LCARV

 

 

This was my top pick.  Like Caracal, it really didn't win us over at first glance.  However, further examination showed that a whole lot of work had gone into the design and that it had a lot of good ideas.

 

The features I really liked were the insanely small silhouette when hull down, the insanely low nominal ground pressure of 44.5 KPA, which is lower than an early model M113, and excellent specific power of 33 HP/tonne.

 

With some elbow grease this design could conceivably fit into a C-130J, and would fit comfortably into Embraer's new KC-390 transport.

 

The tactical and strategic mobility factors are just excellent in general.

 

This is the design I felt had the worst protection, especially from the sides.

 

Rooibaadje

 

This was the early favorite when LoooSeR and I discussed the designs on teamspeak.  The mortar primary armament is a fascinating concept, and allows very heavy firepower and a reasonable ammo load to be crammed into a small, light vehicle.  The range overmatch, and ability to take out ATGMs from outside line of sight looks like an enormous improvement to survivability.

 

After it was explained to me, I quite like the mine protection scheme.

 

The biggest downside of this vehicle is the ground pressure.  At 111 KPA NGP, it has quite a bit less flotation than even MBTs.  Specific power was the lowest of all entries, but still insanely high by real-world standards at 27 HP/tonne.

 

Plesen

 

 

The first thing that jumped out at me is that it's armed with a 100mm rapira with a "T-72 style autoloader."  I don't think this could work; rapira uses one-piece ammo, 2A46 uses two-piece ammo.  Also, I don't know that the rapira's ammo is any smaller.  Thing is gigantic:

 

pushka-mt-12-rapira-02.jpg

 

In fact, if I recall, a large impetus for the development of the U-5TS was the fact that rapira ammo was too long to maneuver inside a Soviet soup-bowl style turret.

 

But other than that, it's a hell of a gun and this entry had the greatest direct fire firepower.

 

Mine protection seems absent.

 

Mobility looks good; a little more specific power than the Caracal and a little more ground pressure.

 

This was the only design with a remote weapon station, a point LoooSeR and I both liked.

 

This design was described as having an ERA up-armor package, even though it wasn't shown modelled.  I liked that.

 

Switchblade 2

 

 

Firstoff, how exactly does this thing steer?  Does it skid-steer like those weird French wheeled AFVs?  Just looking at the picture, I saw no obvious way for the wheels to be steered.

 

I did like the attention to detail in the description of the powertrain.  A hydraulic powertrain would go a long way in ameliorating the lack of space that is usually a problem in wheeled AFVs.  Tracked AFVs have much more complex transmissions, but they only need to deliver power to the drive sprocket.  Wheeled AFVs need power shafts running to each of their axles, which seriously cuts into the available internal space.  Using a hydraulic power distribution system could help a lot free up space inside and give better ground clearance (which evidently it does; Switchblade 2 has ground clearance matched only by MBTs).

 

I felt that it being wheeled would give it an edge in serviceability; wheels simply don't wear out as quickly as tracks do.  Power to weight is nuts; 42 HP/tonne puts a centauro to shame by nearly a factor of two.  However, wheels, even 10x10 vehicles have higher ground pressure than tracks, and Switchblade is not stated to have a central tire inflation system.

 

Inclusion of APS as standard is forward-looking.

 

I'm dubious of the camera mounting; it looks snag prone and seems to offer little over an array of fixed cameras.

 

I do like the crew layout; it seems like a good way to keep silhouette down.

 

This design does fit reasonably into a C-130J without any huffing and puffing, which is very nice.

 

Thank you for the in-depth assessments!

 

Really, everyone here did an amazing job - both contestants and judges.

 

I'll be in contact with our winner to work out the details of the prize.

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Firstoff, how exactly does this thing steer?  Does it skid-steer like those weird French wheeled AFVs?  Just looking at the picture, I saw no obvious way for the wheels to be steered.

It's not modelled or properly explained, but the first and last sets of wheels have limited steering. The major way it turns is by skid-steer or running one set of motors backwards and the other forwards.

 

I did like the attention to detail in the description of the powertrain.  A hydraulic powertrain would go a long way in ameliorating the lack of space that is usually a problem in wheeled AFVs.  Tracked AFVs have much more complex transmissions, but they only need to deliver power to the drive sprocket.  Wheeled AFVs need power shafts running to each of their axles, which seriously cuts into the available internal space.  Using a hydraulic power distribution system could help a lot free up space inside and give better ground clearance (which evidently it does; Switchblade 2 has ground clearance matched only by MBTs).

I've loved the idea of this sort of powertrain ever since I read about Spinnekop as a kid. In practice, I suspect it is a maintenance nightmare (hundreds of high-pressure connectors driving lots of fiddly hydrolic motors) and probably very inefficient - hence the obscene power unit to compensate.

 

I felt that it being wheeled would give it an edge in serviceability; wheels simply don't wear out as quickly as tracks do.  Power to weight is nuts; 42 HP/tonne puts a centauro to shame by nearly a factor of two.  However, wheels, even 10x10 vehicles have higher ground pressure than tracks, and Switchblade is not stated to have a central tire inflation system.

The wheels are filled with liquid for blast dampening purposes, so no.

 

Inclusion of APS as standard is forward-looking.

I suspect it may be rapidly becoming mandatory for new AFVs

 

I'm dubious of the camera mounting; it looks snag prone and seems to offer little over an array of fixed cameras.

It is a little silly, yes. The idea is that having 3-D screens allows you to have depth of field, which AFAIK is one of the major issues with driving by camera.

 

I do like the crew layout; it seems like a good way to keep silhouette down.

 

This design does fit reasonably into a C-130J without any huffing and puffing, which is very nice

That was one of the major design considerations, along with trying to see how much armour you can put around the crew and still come in under 20 tonnes.

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I want to say congrats to everyone (Judges and contestants), you did a great job and made me right proud, especially Applesauce, whose entry was a real knockout.

My winnings, whatever they are, will go towards keeping this site up. We're growing faster now, and hosting costs have gone up a bit.

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Despite whatever place I came in, without being cheesy, I can say that it was a good experience for me nonetheless. I finally got myself to model something this year and complete it. I've not done it before to anywhere near this extent, but I enjoyed trying to get the best package I could while still getting it in a C-130. If I'm making a design for fun, it's usually rule of cool with plausibility added. This time, I tried to make a design I liked, while making sure it still worked. Making sure it worked added some challenge to it that made it fun.

I feel the main weakness of my submission was I focused too much on what I thought would be a neat design, though it wasn't originally going to be anywhere near as serious of a submission either.

I only learned this and a lot of other potentially useful info later, but like I already touched on, my design is pretty similar to the American light tanks from the 80s, which I just so happen to really like. With advancements in armor technology and other stuff, I was able to squeeze a bit more performance out, but still had plenty of guesswork with the automotives. I also got to read up on autoloading systems and realize I should read more about metal alloys.

It was cool to see it be as liked as it was, seeing as you all are generally well read on all things tanky. I'll be back tomorrow to do whatever things I have to do, but off to bed I go.

I'm typing on a touchscreen in bed without autocorrect. Suffer

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This was very interesting. I'm really impressed with the models you guys all made. That's way past what I could do on a computer!

 

There were some really great ideas here too. I liked the 120mm mortar and drone combo the best main gun though, since it could kill with ever  being seen, or in direct view.

 

This forum has some very talented and smart people, and I think I'm still the forum dunce lol! 

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      For heavy vehicles (30-40 tons), not less than 1 in RHA/1.75 in Aluminum base structure
      For medium-light vehicles (<25 tons), not less than 0.5 in RHA/1 in Aluminum base structure
      Intermediate values for intermediate vehicles may be chosen as seen fit.
      Non-structural passive materials:
                                                                  iii.     HHA
      Steel, approximately 500 BHN through-hardened. Approximately 1.5x as effective as RHA against KE and HEAT on a per-weight basis. Not weldable, middling shock properties. Available in thicknesses up to 1 inch.
      Density- 0.28 lb/in^3
                                                                  iv.     Fuel
      Mass efficiency vs RHA of 1.3 vs CE, 1 vs KE.
      Thickness efficiency vs RHA of 0.14 vs CE, 0.1 vs KE.
      Density-0.03 lb/in^3.
                                                                v.     Assorted stowage/systems
      Mass efficiency vs RHA- 1 vs CE, 0.8 vs KE.
                                                               vi.     Spaced armor
      Requires a face of at least 1 inch LOS vs CE, and at least 0.75 caliber LOS vs fullbore AP KE.
      Reduces penetration by a factor of 1.1 vs CE or 1.05 vs KE for every 4 inchair gap.
      Spaced armor rules only apply after any standoff surplus to the requirements of a reactive cassette.
      Reactive armor materials:
                                                                  vii.     ERA
      A sandwich of 0.125in/0.125in/0.125in steel-explodium-steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 2 sandwich thicknesses away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 81% coverage (edge effects).
                                                                  viii.     NERA
      A sandwich of 0.25in steel/0.25in rubber/0.25in steel.
      Requires mounting brackets of approximately 10-30% cassette weight.
      Must be spaced at least 1 sandwich thickness away from any other armor elements to allow full functionality. 95% coverage.
      The details of how to calculate armor effectiveness will be detailed in Appendix 1.
      b.      Firepower
                                                                    i.     Bofors 57mm (reference weapon) - 85,000 PSI PMax/70,000 PSI Peak Operating Pressure, high quality steel cases, recoil mechanisms and so on are at an equivalent level to that of the USA in the year 1960.
                                                                   ii.     No APFSDS currently in use, experimental weapons only - Spindle sabots or bourelleted sabots, see for example the Soviet BM-20 100mm APFSDS.
                                                                  iii.     Tungsten is available for tooling but not formable into long rod penetrators. It is available for penetrators up to 6 calibers L:D.
                                                                  iv.     Texan shaped charge technology - 4 CD penetration for high-pressure resistant HEAT, 5 CD for low pressure/ precision formed HEAT.
                                                                   v.     The subsidy-approved GPMG for the Lone Free State of Texas has the same form factor as the M240, but with switchable feed direction.. The standard HMG has the same form factor as the Kord, but with switchable feed direction.
      c.       Mobility
                                                                    i.     Engines tech level:
      1.      MB 838 (830 HP)
      2.      AVDS-1790-5A (908 HP)
      3.      Kharkov 5TD (600 HP)
      4.    Detroit Diesel 8V92 (400 HP)
      5.    Detroit Diesel 6V53 (200 HP)
                                                                   ii.     Power density should be based on the above engines. Dimensions are available online, pay attention to cooling of 1 and 3 (water cooled).
                                                                  iii.     Power output broadly scales with volume, as does weight. Trying to extract more power from the same size may come at the cost of reliability (and in the case of the 5TD, it isn’t all that reliable in the first place).
                                                                  iv.     There is nothing inherently wrong with opposed piston or 2-stroke engines if done right.
      d.      Electronics
                                                                    i.     LRFs- unavailable
                                                                   ii.     Thermals-unavailable
                                                                  iii.     I^2- Gen 2 maximum
                                                                  vi.     Texas cannot mass produce microprocessors or integrated circuits
                                                                 vii.    Really early transistors only (e.g., transistor radio)
                                                                viii.    While it is known states exist with more advanced computer technology, the import of such systems are barred by the east coast states who do not approve of their use by militaristic entities.
       
      Armor calculation appendix.
       
      SHEET 1 Armor defeat calculator 4in-54 1200 yd
       
      SHEET 2 Armor defeat calculator 4in-54 2000 yd
       
      SHEET 3 Armor defeat calculator 6in HEAT
       
      Range calculator
       
    • By Toxn
      This is the competition entry thread.
       
      Please submit your complete entries here (all entries will be judged complete when judging begins in the first week of November) and keep the other competition thread for discussion and chatter.
       
      Once judging is complete I will make a post here to discuss the entries and announce a winner.
       
      Best of luck!
       
      Update: final submissions should be in hand by the 22nd of November 2020.
    • By Toxn
      You are an engineer at an Italian locomotive and tractor-making company in early 1943. The writing is on the wall for the Italian army in North Africa, with a lot of equipment having been lost and the enemy on the brink of kicking the axis out of Tunisia and then heading across the Mediterranean. In short, things are looking more than a little desperate. 
       
      However, all is not lost. Il Duce himself has stepped in and, with the assistance of the Germans, procured both some of their finest captured vehicles for use in the upcoming defense of the homeland. Since many of these vehicles have been... gently used, and the existing firms like Ansaldo are flooded with orders, your firm has been asked to work on them in order to bring them up to the standards demanded by modern warfare. 
       
      In addition to these vehicles, the Germans have also graciously agreed to sell weapons from their existing stock of captured equipment, as well as providing production licenses for some of their more modern equipment. You have also been given permission to work with local weapons manufacturers in order to modify existing artillery to suit your needs. Italian automotive and engine manufacturers are similarly available to help. Finally; your firm's experience in locomotives and tractors means that you can modify hulls and put together turrets and turret rings. You can also produce castings (although not very large ones) and weld armour plates.
       
      Your job, which you have no choice but to accept, is to choose a vehicle from among the captured stock being offered for sale, and propose a series of plausible fixes in order to give it a fighting chance against the American and British equipment currently in the field (specifically light tanks and light anti-tank weapons).
       
      It is not foreseen that any of these vehicles will be able to plausibly take on modern medium or heavy designs head-on. Instead, what is wanted are general, implementable improvements to the characteristics of the chosen vehicle. These improvements should be aimed at making these vehicles more useful in the initial battles which are foreseen taking place against airborne and landing forces, in general cooperation with infantry, and as scouts.
       
      The submission should include one or more drawings or blueprints (at least a side view of the vehicle, but preferably a 3-point view and isometric view), a description of the modified vehicle, a description of how the modifications would be accomplished and a description of how the modifications would improve the design overall. The text of the submission should short and descriptive rather than long and exhaustive, and should not exceed 1000 words in total. Images may be photoshopped using existing pictures.
       
      Judging will be done on the basis of plausibility and effectiveness, with innovative solutions being encouraged in order to get the most bang for buck out of the base vehicle. Beyond implementation, the fixes should prioritise combat effectiveness while also improving reliability, crew ergonomics, communication, mobility and protection as much as possible.
       
      The foreign vehicles available for modification are:
      Renault R35 (already in service) Hotchkiss H35/39 Somua S35 (already in use for training purposes) T-26 BT-5 T-28 (only available in very small numbers, so need to be extremely effective) Panzer II Ausf.C  
      The foreign weapons immediately available for purchase are:
      15mm ZB-60 25mm Puteaux and Hotchkiss 3.7cm KPÚV vz. 34/Pak 34 (t) 3.7cm ÚV vz. 38/KwK 38(t)
      3.7cm Pak 36 4.0 cm Pak 192 (e) 45mm M1937 (53-K) 4.7cm KPÚV vz. 38/Pak 38 (t) 47mm APX 7.5cm Pak 97/38 7.62 cm F.K.297(r) and  7.62 cm PaK 39(r) 8.8cm Raketenwerfer 43  
      Licenses are also available for the manufacture of foreign engines (Maybach HL62 TRM, Maybach HL120 TRM and Praga Typ TNHPS/II), periscopes, sights, radios, cupolas and automotive subassemblies. All foreign vehicle weapons, subassemblies and components are available for reverse engineering and manufacture.
       
      IMPORTANT NOTE: This competition hasn't been finalised, and is waiting on your input! Vote to participate by giving this topic a 'controversial' (grapefruit-induced tears being the only currency of value), and if we get enough participants we'll pull the trigger. Ask any questions you want below, and when/if the competition goes forwards I will make a new thread for entries.
       
      Edit: thanks to excellent feedback, the competition proposal has been somewhat edited. If you want an idea of what my mindset is here, read up on the battle of Gela (bearing in mind that the wikipedia entry is shite) and ask how much better the counter-attack could have gone if the Italian vehicles had been equipped with radios and had the ability to move faster than jogging speed.
       
      Edit 2: since I failed to mention this above - this is not a one-man, one-entry sort of competition (although I'm not keen on the ten-men, one entry approach either).
      If you have two good ideas then you can submit twice. The only rules are not to test my patience and to keep it within the bounds of good taste.
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