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United States Military Vehicle General: Guns, G*vins, and Gas Turbines


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AAV-P7A1 CATFAE (Catapult launched Fuel Air Explosives).  Troop carrying capabilities were exchanged for 21 fuel-air ordnance launchers for the purpose of clearing minefields and other obstacles durin

About two and a half years ago i've stumbled across some russian book about western IFVs, which apparently was a mere compilation of articles from western magazines translated into russian. There was

Recoil system of the M256:  

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Left over M60A2 turrets (ALVB conversions)  were put on M48 hulls for hard targets. At least one was used as a static display.

I know there are one or two of these weird combinations in Kentucky.  Here in Michigan, we have an even weirder version of this.  I took this picture in Armada Michigan a couple years ago. 

 

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Pictures from the 2016 Fort Benning Maneuver Conference, nabbed from Benning's media page, BAE's twitter and Tom Antonov's twitter.

 

Stryker MRV

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M2A3 ECP2 Bradley

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M8 AGS

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XM813 gun

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XM25 gun and ATK's 7.62mm chain gun

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assorted ammunition, including a mock up of 50x228 APFSDS and PABM

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The US Army seems to favor a different configuration of the Kongsberg MCT-30 turret with US optics instead of the German WAO sight mounted on this older prototype... at least the Stryker will use other optics.

 

Also I hope the US Army won't put the Kongsberg turret onto a Bradley, it cannot be armored to more than STANAG 4569 level 4 and was found to be quite lackluster by the Australian military (as tested on the LAV 6.0 (CRV) for the LAND 400 Phase 2 project).

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The US Army seems to favor a different configuration of the Kongsberg MCT-30 turret with US optics instead of the German WAO sight mounted on this older prototype... at least the Stryker will use other optics.

Also I hope the US Army won't put the Kongsberg turret onto a Bradley, it cannot be armored to more than STANAG 4569 level 4 and was found to be quite lackluster by the Australian military (as tested on the LAV 6.0 (CRV) for the LAND 400 Phase 2 project).

It makes sense for the US Army to use the same optics as they do on other Kongsberg RWS.

I agree on not modifying Bradleys with that turret, the US Army's has too much else on its plate that is a higher priority.

As for the LAND 400, I recall the MCT-30 being the most praised feature of the LAV(CRV).

Edited by Ramlaen
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It makes sense for the US Army to use the same optics as they do on other Kongsberg RWS.

 

It makes sense to some extend; how much sense it makes depends on a multitude of different factors. The same optics are utilized on the different Kongsberg RWS versions used by the US Army, but are these optics designed for the longer ranges required for utilizing the full range of a 30 mm gun (not to mention the Super 40 calibre)? The maximum effective combat range of a normal Kongsberg RWS is somewhere between 600 and 1,500 metres depending on what weapon is fitted to the RWS. The maximum effective range of a 30 x 173 mm autocannon is above 3,000 metres according to the German Army - the slightly larger Super 40 round might have an even greater range.

Then there is the question about the costs. How much work was required to integrate the US sighting system into the turret and how much did that cost?

The WAO sight on the other hand has already been integrated by the manufacuterer (in fact the first Kongsberg MCT-30 turret that was unveiled was fitted with the WAO) and the optronics are designed for longer combat ranges (aside of being utilized on the Puma, the WAO has been tested/proposed on the Gepard self-propelled anti-air gun, the Anders light tank and the MCT-30 turret.

 

So I wonder if the US sight is so much cheaper (including logisitics), that it is prefered over an already integrated option.

 

As for the LAND 400, I recall the MCT-30 being the most praised feature of the LAV(CRV).

Could you elaborate that. I had contact with two Australians who claimed to be member of the military. Both claimed that the MCT-30 turret was the least liked option, because it was an unproven and completely unmanned turret (whereas the MT 30 turret from Elbit could be operated either manned or unmanned). The ergonomics of the MCT-30 turret in the LAV (CRV) were said to be the worst of all. After it was announced that Boxer and AMV-35 were downselected, the Australian Defence Technology Review magazine claimed that the LAV 6.0 would have had a better chance with a MOTS manned turret. In an earlier issue the magazine criticized the turret for providing the lowest protection and providing the lowest situational awareness of all contenders.

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It makes sense to some extend; how much sense it makes depends on a multitude of different factors. The same optics are utilized on the different Kongsberg RWS versions used by the US Army, but are these optics designed for the longer ranges required for utilizing the full range of a 30 mm gun (not to mention the Super 40 calibre)? The maximum effective combat range of a normal Kongsberg RWS is somewhere between 600 and 1,500 metres depending on what weapon is fitted to the RWS. The maximum effective range of a 30 x 173 mm autocannon is above 3,000 metres according to the German Army - the slightly larger Super 40 round might have an even greater range.

I don't have any spec numbers for the optic on hand, but the fact that it was used to fire Javelins at targets over 4km away indicates to me that the range isn't an issue.

Then there is the question about the costs. How much work was required to integrate the US sighting system into the turret and how much did that cost?

The WAO sight on the other hand has already been integrated by the manufacuterer (in fact the first Kongsberg MCT-30 turret that was unveiled was fitted with the WAO) and the optronics are designed for longer combat ranges (aside of being utilized on the Puma, the WAO has been tested/proposed on the Gepard self-propelled anti-air gun, the Anders light tank and the MCT-30 turret.

So I wonder if the US sight is so much cheaper (including logisitics), that it is prefered over an already integrated option.

Why would the US have to integrate Kongsberg's optic when Kongsberg already did?

Could you elaborate that. I had contact with two Australians who claimed to be member of the military. Both claimed that the MCT-30 turret was the least liked option, because it was an unproven and completely unmanned turret (whereas the MT 30 turret from Elbit could be operated either manned or unmanned). The ergonomics of the MCT-30 turret in the LAV (CRV) were said to be the worst of all.

I cannot comment on the validity of an anecdote, but ergonomics and an unmanned turret is a red flag to me.

After it was announced that Boxer and AMV-35 were downselected, the Australian Defence Technology Review magazine claimed that the LAV 6.0 would have had a better chance with a MOTS manned turret. In an earlier issue the magazine criticized the turret for providing the lowest protection and providing the lowest situational awareness of all contenders.

I recall DTR praising the turret in their articles, I will have to reread them.

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I don't have any spec numbers for the optic on hand, but the fact that it was used to fire Javelins at targets over 4km away indicates to me that the range isn't an issue.

 

This doesn't actually say much about the quality of the optics, because the Javelin is fire-and-forget missile with it's own integrated thermal sight. In the end you don't need superior to hit something at a range, in World War 2 the optics of tanks and anti-tank guns were horrendous compared to modern standards. Better sights - specifically when including an integrated fire control system designed for longer ranges - however provide a greater accuracy.

 

Why would the US have to integrate Kongsberg's optic when Kongsberg already did?

 

The optics are not made by Kongsberg, but instead consists of separate modules supplied by different companies. My understanding is that Kongsberg choose the WAO (apparently renamed EOTS?) instead of using the older system used on the RWS models consisting of multiple parts from different suppliers. All original prototypes of vehicles equipped with Kongsberg's MCT-30 turret use the WAO optronics instead of the other system. Only for the US Army's Stryker (and only one some of the more recent prototypes), the older system has been installed. Why would Kongsberg market the MCT-30 turret exclusively with the WAO/EOTS sight with integrated fire control system, when the older FCU system was just as capable & cheaper?

 

The WAO utilizes a third generation ATTICA thermal imager with a medium-wave CMT or InSb detector, which has a resolution of up to 1,280 x 1,024 pixels. The older fire control unit (FCU) of the CROWS II used the Thermal Imaging Module (TIM) 1500 from BAE Systems, which has a detector resolution of 640 x 480 (and given the age, it might be a second generation device). The long-range version of the ATTICA thermal imager can provide a continous optical zoom to 50 times magnification, while the TIM1500 provides up to 4 times digital magnifications (means the image will get blurry and loose detail). The WAO of the German Puma IFV uses the medium range version of ATTICA with an effective detector resolution of 768 x 576 (so 20% higher) using a micro scanner. The ATTICA series of thermal imagers also uses new post-processing methods combining multiple (sub-)frames for more details and higher constrast. Maybe BAE System has similar technologies integrated into it's current thermal imager systems, but I have never heard of that.

 

Lastly the FCU of the older Kongsberg RWS models offers only electronic zoom, while the WAO offers both optical and digital zoom for day and thermal channels.

 

I recall DTR praising the turret in their articles, I will have to reread them.

 

I guess some of this is based on the subjective opinion while reading, but the following passages on the MCT-30 don't sound like praise for me.

 

"... the reduced mass of the MCT-30 (brought about by reduced protection levels in the turret itself) is also one of the principle drivers of the LAV(CRV)'s lesser GVM, shaving an estimated 2,000kg compared too a two-man medium calibre turret featuring STANAG Level 4, 5, or 6 ballistic protection." ...implying that the MCT-30 was offered only at STANAG 4569 level 3 at most, failing the Australian requirements.

 

"To be clear, the Commonwealth has not specified a manned or unmanned turret for Phase  2. Only one stated requirement points explicitly to a manned turret but none of the requirements are mandatory. In principle, an unmanned turret should reduce the overall height of the vehicle and reduce the weight of the passive armour in exchange for reduced situational awareness. This trade-off between weight, size and situaional awareness is highly subjective." ...indirectly mentioning the drawbacks of not having (non-electronical) optical sights, fewer/poor placed vision blocks and no proper hatches/cupolas at the turret.

"The higher available payload of Piranha 5 compared to LAV(CRV) may also have opened up the turret options available to GDLS-A including those for heavier and perhaps decidely MOTS manned turrets." ...criticizing the fact that the MCT-30 is not MOTS and implying that manned turrets were found to be superior by the Australian evaluation.

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This doesn't actually say much about the quality of the optics, because the Javelin is fire-and-forget missile with it's own integrated thermal sight. In the end you don't need superior to hit something at a range, in World War 2 the optics of tanks and anti-tank guns were horrendous compared to modern standards. Better sights - specifically when including an integrated fire control system designed for longer ranges - however provide a greater accuracy.

 

The ~2km range of a infantry fired Javelin is primarily a limitation of the old CLU's thermal sight, so when it jumps to 4km+ with a CROWS functioning as the CLU, it implies the TIM1500 can resolve targets at that distance.

 

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