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What would a robot tank look like?


Proyas
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Hello everyone,

 

I'm very impressed by the technical expertise on this forum, and so I'd like your feedback on my theories about what a crew-less, robot tank would be like. I wrote about it here, on my blog:

 

https://www.militantfuturist.com/what-would-a-robot-tank-look-like/

 

I might edit the blog entry based on any feedback I get from you guys.

 

Thanks.

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Without considering your post:

 

I suspect a completely crew-less tank is a ways out yet, which makes the question complex.

 

My guess is that the first tank-sized UGVs will be used as adjuncts to manned vehicles - either to fire on the same targets or to go ahead into areas where the manned vehicle is in danger of being attacked (or perhaps as demolitions/combat engineering vehicles). This means that the first UGVs will probably be missile or autocannon armed rather than armed with whatever the main gun is.

 

My other guess is that the actual hulls will look a lot like whatever the existing front-line vehicles have - the future of armoured vehicles involves significantly more automation than is presently the case so it will probably be easier to just use a hull/drivetrain/etc already in production rather than reinventing the wheel.

 

Ediot: one of the things that rarely gets talked about when contemplating UGVs is the human component to their logistical chain. Presently one of the arguments put forward in favour of 4-man tanks is that the extra man significantly eases the constant maintenance that tanks require in order to function. Maintenance-related tasks, incidentally, are very hard to automate. So you might end up in a situation where the supposedly crew-less tank formation is actually tailed by almost as many maintenance techs as a manned formation has tankers. This also obviously presents a soft target if your maintenance techs are, for instance, being carted around in soft-skinned vehicles.

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As I understand it, the T-14 Armata is supposed to have a crewless option, or at least the capability to be converted into such a configuration in the future.  Although, that seems less efficient than a true robot tank since there is still the space taken up for the crew compartment.  I suppose they could repurpose that space for a crewless version.

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Since the old MBT-70 design had no human driver in the hull, that vehicle might be a good benchmark for how low the hull of a crewless tank could be built.  Of course, with modern hull designs having the driver almost laying on his back, the height of the powerpack is probably a bigger issue in terms of hull height than accommodating the human driver.

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I would think a lot of them would look like M113s, as that type of chassis is easy and cheap to make, and highly modifiable. Israel is already fooling around with a robotic M113, and I wouldn’t doubt most of the other superpowers are close behind in terms of large UGVs. 

 

Screenshot_2.png

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22 minutes ago, Lord_James said:

I would think a lot of them would look like M113s, as that type of chassis is easy and cheap to make, and highly modifiable. Israel is already fooling around with a robotic M113, and I wouldn’t doubt most of the other superpowers are close behind in terms of large UGVs. 

 

 

 

Are you suggesting that we may be entering the era of the robot-Gavin?  I'm all for it.

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1 hour ago, Walter_Sobchak said:

 

Are you suggesting that we may be entering the era of the robot-Gavin?  I'm all for it.

 

I mean, it seems logical for the near future, the M113 being one of the cheapest chassis to make and modify, and there’s lots of space inside for electronics, sensors, and armament/ammo. But afterwards (30+ years is my safe guess), there will be custom chassis for the robot vehicles.

 

The Bradley, BMP/MT-LB, Puma, and AJAX (among a hundred others) also look like good chassis’ that can be modified relatively easy, but the M113 seems like a much cheaper and equally effective solution. 

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4 minutes ago, Lord_James said:

 

I mean, it seems logical for the near future, the M113 being one of the cheapest chassis to make and modify, and there’s lots of space inside for electronics, sensors, and armament/ammo. But afterwards (30+ years is my safe guess), there will be custom chassis for the robot vehicles.

 

The Bradley, BMP/MT-LB, Puma, and AJAX (among a hundred others) also look like good chassis’ that can be modified relatively easy, but the M113 seems like a much cheaper and equally effective solution. 

 

Makes sense to me, especially since there is plenty of upgrade technology already available for the M113.  

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https://www.armyrecognition.com/weapons_defence_industry_military_technology_uk/china_has_developed_first_unmanned_main_battle_tank_mbt_type_59.html

 

M113, type 59. In future t72

Anything which has the special quality of being surplus available in quantity.

 

Hulls are a big cost for these, why not reuse a known vehicle, complete with existing logistics?

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I'd assume you'd want manned tanks + infantry in places where you want to hold territory and use unmanned ground vehicles to be used in high risk situations where the destruction of such a vehicle is likely even if you armor the thing heavily. Therefore, I'd think most UGVs would use the most economic chassis as possible (so things like M113s  would be great). If we are starting from scratch, I'd still think M113-like UGVs would be prefered by most nations looking at the current trend towards designing vehicles for urban and COIN warfare. Major powers may still want some faster UGVs too play a role in a conventional role and I'd think they look like a slimmed down M8 AGS/2S25 Sprut as you'd make the silhouettes smaller by getting rid of crew space . 

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