THE UNFAVOROUS CONTINUES TO LEAD IN THE AMOUNT OF THE LITTLE-KNOWN PROSPECTIVE CONCEPTS OF THE DEFENSE SECTOR. SECRET PROTOTYPE OF AN ADVANCED BATTLE TREATMENT MACHINE
Carefully tracking the development dynamics of tank-building programs, as well as projects for the deep modernization of existing models of armored vehicles in the leading countries of Western Europe, the Middle East and Asia, engineers of the Chinese company China North Industries Corporation (NORINCO) together with the specialists of the North China Research Institute of Mechanical Engineering No. XXUMX ( NEVORI) do not sit back and develop their prototypes of updated armored vehicles. One of these samples can safely be considered a “secret” combat vehicle, the photos of which appeared on the network at the end of 201. In the unnamed city of the Celestial Empire, a very interesting combat unit was positioned by the amateur near the facade of an unknown institution, positioned as the next generation infantry fighting vehicle. The car has an original low-profile turret with impressive transverse dimensions, indicating qualities such as a fairly low silhouette (determines the unit's low optical visibility) and high equivalent tower resistance within the safe maneuvering angles ± 2016º from the longitudinal axis of the BMP gun barrel.
Considering the only photo by which you can visually estimate the length, width and height of the tower within 3000 x 2700 x 700 mm, respectively, we conclude that the promising tower has a resistance of the order of 100 - 170 mm (from 40-mm Mk2 APFSDS-T armor-piercing automatic guns of type CT40) within ± 35º and up to 80 - 90 mm - when firing on-board armor plates of the turret at angles ≥50º from the direction of the cannon barrel. Thus, the security of optical-electronic sighting devices in the uninhabited turret of this BMP exceeds the indicators for habitable Bradley, MCV-80, Warrior, Scout SV and BMP-3 towers, which have a “whipped” design. This is a huge advantage of a new little-known BMP. Moreover, the tower is represented by a large number of inclined and angular segments that reduce the radar signature of the product: everything is in the traditions of the BBM of the XXI century. To further reduce the EPR, as well as the infrared signature, the main gun is “hidden” behind the thick-dimensional composite cover of rhombic section.
Seen a prototype of a promising Chinese BMP
As for the gun itself, judging by the photos, the Chinese are gradually moving from 30-mm automatic guns to 40-mm guns. As shown by field tests conducted by Western European experts, 40-mm armor-piercing sabot APFSDS-T Mk2 have approximately 2 times more armor penetration than such 30-mm projectiles like Kerner or Trident (70 against ZUMN). Obviously, a modern 140-mm gun, similar to the Swedish L40B “Bofors” and the American “Bushmaster-III”, was developed in the PRC. The design of the hull of a promising Chinese infantry fighting vehicle has much in common with the design of our Kurganets-70 infantry fighting vehicle, but its dimensions are about 25% smaller, which also contributed to the reduction in the silhouette of the product on the battlefield. A huge upper frontal part, installed at an inclination of about 15 degrees, reaches the middle of the body, which significantly increases the field of view for the driver in the immediate vicinity of the BMP (when looking through the viewing slot). Due to the presence of high-resolution cameras for all-round visibility around the vehicle, control tasks can be placed on the shoulders of the arrow operator or commander, whose seats are located in the central part of the BMP (in front of the troop compartment). The armored capsule, integrated into the hull, provides many times greater safety for the crew of the armored vehicle.
CHINESE VISION OF THE CONCEPT OF A BASIC BATTLE TANK THE NEXT GENERATION MAKES NERVOUS ALL ALL AMERICAN ALLIES IN THE INDO-ASIAN-PACIFIC REGION
Despite actively disseminating information about the advanced BMP for the Chinese army, Beijing does not seek to put it on a wide public view, and keeps a new concept under a veil of secrecy. At the same time, a promising heavy infantry fighting vehicle is not the only little-known example of the Chinese defense industry that is preparing "surprises" to a potential enemy in the Asia-Pacific region. More recently, technical sketches of a promising 5 generation main battle tank have been published on the vast expanses of Chinese and later the Western Internet with reference to the mil.news.sina.com.cn information resource, indicating Beijing’s correct MBT requirements for the third decade. XXI century.
One of the last main battle tanks of Chinese design is the MBT-3000 (VT4) transitional vehicle, developed by NORINCO since 2012. Intended mainly for export deliveries, MBT-3000 embodies all the best achievements of the Chinese tank-building school over the past few decades, in addition to the fully digitized element base of the fire control system and tactical information. A large number of VT-4 subsystems are unified with OBT “Type 99G” and VT-1A electronic equipment: the tower can see a full-fledged sighting system, represented by a commander’s panoramic sight and a gunner's sight, equipped with 2-generation infrared arrays. The advanced tank information and control system with a single data bus allows you to display on the MFI gunner TV / IR-image, received by the commanding panoramic sight. MBT of the MBT-3000 transitional generation, exactly like the tanks for the China Type-99A2 / G tanks, can be equipped with the GL-5 type active protection complex (analogous to the Arena). The destruction of the attacking ATGM and heavier tactical missiles is carried out by specialized small-size ultra-short-range antimissiles, which are launched by targeting a small multifunctional radar operating in the Ka-millimeter-wave range.
Despite the impressive physical size of the frontal armor plates of the turret, providing equivalent durability from armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber shells of the order of 850 mm, the frontal projection section in the "flimsy mask" of the ZPT-98 gun has a rather low durability and is vulnerable even to outdated OBPS type M829A1
The VT-4 armored protection is based on the elements of the built-in DZ, placed on the parts of the upper and lower frontal parts of the case, as well as on the modular armored plates with special armor on the front and side plates of the tower. Equivalent resistance from OBPS can be of the order of 800 - 900 mm for both the VLD of the hull and the frontal armor of the tower. Resistance from cumulative projectiles is close to 1100 - 1300 mm. As for the on-board armor plates of the turret, their size (even taking into account overhead modules with compositional armoring) does not exceed 320 - 340 mm, which is definitely less than that of M1A2 SEP "Abrams" and "Leopard-2A7". This is the only noticeable flaw in MBT-3000. Another advantage is the driving performance of this tank, provided by the 1300-strong 12-cylinder diesel engine with turbocharging "Type 150". With a tonne of 51 tonnes, the specific power of the 25,5 hp / ton is achieved, which is significantly more than most of our MBTs with a diesel engine.
Returning to the promising Chinese concept MBT 5-th generation, we note that the first sketches indicate a completely uninhabited tower with a decent amount of optical-electronic sighting systems operating in the TV / IR bands (we are talking about infrared matrices of the 3 generation). Also, in the 4-x corners of the prominent segment of the rectangular roof of the tower, miniature built-in modules with small high-resolution cameras for all-round lighting of the crew about the situation in the immediate vicinity of the tank are clearly visible. Similar cameras are also installed on the upper frontal part of the hull and the stern armor sheet of the hull (above the engine compartment). Instead of a standard fixed gunner sight in the front left of the turret, a compact multi-channel aiming module with an 360-degree view, including TV / IR channels, as well as a laser range finder with a semi-automatic laser guidance system for the T-series of the “Reflex "Or Chinese counterparts. Also, optical-electronic guidance tools are installed on a rotating platform with a paired 7,62-mm machine gun. The turret module is installed to the right of the center of the upper armor of the turret and provides for the placement of a panoramic sight, a container with ammunition for the machine gun, as well as 4 quadruple PU GPA on 16 smoke grenades; More 12 grenades are placed in 2x6 launch guides on the wedge-shaped elements of the frontal armor of the tower.
The compactness of the optical-electronic sighting systems of the tank causes a lower probability of disabling the machine at the time of shelling from large-caliber 12,7-mm machine guns, as well as 20 — 40-mm automatic guns of the BMP and BTR of the enemy. However, this design has a serious drawback, which consists in the fragility of the design of the rotary modules. Thus, the rotating part (in the area of the ringing of the epaulette) of the combined sight of the operator-gunner / commander (on the left side of the tower) has a thinning with a diameter of ~ 120 mm. Even a single hit 20 - 30-mm projectile enough for the complete destruction of the moving part of the turret; in the course of a high-intensity battle, this will predetermine its negative outcome for the next generation of Chinese MBTs presented in the sketch.
The perspective complex of active protection (KAZ) of the new tank was very originally executed. In contrast to the already existing KAZ type JD-3 / GL-5 and Arena, the new complex is close to the design of the Afganit. In particular, the antenna arrays of the multifunctional millimeter radar for detecting and targeting are not placed on a single post, but form a third-party distributed aperture 4. The radar complex is represented by four three-way antenna posts of the "month-shaped" form in each corner of the roof of the tower with a circular view of 360 degrees. The presence of 3 antenna arrays at each post extends its viewing sector to 240 degrees, so that damage to one of them only slightly affects the defensive capabilities of the tank. Even "Afghan" has a noticeable disadvantage here, which is that each of the 4 available AFARs does not overlap the viewing area of the neighboring antenna array, and therefore, if one of them fails, the 90-degree section of the rocket-hazardous direction falls out.
This sketch indicates that the promising Chinese MBT is perfectly suited for participation in urban battles: a dozer blade similar to that used on the German Leopard-2 PSO is attached to the additional armor plate of the lower frontal part. You can also notice that the commander's / operator-gunner's combined sight on the left side of an uninhabited tower rotates not only in the azimuthal but also in the elevation plane, which makes it possible to detect the enemy not only on the ground and small heights, but also on high-rise buildings. A module with an integrated machine gun is used against such complex targets.
Nevertheless, in “Afganit” this moment is safely compensated by an additional optical-electronic aperture, built on the basis of additional infrared and ultraviolet sensors, covering the likely “gaps” caused by the defeat of one of the AFAR-radar. One of the visible advantages of the Afganit complex installed at Armata is the large energy possibilities and the resolution of large AFAR-radars, in comparison with miniature round-shaped Chinese antenna arrays. According to sources, the Afganit radars, built using LTCC technology, are able to calculate the trajectory of the projectiles and missiles of the enemy at significant distances of several kilometers, and therefore have counter-battery qualities. The Chinese car will hardly differ in such features. Interceptor shells are placed in 2's compact eight-dimensional rotary launchers on two sides of the tower roof in the amount of 16 units.
The security of a promising Chinese MBT can be one of the highest in tank tank world practice. Such a conclusion can be made based on the “uninhabitability” of the tower in combination with its impressive transverse dimensions in the horizontal plane: the same construction is observed as on the captured “secret” Chinese BMP. The dimensions of this tower are typical for the American MBT M1A2 "Abrams", but the reserved volume of the fighting compartment is approximately 1,5 - 1,6 times smaller, which provides a decent increase in the physical size of the frontal and side armor plates. Therefore, the security of the frontal projection of the turret from the feathered armor-piercing sabots can reach 1200 - 1300 mm! As for our T-14 "Armata", even his indicators of the resistance of the frontal projection of the tower can be slightly lower, because the tower is more "whipped" and has much smaller dimensions in the horizontal plane, while the height is approximately 110, see the sketches of the “Chinese” clearly show that the main armored tower of the turret has a size of about 1500 - 1700 mm (right behind it is a combat module with a machine gun and a panoramic sight). Resistance from cumulative projectiles can reach 1600 - 1800 mm.
Pay attention to the vision of the Chinese regarding the security of the most vulnerable attic of the tower of the new tank. For increased protection of this sector, it is planned to use a massive gun "mask" 300-400 mm thick, smoothly turning into a gun cradle. Equivalent resistance from armor-piercing projectiles here can reach 750 - 900 mm, protecting from BOPS like M829A2, or even M829A3, which can be the best indicator among all known 4 OBT generators (the equivalent of the equivalent resistance of an Israeli Shkara unit is available for a snapshot of a Shkara "). Judging by the sketch, frontal and side armored plates can be presented as “packages” of combined and spaced filler using any type of materials (from ceramic-uranium layers of the type UO4 to ceramic-uranium-carbon layers with a titanium underlay of the UO87); It is possible to use corundum-ceramic filler from steel sheets obtained by the method of electroslag remelting (increase in hardness by 100 times).
Onboard armor plates, taking into account the minimum reserved volume of an uninhabited tower, are about 600 mm thick in the front and 450 - 500 mm in the rear, which is larger than the M1A2. When firing on the tower from the corners of safe maneuvering ± 35-45 degrees from the longitudinal axis of the barrel bore, full protection is provided against the American BOPS M829A2. The estimated thickness of the upper armor of the turret can reach 100 - 120 mm, which, at an angle of 60 degrees, provides resistance to 250 mm. It is almost impossible to calculate the security of the stern bronelista according to published sketches, but usually it reaches 70 - 100 mm.
Let us proceed to the assessment of the reservation of the hull of the advanced Chinese MBT. The layout of the case is close to the Turkish version of “Leopard-2A4” under the symbol “Leopard-NG” (“Next Generation”). The upper frontal part is absolutely flat, with closed wings of increased security, has an inclination of about 75 degrees up to the armored capsule with the crew. In the sketch, you can note that the front part of the armored capsule is outlined by a small rectangular contour on the VLD, located approximately 1200 mm from the front edge. The physical dimension of the VLD reaches 210 - 230 mm, which, when tilted in 80º, gives about 1050 mm equivalent from armored piercing feathered stencils, which is much more than M1A2 SEP and even T-90MS Tagil.
On the lower frontal part is located 50 - 60-millimeter armor sheet (material is currently unknown), which increases the resistance of the frontal projection during shelling from short distances. At long distances, NLD is often hidden by the relief “screen”. Approximately 2 / 3 of the hull of the perspective MBT, starting from the bow section of the VLD and ending with the engine-transmission compartment, are covered with massive modular anti-cumulative screens with a physical dimension 200 - 250 mm. They provide an increase in equivalent durability not only from cumulative, but also from armor-piercing sub-caliber shells. Together with the onboard armor plates 80 - 90 mm thick, massive PECs provide 350-millimeter resistance from BOPS in the area of the upper part of the crew capsule. In the area of its lower part, the durability decreases to about 170 - 200 mm, since instead of the SCE, there are only rollers here. In the same turn, when firing from safe maneuvering corners ± 30º from the tank’s directional direction, the above hull durability rates increase 2 times: to 700 mm in the area of the SCE and to 400 mm in the area of the rollers, which is not enough to protect against American armor-piercing shells M829A1 / A2 / A3. The vulnerability of the onboard projections of the hull of the tank is the eternal constructive problem of tank building, which is almost impossible to solve without increasing the weight and size of the MBT.
The engine compartment is covered with standard lattice protivokumulyativnymi screens that do not provide protection from BOPS. However, the thickness of the armor plates in this area, starting from the visual assessment, should exceed 50 mm, as well as in the crew section.
The advanced Chinese tank will receive a large number of structural elements from composite materials, as well as receive radio-absorbing coatings to reduce the total radar signature (EPR). With the same purpose, it is planned to use a thick 6-faceted “cover” for the main 125-mm tank gun. The "cover" will also repeatedly reduce the infrared signature of the tank during combat. Obviously, the new MBT will receive the most modern tank information management system (TIUS) and fire control system (LMS), built on the best Chinese element base, which is in no way inferior to Western developments. The tank will be equipped with a modernized gun ZPT-98, which is an analogue of our 2А46М. From the sketch it can be understood that, in order to increase the accuracy of shooting in 1,15 - 1,2, it is planned to use the barrel bend accounting system (CMS). This is evidenced by a rectangular slot on the upper part of the “mask” of the gun, where the photo-receiving sensor with the emitter and receiver of the reflected light beam should be placed. Meanwhile, in the design of the depicted SIUS new tank for an unknown reason, there is no main device for determining the bend - a triple-prism reflecting unit with a lens that should be located at the end of the gun barrel.
From all of the above, we can conclude that in the case of a real start of a program for developing a promising Chinese 5 MBT, NORINCO has every chance of becoming a leader against the background of such Western European companies as French “GIAT / Nexter” and German “Krauss-Maffei” with their "Leclerc" and new modifications of "Leopards". The administration of the military-analytical resource “Military Parity” hastened to equate the concept of a new Chinese MBT to the French AMX-56 “Leclerc”. Apparently, the emphasis was placed on the overall layout of the hull, but if you look at all the above features of booking and accommodating the crew, the Leclerc will be significantly inferior to the Chinese prototype with an uninhabited tower.
The structure and design of the body armor of the tower and hull of the French main battle tank AMX-56 "Leclerc" leaves much to be desired not only against the background of the promising Chinese MBT, but also against the background of such vehicles as T-90С, "Leopard-2A5 / A6 / A7" and M1A2 SEP / TUSK
The AMX-56 square tower has a large amount of reserved space, which affected the physical dimensions and equivalent durability of frontal and side armor plates to the worst. For example, the thickness of the side armor plates of the French machine is extremely small and barely reaches 280 mm, even at an angle of 60 º such a barrier is not able to protect from the American projectile M829A2 or Russian ZBM-44М Lekalo. Frontal and side armored plates are represented by high-hardness steel armor plates, ceramic-fiberglass filler, as well as teflon-fiberglass lining. Their total envelope at the frontal angle of fire at angles 0 - 20º is only 650 - 800 mm, and the equivalent resistance from the BOPS - 620 mm. This is absolutely not enough to fight with OBTs like T-90A / S / MS, “Leopard-2A5 / 6 / 7”, “Challenger 2” and M1A2, and therefore comparing “Leclerc” with the new Chinese concept looks inappropriate. The only criteria for comparison are TIUS and armament.
According to the tank information and control system, the “Chinese” is unlikely to lose to “Leclerc”, which cannot be said about weapons. The French tank is equipped with a fairly sophisticated and powerful gun version of the L52 "CN 120-26", which gives the armor-piercing projectile initial speed in 1750 m / s, which is even better than the staff of the M256 and with the German Rh-120L55. The design of the tower of the prototype Chinese perspective tank is very similar to the layout of the Japanese tower Type-10, which is expressed in the wedge-shaped frontal armored plates. Of great interest is also the 8-roller suspension with hydro-pneumatic suspension. This indicates that the main task of the Chinese engineers is to give the 5-generation of PLA tanks increased survivability in comparison with the Japanese, South Korean, Indian and American MBTs Type-10, K2 Black Panther, Arjun Mk.2, T -90, as well as M1A2; on the latter, 6 and 7 roller bearings are installed. A greater number of rollers allows the tracked combat vehicle to maintain mobility even after disabling several of them during high-intensity confrontation in the theater of operations.
Considering that the Celestial Empire is distinguished today by the greatest number of innovations in the defense sector, in the coming years we should expect official statements from representatives of NORINCO and the defense departments of the PRC on the relative start of the development program of the new “network-centric” main battle tank of the 5 generation, able to compensate all existing shortcomings of the serial "Type-96B / 99A2" and MBT-3000.