The regular MBT of the British army FV4034 Challenger 2 will undergo modernization in accordance with two contracts for the delivery of an updated at the end of 2016 tank in 2019 year
The main battle tanks remain the most effective means of providing mobile protected firepower against a number of targets, both in defensive and offensive operations. In addition, new technologies are being introduced into the tanks in order to increase their combat effectiveness and conformity with modern operational scenarios.
The firepower and effectiveness of armaments has increased due to the calculation of ballistic data in digital form, improved detection and capture of targets using advanced optoelectronics, as well as ammunition with improved characteristics. Vitality is enhanced by more durable and often lighter armor, threat detection sensors and active protection systems. Mobility is maintained by installing more powerful power units (engine and transmission) in combination with a more efficient suspension and lightweight tracks. Plus, the overall combat effectiveness was positively influenced by networking, which is ensured by the integration of the vehicle’s on-board systems. This last point can be the most valuable achievement, because it is a factor of increasing opportunities that allows you to collect and distribute information for all crew members not only about the state of the systems and the entire machine, but also about the immediate tactical situation.
The appearance of some of the main battle tanks (MBT), it seems, has not changed at all, since many of these possibilities above are barely noticeable, despite their revolutionary influence. The important thing is that many enhancements are easy to integrate into existing platforms. Thus, although over the past two decades not so many new projects have come into being, tanks in service have significantly more capabilities than twenty years ago. The trend prevailing in the world is the modernization and upgrading of existing machines. For example, in November 2016 of the year, several firms were selected by the British Department of Defense for the evaluation phase of the British Army’s FV4034 Challenger 2 modernization program under the designation LEP (Life Extension Program). This program was claimed by two industrial groups: BAE Systems (merged with General Dynamics UK, Safran, QinetiQ, Leonardo and MOOG) and Rheinmetall (merged with Supacat, Thales, Pearson Engineering and BMT). According to open sources, when upgrading the tank, it is planned to add a commander's panoramic sight, update the thermal imaging devices and make other improvements to the fire control system (FCS). Rheinmetall is also likely to integrate its situational awareness system, which includes thermal imaging cameras that provide all-round visibility, plus sensors such as a warning system such as laser irradiation detectors, shot detection and a battle management system.
Rheinmetall also stated that they could offer a replacement for the existing 120-mm rifled L30A1 gun manufactured by Royal Ordnance / BAE Systems and install their 120-mm smooth-bore L55 gun, which includes a programmed ammunition. The final contract for the modernization of the MBT can include 227 machines for a total cost of up to 748 million dollars. Prototypes of the upgraded tank will be manufactured within two years after signing the contract. According to the government, the decision on which company will upgrade will be made by the Ministry of Defense around 2019. The main objective of the LEP program is to preserve the “competitiveness” of the tank to 2025 and beyond (2035 is generally considered to be the deadline). In addition, some developers and manufacturers have come up with a proposal to upgrade earlier platforms. In May 2016, the company Raytheon announced that it had developed an upgrade package for the outdated Chrysler M60 family of tanks, which included a new power unit, tower electric drives and various electronic systems.
European Union and NATO
Most EU and NATO countries have focused on modernizing the existing parks for OBT. The German army continued the modernization program for the Leopard 2 family of tanks manufactured by Krauss Mafei Wegmann and Rheinmetall. Rheinmetall recently announced that in the near future, Leopard 2 of the German armed forces will begin to modernize part of its fleet of tanks. The project will be upgraded to standard 2A7V (verbessert, improved in German) 68 tanks Leopard 2A4, 16 Leopard 2A6 and 20 Leopard 2A7. Outdated fire control equipment will be replaced, and a new laser range finder and a thermal imager will be installed. In addition, the 68 modernized tanks Leopard 2-4 will be equipped with a new gun L55A1, after which these tanks will be able to fire the latest generation of armor-piercing ammunition. Great demand are tanks Leopard 2 and abroad. Poland, which bought the Leopard 2002A2 / A4 tanks from the presence of the German army in 5, is just one of many examples of purchases of Leopard 2 tanks in recent years. Tanks were originally purchased to meet the urgent needs of the Polish armed forces. These MBTs are currently being upgraded to the Leopard 2PL standard. The modernization of 128 tanks in the amount of 507 million dollars is headed by the German Rheinmetall. The company also provided the Polish company ZM Bumar-Labedy with know-how for this program, and also, under the terms of the deal, subcontracts for half the contract value to local manufacturers.
Leopard-2 was adopted by the 17 armies of the world. Most of these tanks have been updated and modernized. In the photo the most recent version of the tank - Leopard 2A7
Tower protection version of Leopard 2PL will be enhanced by installing advanced modular armor AMAP (Advanced Modular Armor Protection) from the German IBD Deisenroth Engineering, which is manufactured under license from the local company Rosomak. In addition, the tower’s electric drives and a new fire extinguishing system, advanced thermal sights of the commander and gunner, an onboard information and control system, a diesel generator auxiliary unit, and a climate control system will be installed. The Leopard 2PL version will retain the 120-mm smoothbore gun Rheinmetall L44 of the base variant Leopard 2, but it will be modified to be compatible with the programmable projectile Rheinmetall DM11, as well as the PM53 and DM63 armor-piercing shells. High-explosive fragmentation DM11 will provide very valuable opportunities, because it is shot at a maximum range of 5 km and can operate in three modes, shock, delayed, and air detonation. This projectile significantly increases the effectiveness of the cannon in the fight against some targets, including infantry, light vehicles, helicopters, fortifications and buildings. It is ideal for neutralizing groups with anti-tank complexes, destroying bunkers, military operations in populated areas and combating moving targets, such as tachanki - armed pick-up trucks, beloved by rebels.
DM11 projectile with a three-mode fuse developed by the German company Rheinmetall
The Leclerc family of French tanks developed by GIAT / Nexter, which already have a high level of automation, are “updated” in accordance with the 2015 million dollar 349 contract awarded to Nexter. One of the leading designers of the Leclerc project, said that “the integration of the Scorpion Information Management System (SICS) will allow data exchange between various units of combined-arms tactical groups, which will become the basis of the future combat command and control of the French ground forces.” SICS, the battle management system developed by Atos, should replace the existing systems of the French army in the next five to ten years. In addition, Nexter explained that the upgrade will increase the levels of survivability and protection of this tank, and the main armament, the 120-mm gun CN120-26 / 52 developed by GIAT / Nexter, will be compatible with programmable ammunition.
French MBT Leclerc
The level of international cooperation in the modernization of the MBT has already been mentioned. However, cooperation between the Turkish Otokar and the South Korean Hyundai Rotem has reached a new level and has the goal of developing a completely new tank, called the Altay. In April, 2016, Ali Koch, executive director of Otokar, said that Altay was “ready.” This was the pinnacle of a joint venture that relies on technology developed for the Korean Army K-2 Black Panther MBT (see below). By themselves, the prototypes of the tank Altay resemble tank K-2. At the same time, the Atlay tank has other support rollers, suspension and turret layout. The 120-mm smooth-bore gun manufactured by the Turkish company MKEK is installed in the turret - the licensed version of the Rheinmetall L55 gun; in addition, it is equipped with modular armor and elements of dynamic protection against Rocketsan. The Altay tank was shown with the remote-controlled STAMP weapon module developed by Aselsan. The Turkish Defense Purchasing Authority planned in 2015 to issue a contract worth over a billion dollars to produce 250 tanks. In a statement, Otokar noted that it submitted its final proposal to the Office in August 2016, but the contract was never announced. There were difficulties with the engine for the Turkish tank. A contract was initially signed with an Austrian company, but it was terminated due to “human rights violations in Turkey”. Currently searching for suppliers of the engine and transmission for Altay, among the applicants are German MTU and Renk. But here, too, political tensions between Germany and Turkey can become an insurmountable obstacle in this matter. And recently there were reports that Turkey began negotiations with the American Catepillar and the British Perkins, and in this case they can end quite successfully. The total needs of the Turkish army are 1000 tanks and a number of foreign armies, including Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have shown interest in the Altay tank.
Turkey struggles to adopt its own tank Altay, named after the Turkish general Fakhrettin Altai
Ukrainian industry, which successfully manufactured tanks during the Soviet era, is currently looking for ways to expand its markets. To this end, the Kharkov State Enterprise "Plant them. Malysheva "and the Kharkov Engineering Design Bureau for them. Morozov developed an export version of MBT T-84 "Oplot". This tank, known as BM "Oplot", is armed with an 120-mm smooth-bore KBA-3 cannon, which can fire, apart from conventional projectiles, with a laser-guided missile 9КХNUMXМ "Reflex" developed by the Tula KBP. Rocket 119K9М designed to fight with helicopters and combat vehicles, as well as MBT. In accordance with the first export order from 119, 2011 machines worth 49 million dollars should be delivered to Thailand, but to date only 240 machines have been shipped. The Ukrainian government has assured the Thais that the remaining vehicles will be delivered by March 20, but again the delivery times were broken and, most likely, the last Oplot-T tanks will be delivered in 2017.
Tank BM "Oplot-T", manufactured by SE "Plant them. Malysheva "under the contract 2011 of the year for Thailand
MBT T-84 "Oplot"
Of great interest is the T-14 Armata tank developed by Uralvagonzavod. MBT T-14 (photo below) is armed with a new 125-mm smoothbore 2A82-1М, which can fire a new armor-piercing projectile with an 900 mm core (according to data from open sources). Armament, automatic loader and controls are placed in a remote-controlled tower, and the crew of three people under the protection of the hull armor. This MBT is also equipped with a radar operating in the Ka band (33,4-36 GHz). It has been suggested that this is part of the active defense systems of the “Afghanite” and the protection of the upper hemisphere and that it can accompany several targets at once. Composite armor and elements of dynamic protection "Malachite" are installed on the case and on the tower. The question arises, will this platform become the next main battle tank of the Russians?
The recent Russian demonstration of the MBT version of the T-3 family, named T-90M, updated under the Breakthrough-90 program, suggests that the main fleet of Russian army tanks will still be based on traditional platforms, and not on the new T-14 tank . On the T-90М tank, work was done on protection: the protection of the frontal, side and stern projections of the tank was increased due to the installation of a new dynamic protection "Relic" and lattice screens. It is reported to be effective against both high-explosive and armor-piercing shells. The T-90M has a multichannel panoramic sight, as well as an outdoor video surveillance system. A new automatic target tracking station and a fire control computer are integrated into the tank; in addition, the engine power increased to 1300 hp The T-90 tank family itself continues to enter service in various countries. For example, this tank was seen in the Syrian army fighting in 2016. Algeria received 200 tanks in December 2016, and it is possible that there are orders from Peru. In addition, the Indian Defense Procurement Council approved last September an order for another 464 T-90MS tanks for a total of 2 billion dollars.
Russian tank T-90M has very good prospects.
Production of the Korean K-2 tank continues in parallel with the introduction of new improvements and improvements. A consortium led by Hyundai Rotem has already delivered more than 240 K-2 tanks. According to some reports, the total demand is 680 machines, the last of which will be manufactured by the beginning of the 2030-s. On all already released tanks, the suspension is being upgraded, an active protection complex and a dynamic protection system are being installed. The K-2 tank has a unique ability; it can shoot its 120-mm smoothbore L55 cannon (a joint development of local enterprises and the German company Diehl) with a KSTAM (Korean Smart Top-Attack Munition) target projectile. The projectile was developed in conjunction with the German company Diehl. The basis was taken self-targeting combat element SMart-155, placed in the same 155-mm cassette projectile. The firing range of this projectile ranges from 2 to 8 km, it can hit targets behind natural and artificial shelters. After the shot, the projectile flies in semi-automatic mode. The projectile has a millimeter-head homing head, an infrared sensor and a “strike core” warhead. The projectile is fired at a specified area of the expected location of the targets, upon reaching which the parachutes are opened. The ammunition is reduced and, when it reaches a height of about 150 meters, it starts scanning the specified area using a radar and an infrared sensor. When a target hits the field of view of an infrared sensor, the warhead is blown up, which hits the less protected roof of the vehicle.
Tank K-2 Black Panther; it implements some requirements that lead to unique characteristics. These include, for example, an adjustable suspension and intelligent projectile to fight against targets behind shelters.
Meanwhile, China continues the process of gradually improving its MBT. Tank Ture-99 / A is the most advanced and effective Chinese tank, but it is in service only tank regiments in the northern military districts in Shenyang and Beijing. It implements many ideas of Russian designers, in particular the 125-mm gun and ATGM launched from the barrel; Western developments are also not forgotten, especially in terms of protection, namely, welded armor and dynamic protection. Norinco has also developed and introduced advanced MBTs for the export market. Its new MVT 3000 tank (also known as VT-4) has a crew of three men, it is armed with an 125-mm smoothbore gun with automatic loading ZPT98 and coaxial machine gun, a DUMV with an 12,7-mm machine gun is installed on the turret roof. The turret and the front of the tank hull are equipped with composite armor and a dynamic protection system. The first foreign buyer was the Thai army, which ordered these tanks in April 2016 of the year (as a result of the long-suffering contract with Ukraine). Under the contract, 28 tanks were delivered in September of the same year, after the tests 19 vehicles with supplies in 2017 can be ordered.
The most advanced tank of the Chinese army received the designation Tour 99. However, their number in the troops is limited and, most likely, it does not constitute the basis of the Chinese Chinese tank park.
The United States is not currently going to part with its MBT M1A2 Abrams production of General Dynamics, but the program manager for combat vehicles noted that “the M1А2 today is very different from the first tanks that came into service once. The approach of the army is to keep the tank M1А2 in the first row, to have a platform with excellent mobility, powerful weapons and modern communication systems. By developing, implementing, integrating new technologies on an existing machine, you do not need to create a completely new machine from scratch. ” Currently, American tanks are adopting the next, new package of improvements in the third version, designated SEP (System Enhancement Package) V.3 developed by General Dynamics Land Systems. SEP is a software upgrade of the current tank M1А2 through the introduction of selected technologies and subsystems. The company stated that the “V3 version is designed as a proposal for technical changes. This will allow to start its mass production faster. Six pre-production prototypes have already passed complex tests and the production of tanks in the version of the SEP V. 3 for the US Army should begin in 2017 year. As part of the modernization program of SEP V.3, new communication systems will be installed, a new fire control system, a new COLWS-LP DUMA with an 12,7-mm M2 machine gun, enhanced booking and measures taken to reduce the maintenance of MBT. The М1А2 SEP V.3 variant also received a new M829Е4 sub-caliber projectile into its ammunition. Although the SEP V.3 upgrade package is still being tested, General Dynamics has already begun work on the next package of the fourth version of the SEP V.4. It is planned that vehicles in this performance will begin to arrive in the troops in 2021 year. The upgrade of the V.4 SEP is likely to include third-generation thermal imagers, a new laser rangefinder, color video cameras around the perimeter of the car, receivers of the laser irradiation warning system, and improved digital communications. In February, Orbital ATK was awarded a contract for its 120-mm Advanced Multi-Purpose Advanced Multi-Purpose Projectile for inclusion in the M1-NNXX Abrams tank ammunition. In addition, 2 September 28, the company General Dynamics Land Systems received a contract for equipping the Israeli production of the main tanks М2017А1 SEP V.2 with the Trophy active protection complex. Most likely, we are talking about the full-scale military tests of the KAZ Trophy on the M2А1 tanks of one of the armored brigades. After that, a final decision will be made on equipping the M2А1 Abrams tanks with the Trophy complex.
MBT М1А2 is upgraded according to the SEP program. General Dynamics presented its version of SEP V.2 in October 2016 at the AUSA exhibition in Washington (pictured)
Although the OBT is similar in appearance to its predecessors, they again change their characteristics in order to meet the requirements of the modern battlefield. Technology and innovation are transforming the platform to the challenges of asymmetric warfare. On the other hand, speed, firepower and protection remain at the heart of MBT design. This applies to both new projects and the modernization of existing platforms.