Armored vehicles come in different shapes and sizes, they perform many different tasks. In the series of articles, two categories will be considered: armored combat vehicles leading only direct fire, and vehicles serving also for the delivery of infantry to the battlefield.
The term "armored vehicles" is quite broad. It can cover vehicles that simply have armor to protect the people sitting inside, as well as integrated combat systems that can be as complex as a fighter or a warship. Currently, there are more and more parallels between the combat systems used on the ground, on the water and in the air.
This large number of various "armored" cars makes any discussion a difficult matter. The very attempt to classify them is, in its essence, quite complex. The use of the terms "light", "medium" and "heavy" was once logical. This indicated the mass of the system, which in turn was closely related to the level of protection, since protection was mainly a direct consequence of the quantity and thickness of armor. The more armor, the better protection and the greater the mass of the car.
A similar correlation also arose between the mass and the armament, since the mass of the heavier machine, as a rule, determined the installation of a larger caliber gun. Thus, lighter cars were most often armed with smaller caliber cannons, while heavy machines — with larger long-range cannons. However, advances in technology blurred these differences and made the categories “light”, “medium”, and “heavy” mostly meaningless.
Even the terminology used to describe the qualities of armored vehicles requires a change, since it must accurately reflect the specific characteristics and how they are obtained. For example, “protection” would be more appropriate to consider within the concept of “survivability”. It provides an opportunity to better describe a set of factors that together contribute to the safety of the crew and allow you to continue the task. Similarly, our understanding of “mobility” has changed. It was once believed that a caterpillar undercarriage is a prerequisite for installing heavy weapons and provides the highest off-road patency, but with speed limits. However today the main fighting Tanks (MBT) weighing 70 tons can easily accelerate to 70 km / h, while some wheeled combat systems have the same armament as the main battle tanks.
Separating armored vehicles according to their tasks has more meaning and significance. However, even here, differentiation can be complex - partly as a result of technological change. Larger caliber guns can now be installed on smaller machines, for example. In many cases, this new weaponry can be installed even on existing machines as part of modernization programs. Similarly, progress in the field of propulsion systems, including lighter, more compact power units and highly efficient hydropneumatic suspension, allows us to increase the payload of the machine without impairing mobility, that is, mobility. As a result, it contributes to increasing the level of protection and power of weapons. Significant advances in sensory technology, data processing, communications (including data transfer) and automation (including remote operation) also opens up new opportunities for developers of combat vehicles.
Programs of improvement and modernization allow to increase the capabilities of existing machines at relatively modest costs, often increasing the flexibility of their combat use. This trend is aimed at reducing the differences between machines that could perform different tasks. There is a growing understanding that the deployment of universal platforms (where appropriate) offers advantages in terms of service, logistics and the cost of their life cycle. New solutions, design approaches, production methods and logistics technology are combined in order to achieve “the fitness of one platform for several tasks”.
The article discusses those armored vehicles that are directly used in hostilities. These are front-line cars that are Schwerpunkt (German. Main accent, essence, center of gravity) of a tank war. The combat effectiveness of these systems is still based on the triad of key characteristics of traditional armored combat vehicles (BBM) - firepower, mobility and protection. Progress in means of situational awareness and operational management increasingly complements these traditional components of armored vehicles and contributes to the expansion and development of many programs to enhance the capabilities of armored vehicles.
In this article, combat vehicles in accordance with the main purpose are divided into two categories. The first category includes armored fighting vehicles, whose main task is firing; Thus, they can be considered as systems for direct fire. This category includes main battle tanks, self-propelled anti-tank installations, light tanks. self-propelled artillery installations and other systems. All of these mobile platforms are optimized for high-precision direct fire, have trained crews, and their levels of protection correspond to a specific set of threats.
The second category includes combat platforms, which are designed to deliver infantry to the battlefield, after which she dismounts and leads the battle (often under the cover of her car). Often, these machines may have common features with platforms from the first group, but at the same time they can accommodate an infantry unit inside.
The share of each component of the triad of key characteristics may vary, some machines have the same advanced fire control systems as MBT, but a smaller caliber gun, while other platforms have weaker reservations.
The inclusion of fire systems and infantry vehicles in one article has its own meaning. Both categories of machines often work in the same combat formations. They are able to support and complement each other, contributing to the achievement of success on the battlefield.
Developer: General Dynamics Land Systems
Country of Origin: United States of America
Armament: 120-mm smoothbore gun M256
The original M1 tank with a 105-mm M68 rifled gun with a barrel 52 caliber was adopted in the 1980 year. The variant under the designation М1А2 was released in 1990 year. Like the previous version of the М1А1, it is armed with the 120-mm smooth-bore gun М256, developed by the German company Rheinmetall AG for the tank Leopard 2; in addition, an improved fire control system (LMS) was integrated and other improvements were implemented. The A2 variant has gone through a number of improvements, which have received the SEP (System Enhancement Package) designation. The newest Abrams SEP kit is the M1A2 SEPV3, the first production machines in the V3 variant were delivered in October 2017 of the year. Funding problems have limited the deployment of new versions of the tank in the US armed forces, as a result, a large number of machines in the version M1А2 remain in the army. This means that although there are Abrams options that can meet the most advanced potential threats, these machines may not be in units that have a chance to face these threats. On the first screening of the new version, the ground combat program manager said that “Abrams M1A2 SEPV3 is a big step forward in reliability, combat stability, protection and on-board power supply, which makes Abrams and our armored brigades relevant for the years ahead. Even in the face of financial constraints that impede the creation of completely new machines, Abrams M1A2 SEPV3 demonstrates that we can still carry out significant and operational improvements. ” The US Army has already initiated the development of the V4 configuration.
Developer: Kraus-Maffei-Wegmann (KMW) Rheinmetall
Country of origin: Germany
Armament: 120-mm smooth-bore Rheinmetall L / 55
Leopard 2 is one of the most common MBTs in the world. Adopted in the 80's, it was continuously upgraded and improved in response to the challenges of the battlefield through the introduction of new technologies and innovative solutions. Widespread recognition of the tank in the world was facilitated not only by these key improvements, but also by the active promotion of modifications and upgrades, which made it possible to “tune” its capabilities for different operators and geographic regions. In recent years, some customers have not missed a profitable opportunity to acquire Leopard tanks from the presence of armies of NATO countries. It was developed and proposed many options for upgrading the tank Leopard 2, including not only the company Rheinmetall, but also the industry of the countries-customers of these machines. The German Bundeswehr is fully equipped with Leopard 2A7V standard tanks. Recently, he also decided to start the implementation of the program “Improving Combat Opportunities IV” (Kampfwertsleigerung IV, KWS IV). This will allow the German army to upgrade part of its MBT fleet to the new Leopard 2A8 standard as an interim solution until the development of the new tank (Main Ground Combat System or Leopard 3) is completed. Options Leopard 2 are in service with 18 countries, another about six countries have shown interest in buying new or redundant tanks from different sources.
Developer: Nexter (formerly GIAT)
Country of origin: France
Armament: 120-mm smooth-bore CN 120-26
Deployed in 1991, the Leclerc tank brought with it a lot of innovative elements, for example, the on-board information management system, which are currently found in almost every combat vehicle. The main gun with a length of 52 caliber (while barrels with a length of 44 caliber were considered standard) provides a higher initial speed and a more flat trajectory. It also has an automatic loader and an integrated fire control system that can hit six targets in 60 seconds with an accuracy of 95%. The twin machine gun has a caliber 12,7 mm. This tank was the first among the MBT was equipped with a hydrodynamic suspension. Leslerc is currently undergoing modernization, which includes the installation of a remotely controlled weapon module, additional booking of the hull and turret, new radio stations and the IAS SCORPION. The gun of this tank allows you to fire programmable ammunition air blasting. Leslerc is also in service with the army of the UAE, which involved him in the fighting in the Yemeni conflict.
Developer: Vickers Defense Systems (currently BAE Systems)
Country of Origin: United Kingdom
Armament: 120-mm rifled L30A1
The British MBT FV 4034 Challenger 2 is the receiver of the Challenger 1, it was put into service in the 1994 year. The tank is in service with Britain and Oman. In addition to the main 120-mm rifled gun, an 7,62-mm machine gun with a chain drive L94A1 (EX-34) paired with it is installed; Both of these systems are unique to NATO countries. The use of a rifled barrel for the main gun has no analogues among modern MBT. He was chosen due to the fact that the British army focuses on the use of armor-piercing high-explosive shells with a crushable HESH headpiece (High-Explosive Squash Head), along with armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber shells. Another unique feature is that the main gun fires with projectiles and missile charges, which are fed into the chamber separately. Protection is provided by the second generation Chobham armor (known as Dorchester) with dynamic protection and grid screens, installed if necessary. The steel bottom is reinforced with armor as part of the Streetfighter modernization project.
Currently, the British Ministry of Defense is implementing the Life Extension Project. At the end of 2016, it issued contracts to a group led by Rheinmetall Landsystems and a group led by BAE Systems to provide a solution for the evaluation phase. After making a positive decision, the winner can be given a contract for mass production. The proposals include new thermal imaging and commanding sights, a modernized fire control system, new displays, systems with an open architecture, threat warning systems and situational awareness. The Ministry of Defense signed a contract with QinetiQ to evaluate active protection systems for the Challenger tank as part of its MEDUSA project.
Country of origin: Russia
Armament: 125-mm smooth-bore 2А46М
Tank T-90 is in service with the Russian army; its export modification T-90C is also widely present in the armies of other countries, including Syria and India. For example, Indian tanks T-90 "Bhishma" are manufactured under license at a factory in the state of Tamil Nadu. T-90 (original designation T-72BU) is a further development of the models T-72B and T-80U, which received significant upgrades and improvements. 125-mm gun, stabilized in two axes, firing traditional shells and guided missiles. The shots are served from the carousel loader. The rocket with a range of 4000-5000 meters has a laser beam guidance system and a cumulative warhead. The fire control system and day / night sights allow you to effectively capture targets and identify them at a distance of up to 1500 meters, even in conditions of limited visibility. Protection is provided by a combination of traditional armor and dynamic protection units, as well as the Blind-1 / 1М opto-electronic suppression system. The complex includes an infrared silencer, sensors warning of laser irradiation and grenade launchers of the smoke screen.
Country of origin: Russia
Armament: 125-mm smooth-bore 2А82-1М
Tank T-14 project "Armata" after the first show in 2015, caused a stir in the West. It includes a number of innovative elements, including a universal tracked platform, an uninhabited tower, an armored crew capsule, it is equipped with an improved main gun and additional protective subsystems. The gun can fire ammunition and guided missiles of new development. For example, the Vakuum-1 armor-piercing piercing projectile has a core of depleted uranium 900 mm in length, which can penetrate from the 2000 meters 1000 mm mm of rolled uniform armor. The main 2А82-1М can also fire a shrapnel fragmentation projectile with a remote detonation on the Telnik trajectory, in addition, it is compatible with the 9X119X1 “Invar-M” rocket of the Reflex-M rocket having a X-YUM Protection of the crew is enhanced by placing it in the center of the hull, as well as the Afganit active protection complex (KAZ), one of the components of which is a millimeter-wave radar for detecting and tracking targets. The T-5000 tank includes a radar with an active phased antenna array, multispectral sights of the commander and operator-gunner, networked sensors, and an automatic target detection system. The developer of the tank claims that its thermal sights can detect the target at a distance of 14 meters, although it is worth noting that the previous thermal imagers were of French origin.
The subsequent fate of the T-14, judging by reports from officials and other sources, is rather uncertain and it is highly likely that the number of production vehicles will be reduced. However, in this project, a number of concepts were used that were implemented on other armored combat vehicles.
Developer: Kharkov Design Bureau of Mechanical Engineering. A.A. Morozova
Country of origin: Ukraine
Armament: 125-mm smooth-bore KBA-3
Tank "Oplot" is the fruit of a great job done by specialists of the Kharkov enterprise to improve the MBT T-80. The first version appeared T-84U, which added side screens, dynamic protection "Contact-C" on the turret, auxiliary power unit, thermal sights, laser rangefinder commander, the system combining the axis of the gun with the optical axis of the sight, as well as the navigation system. Later followed the T-84 "Stronghold", and most recently the T-84M or BM. This option is equipped with a completely new welded turret (retaining the 125 mm cannon) with an automatic loader in the turret's aft niche (instead of a carousel type), isolated ammunition was organized, and an updated fire control system was installed, including search and percussion mode. Also installed passive and active armor and electronic countermeasures subsystem. The main focus was on concluding export contracts, for which a number of presentations were made that were not very successful. As part of the contract concluded with Thailand, there were constant delays in the supply of tanks, although recently it was nevertheless executed.
Country of Origin: Israel
Armament: 120-mm smooth-bore MC253 (M68)
Tank Merkava (Hebrew, chariot), designed to meet the needs of the Israeli armed forces, was put into service in the 1978 year. Mounted in front of the engine allows you to use the rear compartment for the transport of ammunition, assault or wounded. The newest version of the Merkava IV includes many new technologies, including an upgraded Knight Mark 4 optoelectronic fire control system with automatic target tracking and improved thermal imaging capabilities, as well as enhanced anti-helicopter capabilities. The tank was implemented a number of measures to reduce the thermal signature. The Merkava IV tank also features locally developed composite armor with additional modular protection. In addition to the 7,62-mm machine guns paired and mounted on the roof, the tank is also armed with an 12,7-mm machine gun mounted on the main cannon mask, and a light 60-mm mortar for setting the smoke screen is also included in the tank's weapon system. The Merkava Mk4M is equipped with an Israeli-designed KAZ Trophy with a laser and radar warning system that can intercept any approaching projectile / missile and indicate the position from which the shot was allegedly fired. The Tusayad BIS may transfer this information to other machines in order to accomplish an evasive maneuver or to fire a target.
K-2 Black Panther
Developer: Hyundai Rotem
Country of Origin: Republic of Korea
Armament: 120-mm smooth-bore Rheinmetall L / 55
Tank K-2 Black Panther was developed in South Korea, its design is optimized for operations in the mountainous terrain of this country. The tank entered service in a limited batch in 2014, with a local engine installed on these tanks. Officially, the K2 entered service in 2016, only now a power unit was installed on the tanks, consisting of the MTU 883 engine and RENK transmission produced under license. There were plans for the production of a second batch of K-2 tanks with a 1500 hp power unit. Doosan and the automatic transmission of the local company S&T Dynamics, but it turned out that the transmission did not meet the required reliability standards, which delayed further production until 2019. The tanks of the second batch will have a "hybrid" power unit, consisting of a local engine and a German RENK transmission. The K-2 tank also includes a number of unique elements, including the extended-range KSTAM overhead ammunition fired from the main cannon (a 120-caliber 55-mm cannon based on the Rheinmetall L55 cannon), a hydropneumatic suspension that allows the tank to crouch when firing, a millimeter radar connected to the fire control system, and special multi-layer composite and reactive armor. What the local businesses could not develop was manufactured under license or obtained by reverse engineering. Korea exports its defense systems with a great desire and, as a result, signed a cooperation agreement with Otokar on the use of K-2 tank technologies in the development of the Turkish Altay MBT.
Продолжение следует ...