Threats to the tank
Throughout stories development tanks as the main striking force of the ground forces (SV) there was an active development of means for their destruction. From a certain moment, the greatest threat to the tank was not the enemy tanks, but the battle aviation, primarily helicopters with anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and infantry with ATGMs and hand-held anti-tank grenade launchers (RPGs).
Anti-tank helicopter and infantry with an anti-tank missile system - the most dangerous enemies of modern tanks
Since alternatives to tanks in the ground forces have not yet been invented, the question of their protection against threats from aviation and disguised infantry has become acute. The task of protecting tanks from an air attack can be effectively carried out by mobile anti-aircraft missile systems (ZRK) or anti-aircraft cannon-rocket complexes (ZPRK), such as the Tor system, the Tunguska air defense system or the Sosna air defense system (the successor of the air defense system). "Arrow-10").
Protection of tanks from air attacks: Tor-MXNUMU air defense missile system, Tunguska-M2 air defense missile system, Sosna air defense missile system
With ground-based tank-dangerous targets, such as infantry with an ATGM and grenade launchers, everything is more complicated. To increase the survival rate of a tank, it must act in conjunction with infantry, which has an incomparably better view, and is able to quickly identify and hit tank-dangerous targets. However, if the infantry is dismounted, then the speed of movement of the tank is limited by the speed of movement of the person, which nullifies all the advantages of high mobility of armored forces. In order to provide the infantry with the ability to move at the speed of tanks, infantry fighting vehicles (infantry fighting vehicles) were developed.
Infantry fighting vehicles
The first BMP (BMP-1) was created as a new class of armored combat vehicles in the USSR and adopted by the ground forces in the 1966 year. According to the doctrine of a full-scale war with NATO, which the USSR was preparing for, the BMP-1 with the motorized infantrymen hiding in them, were to follow the tanks. Since it was believed that war would only go with the use of nuclear weapons, protection against the means of defeating the enemy in the first BMP-1 was minimal, as well as the ability to defeat the enemy. Under these conditions, the main task of the BMP-1 is to protect soldiers from the damaging factors of weapons of mass destruction (WMD).
Local conflicts, in particular the war in Afghanistan, have made their adjustments. Weak armored BMP-1 turned it into a mass grave with almost any fire impact of the enemy. Side projections made their way from large-caliber machine guns, RPGs penetrate the BMP-1 armor from any angle. The limitation of the angle of elevation of the gun in 15 degrees did not allow shelling high-placed targets. The appearance of the BMP-2 with its 30-mm rapid-fire 2-42 automatic cannon of the 30 caliber mm, with an elevation angle to 75 degrees, increased the possibility of hitting tank-dangerous targets. But the problem of weak reservation, vulnerable to the effects of anti-tank weapons, was preserved on both the BMP-2 and the BMP-3.
BMP-1, BMP-2, BMP-3
Weak booking did not allow the use of BMP on the front line along with the main battle tanks (MBT). If the tank could withstand several RPG shots, then for the BMP the very first hit meant almost guaranteed destruction. In Afghanistan, and in other subsequent conflicts, soldiers often chose to be placed on top of their armor, rather than inside the car, because it gave them a chance to survive if they exploded a mine or hit an RPG shot.
The assault force placed on the armor becomes vulnerable to any enemy weapon, and the weak armor of the BMP does not allow them to move safely in the same ranks with the tanks, which again brings us back to the need to ensure the defense of tanks from tank-dangerous targets.
Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicles
Another solution was the creation of heavy infantry fighting vehicles (TBMP), usually created on the basis of the main tanks. One of the first to develop and adopt a TBMP was Israel, which, due to the specifics of its geographical location, is in a state of almost continuous war of varying degrees of intensity. The need to conduct combat operations in areas with dense buildings, where the threat from enemy infantry with RPGs is maximum, forced the Israeli armed forces (SC) to take measures to protect military personnel. One of the solutions was a small amphibious bay in the main Israeli tank Merkava, but this was a partial decision, since the tank does not provide any comfortable accommodation for infantrymen.
Dismounting of soldiers from the tank "Merkava" through the stern ramp
Another solution was the creation of TBBM on the basis of the Soviet T-54 / 55 tank. A significant number of T-54 \ 55 tanks were captured by Israel during the Six-Day War in 1967. As the main battle tank, these machines were already of little effectiveness; nevertheless, their armor protection exceeded the armored defense of the BMP, which are in service with all the armies of the world.
On the basis of T-54 / 55 was established TBMP "Ahzarit." The turret was removed from the tank, the engine and transmission compartment was replaced, reducing its size, which made it possible to ensure the exit of the landing force through the stern ramp. The mass of T-55 is 36 tons, without the tower 27 tons. After equipping the case with overlaid elements of steel with carbon fibers and the Blazer dynamic protection kit, the weight of the TBMP Akhzarit was 44 tons.
The subsequent use of Akhzarit TBMP in limited conflicts confirmed the high survivability of this type of armored vehicles. The positive experience of creating the Akhzarit TBMP led to the development of the Namer TBMP (sometimes classified as a heavy armored personnel carrier) based on the Israeli main tank Merkava, with improved tactical and technical characteristics.
TBMP "Ahzarit" and TBMP "Timer"
Subsequently, the idea of TBMP was repeatedly returned to other countries of the world, including Ukraine, where they developed several models of TBMP based on Soviet tanks, and in Russia where the BTR-T heavy armored personnel carrier was developed based on the T-55 tank.
Ukrainian BMPV-64 and Russian BTR-T
The most modern representative of heavy infantry fighting vehicles can be considered as the Russian TBMP T-15 on the basis of the Armata platform, which implements the latest layout achievements and design solutions that ensure the safety of the crew and landing force. For installation on the T-15 TBMP, weapons modules are considered with both the 30-mm cannon and the 57-mm cannon. The presence in the ammunition ammunition shells with a remote undermining of the trajectory will provide high opportunities for the defeat of tank-dangerous manpower. In addition, the 57-mm projectile, developed for this gun, will allow you to effectively deal with airborne targets.
The only known disadvantage of TB-15 TBMP at the moment can be considered its high cost, like all machines based on the Armata platform, which will certainly affect the volumes of equipment supplied to the troops. However, given the high coefficient of technical novelty embedded in the Armata platform machines, the experience of actual operation can reveal other design flaws.
TBMP T-15 with the uninhabited “Boomerang-BM” combat module with an automatic 30 caliber mm gun and with an uninhabited “AU200M Baikal” module with an automatic 57 caliber mm gun
Tank support fighting vehicles
In addition to the creation of a heavy infantry fighting vehicle, in Russia, the Uralvagonzavod corporation (UVZ) developed another machine to fight the enemy’s tank-dangerous manpower - the tank support combat vehicle (BMPT) "Terminator" (sometimes referred to as BMIP, the fire support fighting vehicle).
The main difference between a heavy infantry fighting vehicle and a tank support fighting vehicle is that the crew of the latter does not dismount and defeats tank-dangerous targets with weapons of BMPT. In the first sample BMPT presented in 2002 year, it was running one 30-mm gun 2A42 with machine gun 7,62 PKTM coaxial and four anti-tank launchers "Cornet" in nadgusenichnyh shelves installed 2 30-mm grenade launcher AGS-17D.
The crew of the first generation BMPT was five people, of which two crew members were required to work with grenade launchers. Later, the weapons module was changed; two 30-mm 2А42 guns, a 7,62 mm PKT machine gun and four Ataka-T ATGMs were installed. As a basis for BMPT, the hull and chassis of the T-90A tank were initially provided with the “Relict” dynamic protection optionally installed.
BMPT "Terminator" of the first generation
The first-generation BMPT Terminator did not arouse interest in the ground forces of the Russian Federation, a small number of the Terminator BMPT (about 10 units) were ordered by the Ministry of Defense (MO) of Kazakhstan.
Based on the solutions tested on the first-generation car, the UVZ developed the second-generation BMPT “Terminator-2”. Unlike the first vehicle, presumably to reduce the cost of the product, the T-72 tank was chosen as a platform. The missiles were sheltered in armored casings, increasing their survivability under enemy fire, the installation of automatic grenade launchers was abandoned, as a result of which the crew was reduced to three people. In general, the concept and layout of the BMPT "Terminator-2" is comparable to that of the first car.
How effectively can BMPT carry out tasks for combating tank-dangerous targets? To understand this, let's briefly digress from armored vehicles.
OODA / NORD John Boyd cycle
OODA cycle: Observe, Orient, Decide, Act (NORD: observation, orientation, decision, action) - a concept developed for the US Army by former Air Force pilot John Boyd in 1995, also known as the “Boyd loop”. Observation is the acquisition, collection, study, reflection of the situation data, orientation is the analysis and assessment of the situation data, the decision is the decision-making on the operation, its planning and task setting to the troops, the action is the direct leadership and the actual actions of the troops when they perform combat tasks.
Sequence of cycles NORD
In justifying the concept of the NORD cycle, John Boyd used three main scientific theorems:
- Godel's incompleteness theorem: any logical model of reality is incomplete (and possibly not consistent) and should be continuously improved (adapted) taking into account new observations;
- Heisenberg uncertainty principle: there is a limit to our ability to observe reality with a certain accuracy;
- the second law of thermodynamics: the entropy (chaos) of any closed system always tends to increase, therefore, the nature of any given system changes continuously, even if you take measures to preserve it in its original state.
It is on the basis of these considerations that John Boyd concluded that in order to conform to reality it is necessary to carry out actions in a continuous cycle, in interaction with the environment, taking into account its constant changes.
There are two main ways to achieve competitive advantages: the first way is to quantify your action cycles faster, this will force your opponent to respond to your actions, the second way is to improve the quality of your decisions, that is, to make decisions that are more relevant to the current situation than the decisions of your opponent.
The NORD series of John Boyd is quite versatile and can be adapted to many areas of human activity.
The most well-known cyclic models based on the cycle of NORD John Boyd
In relation to the resistance of the tank and tank-dangerous manpower, the classic NORD loop can be considered. The same subtasks are performed for interacting, within the framework of the task of mutual destruction, tank and anti-tank calculation (rocket launcher / ATGM operator) - target detection (observation), formulation of its destruction / non-destruction scenario (orientation), choice of the optimal scenario (solution) and its execution (action).
For a grenade launcher, it may look like this - detecting a tank (observation), forming scenarios - firing immediately / letting the tank closer / skip the tank and firing at the stern (orientation), choosing the best option - shooting at the stern (solution) and directly attacking (acting) . For a tank, everything is the same.
Why does tank-dangerous living force pose a significant threat to a tank, especially in rugged terrain and in urban areas, as the conflicts in Afghanistan and Chechnya have shown? With regard to the NORD cycle, anti-tank calculation will have an advantage in the “observation” phase, since a tank is a significantly more noticeable target than a soldier with a grenade launcher disguised, and in relation to the close range, the infantryman has an advantage in the “action” phase, since pointing and shooting from A grenade launcher can be carried out much faster than turning the turret and aiming a tank gun. The greater amount of information that the infantryman who has a better overview gets allows you to improve the quality of decision making in the “orientation” and “decision” phases, that is, to increase the efficiency of the cycle.
What does this mean for BMPT? Intelligence equipment - BMPT observation devices are similar to those installed on the T-90 type MBT, therefore, there are no advantages in the “observation” phase of the BMPT compared to a tank, which means there are no advantages in the “orientation” and “solution” phases.
As for the “action” phase, there is no definite answer. The turning speed of the turret of the T-90 tank is 40 degrees per second. I did not manage to find the turnaround speed of the BMPT “Terminator” tower, but it can be assumed that given the fact that the commander and gunner of the BMPT are located in the tower, its turn speed cannot be significantly increased, since the crew will negatively act on the centrifugal force rotation.
In this case, practically everything that a BMPT can do in the framework of solving the task of destroying tank-dangerous manpower can be carried out by the tank itself. The defeat of anti-tank calculations can be effectively carried out by fragmentation-beam shells of the “Telnik” type 3BOFXNNXX. Depending on the entered installation, the projectile can carry out a trajectory gap on approaching the target (at a pre-empt point) with a target hit with an axial flow of ready-made attack elements (GGE), a trajectory break over the target, with a target hit with a circular field of shell fragments, a shock ground break with installation on instant (fragmentation) action, impact ground break with installation on high-explosive fragmentation action (small deceleration), impact ground break with installation on penetrating-high explosive action (large deceleration). The only thing that a tank cannot do compared to BMPT is to hit targets on elevations due to the limitations of the angle of raising of the gun.
Tank fragment-beam projectile 3VOF128 "telnik"
Information about the development of the Terminator-3 BMPT based on the Armata platform with an unmanned module and an automatic 57 caliber mm gun circulates in the open press. In discussions about the need to move the armed forces to the caliber 57 mm, many copies have already been broken. It cannot be denied that there are certain problems with the defeat of the enemy's lightly armored equipment “head-on” with 30 mm caliber shells, and the presence of an ATGM combat vehicle, including 125 / 100 mm fired from the barrel, does not solve the problem due to the possibility of intercepting the last complexes of active protection (KAZ) of the enemy. To intercept a high-speed armor-piercing feathered sabot projectile - BOPS caliber 125 mm, or the queue BOPS caliber 57 mm KAZ will be much more difficult. However, the potential of 30 mm shells is also far from exhausted, as evidenced by promising developments appearing in the arms market.
30-mm BOPS M929 APFSDS-T of the Belgian company Mecar
Returning to the task of defeating tank-dangerous manpower, it can be assumed that it can be approximately equally effectively solved with automatic guns of the 30 caliber mm and with automatic guns of the 57 mm caliber, provided there are shells in the ammunition with a remote undermining on the trajectory. As mentioned earlier, for the advanced TBMP, two variants of unmanned combat modules were developed / are being developed, both with 30-mm and with 57-mm automatic guns. In this context, it is not at all clear why we need a separate Terminator-3 BMPT, if there is a TBMP capable of both supporting the MBT with an 30-mm / 57-mm automatic cannon and delivering the infantry to the front line.
Combat unskilled combat modules with guns caliber 30-mm and 57-mm for TBMP T-15
Finally, we must not forget about another option, which was considered in the article 30-mm automatic guns: sunset or a new stage of development? - the creation of compact remote-controlled weapons modules with a gun caliber 30 mm for placement on the MBT instead of the 12,7-mm machine gun. This will allow the MBT to independently hit highly located tank-dangerous targets in the entire range of angles, reducing its dependence on the support of the TBMP / BMPT.
Proceeding from the John Boyd OODA cycle, it should be noted: neither the installation of a module with an 30-mm automatic gun, nor the support of a TBMP / BMPT tank will help to fully solve the problem of a significant increase in MBT protection from tank-dangerous manpower. This will require new solutions in terms of building weapons modules, raising the situational awareness of the tank crew, and automation solutions, which we will discuss in the next article.