The T-17 Multifunctional Missile Tank (MFRT) is a concept designed to consider the feasibility of creating this type of weapon. The heavy infantry fighting vehicle (TBMP) T-15 is supposed to be used as the MRFT chassis. The main reason for this decision is the presence in the T-15 of a large compartment for the transport of troops, which will house missile weapons.
One of the main differences between MFRT and existing self-propelled anti-tank missile systems is in the presence of powerful armor, which provides a combat vehicle with the ability to work in close combat conditions - in direct contact with enemy forces.
Article “Protection of ground combat equipment. Reinforced frontal or evenly distributed armor protection? " We considered the advantages and disadvantages of ground combat vehicles with a classic booking scheme, as well as combat vehicles with evenly distributed armor. All the arguments and objections discussed in this article fully apply to the MFRT, including the formulated conclusion:
It is possible that the creation of two types of armored vehicles will be the optimal solution: with a classic reservation scheme, with the most protected frontal part, and with uniformly distributed armor protection. The former will be used mainly on flat terrain, and the latter in mountainous-wooded areas and during battles in settlements. In this case, the optimal booking scheme or the optimal ratio of armored vehicles of both types will help to identify the practice.
That is, the best option could be the release of two versions of the MRI - with a reinforced frontal and with evenly distributed armor.
We take the T-15 as a platform, so the engine located in the front of the combat vehicle will provide additional protection in any case.
As in tank T-14, the MRFT crew should be housed in an armored capsule that isolates it from ammunition and provides additional protection in the event of a combat vehicle being hit.
Armored capsule of the crew of the T-14 tank
Weapon compartment and ammunition dimensions
There is no information on the exact dimensions of the TBMP T-15 assault compartment in the open press, but it can be indirectly determined based on the available images, for example, knowing the length of the Kornet anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), which in the transport and launch container (TPK) is about 1200mm, and using the available troop compartment configuration images.
TBMP T-15 has an impressive troop compartment that can comfortably accommodate nine infantry in full combat gear
The dimensions of the TBMP troop compartment, reconfigurable into the MfRT T-17 weapons compartment, can be roughly determined based on the dimensions of the Kornet ATGM
Based on the above, taking into account the dismantling of the seats and life support systems, the dimensions of the weapons compartment will be (length * width * height) from 2800 * 1800 * 1200 to 3200 * 2000 * 1500 mm. This immediately limits the maximum length of MPRT ammunition in a container with a length of about 2700-3000 mm. In the future, for simplicity, we will consider the length of the TPK equal to 3000 mm.
The volume of ammunition will be determined by the maximum permissible diameter of the TPK, which should be about 170-190 mm. Initially, we consider 170 mm for the formation of ammunition. The estimated maximum mass of ammunition in the TPK should be in the range of 100-150 kilograms.
The upper and lower parts of the TPK should contain fasteners used to capture the TPK by ammunition supply systems and a launcher (PU). Taking into account the significant dimensions and mass of ammunition, these must be large enough units that can withstand significant loads that will occur when ammunition is quickly moved in the TPK when they are removed from the weapons compartment and placed on the launcher, as well as the launcher is aimed at the target. Presumably, the mount should include several shells rigidly connected to the slots for the gripper locks.
Transport and launch container with attachments
Depending on the final selected dimensions of the TPK, the actual dimensions of the weapons compartment, as well as the type of ammunition storage and supply system used (drum or in-line), the ammunition load can include from 24 to 40 standard-size ammunition. With the mass of one ammunition 100-150 kg, the mass of the entire ammunition load will be 2,4-6 tons.
It should be borne in mind that some ammunition can be placed in several units in a container, as it is implemented in the case of small-sized missiles for the Pantsir-SM air defense missile system, or in the format of reduced-size ammunition - these are ammunition, the length of which will be slightly less than half the maximum length of the standard ammunition. For example, as mentioned earlier, the length of the Kornet ATGM TPK is approximately 1200 mm, respectively, most of the MfRT ammunition will be ammunition of reduced dimensions, about 1350-1450 mm long, which will allow them to be placed in two units instead of one standard ammunition.
The use of ammunition with a TPK length half the length of a standard TPK, as well as ammunition packing, will significantly increase the volume of the MfRT ammunition
Ammunition storage and supply system
As we have already seen in the image above, the placement of ammunition in the weapons bay of the MPRT can be organized in two ways: using drum sets and in-line placement with a linear feed. Presumably a linear feed will allow for the placement of a larger number of ammunition, but the ability to simultaneously use different types of ammunition will be limited by the number of vertical rows. That is, if we have five vertical rows for storage, then we can have ten types of ammunition in the ammunition - four available types on the right and left, not counting half-length ammunition, the presence of which doubles the number of types of ammunition in each row.
Row placement with linear feed, each color is a possible type of ammunition - cumulative, high-explosive fragmentation, anti-aircraft, etc.
The use of drum mounts allows even more flexible configuration of the ammunition load, but allows the placement of a smaller ammunition load in the same dimensions of the weapons compartment.
The final choice of the ammunition placement system should be carried out at the development stage.
A large number of different kinematic schemes can be considered for supplying ammunition. Within the framework of this article, two supply schemes are considered for the in-line placement of ammunition: with ammunition fastening at the top point (in a suspended state) and with fastening at the bottom point. The capture of ammunition must be carried out by electromechanical fasteners (opening of the capture at the moment of power supply).
The ammunition feeders are essentially Cartesian robots. Presumably, they should use linear actuators (rod actuators) with a movement speed of 1-2 m / s.
In the variant with the suspension of ammunition, two three-axis Cartesian robots are required to supply ammunition to the capture line of the launcher (the third axis is a carriage moving along the second axis).
In the variant with the lower placement of ammunition along each row of ammunition, there should be a mechanism for removing the ammunition from the row to the center of the compartment, and two separate lifting mechanisms with a movable carriage. The horizontal mechanism captures the ammunition and transfers it to the elevator, which brings it to the grip line of the launcher.
As mentioned above, these are just a few options for the ammunition supply schemes; the choice of the optimal option should be carried out at the development stage.
The loading of ammunition should be carried out through the launcher, by the reverse feed method, or using a crane of the transport-loading machine (TZM), which ensures the movement of ammunition from the TZM without using the MfRT launcher.
When placing ammunition, an intelligent logistics system (ILS) must be used. Before loading the ammunition, the commander of the MfRT enters its nomenclature into the on-board computer. All ammunition must be marked with bar / QR codes at several points of the TPK, RFID identifiers can also be used additionally. Knowing the nomenclature of ammunition, the intelligent logistics system automatically distributes the ammunition among the rows in such a way as to ensure the fastest possible delivery of the highest priority ammunition, which is necessary to repel sudden threats, i.e. places them closer to the launcher window. While lower priority ammunition is placed further from the launcher, in order of priority. Of course, there should be a possibility of "manual" placement of ammunition and standard schemes for typical ammunition.
With a row placement of ammunition, to accelerate the supply of ammunition to the launcher, the ILS moves the unspent ammunition closer to the center of the weapons compartment.
The launcher is supposed to be located to the left of the ammunition supply window (as seen from the rear of the combat vehicle). To the right of the ammunition supply window is an armored flap / cover that automatically closes the weapons compartment from being hit from above. At a linear actuator operating speed of 1-2 m / s, the opening / closing of the ammunition supply flap should occur in 0,2-0,4 seconds.
The main requirements for the launcher are to provide high turning speeds, at 180 degrees per second, and the protection of the structure from small arms fire weapons and fragments of exploding shells at a level not less than that of the barrels of tank guns. This can be achieved by using powerful high-speed servo drives similar to those used in modern industrial robots, redundant power and control cables, protection using modern materials - armored ceramics, kevlar, etc...
An image of the launcher on MRI based on the image of "Products-149", the conceptual predecessor of the T-15 (used because of the similarity with the platform in question and the presence of an image in three projections)
The mass of the launcher can be estimated based on the mass of an industrial robot with a similar carrying capacity. In particular, the KUKA KR-240-R3330-F, with a rated load capacity of 240 kg, has a dead weight of 2400 kg. On the one hand, on the launcher, we need high speeds of movement, the reservation of important nodes will be added, on the other hand, we do not need six axles and the removal of cargo by 3,3 meters, the kinematics will be much easier. Thus, it can be assumed that the mass of the launcher will not exceed 3-3,5 tons.
Characteristics of the industrial robot KUKA KR-240-R3330-F
From above and from the sides, the ammunition on the launcher should be covered with protective elements. A similar solution is used on the Kornet anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) launchers in the Epoch-type weapon modules. To reduce the likelihood of hitting ammunition, the launcher should be in the lowest possible position at all times, excluding the moment of aiming at the target and firing a shot. In this case, armor elements can be installed along the perimeter of the launcher, additionally covering the ammunition on the launcher from the sides.
Additional armor elements around the launcher, protecting it and ammunition from the sides in the lower position
Additional PU protection will be provided by the elements of the active protection complex (KAZ) and the auxiliary weapon module.
Three algorithms for supplying MfRT ammunition can be implemented:
1. Ammunition is on the racks, if the target needs to be attacked, a full cycle of ammunition supply "from the shelf" to the launcher takes place, the launcher is raised and guided to the target. Taking into account the declared speeds of the servos, overcome when moving the ammunition distances and parallelizing processes (at the same time, ammunition is fed, the launcher is lowered and the cover of the weapon compartment is opened), the estimated time for supplying ammunition until the moment of firing will be about four seconds.
2. The two selected ammunition is on the feed system directly under the armored flap covering the weapons bay, the launcher is in the lower position. In this case, the time of supply of ammunition until the moment of firing will be about three seconds.
3. The two selected ammunition is on the launcher in the down position. The time for aiming the ammunition until the moment of firing will be about one second.
The reload time can be approximately doubled by returning unused ammunition to its place to change the type of ammunition.
As with main battle tanks (MBT), auxiliary weapons should be installed on the MRT. The best solution would be to create a remotely controlled weapons module (DUMV) with a 30 mm automatic cannon. As we covered in the article "30-mm automatic cannons: decline or a new stage of development?", such modules can be created in a fairly compact size.
Automatic cannon M230LF caliber 30 mm on an armored car, ground-based remote-controlled robotic complex and on a stationary turret with manual guidance
If the gun is with selective ammunition, from two shell boxes, as is implemented on the domestic 30-mm automatic cannons 2A42 and 2A72, then this will allow you to choose, if necessary, armor-piercing feathered subcaliber projectiles (BOPS) or high-explosive fragmentation ammunition (HE) with remote detonation ...
30-mm automatic cannon with selective ammunition feed 2A42 in the bow turret of the Mi-28N combat helicopter
In the event that it is not possible to implement a DUMV with an automatic cannon of 30 mm caliber, or such a module will have limited ammunition, an acceptable solution is to install a DUMV with a 12,7 mm heavy machine gun.
Examples of the formation of ammunition
Article "Unification of ammunition for self-propelled anti-tank systems, military air defense systems, combat helicopters and UAVs" we examined the possibility and methods of creating unified ammunition for various types of carriers, including a rocket tank. One of the most important advantages of unification is the ability to develop and manufacture ammunition by several manufacturers, which not only increases competition, but also reduces the risk that the required ammunition will not be in service. With regard to the missile tank, the creation of a line of unified ammunition will allow you to get a combat vehicle with unprecedented functionality.
Let's consider several examples of the formation of ammunition for the MRF. Based on the maximum assumed values of the number of standard-length ammunition from 24 to 40 units, we will choose the average value of 32 standard ammunition located in the weapons compartment. Not forgetting the half-length ammunition, which can be stowed two at a time in place of one standard ammunition, and the stacked ammunition, which can be placed three-at a time in both standard ammunition and half-length ammunition.
Military conflict in Syria
In Syria, the main task of the MFRT will be direct fire support for ground forces. At the same time, there is a likelihood of a clash with the armed forces of Turkey or the United States, which may require the solution of tasks to destroy modern military equipment. Based on this, the MfRT ammunition in Syria may look like this:
Military conflict in Georgia
Speaking about the military conflict in Georgia, we mean the war on 08.08.08. On the one hand, the enemy did not have the latest models of armored vehicles, on the other hand, there were relatively modern modernized samples of Soviet equipment, army aviation and UAV.
Military conflict in Poland
A hypothetical limited conflict of the Armed Forces (AF) of the Russian Federation against the Armed Forces of Poland and the United States. There are modern ground and air combat equipment on the battlefield.
An example of the formation of an MFRT ammunition for a limited conflict with the armed forces of Poland and the United States
Placement of ammunition in the MRF for a limited conflict with the armed forces of Poland and the United States
Speaking about the MfRT ammunition, we can say that many types of ammunition from the previously considered nomenclature are not needed for the tank, because the tank is a melee weapon. This is so, and weapons for close combat are present in the presented nomenclature. But if we are talking about the unification of missile weapons for ground forces, then why should a tank be deprived of a "long arm"? Moreover, a variety of situations arise on the battlefield, somewhere in the desert or in the mountains a distance of 10-15 km can be quite real (for example, when fighting from a dominant height).
The range of ammunition that can be created and loaded into the MfRT ammunition shows the highest flexibility in the use of this type of weapon, combined with the maximum survivability provided by tank armor and active protection systems.
Initially, the MfRT project was planned to be considered on the basis of electrically powered platforms, capable of providing a promising combat vehicle with increased stealth capabilities, maneuverability and power supply promising self-defense complexes... It was also planned to consider the use of advanced intelligence systems in MRF, significantly increasing the situational awareness of the crewincluding application integrated unmanned systems.
However, later, it was decided to first of all consider the option of creating an MFRT based on the TBMP T-15 platform, since it will be possible to create platforms with electric propulsion, defensive lasers and other high-tech solutions in twenty years, and the MfRT project based on the TBMP T-15 can be implemented within 5-7 years old.
Once again, we highlight the key requirements for MRF:
- the presence of tank armor. Without it, the MfRT is simply an oversized SPTRK that absolutely does not need melee ammunition;
- the presence of high-speed drives for ammunition supply and guidance - without them, the MfRT will not have the advantages in the speed of reaction to threats that it can have over cannon tanks with their bulky and massive turret with a gun;
- the presence in the ammunition of unguided close-range ammunition with high-explosive fragmentation and thermobaric warheads, developed on the basis of the NAR, and capable of replacing cheap HE shells when solving the most demanded tasks of direct fire support.
The main advantage of the MfRT over the MBT of the classic layout will be its highest versatility, provided by the use of a unified ammunition, ammunition for which can be developed by a large number of Russian companies. In turn, unified ammunition for MFRT can be used by self-propelled ATGMs, military air defense systems, combat helicopters and UAVs, which allows significantly expanding the serial production of their production, and therefore reducing the cost.
The MFRT project is all the more important because the Russian Federation has a significant lag both in the development of tank guns (in terms of resource) and in the creation of ammunition for them. In turn, after the creation of the MFRT and ammunition for it, the caliber of the guns of the tanks of a potential enemy will no longer have any value. The dimensions of ammunition for MFRT are obviously larger than any projectile that can even theoretically be shoved into a tank, which means it will have more explosives, more fragments, a larger cumulative funnel diameter, and there is where to put the KAZ breakthrough means.
Upgrading MFR ammunition is easier than cannon ammunition because they are not limited by the maximum barrel pressure. It is easier to adapt the MFRT to the changing conditions on the battlefield: the enemy installed a KAZ - ammunition with a set of means for overcoming it is being developed for the MFRT, the enemy switched to light tanks - heavy ATGM and unguided projectiles from the ammunition load are excluded in favor of increasing the ammunition load by equipping it with reduced ammunition.
Does this mean that the MBT with a gun should be abandoned? Not at all. The question is in the ratio of MBT / MPRT, which can only be determined experimentally. According to the author, if the above requirements for MRI are met, the optimal ratio will be 1/3 in favor of MRI.
Due to the high reaction speed of the MRF and the presence of powerful high-explosive fragmentation and thermobaric ammunition in the ammunition, it will have significantly greater capabilities to defeat tank-hazardous targets. Nevertheless, no matter how effective the MRF is in solving various problems, it may need to be accompanied in the form of a tank support combat vehicle (BMPT). However, as we discussed in the article "Fire support of tanks, BMPT" Terminator "and John Boyd's OODA cycle", the existing BMPTs do not have any advantages over the same heavy BMP T-15 or the reinforcement of the auxiliary weapons modules of the tanks themselves.
In the next article, we will consider the concept of an BMPT, capable of significantly increasing the protection of tanks operating in a battlefield saturated with anti-tank weapons with difficult terrain.