In the previous article, we examined the concept multifunctional missile tank (MFRT), capable of supplementing, and in many ways replacing the existing main combat Tanks (MBT). The estimated nomenclature of ammunition for MRI will allow him to effectively fight not only against enemy armored vehicles, but also against a wide range of targets of a different type.
The presence of various types of anti-aircraft guided missiles in the ammunition will allow MFRT to fight air targets flying at speeds of up to 1000 meters per second, at altitudes of about 5-10 kilometers, at a distance of about 10-15 kilometers.
MFRT can completely replace the advanced anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM) "Strela-10M" and "Sosna", partially anti-aircraft missile-gun systems (ZRPK) "Tunguska"
The presence of guided and unguided ammunition with a high-explosive fragmentation (HE) warhead (CU) with the possibility of remote detonation and a thermobaric warhead in combination with a high turn rate and large guidance angles of the launcher will provide a high probability of hitting manpower - both openly located and located in shelters.
However, MFRT also needs support, and this is why it is.
One of the key disadvantages of armored vehicles is the poor visibility of the crews. It turns out a situation when, on the one hand, the dimensions and noise of armored vehicles make it possible to detect them at a considerable distance, and on the other hand, the ability of the infantry to camouflage makes it difficult for the crews of armored vehicles to detect them. In combination, these two factors often allow the infantry to strike first at armored vehicles.
The tank support combat vehicle (BMPT) should primarily be designed to increase the protection of existing OTB from the enemy's tank-hazardous manpower, since the MBT is able to cope with armored vehicles on its own, and it is protected from air threats by air defense missile systems / air defense systems.
As we covered in the article Fire support tanks, BMPT "Terminator" and the cycle of OODA John Boyd, BMPT "Terminator" do not have any significant advantages either in the detection or destruction of tank-hazardous manpower. Their means of detection are similar to those used on the MBT, the targeting speed of the weapons of the BMPT "Terminator" is also similar to those of the MBT weapons.
BMPT "Terminator" has no significant advantages in protecting MBT from tank-hazardous manpower
Of the advantages of BMPTs, only large elevation angles of weapons can be noted, which make it possible to fire at tank-hazardous targets on the upper floors of buildings and on the slopes of mountains, but this advantage is also available in conventional infantry fighting vehicles (BMP), including heavy infantry fighting vehicles (TBMP), capable of not only act in the same formation with tanks, but also transport an infantry squad.
TBMP T-15 is not inferior, but with a 57-mm cannon and surpasses the BMPT "Terminator" in firepower and security
Moreover, reducing the size of remotely controlled weapons modules (DUMV) allows you to create relatively compact DUMV equipped with a 30 mm cannon, which can be placed on MBT instead of a 12,7 mm machine gun.
Equipping the MBT with an auxiliary 30 mm cannon will increase its firepower, save the main ammunition, but will not solve the problem with tank hazardous manpower
To improve the protection of armored vehicles from tank-hazardous manpower, a comprehensive breakthrough is required in terms of creating integrated target detection systems, including multispectral sensors, intelligent systems for preliminary image analysis based on neural networks, highly efficient display facilities, and crew-vehicle interaction interfaces. These issues were considered by the author in articles Increased situational awareness of armored combat vehicle crews и Ergonomics of workplaces and combat algorithms for promising armored vehicles.
In addition, it is necessary to radically increase the reaction rate of armored vehicles weapons to the threat, which can be achieved both by installing high-speed guidance drives and weapons on new physical principles, which was considered in the article Armored vehicles against infantry. Who is faster: a tank or infantry?.
Of course, equipping MBT and MRT with such complexes would allow them to operate without the support of specialized BMPTs, but how realistic is their creation in the near future?
The realization that the development of overly advanced promising systems could be delayed led to the refusal to consider the concept of MRF based on electrically powered platforms, as well as to abandon the use of laser weapons and small-sized unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) escort... The use of the above-mentioned integrated target detection systems was not considered either.
It can be assumed that at the current level of creation of technical vision systems and intelligent algorithms for searching and analyzing targets in Russia, and possibly in the world, it is impossible to create an adequate replacement for human eyes and the ability of a person to analyze, search and recognize targets, make a decision to open fire ... Perhaps something comparable can be created in the next 20-30 years on the basis of advanced neural networks or quantum computers. At the same time, the task of increasing the survivability of armored vehicles in a city is already now.
The emphasis in the concept of MFR is made on existing technologies, which makes it possible to implement this machine already now. But such an MFRT needs protection from tank-hazardous manpower, and this requires a specialized BMPT.
Until promising image search and analysis systems are created that can automatically detect tank-hazardous manpower and direct weapons at it, there is only one reliable solution to this problem - human eyes. On the existing BMPT "Terminator" the number of crew members and observation devices is similar to that of the MBT, as a result of which the possibilities of detecting tank hazardous manpower in the MBT and BMPT are comparable. Although the first sample of the BMPT "Terminator" was attended by two more crew members firing from two 30-mm course grenade launchers, their ability to detect targets was extremely limited, so they could hardly change the situation with the search for targets, and in the future from the installation course grenade launchers on BMPT "Terminator" refused.
Therefore, it is proposed to increase the capabilities of the conventional BMPT T-18 by increasing the number of crew members, a corresponding increase in the number of observation devices and remotely controlled weapon modules.
In fact, the BMPT will be a TBMP with an unhurried infantry squad, equipped with observation equipment and weapons modules that allow them to fire "from under the armor."
How will it look in practice?
The upper panel of the BMPT should include four seats with interfaces for connecting various types of DUMV. The placement of seats should ensure that the armament barrels of the DUMV do not intersect, as well as the minimum influence of the DUMV on each other in terms of overlapping the firing sectors. As with unification of ammunition for MRI, seats and interfaces for connecting DUMV for BMPT T-18 should be unified. This will ensure competition between manufacturers and the possibility of effective subsequent modernization of BMPT. In addition, the possibility of optional installation of DUMV will allow configuring the armament of the BMPT T-18 based on the nature of the terrain and the alleged enemies.
One of the main criteria for promising DUMV should be an increase in the speed of turning and targeting weapons, up to 90-180 degrees per second in the transfer mode.
In DUMV, installed on BMPT T-18, the following types of weapons can be used:
- ATGM "Kornet" or a promising ammunition for MFRT;
- gun 2A42 caliber 30 mm;
- gun 2A72 caliber 30 mm;
- machine gun KPVT caliber 14,5 mm;
- machine gun "Kord" caliber 12,7 mm;
- machine gun "Pecheneg" caliber 7,62 mm;
- automatic grenade launcher of 30 mm caliber.
The list of possible types of weapons deployed on the BMPT T-18 is preliminary and not exhaustive. Also, some types of weapons can be combined into one module, for example, a 30-mm cannon can be combined with the Kornet launcher, and a 7,62-mm machine gun with a 30-mm grenade launcher. Ultimately, the choice of one or another DUMV will depend on its weight and size characteristics and compatibility with other modules, as well as on the nature of the terrain and the type of enemy.
Variants of placement of DUMV seats on BMPT T-18 and approximate sweeping radii for machine guns of 7,62 mm, 12,7 mm and 30 mm cannons
As can be seen from the above image, the armament composition of the BMPT T-15 can include one DUMV with a 30 mm cannon and three DUMV with smaller caliber weapons, for example:
- DUMV 1 - 30 mm cannon + two Kornet ATGM (two promising ammunition for MfRT);
- DUMV 2 - 12,7 mm machine gun;
- DUMV 3 - 7,62 mm machine gun + 30 mm automatic grenade launcher;
- DUMV 4 - 7,62 mm machine gun + 30 mm automatic grenade launcher.
Variants of DUMV placement on BMPT T-18 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 its images in three projections)
In some cases, overlapping of the DUMV firing sectors may occur. To exclude the possibility of damage to one DUMV by firing from another DUMV in the intersection zones, shooting should be blocked automatically.
Examples of overlapping DUMV shelling sectors
When firing at targets located on a hill, all DUMVs will be able to work most of the time without restrictions, due to exceeding the firing trajectory over neighboring DUMVs.
With an increase in the elevation angles of the barrels of weapons, the overlap of the DUMV firing sectors ceases
Moreover, in any case, most of the time several DUMVs (at least two) will be able to simultaneously work in one direction.
In most cases, 2-3 DUMV will be able to work in one direction
The fighters carrying out the guidance of the DUMV should be placed in the troop compartment, which will be inherited by the BMPT T-18 from the heavy BMP T-15. Depending on the size of the workplaces, the crew of the BMPT T-18 will be six (2 + 4) or ten (2 + 8) people.
Airborne compartment TBMP T-15
The first two are the commander with a driver, the other four are the DUMV operators. Why do we need four more crew members in the "2 + 8" variant? They can serve as a "second number" for operators of the DUMV. Obtaining an image from several observation devices of a panoramic view, they must look for potential targets, pointing them on the touch pad, after which the targets are highlighted with a frame on the screen of the DUMV operators. Thus, the "second numbers" perform only the "search" function, while the operators perform the "search and destroy" function. However, the "2 + 8" option is unlikely to be implemented due to the lack of space in the compartment of the BMPT T-18. And even if there is a place, then, most likely, it is better to use it to place spare ammunition for the DUMV.
The driver's function is clear: the commander carries out general coordination, determines the direction of movement of the BMPT and can take over control of one or more DUMV at any time.
As in the case of MfRT, on the BMPT T-18 can be considered both the use of "classic" armor, with powerful frontal armor, and evenly distributed armor protection. Moreover, unlike MBT and MFRT, where the advisability of weakening the frontal armor can be left in doubt, the nature of the targets hit by the BMPT T-18, tilts the scales rather in favor of evenly distributed body armor.
BMPT T-18 can be implemented with reinforced frontal or evenly distributed armor protection
Like on MBT or MfRT, an active protection complex (KAZ) can be installed on the BMPT T-18. It is believed that the KAZ "Afghanit", installed on combat vehicles of the "Armata" family, has the ability to control a standard DUMV with a 7,62 mm machine gun to destroy incoming ammunition. Coupling the KAZ "Afghanit" with four DUMV BMPT T-18 will significantly increase the likelihood of destroying some types of attacking ammunition at a considerable distance from the attacked combat vehicles.
In addition, the pairing of the KAZ MBT T-14 or MfRT with the KAZ BMPT T-18 will allow the latter to shoot incoming ammunition, detected, respectively, by the MBT T-14 or MfRT, and attacking any of the combat vehicles of the programmed group.
At first glance, when considering the concept of the BMPT T-18, an analogy may arise with multi-turret tanks that did not pass "natural selection" during the evolution of this type of military equipment, but it is impossible to compare them with the concept of the BMPT T-18 for several reasons:
- on multi-turret tanks, the presence of several towers prevented the installation of the most powerful weapon. The BMPT does not require the installation of the most powerful weapons capable of defeating enemy armored vehicles, since its main purpose is the enemy's manpower;
- the presence of several towers reduced the security and increased the mass of the multi-turret tank. On BMPT T-18 compact DUMV should be used, which do not penetrate into the hull and do not weaken the armor protection;
- towers of multi-turret tanks significantly blocked the view and firing sectors for each other. DUMV on BMPT T-18 will be subject to this to a much lesser extent due to its compact dimensions, high targeting speed and computer limitation of the firing sectors.
The concept of multi-turret tanks has not received development, but it has nothing to do with the BMPT T-18, except for some external similarity
To some extent, all existing MBTs can be considered multi-turret, since, in addition to the main armament, a DUMV is necessarily installed on them. The fundamental difference is that on modern tanks real "multi-turret" is impossible due to the huge mass of the turret and the dimensions of the gun, but in the BMPT version "multi-turret" is quite appropriate, since it will radically increase the number of eyes and hands "working on the enemy."
The proposed concept of the BMPT T-18 makes it possible to significantly increase the probability of detecting and destroying enemy tank-hazardous manpower by increasing the number of independent reconnaissance and destruction means as part of a combat vehicle, as well as by increasing the number of crew members searching for and destroying tank-hazardous targets.
The probability of target detection by the BMPT T-18 is several times higher than that of the BMPT "Terminator" or MBT, the advantage of the BMPT T-18 increases simultaneously with the increase in the complexity of target detection (reducing the probability of target detection by one operator)
The probability of hitting targets BMPT T-18 will also significantly exceed that of the BMPT "Terminator". It can be assumed that the armament module of the BMPT "Terminator" in terms of fire performance is higher than each individual DUMV BMPT T-18, therefore, the probability of hitting a target is also higher. However, the DUMV BMPT T-18 must be provided with significantly higher turning / guidance speeds, in addition, each DUMV BMPT T-18 can control a sector of 90 degrees, while the area of responsibility of the weapons module of the BMPT "Terminator" will always be 360 degrees. Taken together, this will allow the BMPT T-18 to fire at the target much faster than the armament module of the BMPT “Terminator” can do without giving the target to take cover or change its position, therefore, for the DUMV BMPT T-18 and the weapon module BMPT “Terminator”, a conditionally equal probability hitting the target
The use of the BMPT T-18 in conjunction with the MRFT, MBT T-14 and TBMP T-15 will allow the formation of highly effective ground units that have maximum protection against all types of emerging threats and are capable of effectively destroying all types of targets on the battlefield.
When it comes to the Armata platform, there are two opposite opinions. Some say: it's bad that the T-90s are still being produced and the T-72s are being modernized, we need to take the “Armata”, others say: why do we need an expensive and “raw” “Armata”, where to hurry, we must fully choose the capabilities of reliable modernized machines.
The truth, as always, lies somewhere in the middle: it is necessary to develop and adopt new machines, because without military exploitation they will remain "raw" forever, no tests can replace real operation. But it is also necessary to purchase modernized equipment - both to reduce operational risks and to reduce the burden on the budget. In many respects, a qualitatively modernized technique may not be inferior to a new one. In one of the following materials, we will consider how an effective BMPT based on the T-72 tank might look like.