Military Review

To replace the M1 Abrams: American experts reflect on the tank of the future and the tactics of tank battles

30

Most American military experts agree that, despite technological progress and the emergence of unmanned vehicles, "manned" military equipment, including Tanks and armored vehicles, will continue to occupy a significant place in the military conflicts of the future. Therefore, the question of how to increase the combat effectiveness and survivability of tanks in the conditions of modern and post-modern warfare remains extremely relevant.


Should we wait for a revolution in the tank sphere


As the author of the Breaking Defense publication Sydney J. Friedberg notes, opinions on the future of the tank are divided in the expert community. For example, many experts believe that the M1 Abrams will perfectly cope with the role of the tank of the future after a certain modernization, or, at least, a machine created on its basis. This point of view is argued by the absence of significant changes in the tactics of tank combat, as well as the lack of fundamental improvements in the design of other tanks and armored vehicles, which would require the development of a fundamentally different tank.

Other experts are of the opinion that the M1 Abrams should be replaced by not one new tank, but a whole group of new combat vehicles, both manned and unmanned. The concept of interaction between manned and unmanned combat vehicles is being actively studied as part of the army's combat robots program. As Friedberg notes, there is a revolutionary potential for downsizing traditional armored vehicles: long-range sensors can be installed on a drone, mainly weapon - on a ground robot, and the operator - in a small command vehicle located at a safe distance.

Dan Patt, a former DAPRA employee who now works at Thinktank CSBA, argues that classic tanks and armored personnel carriers will be relevant for a while, but the ability to separate weapons and control systems and experiment with different combinations of weapons will have a big effect in future wars.

Of course, the revolution in the tank sphere will depend, first of all, on the further development of digital technologies and network capabilities that ensure the interaction of all components of such a hypothetical combat system of several components. Network technologies must reach such a level that combat systems can work even in conditions of increased risks of hacker attacks from the enemy.

Sydney Friedberg analyzes the experience of the recent armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. He notes that Turkish-made Azerbaijani unmanned aerial vehicles destroyed Armenian armored vehicles without any problems. The tactics of using UAVs against tanks radically changed the option of ground combat.

Former Army soldier Paul Sharr, who is now vice president at think tank CNAS, believes the widespread use of drones is fundamentally changing the battlefield: it is becoming much more observable, "transparent" than it was before.

Russian weapons expert Samuel Bendett has a slightly different opinion. He believes that the fiasco of the Karabakh Armenians in the last war was due to the fact that they did not prepare their tanks for modern methods of warfare, which include the widespread use of UAVs. Most of the tanks used by the Armenian armed forces are old Soviet-made tanks, without good protection from modern ammunition and, especially, from drone strikes.

Modern Russian tanks, as Bendett notes, on the contrary, are well protected, have infrared blinding devices, active protection systems, which actually act as a miniature missile defense. The United States is also concerned about the issue of increasing the protection of tanks.


How will the tactics of tank units change?


In addition, experts give an important place to the tactics of modern tank combat. For example, Thomas Spohr believes that even without significant technological innovations, correct tank tactics can play a decisive role in the outcome of a battle. If tanks become more maneuverable, and the tactics of their use become more flexible, then technological innovations will recede into the background. As for drones, you can fight them through intensive jamming of control lines.

Therefore, it is very premature to talk about the impending disappearance of tanks. Even the most futuristic expert Paul Sharr believes that tanks should not be buried: they may not play a key role in modern ground warfare, but they will remain a reliable support. But what kind of tank will replace the modern M1Abrams MBT?

Dan Patt believes that it will be a multi-domain power complex, combining ground robots, unmanned aerial vehicles and manned armored vehicles. Thomas Spohr is also convinced that more than one machine will replace Abrams, but several platforms. These can be lightly armored manned platforms for launching UAVs and missiles, fully autonomous platforms controlled from other platforms, and, of course, improved main battle tanks.

In terms of tactics, such vehicles will operate as follows: first, UAVs will destroy the enemy's air defense and command posts, then ground robots will strike at the main forces, and, finally, the main battle tanks will destroy the most difficult targets.

At the same time, it is too early to write off the M1 Abrams itself. It is he, according to, for example, Sam Bendett, can become the basis for the creation of manned and unmanned platforms. It is enough just to update the control systems, to establish protection against drones, which are adequate to modern combat conditions of electronic warfare means.

However, Guy Swan, a retired American armored officer, considers the Abrams a rather heavy tank for modern military operations. A modern tank should weigh less than 60 tons, and it should be fitted with a new engine and turret upgrades. In any case, the question of the future of modern tanks remains open. However, based on the opinion of Western experts, certain conclusions can still be drawn. The main conclusion is that tanks with crews will not be written off from the accounts in the medium term.
Author:
30 comments
Information
Dear reader, to leave comments on the publication, you must sign in.
  1. svp67
    svp67 April 7 2021 11: 23
    +3
    Yes, "drones", both airborne and ground, are increasingly taking up space on the battlefield, but they still need to be greatly improved and while there is no alternative to man in many moments
    1. xorek
      xorek April 7 2021 11: 31
      -7
      Quote: svp67
      Yes, "drones", both airborne and ground, are increasingly taking up space on the battlefield, but they still need to be greatly improved and so far there is no alternative to man in many moments

      I think so too ... The West has overplayed computer toys in my opinion And they hope to win the war on the remote control panel .. Well, well! They will have a lot of surprises ..
  2. aleks neym_2
    aleks neym_2 April 7 2021 11: 27
    +4
    Isn't it too early to write off tanks? It all depends on their skillful use, and this is already a human factor.
    1. Trapp1st
      Trapp1st April 7 2021 11: 39
      +3
      It all depends on their skillful use, and this is already a human factor.
      There is a tactic of application and if it does not meet modern conditions, then the human factor will not help much here. For example, a joint breakthrough of the enemy's defense with the infantry, and then the introduction of large mechanized formations, as was the case before, is not used in recent conflicts, rather the tank is used as a long-range sniper rifle, accordingly, the tactics of use need to be changed and much more.
      1. Doliva63
        Doliva63 April 7 2021 17: 51
        +1
        Quote: Trapp1st
        It all depends on their skillful use, and this is already a human factor.
        There is a tactic of application and if it does not meet modern conditions, then the human factor will not help much here. For example, a joint breakthrough of the enemy's defense with the infantry, and then the introduction of large mechanized formations, as was the case before, is not used in recent conflicts, rather the tank is used as a long-range sniper rifle, accordingly, the tactics of use need to be changed and much more.

        That is, if someone does something wrong, do you need to adapt to him? Cool! laughing
        1. Trapp1st
          Trapp1st April 7 2021 17: 52
          +3
          That is, if someone does something wrong, do you need to adapt to him? Cool! laughing
          Who's doing it wrong?
          1. Doliva63
            Doliva63 April 7 2021 18: 04
            0
            Quote: Trapp1st
            That is, if someone does something wrong, do you need to adapt to him? Cool! laughing
            Who's doing it wrong?

            Well, who uses a tank as a rifle. In Chechnya, I remember, the special forces company was also used as a GPZ. Is that correct too? laughing
            1. Trapp1st
              Trapp1st April 8 2021 10: 09
              +3
              Well, who uses a tank as a rifle.
              Protects vehicles and crews? Here the thing is, since the Second World War, the means of warfare have changed slightly, this must be taken into account.
              1. Doliva63
                Doliva63 April 8 2021 17: 14
                0
                Quote: Trapp1st
                Well, who uses a tank as a rifle.
                Protects vehicles and crews? Here the thing is, since the Second World War, the means of warfare have changed slightly, this must be taken into account.

                The army does not take care of people and equipment, but fulfill the assigned task. It is clear that any commander tries to do it with the least possible losses, but as we were taught: the task is above all. With us it was like this: he signed in the Operational case, which is started by the officer of the operational management in the intelligence department of the army - that's it, criminal liability! The infantry and tank crews have just an order, but the essence is the same. True, I served in the SA, with the Russians, maybe everything is different. But wars cannot be won in another way.
                1. Trapp1st
                  Trapp1st April 8 2021 17: 25
                  +3
                  Do you understand what this is about? Over time, the conditions and nature of the war change, progress does not stand still, this must be taken into account in the tactics of using various means, they must also change.
                  1. Doliva63
                    Doliva63 April 8 2021 17: 38
                    0
                    Quote: Trapp1st
                    Do you understand what this is about? Over time, the conditions and nature of the war change, progress does not stand still, this must be taken into account in the tactics of using various means, they must also change.

                    Industry and the economy change over time - they, in theory, change, yes. But for 30 years nothing has changed in the army. Did you change the wrong way? laughing I am ashamed to ask - did you serve in the army? Well, to argue substantively.
  3. Alexander 3
    Alexander 3 April 7 2021 11: 27
    +15
    The safest tank for themselves was made by the Americans (the operator sits safely and the Ukrainians in the tanks fulfill their wishes)
    1. Andrei Nikolaevich
      Andrei Nikolaevich April 7 2021 13: 05
      +1
      and the Ukrainians in tanks fulfill their wishes)
      Moreover, mind you! With enthusiasm, slaves!)
  4. Pereira
    Pereira April 7 2021 11: 29
    +1
    In short, no one really knows what to do.
    1. dzvero
      dzvero April 7 2021 11: 50
      0
      Yes. In terms of weight and dimensions, it is already at the limit - put 152 mm and it will turn out barn for 70 tons pillbox on tracks.
      Theoretically, the development can go along the path of reducing the reservation - the hull and the uninhabited tower are designed for hits up to 40-57 mm, about everything else - KAZ. Crew in a capsule. Use the reserve mass to increase the caliber of the gun. Those. Armata ... But all the same, the mass will be obscenely impractical.
      Another option is if successful liquid propellant mixtures are found. Then in the current 5 "caliber you can get a power comparable to the current 6" or 8 ".
    2. Viktor Sergeev
      Viktor Sergeev April 7 2021 12: 23
      -1
      Well, why, in the USA they know: you need to allocate a billion for research, then a couple of tens of billions for the production of tanks at a price of 20, or better 50 million dollars, get your kickbacks and think about what else to invent more expensive and more.
  5. Thrifty
    Thrifty April 7 2021 11: 31
    -2
    It all depends on the approach to a particular technique. Naglichhage are planning to abandon tanks altogether. Yankees are smarter, tanks are needed, this is money, this is jobs, this is the development of new technologies, so tanks will be relevant for more than a decade.
    1. Doliva63
      Doliva63 April 7 2021 18: 13
      +1
      Quote: Thrifty
      It all depends on the approach to a particular technique. Naglichhage are planning to abandon tanks altogether. Yankees are smarter, tanks are needed, this is money, this is jobs, this is the development of new technologies, so tanks will be relevant for more than a decade.

      And yes, you missed that tanks are still the main striking force of the ground forces. The rest of the military is on the drum.
  6. The comment was deleted.
  7. rocket757
    rocket757 April 7 2021 11: 57
    +1
    In any case, the question of the future of modern tanks remains open.
    ... That's right. The tanks have not undergone a fundamental design change, because it is not clear what will ultimately be required.
    In the meantime, they will be equipped and dumped with all sorts of different things, necessary or not, then it will be seen, probably.
  8. Konstantin Gogolev
    Konstantin Gogolev April 7 2021 12: 06
    +1
    I read recently that striped development of a new KAZ has begun. According to the Israeli version - almost missile defense, but the destruction of the threat at medium distances. Probably for protection from drones and gliding bombs. Because Trophy is reasonably limited in its threat rate. But, so far only started. Yes, and expensively this idea will come out.
  9. Viktor Sergeev
    Viktor Sergeev April 7 2021 12: 21
    -1
    That is, they dream of sawing a couple of tens of billions of dollars for another wunderwolf that no one needs.
  10. Ruslan Sulima
    Ruslan Sulima April 7 2021 12: 44
    0
    Experts, such experts. Today one speaks for, tomorrow another, then the opinions change.
  11. demiurg
    demiurg April 7 2021 15: 41
    -1
    My vision from the couch of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles in the future:
    Megabahs and tanks will die out. Of course it's great to shoot a projectile at a speed of 2 km per second. But this pleasure eats 15-20 tons. And what is especially offensive is the internal volume. And this is all in order to fight the enemy tanks. Rather, to destroy 15 to 20 percent of enemy tanks.
    All other tasks can be performed by other machines.

    If now a standard platoon rides three armored personnel carriers / infantry fighting vehicles plus has a tank from the brigade's SMB, then the platoon can be reformed into 4 squads of 7-8 people. Develop a machine weighing about 40-45 tons. Kinetic protection: composite armor 45-57mm forehead, 23-25mm sides. Densely coat with dynamic protection to forget about RPGs and ATGMs. The crew is two people, plus 6-7 troops.
    Armament: Mandatory ATGM (including high-explosive and anti-aircraft missiles), 40-45mm high and 57 low ballistics cannon (each compartment has its own 82mm mortar).
    Already at the battalion level, to have detection and communication means, allowing to distribute target designation for air defense and ground targets.
    Oh yes, the supersonic speed of hitting targets, from which you will not have time to dodge, is very tasty. In the same battalion, have a platoon or two vehicles with ATGMs flying at a speed of about 2 km / s. Moreover, it may just be a motorcycle league, one and a half or two kilometers from the battle line. Any BMP that finds a worthy target triggers a missile launch from this transporter. After 6-7 seconds, not one, but 2-3-4 scrap arrives, at once and from one angle. Any active defense will drown.

    Eck flooded me. Sorry for the mnogobukov.
    1. Doliva63
      Doliva63 April 7 2021 18: 17
      +1
      Quote: demiurg
      My vision from the couch of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles in the future:
      Megabahs and tanks will die out. Of course it's great to shoot a projectile at a speed of 2 km per second. But this pleasure eats 15-20 tons. And what is especially offensive is the internal volume. And this is all in order to fight the enemy tanks. Rather, to destroy 15 to 20 percent of enemy tanks.
      All other tasks can be performed by other machines.

      If now a standard platoon rides three armored personnel carriers / infantry fighting vehicles plus has a tank from the brigade's SMB, then the platoon can be reformed into 4 squads of 7-8 people. Develop a machine weighing about 40-45 tons. Kinetic protection: composite armor 45-57mm forehead, 23-25mm sides. Densely coat with dynamic protection to forget about RPGs and ATGMs. The crew is two people, plus 6-7 troops.
      Armament: Mandatory ATGM (including high-explosive and anti-aircraft missiles), 40-45mm high and 57 low ballistics cannon (each compartment has its own 82mm mortar).
      Already at the battalion level, to have detection and communication means, allowing to distribute target designation for air defense and ground targets.
      Oh yes, the supersonic speed of hitting targets, from which you will not have time to dodge, is very tasty. In the same battalion, have a platoon or two vehicles with ATGMs flying at a speed of about 2 km / s. Moreover, it may just be a motorcycle league, one and a half or two kilometers from the battle line. Any BMP that finds a worthy target triggers a missile launch from this transporter. After 6-7 seconds, not one, but 2-3-4 scrap arrives, at once and from one angle. Any active defense will drown.

      Eck flooded me. Sorry for the mnogobukov.

      40-45 tons? Are you aware that in some regions of the Russian Federation up to 60% of bridges are made of wood? No, well, if it's flooded, then why not, of course laughing
  12. voyaka uh
    voyaka uh April 7 2021 15: 47
    +2
    I believe that MBT, such as the existing ones, will remain. But their number will decrease.
    KAZ will become mandatory and will include the upper sphere as well.
    1. demiurg
      demiurg April 7 2021 16: 11
      0
      Warrior, why do we need tanks? For the 120 + mm cannon?
      Against any anti-tank weapons, except for tank guns, cast iron tanks are redundant.
      Both are perfectly replaced by modern means.
      1. voyaka uh
        voyaka uh April 7 2021 16: 29
        +4
        Yes. For the 120 mm cannon.
        For this caliber lately in the West
        so-called "universal" shells have been developed.
        High-explosive armor-piercing. After breaking through concrete or armor
        equipment (except for the frontal armor of MBT), the high-explosive fragmentation sector of the projectile is activated.
        Very effective when supported by infantry. There are options with buckshot (shot in a scattering of fragments forward) against an open
        infantry. Or detonate a shell exactly over the trench.
        The necessary reprogramming of detonation can be done before firing,
        when the projectile is already in the barrel.
        1. demiurg
          demiurg April 7 2021 17: 55
          +1
          That is, in order to throw a projectile weighing about 10 kilograms, you have to sacrifice 10-20 tons of weight?
          Isn't it easier to screw a du module with a 120mm mortar gun to the Akhzarite? 5 tons maximum. Plus there will be a bonus to throwing for the hills. Or even create something cheap, tiny-like, just with a larger warhead. It seems like a baby shot is much cheaper than a 120mm cannon shot.
          1. voyaka uh
            voyaka uh April 7 2021 20: 01
            +2
            The weight of 50-60 tons is obtained for a reason. That's a lot of armor.
            MBT can operate relatively safely, where
            any other armored vehicles will be burned with ease.
            The most reliable support for infantry / motorized infantry is MBT.
            When a tank enters a battle, it seems to "shift the arrows to itself."
            The enemy begins to shower him with fire. Thus, saving the infantry and
            their technique.
            1. spectr
              spectr April 8 2021 09: 51
              0
              It turns out as soon as an infantry fighting vehicle appears with protection comparable to that of a tank and cheaper in operation for tanks, only the ACS niche will remain.