Military Review

What is the future of tanks?

When the socialist bloc of European states began to collapse, NATO felt that now there would be no major war and the reduction of ground weapons could begin. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in Western Europe, proposals for an even stronger reduction in troops began to sound. They say that now there are no aggressors left at all, so that the armored vehicles, artillery, etc. can be sent to warehouses or remelted. And in the troops leave a little, as they say, for seed.

As a result of these cuts - slowing down the work on improving the old technology and creating a new one. In political science, in turn, the theory has spread that the main battle tank in the current war is not needed at all. But such voices began to sound quieter after the wars in the Balkans in the 90's. After the NATO operation in Iraq, they fell silent altogether. The practice has once again proved that the main battle tank has both sufficient armament for most operations and protection that is in many respects appropriate to the situation.

Another reason not to remove from the army Tanks - sluggish local conflicts. The Cold War may have ended, but there was no final peace on the planet. Confrontation of Korea, Greece and Turkey, China and Taiwan, African conflicts, etc. no one has yet canceled. Both countries of the Korean Peninsula are buying new and upgrading old tanks, China is making its own designs. Even Greece is on the verge of a global crisis (I hope everyone remembers what is going on with its economy?) In 2008, nevertheless decided to buy Leopard 2A6 tanks from Germany. The "best friends" of the Greeks are Turks, now together with South Korea they make the Altay tank, and are going to take it into service in the next 5-7 years.

In general, the military do not agree with the uselessness of tanks and confirm their opinion with financing. Designers-tank builders, in turn, work in three main areas: the development of completely new medium and heavy combat mass tanks; improvement of existing, but aging tanks in accordance with modern requirements; creation of additional sets of equipment installed on the tank, to work in specific conditions.

On the first point, everything is clear. These will be completely new cars, albeit with the use of "old" developments. Examples are the Turkish-Korean Altay, the Russian tank of the Armata platform, the Japanese “10 type”, etc.

The second direction is mainly to upgrade the onboard electronics of the tanks. At present, the theory of tank design dominates that most of the effectiveness and survivability of a modern tank is not determined by armor or a gun, but electronics: navigation and sighting equipment. Accordingly, the installation of updated systems increases the capabilities of the tank to the extent that the rest of the hardware allows it. In accordance with this trend, the United States is currently upgrading the Abrams tanks of the M1A1 and M1A2 tanks, France is working to improve Leclerc XXI, and China is improving its “99 type”. But apart from this is the Ukrainian modernization program T-64. In 2005, this tank was upgraded to the T-64BM Bulat version: a new gun, a new active protection system, a number of new electronics, etc. Last year, Ukraine also presented the T-64E with a new engine and a twin 23-millimeter cannon. Ukrainian engineers and the military highly appreciate this tank, but it is unlikely that it will be able to show something extraordinary: the original T-64 hails from the 60s of the last century. Even the idea of ​​upgrading a tank almost fifty years old is doubtful. Russia is currently preparing a program for updating the T-72 tanks.

The third method of improving tanks - the creation of sets of equipment for various tasks. So far, mass production has reached sets for just one “different” task - for urban combat. This is the American TUSK system (Tank Urban Survival Kit - “tank survival kit in the city”) for Abrams, the French AZUR (Action en Zone Urbaine — urban zone actions) for Leclercs and the German PSO (Peace Support Operation - “peacekeeping operation”) for “Leopard-2”. In addition, in other countries, simply additional protection kits are being created.
Why are TUSK, AZUR and PSO marked separately? The fact is that this is not just a booking enhancement. These kits include countermeasures to cumulative projectiles, such as gratings and dynamic protection with placement not only on the frontal projection of the tank; turret machine gun with a remote control and / or installation of armor casings on the machine gunner’s hatch, etc. The TUSK kit, among other things, includes additional means of direct communication with infantry.

Let's return to the creation of absolutely new cars. This year, Russian gunsmiths have announced work on the Armata tracked platform. On its basis, the main battle tank will be created, although the creation of other types of equipment: BMPs, self-propelled guns, etc. cannot be excluded. Interestingly, Russia is not alone in working on the concept of an armored platform. Swedish engineers have already sent for testing the first machines of the CV-90 family, created on the same base, and Poland has recently begun to carry the Anders platform to exhibitions. In addition, we can not exclude the possibility that the promising American family of armored vehicles FGC will also have basically a single, at least, undercarriage.

Regarding the electronics of new machines, we can say the following: the concept of its composition should not change much. True, the equipment, as the experience of recent wars shows, must include night-vision equipment, and for the entire crew. The military also shows interest in more advanced means of communication, they must ensure, at a minimum, the interaction of different types of troops on the same battlefield. Well, the wildest dreams of tankers are still similar to the reality of the pilots - to have a system for exchanging data about the goals and conditions of the battle in real time, so that all information is displayed on the screens in an intuitive way, like on airplanes. Most likely, this will not happen on the tanks being created now. But for the next generation, this already looks like a very real part.
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  1. Splin
    Splin 15 October 2011 09: 45 New
    There was a decision to withdraw 64s from the troops, and articles about his aging rained down. There in the video it was said that the tank was 15 years ahead of its time, which means that it corresponds in level to the Lepards and Abrams. The tank is special, in terms of the region, it is in service with three countries + Aiserbadzhan wants to re-establish and modernize in Ukraine. In fact, it surpasses all the tanks of the neighbors of the countries containing them. He is certainly not new, and no one has proposed anything new!
    1. Esso
      Esso 15 October 2011 13: 06 New
      64 is a revolutionary tank, of course, but no one will write it off yet, it's just speculation. They write off the T-55 and T-62. The military complained about the T-64 engine. Of course, it was necessary to modernize it. But our tests were carried out in 1976 They compared the T-64, t-72, t-80. The t-80 showed the best performance. In terms of range and fuel efficiency, it lost, the t-72 is recognized as the best. In terms of firing efficiency at ranges up to 4 km, it is recognized as the best t-64B .
      so it’s superior to all tanks not t-64b, but t-80b. Since after bringing the t-80 to the level of t-80b. But then the T-90 came out. But it has problems with the security of the crew, like all our tanks .
      1. Sergh
        Sergh 15 October 2011 13: 22 New
        Yes, there are no invulnerable places in the tank! And also anti-tank weapons are being modernized and exposed. Here in life they will run after each other.
      2. PLO
        PLO 15 October 2011 17: 25 New
        The t-64b was then recognized as the best in long-range shooting, because it already had suo and guided missiles in service, and they all have the same guns in fact and with the same ammunition range I doubt that the results will differ
        1. Splin
          Splin 15 October 2011 18: 23 New
          Yes, the 72th model caught up with the 64th in the “B” series, but by that time they hadn’t already produced it in Kharkov, but switched to 80UD
    2. Bad_gr
      Bad_gr 21 January 2012 19: 29 New
      The T-64 is a revolutionary tank, of course, but if you remember that the T-64 suspension was weak for a 1000 strong turbine, and for this reason Leningraders had to create their own suspension for the T-80. UVZ - running T-64, after the run, they rejected the same at their landfill (cracks appeared at the bottom of the tank, at the torsion mounts) In general, the running gear was rejected even then.
      And the Kharkiv people themselves, build their modern “stronghold” on the T-80 platform, not the T-64, although there were attempts to upgrade the chassis (the chassis was rolled in with 7 rollers to the side, but it did not go into the series).
      Now in Russia, the T-64 is being remelted along with the T-55 and T-62.
  2. Chemberlen
    Chemberlen 3 November 2011 13: 53 New
    Something I did not hear anything in this article about "Oplot" ... (((