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Damian90

History of US Tanks.

192 posts in this topic
4 hours ago, Ssnake said:

 

Yes. At least it's nowhere near the total write-off as the film suggests it was.

 

Yep, I will try to dig through Hunnicutt later on, perhaps he mentiones the reason for the entire fuss somewhere in his book.

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So let's continue with the story of M2's development.

 

Quote

In August 1976, a Task Force was established to evaluate the MICV program and to determine if it would meet the future requirements of the Army. The recommendations of the Task Force were accepted by the Army in October 1976. In response to these recommendations, a common vehicle would be developed to meet the requirements for a mechanized infantry vehicle and a cavalry scout vehicle. By this time, the XM800 armored reconnaissance scout vehicle had been canceled. The new vehicle would be armed with the TOW antitank guided missile system in addition to the Bushmaster 25mm cannon in a two man turret. This new turret was referred to as the TBAT-II (TOW Bushmaster armored turret, two man). The new vehicle would retain the hull firing ports, have the same armor protection as the XM723, and it would be amphibious. With the acceptance of these recommendations, the XM723 served as the basis for a new program that would eventually produce the Bradley fighting vehicle.

In November 1976, the development of the MICV TBAT-II was approved and FMC began the design and mock-up construction of the new vehicle. The mock-up review was at FMC in March 1977 and the basic design was approved. The MICV TBAT-II was designed to carry nine men. In the new vehicle, the driver remained in the left front alongside the power plant compartment. The commander was relocated to the right side of the new, two man, turret with the gunner on the left. In his position, the commander had 360 degree vision through eight unity power periscopes around his hatch. The integrated day/night sight and two adjacent periscopes in front of his hatch provided frontal vision for the gunner. The primary armament was the 25mm automatic gun. At this time, two weapons were under consideration. These were the self powered 25mm gun XM241 and the externally powered 25mm gun XM242. 

The latter was the Chain Gun developed by Hughes Helicopter Company (later the McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company). A coaxial 7.62mm MAG58 (later M240) machine gun was installed on the right side of the gun mount. An armored, twin tube, launcher on the left side of the turret carried two TOW missiles. Folded down against the side of the turret for travel, this launcher was raised to the firing position by an electric actuator. The launcher could be reloaded under partial protection by tilting it back toward the cargo hatch. The electric powered turret was stabilized in both azimuth and elevation. The radio equipment was located in the turret with two antennas mounted on the left rear and the right side. A four tube smoke grenade launcher was installed on each side of the turret front.

The new turret was shifted to the right and as far forward as possible to maximize the space in the squad compartment. The right fuel tank was reshaped and the engine cooling fan and radiator were moved forward two inches. The hull top plate and exhaust grille were modified to fit the new turret. The fuel was relocated from the left rear to a forward tank below the turret. One squad member was seated just to the rear of the driver and the remaining five were to the rear of the turret. The firing ports and periscopes were relocated, but the number remained the same with two on each side and two in the rear ramp. Five dual purpose stowage racks for TOW or Dragon missiles were in the left rear of the squad compartment with three horizontal and two vertical.

Three light antitank weapon (LAW) missiles also were stowed horizontally on the left side. The cargo hatch was reshaped and lengthened by two inches to permit reloading the TOW launcher. It also was shifted toward the rear to accommodate the larger turret. The scout version of the new vehicle was similar to the MICV except that the firing ports were deleted. The crew was reduced to five men consisting of the driver, commander, gunner, and two observers. A small scout motorcycle was stowed on the left side of the squad compartment. The TOW missile stowage was increased to ten plus the two in the launcher and the 25mm ammunition supply was increased from 900 to 1,500 rounds.

In May 1977, the program received a new name. The two versions were now referred to as the fighting vehicle systems (FVS) and the MICV and the scout vehicle became the XM2 infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) and the XM3 cavalry fighting vehicle (CFV) respectively. In June 1977, the program was expanded to include the ground support rocket system (GSRS). Later, this became the multiple launch rocket system (MLRS). The basic vehicle was referred to as the fighting vehicle system (FVS) carrier. It had the same power train and suspension as the two fighting vehicles. The XM2 and XM3 differed slightly from the TBAT-II design. The configuration along the left side was changed. The top of the spaced laminate armor was now a straight line extending to the rear and the armor around the firing ports was modified. On the right side, the spaced laminate armor had the same stepped configuration as on the XM723, but it did not extend as high alongside the engine compartment and the turret.

A larger driver's hatch was installed with the four periscopes mounted in the hatch cover itself. A new torsion bar suspension replaced the tube-over-bar design on the XM723. The front three road wheels were moved four inches forward increasing the ground contact length from 150 to 154 inches. Modifications also were made to the idler wheel mounting, shock absorbers, track return rollers, track guides, final drives, and sprockets. The first two XM2 prototypes were delivered by FMC in December 1978 and six more followed in March of 1979. After further tests, the vehicles were type classified as the infantry fighting vehicle M2 and the cavalry fighting vehicle M3 in December 1979. Full production was authorized in January 1980 and the first production vehicle was delivered in May 1981. Initially, it was proposed to name the M2 after General of the Army Omar N. Bradley and to name the M3 after General Jacob L. Devers. However, because of the great similarity between the two vehicles, both were named the Bradley fighting vehicle in October 1981.


Source is Richard P. Hunnicutt Bradley - A History Of The American Fighting And Support Vehicles, tough I start to make some of my own conclusions about M2's development. Was it a bad design? Obviously not, could it be better? Absolutely.

IMHO the biggest problem was that US Army was looking to much at BMP-1 and rying to replicate it in one way or another, of course at that time it was problematic, IFV concept was completely new and still not refined. However few points I think that are worth to mention where long term mistakes were done.

 

1. Aluminium hull structure, let's face it, for a vehicle designed to fight along MBT's in front lines, aluminium armor alloy is... not the best choice, a steel hull would be better even for a greater weight.

 

2. Amphibious capability was not needed, which also means aluminium hull would be not needed and at weight of 25 metric tons, M2 was at tracked vehicles of such dimensions limit to be able to swim.

 

3. Hull shape is rather complex, I understand from where it comes, engineers wanted to provide dismounts with firing ports, but in the end firing ports compromised armor protection and with M2A2/M3A2 upgrade were eliminated. It also made initial placement of dismounts seat complex and unergonomic. If the firing ports would be abandoned during development, perhaps M2 could get a simpler, more boxy shaped hull design, that would also increase internal volume for storage, and make application of addon armor simpler.

 

4. Lenght of the hull, IMHO due to above reasons, hull was made unnecessary short, lenghtened by additional road wheel on both sides, would increase internal volume and capacity to take more dismounts.

 

All in all not bad, but could be better.

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Not sure if I share your critique of the choice of Aluminum as an armor material. Its mass effectiveness for armor protection is better than steel, so I fail to see that it's a bad choice per se. Of course there are other advantages and disadvantages involved with Aluminum, but we're talking about trade-offs.

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True, tough IMHO armored steel would be better when it comes to pure protection, on the other hand if we talk about mass effectiveness, we can always choose Titanium. ;)

But it would most likely be not very cost effective, Soviets painfully realized that during one of their submarines programs.

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Cost effectiveness is largely a factor of availability which is both a function of how rich your mines are and how cost-efficient the ore processing. The Soviets had Titanium in abundancy and used it in far more cases (like military shovels (a.k.a. "entrenchment tools")) than the US. Which however seemed to have more access to (comparatively) cheaper aluminum. So that part totally depends on the circumstances.

 

So, given a certain (hard) weight limit, steel is actually a worse option than aluminum plate of the same mass when it comes to the protection level. Steel is, however, much cheaper. It's also harder, and can be made thinner and still meet structural requirements. Plus, it's pretty much unique in its elasticity. Again, we're talking about tradeoffs - not absolutes.

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it largely depends on the type of aluminum as well. M113 was made from inferior 5083 aluminium, while the bradley is made from a combination of 5083 and the harder(but brittle) 7039 aluminum, with steel addon armour.

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Awards

14480600_1190511814354552_17172066461133

 

GDLS Griffin technology demonstrator. Chassis is based on ASCOD, turret uses components from M1A2SEP, main armament is 120mm smoothbore low recoil XM360.

 

One observation about XM360, here turret is manned but there is still no bore evacuator, which might imply that this gun uses compressed air to vent combustion gases, same thing in XM360E1 most likely.

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Also at this years AUSA some more surprises, besides AMPV, BAE presented their next generation Bradley demonstrator.

 

14543894_1125254170844105_64900035026500

14444661_1125252950844227_27264742787667

 

It seems that this is a complete new build, not an upgrade for existing vehicles. It have longer chassis with 7 road wheels per each side (so it also most likely can carry more dismounts, 8 or 9, so it would meet US Army requirements, finally!

Also new armor is used, dunno from what material the base chassis is made, and from what material new bolt on plates are made, there is also new ERA kit. Other improvements? It seems it uses hydropneumatic suspension, most likely new powerpack, and it seems its a diesel electric hybrid, what else? Who knows, but it looks great!

 

One thing I also noticed is that geometry of hull was also changed, it's more boxy right now just like AMPV.

 

Edited by Damian90

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Ok so some more news about AMPV, new Bradley upgrade and the Griffin.

 

 

That should answer some questions and clear speculations.

I really like what both GDLS and BAE are doing, and where current US Army command goes with their ideas. Makes sense.

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On 9/27/2016 at 8:44 AM, Damian90 said:

Another interesting development for M48 replacement (before XM60) was T95. In many ways it was revolutionary design for it's time.

 

T95.jpg

 

Great stuff, love the break down on the M1.

 

 

 

The 105mm T140 was an interesting weapon. It's roots can be traced back to the 105mm T4 AA gun of about 1943, which lead to the T5 series of guns who's development went all the way up to at least 1949 with the T5E3.  The T140 was taking the T5 and shaving quite a bit of weight off it. development ends for the T5 in 1949-1950 but not the actual use or interest of the guns as a tank weapon and the development program for ammunition was folded into the T140's, So they had the same performance with the possibility of using the same ammunition.

 

The T29 HVAP which was developed for the T4 AA gun but was used in the T5 as well as the T140 was being worked on all the way up to about the end of 1952. At this time even with an increase in velocity from 1128 m/s to 1280 m/s performance against distant targets at high angles was equal to the T182 APBC round and thus felt redundant and was canceled.

 

67 caliber length and capable of firing a 6.2 kg HVAPDS round at 1554 m/s or the 15.9 kg APBC round at 1067 m/s It also had HEAT-FS as well as HEP rounds.

 

Haven't been able to dig up any sort of performance figures for the APDS round but it is close to the 90mm T137 in design.

 

TKtyByJ.jpg

Edited by whelm

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I could never understand the obsession with (limited) amphibious capability in IFV design when we know that the capability is only useful under a relatively unlikely set of circumstances and the vehicles need support from tanks that are even more problematic at crossing water obstacles (unless you concrete the Elbe in advance). The amphibious requirement compromised the vehicles in other ways in much the same way that requirements for C-130 or A-400M transportability would later vehicles.

Edited by ChrisWerb

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Assuming that you do NOT want to cross a river by bridge, which makes you predictable...:

Obviating the need for (heavy) engineer preparation of a crossing site (plus the inevitably required bogus crossing sites that you need to create to conceal your true intent until it's too late for the enemy) was, at the time, a quite serious advantage. The Soviets, for quite a few decades, had the edge in river-crossing capabilities (PMP heavy bridge), so creating a tank that was able to ford (or deep-ford) the typical rivers in the expected area of operations (=Germany, East and West) probably was considered operationally advantageous despite the tactical drawbacks.

 

Seriously, I have tremendous respect for the engineers of the 1940s...1970s. They developed a lot of concepts without the help of computer gadgetry (and developed that very computer gadgetry in addition). I don't think that the first thing that should come to our minds if we don't understand the rationale of a certain concept sbould be the assumption that they were bumbling fools. If they did something, chances are that there was a serious demand for it.

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On ‎03‎/‎10‎/‎2016 at 7:09 PM, Damian90 said:

Also at this years AUSA some more surprises, besides AMPV, BAE presented their next generation Bradley demonstrator.

 

14543894_1125254170844105_64900035026500

14444661_1125252950844227_27264742787667

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wonder why the M2/M3 were not as successful as the M113 on the export market.

As far as I can remember only the Saudi military purchased it.

 Was it down to unit cost or something else.

Its still my IFV of choice in SB though . LoL

 

Edited by Marko

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I'd love to have an M2/M3 with ERA and maybe even GREEN thermals so my eyes don't bleed.  Very interested in that next gen Bradley model.

 

I hope that 25mm will continue to be a big enough gun for an IFV.  I'd almost like to see them go to a larger turret with a little bigger gun, maybe the 30mm or even the Bofors 40mm like the CV9030 and CV9040.  I appreciate that it's a tradeoff in capacity, but I seem to recall many times in ProPE where the 25mm just wasn't able to kill a BMP.

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8 hours ago, Marko said:

I wonder why the M2/M3 were not as successful as the M113 on the export market.

 

Price, and growth potential I'd say. Plus, the US defence industry is largely fixated on the US market (which is, like, 50% of the world market anyway).

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On 10/10/2016 at 0:16 AM, Ssnake said:

Assuming that you do NOT want to cross a river by bridge, which makes you predictable...:

Obviating the need for (heavy) engineer preparation of a crossing site (plus the inevitably required bogus crossing sites that you need to create to conceal your true intent until it's too late for the enemy) was, at the time, a quite serious advantage. The Soviets, for quite a few decades, had the edge in river-crossing capabilities (PMP heavy bridge), so creating a tank that was able to ford (or deep-ford) the typical rivers in the expected area of operations (=Germany, East and West) probably was considered operationally advantageous despite the tactical drawbacks.

 

If you look at Central Europe, specifically at the rivers the Soviets didn't concrete the bottoms of, you'll see they often have steep banks (this is done deliberately in populated and farming areas for obvious reasons) or trees or areas of mud and swamp at their edges. They can also be fast flowing - mostly in the places that have the kind of banks that you would otherwise want. Canals often have vertical concrete sides and there are lots of those in Europe. Then you are stuck with the problem of what to do once you get to the other side as your supply vehicles will still need a bridge or a fording location with a fairly solid bottom, relatively shallow, not too fast flowing water and non vertical banks without swamps or trees. There is a reason why the UK and US gave this up as a bad job and why the BW only went in for amphibious capability in recce vehicles and wheeled APCs (Boxer and Luchs) - they must have decided to throw in the towel too as their replacements too are non-amphibious.

 

Edited by ChrisWerb

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I will do a little off topic here.

 

In Poland we have right now program for new IFV codenamed Borsuk (Badger), the General Staff want it to swim, while troops and General Command of Armed Forces want it to be not amphibious but larger, heavier and better protected.

So right now there is said that General Staff have a kind of cold war between them and General Command of Armed Forces and Ground Forces themselfs when it comes to IFV requirements.

 

Heck there is even a faction as I heard from my "squirrels" that says something like "fuck it, let's just purchase M2A3's from US and put on them our own unmanned ZSSW-30 turrets, and have IFV problem solved!".

So amphibious requirements is something very problematic when it comes to IFV.

 

PS. I just returned from my army excercises rotation so I will be able to post more interesting stuff soon. And I definately have enough flying inside Mi-8 and Mi-17 for this year. ;)

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Ok so something more about M2's early history.


The production M2 and M3 fighting vehicles were almost identical in outward appearance. The only obvious difference was the blanked off firing ports on the M3. The driver in both vehicles was in the left front with the four periscope hatch cover. The gunner and commander rode in the turret on the left and right respectively. The 25mm M242 Bushmaster cannon was mounted to the left of the coaxial 7.62mm M240C machine gun. The Bushmaster was an externally powered weapon which fired single shots or at rates of 100 or 200 rounds per minute. The weapon was chain driven by a 1.5 horsepower electric motor. Hence the name Chain Gun, a registered trade mark of the manufacturer.

 

The M242 fired both high explosive (HE) and armor piercing discarding sabot (APDS) ammunition. With a muzzle velocity of 4,460 feet per second, the APDS round could defeat the armor on the Soviet BMP turret at 45 degrees obliquity and at a distance greater than the 800 meter effective range of that vehicle's 73mm gun. The dual feed mechanism of the M242 permitted the gunner to switch instantly from one type of ammunition to the other. The 25mm gun had an elevation range from +59 to -9 degrees and a high speed slew rate of 60 degrees per second to permit the rapid engagement of alternate targets such as helicopters. The all electric turret drive and stabilization system allowed the accurate engagement of targets while the vehicle was moving. A total of 300 25mm ready rounds were carried in the turret. The M2 and M3 stowed an additional 600 and 1,200 25mm rounds respectively in the hull.

 

The armored, two tube, TOW missile launcher was hinged to the left side of the turret. When raised to the firing position, the launcher had a separate elevating mechanism with a range of +29 to -19 degrees. Two TOW missiles were carried in the launcher. The M2 carried five TOW or Dragon missiles in the hull stowage racks at the left rear of the squad compartment. On the M3, ten TOW missiles were stowed in the hull racks. The TOW missiles could be launched only when the vehicle was stopped. Both vehicles carried three LAW missiles in the hull.

 

The gunner had a 180 degree view toward the front through two unity power periscopes in front of his hatch. A 4x and 12x day/night (thermal) sight was provided as the primary sight for the guns and the TOW missile. A 5x auxiliary sight also was installed to be shared by the gunner and the vehicle commander. The vehicle commander had 360 degree vision through seven unity power periscopes around his hatch and an optical relay permitted him to see through the gunner's day/night (thermal) sight. An external sight also was installed for open hatch firing. The vehicle radios were located in the turret bustle.

 

The M2 infantry fighting vehicle provided space for six soldiers in the squad compartment. Six M231 5.56mm firing port weapons were carried for use in the six firing ports. Two of these were located in each side and two in the rear ramp. The M3 cavalry fighting vehicle had space for two observers in the rear hull. No firing port weapons were carried and the ports were blanked off. On both vehicles, three periscopes were installed in the hull roof between the cargo hatch and the rear ramp. Two additional periscopes were mounted on each side above the firing port locations. The small scout motorcycle originally proposed for the M3 was eliminated. The hull and turret on the Bradley were assembled from 5083 and 7039 aluminum alloy armor combined with steel spaced laminate armor. The latter consisted of two 1/4 inch thick, high hardness, steel plates spaced one inch apart and mounted 3 1/2 inches outboard of the one inch thick aluminum armor.

 

This provided protection against the Soviet 14.5mm armor piercing round and fragments from the 152mm high explosive shell. A 3/8 inch thick steel armor plate was installed on the front third of the hull bottom for mine protection. The Cummins VTA-903 diesel engine, now rated at 500 gross horsepower at 2,600 rpm, was installed in the right front with the General Electric HMPT-500 hydromechanical transmission. The final drives and sprockets were at the front and the vehicle was supported on a torsion bar suspension with six dual road wheels per side. One dual and two single track return rollers supported the upper run of the 21 inch wide, single pin, track. The vehicle was amphibious after erection of the trim vane and the water barrier. Combat loaded, the M2 and M3 weighed 50,259 pounds and 49,945 pounds respectively. The maximum speed was 41 miles per hour on roads and 4.5 miles per hour in water. The cruising range on roads was about 300 miles.

 

With the Bradley in full production and service experience available, work continued to develop improvements to the basic vehicle. These were the Block I modifications that combined three major development programs with some minor modifications. The three major programs were the introduction of the TOW 2 missile system, the installation of a gas particulate fïlter unit (GPFU) for NBC protection, and various IFV/CFV design changes. The minor modifications were primarily electrical to reduce the logistics problem resulting from multiple configurations. By late 1984, prototypes incorporating many of the improvements were under evaluation at Aberdeen Proving Ground. These prototypes, converted from M2 and M3 vehicles, were designated as the M2E1 and M3E1 and they combined a mixture of old and new features.

 

The new TOW 2 missile system was installed on both the M2E1 and the M3E1. The TOW 2, with its full six inch diameter warhead, provided a more powerful weapon for frontal attack on the latest Soviet main battle tanks. The earlier TOW missiles also could be launched from the new system. At one time, the replacement of the twin tube launcher by two separate launchers was under consideration. These new armored launchers were of cast construction compared to the riveted assembly of the twin tube launcher and they were to be installed with one on each side of the turret. The twin tube launcher was canted slightly inward to allow the tracker to acquire the missile more rapidly. However, tests indicated that this was unnecessary and the two separate launchers were not to be canted. After further evaluation, the separate launchers were not adopted and the twin tube design was retained.

 

The installation of the gas participate filter unit differed on the IFV and the CFV. On the M2E1, face masks and hoses connected to the central filter unit were provided only for the driver, gunner and vehicle commander. The infantrymen in the squad compartment had individual masks and filter units built into their protective suits. This permitted them to leave the vehicle for dismounted operations. On the M3E1, all five crew members had masks connected to the central filter unit. On the new CFV, the three periscopes in the hull roof behind the cargo hatch were eliminated and replaced by four periscopes installed in the cargo hatch cover. The two periscopes on the right side of the squad compartment also were deleted on the CFV.

 

The new IFV retained the original periscope arrangement, but the number of soldiers in the squad compartment was increased from six to seven. The stowage and seating arrangements in both vehicles also were modified. The first of the Block I improvements introduced on the production line was the central gas particulate filter unit beginning in May 1986. The TOW 2 missile system appeared on new vehicles in early 1987. When both improvements were installed, the vehicles were designated as the M2A1 IFV and the M3A1 CFV. The new equipment was retrofitted on many of the earlier vehicles.
 

Ok enough for now, to the next time!

Edited by Damian90

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Just an interesting tidbit, initialy the m2/3 Bradley engine was  underpowered for the transmission.  This resulted in having to rev the engine really high any time you wanted to turn or do a pivot steer.  If you didn't give the engine enough power, you were apt to stall the vehicle.  (in my units, any driver who stalled the vehicle had to by a case of beer for the crew)  Also, if you were the driver of the vehicle, and oyu were the driver the first time the pac was pulled (engine and transmission), you got to keep the cummins logo that was on it

Edited by RENEGADE-623

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This is interesting information, and explains why the vehicles in the past sounded as they sounded during movement.

 

Right now engine is around 600HP and in the future it might reach 800HP, so it should more than enough for it's weight, even uparmored.

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On 10/10/2016 at 2:53 AM, Maj.Hans said:

I'd love to have an M2/M3 with ERA and maybe even GREEN thermals so my eyes don't bleed.  Very interested in that next gen Bradley model.

 

I hope that 25mm will continue to be a big enough gun for an IFV.  I'd almost like to see them go to a larger turret with a little bigger gun, maybe the 30mm or even the Bofors 40mm like the CV9030 and CV9040.  I appreciate that it's a tradeoff in capacity, but I seem to recall many times in ProPE where the 25mm just wasn't able to kill a BMP.

 

You can go to 30mm and have increased capacity too - the Kongsberg unmanned turret with the XM=813 cannon is barely hull penetrating. The downside vs the hull penetrating 25mm turret is vastlly reduced ammunition storage. Both turrets can mount missiles.
 

 

Edited by ChrisWerb

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That was only one tested option, it seems that CMI also wants to offer their turret Cockerill 3030 in cooperation with ARDEC.

 

 

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It would probably make sense to stick with the Kongsberg as it's the one chosen for Stryker, but time will tell.

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In general I would like to see them being put on that next generation Bradley chassis, and do test trails for both turrets.

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http://breakingdefense.com/2016/11/army-gets-serious-about-next-tank-next-generation-combat-vehicle/

 

It seems that General McMaster and his team will finally start a push for development of M1 and M2 replacements, so yeah, Future Tank and Future Fighting Vehicle might gain momentum soon.

 

I also like the way they are talking about vehicle protection, so they will still use heavy armor + active protection systems + other solutions like main gun ammo isolated from crew, but it seems that desire is to reduce crew to 3 people, use autoloader, move crew to hull, use unmanned turrets so vehicles in general will stay at lower, more reasonable weight levels without sacrificing protection.

 

In other words new MBT will be similiar in it's concept to M1 TTB and T-14, while new IFV to Puma and T-15.

It's really good that guy like McMaster is at the steer right now, this is what US Army needs, among other things also pushed forward by McMaster, like new Anti Air Defence systems.

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