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  1. Aluminum IMHO is not only viable, but a great choice "under" the primary outer armor that isn't suseptable to a simple molotov, and used where ceramics are sandwiched between the outer armor and this inner skin since some of these ceramics or special alloys spall like mad. From a cost, ease of fabrication, resistence to oxidation, weight to protection ratio (1/3 the weight at 2/3rds the protection in an oversimplified RHA comparison), resources nationally available, ability to modify or repair if damaged, low spall with the correct alloy... perspectives, aluminum is hardly this obselete material. It just needs used where it gives you the best it can, while not exposing this materials weaknesses (low melting point etc), and this is achieved in a layered armor where the lighter low spalling aluminum allow is used on the inside.
  2. Sometimes people write something really profound, and over time things get obfuscated, but what they wrote is still factually correct regards certain technical aspects.
  3. Oh crap... I mentioned the Stryker. Strike that, he uses steel armor, but even he uses aluminum in many non-armor parts.
  4. Read King of the Killing Zone. http://www.amazon.com/King-Killing-Zone-Kelly/dp/0393026485 http://www.amazon.com/King-Of-The-Killing-Zone/dp/0393332934 Not a new book, and no cool pictures, but it explains some things that you would benefit from in your discussions.
  5. You're going to see a mix of alloys being used on most MBTs and APC/IFVs today. Different alloys have different desirable or undesirable properties. Aluminum spalls little, is very light and compared to the protection per pound it is actually very good, it is very weather, and wear and tear resistant. Aluminum as used on APC/MBTs today isn't the cheapest material, but it's by far not the most expensive either, it has low magnetic properties and is conductive, it's heat resistant (by far not the best, but not horrible either - although a Molotov cocktail will cause it to melt - but it's far better than say a UHMWPE), it's something that can be welded, drilled, or shaped, and it can be mass produced using nationally available resources (i.e. no dependencies). It doesn't have crazy expansion/contraction coefficients, and it's rigid (the alloys used). Just like the ammo bunker doors are a titanium alloy on the M1, because for that application that material has the best mix of properties, aluminum has it's role in modern armor design, i.e. wheels, inner armor plating where it acts as part of the spall protection... For example, while the Bradley was mocked in movies like "The Pentagon Wars," unlike most of it's peers, because it used that silly aluminum, you didn't get the spalling you had on near all IFVs of the time, and they were able to get a level of protection that would have made the vehicle much heavier had they used steel all the way. But it does make for a funny sight when an M2, M113, HMMWV etc melts away into a puddle. Certain alloys of aluminum spall very little, but they still provide some ballistic protection (~2/3rd of RHA steel at 1/3rd the weight) and it won't go bad if it gets wet, nor will it rust, or degrade over the years like an aramid fiber pressed into resin will (which is used on the Bradley as well). While aluminum will melt ~450C (depends on alloy), if you heat up the inside of the crew compartment long enough for that to happen (It's not instantaneous), it's all a moot point anyhow for the crew. You can have hydraulic fluid splash on it, paint it, sand blast or step all over it, shock it through impacts, or expose it to sun and salt water, and you have no issues. Realize, these vehicle have to be built not only for today, but to last for the next 30+ years and that will include repair, upgrades and refurbishment as well, and aluminum as a material on the inside armor of a vehicle does very well, just like it does well for road wheels (despite melting - that's why you see the M1s laying on their bellies, they get lit up in a Molotov party usually if abandoned).
  6. Maybe it's kryptonite with a red gummy bear filling?
  7. Newer: http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a481408.pdf Here's a simple online tool that can make the comparison: http://www.onlinemetals.com/calculator.cfm To make the comparison: 2.74 inches of steel RHA or 4.72 inches of (7075) aluminum have near identical ballistic protection. The Aluminum will provide the same level of protection as the steel, stopping the round. But the weight is 68.65 pounds per square foot, while the steel plate weighs in at 112.06 pounds. If we penetrate the same plates with a more powerful round, the aluminum will spall less. See the advantage of using that weak, pathetic, and unmanly aluminum? It's not always about achieving the most protection in the least volume. It's also important to achieve a level of protection and stay under a weight threshold, or to avoid spall... Aluminum: Weight savings Corrosion/oxidation properties National manufacturing base Nationally available elemental/base resources Relatively easy to work with in production High volume of production possible Cost effective Good/low spalling material with proper alloy selection or layering Material that has a long life and is repairable, i.e. can be welded (patched) etc. Electrically conductive Low magnetic properties Aluminum has its application: M1126(Stryker family), M2, M113, HMMWV class, yes even the M1 uses Aluminum to at least "some" degree.
  8. Aluminum isn't all the same. Aluminum is light, has excellent corrosion properties, can act as a back plate to improve other armors effectiveness while providing some ballistic and spall protection in case of perforation. What do you think is a bigger hazard when exposed to heat, Aramid/resin spall liners, or aluminum plating? Some of these aluminum alloys actually have a substantial ballistic protection, much more than you would think from an aluminum. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/153139.pdf Some other things one must consider is availability of raw materials and source of these materials, ability to mass produce (some things are hard to work with), and cost. Example: If you use titanium, the source nations will be China, Russia, Kazakhstan and the Ukraine. The only country that is a significant titanium producer that is an ally is Japan. Titanium is very expensive. Smart idea to use titanium in armor? Maybe only in small quantities, for those specialized applications.
  9. Wow- Thank you for the links and the translation. I can only do English, German and a very little bit Korean. What is important to remember when reading this, isn't that the Merkava's were knocked out (well that matters too - sad for the guys), but as it pertains to this discussion, that they are dealing with a huge (pun intended) IED/Mine threat. "Merkava" was undermined landmine containing 900-1,100 kg (!) BB." "and the tank was blown Guy landmine containing 300-350 kg of explosives." There is a difference between a 6, 8 or 10Kg blast and 1,100Kg. That is about 110 times what a Western MBT is really designed for. When you're dealing with so much force that the turret is thrown 130 meters, not from secondary explosions, rather from the initial blast, you are far exceeding anything that any sort of vehicle is designed for. If you run over something that size with a Buffalo, made for clearing IEDs/mines, you are done. Pointing the finger at the Israeli Merkava and stating that this vehicle is not very apt at dealing with mines or IEDs, is ignoring the level of threat that these machines are exposed to. Of course the Israeli's got pummeled with ATGMs and RPG style weapons as well. The problem with Lebanon is that Syria, Iran, and others have been backdooring all sorts of goodies to the bad guys.
  10. We managed to discuss the idea of sacrificial armor and what that is. Now let's discuss the importance of interior geometry, and compartmentalization. Interior geometry relates to not putting crew members in the same axis from either the front or the sides. This doesn't prevent penetration, but it reduces the extent of damage when penetrated, i.e. you tend to lose less people with a single event. With the M1 you have separation along all three axis so that crew members are separated (x, y, z). It's not perfect, of course here you're dealing with the reality of limited space and the constraints of how you can lay things out inside the vehicle. If two people are beside or in front of each other, then the probability of a single event taking both of them out is higher than if they are separated. Since the hull is narrower, tracks take up a great deal of the volume, you are very limited if you put people in the hull, plus you lose the y axis. An excellent picture of this concept: http://www.inetres.com/gp/military/cv/tank/M1/M1A1_internal.gif Unfortunately this picture isn't 3D, there is also separation from left to right, with the loader being far left, the driver in the middle, and the gunner and TC on the right, however, the TC is elevated over the gunner (y). While this looks cool, this is a violation of this basic principal: http://www.nemo.nu/ibisportal/5pansar/5sidor/5bilder/tjorniritn.jpg A quick search of future MBT brought this. The personnel on the left side of the vehicle are "in line." (A simple google search under future MBT) Wrong: http://www.oocities.org/area51/rampart/1966/tless1.jpg Wrong: http://img13.imageshack.us/img13/101/55379291.jpg These are designs where a penetration from either side if it is in the axis of a crew member, it will likely take out multiple in a single event. Both from the front and the side, no two men are in the same axis (at least not entirely) in an M1 in order to minimize casualties if you have a penetration. That is another "basic" concept. Another concept is compartmentalization. Like a submarine. It is not without reason that in events where turret crew are injured or killed, the driver of the M1 survives, often unscathed. It is also not without reason why if the driver is hit, the turret will likely survive. Unfortunately, here too are constraints, and the open turret layout (sort of necessary) at least when the M1 was developed is less than ideal.
  11. (extensive time) M1A1 (a lot), M1A2SEP, M2A2ODS (a lot), M2A3 (limited time- touring, joy rides, or crap we shot apart) M1A2, Leo2A4, M60A3, BMP1, BMP2, BTR60, BTR70, T72M1 (Iraq had the Polish export model among other variants), T55, T80U (Korea), K1 (Korea), M113, M577 (or whatever the TAC vehicles nomenclature is), M88 (I had a buddy CW3 and that's what he rode around in, so I joined him occasionally) But the coolest tank ever was one my unit built for the local Iraqi's to help them guard a fire-base in a bad area of Baghdad. Yes, it had power and A/C. The the machine gun and the optics worked and our mechanics and the locals helping were able to even get it to where the turret would traverse. That turret had a massive construction I-beam frame underneath it, and was sandbagged all around. The building underneath was an Iraqi air defense bunker, so it was solid. The local Iraqi's that took over inherited this "contraption." It eventually had two operational MGs. To answer the likely question: Main gun wasn't operational.
  12. That's not what I said. The front is where you want to get hit, but the rear will also protect fairly well using a sacrificial concept in how it protects you. You can't armor everything like the turret front. While possibly or even likely to cause a mobility kill, I "personally" would rather take a hit (without the special sauces added) from an advanced RPG in to the rear than hull side. My argument is one of lesser evils when things don't go the way you want.
  13. It never hurts to study/learn more.
  14. I don't think so. Unless someone else took a pic as well or its a similar pic that's not the same (benefit of the doubt). That's my pic. My camera was my hobby while deployed.
  15. I guess I'm not that knowledgeable.
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