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hoggydog

Did My Dad Know Best? (an old school view of modern AFVs)

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I'm not that clued up on the latest generation of AFVs out there but after reading up about the T14 and some of the newer bells and whistles available to AFVs in general always makes me think of a story from my youth...

 

Picture it, Mid 80's and the Hoggydog family are off to buy a new car. Soon the choice at the local dealer is whittled down to two Rover SD1s. Both are test driven I and my mother are impressed with the Red one as it has a radio cassette player, electric windows and sunroof and is an automatic. The other is a more basic model. Same car but without the extras listed above.

Guess which one my dad bought? That is right the more basic one.

 

"The more there is on a car, the more there is to go wrong and that costs time and money" were his words.

 

This works with all things, With all these radars, laser bafflers, hard kill systems and technology crammed into these vehicles you increase the amount of servicing and the level of expertise needed to carry out these tasks. You put more workload onto the crew and you increase the logistical nightmare in keeping these vehicles in a battle ready state.

 

And the other issue is that much of this tech (sensors in particular) have to be on the exterior of the vehicle and would be vulnerable to small arms/artillery/environmental damage. That stuff is going to go wrong.

 

Just give me a 120mm rifled gun, some Dorchester armour, slap it on a 30 year old chassis and I will see off any iTank! (it probably will need an OS update before firing its gun anyway!)

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Not sure if he'd accept a laser rangefinder, thermal imager, a ballistic computer, or sight stabilization. Because "it can all fail". Yes, it can. And still I wouldn't want to miss any of these because when they work - and usually these aren't the things that will fail -, they give an enormous advantage. In combat, I don't want a level field. I want as many advantages on my side as possible.

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16 hours ago, hoggydog said:

Just give me a 120mm rifled gun, some Dorchester armour, slap it on a 30 year old chassis and I will see off any iTank! (it probably will need an OS update before firing its gun anyway!)

Unfortunately, warfare is no longer that simple. 

 

Even non-state actors have adapted fairly well to attacking along all domains of a now multi-domain battlefield. 

 

Some of the biggest threats are no longer visible and dont directly effect the battlefield.

 

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I would also posit on the maturity level of said technologies.

 

(Bad) Example

Armour always works (Assuming the enemy doesn't have something capable of perforating it)

Active Protection Systems sometimes work.

 

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9 hours ago, Apocalypse 31 said:

Unfortunately, warfare is no longer that simple. 

 

Even non-state actors have adapted fairly well to attacking along all domains of a now multi-domain battlefield. 

 

Some of the biggest threats are no longer visible and dont directly effect the battlefield.

 

Indeed. and although my original post was a little tongue in cheek it is only natural Armies do what they can to protect their men and materiel from all threats. 

And as Ssnake said. In combat the last think you want is a level playing field you want to know your going to beat the other guy.

 

I think hedge hit the nail on the head. How mature and reliable are these technologies? How fragile are they? Do they increase the maintenance and downtimes of the vehicles, do they increase the workload of the crew? How much more specialist support do they need in the field?

 

History teaches us that newer technologies rarely live up to the manufacturers claims in war (look at the Royal Navies issues with Sea Wolf and Sea Dart in the Falklands)

 

This is what makes simulation such a valuable tool.

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If simulation parameters are based on manufacturer claims... ;)

 

Let's be honest here. We try. We try to get all the relevant information to get the most reliable simulation outcome that we're capable of simulating within the constraints of the application (=real-time, decent framerate, ...) and our business model (it is, after all, commercial software development (= the least amount of effort you can get away with)). But there are always unknowns. Reliability of subsystems for example is a big issue. In the Steel Beasts world, all components work at peak efficiency until or unless they are destroyed. We wouldn't know the MTBF rate and failure distribution for even one of all the different components for even one of our 250+ vehicles. Even if we did, there would be no publicly available data for all the other components, for all the other vehicles. And even if they existed (they don't), they would probably be derived with different methodologies, so the statistical parameters wouldn't be directly comparable.

 

What I can say is that the natural state of a tank is that it's broken. The moment a tank leaves the factory, something in it probably fails. It could be something trivial such as a blinker on the rear fender (irrelevant in combat, but in peacetime the tank may not drive on public roads, period). Or it could be a brake failure (oh, sh!t), or insufficient or too much gas pressure in the recoil dampener (another Oh, sh!t moment if you find out in the wrong moment). Does that mean we shouldn't have brakes or recoil dampeners? Of course not. But since we can't really say how likely it is that such a component breaks, there's basically two options - ignore it in the simulation (doesn't mean it can't happen in real life), or make shit up, like "how often should a player experience this malfunction in one exercise, or in ten exercises". So the training goals dictate that components fail more often than they do in real life because you don't want to experience those 500,000 operating hours MTBF in real-time to teach a student that, Yes, that component there can fail too!

 

So, the purpose of the "simulation" plays a role as well. Realism of outcomes is nice, but sometimes you don't want realism because your time budget is limited.

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Quote: Ssnake's point

 

Aha, so in an ideal world what we need is a switch in the scenario editor (One might say we actually have this already with the damage/system manager module) with the options of:

 

A) You have Kaminsky as a gunner - he drank the brake fluid. (Pre plan your stopping manoeuvrers)

B) Your Soviet "Advisors" are down the pub getting royally dished. (Nothing works)

C) The Political Officer found out, "re-educated" them, and they're now back to work diligently repairing that T-62s you drove into the river last week.

(It'll be working in 10 mins - Political Officers are ruthless taskmasters and the envy of armoured motor pools the world over)

D) Everything works except the left rear brake light - bulbs are on backorder. (Political Officers are not Gods, but he does have a Mr Meeseeks box)

 

 

:)

 

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Quote: Ssnake: What I can say is that the natural state of a tank is that it's broken.

 

Well - maybe on the newfangled tanks you young'uns got. Not the ones I served in though.

 

In the 3 years I served on an M-60A1 (3rd ID/3rd Bgd/4th 64A/C/3Plt I can remember exactly 2 failures on the tanks I was assigned to and one was the crew's fault. The one that was our fault - we threw a track as we slid sideways down a muddy slope and the other was our KW-7 radio encryption interface (I think that was the designator). Other than that we had to replace the gun barrel once and the engine once. The gun reached it's max rounds shot limit and the engine because it reached it's max miles/hours limt. Mandatory replacement. The gun took a morning and it was miserably cold and wet while at Grafenwoehr and the engine took about 45 minutes while parked in the motor pool at our home Kasserne in Aschaffenburg.

 

Other than that nada - no issues and that wasn't uncommon. Our failure rate was the norm in C Co not the exception. We did the preventative maintenance procedures religiously and that probably helped. And it wasn't because we weren't running the tanks either. We spent 4 to 6 months in the field every year training and those tanks got a real workout.

 

So point being I agree with the OP - all those fancy fancy bells and whistles you new guys can't get along with are just more stuff to break.

 

That said there are three of the new techs I would very much have liked to have had on my M-60A1:

1) Gun Stabilizer

2) Thermal Sights

3) 120mm gun

 

The rest is just toy's that will break. Some of which - I will admit - might be useful on the command tanks.

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My experience was, the "toys" usually don't break, it's the mechanical parts. And of course my remarks were a bit tongue in cheek to the extent that I was also lumping in regular maintenance and minor issues. At the end of the day I suppose we can agree that tanks are maintenance intensive. If the crew isn't lazy and takes good care of its tank, it will usually be combat ready. That doesn't mean that there aren't a few parts that need replacement (such as the proverbial lightbulb on the braking lamp). But even good maintenance can't fully prevent that you might develop a leak in an idler wheel axle and suddenly you have a tank on fire:

 

 

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Probably a bad/worn seal.

 

Need a foam or water ext to put that out, out.

It's a heat fire, need something to take the heat away, powder doesn't do that.

 

This type of fire destroyed "Cojone, eh?" in Iraq

 

Cue anecdote about a racing car's turbo fire, inept marshalls and the deployment of 9 x 9kg powder extinguishers, all resulting in re-ignitions and a powder deployment up the exhaust, exploding the turbo.

At which point the driver was ready to kill.

And a small squirt of foam extinguisher to actually put the fire out, out.

 

Anyway, short track it.

It'll be fine.

 

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War is getting more technical and digital by the day. If there is a great power war, APS is going to be fielded. While it may fail, not having it means that you put your gear at increased risk of getting hit and killed, and as such puts you at a technical disadvantage.

 

The thing I'm worried about with all of this technological development and advancement is that things like GPS and datalinks are pretty much relied upon. What happens in a war where GPS jammers are in use by the enemy? What happens when you are engaged in a ECM heavy environment and those datalinks are at risk of being broken, or worse, subverted?

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As for the video: There is a reason the last vehicle in the march-column is always the ARV 😉

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5 hours ago, Hedgehog said:

Probably a bad/worn seal.

 

Need a foam or water ext to put that out, out.

It's a heat fire, need something to take the heat away, powder doesn't do that.

Looked like a CO2 extinguisher to me, they tend to have a fair bit of a cooling effect too.

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7 hours ago, TankHunter said:

War is getting more technical and digital by the day. If there is a great power war, APS is going to be fielded. While it may fail, not having it means that you put your gear at increased risk of getting hit and killed, and as such puts you at a technical disadvantage.

 

The thing I'm worried about with all of this technological development and advancement is that things like GPS and datalinks are pretty much relied upon. What happens in a war where GPS jammers are in use by the enemy? What happens when you are engaged in a ECM heavy environment and those datalinks are at risk of being broken, or worse, subverted?

Well, the good thing about digital datalinks is they are harder to jam as their bandwidth is much smaller

200hz as opposed to 3khz for a phonic transmission.

 

There was a Brit Army exercise not so long ago where the powers banned voice transmissions, afterwards half the BG used text, and the older guys stuck to voice. Or you could use a digital voice mode.

 

If you wanted to do jamming over a large area, you need either a few transmitters with lot of power (hello Mr HARM) or lots of smaller transmitters spread everywhere (hello logistics drain)

 

Also there are backup methods to consider, like dispatch riders

 

I would class jamming as a support package like artillery, good for tactical advantages, but poor as a strategic option, as you are also likely to jam your own comms.

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Posted (edited)

When it  comes to aviation the fighter  mafia also had this view.

 

 

They lost any remaining credibility after the gulf war. They advocated for simplicity and cheap  mass production over high tech and quality.

There is merit to cost effectiveness but not if it sacrifices too much capability or result in outright obselete equipment.

 

They said high tech platforms would fail the test of combat . They didnt. 

 

 

Edited by Kev2go

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well, the most revolutionary part of the T-14 is the unmanned turret. it allows for a smaller profile turret, which means a lower weight turret, which means you can either increase the protection of the hull, 

or reduce the overall weight of the entire vehicle.  the current T-14 is about 15+ tonnes lighter than the latest abrams upgrade.

with reduced weight of the vehicle, you reduce strain on the suspension, transmission, engine.. so theoretically it should be fairly reliable at least automotively. 

the abrams on the other side might be struggling with the latest armour upgrades, unless the suspension itself is upgraded as well, and even then you might get stress fractures in the hull and turret. 

 

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23 minutes ago, dejawolf said:

the abrams on the other side might be struggling with the latest armour upgrades, unless the suspension itself is upgraded as well, and even then you might get stress fractures in the hull and turret. 

 

Unless it was over engineered to begin with.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, TSe419E said:

Unless it was over engineered to begin with.

sure, it was over-engineered. back in the 1980s, when it weighed in at 54.4 metric tonnes.  

Edited by dejawolf

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