James Boren (jboren@earthlink.net)
Thu, 15 Jun 2000 02:14:48 -0800


>>Blackeagle wrote:
>> > Well, part of the M1's Gulf War performance was due to it's
>>excellent armor.
>> > The other part was because the nice Soviet made tanks were firing Iraqi
>> > made ammunition, which wasn't up to Russian standards. Had the M1 been
>> > going up against Soviet 125mm ammunition, the results could have been
>> > somewhat different.
>>
>>Yes, but it's still very strong.
>>
>> > Also keep in mind that the M1 is only really armored against tank caliber
>> > firepower in one direction.
>>
>>But, If you wanted to make...let's say 5 super tanks for special
>>missions, You
>>could make the armor thicker all around.
>
>Not really. The issue here is not cost (depleted uranium is so
>cheap it's practically free) but weight. At 65 tons the M1A1 is
>already too heavy for many bridges (especially in areas like the
>Balkans) and nearly impossible to move by air in any real quantities.
>
>The future of tanks is much more likely to be stealth and active
>defenses than thicker armor.

I know this is getting off topic, but as a tank buff I can't resist
it. I just read an article about the U.S. Army Future Combat System
(FCS) meant to replace the Abrams tank.

The army has released the design parameters of this system (note:
they didn't use the word tank)

1. You are right about the weight issue. The army wants the FCS to be
only 17 tons (the latest ver. of the M1A2 is almost 80 tons). This is
mainly to allow the FCS to be transportable by a C-130. The physical
size should be reduced by 50% over the M1 as well.

2. reduce the signature (visual, sound, and IR) by 50% over the M1

3. 200% increase in ability to move over any terrain. (sounds like legs to me)

4. road speed 125 kph / cross country 90 kph

5. range 750 km (250km over the abrams)

6. operate independently to fight 3 battles over a 7 day period with
only 1 resupply

7. crew of 3, or even better--2

8. have a non-lethal capability (this reflects the peacekeeping role
that has become more important, but really--what do they want? I
guess it could fire really big tear gas canisters?)

9. incorporate multiple protection layers. (e.g. systems to disrupt
the optics of enemy gun sights, or missiles. And an Active defense
system to knock down incoming projectiles)

10. The FCS should be able to defeat targets beyond 5 km for direct
fire, 15 km for indirect fire.

11. Ready to be in service by 2012.

Now what is interesting is that these parameters are as specific as
it gets. That is to say this FCS doesn't have to have treads, a gun,
or even be a single unit(e.g. a command unit behind the lines, and a
robotic unit to confront the enemy). Whatever meets the specs is okay.

So that means it is possible--theoretically--for a mobile suit to
replace the M1 abrams (hey, I'm bringing it back on topic!)

-James Boren

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