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Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

This is a discussion on Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield within the World Armed Forces forums, part of the World Strategic Defence Area category; I've seen that the future of the tank is much disputed, so I decided to create a thread where we ...

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    rommel's Avatar
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    Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    I've seen that the future of the tank is much disputed, so I decided to create a thread where we can talk about the tank's current situation in army and what will become in the future.

    Presently, the MBT is still a formidable weapon in many army, but his future is very incertain. The use doctrine by NATO of tank was heavy brigade or division to counter an massive ennemy armored attack. But since the end of the Cold War and the fall of Soviet Union/Warsaw Pact, there's no much heavy armor formation which can threaten Europe integrity.

    Presently, US Army and Canadian Armed Forces are forming new motorized brigade with Light Armored Vehicule that can be deployed and react much faster to counter a potentiel ennemy. Also, the LAV are more oriented in the new intelligence dominance warfare. The LAV are better in the new style of asymetric land warfare since they can be deploy at a lighting speed and insure information dominance.

    But the US intend to keep the tank within heavy brigade and division (Canada don't have the money to keep our 113 Leo C2 around) to counter heavy formation (like in Iraq, the Abrams where quite useful).

    As an infantryman, my point of view is that both are important for us, merely grunt. The tank are the perfect direct support weapon, it draw the fire and the attention of the ennemy and got a pretty decent firepower. The LAV are important since they can give us much more info about the battlefield (I'm thinking about the Canadian Army's Coyote Recon Vehicule) and are much faster to surprise the ennemy.

    Still, both are extremely vulnerable to infantry's attack, after all, we are the most versatile "weapon" (i don't like being call a weapon even though, but i cannot find better word)

    Tanks are good at conventional warfare, LAV are made for asymetric and movement warfare. Each have his own strengh and weakness.

    But each army still need a balance between those element in an army. The tank's dominance on the modern battlefield is over, but we CANNOT say that we are into a LAV's dominance era due to the superior quality of infantry's weapon today.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    first I think if a nation has gained air surpremacy the opposing nations MBT will be ineffective. However the nation with the air surpremacy will be able to control the total battle space and use the MBT as a valued chess piece.

    If you have infantry which are dug into a city the MBT can move its way toward the urban areas firing at structures with its main gun and coax systems. I think U.S forces would have had a terrriable time in falluja with out the MBT.

    you can see that even LAV are starting to get very heavy just like a MBT. I think you have to look at the BTR-T which russia has developed. I wish and I think a few U.S commanders would love to have that system in Iraq as we speak. So is the BTRT a LAV? no it is not. It is a hybrid MBT designed to be more effective at killing dismounts. So I think the concept of a system that has heavy armour designed to take and survive hits on the modern battle field is still very valid for today and tommorw....cheers ute.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    I feel combat vehicles, such as the tank, LAV, APC, etc. Will gradually be phased out, especially when nations start introducing things like the Land Warrior, and make the already versatile infantryman even more lethal. Vehicles are great for transporting troops, but they will become more and more vulnerable, as air power and shoulder-fired ATGM's becomes their demise. Personally, I see a lot of potential in the 4-man fireteam, and armed with Land Warrior and the appropriate weapons, they'd fare great against any type of enemy threat (excluding ships of course).

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    Depends if tanks don't evolve. Add SAMs, active defences and they could still be usefull. And you could always hide a tank even though difficulte. There were many armoured vechiles that escaped US bombing in GW-1. My guess is if in Iraq armour survived the air superority of the Americans other nations like Brazil could hide tanks almost any where. And its not like every nation has to deal with USAF air power.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    US army was most of the times on the forefront of any fighting doctrine, setting the trends. And last time i checked, they did not have a replacement MBT for abrams. At first they did have that future combat system (singular) which was a MBT of a sort, albeit lighter and smaller than abrams, in the 40 ton range. But when that got cancelled and replaced with the future combat systems (plural) idea, no vehicle in that whole myriad of 'em was over 20 tons. Only because of technical dificulties to make such a light vehicle and yet have a powerful gun on it did the max tonnage increase to 30 tons. One of big reasons, of course, is ability to be flown in anywhere in the world. So that's quite a different requirement than Israel, for example, has. Its merkava 4 is probably largest, heaviest tenk in the world right now. But it is tailored for their specific requirements.

    Air power was showing how it can stop tank divisions even back in ww2, situation is only worse for the tanks today, providing there is such air superiority. To make long story short, in my opinion your average tank of tomorrow is gonna be smaller and lighter than today's. And it will keep shrinking for couple of decades until (hopefully!! ) walking mechs come to life, where will then be light speedy vehicles on one hand for quick dashes and mechs on the other hand for battle in rough terrain, urban enviroments, etc. But that's almost SF now, who know if 50 or 100 years would be enough for that.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    the reason the U.S has no replacement for the abrams in dev is because TRADOC does not see any OPFOR tank present or in Dev that could dethrown the Abrams. There are of course upgrades in the works by many private corperations that are sent to Iraq to be field tested.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    Well, Canadian Armed Force intend to retired all tank we have and to use LAV as primary combat vehicule. But still, I think that each country has to check what are his need in the defence matter. Canada wouldn't be attacking a country with heavy armor formation, we are more like to support UN's mission and fight against warlord.

    LAV are better suited for asymetric warfare than tank. For exemple, our Coyote Recon Vehicule are the art-of-state in recon equipment. Each Coyote has a all-weather radar (which can detect a 25km flying target at low-altitude or a vehicule at 12km), advanced visual sensor (thermal imager and daylight camera, we can spot a moving man at 3km with thoses cams) and some of them incorporate our latest technology research by Defence Canada: the Small Arms Detection and Localization System (SADLS) or Ferret, as called by the soldier (The SADLS produces real time data by detecting and localizing small arms fire.The system indicates, the direction of fire, bearing, elevation and range, within seconds of the shot being fired. This system also determines near miss distance and the calibre of the projectile, including fire from suppressed weapons. It can detect everything within 1km of the vehicule, this is something US infantry would be very happy to have in Iraq)

    Along with Coyote, there will be MGS (Mobile Gun System) which are a 105mm rifled gun mounted on a LAV 8X8 chassis, and the MMEV. The MMEV will only be deployed in 2010.


    Also, our LAV-III are on the way to be upgrade with new technology to insure battlefield information dominance.
    VALCARTIER, Québec — Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) Valcartier, an agency of the Department of National Defence, has developed futuristic technologies capable of being integrated to light armoured vehicles (LAV III) used by the Canadian Forces. If you think you're equipped with the latest technology, think again! DRDC scientists and technicians are currently developing technologies beyond our wildest imaginings!

    As part of a project entitled Future Armoured Vehicle System (FAVS), DRDC researchers have, for the first time, integrated situation awareness, defence and navigation systems in the management module of a LAV III. To do this, they have developed a new vehicle radar system, an infrared camera, self-protection systems, and a head-mounted immersive visualization system. From 6 to 24 September 2004, DRDC conducted tests on all these systems, incorporated into a single LAV III. Let's take a look at some of these technologies.

    Vehicle radar and infrared sensors
    These two technologies may be different but they fulfill the same purpose: the detection of objectives. In fact, these two complementary systems can automatically sweep the horizon to detect potential targets. The user has only to program the particular area he wishes to observe, and everything is done automatically. The radar, capable of sensing targets up to four kilometres away, is not affected by bad weather because it is based on extremely high frequency detection. The high-resolution infrared camera has three functions: to follow the radar, to align itself with the crew commander's head, and to settle on a fixed point while indicating the proper direction.

    Defensive aids suite
    This consists of a laser warning detector system and a missile approach warning system that triggers automatic countermeasures. When a laser marks a vehicle, the gun turns automatically in the direction of the threat and readies itself to fire. Should a missile be heading towards the vehicle, the system produces a blinding laser and generates false objectives to change the missile's trajectory.

    The data fusion system: the nerve centre of the entire system
    Without a doubt, this is the most important component, as it collects the data sent by the radar, infrared camera and laser warning sensors. It eliminates false alarms– objects on the battlefield that may create confusion – and automatically processes information to display the objectives in order of priority. The system also has a vehicle identification bank and can therefore identify the type of target or vehicle observed. The system's recognition rate is highly impressive, exceeding 95% for objectives that occupy an adequate number of pixels!


    A 360-degree view…!
    A panospheric camera installed on the vehicle offers the crew commander a 360-degree peripheral view outside the vehicle without having to expose himself. Thanks to the head-mounted system, the crew commander enjoys the same view he would have outside the vehicle. Moreover, he sees icons that represent all the potential targets processed by the radar/infrared data fusion system, which defines priorities and identifies the types of the vehicles, their co-ordinates, their distance, etc. The greatest challenge will be to learn the location of the commands on the two joysticks used by the crew commander!

    The future at our doorstep
    The transition from the M113 armoured personnel carrier to the LAV III represents a huge change in direction for the combat trades. Immediately on receiving the new vehicle, DRDC scientists and technicians were mandated to make the operators' job easier and specifically adapt the vehicles to Canadian missions. The FAVS project has generated a prototype that makes effective use of a variety of technologies at the cutting edge of the weapons industry.

    These new technologies may one day play a central role in the next generation of light armoured vehicles. There is little doubt that other countries that use this type of combat vehicle will also be closely following future developments in this area of research.
    Like I said before, fighting against a falling state or a warlord or terrorism, it's preferable to have LAV since they can move faster and they are better for this specific kind of warfare, as they are can domine the information field.


    But still, tank should keep his place in the Army as the battering ram. One of my friend, who served in the armor before, received both tank and LAV training. He told me that driving a tank was easy, you can just plow and power your way across terrain. While with a wheeled vehicule, your have to advance with caution on the target, and cover " yourself " with bushes and environnement. (The Army Reserve unit have tank before, but we took the tank of the Reserve and give them G-Wagen instead...) The tank are for conventionnal warfare mainly. They need external support as infantry or Air Defence because they are mainly design to faced ennemy tank and fortified postion.

    While LAV are design to react much faster and are also better suited to the modern deep movement warfare. For exemple, the Blitzkrieg original concept use tank to only cut the support, supply of the ennemy by flanking or surround them while infantry, heavy artillery and aviation will actually fight to destroy the pocket. Tank formation was supposed to be a fast unit, lightly armored that disrupt the ennemy battleline with speed and surprise, not by heavy firepower. But this role actually become the LAV's one... The US Army applyed the original Blitzkrieg concept during both GW, they tried to not confront Iraqi's armor formation directly, and sometime, they even just ignored them and bypass the ennemy. But tank, due to they size, easy detectability, and "slow" speed, are not suited for asymetric warfare or better know as GUERILLA warfare.

    So both are useful, but for different use only. Like I said before, each has it's own weakness and strengh. It up to you to use it correctly.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    Think about it...waht role do tanks surve? to kill other tanks!!! if no one had tanks, the tank would be unneeded.
    Disadvantages:
    1. very expensive
    2. cannot fight in all terrain, especially forests
    3. a 5 million$ tank can be killed by a 400$ rpg
    4. fire support? how about SPA's? they are much better than tanks at that job
    5. tanks are rather vulnerable in urban combat, despite city warefare upgrades.
    6. tanks are the epitome of the 1970s soviet armored thrust and the blitzkreig. modern warefare requires light and easily mobile units, of which a 70ton tank is not. with doctrine change, equipemnt needs to change too.
    7. modern strike fighters and attack helicopters would have no problem taking out an MBT.

    advantage:
    there are still many nations operating cold war tank fleets, and the best way to handle them is to with your own tanks.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    Future of Tanks ?

    Smaller, faster and part of a huge combat system wich links all forces
    the tanks will be provided by a number of ugv and uav's

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    Quote Originally Posted by MIGleader
    Think about it...waht role do tanks surve? to kill other tanks!!! if no one had tanks, the tank would be unneeded.
    Disadvantages:
    1. very expensive
    2. cannot fight in all terrain, especially forests
    3. a 5 million$ tank can be killed by a 400$ rpg
    4. fire support? how about SPA's? they are much better than tanks at that job
    5. tanks are rather vulnerable in urban combat, despite city warefare upgrades.
    6. tanks are the epitome of the 1970s soviet armored thrust and the blitzkreig. modern warefare requires light and easily mobile units, of which a 70ton tank is not. with doctrine change, equipemnt needs to change too.
    7. modern strike fighters and attack helicopters would have no problem taking out an MBT.

    advantage:
    there are still many nations operating cold war tank fleets, and the best way to handle them is to with your own tanks.
    No quite sure of that Mig...

    Modern LAV are even more costy than tank. 600 milions for 66 Stryker MGS = 9 millions per Stryker...

    LAV cannot move everywhere, the wheel will stuck in mud, sand and snow, and it cannot cross obstacle like tracked vehicule does.

    A 9 millions LAV can be killed by a 2 dollars machine-gun bullet or a 10$ mine

    SPA made for indirect support, but, we, infantry, we need not only indirect support, but also direct fire support, since it's more accurate and more useful to protect us. You will not take you lighlty armored SPA to the frontline along infantry...

    Well, LAV are also very vulnerable, but LAV (at least Canadian one) have more info than the tank, that mean that we are able to see the ennemy where every it hide because our Canadian LAV are made for information dominance.

    Blitzkrieg IS modern movement warfare, it's only that we didn't applyed the original concept... Read more on this subject... Following the Blitzkrieg concept, tank should be fast and small, and rely on speed and surprise attack to defeat the ennemy, that's why Pz III didn't have a decent firepower at the beginning, they were lightly armored, relatively fast and Pz IV was only a support tank to Pz III.

    LAV is also very vulnerable to air attack (execpt maybe the future MMEV) but LAV will be able to detect (Coyote Recon Vehicule has an radar and maybe the LAV-III will be fitted with one...) and hide... But if they are caught, they are dead also...

    The LAV only have advantage in asymetric warfare since they are faster and some (Canadian LAV) domine the battlefield with in the information warfare. Instead of relying on armor to protect themselves, they are the typical illustration of "Hit them first before they hit us" because they rely on speed and the first strike-capability to survive on the modern battlefield.

    On a conventionnal warfare, tank tend to survive better, even if they are fire magnet because tank don't just have a massive firepower, they also have this morale shock effect, a couple of big metal monster breaking in a defensive position is something that will frighten the ennemy. A tank look lethal, a LAV looks more like a toy...

    Both warfare are fought these day, but you need a balance of both force (tank and LAV), you CANNOT only rely on one, execpt if you're really sure that you'll never either a conventionnal or a asymetric war.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    advantage of LAVs are their speed and ability to carry different weapons. they can carry mortors, turrets, anti-tank missiles, AA guns, etc. though lack of heavy armour, they make up for speed.

    Well have you guys thought about unmanned fully robotic tanks? yeah sounds like crap but the US has plans to work on such vehicles. And I meen tanks without a human pilot, without any remote control. they can think for themselves. such tanks require camaras to tell their location, and ability to tell friends from foe. to tell you the truth, this technology won't be completed until the 2030s or 40s. these would turn warfare into a video game but this technology won't be here for a while.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    this new american tank wich is in develoment for FCS could be unmanned IMO
    i mean have you seen it on discovery channel? just wow...

    but we also have some nice toys

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    Some picture about the Canadian Army transformation and massive introduction of LAV

    This project is called Army of Future

    Coyote Recon Vehicule, equiped with thermal and daylight camera, radar and SADLS


    Future Armoured Vehicle System (FAVS), it's the LAV-III with new advanced sensor (radar and thermal camera linked to the vehicule commander's helmet, new battle management system, target acquiring and display system, new defensive system)


    LAV-TUA (Tow Under Armor) A LAV Chassis based TOW Carrier


    LAV-MGS (Mobile Gun System, the famous Stryker) A LAV Chassis with a automated turret and a 105mm L7 Rifled Gun


    A LAV-III based 105mm SPA, still in study...


    MMEV or Multiple-Mission Effect Vehicle, based on the ADAT design, it's a Air Defence and Anti-Tank LAV


    Engineer LAV, equiped with a dozer blade/SMCD (Surface Munitions Clearing Device), the safe-lane marking system, and a hydraulic power take-off for the auger and other tools


    LAV-CP (Command Post) With additional Map Table and communicatio equipment + a tent shelter which can be erected to the rear and encloses the open ramp to extend usable work space
    Last edited by rommel; 01-15-2006 at 02:27 PM.

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    see, this is my point. you can equip LAVs with a variaty of equipment and weapons. nice pictures. I wouldnt call these tanks though. they are more in the field of APCs. tanks are heavy armoured vehicles. weapons with only one job, destroy. LAVs have all sorts of jobs and carry troops too.

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    Re: Future of the Tank on the Modern Battlefield

    Can I ask a serious question ?

    Why are tanks so heavy ?

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