APC or IFV

Discussion in 'World Armed Forces' started by Miragedriver, Oct 29, 2014.

  1. Miragedriver
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    Miragedriver Brigadier

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    Since there are lot of talks about APC and IFV these days I'd like to begin a thread regarding that blurry line that separates APC from IFV. Typically, an IFV (Infantry Fighting Vehicle) carries decent weaponry - a turreted automatic cannon of 20mm or better and it will stick around once it has dropped off its dismounts to support them. APCs are armored taxis, with pintel or remote machine guns for self-defense. After it has dropped off its infantry it will retreat to cover.

    However with the proliferation of new weapon system and turret mounted auto-cannons the docile APC (affectionately known as the battlefield taxi) can know aspire to reach the status of IFV.

    Armor levels or tracks/wheels is not a pre-requisite - the Stryker is a wheeled APC with moderate armor while the BMP1 is a tracked IFV with less armor. The Israeli Namer has tracks and more armor than any IFV on the planet, but it is classed as an APC due to the lack of offensive armament. LAV-25 and the Canadian LAV-III would class as an IFV, as both have turreted weaponry as well as dismounts.

    For another example look at the BTR-90. BTRs were always classed as APCs but now when they get the big gun they become the IFVs, while on the other side you have the BMP-1,2,3 which were always true IFVs. Also, you will often see LAV 25 classed as APC, while it's counterparts with very similar characteristics might be classed as IFVs. The way I see it there are those classic APCs, lightly armored with machinegun such as M113, on the other side there are 'true' IFVs like BMP-3, Puma, Warrior or Bradley, and then there are those vehicles that are something between APC and IFV, while heaving light armor, and not too much protected they carry a big gun instead of machine gun, such as LAV 25, WZ 551 or BTR 90.

    I would like to open this up to discussion and talk not only about the subtle differences APCs and IFV but also their capabilities; tracked vs wheeled and which are better and which are death traps. Hope you all enjoy.

    PLEASE no kicking, no pushing, no shoving and remember the rules laid down by the forum. We do not want to upset the moderators, or you will receive the wrath of Jeff and Popeye.



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  2. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    The APC and IFV are still primarily differentiated by the turret system.
    Fist I think We should define a APC. A Armored Personal Carrier is defined by the Treaty on Conventional Armed Forces in Europe (CFE) as
    that same treaty defines a IFV as
    now oddly here we find the one weirdo, the Merkava Tank form Israel technically can be considered a IFV. it has a crew of 4 plus can carry 6 troops. there was also the United Defence M8 Thunderbolt 120mm Demonstrator which also had a 4 man passenger compartment and a 120mm cannon.

    Now in the modern Age All combat vehicles are modular. and a APC base hull is easily converted into a IFV and other platforms.

    Now missed opportunity here in my view was the M8 Armored gun system. particularly the Thunderbolt vehicle which was offered by United defence to the US Army, the Baseline of that family entered Thai service as the Stingray light tank. The Thunderbolt used a Hybrid drive opening the rear engine compartment for use as a infantry compartment. now using that hull base I see no reason why it could not be mated to a IFV turret and make a family of Airborne combat vehicles for Expeditionary Airborne forces using C130J's for tactical deployment.
     
    #2 TerraN_EmpirE, Oct 29, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  3. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    now to expand a bit If the difference between a IFV and a APC or ICV( infantry Carrier Vehicle, Modern parlance )
    These are the specs of the US Army's LAVIII aka the Stryker ICV
    Weight 16.47 t (18.12 ST)
    Length 6.95 m (22 ft 10 in)
    Width 2.72 m (8 ft 11 in)
    Height 2.64 m (8 ft 8 in)
    Crew 2+9
    Armor 14.5 mm resistant[1]
    Main
    armament
    0.5 inch (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine gun or 40 mm Mk 19 grenade launcher or four M6 smoke grenade launcher mounted in a Protector Remote Weapon Station (ICV)
    Secondary
    armament
    .50-inch M2 MG and 7.62mm M240 machine gun (MGS)
    Engine diesel
    260 kW (350 hp)
    Power/weight ICV: 15.8 kW/t (19.3 hp/sh tn)
    Suspension 8×8 wheeled
    Operational
    range
    500 km (310 mi)
    Speed 100 km/h (62 mph)
    now compare to the NZLAV a comparable LAVIII IFV
    Weight 16.95 t
    Length 6.98 m (22.9 ft)
    Width 2.7 m (8.9 ft)
    Height 2.8 m (9.2 ft)
    Crew 3 (+ 6 or 7 passengers)
    Main
    armament
    1 × M242 25 mm chain gun with TIS
    Secondary
    armament
    1 × C6 7.62 mm machine gun
    (coaxial)
    1 × C9A2 5.56 mm or C6 7.62 mm machine gun
    (pintle mount)
    Engine Caterpillar 3126 diesel
    260 kW (350 hp)
    Suspension Hydropneumatic
    Operational
    range
    450 km (280 mi)
    Speed 100 km/h (62 mph)

    now note both vehicles are the same footprint other then the turret. yet the Stryker carries as much as 2 more soldiers thats a factor to consider in most ICV to IFV comparisons you normally sacrifice troop load for turret.
    There are some new systems that change that though, the Kongsberg Protech Systems' Medium Caliber Remote Weapons Station for example looks like a Conventional turret and mounts up to a 50mm cannon but sits on the hull and is unmanned. Prototypes of Strykers fitted with the MCWS have the full infantry load but mount a full 30mm cannon and coaxial MG. this represents a new generation of IFV that can have it's fire power and infantry to.
     
  4. Miragedriver
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    Miragedriver Brigadier

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    So, officially, the only difference is the armament: If it's below 20mm, it's a APC, if it's 20mm and above, it's a IFV?

    Number of passengers doesn't count, armor level doesn't count, capability to keep up with tanks doesn't count.

    The "Protocol on Existing Types of Conventional Armaments and Equipment" within the CFE Treaty framework (can be found at below link) is also interesting as it presents a list of vehicles sorted into these categories (for all NATO and Warsaw Pacts weapon systems active in 1990).

    With regard to that document, the protocol clearly sets the M113 in the "APC" category, including all basic models of it. However, for example, the NM-135, a Norwegian M113 version mounting a 20mm turret, falls into the "IFV" category in the same protocol.


    PROTOCOL ON EXISTING TYPES OF
    CONVENTIONAL ARMAMENTS AND EQUIPMENT

    CFE TREATY: PROTOCOL ON EXISTING TYPES OF CONVENTIONAL ARMAMENTS AND EQUIPMENT



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  5. Miragedriver
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    Miragedriver Brigadier

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    Please let me elaborate on the last post. Personally I think it all depends on what the role of an IFV and an APC in involved in. From my limited understanding of combat doctrine, the APC doesn't "fight". Its armament is self-defense only, and it generally isn't a platform from which the infantry squad fights - it only serves to transport it into action.

    The IFV however provides an actual combat capability - a fire support platform operating with the infantry in combat, and a vehicle that at least somewhat has the ability to fight its way into the mission area (which, no, is not something an APC would ever do on purpose).

    Now, with regard to armament - you don't mount a bigger gun on a vehicle just because it's bigger/better of course. The NM-135, unlike the original M113, is designed to fight as an IFV. Its operational use is as an IFV as described above.

    Now, the 20mm caliber was chosen as the divider because it's the point at which the armament becomes "non-defensive". With a .50cal HMG (or a 14.5mm for my Eastern Block brothers), you can't really shoot up enemy armored vehicles, or lend effective penetrating fire to your infantry. Meaning with a vehicle equipped with a HMG you cannot perform the above mission to "fight with the infantry". You can defend yourself, but you can't actively, offensively fight.

    With a 20mm gun (and maybe an ATGM launcher), you're at the point where you can actually do that. 20mm APDS provides good behind-protection effects in typical infantry combat terrains, and - let's not forget that - 20mm is also "officially" the point where you're allowed to use HE/shrapnel ammunition on the enemy.


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  6. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    Yup that's the thrust of it. Any weight of armor so long as it can carry a squad sized element and is armed with a MG of below 20mm is a APC, any weight of armor so long as it carries a squad sized combat element armed with a 20mm and above is a IFV. Doesn't matter if its a MRAP on 4 wheels. If it has a 20mm cannon mounted its a IFV.
    The weight, speed, specific details are all set by the wants of and resources available to the specific defense agency. But those stated by the treaty are the general definition. So a Bradley without a turret is a APC, well a M113 retrofitted with a 30mm turret is a IFV.
    A USMC AAV7A2 is a APC as it mounts a 12.7mm HMG and a 40mm grenade launcher.
    Well a LAV25 with a 25mm cannon is a IFV.
    If some insane guy in ISIL takes a minivan mounts steel plates to it and fixes a NTW20 Payload rifle to the hood.... It is a ridiculous IFV
     
    #6 TerraN_EmpirE, Oct 30, 2014
    Last edited: Oct 30, 2014
  7. Miragedriver
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    Miragedriver Brigadier

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    Well I’m glad we got that out of the way. So I wasn’t going insane (at least not yet) in my understanding of APC/IFV. It is just how it’s defined that is odd.

    Great! Now we can get to the meat of the posts and begin the fun. Tracked versus wheeled; Western versus Eastern; armor versus speed: auto cannons versus multiple guns, etc……



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  8. Scratch
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    I think the development of how those vehicles are classified / named has also been driven by the developments of the environments in which they fought.

    Over a decade ago, the enemy was a regular army with similar vehicles. So you either had a HMG to lay supressive fire on ambushing infantry (APC), or you had a cannon to engage those enemy vehicles with (IFV). Now in the past decade, were the enemy was mostly infantry hiding in buildings at best, or pickup trucks, the necesities have changed. In the Afghan and post initial invasion Iraq theater, an armored vehicle mounting a .50cal or 40mm GMG was enough to stay and fight with the infantry. More so in rural than in urban places. But when they could use their speed and the range of a mounted HMG, they had their use in the fight. And even against brick wall, a .50cal does some good damage.
    Another development made those APCs a lot heavier, also. It wasn't really classic maneuver warfare anymore, were agility ment safety to some extent. Or the need for rapid eployability. In the mid east / central asia policing & patroling - showing the flag - became much more standart. Here RPGs end even more so IEDs were the new prime thread. So all around protection against the RPG and a doubble V-hull against the IED were fitted to very many of those vehicles. Which means we now have 25t APCs.

    I like the idea of an AFV with a HMG and then one or two hatch mounted MMG, to be operated by the infantry, giving a large volume of fire. Helpfull in a multi target environment.

    For armored warfare though, there's no substitute for a full up IFV to go with the MBTs.

    Then there's the in between. In the early '90s, there were plans to mate the Marde 20mm cannon to the Fuchs APC for use by rapid reaction forces. Lots of firepower on a light (deployable) vehicle, the project never came to a success. But the idea was usefull, IMO.
    If seen pics of a Boxer AFV with a turret and 30mm canon. That's some serious punch on a logisticly more or less easy vehice. For expeditionary or COIN forces, a great asset. As is the Stryker MGS, in a way the M8 that TerraN so badly misses. I don't think it's lacking so badly in comparison with the original light tank / AFV concept.
    In the early '90s, there has also be Milan ATGMs in use on some Fuchs variant. A modern day Boxer or Stryker variant with a SPIKE MR might be an option, too. Although, that may make the common APC too costly.
     
  9. TerraN_EmpirE
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    TerraN_EmpirE Tyrant King

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    More then a decade my friend most are products of the 60's and 70's. The APC concept was a product of WW2 when it was impractical to really arm a Infantry carrier. Thee first being up armored Halftracks followed by the Kangaroo based on M7 Priest motor gun carriers, in the 50's the concept of the APC really came to fruition. it was the west germans in 1958 who created the first IFV the Schützenpanzer Lang HS.30 a 14.5 ton 3 man +5 infantry vehicle with a 20mm cannon. Armor of that time was light the threats seen were medium to heavy machine guns and light artillery. the Battle Taxi concept was based on the Idea that it was just that. upon contact the APC would unload the infantry and run like hell for cover. The IFV changed that. the French followed that with the AMX-VCI M-56 followed by the Russians with the BMP-1 which brought a 73mm cannon. after that the IFV quickly started to spread.

    In the Vietnam war American troops field troops fitted M113's with secondary MG's so the main commanders mount with it's M2 .50 Cal was backed by two M60 Machine guns. as long as the infantry remained mounted those weapons were a fair option but if the infantry dismounted the fire power dropped.
    absolutely the Tank is the prime power of Mechanized infantry.
    [video=youtube;kLE8WNOG_o8]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kLE8WNOG_o8[/video]
    ATGM mounted systems on APC and IFV hulls have been around for a number of years. as fire support systems though they have limitations particularly there cost. Each shot of a modern ATGM is several Grand. Gun systems are Far Cheaper per shot can carry a larger supply of rounds between reloads and can offer a wider range of attack options.
    Now Airborne Forces outside of Nato have options for IFV's The BMD-1 form Russia for example. it packs the same 73mm gun as the BMP-1 packed a crew of 2 +4 scouts and was followed by the stretched version the BTR-D APC which crammed in a 3+10 man capacity. Airborne Fighting vehicles have more or less been ignored by the West. Instead the hull weights of APC's were kept intentionally low to allow transport by C130 Class transports.
    Adding fire power in the form of a turret mounted cannon ignored, The M551 Sheridan being more the exception but it was thin skinned and battle a HMG could pierce it's Aluminum hull.
    As IFV's have filled the forces of armies widely, antitank mines and IED's become more common and Improved RPG and Man Portable ATGM's have proliferated the thin skin has become more and more a visible weakness driving weight of APC and IFV hulls up. this trend has been going since the early 1990's just follow the evolution of the M2 Bradley.

    Now Lets cover something here a little more in detail.
    The Stryker family was adopted by the US Army targeting lighter forces. replacing selected M113's and other light armor. the M8 was drawn up based on requirements for a replace the M551 which proved to susceptible to enemy fire.
    The Aim a modern Expeditionary tank that could be Paradropped for the 2nd Armored cavalry Regiment and 82nd Airborne. Now the 2nd ACR today is a Stryker Brigade Combat team.
    but the Stryker is borderline it sits on the edge of being to heavy for C130 it just fits in the C130J and that's before it was up armored and turreted. The base model MGS is 20.69 short tons M8 weighed in a little heavier at 21.4 tons but that weight gave a fully air droppable tank that had options. particularly the Thunderbolt variant and Today the US Airborne forces are looking for a system that meets the very requirements that M8 was designed for in the Mobile protected firepower vehicle requirement
     
  10. Miragedriver
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    Miragedriver Brigadier

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    I’m a big supporter of wheeled vehicles and could go on in infinitude, as there are others here at the forum that could take the opposing point of view (that what I enjoy is the exchange of Ideas). Back on topic, wheeled vehicles is a much lighter mechanized force and improve an army's capabilities for rapid power projection across strategic distances. They also provide the army with three important issues, those being Operational mobility, tactical mobility and strategic mobility.
    I will elaborate:

    Strategic mobility
    Given the relative lightness, wheeled vehicles tend to consume significantly less fuel (and other lubricants) than tracked armored vehicles of equal weight. Their relative "lightness" and reduced logistical needs together give the wheeled family an edge over the tracked in strategic mobility. Meaning the transport of forces over continental and intercontinental distances can be achieved faster, less expensively and probably in larger qualities.

    Tactical mobility
    Tactical mobility is the kind needed when a force is in immediate contact with its adversary. Direct confrontation with an enemy imposes at least two mobility requirements:
    1) Good off-road mobility is an important precondition of being able to evade enemy action and exploit unexpected avenues of approach.
    2) Agility -- a combination of high speed, good acceleration, and the ability to "zig-zag"--is also key to being able to respond flexibly to rapidly changing opportunities and challenges.

    Operational mobility
    There are two reasons that forces equipped with wheeled armor are more likely to deploy operationally in a timely fashion:
    1) First, there are fewer and shorter refueling stops. (The average road range of wheeled vehicles exceeds that of their tracked counterparts by 50 - 100 percent.)
    2) Second, the average marching speed of wheeled vehicles is, on roads, also 50 - 100 percent higher than that of tracked vehicles.

    A final point: although wheeled armored vehicles are not really suited for being equipped with very powerful weapons for direct fire, they might be able to do a better job than their tracked counterparts when equipped with lighter weapons, such as 30mm to 60mm auto-cannon, recoil-less 105mm guns anti-tank missile launchers. This is because the running gear of wheeled vehicles has a "pre-stabilizing", softening effect. Firing lighter weapons on the move should normally be easier from a wheeled platform than a tracked one.


    I will now get back to bottling my Malbec
     

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