New Type98/99 MBT thread

Discussion in 'Army' started by Dongfeng, Nov 10, 2005.

  1. dingyibvs
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    dingyibvs Junior Member

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    Why do you need a gunner? Can't there just be a driver/navigator and a commander/targeter? The job for the driver/navigator is self explanatory, the job of the commander/targeter is to identify targets and mark them for destruction by a computerized gunner.
     
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  2. pendragon
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    pendragon Junior Member

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    Negative my friend; a 3 man crew is still essential in combat a situation where you need: one to position the vehicle; not just 'drive' but constantly being aware of the battlefield and its obstacles, one to operate te gun(s) (check target, lay gun, fire and one to decide were to go, to maintain contact with all levels of friendly forces and to decide when (not) to fire.
    Omitting one of those will reduce reactionspeed and will allmost certainly result in a higher loss ratio.
     
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  3. Iron Man
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    This makes me LOL very hard. I don't know what universe you live in, but it isn't this one. Your argument is so weak that you not only had to bring in the DRIVER to help you shoot, you had to start fantasizing about networked AI bots on OTHER tanks to help you shoot, all because you realized in the end that 2 human brains actually can't make up for 3. Maybe some day we will have hive-mind AI-networked tanks roaming around killing everything in sight, but that day has not arrived either for this generation of tanks or for the next generation. You might as well ridiculously start talking about photon torpedo plasma cannons and anti-kinetic force field generators.

    No, hunter/killer tanks can only KILL in series, but they can HUNT in parallel with either killing or with a second hunter. Your fantasy scenario is series all the way for both hunting and killing. The gunner/commander has to ID every last target and press the trigger on every last target before he can acquire the next target.

    Sure sure sure. Maybe you can list an article from a Chinese military source saying this upcoming iteration of Chinese MBT will have AI-networked sensors like some kind of land-based CEC network.

    No problem spending big money on cutting edge tech, eh? Well this giant wall of text can't defeat the reality of the Type 96, with further variants of it being developed even now. Can your giant wall explain that tank alongside the existence of the Type 99? No, I didn't think so. I think you forgot this tank existed. I think you would not have written that wall had you remembered China is still producing this tank along with the Type 99. Economies of scale indeed LOL

    This is a completely nonsensical comparison. How many millions of human drivers are out there in the world right now compared to AI drivers? If one person died from AI out of 1,000 AI-driven cars compared to 30,000 out of 300,000,000 people-driven cars, that translates into a 10x greater fatality rate for AI-driven cars.

    I think you are the one who needs to read up on AI development some more. That guy died precisely because the AI was not able to navigate the road. It mistook the white of the semi-truck's side wall for road and turned into it. That truck was just minding its own business driving exactly as it should, not doing anything that was "unpredictable" at all. On a road your path is already marked for you. GPS coordinates allow you to easily navigate the streets and freeways to get from A to B. If a car gets too close you slow down. If a car cuts you off you slow down. If the car in front of you is completely stopped you can radar the closing speed and apply the necessary force to the brakes. There aren't too many rules to follow. In open country there is no marked path for you. You will also have multiple hazards along the way such as areas of water or sand with unclear crossability, areas with obvious potential for traps or ambushes, clearings that you would want to skirt, basically multiple reasons why you would NOT want to take the shortest route from A to B. A human driver with experience can figure this out easily. A human driver can also interpret orders from the commander easily. An AI can do neither of these things easily because these tasks require experience mixed with common sense, features that AI does not possess.
     
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  4. dingyibvs
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    dingyibvs Junior Member

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    I really don't know much about the operations of a tank, so my question is, why do you need 3 people to do those things? Why can't the driver maintain contact and navigate at the same time, for example? I mean, people drive through complicated city streets while calling and using the GPS at the same time all the time, no? Why do you need someone to operate the gun? Computer presents target, select yes or no, it seems wasteful to have someone inside the tank just to do that and only that, no? Obviously I'm assuming that the firing mechanism is entirely automated and requires only the press of a button.
     
  5. Iron Man
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    You don't NEED 3 people to operate a tank. 2 people can make it work. The question is whether 2 people can provide the tank a hunter/killer capability with or without advanced computing, more thermal sights, or whatever, and I think it's pretty obvious the answer is no. If the tradeoff in a smaller turret and lighter weight is worth the loss (or lack) of this capability, then the PLA may just go ahead and adopt it for their next generation MBT.
     
  6. jobjed
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    I think you really ought to make it clear that "hunter-killer" isn't a vague doctrinal term like "smart munitions" but a very specific term denoting a very specific capability like "AHEAD ammunition". As far as which doctrinal term encompasses "hunter-killer", I would personally lean towards "simultaneous survey, track, and engage capability" although everyone might have different leanings.

    @plawolf probably thinks of "hunter-killer" as something akin to "smart munitions" and thinks your argument is akin to saying "the next-gen PLA AA-gun has no smart munitions capability" when your argument is more like "the next-gen PLA AA-gun has no AHEAD ammunition capability", which refers to similar topics of discussion but is much more specific and less open to interpretation.
     
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  7. dingyibvs
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    dingyibvs Junior Member

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    I think I'm mainly confused about what exactly does the "killer" part does. It seems to me like with automation, the killer/gunner part involves only the click of a button, and if the "hunter" part can be simplified with advanced computing and more sensors, it's possible to combine hunter/killer into one person, while the other person drives the tank and handle communications, no?
     
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  8. Iron Man
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    It is possible to combine the gunner and commander into one person, but it is certainly not possible to combine hunter and killer into one person; this is the entire point of the debate. In a 3 or 4-man tank with a commander's independent thermal sight, the gunner and the commander will both be independently searching for targets. At the outset of an engagement, assuming the hunter/killer tank sees multiple enemy tanks first and gets the drop on them, the gunner will target the first enemy tank (whether that be the most exposed, closest, most dangerous, or whatever) and shoot it while at the same time the commander has sighted in on the second target. As soon as the gunner fires on the first target the commander can press a button and automatically slew the turret to his current (second) target, potentially without the gunner even knowing where the second target is; this function is the essence of the hunter/killer capability. This process repeats itself until all targets are engaged or the tank itself gets killed. The only limiting factor for a hunter/killer tank is the reload time for the main gun.

    With a 2-man tank, there is no ability to attack one target while cued-in on a second target. The commander/gunner has to lock on the first target, fire on it, then search for a second target, fire on it, then search for a third target, fire on it, etc. Even with the assistance of an AI the commander/gunner still has to positively ID the target before shooting it and cannot search for another target until he pulls the trigger on the current one. As I was mentioning before, AI is no substitute for a human brain when it comes to identifying images on a screen. If all it takes is a bunch of funhouse-mirrored letters and numbers to fool a bot program trying to break into a secure website while a 12 year old child could easily figure out the same letters/numbers, then it doesn't take a genius to realize that a thermal image is even worse than a visible light image for an AI to interpret correctly as a target. So you will still need a man-in-the-loop to complete the kill chain regardless of whether you have AI assistance.
     
  9. dingyibvs
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    dingyibvs Junior Member

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    I see, so given the process you elucidated, IF the combined hunter/killer position, who obviously has to do the hunter/killer sequence in series rather than in parallel, can do so quickly enough so as to be faster than the reload time, then theoretically you wouldn't lose any capability with only a 2 man crew, right? So the combined position really doesn't have to do its job quicker than 2 people, it just has to do so quicker than reload, no?

    I agree with you that AI is probably not enough, not just because AI technology isn't there yet, but because there'll inevitably be countermeasures designed to fool the AI ala funhouse-mirrored letters. However, if AI can at least narrow down the targets into a few regions, thus saving "hunter" time, and automation can reduce the work of the "killer" time into one or a few clicks, then theoretically one crew can potentially conduct the hunter/killer action quickly enough so as to make reload time the limiting factor. It seems to me that since reloading mechanism hasn't advanced nearly as quickly as electronics as well as PLA soldiers' education level, perhaps this is achievable.

    There's a lot of "ifs" in there, I have no idea how feasible it is to accomplish that both in terms of technology and cost effectiveness. Reducing the crew size to 2 would certainly bring about a lot of advantages and I think it's worth exploring.
     
  10. sangye
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    sangye New Member
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    maybe that is seeing it from a WWII point of view, but what if in the future the communication systems are so advanced and reliable that the commander is someone from a base giving orders to the gunner and the driver inside the tank? instead of eliminating the gunner eliminate the commander, wouldn't that be possible?
     
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