PLA Next Generation Main Battle Tank


ChineseToTheBone

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A tank hit by something that penetrates the hull is almost always dead, and so is the crew.

It is way more important to armor up the tank to make it harder to pen, in that regard the carousel autoloader is more suitable. Type 99s for example manage to have a very good armor to crew member/size ratio which is what would determine survivability.

Next generation tank would be determined by Army needs. Type 99As were built during the collapse of the Soviet Union and potentially also eyeing an American invasion of Korea, in that context a tank that could withstand waves of soviet or american armor was needed, so what they got was a good gun on a hardened platform that sacrifices reload speed from having a dedicated loader for more armor and smaller size.

In 2020 the needs are different. India immediately comes to mind. China might preferably want a breakthrough type tank, maybe even one that can act as troop transport.
Sounds like you are more or less referring to a Merkava, which made design compromises to have as much frontal protection as feasible coupled with rear doors similar to infantry fighting vehicles for better enabling disembarkment of its crew and passengers.

Israel did that all for enhancing the survivability of precious manpower, but most larger countries would probably only go with that kind of design for a complete streamlining of their vehicle chassis lineup between main battle tanks and infantry fighting vehicles.

There are obviously certain benefits to a full standardization of your tracked armoured vehicles of course, where economies of scale in your tank assembly line within just a single manufacturing plant would become more attainable even if you are Norinco for example.
 

alanch90

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if 2 crew, then the gunner will likely be replaced with AI, target selected by commander and AI does the rest.
I think that the AI not only will solve the targets (IE actually shooting at them and/or automatically correcting failed shots). I think that the AI through fusing information coming from a multitude of sensors will also serve as the primary spotter for the crew, it will detect possible targets, pass them to the commander for positive identification and selection of ammunition to shoot and then the commander will hand them back to the "gunner AI" to engage them.
This capabilities will provide a leap in efficiency compared to the current "hunter-killer" methods. However these functions are not incompatible for a 3 man crew (T-14 either has them now or will be able to have them in the future) but the benefit of a 2 man design will come at a decreased tank weight while maintaining the same or comparable protection levels and achieving a superior fighting performance to a traditional 3-4 crewman tanks (without AI) or slightly inferior or comparable performance to a bigger crew enhanced by AI.
 

free_6ix9ine

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I think that the AI not only will solve the targets (IE actually shooting at them and/or automatically correcting failed shots). I think that the AI through fusing information coming from a multitude of sensors will also serve as the primary spotter for the crew, it will detect possible targets, pass them to the commander for positive identification and selection of ammunition to shoot and then the commander will hand them back to the "gunner AI" to engage them.
This capabilities will provide a leap in efficiency compared to the current "hunter-killer" methods. However these functions are not incompatible for a 3 man crew (T-14 either has them now or will be able to have them in the future) but the benefit of a 2 man design will come at a decreased tank weight while maintaining the same or comparable protection levels and achieving a superior fighting performance to a traditional 3-4 crewman tanks (without AI) or slightly inferior or comparable performance to a bigger crew enhanced by AI.

Tanks are a pretty mature weapon system. Besides AI, maybe new armor materials like graphene? The number one problem with tanks is survivability against atgms.
 

alanch90

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Tanks are a pretty mature weapon system. Besides AI, maybe new armor materials like graphene? The number one problem with tanks is survivability against atgms.
We have seen that when armored formations are equipped with APS, their vulnerability to ATGMs is hugely decreased. Now the ball is on the ATGM side, their designers must come up with ideas to overcome the APS. I can think of around 3 ways future ATGMs might deal with APS:

- Overwhelming the APS witch launching more projectiles than it can intercept. For example the Russian Kornet/Bulat/Khrizantema ATGM can launch multiple projectiles in volley to the same target. This will force a 2nd generation of APS to feature multiple munitions ready to fire or a quicker reloading mechanism. This method is the simplest of the three but has many drawbacks including increasing ammo consumption.

- Being able to hit the tanks or detonate from angles beyond the elevation/coverage capabilities of APS. This will force future designs to come up with way to eliminate blind spots.

- Finally and perhaps the more difficult and expensive: make the missiles either less detectable to APS ("stealth") and/or make them able to deploy decoys (like chaff or flares) to prevent the APS to calculate the ATGM trajectory. This method would also be the trickiest to solve, since it would require a step up in the development of sensors for APS.
 

gelgoog

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I think the most likely development will be decoys. Troops might also use lasers or masers to blind the sensors in the tank.
 

alanch90

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I think the most likely development will be decoys. Troops might also use lasers or masers to blind the sensors in the tank.
Yes i can also imagine future tanks using their own radars or components of their APS to try to jam the enemy APS for example.
 

ILikeChina

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Case Study: ZTQ15
The ZTQ15 is arguably the most recognisable component of the PLAGF's equipment modernisation; a great many people who know practically nothing about the PLA or China as a whole nevertheless know the PLA has a new light tank. The ZTQ15 is thus a good case study to illustrate the direction of the PLA's hardware upgrades. It was tailored for operations in hostile environments such as altitudes over 4500m above sea level and soft muddy terrain. Its V8 engine with a bore diameter of 132mm, stroke length of 145mm, and maximum RPM of 2600, outputs 660kW of maximum continuous power, giving the 33t vehicle a PWR of 20kW/t. To overcome the thin air of the Plateau, the engine is equipped with a two-stage turbocharger that minimises power loss. It is also equipped with a warmer to facilitate quick ignition in extremely cold weather. The engine is coupled to a hydro-mechanical automatic transmission together as a powerpack that can be swapped out within half an hour. The suspension is a semi-active torsion bar system sporting electronically controlled viscous dampers with adjustable orifices that are narrowed or widened in real time depending on sensor readings, providing a smoother ride and reducing crew fatigue, important in the oxygen-sparse atmosphere. If the system breaks down, it simply becomes a passive viscous damper that still provides decent ride quality.

Due to its unique operating environment of highly adverse and isolated terrain where resupply and replacements have great difficulty reaching, the ZTQ15 is designed with multipurpose functionality to get as much bang for the buck as possible. Its FCS is integrated with both direct and indirect fire modes, allowing ZTQ15s to stand in for howitzers if needed. This is achieved by equipping the vehicle with high-precision inertial measurement units and Beidou receivers connected via CAN bus to a central computer. This allows its position and orientation in space to be precisely known so that the battalion or brigade fires director can construct an accurate spatial representation of shooters and targets in 3D and accurately plan indirect fires. Another feature enabled by constant position and orientation awareness is that a ZTQ15 can hand over prosecution of a target to another ZTQ15 in the network if it's unable to prosecute the target itself due to, say, a damaged gun or lack of ammo; essentially remote-controlling someone else's gun to shoot whatever it's looking at even if the target is obscured to the shooter vehicle. This is possible because every vehicle in the network knows its position and orientation relative to everyone else, and if one vehicle knows the position of the target in a 3D space, everyone does.

Many of ZTQ15's features such as FCS automation, digital information displays, high-power-density diesel engine, and networked fleet-based combat lay the foundations for the PLA's next-gen MBT. Current in-service FCS already automate target range-finding, tracking, and leading. This leaves the gunner responsible for target acquisition, firing, and damage assessment. When not engaging a target, the gunner is also responsible for scanning the highest-threat sector where the turret is pointed, usually frontal. Further refinement of automation technologies in the next ten years could mean the gunner only has to spot or confirm an enemy and the FCS will do the rest. The commander's communication and scanning functions have also been automated to a large degree. Recent developments in wearable displays and augmented reality technology promises even greater improvements in this field for both the gunner and commander. Drivers too have an increasingly easy time as old unassisted tillers turned into steering wheels while transmissions became smoother then fully automatic. Vehicle parameters that required driver attention have gradually come under the stewardship of electronic control units, freeing up drivers to pay greater attention to their surroundings.

It is thus being seriously considered to merge the gunner and commander into one position and expand the driver's role to include communications and forward sector scanning for the next-gen MBT. The resulting two-man crew can each have an 80cm-wide workspace and be protected by a healthy amount of side armour without the vehicle exceeding 3.5m overall width or be any heavier than existing MBTs. The unmanned turret can be lightly armoured, cutting turret weight by more than ten tonnes which can then be devoted to more armour for the crew. More refined automation and seamless integration and presentation of imagery and data from onboard and offboard sensors could allow the next-gen MBT to have situational awareness superior to today's tanks in spite of a reduction in crew size. The ZTQ15's extensive use of network systems and new information terminals should give Chinese tank designers hard data and operational experience that will help them identify promising approaches for the next-gen MBT. However, successful development of informationisation and automation to a degree sufficient for a two-man crew in a reasonable timeframe is not guaranteed and it's very possible that the next-gen MBT will retain a three-man crew. Regardless, the ZTQ15 is a good indicator of the direction the PLA is taking with their new equipment.

The quote about ZTQ-15 and it's a role in next-gen MBT from China's Defense/Military Breaking News Thread

@RichardGao
What do you think?
 

Atomicfrog

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Tanks are a pretty mature weapon system. Besides AI, maybe new armor materials like graphene? The number one problem with tanks is survivability against atgms.
They are pretty mature indeed and It's a question of weight too... if you put more and more system and armor to defeat atgm, you will be so heavy that it could become impractical...and also costly. You will need bigger airplane to field them, bigger bridge to pass on, more fuel to move on...etc.

Portable atgm and urban warfare are a pain for main battletanks. ASLS ( Acoustic shooter locating system) on
secondary armament, that could retaliate fast against infantry is a must in urban warfare. It will be interesting if they integrate this kind of system in the new tank.
 

pakje

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They are pretty mature indeed and It's a question of weight too... if you put more and more system and armor to defeat atgm, you will be so heavy that it could become impractical...and also costly. You will need bigger airplane to field them, bigger bridge to pass on, more fuel to move on...etc.

Portable atgm and urban warfare are a pain for main battletanks. ASLS ( Acoustic shooter locating system) on
secondary armament, that could retaliate fast against infantry is a must in urban warfare. It will be interesting if they integrate this kind of system in the new tank.
There's actually an hard cap to the ammn of weight, it's how much the railway/carts can handle.

That's why russians mbts always tend to be lighter than nato/china tanks
 

silentlurker

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ASLS ( Acoustic shooter locating system) on
secondary armament, that could retaliate fast against infantry is a must in urban warfare. It will be interesting if they integrate this kind of system in the new tank.
If you turn the corner into an RPG 20m away in a building, even if you locate the shooter its probably too late. I don't see how it solves the fundamental issue of tanks being big and loud and infantry always having the first shot.
 

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