FORT HOOD, Tx–A Sabot round is fired from a M1A2 Abrams tank in the 3rd Armored Brigade of the 1st Cavalry Division gunnery qualification. The Greywolf Brigade has the month of July, qualified crews in preparation for section and platoon qualification in August 2018 (Photo by Captain Scott Kuhn/US Army)
The military and the industrial weapons developers have started working on an advanced next-generation Abrams tank.
Abrams tanks specially designed, with new weapons, munitions, and laser spotters, and advanced thermal sights will be able to outrange, outgun, and outmatch the most modern Russian and Chinese tanks, service and industry officials said.
Advanced networking technology with new, next generation sights, sensors, targeting systems and digital networks – are all important elements of a permanent upgrade to the position of the platform, if necessary, with the success in a battle against rapidly emerging threats, such as the prospect of confrontation with a Russian T-14 Armata or Chinese 3rd generation Type 99 tank.
“We are now at parity with the near peer competitors, and a face upgrade gives us the operational overmatch,” the Lt. Col. Justin Shell, the Army’s product manager for Abrams, said last Fall at the Association of the United States Army’s annual convention.
While, quite naturally, the range and the specific technical capabilities of the U.S. Army, emerging tank sights are not available for reasons of safety, various Russian news reports – such as GRU Pycckoe report that the new Russian T-14 Armata’s thermal targeting sights to be able to distinguish tank-size targets during the day reach about 5 km away. The same reports state the night sights can reach 3.5 km.
In addition, the 48-ton modern T-14 tank is widely reported to be able to reach speeds of 90 kilometers per hour; it is built with an unmanned tower, without a “smoke extractor” and is designed for a 3-person crew is surrounded by an armored capsule. While much has been made of the T-14 Armata’s cutting-edge technology, including the active protection, 12-round per minute firing of anger and 125mm smooth gun in a number of public reports and evaluations, it is not at all clear that the T-14 other way completely outmatches current and future variants of the Abrams tank – at least according to the available public information.
Although not discussed by US tank developers, Abrams modernization efforts are, without a doubt is designed to meet and exceed the possible dangers which by the rival nation of tanks, such as the T-14. Worried about the threat of the T-14 Armata are, without doubt, to inform US tank and weapons developers.
The Army is busy with a new SEP v4 variant, scheduled to test in 2021, is specifically designed as a “lethality” upgrade to the position of the platform as the world’s most advanced and threatening main battle tank.
(Army, officials of the course explain that many of the details of the next-gen systems for the future tanks are not available for security reasons)
The new tank will have new laser rangefinder technology, color cameras, an integrated on-board networks, new slip rings, advanced meteorological sensors, munitions, data links, laser +warning receivers, and a lot more lethal, multi-purpose 120mm tank round,a senior Army weapons developers have not explained.
A recent news story of the Sputnik reported that the tank-maker Uralvagonzavod has developed a “remote detonated” 125mm shell for the T-14 Armata.
The US Army ‘ Multi-Purpose 120mm tank round, to integrate, on the v4, it is now designed to integrate with different types of ammo in a single, tailor made round.
Without much detail, the Army, the developers explain that the lethality upgrade, referred to as an engineering Change Proposal, or ECP, is centered around the integration of a higher-tech 3rd generation FLIR – Forward Looking Infrared imaging sensor.
The advanced FLIR makes use of a higher resolution and digital image processing, together with an increased ability to detect enemy signatures on the further reach through various obscurants, such as rain, dust or fog, Army officials said. Further details are not available, developers say.
Improved FLIR technologies help tank crew to better recognize light and heat signatures emerging from targets, such as enemy sensors, electronic signals, or enemy vehicles. This extension provides an additional asset for a tank commander independent thermal viewer.
Thermal targeting sights, as demonstrated during the famous Gulf War tank battles including Abrams tanks against Russian made T-72, the range mismatches allowing tanks to destroy enemy tanks without being seen.
A report in Popular Mechanics earlier this year, by Kyle Mizokami, says the T-14s new, now-in-development 3UBK21 Sprinter rocket can hit reaching more than 7 km, in principle, a tripling of the current 2.48-mile range of an Abrams 120mm round, according to the report. The Armata is the current round, the 9M119 Reflecks, has a range of 3.1 miles (approximately equal to the current Abrams) and can penetrate up to 900 millimeters of armor, Popular Mechanics writes.
It goes without saying that the lethality of a round, through an assessment, depending on the range, the accuracy and reliability of the sensors and targeting technology in place to provide guidance; accordingly, the actual range of fire may be much less important than the range and the relative resolution of on-board attractions and sensors.
Moreover, it is not only the Abrams v4 to improve range and lethality of the tanks main gun, but it will also be a long-range laser detection and rear sensors. Also newly configured weather sensors, we will be better able Abrams tanks to anticipate and adapt to changing weather conditions or combat conditions faster, Army officials said.
“Meteorological sensors are integrated in the fire control system. It provides information into the fire control algorithms, which help in the increase of the accuracy and precision of your weapon system,” Ashley Givens, spokeswoman for the Army’s Program Executive Office Ground Combat Systems, told Warrior Maven in a written statement.
The upcoming M1A2 SEP v4 will also be configured with a new slip-ring leads to the tower and the on-board Ethernet switch for reducing the required number of “boxes” through a network of sensors to another in a single vehicle.
The maturation and efficacy of the active protection of systems also contributes prominently in this calculus; the Army is now accelerating the development of a handful of APS systems to better enable tanks and other armored vehicles to detect, track, intercept and destroy incoming enemy Rpgs, tank rounds and anti-tank guided missiles. The Army is now integrating an APS system called Trophy on his Abrams vehicles.
Citing Russian news sources, a story in The National Interest by Dave Majumdar, says the Russian arms developers claim that their Afghanit active protection system mounted on a T-14 Armata “is proven to be effective in the interception of depleted-uranium-core armor-piercing fin-stabilized discarding sabot (APFSDS) cannon shells.”
First MIA2 SEP v3 Tank
The first v3 pilot vehicle, already delivered to the Army, functions, technological developments in communication, reliability, support, and fuel-efficiency and improved armor, developers, and Army senior leaders told Scout Warrior.
These are the current mobility and power upgrade, among other things, adds an auxiliary power unit for the fuel-efficiency and on-board electrical systems, better armor materials, improved engines and transmission, and a 28-volt upgraded drive system.
Abrams maker General Dynamics Land Systems has been on the tender for the construction of 45 of the M1A2 SEP v3 tanks for the U.S. Army.
The v3 is built to lay the ground work for the next v4 variants in a number of important respects. On board command and control, force-tracking technology, power generation and sensors are, as is regularly the case with the current new acquisition strategies, the inclusion of a common set of standards known as “open architecture”. This approach is designed to engineer hardware and software in a way that makes it possible to quickly integrate and merge with new technologies as they arise.
“The v3 will be the foundation for future tank upgrades,” Shell said.
In addition to these efforts, the v3 is also built with a specific “protection” or the survival flexibility to afford commanders an opportunity to tailor the tank to the level of security to adapt to what threat to the control of the circumstances may merit.
Shell explained how the modern v3 construction approach, looking to expand on the previously built-in Tank Urban Survival Kit (TUSK), makes for a quick circuit of the floor armor, reactive armor tiles, and other protective applications such as a commander on the shield and the loader’s gun shield.
“We can scale the protection level and the increase of the weight, depending on the threat. We took the underbody kit and took a thousand pounds from the use of an aluminum alloy,” Shell said in an interview with Scout Warrior.
The Next Generation Combat Vehicle
The Army is now looking to finesse a careful and the control of the relevant balance between the upgrading of the current Abrams to the maximum extent, while also recognizing the limitations, and starting with the conceptual work on a new platform, called Next-Generation combat vehicle.
While the Army is only now in the early stages of concept development for this technology, Bassett told the Warrior that it can indeed become a family of vehicles. Many reports and Army comments have indicated that the configuration of the new vehicles may look like hull form of an Abrams, Mobile Protected Firepower of the vehicle, Bradley or even elements of a Stryker vehicle. However, it is without a doubt that, what NGCV evolves into, it will be built consistently for the best emerging technologies available.
For example, Shell explained that some early developmental work rate of the lighter weight armor and hull materials is able to provide the same protection as the current vehicle at a much lower weight.
“We can look at some of the new material, such as lightweight tracks or a hull replacement,” Shell said.
The most important parameters for the NGCV will, among other things, the building of a lighter, more mobile and deployable vehicle. Weight, speed, and mobility of the features that are essential for a tank the ability to support infantry units, mechanized armored units and dismounted soldiers on the ground of the can bridges, the harsh terrain and the control of other areas less accessible to the existing 70-ton Abrams tanks.
Bassett explained that specific cross-functional team leads have started with the exploring of concepts and the beginning of requirements for the NGCV attempt to, under other, look for joint, cross-fleet technologies and build in flexibility.
A possibility now received some attention, the Army’s senior leaders say, is that the NGCV can implement a lightweight 120mm cannon previously developed for one of the Manned Vehicles developed for the now cancelled Future Combat Systems program. The car, called the Mounted Combat System is built with a two-ton, 120mm cannon, about half the weight of current Abrams gun.
The Army of the MCS programme has been developed and test-fired a super lightweight 120mm cannon, called the XM360, may fire existing and emerging next generation of tank rounds.
The MCS was had a crew of two, a .50 caliber machine gun and a 40mm automatic grenade launcher.
The Army’s recent combat vehicle Modernization Strategy specifically mentions the value of the adjustment of the XM360 for future use.
Special new technology was needed for the XM360, so that a lighter weight of the gun and the muzzle to the blast of a powerful 120mm tank round.
Elements of the XM360 include a combined heat-and environment-shroud, blast deflector, a composite-built overwrapped gun tube-modular gun mount, independent recoil brakes, gas-charged to the recuperators, and a multi-slug sliding block breech, with an electric drive, the Army MCS development documents describe.
Abrams & Robot Wingmen
Although not specifically referring to the T-14s unmanned tower or the Russian plans for an autonomous capacity, Basset say it is conceivable future armored vehicles can indeed include an unmanned tower and various degree of autonomy, tele-operation and manned-unmanned collaboration.
Bassett also stressed that the future vehicles are designed to seamlessly integrate advanced digital signal processing and machine learning, such as AI technologies.
Computer algorithms, making the autonomous control of functions proceeds at an alarming pace, inspiring the Army and GDLS developers to explore the prospect of future manned-unmanned cooperation with tank platforms. It is certainly within the domain of the technically feasible is it for a future tank for the simultaneous control of a small fleet of unmanned robot “wing man” vehicles that are designed to penetrate enemy lines, while minimizing the risk for the soldiers, ammunition, transport, or performing long-range reconnaissance and scout missions.
“The Chief has declared (the Army chief of staff, Gen. Mark Milley has said that all future vehicles will be tele-operated. We take these things into consideration and we plan to have a large number of experiments in this area,” a senior Army weapons developer told Warrior. “There are things that you can do in a next-gen vehicle that you can’t do in a current vehicle as a result of physical requirements.”
Levels of autonomy for air vehicles, in particular, have led to a very high degree – in part because there is, quite naturally, less obstacles in the air opposes an autonomous navigation. GPS enabled way-point technology already facilitates both the ground and air autonomous movement; however, the development of algorithms for the land on the basis of autonomous navigation, is a much larger challenge due to the fact that a vehicle will need to quickly adapt to a rapidly changing, dynamic and fast-moving battles on the ground environment.
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