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Future Armour

FJAG

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Got me thinking about my earlier proposition and this development.

Suppose you retain the tank as is but add the Loitering Munitions to the Order of Battle of the Regiment or the Squadron. The tanks advance with LMs overhead and rounds in the bustle but concentrate on attacking with the LMs. Keep the rounds in the bustle, that 7 minutes of combat, in reserve for when things turn interesting.
I dislike the idea of a tank with loitering munitions on board as it has a single team concentrating on two weapon systems and quite possible two pieces of ground.

Similarly, even if the launcher is elsewhere, the tank crew should not be diverted from its primary weapon system and arcs. Loitering munitions should be launched away from the main area of combat from dead and covered ground, and controlled by individuals who are hidden away and have nothing else to worry about except for finding and engaging suitable targets with their over the horizon systems.

I frankly don't care whether that's a mortar platoon or an artillery battery or even an RCAF team. There's a reason why artillery became an indirect fire system just as soon as it was technically capable of being so. It ensured providing support when other people were far to busy just fighting for their lives to handle the complexities of getting the round on target.

Double hatting doesn't create efficiencies, it takes focus of the thing that matters most. The furthest I'll go is providing mortar tubes and artillery with loitering systems because the role is essentially the same and they already have controllers and observers in the forward areas.

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Underway

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I dislike the idea of a tank with loitering munitions on board as it has a single team concentrating on two weapon systems and quite possible two pieces of ground.

Similarly, even if the launcher is elsewhere, the tank crew should not be diverted from its primary weapon system and arcs. Loitering munitions should be launched away from the main area of combat from dead and covered ground, and controlled by individuals who are hidden away and have nothing else to worry about except for finding and engaging suitable targets with their over the horizon systems.
And yet the KF-51 is designed for just this. The fact it uses an autoloader, and free's up a position for the 4th crewmember to focus on other weapon systems is frankly perfect to avoid all your concerns.

Having an integral UAS of some sort with the tank is excellent as it gives it eyes ahead on the battlefield that it normally wouldn't have. The next bound or two would be covered ahead of time and the tank could engage a target with the loitering munition before it tops. The munition could be up there for hours as the tanks move from place to place keeping an eye out for them.
 

KevinB

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And yet the KF-51 is designed for just this. The fact it uses an autoloader, and free's up a position for the 4th crewmember to focus on other weapon systems is frankly perfect to avoid all your concerns.

Having an integral UAS of some sort with the tank is excellent as it gives it eyes ahead on the battlefield that it normally wouldn't have. The next bound or two would be covered ahead of time and the tank could engage a target with the loitering munition before it tops. The munition could be up there for hours as the tanks move from place to place keeping an eye out for them.
Jack of all trades —> master of none.
I’m not against 1 tank having a UAS, but ideally there are more troops to do that in an IFV (or CP) and tanks should never really be alone.

The same issues occurs when one looks at the MMEV, dual hats mean that one of those hats are probably collecting dust and being ignored.
 

FJAG

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And yet the KF-51 is designed for just this. The fact it uses an autoloader, and free's up a position for the 4th crewmember to focus on other weapon systems is frankly perfect to avoid all your concerns.
And yet it doesn't. And let me just state this is a personal opinion and I fully appreciate that others will have other opinions.

I'm a firm believer in teams. Teams where people have specific roles that they are specially trained for and free to do knowing full well someone else is covering the other jobs required.

In my view a tank (or IFV for that matter) should worry about what's directly within its main armament's engagement zone. Someone else, recce, arty, air force, whatever, should be developing the picture ahead of the tank and transmitting that picture back while softening up the objective area with over the horizon stuff leaving every hand in the tank troop, infantry platoon concentrating on how to safely manoeuvre to their proper assault position and then strike off to deliver violence. How well can a drone/loitering munitions operator do his job in a manoeuvring tank or IFV? It's hard enough for someone with a stabilized main armament. Someone sitting still in a hollow a half kilometre behind can properly concentrate on the job.

I see that fourth seat in the KF-51 as a perfect place for the platoon's commander and platoon warrant to sit in. I always thought that fighting a troop while fighting your tank was one job too many. The idea of a platoon commander who didn't need to fight his tank would be a great thing.

Having an integral UAS of some sort with the tank is excellent as it gives it eyes ahead on the battlefield that it normally wouldn't have.
But if recce or battalion can send out and control the drones and upload a situational awareness picture and video to each command vehicle (or even individual tank) so that they can see the situation developing then isn't that good enough?

The next bound or two would be covered ahead of time and the tank could engage a target with the loitering munition before it tops. The munition could be up there for hours as the tanks move from place to place keeping an eye out for them.
And having a small controller det or two doing that from just behind the advancing combat team or even a bound behind would IMHO be even better.

IIMHO, just because one can technically do something doesn't equate to that being the best way to do it

I think that technology allowing senior commanders to muck around in the platoon's fight is filtering down to the individual tank and section level in that they want to control the means of situational awareness more than they need to. I think that the critical place where situational awareness information about the next bound should be concentrated is with the combat team commander who has his finger on the trigger of many support resources and who shapes the upcoming fight. He should be fed that information from elements preceding his combat team over the terrain and from resources he controls. Those resources can be better operated and resupplied from places elsewhere than the tanks and IFVs.

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KevinB

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See should have kept the old Leo1 around. Never throw out the old. LOL

The lower plates where nearly see through.
Those tanks had no life left.
 

Kirkhill

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And yet it doesn't. And let me just state this is a personal opinion and I fully appreciate that others will have other opinions.

I'm a firm believer in teams. Teams where people have specific roles that they are specially trained for and free to do knowing full well someone else is covering the other jobs required.

In my view a tank (or IFV for that matter) should worry about what's directly within its main armament's engagement zone. Someone else, recce, arty, air force, whatever, should be developing the picture ahead of the tank and transmitting that picture back while softening up the objective area with over the horizon stuff leaving every hand in the tank troop, infantry platoon concentrating on how to safely manoeuvre to their proper assault position and then strike off to deliver violence. How well can a drone/loitering munitions operator do his job in a manoeuvring tank or IFV? It's hard enough for someone with a stabilized main armament. Someone sitting still in a hollow a half kilometre behind can properly concentrate on the job.

I see that fourth seat in the KF-51 as a perfect place for the platoon's commander and platoon warrant to sit in. I always thought that fighting a troop while fighting your tank was one job too many. The idea of a platoon commander who didn't need to fight his tank would be a great thing.


But if recce or battalion can send out and control the drones and upload a situational awareness picture and video to each command vehicle (or even individual tank) so that they can see the situation developing then isn't that good enough?


And having a small controller det or two doing that from just behind the advancing combat team or even a bound behind would IMHO be even better.

IIMHO, just because one can technically do something doesn't equate to that being the best way to do it

I think that technology allowing senior commanders to muck around in the platoon's fight is filtering down to the individual tank and section level in that they want to control the means of situational awareness more than they need to. I think that the critical place where situational awareness information about the next bound should be concentrated is with the combat team commander who has his finger on the trigger of many support resources and who shapes the upcoming fight. He should be fed that information from elements preceding his combat team over the terrain and from resources he controls. Those resources can be better operated and resupplied from places elsewhere than the tanks and IFVs.

🍻

And yet a modern tank sees a gunner operating 3 systems - a laser range finder, a coaxial machine gun and the main armament. 4 if you include the grenade launchers for smoke. And the Commander has their own hunter-killer turret with their own weapon and controls.

M1 LRFD, eye-safe Laser Rangefinder and integrated 80mJ Laser Target Designator. Prototypes field tested by US Army and USMC.

Targeted Markets & Applications

  • M1-MBT for US Army and US Marine Corps
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  • Other applications with M1 ELRFs in use; i.e. M8 AGS

So the thought is that the Laser Range Finder doubles up as a Laser Designator.

The Tank Crew doesn't have to "fly" the loitering munitions. They are not the crew's concern. The Loitering Munitions will be circling autonomously having been launched from the rear by a third party.

The Tank Crew has access to whatever the loitering munitions see and has the ability to designate targets by Laser Designator in LOS or by communicating with the missile when Beyond Line of Sight.
 

daftandbarmy

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And yet a modern tank sees a gunner operating 3 systems - a laser range finder, a coaxial machine gun and the main armament. 4 if you include the grenade launchers for smoke. And the Commander has their own hunter-killer turret with their own weapon and controls.



So the thought is that the Laser Range Finder doubles up as a Laser Designator.

The Tank Crew doesn't have to "fly" the loitering munitions. They are not the crew's concern. The Loitering Munitions will be circling autonomously having been launched from the rear by a third party.

The Tank Crew has access to whatever the loitering munitions see and has the ability to designate targets by Laser Designator in LOS or by communicating with the missile when Beyond Line of Sight.

Any Infantry commander, at any level, enters the chat ;)


Angry Black Friday GIF by Buyout Footage
 

TangoTwoBravo

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My thinking is not to put the BLOS weapons on the "tank" at all. Or any heavy weapons for that matter. My proposition is that two operators in a heavily armoured mobile box are operating within the same range of the enemy as the current gun tanks but instead of having their rounds on board they have them in the air on call.

A good tank crew can launch something like 6 rounds a minute? I believe? So they have about 7 minutes of combat load on board if operating in a target rich environment? Pure supposition on my part.

What I am suggesting is that the Loitering Munitions loiter over head of the operators with a few loitering within a few seconds of the suspected targets. As those get used up then they, the cab rank, the magazine, gets replenished from BLOS.

Your tank's onboard weapons could then focus on C-RAM.

Edit - and yes - something very much like the M1131 on a tank chassis.
I have participated in wargames where our forces were in vehicles with NLOS missiles. Its a concept. Not 100% sold on it just yet.

It would be a strange battle for a single tank to fire all of its main gun rounds. Targets tend to be fleeting. Additionally, tanks should not be operating on their lonesome. The Troop is the basic fire unit, the Squadron the basic manouevre unit. I expect Troop fire to be controlled (to some extent). It's not "Hey everybody, drive up and use all your ammo and then come back for more." Its not a gun camp. A tank troop firing into a kill zone might have its tanks fire their ready use ammunition, but part of jockeying can be adjusting ammo stowage and you account for fire distribution/ammo redistribution. Battle replens are also planned into engagements. So don't think that a tank has "7 minutes of combat" in terms of main gun rounds. Main gun expenditure during Gulf War 1, for example, was actually quite low. A tank might be in combat for hours, but only fire three round of main, kill three targets and have contributed to mission attainment.

Tanks excel at winning close combat. They can put themselves into positions of advantage, kill opposing targets and survive many threats that other systems would not. Things want to hide to avoid being targets. Tanks advancing as part of a combined arms team, for instance, present a dilemma to the defender. Part of that combat arms team should be fire support which could be indirect fire, AHs or I suppose loitering munitions. My US Army instructor when I was down south as an "exchange student" spoke of advancing in an M1 company with AHs constantly tracking behind, ready to support. Of course one went down and things got sticky, but its a method.

My thought on loitering munitions, though, is that they should be reserved for unlocking key enemy systems such as their AD, EW or C2 network. As part of a deliberate attack they could indeed prove useful to neutralize strong points, but having loitering munitions constantly above an advancing battle group to deal with targets of opportunity is likely not sustainable.
 

Underway

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My thought on loitering munitions, though, is that they should be reserved for unlocking key enemy systems such as their AD, EW or C2 network. As part of a deliberate attack they could indeed prove useful to neutralize strong points, but having loitering munitions constantly above an advancing battle group to deal with targets of opportunity is likely not sustainable.
Loitering munitions do something else as well. They provide a top-down view of the battlespace, find what's over the next bound and help define the enemy's dispositions. I would argue you treat them as a sensor first and as an effector second. Given that it makes sense to me that a disposable troop-launched UAV might be a better option. I'm only referring to the Panther concept for this though, as with the autoloader you have that extra pers in the vehicle who can operate the UAV or at least control/watch the feed and highlight products for the rest of the crew.
 

TangoTwoBravo

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Loitering munitions do something else as well. They provide a top-down view of the battlespace, find what's over the next bound and help define the enemy's dispositions. I would argue you treat them as a sensor first and as an effector second. Given that it makes sense to me that a disposable troop-launched UAV might be a better option. I'm only referring to the Panther concept for this though, as with the autoloader you have that extra pers in the vehicle who can operate the UAV or at least control/watch the feed and highlight products for the rest of the crew.
If they are a sensor first then lets have flying unmanned sensors. Which we do.

I can easily visualize a situation where all four tanks in a Troop are firing their main armament. I have having a harder time visualizing them all operating Class 1 UAS at the same time. We have structures for Class 1 UAS and a C2 network.

Does each tank need a crewman dedicated to looking at UAS feeds and comms? In the OCs and BC's tank the operator is an Sgt/MCpl who is there to help the OC/BC with battlefield information management. They are the loader, but since those tanks shouldn't be firing too much its not a crisis. If the OC's panzer is firing then his C2 of the sqn takes a back seat for a moment - Maslov's hierarchy of needs places not blowing up ahead of talking to Tp Ldrs and the CO on the net. For the tanks in the Troops? Seems wasteful to have a fourth crewman when you have an auto-loader. I am not a fan of auto-loaders but perhaps that is my arch-conservatism speaking.
 

OldSolduer

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Jack of all trades —> master of none.
I’m not against 1 tank having a UAS, but ideally there are more troops to do that in an IFV (or CP) and tanks should never really be alone.

The same issues occurs when one looks at the MMEV, dual hats mean that one of those hats are probably collecting dust and being ignored.
In war you should ideally have one task. If you are in a tank then your task should be clear.
 

Underway

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If they are a sensor first then lets have flying unmanned sensors. Which we do.

I can easily visualize a situation where all four tanks in a Troop are firing their main armament. I have having a harder time visualizing them all operating Class 1 UAS at the same time. We have structures for Class 1 UAS and a C2 network.

Does each tank need a crewman dedicated to looking at UAS feeds and comms? In the OCs and BC's tank the operator is an Sgt/MCpl who is there to help the OC/BC with battlefield information management. They are the loader, but since those tanks shouldn't be firing too much its not a crisis. If the OC's panzer is firing then his C2 of the sqn takes a back seat for a moment - Maslov's hierarchy of needs places not blowing up ahead of talking to Tp Ldrs and the CO on the net. For the tanks in the Troops? Seems wasteful to have a fourth crewman when you have an auto-loader. I am not a fan of auto-loaders but perhaps that is my arch-conservatism speaking.
In the KF-51 Panther concept, there is an extra spot in the hull for another crewman (apologies if you read the document already). They suggest that this extra crew (from the 3 crew needed to operate the tank) could do a number of tasks. It could be used as an OC postion, allowing them to focus on fighting the squadron instead of fighting the tank they are in.

The other option is that they take over the RWS or UAV/loitering munition system control and control that weapon system/sensor, again freeing up the crew commander. You would then have four crew looking out three with excellent optics (crew commander optic mount, gunner sight, RWS). If the systems are all linked into a hunter-killer arrangement you have a two-hunters one killer arrangement instead.

Or of course like you said, no extra crewman is needed in every tank. But it seems to me there is some merit in examining if the loader turned RWS/Loitering munition operator is valuable.
 

daftandbarmy

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In the KF-51 Panther concept, there is an extra spot in the hull for another crewman (apologies if you read the document already). They suggest that this extra crew (from the 3 crew needed to operate the tank) could do a number of tasks. It could be used as an OC postion, allowing them to focus on fighting the squadron instead of fighting the tank they are in.

The other option is that they take over the RWS or UAV/loitering munition system control and control that weapon system/sensor, again freeing up the crew commander. You would then have four crew looking out three with excellent optics (crew commander optic mount, gunner sight, RWS). If the systems are all linked into a hunter-killer arrangement you have a two-hunters one killer arrangement instead.

Or of course like you said, no extra crewman is needed in every tank. But it seems to me there is some merit in examining if the loader turned RWS/Loitering munition operator is valuable.

Or even better...

Tea Cha GIF by GifGari
 

Underway

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Or even better...

Tea Cha GIF by GifGari
Every time I talk to a tanker about autoloaders I hear the same excuse. What are we gonna do if we need to repair a track or something? That's at least a four-person job. But now I see that the loader is the cook for the tank. No one wants to boil their own IMP's...
 

Spencer100

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Why mess around this vehicle we can cook whole meals. The EM-50.

Plus you can takeout entire Warsaw Pact divisions on an European Holiday.
1655836272648.png
 

Kirkhill

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In the KF-51 Panther concept, there is an extra spot in the hull for another crewman (apologies if you read the document already). They suggest that this extra crew (from the 3 crew needed to operate the tank) could do a number of tasks. It could be used as an OC postion, allowing them to focus on fighting the squadron instead of fighting the tank they are in.

The other option is that they take over the RWS or UAV/loitering munition system control and control that weapon system/sensor, again freeing up the crew commander. You would then have four crew looking out three with excellent optics (crew commander optic mount, gunner sight, RWS). If the systems are all linked into a hunter-killer arrangement you have a two-hunters one killer arrangement instead.

Or of course like you said, no extra crewman is needed in every tank. But it seems to me there is some merit in examining if the loader turned RWS/Loitering munition operator is valuable.

Curiosity

Leo2 Troop - 16 Crew

TL/VC
Ldr
Gnr
Dr

T2/VC
Ldr
Gnr
Dr

VC
Ldr
Gnr
Dr

VC
Ldr
Gnr
Dr

KF51 Tp - 12 crew, 4 pax

TL/VC
Gnr
Dr
Pax

T2/VC
Gnr
Dr
Pax

VC
Gnr
Dr
Pax

VC
Gnr
Dr
Pax

USMC Squad - 12 inf Fire Teams, 4 in command team

Squad Ldr
Asst Squad Ldr
Systems Operator
Medic

Summary.

If the KF51 schema were adoptable then

4 vehicle crews with the Troop Leader in one hull, Troop WO in another, the UAS operator in another and the medic in the fourth.
 
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