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Sunday, August 14, 2016

Reinventing the tank

There isn't going to be any ground war in Russia. There had better not be, anyway:
Russian experiences in Ukraine—where both sides are using upgraded Soviet-built tanks and anti-tank weapons—have shown that despite the best active, reactive and passive armor available, a tank will eventually be penetrated. “We discovered that no matter how skillful the crew, the tank would get up to ten hits,” Pukhov said during a luncheon at the Center for the National Interest in Washington, D.C.—which is the foreign policy think-tank that publishes The National Interest—on July 26. “Even if you have perfect armor—active, passive. In one case it will save you from one hit, in another case from two hits, but you’ll still get five hits and you’re done. That’s why now you’re supposed to have some kind of Tank 2.0.”

The Tank 2.0, as Pukhov describes it, is not the T-14 Armata—which despite its advanced unmanned turret and active protection systems—is still a more or less a conventional tank design. “I know Russians are thinking about this new tank and this tank is not Armata,” Pukhov said. “It’s what we call among us Boyevaya Mashina Podderzhki Tankov [Tank Support Fighting Machine]—but in fact it’s not a Podderzhki Tankov, but which can protect itself. So there is a serious debate about it.”

Later, during a one-on-one interview at the Center the same day, I asked Pukhov to elaborate on the Tank 2.0 concept. Pukhov said that traditionally, infantry has protected tanks—particularly in built up urban areas—but given the speed of modern armored vehicles, that is no longer possible in many cases. But while during previous eras tanks were more or less protected against weapons like rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles, the latest generation of those weapons can punch through even the toughest armor.
What should alarm Western planners is that the Russians are rapidly transforming their military into a much more effective one than its larger, cumbersome Soviet predecessor. In both Ukraine and Syria, both air and ground arms have proven to be very effective; the swamp-them-with-numbers approach is clearly a thing of the past.

This wouldn't be a problem, of course, if the Bush-Obama administrations hadn't sought to make them an enemy rather than an ally in the Third Wave of Islamic Expansion.

Labels:

89 Comments:

Anonymous #8601 August 14, 2016 8:26 PM  

Under Trump, the USA and Russia will be hard buds.

Anonymous Frankenstein McBadperson (an actually really bad person, the crimethink is over the cliif) August 14, 2016 8:39 PM  

Well you guys are the experts and I'm not (after all you've got Kratman and Pournelle and Martin Van Creveld in your brain trust, I couldn't possibly compete.)

But like the old Yogi B. saying goes, You can observe a lot just by looking.

In silly local wars that don't really mean much (think of something stupid like USA versus Honduras, that sort of nonsense, which was our idiotic and inexplicable concept in a place like Libya, which could have been brought onside if we weren't such corrupt retards), advanced weaponry of whatever type would win the day.

But in a clash with the serious guys, powers like China and Russia, the war IMO will be largely fought in cyberspace -- destroying satellites and communication systems, hacking domestic systems and command/control to create EMPs and dam floods -- do you have any idea how many people could be killed by f!cking up the Aswan Dam? -- electrical shutdowns, banking craziness, economic guerilla attacks, those sorts of things. That's the sort of stuff I'd do rather than run around with tanks, and I'm sort of a theoretical supervillain. The Chinese have already got not one but something like seven Fifth Columns living here already.

Our govt is run by morons and ideological imbeciles.

Anonymous Takin' a Look August 14, 2016 8:41 PM  

@ so Trump will be killed and replaced with a very well trained look-a-like. Hell, they will wipe out the whole family and friends if necessary. The Jew World Order will NOT be denied goyim!

Anonymous Takin' a Look August 14, 2016 8:42 PM  

@1 I meant*

Blogger Bob Loblaw August 14, 2016 8:50 PM  

So he asked the guy to elaborate the concept, and the answer was "modern tanks are sitting ducks". Which they are. That's going to get worse no matter what designers do, since automation allows you to attack weaknesses reliably. Back in WW II you didn't have to worry much about top armor, but these days nearly every ATGM has a top attack mode.

You're right about the Russian military. They've given Stalin's old "quantity has a quality all of its own" idea the old heave-ho.

Blogger weka August 14, 2016 8:51 PM  

The reason wars remain conventional is that a Serious war will go thermonuclear. So tracks or similar and ships still count.

New tech will change the conventional battlespace. The tank may end up as relevant as horse cavalry, or morph into the Slammers supertank.

But the current Main Battle Tank can be taken out even I asymmetrical battles. It is beyond its use by date.

Anonymous andon August 14, 2016 8:56 PM  

But while during previous eras tanks were more or less protected against weapons like rocket propelled grenades and anti-tank missiles, the latest generation of those weapons can punch through even the toughest armor...

a million dollar tank vs $10,000(?) RPG or anti-tank missile

Blogger The Other Robot August 14, 2016 8:58 PM  

@1: The Main Slime Media is trying to pretend that Trump is as frail and as exhausted as Clinton.

Blogger Pseudotsuga August 14, 2016 9:06 PM  

Rooshian tank is stronkest tank! Except when hit by Rooshian missle... Rooshian missle is stronkest missle!

Blogger Unknown August 14, 2016 9:11 PM  

People have been saying the MBT is obsolete for decades. In the 1960s/1970s it was ATGMs that were the scourge of all armor forces everywhere, after the rough handling Israeli tankers experienced at the hands of Russian missiles. Then Chobham armor was designed, and protection trumped penetration. Now, top attack missiles are the latest scourge to render armor obsolete on the battlefield. I suspect that, as before, this will be countered, probably by active countermeasures, but who really knows.
I do believe that the march to Keith Laumer type Bolos is well underway, though in it's infancy...

Blogger Timmy3 August 14, 2016 9:16 PM  

This article doesn't make sense. Russia isn't best buddies with the US regardless of any US overtures. The tanks are useless. So what?

Blogger tz August 14, 2016 9:19 PM  

Leftism, including communism was about following orders. They should name a tank after Lysenko.

Putin is returning religion, civilization, and excellence to Russia. MRGA!

We lost Vietnam, and managed a permanent stalemate in Korea (but see Lind's most recent at TR). And now we need to see how many quagmires we can create.

If we fight Russia, we will lose.

Anonymous Frankenstein McBadperson August 14, 2016 9:26 PM  

American MBTs will be used on white Americans long before they are ever used on Russians. Probably have UN crews from Nigeria in them, too. But maybe the ongoing (((mass biological warfare))) against white America will succeed first, and the heavy weaponry won't be necessary.

"If th'assassination could trammel up
The consequence, and catch with his surcease
Success..."

Oh dammit. Now I have to run out of the room again, spin three times and shout "Fuck!"

The things I do for you folks.



Blogger Nick S August 14, 2016 9:27 PM  

It doesn't look all that impressive to me.

Blogger toadbile August 14, 2016 9:30 PM  

So armor is useless, speed counts more.
Reduce crew size to one and make our little hovercraft-with-a-cannon more like a suit of rigid power armour. All optical/mechanical controls except for a voice-only radio so they can slide under the whole cyber-warfare
"our malware in in your tank confusing your
doods" thing.
Cheap, fast micro tanks. And let's crew them with 14 year olds (who are also cheap, fast and naturally sociopathic.)
Then the russians can get back to that Quantity-has-a-quality mission statement.

Blogger praetorian August 14, 2016 9:33 PM  

Dare we dream such a cheeki breeki dream?

Blogger Bob Loblaw August 14, 2016 9:35 PM  

a million dollar tank vs $10,000(?) RPG or anti-tank missile

or $2250 for three 155mm shells wired together into a mine.

Blogger Brint August 14, 2016 9:46 PM  

@2: There is a military truism that applies to your thoughts on cyberwar: Only armies win wars. The Air Force keeps having to relearn that you cannot simply bomb someone into surrender, you have to have a ground army. The same principle would end up being applied to cyberwar.

@5: I'm not so sure that they have thrown out "Quantity has a quality all its own." If anything, it shows that maintaining the military advantage by having the bigger or fancier club is becoming far more difficult given the increasing pace of technology advancements. Pretty easy to make the prediction that it will again become a question of who has the most or fastest club wielders.

Blogger Tom Kratman August 14, 2016 9:50 PM  

The Russians have always had good designs, really, at least since the 30s. ANd their systems of systems were exceptionally well thought out and, insofar as the economy could support them, well integrated. (Of course, during the Cold War, we were pretty well thought out and integrated too, and on average better manned.)

But there are systemic administrative, moral, and disciplinary problems in the Russian Army that they have not made any real headway on, and may never without shutting down and starting over.

Blogger The Other Robot August 14, 2016 9:54 PM  

American MBTs will be used on white Americans long before they are ever used on Russians.

So, the question becomes, how can ordinary white Americans improvise things to defeat them?

Blogger natschuster August 14, 2016 9:55 PM  

The Israelis are using the trophy system on their tanks. I read that the US army expressed an interest in s similar system.

Blogger Noah B August 14, 2016 10:04 PM  

@21 I've been reading about anti-missile defense systems for tanks, including Trophy for over a decade now. In the 2006 Israel-Lebanon war, I believe the Israelis were counting on Trophy to protect them from RPG-7s and other similar threats but were caught blindsided when Hezbollah used EFP's instead, which are too large and fast to be stopped by Trophy.

So a few possibilities:
1) Along with Tank 2.0 is a new warhead design and/or other countermeasures aimed at defeating Trophy-like systems
2) Russians believe Trophy doesn't actually work
3) Tank 2.0 isn't meant to counter threats from NATO

Blogger Noah B August 14, 2016 10:06 PM  

"So, the question becomes, how can ordinary white Americans improvise things to defeat them?"

Taliban model. You go for the weak points instead, one of which is the fuel and supply trucks.

Blogger The Other Robot August 14, 2016 10:07 PM  

@22: Don't RPGs have EFPs, if EFPs are explosively formed projectiles?

Blogger Noah B August 14, 2016 10:26 PM  

@24 The two are a bit different. As I have heard the terms used, a jet formed from a shaped charge isn't typically considered an EFP, but I suppose it could be.

Blogger ZhukovG August 14, 2016 10:28 PM  

Russia's current philosophy is to try and get as much bang for the ruble as possible. Also in deference to the fact they have half the manpower the Soviet Union had, they are designing with an eye toward minimizing Russian casualties.

The T-14, has only a two man crew following the philosophy of air superiority fighters that have a pilot and Weapon Systems Officer. The crew of the T-14 is located inside an armored capsule within the tank to provide extra protection to the crew.

Ultimately, however, the Russians would like to create an MBT that has no crew at all. An MBT drone if you will.

Blogger Stephen Davenport August 14, 2016 10:29 PM  

umm it still amazes me how afraid people are of the so-called Russian bear..lol..I have been following them for decades and they get beat regularly by inferior opponents (Chechens, etc.). Not sure were vox is getting they look good in the Ukraine because what I have seen, the Ukrainians stopped them stone cold. one word describes the Russian military, overrated.

Blogger EscapeVelocity August 14, 2016 10:31 PM  

I think Russian relations can be repaired.

Boot Turkey out of NATO, in fact trash NATO and form a new Eruopean Christian alliance.

And let's retake Constantinople. 500 years of occupation is enough.

Anonymous Frankenstein McBadperson August 14, 2016 10:32 PM  

"The Air Force keeps having to relearn that you cannot simply bomb someone into surrender, you have to have a ground army. The same principle would end up being applied to cyberwar."

See, this is why you're not a supervillain-type thinker, but I am. Have you ever thought seriously in detail about how to completely cripple a large American city in less than 24 hours? I have. I wish I knew how to have Evil Plans with Chinese cities, which would be more useful, but I lack the specific details. Still, Evil Plans tend to work just about everywhere, provided you're evil enough.

It's a very good thing that our present enemies are such impulsive retards.

Blogger Jake August 14, 2016 10:36 PM  

Oh Yeah, it's gundam time.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VeD-fm8cgzs

Blogger EscapeVelocity August 14, 2016 10:39 PM  

The Israelis have the best Tanks for 4th gen warfare...urban guerilla fighting. Merkava IV

Blogger EscapeVelocity August 14, 2016 10:41 PM  

I think Russian relations can be repaired.

Boot Turkey out of NATO, in fact trash NATO and form a new Eruopean Christian alliance.

And let's retake Constantinople. 500 years of occupation is enough.

Blogger Noah B August 14, 2016 10:42 PM  

@29 Sure, crippling a city wouldn't be that hard. But from a 4GW perspective, it would be like slitting your own throat.

Blogger The Other Robot August 14, 2016 10:50 PM  

@27: Yeah, Hitler proved that they were ... as did Napoleon.

Anonymous JI August 14, 2016 10:51 PM  

I have a few thoughts on this. Tom Kratman, if you have a moment to comment, what do you think of my reasoning? I'm not very knowledgeable, having just a layman's understanding of these sorts of things, but for what it's worth I come up with three reasons this wonder-tank may be a boondoggle that the Russians regret:

1.) "...much more capable of defending itself against missile-equipped infantry and engaging other vehicles at stand-off ranges with anti-tank missiles."
The systems required to effectively, reliably and repeatedly defend against infantry-fired missiles are going to be very expensive.

2.) “Unfortunately, neither the concept nor the technologies are ready,” Pukhov said. “But the era of new tanks is very close.”
This sounds like the philosophy of "concurrent development", which means one develops the platform and its systems at the same time, as opposed to putting existing systems into a new platform and then making evolutionary upgrades. It's a high-risk approach, as shown by the F-35, the LCS and the FCS.

3.) The final paragraph of the article quotes the Russian think-tanker as saying the vehicle is needed to deal with massed infantry in developed areas. I get the feeling from this statement that they're searching for a technological solution to a tactical, operational or strategic problem (see Stalingrad).

Anonymous Frankenstein McBadperson August 14, 2016 10:58 PM  

"But from a 4GW perspective, it would be like slitting your own throat."

Have to confess I haven't studied 4GW, which does sound fascinating, but I'm ignorant of it. I'm afraid I've only studied Evil. Oh, and also international relations, which helps being Evil. I have no actual desire to cripple American cities, ever. (I'm only a theoretical supervillain, not a real one.) It's sort of more just like an interesting chess problem, like how you'd actually successfully conduct a bank robbery or a kidnapping. It's simply that I know about some large American cities, and I've looked at them more critically than our enemies, thankfully, have done. It's a very good thing that a lot of people in the world have very silly ideas about America.

"crippling a city wouldn't be that hard."

Depends on the extent. And of course, how evil you are.

Blogger Stephen Davenport August 14, 2016 10:59 PM  

@34 not on pure military power. The French took Moscow in 1812 but did not plan for the Russian winter that followed, most French froze or starved to death. In WW2 the Germans were fighting on three fronts and were stretched thin, one on one the Germans were better led and would have beaten the Soviets, IMO.

Blogger Ken Prescott August 14, 2016 10:59 PM  

There will always be a need for mobile, survivable firepower throughout the battlespace. The problem is that we tend to equate mobile with "track-laying," survivable with "thick slabs of armor that waits to get hit," and firepower with "big honkin' gun."

Everything needs to be rethought. For some missions, the current tank will likely remain the best tool in the box. For others, we're going to need to create other options.

What we need are capabilities; if we're not careful, we'll get a DoD 5000 acquisition program, and that is almost guaranteed to go massively over budget and not deliver sufficient capability in a timely manner.

Blogger Bob Loblaw August 14, 2016 11:05 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger newanubis August 14, 2016 11:16 PM  

At least for now, the human aspect of the equation is still a hefty consideration. So far as I can tell, Russians love their country as evidenced (if it can be believed) by the swells of support for their commander-in-chief. Double sentiment for the Russian military personnel that would be called to actually fight and / or perish.
Now, take that and compare to the Obama military and his disdain for both the country and our military.

Blogger ZhukovG August 14, 2016 11:23 PM  

@27 So you've been following the Russian Military for decades?

Yes, the first Russo-Chechen War was a disaster that demonstrated what happens when you attempt to employ poorly trained and motivated conscripts as an offensive force against a motivated defender in mountainous terrain.

However you must also recall that the subsequent Chechen/International Islamist invasion of Russian Dagestan was repelled by the Russian Army which then provided the casus belli for what became the Second Russo-Chechen War.

As you would know the Second Russo-Chechen War was pretty one sided in favor of the Russian Army. Granted the Chechen and their International Islamist allies fought well, but in the end were no match for the Russian Army. Which, as you know, is why Chechnya is part of the Russian Federation now.

I'm sure you also recall how the Russian Army steamrolled the Western trained Georgian Army in the Russo-Georgian conflict that resulted in Georgia failing to take South Ossetia and losing Abkhazia.

Which brings us to the Western backed coup in Ukraine that resulted in the return of Crimea to its rightful home and a pretty successful separatist movement in Eastern Ukraine.

The only regular Russian units in Ukraine were already there by treaty which allowed the Russians to base thousands of personnel in Crimea. Those troops, 'The Polite Green Men', were there just to protect the Crimean Russians from rabid Ukrainian Nationalists. They hardly had to fire a shot.

There was no Russian invasion of E. Ukraine and the Russian Federation has denied the request by the Novorossiyan leaders to be incorporated into the Russian Federation. Now that doesn't mean that there aren't elements of the Don-Kuban Cossack Host operating in E. Ukraine, but the Russian government has just learned to let the cossacks do whatever the hell they want to.

Anonymous Artraccoon gone Rabid August 14, 2016 11:28 PM  

The real issue for tanks and AFVs in general is their evolving role and doctrine, and not so much on technological fixes.

Blogger The Other Robot August 14, 2016 11:51 PM  

@25: OK, I see the difference now.

Blogger Lee Madison August 15, 2016 12:17 AM  

The current flavor of warfare as fought by "Operator Culture" and "Jihadi Big Mob", leaves tanks and AFVs as mobile bases of fire and not much else. For them the dash of mobile warfare is gone, mostly out of fear of taking losses( or in the case of Western forces, inflicting them) and lack of understanding of the "big picture" beyond the level of an apartment complex siege. The advantages of armored warfare is lost on those mindsets, and everyone gets it in their heads that "the tank is dead" because it will get destroyed in built up areas. The problem isn't that tanks are now easier and cheaper to kill, it's that everyone has forgotten that AFVs have ALWAYS been vulnerable in built up or close terrain. Perhaps a modern AT missile is a little more portable than a PAK, but the results are the same and so is the countermeasures...if you are willing to use them. Example, enemy has a position in an urban area and has Anti-armor weapons. Well, don't send in the tanks, send in the infantry with FOs and assign artillery units for support. The armored force is instead flanking the town with mechanized infantry to cut the supply route. This sounds old fashioned, but with bold moves it works. BTW, DESTROY ALL CELL TOWERS! In the very near future I do see tanks evolving into different forms for different tasks, not really a new idea in itself. Much like the tank theories of the 1930s, the future may feature an infantry support tank( the Russians have already done this), a fire support tank, and of course a high mobility tank( much like what we have now, but with better defenses). Additional development of drone scouts and fast supporting robotic AFVs would augment the future armored force. Tanks are just a part of combined arms warfare, and all aspects must be mutually supporting and have the fastest response time. The biggest "revolution" will come when a force doesn't concern itself with the well being or manner of death of it's opponent or casualties among the enemy's supporting civilian population.

Anonymous slowpoke August 15, 2016 12:26 AM  

Putin has been reforming the russian mikitary with an emphasis on protecting the russian soldiers and valueing them more than expensive materiel. That should scare the shit out of anyone expecting to fight them.

Anonymous Daniel H August 15, 2016 12:27 AM  

The most proximate battle where tanks were used extensively against a competent defense and shown to be lacking was the war Russian war with Chechnyan insurgents. Russian counter measured by indiscriminately flattening much of Grozny with artillery and air attacks. When our tanks fail will we up the game by going nuclear? With Hillary in the White House that is a real possibility.

Anonymous ivvenalis August 15, 2016 12:31 AM  

The vehicle in question is basically a T-72 with an unmanned BMP-2 turret. And the designer can't find any buyers.

Tanks have never been invulnerable. They weren't in WWI, they weren't in WW2, and they're not today. Modern MBTs can still advance rapidly and provide fire support while being resistant to most battlefield weapons effects. I'm not sure what the fuss is about. Certainly they've been used by every one who can get their hands on them in all current conflicts.

Blogger pyrrhus August 15, 2016 12:40 AM  

@38 Not sure what those missions could be for current tanks. I don't think we are going to invade Canada, Mexico, or Asia, or Africa. Tanks haven't accomplished much in the middle east apart from creating stateless chaos. If by some miracle our tanks could survive contact with Russia's clearly superior conventional forces, including soon lasers, hypersonic cruise missiles, etc., Russian doctrine now is to use tactical nukes against invaders.

Blogger pyrrhus August 15, 2016 12:42 AM  

Tanks assume an intact supply line for fuel, ammo, and spare parts....Against a competent adversary thousands of miles away, those sound like very poor assumptions to me.....

Anonymous cheddarman August 15, 2016 12:46 AM  

"So, the question becomes, how can ordinary white Americans improvise things to defeat them?" - The Other Robot

ask that question to yourself, TOR. Many of the weaknesses become obvious.

Blogger Noah B August 15, 2016 12:48 AM  

@43 Good find.

Anonymous map August 15, 2016 1:06 AM  

I don't know.

Tanks are just one part of combined warfare. What else is changing in military doctrine using combined forces that will drive changes in tank design?

The purpose of war is to lay flying metal and concussive forces on a target. Getting your material to the target is a trade-off between lethality and mobility, with a tank lying somewhere in-between.

Anonymous Bukulu August 15, 2016 1:13 AM  

andon @ 7:

Million-dollar tank? Try more like $8 million in inflation-adjusted dollars (for the Abrams.)

OpenID joeholocaust August 15, 2016 1:15 AM  

@37 Um, John Wayne didn't defeat Nazi Germany. The USSR, which was mostly Russia when you consider how many Soviet citizens/subjects had pro-German sympathies and helped the enemy had already broken Germany's advances in the battle of Stalingrad in early 1943 and was already pushing the Axis back by the time Allies landed in Normandy in June 6 1944. The allies did not even land on mainland Italy until September 1943. In a one on one, Germany would not have had their minor axis allies helping on the Eastern Front and Soviet Russia would still have beaten them without western allied strategic bombing of Germany's cities since NS German industrial output still rose throughout the war. They lacked the manpower. That's why Hitler should have never attacked Russia but only supported anti-Soviet Russian groups inside Russia to overthrow Stalin's regime. Jewish Marxist Communism could have been wiped off of the planet decades ago if things had gone differently.

Blogger Noah B August 15, 2016 1:18 AM  

"What else is changing in military doctrine using combined forces that will drive changes in tank design?"

Removing the human crew potentially changes everything. If losing the vehicle is less politically risky, it can carry heavier armaments & more fuel and be less armored.

OpenID joeholocaust August 15, 2016 1:24 AM  

Russians aren't stupid, just weird or somewhat deranged by their history. And Russians didn't just steal all their technology from Germany, they had and continue to have their own leading designs. They had their own tradition of rocket technology going back to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky, Father of Modern Rocketry.

Blogger Noah B August 15, 2016 1:33 AM  

"Jewish Marxist Communism could have been wiped off of the planet decades ago if things had gone differently."

Either way, New York would have been fine.

OpenID joeholocaust August 15, 2016 1:37 AM  

I think tanks are largely obsolete. For what task are tanks employed? They are a surface armoured weapon platform to approach the enemy and deliver a lot of firepower. Aren't attack helicopters much faster and able to cross any rough terrain and able to carry enough firepower to rival any tank? Ground soldiers have eyes and ears dispersed over a patch of ground to observe or encounter resistance for which they can call in an air support after taking cover. APC's are about all that is needed to withstand small arms fire for occupying and holding territory. Tanks are expensive for their limited value and therefore a juicy target. I have no military experience but my father served in an engineers unit and would always say that a tank is only as tough as its weak point - the tracks.

Blogger Noah B August 15, 2016 1:40 AM  

@58 The constant need to repair the tracks is probably the biggest obstacle to eliminating the human crew.

Blogger N Matheson August 15, 2016 1:42 AM  

@zhukovG wrote it so I didn't have to. Russians have a fantastic post WW2 record compared to USA.

Blogger bob k. mando August 15, 2016 1:46 AM  

6. weka August 14, 2016 8:51 PM
But the current Main Battle Tank can be taken out even I asymmetrical battles.



i love the video of the ISIS guy running up under the barrel of a Syrian tank and tossing a grenade into the muzzle.

you'd think these people ( tank operators ) would have a little more concern for their own lives that they might try to scan the terrain near them a little bit?


26. ZhukovG August 14, 2016 10:28 PM
Ultimately, however, the Russians would like to create an MBT that has no crew at all. An MBT drone if you will.



this is an obvious step.

with the critical strategic weakness of "can you fab your own chips"? permitting the offshoring of any of this type of production to, say, China would be terminally stupid.



Pukhov said that traditionally, infantry has protected tanks—particularly in built up urban areas—but given the speed of modern armored vehicles, that is no longer possible in many cases.

the "infantry screen" scenario, by definition, places this thinking as asymmetrical warfare.

because the primary anti-tank threat in any first world conventional warfare exchange is going to be airborne. for at least ONE of the participants ( whomever has gained air superiority ).

heck, even a lowly Predator can mount two Hellfires.

good luck spotting a Predator at 5,000 ft and three miles out if you haven't got 1st world radar tech.



27. Stephen Davenport August 14, 2016 10:29 PM
the Ukrainians stopped them stone cold.



so the Ukraine owns Crimea now? funny how i missed that.

also funny how Russia has re-established full federal control over Chechnya.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Second_Chechen_War
"Three months later the exiled leader of the separatist government, Akhmed Zakayev, called for a halt to armed resistance against the Chechen police force starting on 1 August and said he hoped that "starting with this day Chechens will never shoot at each other".

i had thought that it was fairly unusual for the 'winner' of a conflict to sue for peace terms whilst in exile. but, you know, i'm just a simpleton.

Blogger Noah B August 15, 2016 1:51 AM  

@61 with the critical strategic weakness of "can you fab your own chips"?

Looks like they can.

Blogger Noah B August 15, 2016 1:52 AM  

Money quote: "The Baikal T-1 is the first Russian-made chip manufactured for commercial use, and will cost around $60. Until recently, Russian companies made microprocessors mainly for the country's defence industry."

Blogger Thucydides August 15, 2016 2:05 AM  

A few thoughts:

Russian Hybrid Warfare Doctrine is 4GW at the high conventional war level, attacking the will of the political establishment, armed forces and population but still backed with conventional forces. In that regard, the nature of the conventional force isn't as important if the will of the enemy to resist has been weakened or broken.

The Russians have made major attempts to upgrade and up armour their AFV's for decades. They have developed composite armour, Explosive reactive armour and active systems like DROZD and ARENA in an attempt to make it harder to defeat tanks with cheap ATGMs. Essentially they are trying to make asymmetric battles between tanks and infantry less asymmetric.

Tank 2.0 as a ground vehicle may not be possible. As far back as the 1980's British theorist Richard Simkin advocated for a form of air mobility as defined by General Senger und Etterlin’s main battle air vehicle concept:

The main battle air vehicle uses ground tactically without relying on it for mobility.

In the 1980's, of course this meant helicopters, but UAV's, ducted fan vehicles or much larger versions of the Quadcopter concept might work in this regard using modern material and computer technologies. Moving men and equipment this way is also the direction militaries should be looking, since cheap asymmetric threats on the ground easily trump conventional military forces, unless the military is given massive funding and support.

Blogger Elder Son August 15, 2016 2:08 AM  

Ya know what? Screw the Chechen's and Afghani's. Why anyone is stuck on them is just stoo-pid and silly. Any war with US-NATO, will be so far out there, it won't even pale in comparison. Tanks will be used. What you want to watch, is Russia's anti-ship/aircraft,their jamming capabilities, along with their new gen fighters. And those hypersonic ballistic missile can be mounted conventionally. So, if US-NATO so much as touches the Motherland, you can bet your Fadderland will also. US-NATO in but a speed bump. And don't think for a moment, that if things go hot with Russia, China won't take advantage of it.

P.S. Russia did not invade Ukraine. State Dept. and US-NATO prize, in Ukraine, has always been the Black Sea Fleet. Hell, even the Russians know that.

Blogger Noah B August 15, 2016 2:18 AM  

Meanwhile, inside the newest M1A2 fire control system...

Blogger bob k. mando August 15, 2016 2:20 AM  

62. Noah B August 15, 2016 1:51 AM
Looks like they can.



i said that as a rhetorical consideration for the US.

worst case, Russia could always have had their chips made in the Foxconn plant.



65. Elder Son August 15, 2016 2:08 AM
P.S. Russia did not invade Ukraine.


we all know that.

you have to ride a pretty short bus not to have noticed that regular Russian troops have never yet engaged Uke forces in any significant way.

Blogger Elder Son August 15, 2016 3:00 AM  

@67 Yeah. I didn't read the whole thread, but it was mentioned that the Russians didn't and I reiterated. Anyhow, it has come up in the past here, by other than we, that yes, they did.

Anyhow, I don't scholar myself with Russia and its military capabilities, but I do read in passing almost daily, follow several Russian English sites, and have hefty Russian/Ukraine/DPR/NATO etc. twitter accounts that I follow. It just amazes me what the "experts" think they know and poo-poo Russian capabilities.

As for the jamming of, I think it was USS Cole(?) that got poo-poo'ed awhile back, well, the Russians did the same thing to a couple of Israeli fighter jets in Syria that split real fast (and a new memorandum of understanding) a month or 2 after the Turkey shoot-down of the Russian fighter. If you don't keep up on this kind of stuff, you will miss it, because they are not going to flash it for weeks on end. Most of the time it is just a passing blur.

My 2 cents for the night.

Blogger Mr.MantraMan August 15, 2016 3:19 AM  

'Murkan strategic thinkers are stuck in 1945 and they like it. Just add complexity and cash and voila you have a strategy

Blogger residentMoron August 15, 2016 4:27 AM  

It's a quandary for people who understand the benefits of peace; both the political benefits (it doesn't provide the same incentives and pretexts for internal political expansion of central power), and the economic benefits (extended periods of peaceful stability are characterised by steady improvements in widespread prosperity (perhaps as a direct consequence of the first point, since centralised power is always used as a vehicle for concentrated wealth accumulation for a connected few).

But if you don't engage in conflict with forces able to seriously challenge you, you will eventually suffer a nasty surprise. It is so long since the USA has been seriously challenged in a massed forces conflict (a 2nd/3rd generation conflict) that her actual ability to sustain one against a serious opponent can be questioned.

Sports might be an analogy, that teenage football team that hammered the best women's side in the world recently, isn't going to make it in the Premier League. One conflict doesn't at all prepare you for the other.

Blogger Patriotic Canadian August 15, 2016 7:40 AM  

Why not go with edge of tomorrow armor except with more chest protection? Tank killing power in a suit.

Blogger Tom Kratman August 15, 2016 8:54 AM  

JI:

1) Not so much. Why not? Because the systems to defend against infantry fired missiles and RPGs already exist. They're called main cannon, machine guns, artillery, mortars, aircraft, grunts, etc. As you say, part of the problem with the thought underlying the article is that it's looking at a technical problem, forgetting tactical solutions, and neglecting that tanks needn't be, and never have been, invulnerable; that loss is just a part of war.

2) Personal suspicion; this isn't concurrent development so much as propaganda designed to get us to waste money and be fearful, as well as score domestic political points for the current regime. Yes, yes; it's true enough that the Russians do need to conserve manpower, given their crappy demographics. But that won't change the nature of war nor of their iffy economy to permit them to create the impossible. Neither does their experience incline them to try for the impossible, the invulnerable tank, when they know what they need is a tough tank that can be economically replaced after it's destroyed. I'd suggest that if they're claiming to be trying for more than enhanced crew survival, they're lying.

3) I'm not quite sure what they're thinking when they say "massed infantry." It's true that infantry density on the ground, in MOUT, is high, but it is density, not exactly the same as mass. The problem for tanks in MOUT remain immense and, frankly, I do not see any real solution - provided one is fighting a competent foe - to that except lots and lots of infantry of your own, whether to clear areas supported by your own tanks, or to surround the place and starve it out.

The Russians already have a number of passive and semi-active systems - indeed, ISTR that they still lead the world in the latter - which may be useful even in MOUT. The problems there are not so much mechanical, I think, as in sensing and software.

Blogger BCD August 15, 2016 10:39 AM  

Incidentally, the Russians got reasonably good at MOUT during the second Battle of Grozny by developing appropriate infantry techniques, rather than try to use an armored sledgehammer. From what I know, they kept all armor outside the city.

Anonymous EH August 15, 2016 11:20 AM  

Tank 2.0: Staying in one piece through superior fire-power.

Blogger FALPhil August 15, 2016 12:03 PM  

@27 Stephen Davenport
umm it still amazes me how afraid people are of the so-called Russian bear..lol..I have been following them for decades and they get beat regularly by inferior opponents (Chechens, etc.). Not sure were vox is getting they look good in the Ukraine because what I have seen, the Ukrainians stopped them stone cold. one word describes the Russian military, overrated.

Kinda like the Americans (Vietnamese, etc.).

Blogger Tamquam August 15, 2016 1:33 PM  

Make Russia an ally? Seriously? Russia has been working to bring down America and the West since the October Revolution, they didn't stop after the collapse of the Soviet Empire and are still at it today. Russia, still under control of the same ideologues they have been for the last century have not laid aside the dream of a world dominated by a single totalitarian collectivist state with Moscow the spider at the center of the web.

http://gulagbound.com/51897/loudonclear-trevor-interviews-jeff-nyquist-on-russia-influence/

And there's lots more from a wide variety of sources.

Blogger OldFan August 15, 2016 3:09 PM  

I work at the National Training Center at Fort Irwin (where I was assigned 33 years ago on active duty), so I see about 20 tank battles per month.

The only reason I did not call "BS" on this article is that the LOSERS in a tank battle actually look like what he describes: they take multiple hits and never get a chance to respond.

Analysis shows this is what happened in every major tank battle: the winning side dominated the battle, regardless of the actual odds. In 1944, German tank ace Michael Wittman took out 80 British Shermans with 80 rounds (his entire ammo load) from his Tiger in less than 10 minutes and broke a full brigade's attack single-handed. In 1973, four Israeli Centurions stopped a Syrian Armored Division (300+ tanks).

What this article really says is that poorly-trained Russian conscripts in their current tanks are getting their a**es handed to them and I am delighted to hear that.

The Rules of War have changed little in 75 years: In forest, swamp, and ruined metropolis the Infantry rules, in open ground the Tank dominates - as long as the Air battle is undecided. If you park in the open for about 10 minutes, the Artillery will find you and you are both done!

Blogger FALPhil August 15, 2016 3:16 PM  

@76 Tamquam
Russia has been working to bring down America and the West since the October Revolution, they didn't stop after the collapse of the Soviet Empire and are still at it today.

I can't say as I blame them. We sent 13K troops to meddle in their civil war and we were on the losing side. Ever since then, we have been pissing on their doorstep. From their point of view, the US is the bad guys.

There is an opportunity here to turn that around, but it will require the cessation of military adventurism which has characterized US foreign policy since Wilson was president. Unfortunately, there is so much money involved in US wars, and your children are so expendable, that my bet is it won't happen. The big prize for those fueling conflict with Russia is war with Russia. The US gov will have to spend so much on munitions that everyone will get rich! That is until North America becomes a vast nuclear wasteland.

We would be well served to ally with Russia against a common foe, of which we have one.

Blogger FALPhil August 15, 2016 3:17 PM  

This comment has been removed by the author.

Blogger JohnG August 15, 2016 4:01 PM  

@20 EFPs. You need a fairly substantial disk of copper, formed into a cone @~23 degrees with a good bit of C4, RDX or Semtex behind it. Afghan and Iraqi neanderthals have been taking out our $million vehicles for years. C4 is about $4.00/kg.

Blogger JohnG August 15, 2016 4:11 PM  

In mid 2000 I talked to the commander of Ft. Knox, and he told me about a conversation he had with Rummsfeld and Shinseki on the M1. The conversation they had went along the lines of "what are we going to do with the M1? If we put any more armor on it, it will sink to the center of the earth..." After which you may remember that the push was for smaller, lighter and faster. Which of course got stymied after our guys were getting blown up in unarmored or lightly armored vehicles in Iraq/Afghanistan.

There's not really a way to make a tank invulnerable. A TOWII missile @<$8000 will take out anything in existence, and the math on that is pretty bad ($3million tank vs. $8000 missile).

The key really is air superiority, we can do anything we want to 3rd world insurgents or Arab armies because our planes can destroy ADA batteries and armor units at will. Vs. Russia, China or N. Korea, that's not at all a given, and there's a few strategists that think a real dust up with Russia would end up badly for us.

Blogger BCD August 15, 2016 4:12 PM  

@77 Analysis shows this is what happened in every major tank battle: the winning side dominated the battle, regardless of the actual odds.

Was this true strictly for battles in the open, or did it include restricted terrain as well? An obvious exception to the rule is Kursk, but that was arguably an artificially-restricted environment where other arms could come into play.

We sent 13K troops to meddle in their civil war and we were on the losing side. Ever since then, we have been pissing on their doorstep.

One of my favorite stump questions is: What are two 20th century wars the US participated in both in Europe and Asia? Only one person has gotten it, but with generous hints.

One thing that frustrates me about Americans is our general ignorance of our own history, to the point that we are genuinely shocked when other people hate us, or even have reservations about the purity of our benevolence.

Blogger FALPhil August 15, 2016 4:47 PM  

@82 BCD
One thing that frustrates me about Americans is our general ignorance of our own history, to the point that we are genuinely shocked when other people hate us, or even have reservations about the purity of our benevolence.

So true. The US could have stayed completely out of both world wars except for the delusions of grandeur fomented by Wilson and both Roosevelts. Our economy would have ramped up a few years later, but it would have been based on rebuilding the combatant countries (which the US did anyway).

The other thing that frustrates me is that the minute you advocate not sending US blood and treasure to some pismire backwater country, most Americans point at you and shriek, "ISOLATIONISM!", clearly not understanding that you don't have to bomb the crap out of someone to not be isolationist.

Personally, I am tired of war. If the US government is going to waste the taxpayer's money, I'd rather they spent it on space exploration and exploitation rather than war. All other things equal, space exploration spins off more useful technology.

Anonymous Daniel H August 15, 2016 5:35 PM  

@77
>>Analysis shows this is what happened in every major tank battle: the winning side dominated the battle, regardless of the actual odds. In 1944, German tank ace Michael Wittman took out 80 British Shermans with 80 rounds

This is a gross exaggeration. As per Wikipedia his entire battle group (6 tanks) destroyed 15 tanks and approximately 15 transport vehicles in the engagement.

BTW, the Tiger 1 was a failure as a tank. Yes it could out-duel a Sherman 9 times out of 10, but Shermans were cheaper and easier to produce, more reliable, ubiquitous on the field and able to swarm any Tiger 1 (or Tiger 2) placement, ultimately defeating them. As a Tiger crew you killed more Sherman crews than they did of you, but as a Tiger crew man, ultimately, you were going to die.

Anonymous A.B. Prosper August 15, 2016 8:34 PM  

The Russian army is tolerable at offense, c.f Grozny being defined by the UN as "the most destroyed city in the world." but the military is set for defense.

It has to be, Russia is big, not that wealthy or populated and doesn't have very good demography

Its birth rates is not as low as some and probably comparable or maybe a tiny bit higher than the current US which is really bad but its still below replacement and not great.

If the Neo Cons get control the US still won't likely go to real war with Russia but will try for a proxy war which I suspect the Russian will avoid

If perchance it did happen the the real war will take place in the air and on the sea.

Armchair theorist here

How good Russian air defenses or fighters are is unknown, I think we could win air to air fights but we might not be able to handle both aircraft and air defenses

Also Russian non nuclear missiles might be pretty good and very precise . I'm not sure we can stop them or jam GLONASS . This would mean any city of any ally is subject to having its vital infrastructure targeted

As for naval, the US has a good advantage in surface ships but we have no idea what sub fleets with nuclear or supercavitating torpedos like the squall will do to our fleet

In the current scheme the loss if a carrier or worse a group might be irreplaceable

if worst comes to worst, the Russians push the button and the US is over. If we are lucky they'll offer a limited strike against the coast and hope we don't respond in full. This would allow the US to sort of survive, maybe

More likely, the US and Russia go all out and everybody dies. China wins by default.

Worst case scenario and I doubt it will occur is Russia has enough weapons, maybe salted bombs to target every major population center everywhere in which case , well its Fallout Live Action

My guess though is we won't do much of anything except double down, hope Putin and Putinism die off and we get another Yeltsin .

Anonymous Noah Baudie August 16, 2016 8:40 AM  

I am old enough to remember the Protracted Struggle. We were always being warned that the Soviets were about to demonstrate new and inconceivably advanced weaponry. Then when it all fell apart it turned out that the sooper dooper Mach 3 jet fighter was made mostly out of sooper dooper expensive titanium, meaning they were too expensive to produce more than a handful of them, and had primitive radios and radar sets full of vacuum tubes, and engines that would self-destruct if they weren't completely rebuilt after about twenty hours of use. The Soviets developed that level of technology while leeching off the economies of all of Eastern Europe and putting 60% of their GDP into war.

Now Russia has a smaller GDP than Italy and no longer has access to millions of Uzbek, Ukrainian, and Latvian conscripts to march endlessly into the minefields. I have seen the pictures of the T-14 Armata and heard all manner of bizarre and contradictory claims made for it by a Russian manufacturer that's desperate to sell them to India or Thailand. I question whether the T-14 exists at all, other than as a doodle on the back of a vodka-soaked cocktail napkin and a list of contradictory specs, plus video of a farm tractor with a tank-shaped plywood superstructure duct-taped atop it.

This is wholly apart from the question of the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, or whether there are historical reasons for the longstanding Russian habit of invading, looting, and raping their neighbors when not exterminating them outright and stealing their land, and their neighbors' noticing and as a result not sharing Russians' nostalgic enthusiasm for the glories of the Soviet Empire and the good old days of the Chekha and the Gulag, a state of affairs which continues to perplex the Russians two and a half decades after the collapse of the USSR.

As an aside, even the Japanese have started to figure out that the Chinese, Koreans, Vietnamese, and Filipinos all loathe them, and that it has something to do with events taking place between 1937 and 1945, though the Japanese don't yet grasp why.

The Russians are even more tone-deaf and blind to history than the Japanese, and cannot imagine why, as they park their tanks on the mass graves of thirty million white Christian Ukrainians murdered by the NKVD at Stalin's orders in the 1930s, the locals are giving them the hairy eyeball and taking potshots at them. They're just trying to recreate the USSR, won't that be wonderful? "Why aren't these stupid hick hohols happy to see us? Why aren't they scattering rose petals on the streets in front of us? Maybe we should shell them some more and shoot down a few more airliners."

Blogger OldFan August 16, 2016 11:12 AM  

The original premise that Russian arms are becoming vastly improved may be a new variation on an old theme: Russia is continually on the verge of matching US weapons technology - except when it isn't.

Remember the dreaded T-95 "Black Eagle" tanks that was all over the arms exhibitions for the last 15 or so years? It was 'better than the Abrams' in every category - according to the press releases. Never put into production. Current Russian MBT is an upgraded T-72 platform.

How about the '5th Gen Stealth Fighter" that everybody - especially our Air Force brethren - said was due any minute now? One pre-protype was flown at airshows, but not put into production. Current Russian mainline fighter is an upgraded SU-27 airframe.

Anybody who is impressed by the Russian Navy is simply not paying attention. They have a carrier without a functioning air group and 90% of their hulls are rusting away.

Now I will give them this: the potentially best assault rifle in the world is the amazing new AK-12. Which the Russian army simply cannot afford to buy.

Now, there is one thing the Russians excel at: deception (maskirovna). I clearly remember being shown their advanced assault bridging technology back in '73. They had a 1-piece ribbon bridge (that we promptly stole) and a fabulous road & rail pontoon bridge that we simply could not match. 25 years later, I learned that it was a mock-up designed to impress us, i.e it never really existed.

The Russian Army's problems are not hardware-related. When they ditch their conscript manning model and build a real NCO corps of veteran sergeants, then we can start worrying.

Blogger Tom Kratman August 16, 2016 6:21 PM  

"The Russian Army's problems are not hardware-related. When they ditch their conscript manning model and build a real NCO corps of veteran sergeants, then we can start worrying."

That's the hardest thing there is to make if you don't already have it. Officer are mostly made by the society they spring from - you either have the society for good, ethical, honorable officers or you don't - but NCOs are made (or ruined) by the army they grow up in. And the Russian Army is not the sort to make good NCOs.

Anonymous Zed, Lord of the Brutals August 17, 2016 3:30 AM  

The key to tank success is using them properly. As for urban tank operations, you can look at both tank led and infantry led urban operations from Fallujah Nov 2004. US Army used tanks as lead elements, USMC used Marines, with tanks in support. USMC took more casualties. What we really could have used was some flamethrowers; yes, really.

EFP's are grossly overrated; for US propaganda purposes. They are marginal, at best, vs side armor on an Abrams. They do have the advantage of standoff, and they can often get mobility kills. Conventional shaped charges have far greater penetration, but have rather rigid requirements for proper standoff, which makes them more suited to warheads, rather than off route mines/IED's.

Regardless, unless you hit the ammunition, you rarely get a catastrophic kill on a tank. That is the single biggest advantage of the Abrams over all other tanks; bustle ammo storage with blow out panels. Ammo cooks off, the crew lives. The Soviet designs, with their autoloader, have a serious issue here.

This is compounded by tanks sitting around waiting for jihadis to poke them with an ATGM. Mobility is a key part of their protection.

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