Main Battle Tanks and Armour Technology

If Tanks have to evolve, which path they should follow?

  • Light Vehicles-Best for mobility

    Votes: 20 6.3%
  • Heavy Armour-Can take heavy punishment.

    Votes: 55 17.2%
  • Modular Design-Allowing dynamic adaptions.

    Votes: 187 58.6%
  • Universal Platform-Best for logistics.

    Votes: 57 17.9%

  • Total voters
    319

Damian

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
4,836
Likes
2,188
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

The old Challnger 1 is credited with the longest range tank kill and Brit tanks are not commanded by high ranking officers. Normally a Senior NCO or a young commissioned officer. The gunner was 18 at the time apparently.

Everything else I pretty much agree with and Britain will probably upgrade/change to 120mm smoothbore soon.
Challenger 1 that scored 5,000m hit was commanded by a colonel AFAIK.
 

Scalieback

Professional
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,092
Likes
249
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

Challenger 1 that scored 5,000m hit was commanded by a colonel AFAIK.
I've lost that video feed, just disappeared but seemed the Cdr on that occasion was the CO of QRIH. The gunner who as you know aims and fires was an 18 year old.

Brit tanks, as I said above are normally commanded by SNCO's and Jnr Officers.
 

Damian

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
4,836
Likes
2,188
Ranks of the rest of the crew of tank firing on such distance or other tanks in formations does not matter. TC is a man reposnisble for decisions, and if You take a look in history, in allmost all if not all cases of long range fire, TC of tank that fired at such distance is a high rank officer not ordinary officer.
 

Scalieback

Professional
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,092
Likes
249
Ranks of the rest of the crew of tank firing on such distance or other tanks in formations does not matter. TC is a man reposnisble for decisions, and if You take a look in history, in allmost all if not all cases of long range fire, TC of tank that fired at such distance is a high rank officer not ordinary officer.
I'm not saying the TC isn't the man responsible, the person in charge. However, most Brit tanks are not commanded by high ranking officers. There's only 1 x Lt Col in a Regt, about 5 Majors and so on. A troop normally has one Jr officer and three SNCO's.

The TC would say T62 at 5km, engage and it would be the gunner that aims and fires. The TC gives direction, he doesn't do the job.

As I said, the vid on the Brit Col seems to have disappeared and I can only comment on what happens in the Brit Army which is often command and control and initiative at the lowest level.
 

Damian

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
4,836
Likes
2,188
I do not want to be misunderstood. I do not question competentions and skills of British tanks crews. I only question whole hype among rifled guns supporters that are in most cases use this incident as an example. While in reality they do not know all details of that incident. Hope You understand my point of view.
 

Scalieback

Professional
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,092
Likes
249
I do not want to be misunderstood. I do not question competentions and skills of British tanks crews. I only question whole hype among rifled guns supporters that are in most cases use this incident as an example. While in reality they do not know all details of that incident. Hope You understand my point of view.
I do and I agree with you on rifled guns in any case. We can't afford to develop and build a new rifled gun on our own so why not go COTs or go in with other nations on a new one.

If you want 'beyond the horizon' kills, go for something like a missile or artillery. Anything over 4.7km is a waste imo on MBT armament.
 

Damian

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
4,836
Likes
2,188
Yes, only solution for MBT's to go with long range engagements are GLATGM's (Gun Launched Anti Tank Guided Missiles) with huge range and top attack mode. For closer range conventional ammunition is better.

As for new gun. Well the problem with both Challenger 1 and Challenger 2 is that both were designed to use a gun that fire a very specific 3 piece ammunition. So ammunition storage in both tanks is not well suited for a 120mm smoothbore that is using a 1 piece ammo. I know that a Challenger 2 rearmament program was cancelled because even if gun fit perfectly inside turret, there were problems with storing safely ammunition inside, and without deep hull and turret redesign, it was immposible to rearm tank.

So in fact rearming Challenger 2 is a big problem that might means deep redesign and modernization program.
 
Last edited:

Scalieback

Professional
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,092
Likes
249
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

Well I have a theory why it might be truth that such turret design is done by nececity of reducing vehicle weight but... I suspect I could be eaten by Arjun fans. ;)

Weight is a very big problem. First it is not only mobility issue (power to weight ratio), but also servicability issue, the heavier vehicle the shorter is service life of suspension, engine and transmission, even if these were designed for a heavy vehicle.

Good example is Challenger 2 with TES(H) up-armor kit. It's weight is 74 tons, 74 tons is completely insane in my opinion. I know from some guys from UK, close to racks, that tanks with up-armor kit have problems with engines, transmission blocks and suspension can barely handle such weight, especially in rough terrain.

This is a problem, especially that there are solutions avaiable right know, that with minimum weiht increase, can significantly increase vehicle protection.

Such solutions as composite armors made with use of nanotechnology or modern multilayer explosive reactive armors, especially ones that instead of flyer plates use linear shaped charges like Ukrainian "Knife" and "Duplet" ERA.
I agree, at 70+ tons that is too much as C2 was designed at 62. That's always the problem, crew protection and the vehicle should be designed with 'add on' armour weight in mind.

As you say, there are lighter and just as good defensive systems out there. That all comes down to cost though.

Still, C2 has only ever been knocked out by one other tank which was ...... a C2. Unlike its peer group. Having said that, I don't think T90 or Leo 2 have been used in 'tank on tank' yet have they?
 

Scalieback

Professional
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,092
Likes
249
Yes, only solution for MBT's to go with long range engagements are GLATGM's (Gun Launched Anti Tank Guided Missiles) with huge range and top attack mode. For closer range conventional ammunition is better.

As for new gun. Well the problem with both Challenger 1 and Challenger 2 is that both were designed to use a gun that fire a very specific 3 piece ammunition. So ammunition storage in both tanks is not well suited for a 120mm smoothbore that is using a 1 piece ammo. I know that a Challenger 2 rearmament program was cancelled because even if gun fit perfectly inside turret, there were problems with storing safely ammunition inside, and without deep hull and turret redesign, it was immposible to rearm tank.

So in fact rearming Challenger 2 is a big problem that might means deep redesign and modernization program.
I don't know about that, bagged ammo would be cheaper to develop for a smooth bore than developing our own rifled gun.

Bagged ammo has a number of advantages, particularly in a CBRN environment ie not having to open a hatch to throw the cases out.

Horses for courses imo and if enough money is thrown at it a solution would be found.

Rearming C2 is a way down the road yet and we'll probably be in another war by then :(
 

Damian

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
4,836
Likes
2,188
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

I agree, at 70+ tons that is too much as C2 was designed at 62. That's always the problem, crew protection and the vehicle should be designed with 'add on' armour weight in mind.

As you say, there are lighter and just as good defensive systems out there. That all comes down to cost though.

Still, C2 has only ever been knocked out by one other tank which was ...... a C2. Unlike its peer group. Having said that, I don't think T90 or Leo 2 have been used in 'tank on tank' yet have they?
There were 3 knocked out/destroyed Challenger 2 tanks.

1st was F-F incident. HESH round through TC hatch, ignited HESH rounds and propelant charges inside (that's much left from the safe ammo storage story), tank completely destroyed, two crew members that were actually inside, dead (RIP).

2nd was a RPG-29 incident I belive. Due to fact that CR1 and CR2 do not have Burlington or Dorchester armor on the lower front hull plate, but it is made from approx ~100mm thick RHA (or it might be also SHS or HHS plate) plate, then covered by ROMOR-A ERA, so nothing strange that RPG-29 was successfull. Crew was lucky that shaped charge jet don't killed anyone inside and did not hit in to the propelant charge storage bins. After that incident ROMOR-A ERA was replaced with Dorchester armor bolt on module.

3rd was IED victim, heavy damage AFAIK, driver lost leg or legs.

I also seen some photos of more CR2's damaged more or less in Iraq.

And no, both T-90 neither Leopard 2 were used in tank vs tank combat.
 

Damian

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
4,836
Likes
2,188
Yes indeed, 3 piece ammo for a smoothbore should be possible to develop. However I am not sure if You are aware of that, but even with human loader, such ammunition might be problematic with increasing lenght of APFSDS penetrator.

As for cases, but even with single piece ammo used by most tanks with 120mm smoothbores, cases are semi combustible cellulose material. The only thing that is left after fire is a small element on the end for the case with primer, nothing else, so there are no problems with spent cases inside.

Besides this British ammo storage system, that in theory is good solution, in reality is not that good. Because based on warships ammo storage systems, it seems to not take in to consideration that ship is bigger, have bigger probability to survive ammo cook-off than a small tank.

In fact the only effective and safe ammo storage solution is complete isolation from crew in ammo magazines/compartments with blast doors and blow off panels. Just like on M1 Abrams series or some prototypes that never went in to production unfortunetly.
 

methos

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2011
Messages
799
Likes
302
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

It is not a matter of discussion how many tanks of any type were knocked out. Maybe there were more Challenger 2 and 1s which were knocked out - we would not know. Both the U.S. and the UK do not offically anounce combat losses (who would?), the one blue-on-blue incident is well known, but it also happened that the lower front hull was penetrated at least once by an RPG - did the UK MOD then make an official statement? No, they didn't, they wanted to keep quiet until the media discovered more details about this incident. Regarding your "unlike it's peer group"-statement: Except for the M1 and the Merkava, no modern third generation tank suffered from large combat losses - this has very likely to do something with the number of tanks deployed in action. The Challenger 1 for example did not engage a single T-72 in Gulf War, so it's minimum technical advantage was about 3 - 4 decades. Since Saddam could not replace combat losses, it seems even more unlikely that the Challenger 2 had to deal with T-72s.
The Challenger 2 per se is not better protected than any other tank, it just carries more applique armour. In a symmetrical combat ("only ever been knocked out by one other tank ") this wouldn't be of much use, but when it comes to fighting insurgents, then the Challenger 2 has it's benefits. But TUSK, AZUR, PSO etc. provide all the same advantages + the base vehicle got a stronger engine.
 

Scalieback

Professional
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,092
Likes
249
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

There were 3 knocked out/destroyed Challenger 2 tanks.

1st was F-F incident. HESH round through TC hatch, ignited HESH rounds and propelant charges inside (that's much left from the safe ammo storage story), tank completely destroyed, two crew members that were actually inside, dead (RIP).

2nd was a RPG-29 incident I belive. Due to fact that CR1 and CR2 do not have Burlington or Dorchester armor on the lower front hull plate, but it is made from approx ~100mm thick RHA (or it might be also SHS or HHS plate) plate, then covered by ROMOR-A ERA, so nothing strange that RPG-29 was successfull. Crew was lucky that shaped charge jet don't killed anyone inside and did not hit in to the propelant charge storage bins. After that incident ROMOR-A ERA was replaced with Dorchester armor bolt on module.

3rd was IED victim, heavy damage AFAIK, driver lost leg or legs.

I also seen some photos of more CR2's damaged more or less in Iraq.

And no, both T-90 neither Leopard 2 were used in tank vs tank combat.
Every day is indeed a school day. However, I am talking about kills rather than mobility kills. With IED's, if you can get one to throw a warrior in the air, it's not good. Thinking more along the lines of tank v tank and Inf v tank( and yes RIP lads)
 

Damian

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
4,836
Likes
2,188
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

It is not a matter of discussion how many tanks of any type were knocked out. Maybe there were more Challenger 2 and 1s which were knocked out - we would not know. Both the U.S. and the UK do not offically anounce combat losses (who would?), the one blue-on-blue incident is well known, but it also happened that the lower front hull was penetrated at least once by an RPG - did the UK MOD then make an official statement? No, they didn't, they wanted to keep quiet until the media discovered more details about this incident. Regarding your "unlike it's peer group"-statement: Except for the M1 and the Merkava, no modern third generation tank suffered from large combat losses - this has very likely to do something with the number of tanks deployed in action. The Challenger 1 for example did not engage a single T-72 in Gulf War, so it's minimum technical advantage was about 3 - 4 decades. Since Saddam could not replace combat losses, it seems even more unlikely that the Challenger 2 had to deal with T-72s.
The Challenger 2 per se is not better protected than any other tank, it just carries more applique armour. In a symmetrical combat ("only ever been knocked out by one other tank ") this wouldn't be of much use, but when it comes to fighting insurgents, then the Challenger 2 has it's benefits. But TUSK, AZUR, PSO etc. provide all the same advantages + the base vehicle got a stronger engine.
Generally I agree, especially with words I marked. The place and number of deployed tanks + possible threats are what makes losses ratio.

What is interesting though, is that I have some, maybe even crazy theory about Jihadists and RPG-29 incident with Challenger 2 tank. They achieved success then, and tried the same trick with American M1 tanks firing RPG-29's at front armor, but without success due to different armor layout. Then they quickly changed tactics and started to attack tanks from sides. Perhaps they were thinking that they can achieve the same effect with M1's as with Challenger 2.

As for addon armor kits. Well we really do not know effectiveness of TES(H), TUSK, AZUR or PSO to compare them.

BTW to not go completely off topic.

Anyone know why ERA module on glacis plate of Arjun tank is not completely covering glacis? As I pointed out earlier, the upper part of glacis plate is not covered. Why Indian designers repeat a known fail of glacis plate ERA module known from T-72 and T-90 series?
 
Last edited:

Scalieback

Professional
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,092
Likes
249
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

It is not a matter of discussion how many tanks of any type were knocked out. Maybe there were more Challenger 2 and 1s which were knocked out - we would not know. Both the U.S. and the UK do not offically anounce combat losses (who would?), the one blue-on-blue incident is well known, but it also happened that the lower front hull was penetrated at least once by an RPG - did the UK MOD then make an official statement? No, they didn't, they wanted to keep quiet until the media discovered more details about this incident.
It's called security. Why on earth would you tell the insurgents that using 'xyz' will get you a 'kill' on a C2? Now if C2's were getting knocked out all of the time by the latest generation of RPG's, they would be upping the armour on them. C2 isn't in Afg, so we'll need to wait until next time.

Personally, I don't think the socialist republic of europe or even India are in any position to talk about freedom of information.

Regarding your "unlike it's peer group"-statement: Except for the M1 and the Merkava, no modern third generation tank suffered from large combat losses - this has very likely to do something with the number of tanks deployed in action. The Challenger 1 for example did not engage a single T-72 in Gulf War, so it's minimum technical advantage was about 3 - 4 decades. Since Saddam could not replace combat losses, it seems even more unlikely that the Challenger 2 had to deal with T-72s.
T72? Why on earth would C2 be worried about T72's? Maybe T80's and 90's.

The Challenger 2 per se is not better protected than any other tank, it just carries more applique armour. In a symmetrical combat ("only ever been knocked out by one other tank ") this wouldn't be of much use, but when it comes to fighting insurgents, then the Challenger 2 has it's benefits. But TUSK, AZUR, PSO etc. provide all the same advantages + the base vehicle got a stronger engine.
Really? We develop the armour that's in use by our close allies. Do you not think we would be developing even better armour for ourselves?
 

Damian

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
4,836
Likes
2,188
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

Really? We develop the armour that's in use by our close allies. Do you not think we would be developing even better armour for ourselves?
It is not that easy. It is truth that Burlington armor was developed by UK, but You must understand that your allies that were using your armor, greatly changed it's design. In a fact design was altered so much that UK and US Burlington armors, having the same name, and being similiar in overall design, were also very unsimiliar. And in the second half of 1980's everyone choose it's own way to further develop such armor.

British had their upgraded Burlington designated Dorchester. Americans seems to completely abandoned Burlington for their own design, that do not have any known codename, it is just known as "Special Armor with Depleted Uranium Alloy elements", Germans have their own way, and French their own.

Besides this, British seems to use one problematic design solution in their armor design. The base structure of Challenger 1 and Challenger 2 turrets are not made from rolled plates but welded from cast elements. It is widely known that two steel plates, of the same thickness and hardness but one made by rolling and second made by casting, is that rolled plate is by 5% to even 15% stronger than it's cast analog.

This is a problem with Challenger series, because Burlington/Dorchester armor backplates, made by casting, will be by 5% to 15% weaker than their rolled analogs in other tanks.

Even Russians and Ukrainians know problems with cast turret structures and replaced them in their newer tanks with structures made from welded rolled plates.

Also, You should know that backplate, being a last solid defensive layer of armor, is very important, because it is nowhere said that projctile will completely stop on some of the earlier layers, in fact it might stop only on the backplate. This is why backplate should be as strong as possible.
 
Last edited:

Scalieback

Professional
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,092
Likes
249
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

It is not that easy. It is truth that Burlington armor was developed by UK, but You must understand that your allies that were using your armor, greatly changed it's design. In a fact design was altered so much that UK and US Burlington armors, having the same name, and being similiar in overall design, were also very unsimiliar. And in the second half of 1980's everyone choose it's own way to further develop such armor.

British had their upgraded Burlington designated Dorchester. Americans seems to completely abandoned Burlington for their own design, that do not have any known codename, it is just known as "Special Armor with Depleted Uranium Alloy elements", Germans have their own way, and French their own.

Besides this, British seems to use one problematic design solution in their armor design. The base structure of Challenger 1 and Challenger 2 turrets are not made from rolled plates but welded from cast elements. It is widely known that two steel plates, of the same thickness and hardness but one made by rolling and second made by casting, is that rolled plate is by 5% to even 15% stronger than it's cast analog.

This is a problem with Challenger series, because Burlington/Dorchester armor backplates, made by casting, will be by 5% to 15% weaker than their rolled analogs in other tanks.

Even Russians and Ukrainians know problems with cast turret structures and replaced them in their newer tanks with structures made from welded rolled plates.

Also, You should know that backplate, being a last solid defensive layer of armor, is very important, because it is nowhere said that projctile will completely stop on some of the earlier layers, in fact it might stop only on the backplate. This is why backplate should be as strong as possible.
F#ck me, every day is indeed a school day. Thank you.
 

methos

Regular Member
Joined
Dec 22, 2011
Messages
799
Likes
302
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

Personally, I don't think the socialist republic of europe or even India are in any position to talk about freedom of information.
I am not from a former socialist republic nor from India. You might also take note that nationailty does not affect the topic we are talking about.

T72? Why on earth would C2 be worried about T72's? Maybe T80's and 90's.
The most potent tank the Challenger 1 engaged was the T-62. The most potent tank the Challenger 2 could have engaged theoretically during the invasion of Iraq was the T-72 (but there were even less T-72s and less Challenger 2s). This is the context we have to see when we make statements like you did above: "C2 has only ever been knocked out by one other tank... ".
If the only tanks encountered in Gulf War and Invasion of Iraq were not even capable of penetrating a Chieftain, then the Challenger 1 and 2 should not be famed for being hard to destroy by other tanks.


Really? We develop the armour that's in use by our close allies. Do you not think we would be developing even better armour for ourselves?
To add something to the answer Damian gave you about this claim: The bolt-on armour used on current Challenger 2s is (at least partial) made by Rafael, an Isreali company.
The only Ally who is known to have used a form of British armour is the U.S. and they modified the composition in 1988 on the M1A1HA at least, probably also 1984 prior producing the M1A1/IPM1.
German sources never call the armour used on the German Leopard 2 "Chobham armour" - the closest claim is "Chobham-like armour" and can only found in one or two German books. But the Jane's authors described the German armour used on the Leopard 2 as "Chobham" in a book from 1979/1981 (second edition). There are many different descriptions about the armour, often implying different composition.
The French did not use Chobham on their AMX-40 (export tank fitted with improved laminated armour) who was contemporary to the Chobham technology nor on their AMX-56, which uses according to French sources some armour not following the Chobham design principes.
 

Damian

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 20, 2011
Messages
4,836
Likes
2,188
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

Still we should honor mr. Harvey that he was first person in west that in fact successfully developed a modern like composite armor with a NERA like structure. All earlier developments were far more passive designs, mostly based on a glass like materials (Like Siliciaious Core Armor - SCA, partially similiar to this concept was Soviet Combination K composite armor but it seems it was more advanced than Siliciaous Core Armor) or even more primitive and earlier designs like HCR2 developed by US and UK for M4 Sherman tanks.
 

Scalieback

Professional
Joined
May 11, 2012
Messages
1,092
Likes
249
Re: Arjun Main Battle Tank (MBT)

I am not from a former socialist republic nor from India. You might also take note that nationailty does not affect the topic we are talking about.
Nationality effects everything and your portrayal of the EU socialist utopia says a lot to me

The most potent tank the Challenger 1 engaged was the T-62. The most potent tank the Challenger 2 could have engaged theoretically during the invasion of Iraq was the T-72 (but there were even less T-72s and less Challenger 2s). This is the context we have to see when we make statements like you did above: "C2 has only ever been knocked out by one other tank... ".
If the only tanks encountered in Gulf War and Invasion of Iraq were not even capable of penetrating a Chieftain, then the Challenger 1 and 2 should not be famed for being hard to destroy by other tanks.
Oh dear. Hit a nerve has it? I stated a fact ie that C2 has only ever been 'killed' by another C2. You can hang as many fancy bells and whistles on your response that you like, it remains a fact. Much as T90 has never been destroyed in combat, but then it hasn't been used in combat. Same as Le Clerc etc.

To add something to the answer Damian gave you about this claim: The bolt-on armour used on current Challenger 2s is (at least partial) made by Rafael, an Isreali company.
The only Ally who is known to have used a form of British armour is the U.S. and they modified the composition in 1988 on the M1A1HA at least, probably also 1984 prior producing the M1A1/IPM1.
German sources never call the armour used on the German Leopard 2 "Chobham armour" - the closest claim is "Chobham-like armour" and can only found in one or two German books. But the Jane's authors described the German armour used on the Leopard 2 as "Chobham" in a book from 1979/1981 (second edition). There are many different descriptions about the armour, often implying different composition.
The French did not use Chobham on their AMX-40 (export tank fitted with improved laminated armour) who was contemporary to the Chobham technology nor on their AMX-56, which uses according to French sources some armour not following the Chobham design principes.
I think Damian gave the answer you are looking for:
Still we should honor mr. Harvey that he was first person in west that in fact successfully developed a modern like composite armor with a NERA like structure. All earlier developments were far more passive designs, mostly based on a glass like materials (Like Siliciaious Core Armor - SCA, partially similiar to this concept was Soviet Combination K composite armor but it seems it was more advanced than Siliciaous Core Armor) or even more primitive and earlier designs like HCR2 developed by US and UK for M4 Sherman tanks.
 

Latest Replies

Global Defence

New threads

Articles

Top