Are MBT's Useless in the 21st Century?

Discussion in 'Land' started by Pathfinder, Jan 30, 2016.

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  1. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    Many of us have probably seen footage from the middle east showing guys with little to no training destroying Main Battle Tanks that cost millions of dollars to procure with cheap yet effective Anti Tank Guided Missiles. Given this reality many military analysts are questioning the logic behind fielding an expensive high tech vehicle against guys wearing flip flops armed with an Anti Tank Missiles. It is clear that large caliber guns are needed on the battlefield to destroy bunkers, buildings, and enemy armored vehicles however the current approach to doing so is in question as these vehicles often times lack air mobility and cannot operate in urban areas.

    Recent technological developments such as Active Protection Systems and Jammers have helped increase the survivability of MBT's by mitigating the chance of a successful hit by an ATGM. With the rise of these countermeasures the need for heavy tanks comes into question. Why mount these countermeasures onto something that weighs 60 tons when you could just use a lighter wheeled or tracked vehicle instead such as a striker armed with a 105mm gun? Why use 60 tons of steel instead of 20 or 30 tons if in the end the vehicle's sole source of protection against modern ATGM's will come from Active Protection Systems and Jammers?
     
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  2. T-123456

    T-123456 Captain Staff Member International Mod

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    In urban warfare,you would be right but against armies,you need tanks.
    Its not like they are unprotected,think of what comes with a tank batalion,some attack helicopters,UAV/UCAV etc.
    I guess it depends on the enemy
     
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  3. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    It's not the tank that's obsolete its the tactics employed by tankers that been the problem. When supported by a combined arms assault, a tank is a devastating force.

    But when you have an inexperienced, poorly trained and poorly motivated force doing this - leaving their freaking hatch opened in a combat zone!!! Seriously what$%$%!!!

    [​IMG]

    We learn not that the M1 Abrams is a piece of garbage that's outdated, but that the Iraqi's simply don't know how to use it.

    Yes, sometimes you wont get air-cover in urban environments, it happens, that's why TUSK was invented - the Tank Urban Survival Kit. Born from lessons the US learned in hell itself. The most brutal urban warfare the US has seen since WWII. Unlike Iraq, the US adapted its strategies and tactics to make the tank work in urban settings:

    U.S. Army tanks were made to fight the armored columns of the Soviet bloc, not to take on shadowy urban guerrillas. However, in 2004, as violence escalated in Iraqi cities, M1A1 and M1A2 Abrams tanks--the bedrock of the Army's armored forces--proved to be an intimidating and lethal tool. But they did have weaknesses. Drivers suffered injuries when the impact of exploding IEDs was transmitted through the tank's metal seats, which were bolted to the vehicle's hull. Crews relied on crowded radio channels to talk with infantry, and they made do with outdated night vision technology.

    The Army says these problems have been addressed with a retrofit package called the Tank Urban Survivability Kit (TUSK), which began arriving in Iraq in October 2007 after two years of development. The improvements include a new canvas seat for drivers that is suspended by five straps, more thermal imaging equipment and a .50-caliber gun that lets the Abrams fight in places where using its main weapon would be too dangerous for civilians.

    TUSK-equipped tanks also should be better at taking a hit. When struck by a rocket-propelled grenade, tiles on the tank's sides explode to counter the penetrating power of the warhead. And "belly armor," a slab of aluminum up to 5 in. thick bolted to the undercarriage, guards against buried bombs. "What you see with TUSK is the result of lessons learned in Iraq," says Capt. Jamey Turner, the armor branch representative at West Point Military Academy. "Our doctrine is just now starting to catch up."


    [​IMG]

    Yes, Iraqi isn't using the same tank. It has an downgraded export version without DU armor, but that doesn't mean it can't develop its own tactics. having a tank crew leave their hatches open in a combat zone is stupid and indicates there's something wrong with their training and command of battlefield tactics.

    A tank isn't a wonder weapon, it's part of a system and should be used accordingly. Support it with artillery, mortar fire and air support when you can and always back them up with infantry. It's a basic, but vital doctrine. Tanks are toast without infantry cover. This lesson dates back to the first use of the tank in WWI!!!

    Tanks will adapt with active protection systems:



    And softkill countermeasures like laser jammers:



    But the tank needs to be supported. Period.

    ...

    As for the need for heavy tanks... I don't think it's a necessity, or even too smart with how much they cost and how heavy they are. Take the firepower of a heavy tank, but combine it with a lighter package and active and passive protection systems:

    [​IMG]

    They don't have the armor of their larger cousins, but with a refinement of active and passive protection, maybe they don't need it.

    Or maybe they do. Every measure has a countermeasure. Perhaps the heavy tank, with all its armor and countermeasures is still the most survivable type of tank. Maybe there's a reason militaries aren't using light or medium tanks?
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2016
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  4. Falcon

    Falcon Major Staff Member Social Media Team

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    I would put my money on that CV-90 you posted there. Its armor is thick enough to block an RPG-7 but light enough to keep costs low. Coupled with modern counter measures you have a great piece of machinery.

    Only downside to lighter vehicles like the stryker or softer skinned tracked vehicles like M113 Gavins is when your APS runs out of countermeasures, now you are left with a lightly armored vehicle that can be destroyed with unsophisticated rocket propelled grenades. Technology will emerge that are meant to specifically spoof hard and soft kill counter measures. The Russians already made a rocket launcher that fires a decoy before the real rocket is launched.
     
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  5. T-123456

    T-123456 Captain Staff Member International Mod

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    What about the Israeli ''Trench Coat'' defence system by Rafael?
     
  6. Atilla

    Atilla Major

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    I have seen in Turkey that tanks are rarely used against unconventional forces in a mobile manner. Mostly old M48's are placed at outposts in the mountains to provide support to the infantry. They are like static bunkers.


    Rare footage of Turkish tanks vs unconventional forces outside of Bunker mode but it is supported by other vehicles and infantry



     
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  7. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    The CV-90 with a 105mm gun is a good concept, basically its a light tank. The only problem is that it isn't very airmobile.


    Sheridan

    C-130_airdrop.jpg


    Stryker
    Stryker_MC_unloading_from_C130.jpg


    M113
    839fd2d4db3580ffc53b5b9d632ecfed.jpg

    All C-130 transportable.


    Does anyone know how expensive it is to upgrade a vehicle with APS?
     
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  8. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    An M113 based Stug was developed by the German military after ww2.

    Screen Shot 2016-01-31 at 10.03.31 AM.png

    fscv_005.jpg

    Throw a RCWS on it and you have a cheap effective vehicle that can be used by Airborne Divisions.
     
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  9. Falcon

    Falcon Major Staff Member Social Media Team

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    Its still air mobile but you need a bigger plane. Something like the CV-90 technofox posted is a good platform for reasons I stated above.
    Its a neat concept but it would be a disaster today, in urban warfare you need to have the ability to hit targets 360 degrees, you can't always turn the whole tank an expose its weak spots.
     
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  10. Cossack25A1

    Cossack25A1 1st Lieutenant

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    This is what the PH Army needs, along with the M113 armed with Scorpion 76mm turret.

    But the Koreans has the K21-120 concept vehicle
    [​IMG]

    While at the same time, Turkey made an ACV-15 with BMP-3 turret
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2016
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