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Old 08-14-2007, 01:49 PM   #1
D_LaMz

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Default Is there an M1A3 Abrams tank in the works? Army Times: Army looks to update Abrams

From the Army Times:

http://www.armytimes.com/issues/stor...ER-2956098.php


Army looks to update Abrams line

By Kris Osborn - kosborn@militarytimes.com
Posted : August 20, 2007

The Army is reversing earlier plans to retire M1A2 Abrams tanks and now plans to upgrade the 70-ton battlefield behemoths, making them more lethal, better protected, more networked — and able to serve through 2050.

In 1998, the Army had all but written off the tank, which cannot go over most bridges and is too heavy to deploy quickly and expediently by air.

“We were going to stop producing Abrams in 2005. The line was supposed to go cold,” an official with the Army’s Training and Doctrine Command said.

But the Abrams’ thick skin proved valuable during the Iraq insurgency, fending off enemy rounds, rocket-propelled grenades and roadside bombs that crippled lighter vehicles. To prepare the tank for its next decades, the Army is planning improvements.

“If you are going to keep it, the status quo won’t do,” said Rickey Smith, who directs the Capabilities Integration Center Forward at TraDoc.

Early versions of an “M1A3” capabilities development document have traveled from the Armor Center at Fort Knox, Ky., to TraDoc at Fort Monroe, Va., and will soon go to the Pentagon. At this point, the ideas in the document are considered preliminary and not yet official.

The Army intends its 60-tank Heavy Brigade Combat Teams to work with the Future Brigade Combat Teams that will come on line in 2015, as Future Combat Systems vehicles arrive.

“We will have to be compatible with FCS. When FCS comes in, we are going to have a fleet of Abrams, Bradleys and FCS armored vehicles. The critical thing is to get a communications package so they can talk to each other,” said Pete McVey, vice president of Abrams and derivative programs, General Dynamics Land Systems.

Preliminary work is underway on a more-networked Abrams.

“We are working on an integrated computer system. Whatever you do, there is a requirement for integrated engineering,” the effort to build digitized and networked vehicles, Smith said.

Workers in Warren, Mich., are equipping several tanks for tests, giving them B-kits containing FCS-compatible software, computers and communications gear.

The capabilities description document calls for:

• Lower logistical costs.

• Potentially replacing the M256 smoothbore cannon with the lightweight 120mm cannon being tested for FCS. This could allow an autoloader to lift the burden of the tank’s four-man crew.

• Improved propulsion system, road wheels and suspension.

• A track that can go 5,000 miles between replacements. FCS officials are testing new track ideas at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., including band tracks composed entirely or partly of rubbery material.

• Lighter armor and other components to reduce the tank’s weight, making it more mobile with an improved suspension.

For example, a look at the cabling in the tank shows that if fiber-optic cable was used, 1 1/2 tons can be taken off the weight, McVey said.

• Precision munitions that can hit targets 12 kilometers away. Picatinny Arsenal in New Jersey, which aims to field its Mid-Range-Munition precision round by 2012, is testing two candidates: ATK’s millimeter-wave, kinetic energy round and Raytheon’s round with an infrared camera and laser detector.
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:46 PM   #2
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Huh...sounds interesting. Hopefully it won't get tabled like the damn XM8 program.

Why can't an M1A2 cross bridges? Too wide or heavy? Not having seen one IRL, I'm currious.

Lighter Armour...less protection?

Liking the fiber optic cable idea.

Hmm...I like Picatinny's munition. Maybe the M1A3 will have a bunch of rails?


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Old 08-14-2007, 03:49 PM   #3
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Remove Jet engine and replace with environmentally friendly electric engine!

If you are reading this dont stop, cause if you do, I'll kick you in the balls.
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:58 PM   #4
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Actually, that might be a good thing. From the vids of it I've seen, I'd say that it's about as stealthy as a gorilla in NY, sound-wise. The future replacement for the Humvee will have a hybrid engine (I think), partly for this reason.

Also, they might be able to reduce the weight by replacing heavy parts with lighter, equally protective composites. Less weight=more mobility=good in urban enviroments.
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Old 08-14-2007, 03:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by El_Vikingo View Post
Remove Jet engine and replace with environmentally friendly electric engine!
how are electric engines environmentally friendly? you still have to charge them using a generator that probably is using a fossil fuel, unless the US swap to a docrine of building windfarms and solar power plants where ever they invade.

silent running and rubber tracks would be a huge advantage, but they need to store much more juice in them to be of any use

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Old 08-14-2007, 05:09 PM   #6
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A M1A3 Abrams would be quite an impressive vehicle. While not on the list an active protection system will probably be included which can destroy a missle or rocket before it hits the tank.

I would like to see the M240C replaced by a heavier .50 caliber machine gun like the M3P used on the M1097 Avenger.
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:16 PM   #7
El_Vikingo

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Quote:
Originally Posted by [R-MOD]Thunder View Post
how are electric engines environmentally friendly? you still have to charge them using a generator that probably is using a fossil fuel, unless the US swap to a docrine of building windfarms and solar power plants where ever they invade.

silent running and rubber tracks would be a huge advantage, but they need to store much more juice in them to be of any use
That's a question I ask myself, sure the car doesn't pollute, but the energy needed to recharge the car must come from somewhere!

How about these fuel cells?

If you are reading this dont stop, cause if you do, I'll kick you in the balls.
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Old 08-14-2007, 05:20 PM   #8
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This is because producing energy in nuclear and solid fuel powerplants is more effective than producing it in car engines, though the trouble with transmitting and storing it diminishes this.
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Old 08-15-2007, 05:48 AM   #9
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I wonder if they would ever go the unmanned remotely crewed tank route any time soon.
Stick a short medium length 155mm barrel on it, able to fire guided projectile munitions, hellfires or TOWs as well as passive AAMs and up the calibre of the secondary weapons. Then figure out how to maintain a constant comms link that is extremely difficult to defeat or interfere with ...
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Old 08-15-2007, 10:12 AM   #10
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I'm against robots for main combat.


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