The fighting in Ukr-aine, as analysts say, clearly showed that even in the 21st century, in the era of unm-anned aircraft and satellites, the ground forces still play a decisive role. The key to victory is the competent interaction of infantry with heavy arm-ored vehicles and artil-lery. Therefore, the leading NATO countries have accelerated the development of new tanks. About what is known about these projects – in the material of RIA Novosti.
Tank with drones
The other day in Paris at the international exhibition Eurosatory 2022, Rnein-metall Corporation presented a prototype of a promising battle tank of the Bundeswehr KF51. Germ-an gunsmiths named the new machine “Panther” – in honor of the PzKpw V Pa-nther during World War II.
The basis was the MBT Leopard 2A7. “Panther” inherited from him the design of the tower and several elements of the hull. Protection, most likely, will be weaker due to the lower mass – 59 tons versus 66. Nevertheless, the developers assure that the promising machine will defeat any opponent in this weight category.
The main argument is the 130-mm Future Gun System (FGS) cannon with a built-in automatic loader (ammunition in the charger is 20 rounds). Rheinmetall claims that such a weapon is 50 percent more powerful than the standard 120-millimeter weapon that NATO countries are armed with.
FGS can fire both armor-piercing sub-caliber ammunition and high-explosive fragmentation, with the possibility of a programmable explosion in flight. The range is about five kilometers.
Auxiliary armament is a 12.7 mm heavy machine gun coaxial with a cannon, as well as a 7.62 mm remote-controlled machine gun. In addition, HERO 120 Loitering loitering ammunition can be fired from the turret. Each of these kamikaze drones carries a high-explosive or cumulative warhead weighing 3.5 kilograms. The range is up to 40 kilometers, which will allow the KF51 crew to destroy targets outside the line of sight. Also included are two reconnaissance quadrocopters in special compartments on the roof.
Little is known about the armor of the tank. There is not only passive, but also dynamic armor, as well as an active protection complex (Advanced Modular Armor Protection, AMAP) – a modular design of 600 kilograms that fires ammunition with controlled detonation.
Two groups of sensors determine the trajectory, speed and type of the attacking projectile. What to do with the goal, the on-board computer decides.
Of course, “Panther” stuffed with the most modern electronics. For example, a multi-channel sight with a thermal imaging channel and a laser rangefinder in the frontal part of the turret – like the Leopard-2. For the tank commander – a panoramic observation device that helps to detect and identify targets, to fire. They also implemented the “hunter-shooter” principle, when one crew member marks the target, and the other hits it.
The French are not far behind the Germans. The Nexter concern showed a promising 140-mm ASCALON cannon for the “tank of the future” EMBT (Enhanced Main Battle Tank) jointly developed by Franco-German.
The gun has already been tested on the Leclerc tank. The novelty has a much larger projectile chamber than its predecessors. We also optimized the pressure of powder gases, which will increase the service life.
Development is scheduled to be completed by 2023. ASCALON is lighter than current 120mm cannons with 55 caliber barrels – about three tons. The gun will receive sub-caliber ammunition with an optimal ratio of length to diameter of the tungsten core of the projectile. In addition, it will be able to fire NLOS-class guided munitions from closed positions.
A prototype of the promising EMBT tank with a standard 120mm gun was also demonstrated. No details were reported, however, they explained that the car was made on the chassis of the same German Leopard-2. Tower and automatic loader – like the French “Leclerc”. Engine power – 1500 horsepower. The maximum speed on the highway is 65 kilometers per hour. The fuel range is 460 kilometers. Combat weight – 61,500 kilograms.
In mid-June, the American company General Dynamics Land Systems published the design of the Abrams Next Gen tank (“Abrams” of the next generation). There are no technical details yet, the prototype will be officially presented in the fall.
In a short presentation, it is reported that the tank will receive a hybrid power plant. As the developers assure, “the advantages of such a system on various types of military equipment are the ability to operate in an extremely quiet, fully electric mode.” The new Abrams will be equipped with the Kongsberg Protector RS6 remotely controlled weapon station, capable of hitting both low-flying aircraft and helicopters, as well as drones.
The main caliber is the same – 120 millimeters. However, the regular gun of the M256 tank will most likely be changed to the promising XM360 with an automatic loader. In general, there is no talk of a radical restructuring of the existing tank. The general architecture and layout are the same. Apparently, they are upgrading the armor of the hull and turret, as well as introducing active protection. Under the realities of modern warfare.
“NATO countries have become concerned about the calibers of tank guns for a reason,” explains military expert Alexei Leonkov. – Firstly, they studied in Syria our most modern serial T-90s that fell into the hands of militants. And they came to disappointing conclusions for themselves: a Russian tank cannot be guaranteed to be hit by a 120-millimeter caliber projectile. Secondly, the ammunition load of the T-90 and the newer T-14 “Armata” includes armor-piercing feathered sub-caliber projectiles (BOPS), penetrating up to a meter of armor. There is no such effective ammunition in the West. Therefore, they decided to deal with the caliber of guns there. At the same time, our T-14 was originally created for a caliber of 152 mm. Putting this weapon on serial samples is a matter of several months.”
The analyst believes that there is nothing fundamentally new in the tanks presented by NATO countries. The developers limited themselves to the modernization of existing platforms that are obsolete. Therefore, there is no need to talk about a real breakthrough and an “effective response from the Russian Armata”.