This past year marked 30 years since adopting a main battle tank M1 Abrams, to this day which is the basis of armored U.S. troops. Decent age for at least some military equipment: because it's time to look for a substitute for the "Abrams", as well as the task of revitalizing the whole of the armed forces. Back in 1996, has been issued Army Vision 2010, in which the eyes of American military leaders outlining the future development of the army and the plans for its renewal for a period up to 2010. From the Army Vision 2010 up programm FCS (Future Combat System — Combat system of the future), the implied full-scale upgrade Army Pentagon.
The main goal pursued by FCS, was to develop a so-called motivated forces (Objective Force), owning a stunning performance of mobility and combat effectiveness. On the transfer of a brigade OF least some district planned to expend less than 4 days per division — 5 days, and on the group of five divisions — less than a month. With all of this at the end of the designated time unit would be ready to fight. As the primary means of transporting troops planned to use military transport aircraft, including the Lockheed C-130 — the most massive member of this class is now in the U.S. military.
The epitome of programs from FCS were to be immediately 18 "points" of the real parts, brand new appliances, communication equipment, command-connected systems, etc. Eight positions of these plans were charged to the armor:
— reconnaissance and patrol vehicle XM1201;
— MCS XM1202 tank with a 120 mm smoothbore gun;
— 155-mm self-propelled howitzer NLOS-C XM1203;
— 120-mm self-propelled mortar NLOS-M XM1204;
— vehicle recovery FRMV XM1205;
— BMP XM1206;
— armored ambulances XM1207 and XM1208.
Small differences in the alpha-numeric index of all the machines are caused by the fact that the armor created by programmke FCS, should be standardized as much as 75%. In addition, the machines had to fit into a weight limit of 19 tons, caused by the carrying capacity of the main South American military transport aircraft C-130.
Please note, the tank!
All eight programs from FCS armored vehicles are enthusiastic, but at the moment we will focus only on the tank XM1202, specifically because it represents the quintessence of all the findings and opinions related to FCS as a whole.
At the beginning of the work, even when just determined view of the future of the tank, the project was called FCS LOS / BLOS (FCS Line-of-Sight/Beyond Line-of-Sight — fighting vehicle programs from FCS, designed to fire within and beyond line visibility). Already it is clear from the name that the creators of the project planned to give the newcomer the tank to the same function as a self-propelled guns firing at targets hidden from view. Need to see, such is no one on the tank in the world. With arms FCS LOS / BLOS not immediately determine — covered options for 105 -, 120 — and 140-mm smoothbore gun. Ultimately braked at the second type of guns, and in 2003, when the development ran across the active stage, the project was renamed the MCS (Mounted Combat System — Combat system based on the platform). The executors of the project have been appointed company BAE Systems and General Dynamics. In 2003, as the date for the commencement of testing the latest machine called 2010-11. However, time has brought about changes, and for some reason most experienced no reference to this time. But more on that later.
MCS must look was followed by: combat weight a little more than 20 tons, crew of 3 persons (this was planned to equip the tank autoloader), and on the range of the fuel in one and a half times more than the "Abrams". Recall from today's main South American tank passes for combat weight of 60 tons and has a crew of 4. Internal volumes MCS should be 50% less than Abrams, which offset a decrease in the load on the planned crew — 50%. For technicians, brand new car was supposed to be a 35-50% easier to maintain (percentages refer to the amount of repair and prevention), and the fuel consumption required to reduce by 20%.
Aviatransportabelnost and applicable driving characteristics of the coming MCS, first, justified his fighting weight. Also in the small mass of the logistic advantages lie disposition: for the transportation of the same, "Abrams" requires a large aircraft, if C-130 (such as the C-5). But the same C-5 is much more picky about the quality of the airfield, and, therefore, delivery of the tank to the fields of labor is divided into three main "link": the transportation by air to the respective airport, transportation to the frontline (railway or similar to) and moving their swing. The lighter machines, and what was to become MCS, would be able to get to the place of battle in two steps, excluding transportation by rail. In addition, the 60-ton "Abrams" and for himself alone have relatively high requirements for communications, such as bridges. A machine with a combat weight of about 20 tons more easily be able to "cooperate" with similar infrastructure. As for the running properties, the more light tank using a similar or less severe power plant will have to best thrust, speed, etc. Vpribavok these improvements will decrease fuel consumption, which makes armored formation a bit less dependent on supply. In the criteria, similar to those which had to operate in the U.S. Army in Afghanistan and Iraq, the economy of the tank was not excessive, for example, only in October 2010, Afghanistan had destroyed about 130 oil tankers.
The armor is strong …
As we see, in a small battle weight has many advantages. But in this world is completely positive or completely negative things, and 20 tons — is no exception. How not cool, weight should lead to a deterioration in security. Specifically because of this principle in his time there was a large number of tanks with a very languid good protection. But since it was created an unlimited number of weapons, armor for which those bronemonstrov is not severe obstacles. In addition, in modern warfare, even more so in urban criteria cumulative grenade or anti-tank missile can fly not only in the forehead tank — a part of the design, which is usually done very thick and sturdy. Based on the concept of growth of protection in such a case would have to increase the thickness of the reservation of all parts of the tank, including the stern and the roof. Corrosive NATO experts at already calculated: that tank had vserakursny protections similar to the frontal armor "Abrams", its weight should increase to 200 tons or more. Such a miracle tank hardly any intrigue custo
Taking into account all the pros and cons, and features a modern strategy, the developers have decided to do my MCS tank armor composite of iron and duralumin sheets and clay aggregate. But even this is possible in the future will not be enough on this and had a thought, "onion layers" of protection. Its essence lies in the division of space around the tank into 6 zones with proper techniques "work" for the purpose that falls into one of them. Zone-layers look like this:
— 1. Avoid Encourter. Literally, "to avoid a collision." The farthest limit of the protection of the tank. Armored car, using their own equipment and the data obtained via the exchange with other machines, radar, etc., can avoid open confrontation with the enemy, if so requested setting;
— 2. Avoid Detection — to avoid detection. The tank has a number of features to reduce visibility in the infrared, radar and acoustic bands. Thanks to them, the opponent who is small compared to the distance from the tank, it will be hard to find a specific location;
— 3. Avoid Acquisition — avoid capture for support. The enemy is not just slumped, and is about to catch sight of the MCS. The crew of the latter may use smoke grenades, infrared wrong purpose, electronic warfare, etc. In this way the tank will be able to prevent or thwart his take on the tracking of the enemy;
— 4. Avoid Hit — to avoid falling. As already released the hostile munition can operate the same system, and the third zone, but now they are joined to the same active protection, such as Quick Kill;
— 5. Avoid Penetration — to avoid breaking. Initially, this level of protection is left up additional overhead armor. Composite modules can significantly make a better protection of the tank against various types of ammunition, and in addition, they can sometimes substitute it with a newer and better. In the long term MCS might even get a so-called electric armor, work on which has already conducted a couple of years in the United States. Module such protection is a two iron sheets, between which there is a certain distance and isolation. One sheet is grounded, and the other connected to a capacitor bank. HEAT projectile when hit in the module power armor jet to what makes a certain amount of metal (lining of the funnel) closes an electronic circuit. With the closure of around cumulative jet appears significant electric field, because of which it loses energy and reduces the penetrating power. More perfectly valid and electric armor piercing shells on cores, but, unfortunately, have not been able to achieve significant protection properties. All depends on the enormous dimensions of the available energy sources respective capacities;
— 6. Avoid Kill — avoid destruction. If even the hostile projectile or missile managed to break through the last five layers of protection, the harm to the crew should be minimal. To do this, the tank must be arranged tribute way — different components and assemblies located inside it, must protect the crew from the shells, and shrapnel.
Of all the systems used in the six-speed protection of the tank MCS, in the opinion of the creator, the complex looks more fun active protection Quick Kill («Rapid Killing"), which at the moment and pay attention. The first reports of this complex appeared in 2006, and is engaged in the development of his company Raytheon. Quick Kill creators promise that the active protection system will be the most effective representative of the class in the world, although it is possible to read only one of the "advantages" — the very highest value. The structure of "quick kill" includes millimeter radar detection and tracking MFRFS, its antenna control computer and two launchers. Radar finds the target with suspicious flight parameters and takes her to the auto tracking. The calculator determines how ammunition is required for its destruction. In order to defeat anti-missile or rocket propelled grenade on small distances from the tank used unguided warheads, and huge — a guided missile. First on the basis of deeds similar to the Russian complex "Arena": the right moment is shooting a small cylindrical charge, which will fly off at a certain distance from the tank explodes and meets a hail of enemy ordnance fragments. Guided missiles even more difficult, if only because their range of actions lies within 150-800 meters, and requests the introduction of an inertial guidance system. Before starting the automatic Quick Kill calculates the required characteristics of the flight and enters them into the electronics rocket. Immediately after a cool start to the last cut one impulse engine adjustments, tilting it toward the attacked target. Upon reaching the desired angle in the vertical plane cut one engine, located on the reverse side: it captures a moment a rocket into the appropriate position, then cut one sustainer engine. At a certain distance in advance of the tank is the undermining of the missile and the creation of a "veil" of the fragments. In ammunition protection system can go from eight to sixteen guided and unguided missiles.
Quick Kill on the tests have long been successfully launched anti-tank munitions strike and featuring soaring into the protected armored vehicle from "them." But before taking on complex weapons still far away: first need to remove the large number of small and medium-sized "childhood diseases". We can only guess when the "Rapid Killing" will be ready. The fact is that in the beginning it was planned to start deliveries of the new complex in 2011. But in the court of the 12th, and the Quick Kill is not ready yet.
Armor-piercing … fire!
Two 10-ka ton combat weight had a negative impact on the accuracy of the basic 120-mm guns. The recoil momentum, resulting in the construction of the tank shot, depends on its mass. Accordingly, you must either sacrifice accuracy or increase the weight machines. Another method lies in the reduction of the impact with the muzzle brake. But this element of the design violates balancing the gun, and to counter this disorder is commonly used weight increase breech. In the conditions of the struggle for every kilogram to go for it and can not seem to yield the most natural setting for a special gun-balancing device. And not everything goes perfect and successful: such installation tools makes it difficult to work the stabilizer. Representatives of General Dynamics say that they were able to solve the problem of combining muzzle brake light guns and good-quality characteristics of the property. But first things first.
As the lead tank gauge for MCS initially considered cannons 105, 120 and 140 mm. From the latter refused outright because of its enormous weight, and the first could not provide the appropriate level to be penetrated. That left only the "golden mean" in the face of 120 mm. In the existing tools such caliber was still a very large recoil momentum, so we had to design a gun anew. She received the designation XM360. Development of tools was launched in 2002, and sent her to the tests in November 2004. The main feature of the XM360 is in the modular scheme: it was easier to repair, and in the future the developers promise even the usual increase in caliber with the substitution of certain modules. Most of the parts are made of special gun durable kinds of steel, and the rest is made of titanium and composite materials. In all the important places available sensors with which the tank crew can "fly" to control the state of the gun.
All the main details of the XM360 uses new solutions and know-how. So, for example, wedges (wedge moves motorized vertical) is the interaction with the breech is not a one-groove ledge and immediately after three. Because of this, the load is distributed on the shot breech guns more efficiently, which ultimately will facilitate the breech. Also, the wedge is a contact group to interact with the on-board electronics tank gun in hand in these guided munitions. Hydraulic recoil device are comparable compact size, but tangibly reduce the recoil momentum.
Separately worth the brakes on the trunk. In much of the modern tank gun barrel is made in the Macarena, so that its walls were residual stress — it allows you to reduce the load on the structure. In the XM360 for this purpose the outer part of the trunk is made of composite materials: iron billet in a specific order is welded composite tape. On the creation of the technology took more than 10 years, but the result was very exciting — with the same properties of the barrel came in almost one and a half times lighter (720 kg) than in the previous guns of the same caliber. Barrel shroud is also made of composite materials. All work on the facilitation gun led to the fact that the XM360 weighs 1865 pounds versus 3023 at the gun M256, mounted on the "Abrams".
Notwithstanding the effective recoil device, the recoil momentum remained very huge for dvadtsatitonnogo tank. It was decided to equip all the same gun with a muzzle brake. First it looked like a version of the 10 rows of circular holes of 12 pieces each (moderately distributed around the circumference of the trunk). Later muzzle brake casing covered with side slits. Yet, soon refused to cover — it had to do with metal, which increased the weight and disturb the balance of the gun. In the end, the muzzle brake made in the form of 12 rows of 12 holes each. Barrel shroud of judgments thermal resistance to brake does not reach. The absence of a special cover on the brake slightly reduced the efficiency of the system, but even so, it "eats" up to a quarter of all energy efficiency.
One of the main "trends" in the design of the tank MCS was uninhabited tower. This is required to add to the tank autoloader. His cell is placed 27 shots for various purposes. The design of the machine was made in such a Makarov, so that it is compatible with a promising machine supplies, and can automatically generate replenishment of ammunition. Developers promise that the machine can be operated with shells 2-caliber — 120 mm and 140 mm.
XM360 gun is compatible with existing respective caliber ammunition, in addition, created a series of two self-guided projectile MRM. They are:
— MRM-KE. Kinetic projectile with a core. The guidance system has in its composition Radar millimeter range and semi-active laser seeker. Plumage has to correct the course and solid rocket engine. When tested at the highest range of MRM-KE flew 12.8 km instead of the calculated 12;
— MRM-CE. Cumulative shell. Also has a laser seeker, but instead of radar used an infrared guidance system. Weight, speed and range are similar to the prior ammunition.
Additional armament MCS consists of an automatic grenade launcher Mk19 (40 mm caliber) machine guns and Browning M2HB (12,7 mm) on the remote-controlled turret. Grenade Launcher, interestingly, is not located on a tower, and made coaxial with the gun. An exciting solution, but its rate of reaction may be insufficient. But the remote control for a machine gun — certainly a necessary and useful innovation.
By the end of 2007 was made by the most experienced tower coming MCS. In the middle of 2008, the center began its TARDEC tests. They used a special shield with six degrees of freedom, which simulates actual load experienced by the arms in motion, and the conduct of fire. After verification of guidance and stabilization had experienced shooting at Aberdeen Proving Ground. The gun and the tower on the tests showed his best side, and BAE Systems in cooperation with General Dynamics began to prepare for the construction of the experimental tank. But …
But in May 2009, the South American Defense Ministry officially announced the closure of programs from Future Combat System. All technology development, the implied applets were also curtailed. On an embodiment FCS at that time was spent around 300 billion dollars. We'll have to put up with it. In the end, the means of the Pentagon — and dispose of them to him. A couple of months after the close of FCS was posted a press release about the beginning of the applets Brigade combat team Modernization (occasionally referred to simply BCT Modernization). And in the latest development programs from the armed forces also found a place for armored vehicles "new look". At this time, a similar project called GCV (Ground Combat Vehicle — Ground Combat Vehicle). The scale of GCV modest than in past times — is required to make only infantry fighting vehicles, self-propelled howitzer and a pair of auxiliary machines. The first models of armored vehicles of the new project plan to collect as early as 2015. We'll see …
The project is a tank coming MCS is an appropriate product of modern military engineering thought. This guided weapons and a huge amount of electrical systems, and most importantly — creating a single platform. But, as it turns out, the U.S. Army does not need new tanks, even with the best features which, if
available, "Abrams". But it is possible to realize the Pentagon: they constantly reduce funding and the troops still have an unlimited number of old times and already obsolete infantry fighting vehicles such as the M113. They also need a replacement. It looks like the South American commanders consider the substitution of M113 a top priority, but "only" thirty-Abrams still can wait.