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Archive for the ‘proposals’ Category

Stealth fighter characteristics and requirements overview

Posted by Picard578 on August 8, 2018

Introduction

Stealth fighters are spreading, yet very few to none have what is necessary for a stealth fighter to be truly effective. Some are better than others – PAK FA would eat F-35 for lunch and spit out the bones – but all have serious flaws and are, in essence, half-baked experiments in stealth fighter design. So what would an ideal stealth fighter be? (Note: It may not be possible for some countries to build such a fighter – an optimization for operational stealth might fly in the face of other design requirements).

Requirements

Survivability

Main idea behind stealth is to improve survivability. Survivability is one of the most important characteristics of modern weapons systems, yet it is far more complex than generally appreciated. It does not mean merely avoiding getting hit, but rather surviving to carry out the mission – in tactical terms, aircraft that had been forced to withdraw due to lack of fuel or could never take off due to a big hole in tarmac is as “dead” as one that had been shot down.

Lethality

Stealth improves lethality as well. Effectiveness of weapons depends in large part on employment range: it is not the same thing to shoot from 10 or 100 kilometers.

Endurance

In order to actually make use of the above, aircraft needs to be capable of getting to targets and back. Required endurance necessarily depends on mission profile: will the fighter be employed defensively or offensively? Since stealth fighters are by nature offensive weapons, they will require greater endurance than non-stealth fighters; but defensive stealth design is possible to envision as well. Endurance should be measured by combat tasks: e.g. acceleration from subsonic cruise speed to combat cruise speed followed by climb to operational altitude and acceleration to top speed in order to fire missiles. This could be more precisely specified as:

  • Ingress at 15.000 ft

  • Acceleration from Mach 0,9 to 1,2 at 15.000 ft

  • Climb to 30.000 ft and acceleration to Mach 1,7 (assumed dry cruise speed)

  • Cruise at Mach 1,7

  • Maximum deceleration turn from Mach 1,7 to Mach 0,8 at 30.000 ft and maximum power

Training

All the above characteristics depend on how well trained the pilot is. A well-trained pilot will be able to optimize aircraft employment, weapons employment etc., while badly trained pilot will unnecessarily waste weapons and fuel. As Iraqis discovered in 1991., 2003. and 2014., it is no use to give a rifle to a monkey. A well-trained pilot in shit aircraft will always beat a badly-trained pilot in excellent aircraft. Usefulness of BVR combat in recent conflicts was largely due to enemies being incapable of proper defensive action due to lack of training and equipment failures (no MAWS, no RWR). Human factors trump technology, yet this is not sufficiently realized in many circles. One good thing about newer fighters are their extensive networking capabilities, which can significantly improve performance – assuming, of course, networking works against a peer opponent.

Characteristics

Survivability

Ground survivability

No tactics are as useful as cheating, and in air combat, ultimate cheating is destroying the enemy before he has had a chance to get into air in the first place. Even the most “stealthy” fighter aircraft would find its stealth useless to hide it if its air base can be found as easily as most Western bases can. Fighter aircraft spends most of its time – two-thirds at very least – on the ground, and it is precisely there that it is the most vulnerable. Yet most Western fighters are not really optimized for road basing, let alone dirt-strip basing (even if most can fly from roads in extremis, sustained road operations are much more difficult). A proper road-based fighter needs to have low maintenance requirements, low fuel usage, low wing span and ability to operate from dirt-strip and muddy roads. For stealth fighter, this means very resillient radar-absorbent skin (not paint!) as well as robust undercarriage and FOD-resistant engine. Undercarriage should have good shock absorption and large, low-pressure tires, as well as mud and FOD protection. Nose wheel should be mounted behind the air intakes to prevent any FOD damage to the engine.

Further, fighter should have very good STOL, acceleration and climb performance to escape, if necessary, any attack against the air base itself. While not necessarily as important as it was in pre-missile era, altitude is still an advantage, meaning that fighters should reach combat altitude before enemy attackers come into range.

Combat survivability

By its nature, stealth fighter relies on stealth to protect it. What this means is minimizing radar, infrared and visual signatures. Radar signature is minimized by obvious means: proper airframe shaping, internal weapons carriage, hidden engine front and application of radar absorbent materials. These measures are especially effective against fire-control X-band radars, but are less effective as frequency decreases. VHF radar has significantly improved performance against stealth fighters, while HF radar can ignore stealth alltogether. However, neither can be employed on fighters or missiles.

Infrared signature can be minimized by optimizing both design and performance characteristics. Supercruise capability is especially important here, as it allows supersonic flight without using extremely detectable afterburner. Engine should have an additional cooling channel and external nozzle compared to “normal” fighter engines. Bypass ratio is an opern question: high bypass ratio would reduce engine IR signature at subsonic speed, but low bypass ratio would improve cruise performance and reduce engine power necessary for any given cruise speed. For an air superiority fighter, low bypass ratio engine should be chosen.

Visual signature is minimized via small size, which also helps reduce infrared signature. Another factors are camouflage paint and especially smokeless engine.

Electromagnetic signature has two aspects: incoming emissions (radar) and outgoing emissions. Enemy radar is defeated primarily via shaping for minimum radar cross section. This means a smooth shape with carefully controlled reflections, no corner reflectors, or any random protrusions. Consequently, weapons and sensors must be carried internally: hence faceted IRST/EOS housing on F-35. Radar cross section (RCS) should be based on in-air measurements, as different aspects, air conditions, condensation trails and engine emissions can affect RCS compared to ground-based model measurements. This is just as important for assessing fighter’s infrared signature, if not even more so. Measurement should utilize radars of different frequencies as well, as different aspects of radar signature (shaping, contrails etc.) have different impact on different frequencies, and shaping grows less effective as frequencies increase, being much less effective against VHF radars and irrelevant against HF over-the-horizon radars. Second aspect is emissions control. Fighter itself must minimize or eliminate all outgoing electromagnetic emissions. This means minimal to no radar usage, directional outgoing data links (if any), and either offboard or directional electronic countermeasures. Radar is especially important as it is by far the most powerful source of electromagnetic emission on the aircraft.

However, stealth fighter cannot rely on stealth to always protect it. It may come up against enemies with good IR sensors, be forced to defend a (relatively) stationary asset, or be caught in a position where range is too close. It might run out of BVR missiles and be forced to enter a dogfight. As such, it needs to have backup options: good self-defense suite, good maneuverability and cruise capability.

In order to avoid being surprised, fighter should have 360* coverage with most important sensors – RWR, LWR and MAWS. Radar will naturally be positioned forward, and should be capable of being used in active and passive modes both – with latter itself having options for picking up reflections by radar of an emitting friendly fighter, or else picking up enemy radar emissions – a giant RWR, essentially. IRST will also be forward-oriented, but IR MAWS should be configured so as to allow it being used as a short-ranged IRST. This will allow pilot to “see through” the airframe. Fighter should also be capable of cruising at speeds of Mach 1,5 to 1,8 for at least 20 to 30 minutes in combat area. This however may be problematic to achieve in a stealth design, but 15 minutes cruise should be absolute minimum. For this reason, a turbojet engine may have to be considered.

Electronic countermeasures will have easier time due to stealth fighter requiring less powerful signals to spoof enemy targeting regardless of the range. However, infrared missiles will present a significant threat as IR signature cannot be significantly suppressed. Enemy radar missiles may be jammed by AESA jammers alternating between two fighters in a “blinking” manner, forcing the missile in a home-on-jam mode to to alternate between two targets, expending fuel and energy.

In maneuverability, stealth fighter will likely be at disadvantage due to its very nature: need to carry weapons internally. This means that it will be larger and heavier than an enemy with comparable normal payload. F-22 can carry eight missiles internally; Gripen E, with similar weapons load, is less than half the empty (or combat, for that matter) weight. Stealth fighter might gain some advantage due to having no interference drag from carrying weapons internally, but simple conformal carriage can eliminate most of these advantages, even when ignoring that smaller fighter will likely have maneuvering advantage – less impact from weapons carriage matters much less once one figures in the fact that baseline / starting point is not the same. However, maneuverability of a stealth fighter can still be improved (kept competitive) by ensuring low wing loading, high thrust-to-weight ratio, good transient characteristics (control response) and small size. Transient characteristics in particular can be improved by including close-coupled canards in the design. Since transient maneuverability is the most important aspect of maneuverability, canards should be included. Canards can be high (above the wing) or coplanar with the wing. In either case, some stealth will be sacrificed, but maneuverability benefits should be significant. Sustained turn performance is comparatively irrelevant, but for a stealth fighter meant to fight at beyond visual range, acceleration and climb performances are crucial.

Lethality

Beyond visual range missiles achieved good performance in recent wars. To fight at beyond visual range, fighter must be capable of identifying its targets at beyond visual range as well. While in ideal conditions this can be done via various mechanisms such as radar NCTR, various factors such as interference and jamming, unavailability of AWACS etc. can render radar ID too unreliable. That BVR missiles were used in the first place was due to presence of radar NCTR, persistent AWACS availability, which when combined with incompetent enemies led to excellent effectiveness. In more adverse conditions, radar-guided beyond-visual-range missiles cannot be relied on. This problem can be mitigated in two ways.

First, stealth fighter should be equipped with IR guided BVR missiles, such as French MICA IR. Combined with onboard IRST, it will allow both identification and engagement of unccoperative targets in ECM-heavy environments. Aside from being much more ECM-resistant, IR missiles have inherently greater lethality than radar-guided missiles. Meanwhile imaging IRST is the only reliable means of identification in ECM-heavy environment, unless both sides leave IFF turned on (which they may do if two sides utilize same aircraft types). Radar imaging cannot be used if radar is jammed. It is also the only way of ensuring reliable surprise due to being a passive sensors: radar is likely to give away fighter’s position, unless data is being fed from an offboard platform (possibility of which is questionable) or the enemy does not have a good radar warning receiver. Against Third World air forces, AESA radar can be left safely on. Radar itself should be capable of functioning as RWR and using that data (plus data from IRST) to optimize low-energy emissions for fire control purposes; in essence, radar becomes a rangefinding system.

Second, stealth fighter should have good cruise performance – that is, cruise speed and endurance. Cruise, not maximum, speed will allow it to dictate engagement terms and potentially catch enemies unaware (most fighters do not have sensors covering the rear aspect with the exception of various warning devices). It will thus be capable of choosing when, how and whether to engage. High cruise speed and endurance will also serve to extend its missile range and reduce enemy missile range from rear-quarter attacks – area where all fighters, but especially stealth ones, are relatively most vulnerable from.

Further, narrow-beam two-way datalinks should be ensured. While they still risk giving away fighter’s location, data links should allow it to utilize offboard sensory data for engaging targets. In theory, such a system could be utilized to allow some degree of a completely passive rangefinding. Datalinks should be utilized to share sensory feeds between fighters and from AWACS, as well as for communication. They should not be utilized for command; instead, pilots and flight leaders in particular should be left maximum freedom of action based on mission goals and situation overview provided via datalink.

If the enemy has not been shot down at BVR, and just letting him go is not an option, stealth fighter may need to close to visual range. As noted above, stealth fighter will be at disadvantage in maneuverability. This means that, assuming it has any advantage at all, stealth fighter will have advantage in energy fight: carrying out what are basically “hit and run” attacks instead of engaging in a turning fight. This however is extremely risky in a modern battlefield, as a well-placed IR missile shot can still force it into a turning fight where it will be at a disadvantage. Energy fight will also require significant fuel reserve. Combined with supercruise requirement, this leads to 30% fuel fraction being absolute minimum, 35% a possibly adequate value, and 40% to 45% to be achieved if possible. However, due to design limitations of a stealth fighter, anything above 30% fuel fraction may prove unrealistic for an air superiority design. Meanwhile E-M requirement means high thrust-to-weight ratio.

Stealth fighter should not be too expensive – losses happen, and numbers do matter. Peacetime fighter fleet should include enough extra (reserve) fighters that pilots do not lose out on flight hours due to repairs, maintenance or accidents. This should also include a number of “spare parts” fighters, to be cannibalized in case that spare parts are not delivered in time. Ideally, each pilot should have two fighters, so as to spread wear over two airframes and allow aircraft to undergo proper maintenance. As stealth itself causes additional costs compared to conventional designs, fighter should be as small as possible.

Generally, a fighter in good position to shoot will achieve a kill – this was proven in wars from World War I to Gulf Wars. However, proliferation of missile warners may put that into question: importance of surprise in achieving kills was based on the fact that it was generally too late for a surprised target to do anything once “woken up” (typically by being shot at). In more than a few cases in modern wars – such as the case of Yugoslav MiGs in 1999 – enemy pilots only noticed they were under attack once missile detonated close to their fighters – or flew harmlessly past the canopy. But introduction of MAWS, especially IR MAWS, means that surprise becomes impossible unless one goes for a gun kill (assuming, of course, that MAWS is not configured to warn for fighters, and since modern IR MAWS is basically a high-resolution IR camera, even that will likely not be a surprise). If MAWS notices incoming missile early enough, pilot has time for evasive action. Therefore, visual-range performance of a stealth fighter is still crucial for its overall air combat performance. BVR missiles will still be important for scoring against Third World air forces, as well as for opening up for a closer, more lethal engagement. This means that MAWS IR cameras should be capable of feeding image as well as targeting and ID data to pilot’s HUD or HMD. This will make job of keeping track of targets in both BVR and dogfight much easier.

Training and tactics

Training should be optimized for operations in fours and pairs. Any larger formations harm fighter’s lethality, be it at within visual range or beyond visual range – larger number of smaller formations has advantage over smaller number of larger formations, even if larger formations have overall greater number of fighters. Large engagements in general should be avoided in order to achieve maximum kill-loss ratio. Fighter itself should be highly reliable and easy to maintain in order to facilitate “live” training.

Training should be literally “ground up”. Stealth starts and ends on the ground – a flaming wreck in a blown-up air base is not particularly stealthy, or particularly useful. Any proper stealth fighter should be designed to operate from hidden air bases. This means easy maintenance, low logistical requirements, small size and road basing capability at minimum. Each fighter should come with a fuel truck or two, a spare parts truck, ammunition truck, lightweight mobile maintenance and repair equipment. Additional equipment shoud include enough camouflage netting – effective in visual, radar and IR spectrums – to hide fighter as well as its entire support apparatus. A fighter without that is not a proper stealth fighter. Currently, Gripen C is far more stealthy than F-35 – just in different area, but people who focus only on in-flight stealth cannot understand that.

Conclusion

Ideal stealth fighter would be, in essence, Stealth!Gripen – certainly not an overweight monster like F-35. However, for maximum effectiveness, it should still be supported by non-stealth fighters, exploiting “cracks” these fighters create. Some of these non-stealth fighters could be Western versions of Flankers – large, twin-engined, two-seat aircraft with huge radar and capable of dirt strip operations. These could then act as command fighters.

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Posted in proposals, weapons | Tagged: , , , | 6 Comments »

Workable battlecruiser concept

Posted by Picard578 on February 10, 2018

Battlecruiser did not have a good showing in World War I. Main reason – other than ammunition handling – is that their big guns were too powerful to pass up in the line of battle, yet their armour was too thin to withstand such a battle while their speed was largely negated. They were also as costly as contemporary dreadnoughts, and used dreadnought slips and berths, meaning that any battlecruiser construction came instead, and not on top of, dreadnought battleship construction. Combination of thin armour and improper ammunition handling proved catastrophic. Irony is that ammunition handling was partly caused by thin-armour, big-gun design: battlecruiser had to hit its opponent before it got hit itself, and at long range. But this required placing a lot of rounds downrange, and quickly, which created training emphasis on rate of fire. This emphasis in turn caused unsafe ammunition handling, which then caused catastrophic losses. So question is, how battlecruisers could have been more idiot-proof, either in a sense that they are not so powerful they get used in battleship role (as in battle off Jutland), or that they can survive major battle if so committed, while still keeping intact battlecruiser’s basic characteristic: greater speed than battleship, enabling it to catch cruisers or outflank battleship forces.

There are several possibilities.

First possibility is reducing armament calibre while maintaining battleship’s armour protection. This would result in ships better protected than cruisers that are still faster and longer-ranged than battleships. Main armament could be either cruiser-calibre or in-between cruiser and dreadnought calibre – possibly reusing old 12-in guns from predreadnoughts.

Second possibility is maintaining armament calibre but reducing number of guns. Instead of three or four turrets mounting six to eight guns, battlecruiser would have two frontal turrets mounting four to six guns. This would technically reduce battlecruiser’s firepower, but would maintain range and penetration advantage against cruisers. At the same time, lesser armoured area covered as well as weaponry and munition carried would allow for more fuel as well as larger and more powerful power plant.

Third possibility is reconfiguring armour. Protecting only turrets, magazines and machinery spaces would allow maximum thickness of armour there, while leaving nonessentials unprotected. In particular, bow and stern armoured belt would be removed, as would be conning tower armour. This would result in something more akin to a fast battleship of “all-or-nothing” design, and not an actual battlecruiser, and would go against design philosophy of the time which required protection against various calibres.

Those options could also all be combined. Instead of eight 13,5 in guns of an Orion-class superdreadnought, a battlecruiser could have four to six 10 in to 12 in guns in two frontal turrets. As a result, only area from “A” turret to machinery spaces would need to be protected by armour, while rest would be left completely unarmoured. At the same time, smaller guns would allow a ship somewhat smaller than contemporary dreadnoughts, or else allow for greater volume of engines and fuel.

Lastly, battlecruiser could maintain battleship’s armour and armament, but with elongated hull form and more powerful propulsion unit. This would result in what is basically a fast battleship. That, however, may not have been feasible at the time. Such a ship would also be larger, heavier and more expensive than a contemporary dreadnought, and may require new slipyards and docks to be built.

Now for feasibility.

First option would place those ships, at best, at equal footing against British-style battlecruisers: one would have battlecruisers with cruiser guns and dreadnought protection going up against battlecruisers with dreadnought guns and cruiser protection. Best-case scenario would be stalemate at best.

Second possibility would reduce rangefinding and hitting capability due to pattern dispersal issues. Even battleships had around 2% hit rate with main guns. None of the main battlecruiser-building navies utilized triple turrets on a regular basis either. And with typical incremental armouring scheme, it would not actually reduce amount of armour.

Raft armouring scheme, while best option, was largely a product of experience of Jutland. As a result, nobody had the hindsight to utilize it before.

Overall, options 1, 3 and 4 are feasible but not likely. First option would wipe out range advantage against cruisers, impacting battlecruisers’ main role. Option four is very expensive, even if it is best for Jutland-type scenario. Third option is ideal, albeit it would increase vulnerability to high explosive and small-calibre shells.

Posted in history, proposals | Tagged: , , | 18 Comments »

Military Proposal: Army Unit Organization: Infantry

Posted by Picard578 on December 8, 2017

  • LEVEL 1
  • Fire Team (4)
    • Team Leader
    • Rifleman
    • Automatic Rifleman
    • Marksman
  • Medium Machine Gun Team (2)
    • Machine gunner (GPMG)
    • Assistant machine gunner
  • Rocket / Missile team (2)
    • Gunner (ATGM, unguided rocket, recoilless rifle)
    • Ammo carrier
  • Mortar Team
    • Squad Leader
    • Assistant Mortarman
    • Ammo Carrier
  • Sniper Team
    • Sniper (sniper rifle)
    • Spotter (battle rifle or assault rifle)
    • Flanker (assault rifle)

Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in proposals | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Sci-Fi Military Proposal Part 1: Doctrine

Posted by Picard578 on December 2, 2017

Note: in keeping with Tolkien’s influences for Numenor and Gondor, I based most characteristics predominantly on those of 18th-19th century British as well as medieval Byzantine empires, but adjusting it for modern technology. For the latter I used two books about Byzantine Empire, particularly the book of Edward Luttak. I suggest everyone to read those books unless they already haven’t – Byzantine military art and grand strategy are in many aspects superior to most if not all modern countries, and if it weren’t for the Fourth Crusade, it is impossible to say for how long it would have survived – far longer than it historically did is for certain. It did indeed earn its nickname of “The Empire that would not die”, and between Roman Kingdom, Republic, and two eras of the Empire (the Roman and Byzantine era), it lasted for 2.200 years despite several massive disasters. Interesting fact I had noticed is that, while Republic and Principate-era Roman Empire used unit basis of 6 to 10 (10 men in decuria, 100 men in centuria, 600 in cohort, 6.000 in legion, later to be changed to 8, 80, 480 and 4.800), Byzantine-era military apparently shifted to a base-3 organizational system. I believe the reason for this to be the shift from attrition „meat grinder“ tactics of the Republic and Principate to maneuver tactics of the Byzantium. In fact, it seems that Dominate army might have started the shift to maneuver organization, reducing number of cohorts in a legion – and even if that was not actually the case administratively, fact remains that portions of legions (vexilliones) were often used in place of whole legions, thus de facto achieving the same effect. Late Roman legion of Dominate period thus often had 1.000 to 3.000 men.

So questions I want to ask is:
1) how effective would the approaches outlined be for an actual sci-fi empire (say, in Homeworld 2 or Mass Effect universe)?
2) how effective would they be for a modern First World country (disregarding obvious sci-fi elements)?
3) how would outlined military perform in conventional warfare, and how in insurgent warfare?

Keep in mind, despite the influences this is still intended to be sci-fi interstellar military, and not an actual medieval military.

The books mentioned in the first paragraph are Edward Luttwak – The Grand Strategy of the Byzantine Empire and John Haldon – Essential Histories – Byzantium at War Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in doctrine, proposals, sci-fi conceptual | Tagged: , , | 4 Comments »

Light Tank Proposal 1

Posted by Riley-Amos on February 20, 2017

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 8.17.24 AM.png

“If the tanks succeed, then victory follows.” – Heinz Guderian

The opinion of many people today is that tanks are obsolete, losing their survivability to modern man-portable ATGMs and precision guided munitions. What must be understood is that main battle tanks are the play-ground bullies of ground warfare, they are big, intimidating, and sound of a 120mm cannon thundering across a valley saps the enemy’s moral like little else. The effectiveness of such large, high velocity cannons is well known and the concept of the “tank” in general will likely never be phased out – only improved.

During the Second World War, tanks were primarily used as infantry support and tank-on-tank battles where rare. The large majority of tank casualties were caused by anti-tank cannons. During the Yom Kippur war of 1973, the Israelis faced a barrage of Soviet AT-3 “Sagger” ATGMs of which they were simply not prepared for, causing mass panic amongst tankers. Several extractions from the CIA’s report entitled “The 1973 Arab-Israeli War: Overview and Analysis of the Conflict” outline the alarm these missile caused, however, it is important to read until the end.

“In accounts immediately after the war, however, the effect of the antitank missiles was exaggerated. Detailed information now available indicates that in the whole war the Israelis lost approximately 500 tanks; among them 119 disabled units………. at least 6 percent but no more than 25 percent, were killed by Saggers.” 

The Israelis focused fire on exposed ATGM teams, and seldom moved mechanisation anywhere without cover of indirect fire. ATGM teams must not operate without being transported in a vehicle with at very least protection against shrapnel. Granted, Saggers were first generation MCLOS guided missiles that were incredibly difficult to control. Modern ATGMs are far more advanced, however they are exceptionally more expensive. A Sagger will cost a military under $1000 per unit, whereas a modern “Javelin” ATGM can costs upwards of $100,000.

MBTs are, and will continue to be a staple on the battlefield, although they are not without drawbacks. The M1 Abram’s cost is sky rocketing, and at 70 tons, it is quickly bogged down, not easy to air transport, lumbering and fuel hungry.

 

The Light Tank: 

There is no standard definition for a “light” tank, so for the sake of this piece we will define it as the following: A tank of no more than 20 tons, capable of air transport by C-130 with an operational range similar or greater than that of an MBT. Light tanks are not a replacement for main battle tanks, to paraphrase Picard; light tanks exploit the breakthroughs of MBTs. Unlike their heavier brother’s, the light tank should have anti-tank capabilities as a secondary priority, it is first and foremost an infantry support vehicle and due to its often extremely light armour, should seldom go toe-to-toe with anything carrying more than a heavy machine gun. Perhaps a good way to think of the light tank is as a Bradley IFV, with heavier armament and no troop carriage ability.

 

Chassis:

Picture1.png

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General Dimensions: Excluding turret and appliqué armour 

Height: 1.45m (4.75 feet)

Width: 2.7m (8.85 feet)

Length: 6m (19.5 feet)

Armour: 

Light tanks sacrifice a great deal of armour to earn their designation, and rely on heavy sloping and other methods of armouring such as protruding ribs, which have been seen on both the BMP-2 and STRV-103 of Sweden. The Swedes found that their STRV-103 was essentially impossible to penetrate with any then existing anti-tank weapon during it’s early operational history.

Picture3.png

Armour for the light tank chassis is as follows:

Front upper glacis: Sloped at 15 degrees, fitted with protruding ribs, protection from 30mm armour piercing.

Front Lower Glacis: Sloped at 50 degrees, protection from 30mm armour piercing.

Sides: Sloped at 75 degrees, protection from 14.5mm armour piercing.

Rear: Sloped at 80 degrees, protection from 7.62mm armour piercing

Power plant:

 Engine will be a V8 diesel, optimally the same Scania DSA 14 litre version used by the CV-90. This should give the vehicle a maximum speed on-road in the vicinity of 80km/h (50 mp/h), and an operational range of ~400km (250 miles). Extra fuel will be carried in external tanks that can be dropped when empty or if there is a danger of puncture, similar to that of Soviet tank designs. A recess may be designed into the rear of the vehicle to allow some amount of armouring, however a better idea may be to design the external fuel tanks with some amount of shrapnel protection. These tanks may not be mounted during operations within close proximity of friendly infantry so as to avoid.

Armament:

A heavy main battle tank has the luxury of being able to mount heavy, powerful, high velocity cannons – something a light tank may not be able to achieve, if we examine the use of large guns on light vehicles we can see that the results are very rarely acceptable. Both the Sprut-SD (125mm HV cannon) and the US M551 (Medium velocity 152mm cannon) had recoil issues, this resulted in much discomfort from the crew, difficulty when firing on the move and in a lot of cases, the turret ring being bent irreparably (especially when using aluminium armour).

From this, we can gather that the best light tank armament will be either: a high velocity small shell, or a low velocity large shell.

We will explore both, however my preference is with the later for the following reasons:

  1. A small HV shell (i.e. 60mm HVMS) results in a smaller capacity for HE, and lacks the heavy APSFDS rod to penetrate heavy armour. The velocity of a 120mm APSFDS may be achieved, however the dart will not have sufficient kinetic energy due to its low weight.
  2. A HEAT charge does not rely on velocity to penetrate armour, and will function at the very furthest reaches of its range (where KE penetrators will not)
  3. The lower velocity allows us to utilise a larger diameter shell, making the HEAT charge more effective. Where a 60mm HVMS APSFDS rod will not penetrate a modern MBT, a 120mm HEAT charge has at least a fighting chance – especially against the sides, rear and top.
  4. The lower velocity and lack of rifling (shells should be fin stabilised) mean that we can fit far more HE into the same area – note that a 120mm mortar shell has similar, if not more destructive power then a 155mm artillery shell.

Low-velocity/large-caliber

In my opinion, the best armament for this light tank would be a large diameter, breech loaded, low velocity gun/mortar – we will use a 120mm diameter gun for this project due to logistics ease (120mm shells are already in use), however the optimal diameter would be slightly larger (130-140mm).

Parallels can be drawn to the aforementioned M551 “Sheridan”, however there are numerous deviances from the design.

The cannon will fire the following four types of ammunition

Standard mortar shells:

  • High explosive
  • Rocket assisted (RAP)
  • Smoke
  • Illumination
  • IR Illumination
  • Inert/practice
  • HEAT (Shouldn’t be too difficult to create)

Low velocity cannon round (similar to BMP-3 100m shell):

  • HE
  • HEAT
  • Canister/Flechette (most importantly!)

LAHAT ATGWs

STRIX Laser guided, anti-tank mortar-fired munition

With sufficient propellant, a mortar shell can (and will be) used for direct fire. The main reason for the addition of LV cannon shells is for using flechette shells, however this may not be necessary if a 120mm shell is developed along the lines of the 81mm Mk-120 mortar (below) used on Mk-2 Mod 0 deck mounted mortars during Vietnam. Should the LV cannon shell provide no sizeable benefit over direct fire mortar techniques, it should be deleted.

81mm Mk-120, immediate left of the 105mm APERS-T:

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Alongside direct fire, the mortar will also be fired in the conventional indirect fire roll, this will prove very valuable when supporting armour advancements as the constant shelling of the advancement location will thin out any resistance before it becomes a problem, the persistence of mobile mortar-tanks will be a massive improvement over towed artillery, with its shoot-and-scoot speed, counter-battery radar will be rendered useless.

Picture2.png

The Swedish laser guided “STRIX” shell (above) will allow the vehicle to shine in the anti-tank role. For this to be its most effective, it will be coupled with a collapsible sensor mast (example below) mounting cameras and a laser designator.

From behind cover, the vehicle will extend its sensor mast and paint the target of choice, the gunner will then fire a STRIX over the target, impacting directly downwards onto the target (where a tank’s armour is thin). This tactic will allow the vehicle to expose nothing but the tip of its sensor mast, and without the need for an engine the STRIX takes up far less space than a conventional ATGM. The main limitation is obviously the lack of direct fire capabilities; this will be solved by carrying 2-3 LAHAT missiles alongside.

Picture3.png

This heavy cannon will be supplemented by a co-axial 40mm CTA cannon firing cased telescoping 40mm rounds. The cannon should be modified to select between 200RPM for ground targets, and >800RPM for aerial targets. The necessary elevation of the mortar means that we have an excellent platform for a “pseudo-SPAAG”. Inside the turret will be a tri-feed system for HE, APSFDs and Air-burst with an optimal capacity upwards of 100 rounds.

Screen Shot 2017-02-22 at 8.17.06 AM.png

Conclusion:

A light tank can be produced in larger numbers, and the flexibility of deployment is fantastic. The US lost a great advantage when they retired the M551 and cancelled the M8 Buford that cannot be measured, a solution will be extremely easy to engineer and my proposal has many aspects that can be replaced by already existing equipment to lesser, but still good effect (i.e. the new chassis may be replaced by a cut-down M113 or a Bradley).

To make use of airborne and expeditionary forces in the future, the light tank has to be explored – there is no alternative.

Posted in proposals | 27 Comments »

Proposal for Army armoured vehicles

Posted by Picard578 on February 11, 2017

Introduction

Modern militaries have various types of vehicles for various jobs. These range from destruction of hard targets (tanks and bunkers) to convoy escort, peacekeeping and counterinsurgency. For this reason, and due to variance in terrains as well, most if not all types need to exist in more than one category. Main battle tanks can take considerable punishment, but are vulnerable to infantry and air support, and are impotent in very difficult terrains. They are also lacking in strategic and operational mobility, being incapable of utilizing many bridges. On the other hand, lighter forces often lack the direct fire support on the same level as main battle tanks provide, so they need lighter systems with similar firepower. Read the rest of this entry »

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Light Stealth Aircraft by vstol jockey

Posted by Picard578 on October 19, 2016

Light Stealth Aircraft is a proposal made by vstol jockey for the Indian Air Force; thread can be accessed here:
http://indiandefence.com/threads/light-stealth-aircraft.55805/

Basic characteristis:
EJ230 engine
57* sweep wing, mid-wing design
-20 dBSM RCS
SEAD loadout 2 BVRAAM, 2 WVRAAM, 8 SDB
3 hr 45 min endurance
Mach 2,25 top speed
price 25-40 million USD
supercruise capable
AESA radar, IRST
<115 kts approach speed

For discussing the design, register on the forum; vstol jockey is the designer and link was posted with his approval.

P.S. vstol jockey is a retired Indian Navy pilot. He helped with technical details of the FLX 6 design, and FLX inspired him to design LSA.

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FAC aircraft camouflage patterns proposal

Posted by Picard578 on January 11, 2016

OX1-standard Read the rest of this entry »

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CAS fighter camouflage patterns proposal

Posted by Picard578 on January 1, 2016

ax1-standard Read the rest of this entry »

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F-20 upgrade proposal

Posted by Picard578 on December 1, 2015

Introduction

While I have originally done an F-5 upgrade due to its simplicity and consequental export potential for third world countries, it was brought to my attention that F-20 does have more potential. Read the rest of this entry »

Posted in proposals | Tagged: , , , , , , | 12 Comments »

 
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