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Air-Mechanized Fighting Vehicle

This is a discussion on Air-Mechanized Fighting Vehicle within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; My design is for an airborne expeditionary vehicle that will initially be capable of precision airdrop, with the future capability ...


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Old April 22nd, 2009   #1
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Air-Mechanized Fighting Vehicle

My design is for an airborne expeditionary vehicle that will initially be capable of precision airdrop, with the future capability of being integrated with a variety of lift surfaces and airborne propulsion systems. This vehicle will integrate aerodynamic properties into its design, while still retaining the ability to be resistant to small arms fire and artillery fragmentation. The vehicle will be produced in a 4X4, 6X6, and 8X8 variant that will be equipped with a modular payload section to perform a variety of battlefield functions.The target weights for all variants of the vehicle will be between 8-12 tons. The vehicle will be capable of operating autonomously as an unmanned ground vehicle, this feature will allow for vehicles to be sent in to areas were there is low situational awareness and a high risk of enemy engagement. The ability to act as a UGV means that if carrying troops ounce dismounted the vehicle can support the dismounted troops without risking the life of a driver or a weapons operator. When equipped with a manned payload section the vehicle will be capable of control via an onboard or dismounted soldier (if desired) as well as retaining its autonomous operational capability.

An example of how the vehicle will be most commonly be utilized is as follows: one to four vehicles (depending on variant and transport size) will be loaded onto a transport with 0-8 men in each vehicle (depending on variant) and flown into a potential war zone. Once over the battlefield, the vehicles will be ejected from the rear of the transport and will utilize their aerodynamic bodies and a deployable Para foil to precisely land at predetermined landing zones. Or in the case of standoff variants, it will utilize its control surfaces ounce released to silently glide into the war zone and will land softly utilizing retro rockets. If carrying troops, they will then immediately dismount and operate on foot while the vehicle becomes an unmanned ground vehicle and provides supporting fire and long range ground mobility when needed. As the design progresses and lifting and propulsion systems are integrated, the vehicle will fly itself into a war zone. Upon landing wings or rotors would fold towards the body so that they will not be damaged or hinder the movement of the vehicle on the ground. If carrying troops, the troops would dismount and be supported by the vehicle. When redeployment becomes necessary they will board the vehicle and fly to the next landing zone.

Key features of the vehicle will include: An aerodynamic body to increase speed range and accuracy during airdrop as well as being a key component in the integration of flight capabilities. In-rim electric engines to save space onboard the vehicles body, as well as improving survivability. Pneumatic shock absorbers that allow for increased ground mobility, and also allow the vehicle to improve its aerodynamics by folding in its wheels and stowing them. A hybrid propulsion system to provide fuel-efficient ground mobility. A modular payload section that allows the vehicle to operate as an IFV, APC, mobile command center, ambulance, logistics vehicle or any other necessitated function. The vehicle will also include a powerful central computer that can perform the necessary computations for autonomous ground and flight operation as well as all necessitated combat computations, such as, target acquisition, firing solutions, command and communication functions etc.

The bottom half of the vehicle will be the base unit comprising of the vehicles ground mobility systems and computer core. The computer core will be contained in an extremely well armored housing, able to withstand even the heaviest IED as well as being resistant to the temperatures encountered in a vehicle that is on fire. The ground mobility system will include fuel tanks and batteries for storing energy as well as a generator for converting chemical energy into electric energy to be stored by the batteries. A pneumatic shock system will allow the vehicle to traverse very rough terrain and insure that the best traction possible is achieved by keeping as many wheels on the ground as possible. In-rim electric engines in all wheels will provide the ground mobility and range necessary to make the vehicle successful. In addition electric motors provide higher torque necessary for navigating rough and mountainous terrain. By incorporating the electric engines in the rim of all wheels on the vehicle you not only save space and weight but u drastically improve the survivability of a vehicle, in the event of one or more engines or wheels being disabled the vehicle will still retain enough mobility to retreat or fight on. This section will also include space within the body to allow for the wheels to be folded in and stowed to reduce drag and increase aerodynamic efficiency.

The top half of the vehicle is the modular payload section and will come in many different variants allowing the vehicle to fill various battlefield functions. This section will contain all primary sensors and airborne capabilities, such as lifting surfaces, control surfaces, Para foil, or propulsion systems. The payload section can be fitted with various weapons or equipment to allow the vehicle to fulfill combat support roles. The payload section can be designed to allow for troop accommodations in the infantry-fighting vehicle or armored troop carrying variants. The emphases on modular design reduces development cost while vastly improving operational capability. It allows a vehicle to be easily retrofitted with new equipment, as well as giving it the novel capability of being able to quickly adapt to changing battlefield needs.

The vehicles aerodynamic design allows for future integration of airmobile propulsion systems such as, counter-rotating helicopter blades, folding wings with tilt rotors, folding wings with jet engines and folding wings with air-augmented rockets. This will provide the capability to not only deploy support vehicles and troops by air but also quickly redeploy them by air. The vehicle can also be equipped with just lifting surfaces and can act as a glider to give the vehicle a standoff precision airdrop capability. The integration of these features will allow for the first time in military history an air transportation system to be integrated with the vehicle it is intended to transport. This capability allows for future air-mechanization tactics and strategy to be utilized to their full potential.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #2
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You mean like wheeled BMD?
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #3
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yes, but more aerodynamic and with the eventual goal of creating a sorta BMD MI-24 Hind hybrid or a BMD Harrier hybrid. The Marine corps has exspressed the desire to be able to respond with in 2 hours. This might be a more practical and tacticly smart way of achieving that goal . Really taking the idea of a flying infantry vehicle to another level, making it ground mobile gives it the ability to support its infantry for the entire duration of the battle.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #4
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You want an air-land hybrid? What roles would it full-fill?
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #5
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Originally Posted by gardnerdesign View Post
The integration of these features will allow for the first time in military history an air transportation system to be integrated with the vehicle it is intended to transport. This capability allows for future air-mechanization tactics and strategy to be utilized to their full potential.
Wrong!

http://cache.jalopnik.com/assets/res...lying_tank.jpg

To support 12 tonnes of deadweight in the air by glider flying (no engine) you generally need a wing with an area of 363 square metres. So if your aerodynamically shaped flying tank was 6.5m long (like an M2 IFV) it would need to be 56m wide (that's a wing very similar to a Boeing 777). That is with an extremely low drag body, which is highly unlikely for a land combat vehicle.

To support 12 tonnes of deadweight in the air by a powered helicopter you tend to need a Chinook. For a powered aircraft a C-27J would be good.

So in short you haven't designed anything. You've just come up with an idea that isn't feasible with Earth's atmosphere and gravity and humanity's current understanding of the physical universe.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #6
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Wrong!

http://cache.jalopnik.com/assets/res...lying_tank.jpg

To support 12 tonnes of deadweight in the air by glider flying (no engine) you generally need a wing with an area of 363 square metres. So if your aerodynamically shaped flying tank was 6.5m long (like an M2 IFV) it would need to be 56m wide (that's a wing very similar to a Boeing 777). That is with an extremely low drag body, which is highly unlikely for a land combat vehicle.

To support 12 tonnes of deadweight in the air by a powered helicopter you tend to need a Chinook. For a powered aircraft a C-27J would be good.

So in short you haven't designed anything. You've just come up with an idea that isn't feasible with Earth's atmosphere and gravity and humanity's current understanding of the physical universe.
Absolutely correct. You "designed" nothing but a wishlist (a very long one). And apart from the fact that's it isn't feasible, your very last sentence sounds good, but you don't explain what this vehicle would actually be good for.
And a 8-12 ton vehicle with a aerodynamically shaped body would glide like a, well, like a 8-12 ton vehicle.

You were playing "Mass Effect" too long... That's what instantly came to my mind. Aerodynamically shaped body, landing using rockets... Sounds like the Mako to me .
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #7
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Well, what he is asking for isn't completely out of bounds. At least similar concepts are embodied in the BMD-4M which combines a Bakhcha-U firing module, with an armored, airdroppable IFV body that iirc drops with the crew inside. The vehicle isn't completely modular, but other vehicles can be built on the chassis of the BMD series.

He is definelty reaching into Sci-Fi, but the overall idea of air-droppable light-armor is real.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #8
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Yes, air-droppable light armor is real, no doubt, but IIRC this has more to do with a controlled (chute-stabilized) fall from low altitude than with this:

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Originally Posted by gardnerdesign
Or in the case of standoff variants, it will utilize its control surfaces ounce released to silently glide into the war zone and will land softly utilizing retro rockets.
... or incorporating flight equipment. Let's imagine for a second we would have a vehicle that's shaped aerodynamically and let's assume you could pack all the stuff he mentions in a 8-12 ton vehicle and attach reasonably sized foldable wings to it... What would the glide ratio be? That of a medium sized family home I guess. In any case nowhere near a rate that could be survived by human beings.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #9
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Originally Posted by Feanor View Post
Well, what he is asking for isn't completely out of bounds. At least similar concepts are embodied in the BMD-4M which combines a Bakhcha-U firing module, with an armored, airdroppable IFV body that iirc drops with the crew inside. The vehicle isn't completely modular, but other vehicles can be built on the chassis of the BMD series.
Ahh the BMD does not fly, it falls. There is a big difference. Like comparing a swimming tank with one designed to drive on the river bed with a snorkel.

As to the flying tank... you don't think its out of bounds? The most practical method would be a paraglider. But to support a 12 tonne AFV the canopy would need to be over 2,000 square meters or 50m by 50m. Try opening that safely when you drop out of the back of an airlifter...
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #10
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EADS ParaLander allows gliding a 6-ton load up to 55 km range (well, if dropped from 10 km...), and is being procured by Germany - for general loads, although the system is specifically marketed for vehicle drops as well. That's enough for a vehicle such as a light armoured weapons carrier (Wiesel 1/2), an armoured infantry transport vehicle (Mungo), or similar loads.
Although they'd probably crash another six Wiesels trying it this time around...
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #11
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Yes an air-land hybrid would not only give u the operational mobility that u see air mobile troops(helicopter or fixed wing deployed light infantry with some countries expirementing with mechanization of those light infantry forces)utilizing today but it would also allow those same troops to utilize the abilighy to fly in a tactical manner(out flanking, ambush, retreats, dipersal). so the role these vehicles would be somthing like air-cavalry.

im not even gonna respond to that flying tank if u think thats similar to what im talking about i got a bi plane that can shoot down jets i want to sel u

Most of that air-drop and glide bs i put in there was just for skeptics who wouldnt beable to rap there mind around a flying armored vehicle. The current trend in the military is rapid reaction forces, hence all the FCS vehicles being able to fit into planes, the russians to obviously, but my logic is armored vehicles can easly be made aerodynamic, than why put them in an aircraft when they can become one. You save weight by eliminating most of the transport aircraft and then fully integrating the air mobile capability with the vehicles. Realisticly the whole harrier/fighting vehicle hybrid might be a little exspensive but helicopter/fighting vehicle is completley possible.

yes im sorry for using the word design, its no were near a design, i think a more appropriate term would be conceptualization. I tend to prefer disscusing technology and tactics that are possible but don't currently exist or are in development. I do tend to cram concepts full of systems but only because there just concepts and and with out proper R&D one never knows what systems will be reqired.

I never played mass effect but that Mako does look similar to what i draw when i try to visiualize such a vehicle.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #12
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...but my logic is armored vehicles can easly be made aerodynamic, than why put them in an aircraft when they can become one. You save weight by eliminating most of the transport aircraft and then fully integrating the air mobile capability with the vehicles. Realisticly the whole harrier/fighting vehicle hybrid might be a little exspensive but helicopter/fighting vehicle is completley possible.
How come you think you can save weight? You want to add flying gear to an armored vehicle, any idea how much that weighs? If you want to make an 8-12 ton vehicle fly, you need a lot of propulsion power with the according drive train, you need huge wings or a huge rotor. Where will the power come from?
Esp. if you want to make it a hybrid with in-rim electric engines, which are heavy and only make sense if you make the power generating engine smaller accordingly. But in your concept you can't as you need lots of power to fly. And there goes your fuel efficiency and space saving.
The problem with your concept is, you want to integrate to functions that are conflictive. Just imagine a helicopter like the NH90 and then add armor and tracks and a turret. Would that work or be anywhere near useful? No.


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I never played mass effect but that Mako does look similar to what i draw when i try to visiualize such a vehicle.
Perhaps you'd like to share some of your drawings with us.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #13
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Originally Posted by gardnerdesign View Post
but my logic is armored vehicles can easly be made aerodynamic, than why put them in an aircraft when they can become one. You save weight by eliminating most of the transport aircraft and then fully integrating the air mobile capability with the vehicles. Realisticly the whole harrier/fighting vehicle hybrid might be a little exspensive but helicopter/fighting vehicle is completley possible.
Do you understand the basic principles of flight? What causes lift? Wings? Wing loading? How rotors work? You can't make things fly without them. Making a tank 'aerodynamic' just isn't enough. You need to add big wings, big sources of thrust or big rotors with even bigger engines and transmissions.

Now take the ten tonne benchmark. A ten tonne helicopter using the latest technology (NH 90) and loaded with enough fuel to fly for 2 3/4 hours has only 2 tonnes left for the power transmission to wheels, off road suspension, armour, weapons, troops, etc. needed to make it a tank like vehicle. 2 tonnes is not enough weight to fit even a part of these systems. If your weight goes over 10 tonnes then it won't fly.

Now you are welcome to your ideas but you must recognize that what you are talking about is engineering fantasy. If tanks could fly then everyone would be building them. I linked to that picture before to show that the idea of a flying tank wasn't waiting around 90 years until you came along... It was conceived more than 80 years ago and extensively tested. Since then as technology has advanced it has been revisited and yet still nothing has taken to the air. Perhaps if tip rotor powered helicopters were revisited and developed that would provide the deadweight margins needed to realise this dream but don't hold your breath.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #14
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Abraham and Falstaff summed it up pretty well.

Interesting info on the freight Paraglider, kato.
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Old April 23rd, 2009   #15
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ParaLander is in service with the German ISAF contingent btw. 5 units procured as "immediate need" in late 2007; i think they're buying about 20 additional with the current counter-depression package. The special thing about the system is of course not the glider itself, but the fact that it automatically steers itself to a preprogrammed drop zone.
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