Australian Army Discussions and Updates

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
An article in ASPI suggests we need a light tank, rather than the Abrams Australia’s new tanks are overkill and overweight | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au) The authors suggests it's a steady as she goes approach because no one knows where armour is going as we enter the age of AI/autonomous systems.
I do agree that people do not know where armour is going in the near future. I do however suggest that a, "steady as she goes, " approach might just be a sensible response, given how some thinkers were demonstrated to be wrong regarding the utility of armour, heavy armour in particular, in combat situations in the recent past. There had been those who thought that light, highly mobile (and often wheeled) light armoured vehicles were what was needed and that MBT's were of less use. The thinking apparently being that the light vehicles could use their mobility to get into position to engage hostiles, while carrying sufficient direct fire capabilities to carry out the tasks needed, and then maneuver to avoid/evade return fire.

Given all the up-armouring packages developed for vehicles like the Stryker family, that would suggest that supposed advantages of mobility for protection were quite literally outweighed by actual increases in armoured protection. My personal suspicion is that the USMC, who has announced an intent to get out of operating MBT's and leave those for the US Army, will find themselves once again fielding MBT's in at least small numbers to support Marine deployments that require armour support.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
An article in ASPI suggests we need a light tank, rather than the Abrams Australia’s new tanks are overkill and overweight | The Strategist (aspistrategist.org.au) The authors suggests it's a steady as she goes approach because no one knows where armour is going as we enter the age of AI/autonomous systems.
The first question that I would ask is what light tanks are available? The author cites the US Army light tank competition, but we are all aware of their inability to see programs through to their conclusion. This program has a reasonable probability of being another such program. The Australian Army hasn't exactly covered itself in glory with its acquisitions either so if it went down this suggested path the risks of cost and time overruns are quite high.

I also agree with @Todjaeger post above the slow and steady is the most advisable course at the moment. Personally I do not think that a light tank has a place in the Army’s ORBAT because it offers nothing unique that the Army already doesn't have for its current CONOPS. As a replacement for the MBT, that would be a stupid decision because it would be a significant loss of capability.
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
One has to ask when people are suggesting light tanks what exactly do they classify as a light tank? We used our Centurions in Vietnam very well and they where 51 tons so not exactly a light tank if anything the smaller end of an MBT.

If they are worried about the Abrams being to heavy that is fine, could be an argument made for that especially when the possible upgrade depending on which varient we decide on could be give or take 67 tons, If they actually used their brain and put forward a realistic proposal they would be suggesting some of the several smaller but still capable MBT's in production today.

Not that I am advocating this but just pointing out the flaw's in their criticism of our current force, All to often "oh thats bad" what do we do to fix it? "umm, I dont know, but its bad so fix it!".

Dont know if they are good enough or would suit us but two modern tanks in same weight class as the Centurion is the Japanese Type 10 and the South Korean K2 Blackpanther. Actual MBT's the size of what we have already shown by our own forces can be used in the Pacific.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
This seemed topical:


Strikes me that the Abrams is the best tool for the job at present. No point having a "light tank" that has all the mobility in the world only to get killed the moment it has to make contact with the enemy. M1A2 SEPV3 (with Trophy) on the other hand would have to be one of the best armed and protected tanks we could possibly field. I'd suggest that this is exactly what you'd want in such a small tank fleet.
 
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ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
This seemed topical:


Strikes me that the Abrams is the best tool for the job at present. No point having a "light tank" that has all the mobility in the world only to get killed the moment it has to make contact with the enemy. M1A2 SEPV3 (with Trophy) on the other hand would have to be one of the best armed and protected tanks we could possibly field. I'd suggest that this is exactly what you'd want in such a small tank fleet.
Yes, it’s a curious argument given the tank is used primarily because it best represents the desirable combat capabilities of protection, lethality and mobility.

These analysts perceive (rightly or wrongly) one limitation in part of one of these areas, ie: mobility and so to address this issue, they advocate a replacement capability that is inherently deficient in the other two areas…

As I say, it’s a curious argument…
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Yes, it’s a curious argument given the tank is used primarily because it best represents the desirable combat capabilities of protection, lethality and mobility.

These analysts perceive (rightly or wrongly) one limitation in part of one of these areas, ie: mobility and so to address this issue, they advocate a replacement capability that is inherently deficient in the other two areas…

As I say, it’s a curious argument…
Agreed. In fairness, I can see an argument for replacing the Abrams with a 40-50t tank down the track so long as it comes packaged with an APS that can protect against both CE and KE threats, on the basis that the lighter and smaller tank provides a commensurate improvement in mobility. At present, the Japanese and Korean offerings fit nicely in this weightclass, but lack the hard-kill APS component that the SEPV3 comes with. I can't imagine the protection levels would be competitive as yet...
 
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Stampede

Well-Known Member
Interesting conversation.
Indonesia are in a joint program with Turkey to develop a light tank.
Called the Harimau in Indonesian service, it has a 105mm gun and comes in around the mid 30 tonne mark.

Not saying it's a good or bad just reiterating some other modern Army's are developing such a capability.
For interest Indonesia also have a good number of heavy MBTs in the leopard 2.

Suggest Australia has a good mix of vehicles going forward with our current plans for a range of new heavy vehicles.
Not sure a light tank has a place within the ADF at this stage.


Regards S
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
At the end of the day it comes down to the size of your force. Larger military means you can afford to have a Hi-Low mix. For Australia military being the size it is we cant have MBT's and Light tanks, Just not enough boots to man them so we have to pick one or the other. History has shown that MBT's have been an extremely important asset in multiple types of conflicts, atthe same time history has shown that light tanks or light tank equivelant vehicles have had high asperations but poor results.

Based on recent history for the ADF to scrap MBT's for a tank type that has performed poorly at best against insurgents let alone expecting them to go up against MBT's would be an adventure in stupidity at its finest.

For Australia in the short to medium term we will have the Abrams as it is a known capability ready to go with little to no risk, But if people want to suggest getting Light tanks I think we would be better off looking at the WW2 medium tanks ie: M4 Sherman. Probably be as good if not better then todays modern "light tanks"
 

Sideline

Member
Mmmm Light tank, is that looking backwards given the ADF's available manpower?

Wouldn't an locally made version of an Unmanned Ground Combat & Support Vehicle, be a better idea. Something like a Russian Uran-9 link 1, link 2, YouTube be a more flexible idea? Imagine a remote control vehicle the size of a Polaris DAGOR with room for stores, Coms, IR sensors, laser rangefinder, generator/solar panels with battery storage, . . . you get the idea.

It's an infantry pack mule, something to hide behind, ALSO throw in 200-300m of light weight fiber-optic cable and it could provide unmanned remote warning/coms/fire support without giving away your location

PS Yes, by all reports the Uran-9 is a dog.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Mmmm Light tank, is that looking backwards given the ADF's available manpower?

Wouldn't an locally made version of an Unmanned Ground Combat & Support Vehicle, be a better idea. Something like a Russian Uran-9 link 1, link 2, YouTube be a more flexible idea? Imagine a remote control vehicle the size of a Polaris DAGOR with room for stores, Coms, IR sensors, laser rangefinder, generator/solar panels with battery storage, . . . you get the idea.

It's an infantry pack mule, something to hide behind, ALSO throw in 200-300m of light weight fiber-optic cable and it could provide unmanned remote warning/coms/fire support without giving away your location

PS Yes, by all reports the Uran-9 is a dog.
Stick a 105mm Turret on the Land 400 phase 3 Vehicle, there you go a Light Tank:rolleyes:
 

swerve

Super Moderator
One has to ask when people are suggesting light tanks what exactly do they classify as a light tank? We used our Centurions in Vietnam very well and they where 51 tons so not exactly a light tank if anything the smaller end of an MBT.
.....

Dont know if they are good enough or would suit us but two modern tanks in same weight class as the Centurion is the Japanese Type 10 and the South Korean K2 Blackpanther. Actual MBT's the size of what we have already shown by our own forces can be used in the Pacific.
At the time, Centurion was at the high end of the MBT weight range.
 

Terran

Active Member
K2A1 and type 10 are both MBT not a light tank. MBT evolved from medium tanks of post WW2. The modern “light tanks” are attempts at tank like firepower in a package able to deployed with forced entry forces. Amphibious tanks or Airborne tanks, these trade off armor for strategic mobility. The modern so called “Medium tanks” are little more than IFV hulls with a Tank turret.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
For Australia in the short to medium term we will have the Abrams as it is a known capability ready to go with little to no risk, But if people want to suggest getting Light tanks I think we would be better off looking at the WW2 medium tanks ie: M4 Sherman. Probably be as good if not better then todays modern "light tanks"
The Germans called the Shermans "Tommy cookers" because when hit they brewed up fairly quickly due to their fuel being AVGAS. The engine was a radial aircraft engine.
 

Massive

Active Member
given how some thinkers were demonstrated to be wrong regarding the utility of armour, heavy armour in particular, in combat situations in the recent past
Surely this is a case of watch what people are doing, not what they say.

Armoured vehicles are getting heavier everywhere, and additional armour is being retrofitted to existing vehicles.

To be honest if you don't have MBTs you aren't serious.

This "tanks are too heavy, obsolete etc etc" piece keeps getting trotted out and it is simply against the evidence we are seeing globally.

Regards,

Massive
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
The Germans called the Shermans "Tommy cookers" because when hit they brewed up fairly quickly due to their fuel being AVGAS. The engine was a radial aircraft engine.
Actually the biggest reason for them cooking was the ammunition storage. Early models with dry storage compared to later wet storage models burnt out 60-80% of the time when penetrated compared to 10-15% for wet storage.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Surely this is a case of watch what people are doing, not what they say.

Armoured vehicles are getting heavier everywhere, and additional armour is being retrofitted to existing vehicles.

To be honest if you don't have MBTs you aren't serious.

This "tanks are too heavy, obsolete etc etc" piece keeps getting trotted out and it is simply against the evidence we are seeing globally.

Regards,

Massive
The other consideration is that we haven't actually seen a true state of the art MBT capability tested recently. The latest iterations are not just highly protected weapons platforms, but also network nodes in their own right.

Had the Nagorno Karabakh conflict featured Trophy-equipped M1A2s that were linked into a networked joint force, including a true integrated air defence and EW set-up, the "drones kill tanks" narrative might have been different...
 

Massive

Active Member
Suggest Australia has a good mix of vehicles going forward with our current plans for a range of new heavy vehicles.
Not sure a light tank has a place within the ADF at this stage.
Regards S
Just need more tanks. Who would have thought such a thing would become so unfashionable.

Regards,

Massive
 

Terran

Active Member
The Germans called the Shermans "Tommy cookers" because when hit they brewed up fairly quickly due to their fuel being AVGAS. The engine was a radial aircraft engine.
In the Second World War all the German tanks were gas powered at least the operational ones. in testing they used all kinds of fuel from diesel to wood. Russia was about the only nation in the war where there indigenous tanks were Diesel as well as the Lend Lease Sherman’s they received.
Sherman came in either Diesel or Gas depending on which engine it had these were based on builder with A2 and A6 using Diesel power plants of either GM or Caterpillar origin. @vonnoobie is correct the main issue was ammo stowage. M4 stored its ammo in the hull sponsons just about where most tank units painted their national insignia on the outside. Which kinda made a Convenient bullseye. Retrofits appeared soon after trying to armor over that spot with metal, concrete and basically whatever they could “buba armor”. The problem was fixed finally with wet stowage.
 

Terran

Active Member
They were also called “Ronsons”, cigarette lighters popular in the US and Canada.
The myth goes that this comes either from El Alimin or Normandy operations. Since Ronson was then an American lighter brand (today it’s a mix of Zippo owned UK based international sales) this was an allied bit of gallows humor. It’s also said to have been called Zippo again another American brand lighter. M4 Sherman was the most widely used tank in the War. With over 49,200 units built. This is dwarfed by the number of T34 built over 84,000 (and almost as many ~44,900 lost I might add) however the number of M4 users means that the tank was used everywhere by Just about everyone. Obviously the US used it the British the French, The Russians, New Zealand, Canada, even trails by Australia. The ROC, Polish forces in exile, India, South Africa, Czechoslovak forces in exile, Even the Germans used captured ones. The tank faced off against T34-85 in Korea and reportedly did well. So I think we should put the Tommy cookers argument to bed.
 
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