British Army News and Discussion

OldTex

Member
The Think Defence blog site in discussing the British Army medium weight capability had the following:

"David Cameron (the UK Prime Minister at the time) described the new structure (of the Strike Brigade):

We will create 2 new ‘strike brigades’ by 2025 to be rapidly deployable, able to self-deploy thousands of kilometres, and with a much lower logistic footprint. They will use the new Ajax family (previously known as Scout) range of vehicles, comprising 6 variants and almost 600 armoured vehicles.

The two STRIKE Brigades were to be created by re-rolling one Infantry Brigade and one Armoured Infantry Brigade.

The statement from the Prime Minister did not detail what was the comparison for a ‘much lower logistic footprint or how a tracked vehicle could self-deploy thousands of kilometres."

The basic organisation of a STRIKE Brigade would, therefore, consist of;
  • 1 Regiment of Ajax in the reconnaissance role
  • 1 Regiment of Ajax in the ‘medium armour’ role
  • 2 Battalions of mechanised infantry in the yet to be purchased Mechanised Infantry Vehicle (MIV)
  • Supporting CS/CSS
The nearly 600 armoured vehicles were to be comprised of:
1602683001804.png


In 2016 a modernised division (centred on the 3rd (UK) Division) was to be organised with four brigades of two Armoured infantry and two Strike, rather than the then current three Armoured infantry brigades. It was suggested as being a significant uplift in capability, as it would hold one of each type of brigade at high readiness, rather than a single armoured infantry brigade. The Army was to be able to deploy a credible division of three brigades.
 

Terran

Active Member
So an entire brigade to call in artillery and air strikes? Yeah, no reason to keep this above company and HQ level. Should be organic to every brigade.
Unless again I'm misunderstanding the purpose.
I probably should have added the word Family in there. Basically it a mix of what vehicles the British army are addin as they add them until they have the Strike Brigades up and running. So Ajax, Athena, Ares, Apollo, Atlas and Argus sprinkled with some Boxers.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
I believe it would be wise for the UK to completely scrap the entire Challenger 2 fleet, and replace it with GD's ASCOD-based MPF entry, which would benefit from:
1)Low risk.
2)Commonality.
3)MBT-level firepower.
4)Decent protection via APS.
5)Uncompromised mobility.

20 years ago an MPF-like vehicle replacing a tank would be unthinkable. And even today APS users prefer to keep the heavy chunks of armor. But APS makes the switch much more acceptable and affordable than before, especially now that APS with KE defeat mechanisms exist on the market and likely in production.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
I believe it would be wise for the UK to completely scrap the entire Challenger 2 fleet, and replace it with GD's ASCOD-based MPF entry, which would benefit from:
1)Low risk.
2)Commonality.
3)MBT-level firepower.
4)Decent protection via APS.
5)Uncompromised mobility.

20 years ago an MPF-like vehicle replacing a tank would be unthinkable. And even today APS users prefer to keep the heavy chunks of armor. But APS makes the switch much more acceptable and affordable than before, especially now that APS with KE defeat mechanisms exist on the market and likely in production.
How does APS handle kinetic penetrators ? I'm wracking my brain to work out how a tungsten dart travelling at several times the the speed of sound is going to be affected by any active protection system I'm familiar with.

I've heard the "lighter, more mobile" argument before- way back before 2003 when MBT's started doing thunder runs into the heart of an enemy held city, over turning the idea that tanks and urban terrain didn't work.

If you look at the current UK lineup, we've got light and rapid deployment - why eliminate the heavy armour ?
 

Terran

Active Member
I believe it would be wise for the UK to completely scrap the entire Challenger 2 fleet, and replace it with GD's ASCOD-based MPF entry, which would benefit from:
1)Low risk.
2)Commonality.
3)MBT-level firepower.
4)Decent protection via APS.
5)Uncompromised mobility.

20 years ago an MPF-like vehicle replacing a tank would be unthinkable. And even today APS users prefer to keep the heavy chunks of armor. But APS makes the switch much more acceptable and affordable than before, especially now that APS with KE defeat mechanisms exist on the market and likely in production.
Let me make a couple counter points.
It’s theoretically lower risk by being off the self. I will grant.
I think point number 2 is the weakest of the rational. For example the MFP has 6 road wheels well the Ajax has seven. This might seem small but is part of a number of changes between the two platform hulls. And indicate that there maybe only a limited amount of parts share. Farther the Griffin uses an Abrams based turret. Which has no established British use. heck if a British MPF is the aim why bother with the American turret at all. The John Cockerill 3 series 120mm turret comes to mind.
Next MPF could have an APS but as yet no sign of integration. Besides the MoD would want a MoD APS not an American. So back to the drawing board.
I would give you mobility, however unthinkable?
The FCS family was 20 years ago and advocated just for that. It even built a demonstrator in the 120mm class built on the M8 by then United defense today BAE system. Of course CV90120T also dates back to 1998. The objective being in both cases a MBT armament on a IFV hull and drive train.
At this point it’s true there has been some success in tests at partially deflecting KE shells yet how much is the question. Most have a limited number of countermeasures and coverage. Primarily the sides and rears as most armored vehicles are well armored across the forward arc, a point that a light tank wouldn’t have additional armor for.
Of course there is the big end game which is, The MoD already has a hard time getting new vehicles in service, adding another variant? The MoD is thinking/hoping that they can get their fleet sorted by 2030. They have the established Challenger II which despite its issues is actually not bad tank. Quite salvageable.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
How does APS handle kinetic penetrators ? I'm wracking my brain to work out how a tungsten dart travelling at several times the the speed of sound is going to be affected by any active protection system I'm familiar with.

I've heard the "lighter, more mobile" argument before- way back before 2003 when MBT's started doing thunder runs into the heart of an enemy held city, over turning the idea that tanks and urban terrain didn't work.

If you look at the current UK lineup, we've got light and rapid deployment - why eliminate the heavy armour ?
What's the main difference between an APFSDS and ancient AP rounds? The length to diameter ratio (L/D).
What's the difference between them when you tilt them mid-air? When they impact a target, an AP round will retain most of its mass being driven forward when it hits a target, and will rely less on having the tip impact the target.
An APFSDS relies heavily on the tip impacting at a correct angle, and then the entire mass behind it must be driven into the target in the exact vector of approach, otherwise the rod breaks and fails to penetrate even relatively light armor.


According to an ancient press release by IMI which I can no longer find because they merged with Elbit, an APFSDS will lose quite substantial penetration capability by tilting even 2° off its vector, which is a point they used to emphasize how crucial accuracy of such rounds is. The exact number, I don't know. Sorry.

Anyway, in their videos, IMI showed an APFSDS tilted by what seems to be roughly 30°-45°, impacting differently angled plates.
At that point, the whole mass is not driven behind the tip, but into basically the whole length of a rod (not really but you get the idea).

So the mechanism is to slap an APFSDS into losing most of its usable energy and wasting it over a very wide area.

At roughly 3:00 you can see an interception test against 2 differently angled plates, with results later on.

Now, light AFVs like a Stryker wouldn't withstand even the residual penetration. But something like the Ajax or MPF should do just fine.

An MPF does have unique components. Substantial. I did not say otherwise. But it's much closer to common than any other available design. It's the closest on the market to a family member of the Ajax, and it might be bought by the US Army.
If the turret is an issue then lots of other designs exist on the market.

An organic powerful direct fire capability is something I consider a must and worth the expense.
Either way, it would be much cheaper than keeping the Challengers alive.


Ideally, the Challengers would either be replaced or modernized, to keep the capability available.
If you think I advocate replacing heavy armor with light armor, you misunderstood me.

But an MPF is much better than nothing. And today it's not too much of a tradeoff so there's a lot to do with an MPF on the modern battlefield.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Let me make a couple counter points.
It’s theoretically lower risk by being off the self. I will grant.
I think point number 2 is the weakest of the rational. For example the MFP has 6 road wheels well the Ajax has seven. This might seem small but is part of a number of changes between the two platform hulls. And indicate that there maybe only a limited amount of parts share. Farther the Griffin uses an Abrams based turret. Which has no established British use. heck if a British MPF is the aim why bother with the American turret at all. The John Cockerill 3 series 120mm turret comes to mind.
Next MPF could have an APS but as yet no sign of integration. Besides the MoD would want a MoD APS not an American. So back to the drawing board.
I would give you mobility, however unthinkable?
The FCS family was 20 years ago and advocated just for that. It even built a demonstrator in the 120mm class built on the M8 by then United defense today BAE system. Of course CV90120T also dates back to 1998. The objective being in both cases a MBT armament on a IFV hull and drive train.
At this point it’s true there has been some success in tests at partially deflecting KE shells yet how much is the question. Most have a limited number of countermeasures and coverage. Primarily the sides and rears as most armored vehicles are well armored across the forward arc, a point that a light tank wouldn’t have additional armor for.
Of course there is the big end game which is, The MoD already has a hard time getting new vehicles in service, adding another variant? The MoD is thinking/hoping that they can get their fleet sorted by 2030. They have the established Challenger II which despite its issues is actually not bad tank. Quite salvageable.

And there's a Chally LEP funded and which (economy permitting) should bear fruit. The armour suite is good, the power plant a bit shagged and the gun is still competitive. It's the sensors and networking and engagement system that could use upgrading.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
And there's a Chally LEP funded and which (economy permitting) should bear fruit. The armour suite is good, the power plant a bit shagged and the gun is still competitive. It's the sensors and networking and engagement system that could use upgrading.
I beg to differ. The Challenger 2 hardly has any component that is still viable, let alone for the next decade.

1)Armor suit - not good. Shoot anything at a CR2 equipped with a TES equipped, and it will have a hard time going through. But armor efficiency is measured not only by how much it can resist any shot, but how much strain it puts on the platform while doing so.
At 75 tons, it's very hard to argue the armor suit is effective when other tanks achieve a similar level of protection without exceeding 65 tons.
The reason is that all this armor is added on, because the basic structure of the armor is of an embedded one, not modular.
It's much harder to remove and replace compared with a modern modular design.
So there's a lot of modern armor laid upon very old, over 30 years old armor.

2)Armament - Said nearing obsolescence as far back as 2005, only 3 years after the final unit was produced. But the source for that claim is long gone.
In the KE department, I've once observed a lengthy discussion in another forum, dedicated to ballistics, which was concluded the best available round for the rifled 120mm was somewhere between the DM33 and DM43 in performance (fired from Rhm 120mm L/55). That's just bad.
Even worse, it cannot fire any HE-MP rounds, which may be more expensive than HESH but are substantially more effective and are becoming a standard armament worldwide.

3)The propulsion, as far as I know, has no industry support anymore, and even if it had, cannot give the Challenger 2 any form of competitive mobility. It just cannot dash like any other tank. Far from it.
In the modern days when fire becomes more distributed and sensors are becoming more available and distributed as well, mobility becomes more important than before. And so designs like the Leclerc that was once considered less favorable in the west, seem to be more relevant than once much favored designs like those of the Abrams and Merkava.

That's why the money-drained MoD was thought to pick RBSL's turret overhaul proposal over a mere sensors upgrade.

Engineers, in the end, are not all too innovative. You give them a task and they'll fulfill it. But even if 3,000 engineers work on the tank, only a few will actually develop the concept.
And the Chally 2 was conceived by people far too conservative for their job. Hopefully they were sacked.
 

Terran

Active Member
You make some good points however to counter point.
First it seems highly unlikely that the UK will make an investment enough to move to another MBT before 2030. As such for sustainment upgrades to Challenger are easier, Politically than adopting a whole new vehicle.
The biggest trouble point for the Challenger II is the turret. The hull and chassis are still fairly modern just needing replacement of the power pack.
The turret holds most of the armor, Ammunition magazine, electrical and main gun it associated mantle. In the case of challanger that turret was designed for the multipart ammunition dictated by the British rifled 120mm main gun.
the Rhinemetall rebuild or any other firepower overhaul requires turret replacement. As such if such an overhaul happened it would be 50% + new tank.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
It would likely be 90% new tank. Yeah, the whole turret is new. But that's also where most of the truly advanced and expensive tech is located.
The hull will also have to be redesigned because a turret traditionally holds only a fraction of the total ammo, except for an Abrams, but the proposed turret design does not have the room for that.

Then you upgrade the powerpack which is the single most expensive module in the whole tank. In the hull probably the top 10 most expensive parts are automotives.

Upgrading a single tank with only an improved turret was, what, 3 million per tank?
Now, if unit price is good for anything, it's probably for tech evaluation. It's within the range of complete overhaul of most major systems.

An MPF buy would benefit from the Ajax's supply chain, have long term industry support, and will give high direct firepower.
It is in every way more economical than a Challenger.

Way I see it, the British Army can either buy an MPF, or it could stay without an MBT.
Either way, it cannot just replace the CR2 and the MPF is a much cheaper alternative.
If it could keep an MBT fleet in service it would upgrade the CR. The order to scrap them is irreversible.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
What order to scrap them? There is no such order.
You are correct. There are only rumors right now, that such a move would be ordered in the 2021 defence review.
But there is no denying that the initial lot of around 440 tanks was gradually reduces over the years to around 120 that will be upgraded. The remainder will have to be scrapped unless they get an immediate upgrade.
So that's almost ¾ of the fleet gone over the years, with one of the reductions being very recent.

I will rephrase and say it might be scrapped, but surely you can agree there is ever increasing evidence the Challenger 2 won't survive into the late 2030's.
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
Either way, it cannot just replace the CR2 and the MPF is a much cheaper alternative.
This is my only disagreement. A MPF is a cheaper alternative - just like a Hliux based technical is a cheaper alternative. A MPF is not an alternative to an MBT - it's a different capability that, frankly, is lesser. There is some overlap, but it doesn't have the protection nor firepower to do what an MBT does and the infantry need.

Furthermore, for the price that this, as yet not-produced, tracked or wheeled MPF is going to cost, I'm not really convinced it's going to end up cheaper. While I do think that the cheap CR2 upgrade is to go and buy some Abrams, these MPFs are going to be eye-wateringly expensive for what they are....
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Of course it's lesser than a Challenger. But this is not a CR2 vs MPF. This is an MPF or nothing debate. It cannot be lesser than nothing.

All it really is, is sticking a turret to an Ajax. That's been done before.

It will match an MBT in firepower and exceed it in mobility. Regarding protection, it will not do as well against other MBTs, but it can still be protected against many other threats, many of which are far more common than MBTs even in the modern peer vs peer warfare.
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
Of course it's lesser than a Challenger. But this is not a CR2 vs MPF. This is an MPF or nothing debate. It cannot be lesser than nothing.

All it really is, is sticking a turret to an Ajax. That's been done before.

It will match an MBT in firepower and exceed it in mobility. Regarding protection, it will not do as well against other MBTs, but it can still be protected against many other threats, many of which are far more common than MBTs even in the modern peer vs peer warfare.
It is a MPF v MBT because the latter can do the former, but not the other way around.

How much is a base Ajax going for? How much is this turret going for? How much are the integration costs? As you point out above, the ammo goes into the hull too - so that's a hull redesign. How much? And without being cruel; how many delays will occur on this program noting that the Brit's haven't had an AFV program go right in decades?

Firepower? It has a 105mm gun. The 105mm that CR2 forced the Leopard and M1 to replace. At a time when 120mm is unlikely to be feasible and nations are looking at 130mm or 140mm. The firepower isn't close to being equal.

I'd be surprised if it could exceed a MBT in mobility. A CR2 possibly; an M1 or Leo 2 very unlikely. Even a really rough check shows that the power:weight of an M1 is about 14% higher. Comparing to our AS4's (which have a higher power to weight ratio than the M1), it isn't until you get into pretty close country where the AS4 starts getting more maneuverable. I don't see how the Ajax can do that - noting that the MPF will weigh more and have even lower power:weight.

Armour wise, it's not just MBTs that a CR2 or the like can shrug off - it's all the other bits. The proliferation of 30mm+ guns on the battlefield won't impact a MBT (much). But they'll pose a significant risk to an MPF. I know that the add-on armour to Stryker MPF claims to stop a 30mm from the front and that Ajax is probably designed against 40mm; but is that with or without add on armour? Noting that weight increases because of add-on drive down your mobility. It'll still carry significant weakness on its side (the armour on packages for other MPFs increase to a max of 14.5mm and close 155mm splinters) that will be able to be penetrated by anything. And remember, the ATGMs and RPGs being thrown at these things are generally designed to stop MBTs; and there are literally tens of thousands of tanks still on battlefields around the world. A 100mm T-55 gun is still going to K-Kill an MPF.

I'm not saying Ajax is a bad vehicle; ignoring procurement it'll be a fine vehicle in its niche. Just like every design. And an MBT cannot do what a Ajax can do (actually - MBTs are smaller than our CRVs...). But for what a tank offers in support of the infantry during a close in-fight (especially in close or urban terrain), the MPF cannot replace the tank. Tanks aren't about killing other tanks only - that's a fallout of planning for operations in West Germany. They do that well, but they have always been (and the Australian Army has always used them) as the other half of the symbotic close assault team. They offer intimate support to the infantry at the most dangerous part of the battle - and they need the thick armour, the big gun and the good power in order to drag up comms, protection, firepower and - most critically - shock action.
 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
Yeah - this isn't CR2 vs MPF, it's really, Cr2 vs buying new - either Leo 7's or M1's. MPF strikes me as the "we're just kidding ourselves" solution.

If it weren't for the tantalising possibility of NATO adopting that shiny new 130 mm I'd say "buy new" and have done with it.

MPF - it's a tracked mobile gun system. It'll definitely exceed Challenger in mobility in one specific scenario - IED testing - that puppy will head for the sky like a homesick angel :)

Joking aside, as Takao points out, there are a lot of medium cal guns that Cr2 can just shrug off that will go straight through something in the class of MMPF.

You're largely arguing from assertion - Cr2 will be cancelled, ergo we have to find an alternative. I'd suggest if CR2 LEP isn't funded, spending money on MPF isn't a given.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
It is a MPF v MBT because the latter can do the former, but not the other way around.

How much is a base Ajax going for? How much is this turret going for? How much are the integration costs? As you point out above, the ammo goes into the hull too - so that's a hull redesign. How much? And without being cruel; how many delays will occur on this program noting that the Brit's haven't had an AFV program go right in decades?

Firepower? It has a 105mm gun. The 105mm that CR2 forced the Leopard and M1 to replace. At a time when 120mm is unlikely to be feasible and nations are looking at 130mm or 140mm. The firepower isn't close to being equal.

I'd be surprised if it could exceed a MBT in mobility. A CR2 possibly; an M1 or Leo 2 very unlikely. Even a really rough check shows that the power:weight of an M1 is about 14% higher. Comparing to our AS4's (which have a higher power to weight ratio than the M1), it isn't until you get into pretty close country where the AS4 starts getting more maneuverable. I don't see how the Ajax can do that - noting that the MPF will weigh more and have even lower power:weight.

Armour wise, it's not just MBTs that a CR2 or the like can shrug off - it's all the other bits. The proliferation of 30mm+ guns on the battlefield won't impact a MBT (much). But they'll pose a significant risk to an MPF. I know that the add-on armour to Stryker MPF claims to stop a 30mm from the front and that Ajax is probably designed against 40mm; but is that with or without add on armour? Noting that weight increases because of add-on drive down your mobility. It'll still carry significant weakness on its side (the armour on packages for other MPFs increase to a max of 14.5mm and close 155mm splinters) that will be able to be penetrated by anything. And remember, the ATGMs and RPGs being thrown at these things are generally designed to stop MBTs; and there are literally tens of thousands of tanks still on battlefields around the world. A 100mm T-55 gun is still going to K-Kill an MPF.

I'm not saying Ajax is a bad vehicle; ignoring procurement it'll be a fine vehicle in its niche. Just like every design. And an MBT cannot do what a Ajax can do (actually - MBTs are smaller than our CRVs...). But for what a tank offers in support of the infantry during a close in-fight (especially in close or urban terrain), the MPF cannot replace the tank. Tanks aren't about killing other tanks only - that's a fallout of planning for operations in West Germany. They do that well, but they have always been (and the Australian Army has always used them) as the other half of the symbotic close assault team. They offer intimate support to the infantry at the most dangerous part of the battle - and they need the thick armour, the big gun and the good power in order to drag up comms, protection, firepower and - most critically - shock action.
You're again arguing for a capability, but the trend clearly shows the UK will ditch armored forces for the forseeable future.
With roughly 120 tanks, the UK can only arm about 1 brigade plus a training unit. But as we've seen a recent halving of the fleet, we might see a complete withdrawal of tanks from service.

It is a common military tradition of effective armed forces, to prepare for the worst possible situation. The British armed forces have 4 serious enemies to prepare for: Russia, hybrid forces worldwide, MoD, and British government.
The Army must create a contingency plan for a decision to cut tanks entirely, and that must include some organic firepower beyond the 40mm offered by the Ajax.

I'll answer your questions in a chronological order because multi-quoting is a tedious task on mobile:
1)The Ajax is in production for the UK Armed Forces, and is supported by multiple facilities outside the UK, and by a major corporation that seeks to keep producing and improving the vehicle in the long term.
The Challenger is no longer supported by industry.

During my service I've worked with a ridiculous amount of ultra expensive equipment with an almost as ridiculous amount of suppliers.
My section of 30 men and women had a total of maybe 9 rooms in our floor, and every room contained RF equipment worth several million dollars.
FPGAs, amplifiers, cables, etc that we threw out on a regular basis, always went for several thousand dollars to tens of thousands of dollars.

I'm right now in the process of discarding roughly $1 million worth of equipment, primarily spectrum analyzers, that only need a minor fix. Replace a screen here, a few capacitors in that one, a filter block in the other, basically fixes that would cost us no more than the usual tip for pizza delivery.
But the company that supports us labeled them as obsolete and can no longer source spare parts for us, so we have to discard them.
How long does it take to acquire a brand new replacement? Roughly 2-4 years.

Now, apply the same issue to a tank, that has infinitely more components and complexity than the equipment I described.

Having a supplier with facilities and spare parts only a few hours drive, is absolutely vital for efficient operation.
Lacking industry support for even a portion of the system you're operating, is a death sentence.
Unless the MoD chooses to upgrade the ENTIRE tank, it's doomed. And I just don't see that happening with the current way forward.

So don't ask how much is an Ajax going for. Ask whether the Challenger 2 is going anywhere, and how much it would cost to bring another 50 year old platform into service today that has 0 commonality with other AFVs.

The Ajax is already in the armed forces, it's produced today, supported, and its development is funded by other entities to save the UK money.

2)The turret is the truly expensive part here. But the Challenger 2 must get both a brand new turret and a vastly redesigned hull. The Ajax on the other hand, only really needs a new turret, so it's a much smaller expense. Not to mention there are mature platform-agnostic turrets on the market already, whose development was more or less finalized and only needs the British touch. RBSL's turret for the Challenger is still in very early stages because it wasn't chosen yet.

3)Integration costs are only really relevant for the turret's systems.

4)The hull ammo stowage requires a redesign of the Challenger 2's hull. Not the Ajax.
Putting ammo in an empty hull of a former APC is easy because the space from the troop compartment already exists there.
The Challenger 2 needs a hull redesign because its ammo stowage is too chaotic and made for 2 piece ammo.

5)Delays will be minimal compared with buying a new tank from elsewhere, because much of the logistics and facilities for this specific AFV already exist, in the UK.

6)Turrets for these light/medium tanks are pretty agnostic when it comes to guns.
You can use 105mm when you think it's enough. But there is no inherent problem in using a 120mm or even 130mm gun.
A 120mm armed CV90 was demonstrated many years ago. A 130mm is possible, especially considering that such vehicles tend to have a much higher potential for ammo stowage anyway, which is perhaps the 130mm 's biggest disadvantage in MBT applications.
The MPF offered by GDLS for the US Army was cheap to develop, and is pitched as the low cost contender, because the expensive part of the hull already exists - the chassis. Remaking the superstructure is dirt cheap.

7)Power to weight is not really a super important factor, but I agree the CR2's power/weight ratio is abysmal.
When the UK wants strategic mobility above all, it starts making sense to rely less and less on MBTs. They're cumbersome beasts.
I'm criticizing the policy of 100% very long range deployments and 0% deployments in Europe, but if they already go that way then it makes sense to go light. Hence the move towards the Ajax as the core AFV anyway.
MBT development is striving for as much weight reduction as possible anyway.

8)30mm guns, IEDs, RPGs, etc, are no more an issue to an MPF than to a tank.
Before I continue with my argument, here's a rule of thumb: For a given weight, a tracked platform has a higher potential for armor protection than a wheeled one.
I've seen the Eitan a few years ago when it was just shown in the media for the first time. I have a few friends in the agency that develops it and I've visited the base in which it's tested a few times.

Obviously, Israel is still not a NATO member, yet, so we don't have the STANAG system. We have something of our own. But at a GVW of 35 tons (maximum weight rating the chassis can handle) when it clearly has a few tons to spare for growth plus a several ton turret, it achieves a level of protection that is higher than STANAG 4569 level 6 for not only the front, but the sides as well. The side armor modules contain 2 passive armor plates, each roughly level 4-5 @90°, plus a SLERA array sandwiched in between them, which can only officially go as high as level 6 because it's the maximum level (most if not all modern western ERA are labeled level 6 because of this, for marketing).

It also affords the Eitan protection versus single charge warheads at 90°, and some protection versus tandem warheads from the front (front engine also contributes to dissipation due to volume).

Take that weight plus the rule of thumb and apply to a tracked vehicle. Make it 42 tons to account for the larger gun plus ammo, and even more armor.
The ASCOD 42, for example, has significant amounts of side armor, NxRA obviously.
That's the same armor tech used to upgrade the Leopard 2SG and 2PL, Merkava 4, Leclerc, CV90 AFVs and so on.

I have no doubt an AFV weighing 40 tons can protect itself very well from artillery, RPGs, mines, IEDs, and ATGMs.
And with APS that can defeat anything from RPGs to APFSDS, it should be quite survivable for an expeditionary vehicle.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Self correction:
I said the CV12 engine is unsupported but apparently Caterpillar is offering remanufacturing services.

I was misinformed so I apologize for that.
 

OPSSG

Super Moderator
Staff member
Self correction:
I said the CV12 engine is unsupported but apparently Caterpillar is offering remanufacturing services.

I was misinformed so I apologize for that.
Thanks not only for the self correction but the whole series of informative posts that educate by reasoning. While not everyone agrees with all the points made, I really enjoy reading your posts as it makes me think about trade-offs.

One more point on the CV12 — it was originally a Perkins engine product; and the company was acquired by Caterpillar. While there is support by Caterpillar, it is support for a legacy engine design. On a thrust to weight ratio, current MTU engine power pack designs have features that beat the CV12 by a huge margin.

The story is not just about weight to power, torque is just as important in many applications, especially tracked armoured vehicles. Caterpillar was able to supply the engine for the Bronco with the Cat 3126B 350 bhp (261 kW) at 2400 rpm.

But for the Bronco 3, it is powered by a Mercedes-MTU TD106 providing 325 hp, 25 hp short of the previous one but with a much higher torque, a key element when travelling cross-country; besides improving off-road performances it also reduces fuel consumption. Not only is the new engine compact and light by comparison, it is located at the back of the front cabin, and maintenance is eased by a huge door hinged on the right that allows full access to the power pack from the back of the module. Dual use of some elements, i.e. some structural tubes used also as pipes, also allowed reducing the kerb weight, which in the end became 10.2 tonnes, 1 tonne less than the original Bronco 1 and over 2 tonnes less than the Warthog.
 
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