Next Generation MBT Discussion and Concepts

Feanor

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With the approach of Russia's T-14, a number of countries have begun development of either next generation MBTs themselves, or technologies to be used in next-generation MBTs. This thread is a catch-all for all such projects, discussions of their capabilities, design choices, trade-offs, and potential changes to MBT concept of operations.

I will start it off by sharing some footage of the new Rheinmetall 130mm gun in trials. The chassis and turret in this case is a Challenger 2 with significant upgrades. New rounds are also under development for it including a new APSFDS round, reportedly tungsten.

 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
The 130 mm looks very impressive. I believe Germany and France plan to use this gun for their future tank. The next MBT for the West will likely have an automated turret. The other requirements will be weight reduction, AI, more advanced sensors, and improved active protection. Advances in armour would be on the wish list.

 

Sandhi Yudha

Well-Known Member
Many people can not accept it, but Russia's T-14 Armata is indeed the first series-produced next-generation tank.
The main armament of the T-14 is now the 2A82-1M 125 mm cannon, a replacement for the 2A46 125 mm gun of previous Russian tanks.

Until now the T-14 has been tested with the 2A83 152 mm gun instead of its current 2A82-1M 125 mm gun. But if this 152 mm gun is too large or heavy, maybe we can expect a 130 mm gun like that one used on the A-222 Bereg 130mm Coastal Defense gun.
 

OPSSG

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Is an incremental improvement in a gun system deserving of calling a new series production MBT the only defining characteristic? Or must the improvements be in all three areas, mobility, protection and firepower?

How is the T-14 better in mobility? Does it have a better or newer engine or transmission?

Or is it considered next generation because it has an active protection system? Or is it better at providing situational awareness? Thus far all I see is attempts at maturing the technology for a slightly ‘better’ gun in the Russian tank and a ‘bigger’ gun in the German-French effort. How are the crews going to benefit from the bigger gun in closed terrain?

These are some of my stray thoughts on this matter and as the technology evolves, we will see these inserted into even current tanks as upgrades. I think these are some of the trends we should look at too, as we survey the market for next and evolving concepts.
 
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Feanor

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Is an incremental improvement in a gun system deserving of calling a new series production MBT the only defining characteristic? Or must the improvements be in all three areas, mobility, protection and firepower?

How is the T-14 better in mobility? Does it have a better or newer engine or transmission?

Or is it considered next generation because it has an active protection system? Or is it better at providing situational awareness? Thus far all I see is attempts at maturing the technology for a slightly ‘better’ gun in the Russian tank and a ‘bigger’ gun in the German-French effort. How are the crews going to benefit from the bigger gun in closed terrain?

These are some of my stray thoughts on this matter and as the technology evolves, we will see these inserted into even current tanks as upgrades. I think these are some of the trends we should look at too, as we survey the market for next and evolving concepts.
I think that the firepower improvement is marginal and could be implemented (infact was implemented, OKR Burlak) on current-gen platforms. Where Armata really excels is in protection. At least according to the information we've gotten from various sources. It also, allegedly, features easily replacible engine modules and combat modules, allowing for easy repair. Whether it offers major mobility improvements is unclear, but definite improvements in ergonomics and quality of life for the crew.

Many people can not accept it, but Russia's T-14 Armata is indeed the first series-produced next-generation tank.
The main armament of the T-14 is now the 2A82-1M 125 mm cannon, a replacement for the 2A46 125 mm gun of previous Russian tanks.

Until now the T-14 has been tested with the 2A83 152 mm gun instead of its current 2A82-1M 125 mm gun. But if this 152 mm gun is too large or heavy, maybe we can expect a 130 mm gun like that one used on the A-222 Bereg 130mm Coastal Defense gun.
Bereg is a howitzer, a modified Msta-S turret fitted for the naval 130mm round. Also I'm not aware of any 152mm testing done on the Object 148 chassis. Do you have any sources that indicate this was actually done? There was talk of an "assault tank" design using the Object 148 chassis but with a 152mm short-barreled howitzer gun, to be used in a role similar to assault guns of WWII. But I don't think this ever went past the computer and paper stage. Either way this would not be the 2A83 high velocity flat trajectory tank gun but instead more like a 2S35 or 2S19 firing mechanism fitted into a modified MBT turret. The concept was discussed by Khlopotov, and likely modeled by UKBTM, but it would be surprising if it went beyond that. The MoD doesn't even want to currently pay for a new combat engineers vehicle on the Object 148 chassis, instead opting for the UBIM, on a T-90M chassis. In principle this makes sense but it makes any hope for a KV-2 style assault tank remote at best.
 
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Feanor

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Ok I realize I wandered up and down a little bit in that last post. Let me summarize. There is no evidence of a 130mm Russian tank gun. There is no evidence of a 152mm tank gun even being proposed for Object 148. There is unconfirmed information from an ordinarily trustworthy source that a short-barreled 152mm howitzer was proposed on an Object 148 base, but it doesn't appear to ever have been built. It's possible that the 2A82 may eventually be put in on the Object 148, it's even possible that Object 195 may get resurrected (crazier things have happened) but neither appears likely so far, and both would be very expensive.

EDIT: Object 148 is the index for the T-14 Armata prototype.
 

Terran

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For give me but today most tanks are already modular. With armor and power modules for rapid repair and replacement so long as the basic hull is intact.
CF395B92-5777-450A-8324-8D81ACF84A63.jpeg
Gun systems in many modern tanks are upgradable. There have been a long line of test beds for 140mm and now a return to 130mm. 33F18D69-BDA8-4515-AD00-53D2D68554FE.jpeg
Situational awareness systems have been retrofit. With full suites Like Iron Vision or partial add ons
Active protection systems have been designed for add on to just about any armored vehicles with the payload for the weight and a modern electrical system.

Armata is good I am not bashing it but to claim it’s a whole new generation seems a jump. In terms of protection it seems on par with the latest counterparts
it’s ergonomic to a degree yet only to a degree others have tested the configuration before.
E3A92A0E-399D-41B2-9E4F-BBF24461D0C1.jpeg
Well it adds survival as a bonus it subtracts from traditional situational awareness and pays the cost of isolating the crew for long stretches.
EA16ED52-FE96-4592-B014-18884051C6A3.jpeg
Basically although the unmanned turret means that in the event of a cook off.no one is in the turret to be killed, the trade off is that the commander is no longer in an elevated position to survey the land other than via the camera displays, and the crew on long hauls is pretty much sardine canned in. Not a new thing to be sure but an issue. Supposedly it even has a toilet... remains to be seen.
Thus far I think Three really Really modern tanks have emerged that are a cut above the rest. T14 Armata is one of them but not the only one the Japanese Type 10 and South Korean K2 are another. These add a number of features at the heart of what’s coming yet still would qualify not as gen 4 MBT but the line of departure for that generation. Common features are active suspension, more camera systems, autoloader, advanced armor scheme, reduced weight for more mobility over bridges, APS ready.
Where I think Armata is little a head is mostly the way the Russians have integrated a whole fleet of vehicles based off a common architecture. This isn’t entirely new it’s just the extent is a little wider. Rather than Just the MBT and maybe one other Type based on that vehicle hull like say recovery vehicle or engineering vehicle. Armata’s designers are looking at SPH gun, engineering, recovery, HIFV, HAPC, even claimed were Amphibious and Rocket launcher.
looking over the list just about everything here is evolution over revolution save perhaps Hard kill APS systems. If we err looking for that next revolutionary step it seems like everyone wants electrification of the drive.
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
An uncrewed turret does not necessarily save weight. By putting all the crew into the hull there has to be a volumetric expansion, with a consequential increase in protection. The impacts of such an increased citadel can be seen in Boxer (to some extent - it obviously has other considerations...).

Furthermore, an uncrewed turret cannot be unarmoured; its has to be armoured to similar / identical standards as now otherwise the chance of a M-kill is just too high.
 

John Fedup

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Interesting power package and if if emerging battery technology that can also serve as supplemental armour ever arrives, then this could be considered as a generational change along with the other features already mentioned.
 

Feanor

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An uncrewed turret does not necessarily save weight. By putting all the crew into the hull there has to be a volumetric expansion, with a consequential increase in protection. The impacts of such an increased citadel can be seen in Boxer (to some extent - it obviously has other considerations...).
Unless you're shrinking the crew down to 2. In which case there is no expansion. But in that case one could argue that it's not the unmanned turret that saves weight, but rather the reduced crew size.

What do we think of integrating companion-UAVs into MBTs? Russia has already conducted exercises with extremely long-range tank fires, with UAV spotting. What about guided shells for tank guns, hitting targets painted by a UAV? Also what about guided-missile integration? There are a few current tanks that can fire beam-riders through the bore, but OKR Sokol currently promises to give current and next-gen Russian MBTs a fire and forget top attack munition launched through the bore. Stack a capability like that but with a companion-UAV, and maybe it really could be a next-generation concept? To be clear, Russia is unlikely to be the first to develop this, the T-14 already doesn't have one and it's the prospective model, but it's not too late for the Franco-German design, or a potential US FMBT.
 

kato

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Stack a capability like that but with a companion-UAV, and maybe it really could be a next-generation concept?
A bit too last-generation? What you're describing there is Leclerc Augmenté, as presented by Nexter at IDEX 2019 (with two UAVs, one tethered for area surveillance, the other free-flight as a longer-range tactical sensor), in combination with advanced munitions developed for it by Nexter such as POLYNEGE.

The next-generation approach in Germany and France is the glass battlefield, in which an AI strategically covers a theater with sensor UAS to provide full battlefield surveillance - with direct sensor-to-shooter interfaces. Rafael as a subcontractor got a rather big contract from Germany for that last year (ErzUntGlas project).
 

Feanor

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A bit too last-generation? What you're describing there is Leclerc Augmenté, as presented by Nexter at IDEX 2019 (with two UAVs, one tethered for area surveillance, the other free-flight as a longer-range tactical sensor), in combination with advanced munitions developed for it by Nexter such as POLYNEGE.

The next-generation approach in Germany and France is the glass battlefield, in which an AI strategically covers a theater with sensor UAS to provide full battlefield surveillance - with direct sensor-to-shooter interfaces. Rafael as a subcontractor got a rather big contract from Germany for that last year (ErzUntGlas project).
Sorry but this is already in line units? Or being presented as a concept, or as a prototype at arms shows as an upgrade for current generation MBTs? If the latter, couldn't it still turn into a standard feature for next-generation MBTs?
 

kato

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Sure, it can become a standard feature. It won't be the "defining new feature" though for a next generation 15 years in the future.

Realistically that "defining new feature" will be network-centric warfare. The MBT as a standardized effector asset to call upon within tens of thousands of networked assets for a D-LBO/TEN- & SCORPION-organized battlespace.

You can find some concepts of how the German Army foresees some land combat roles in a semi-digitized battlespace in this concept paper *) in German. Section II, Part 2 (p.18-24) describes short scenarios in which current systems (MBT: Leopard) are augmented by possible near-future combat support systems in a networked fashion. That should present some idea of what the Bundeswehr envisions, also by derivative on its future MBTs.

As an example, in the section "Ausschnitt SP-Bildung" it describes countering the opponent's armoured forces pressuring on the tank company assigned to a battalion battlegroup by:
  • using the tactical network to open his battalion's AoR to long-range NLOS anti-tank missile systems of neighboring battlegroups
  • additionally employing his own battlegroup's reserve of UCAV carrying anti-tank submunitions
  • targeting data is provided by the tanks engaged by the hostile armored forces (the reconnaissance UAV swarm having previously been interfered with by hostile electronic warfare and active counter-UAV systems, thus creating gaps in its coverage to be covered)
  • commanders of tank platoons use their network to coordinate direct fire attack phases with UCAV attacks and NLOS ATGM fire in order to saturate ADS on hostile MBTs
In other sections additional support systems such as Counter-UAV lasers, deployable UAVs hovering above vehicles providing laser communications to counter hostile electronic warfare, or also unmanned mine clearance and bridging vehicles accompanying a tank company are described.

For mechanized infantry it btw proposes a mass use of unmanned systems in defensive situations incl. NLOS anti-tank missiles, with "manned systems" only engaging once hostile forces have - by kinetic action or electronic warfare - basically created gaps in either sensor or effector coverage.

--
*) The publication linked is "Thesis Paper I : How do land forces fight in the future", authored by GenLt Frank Leidenberger, Commander German Component of Multinational Corps Northeast. Published 2018 by PIZ H.
 
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Feanor

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Sure, it can become a standard feature. It won't be the "defining new feature" though for a next generation 15 years in the future.

Realistically that "defining new feature" will be network-centric warfare. The MBT as a standardized effector asset to call upon within tens of thousands of networked assets for a D-LBO/TEN- & SCORPION-organized battlespace.

You can find some concepts of how the German Army foresees some land combat roles in a semi-digitized battlespace in this concept paper *) in German. Section II, Part 2 (p.18-24) describes short scenarios in which current systems (MBT: Leopard) are augmented by possible near-future combat support systems in a networked fashion. That should present some idea of what the Bundeswehr envisions, also by derivative on its future MBTs.

As an example, in the section "Ausschnitt SP-Bildung" it describes countering the opponent's armoured forces pressuring on the tank company assigned to a battalion battlegroup by:
  • using the tactical network to open his battalion's AoR to long-range NLOS anti-tank missile systems of neighboring battlegroups
  • additionally employing his own battlegroup's reserve of UCAV carrying anti-tank submunitions
  • targeting data is provided by the tanks engaged by the hostile armored forces (the reconnaissance UAV swarm having previously been interfered with by hostile electronic warfare and active counter-UAV systems, thus creating gaps in its coverage to be covered)
  • commanders of tank platoons use their network to coordinate direct fire attack phases with UCAV attacks and NLOS ATGM fire in order to saturate ADS on hostile MBTs
In other sections additional support systems such as Counter-UAV lasers, deployable UAVs hovering above vehicles providing laser communications to counter hostile electronic warfare, or also unmanned mine clearance and bridging vehicles accompanying a tank company are described.

For mechanized infantry it btw proposes a mass use of unmanned systems in defensive situations incl. NLOS anti-tank missiles, with "manned systems" only engaging once hostile forces have - by kinetic action or electronic warfare - basically created gaps in either sensor or effector coverage.

--
*) The publication linked is "Thesis Paper I : How do land forces fight in the future", authored by GenLt Frank Leidenberger, Commander German Component of Multinational Corps Northeast. Published 2018 by PIZ H.
So let's imagine a new Franco-German 3-man crewed MBT, with upgraded protection levels, a new 130mm main gun, and two on-board UAVs, a NLOS bore-launched guided missile capability, with significant improvement to mobility, and an entire family of systems all developed around the standardized chassis (similar to OKR Armata). You wouldn't consider this a next-generation MBT?

I don't think a single feature can make an MBT "next-gen", but I think that integration of unmanned systems is likely to be a component characteristic of 4th gen MBTs.

EDIT: My issue with using net-centricity as the definition of the 4th generation is that it can be implemented on current MBTs, and it will likely continue to be implemented on 5th generation MBTs if MBTs remain relevant at that point in time. While I don't doubt for a second that what you're talking about and what is referenced in that paper is a great indication of things to come, I think that those are more features of the general direction that development of armed forces is taking rather than a specific feature of an MBT generation.
 

Feanor

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For give me but today most tanks are already modular. With armor and power modules for rapid repair and replacement so long as the basic hull is intact.
I meant to respond to this but it honestly slipped my mind. When emphasizing the modularity of the T-14 and the rest of OKR Armata platforms for that matter, I was specifically doing so in the context of current Russian/Soviet hardware. Engine replacement on the T-72 involves "making love to the tank" for a period of time that is frankly ridiculous (some sources cite it taking as long as ~24 hours). Compared to this we clearly have a huge improvement. Hell even the T-90 has done engine replacements in as little as 8-9 hours during the trials in Saudi Arabia. Whereas iirc the Leopard 2 can be done in what, 2 hours? I recall a video of the Japanese doing it a whole lot faster then even that.
 

OPSSG

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EDIT: My issue with using net-centricity as the definition of the 4th generation is that it can be implemented on current MBTs, and it will likely continue to be implemented on 5th generation MBTs if MBTs remain relevant at that point in time. While I don't doubt for a second that what you're talking about and what is referenced in that paper is a great indication of things to come, I think that those are more features of the general direction that development of armed forces is taking rather than a specific feature of an MBT generation.
May I provide 3 data points to explain my disagreement?

1. @kato has pointed the way forward. Israel and Germany are certainly very far along in developing the concept of operations and the different pieces of supporting technology to support such a battle net.

2. I believe that future user interface (for the next generation MBT crew) will change to a degree that you do not have to drive the tank from the driver’s seat, nor do you need to be in the gunner’s seat to fire the main gun. That the role of a driver is not going to be to drive the MBT in the traditional sense, rather, he is likely a forward sensor operator and directing the tank to avoid or overcome obstacles. The tank platoon commander’s role will change from commanding the tank, to become a fires support officer, whose role is to call in close in fires from loitering munitions to destroy threats to his tank platoon. THIS means existing MBTs cannot just be upgraded — the drive system and controls will be different from current gen. Certainly, due to the need to:
(a) deploy off board sensors (a hybrid electric drive would be an advantage for silent over watch without engine noise);​
(b) use of some AI (the computing power on the next generation MBT will be more than before) and network the work stations (which will be fibre optic); and​
(c) implement, in the far future, helmet mounted displays with integrated NVG capability to see through the tank and augment threat identification (like the Apache’s capability to prioritise over 200 targets for the gunner to engage),​

means that you cannot simply add C2 systems to existing MBTs and call it next generation — not enough space, fibre wire nodes (to connect sensors through armour), power and cooling capacity. I imagine that the next generation tank crew teaming along with armoured fighting vehicles (IFVs) are going to be more like UAV crew division of labour between the team of ‘pilots’ and ‘sensor operators’ (like Apache and UAV teaming) across a company of tanks and IFVs. Given the massive computing power increase, some of the next generation vehicles will be certainly be used as a cyber node to interfere with enemy communications and battlefield networks.

3. For advanced IFVs in the market, 80% of the technology that I talk about is already being tested in a limited fashion — for those vehicles designed for close hatch fighting. The various military doing this testing just have not declassified this capability. But I believe you will see these being used soon.
 
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Feanor

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May I provide 3 data points to explain my disagreement?

1. @kato has pointed the way forward. Israel and Germany are certainly very far along in developing the concept of operations and the different pieces of supporting technology to support such a battle net.

2. I believe that future user interface (for the next generation MBT crew) will change to a degree that you do not have to drive the tank from the driver’s seat, nor do you need to be in the gunner’s seat to fire the main gun. That the role of a driver is not going to be to drive the MBT in the traditional sense, rather, he is likely a forward sensor operator and directing the tank to avoid or overcome obstacles. The tank platoon commander’s role will change from commanding the tank, to become a fires support officer, whose role is to call in close in fires from loitering munitions to destroy threats to his tank platoon. THIS means existing MBTs cannot just be upgraded — the drive system and controls will be different from current gen. Certainly, due to the need to:

(a) deploy off board sensors (a hybrid electric drive would be an advantage for silent over watch without engine noise);​

(b) use of some AI (the computing power on the next generation MBT will be more than before) and network the work stations (which will be fibre optic); and​

(c) implement, in the far future, helmet mounted displays with integrated NVG capability to see through the tank and augment threat identification (like the Apache’s capability to prioritise over 200 targets for the gunner to engage),​

means that you cannot simply add C2 systems to existing MBTs and call it next generation — not enough space, fibre wire nodes (to connect sensors through armour), power and cooling capacity. I imagine that the next generation tank crew teaming along with armoured fighting vehicles (IFVs) are going to be more like UAV crew division of labour between the team of ‘pilots’ and ‘sensor operators’ (like Apache and UAV teaming) across a company of tanks and IFVs. Given the massive computing power increase, some of the next generation vehicles will be certainly be used as a cyber node to interfere with enemy communications and battlefield networks.

3. For advanced IFVs in the market, 80% of the technology that I talk about is already being tested in a limited fashion — for those vehicles designed for close hatch fighting. The various military doing this testing just have not declassified this capability. But I believe you will see these being used soon.
I appreciate the detailed reply. If you are correct then this capability may be vital to the next generation. What prevents a current-gen MBT in terms of armor, protection, and mobility, being redesigned to accommodate these capabilities? Also, who can we expect to have these capabilities? I would assume the Israelis, the US, Japan, Korea (south obviously), and probably some of the Europeans (though not all). Anyone else I'm missing? Am I correct in assuming that we would see this tech first on lighter systems, and only eventually on a MBT? I ask because the next MBT from any of the above appears some distance away, but plenty of lighter platforms are under development (things like the Carmel).
 
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OPSSG

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Let me add more to the 3 prior data points below:
What prevents a current-gen MBT in terms of armor, protection, and mobility, being redesigned to accommodate these capabilities?
4. Lack of space, lack of power (hybrid drive), lack of cooling capacity and lack of power connection points to external sensors through all that armour.
Also, who can we expect to have these capabilities? I would assume the Israelis, the US, Japan, Korea (south obviously), and probably some of the Europeans (though not all).
5. Japan and Korea will be a golden mile behind compared to Israel, Germany and the US. They will get around to it but not now — they don’t have the same threat matrix. The Germans as a major arms exporter is keen to see its tech exported used operationally. US and Israel are at forever war — so they try to be prepared.

6. I cannot imagine Japan deploying its Type 10 for an operational mission — so it will not be upgraded fast. A lot of yen is going into their submarines and the JSDF marine brigade. The South Koreans have more to worry about than upgrading their K2 Black Panther MBTs, with their current geopolitical circumstance, given the joke that is called the North Korean tank brigades. Again I also cannot imagine Korea deploying its K-2s for an operational mission (to support out of area contingencies) — if they are not going to be used in war, there is no rush to upgrade.
Anyone else I'm missing? Am I correct in assuming that we would see this tech first on lighter systems, and only eventually on a MBT?
7. Not sure but I know that bits of the tech is being tested for fielding.
I ask because the next MBT from any of the above appears some distance away, but plenty of lighter platforms are under development (things like the Carmel).
8. Yes.

9. I don’t like the Carmel’s 2 crew concept. It’s too tiring. Bits of the technology will be used here and there but not in the manner Israeli companies try to present it.
 
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Terran

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Blue force tracking was a feature added to Abrams in 2003, it’s more refined now but just about every army worth the term has some form of networking and is porting it into their Armored force.
Drones are a good feature, recent IFV programs have been looking to add them and Its a logical addition in the form of a mini or nano sized drone to see over the horizon, take a peek behind the hill or building to get a lay of what might be Laying in wait. Yet these to are added to existing systems. As they emerge we may also see CUAS added to.
The Net centric is important but more so I think will be how the data is given to the user. Both the old 2003 circa FCS and far more recent IDF Carmel demonstrators showed an interest in AI interfaces Solid state touch screens. Today’s MBT are already Net centric but like an old Blackberry. These project more like an Iphone12.
Rafael’s Carmel demonstrator for example. Touch screen 2 man crew where the third operator is an AI. This was a converted surplus M113 hull so adding such isn’t impossible to an existing vehicle.
2A602101-F7C4-4FF8-B79F-261B0AE4FD20.jpeg
(photo source IMOD, IDF Reveal Carmel AFV Demonstrators | Israel Defense)
Rather than one or two systems that define the generation a it’s a whole combination of evolution and revolutionary steps across the whole of the vehicle. Basically a few can be added to an existing hull type but the whole list demands the next step.

For a true Next gen of MBT, I think of it as part of a family of tracked vehicles weighing between 35-65 tons depending on configuration. This is inspired by Armata, Merkava/Nammer, Lynx, Boxer, K2, Type 10, FCS MCS, VT-5/VN17, Leclerc, SEP Griffin III, Leopard Evolution, and the Polish PL01 concept.

Powered by a conventional engine mated to an electric drive. The combination used as the electric drive is lighter and demands less maintenance Well being cooler in IR. The conventional engine serves as the main generator with a reserve battery. If the main engine is knocked out you could still possibly crawl home battery power. It would act like a hybrid car. If you are sitting waiting you can use the battery, if you use that up you turn on the engine. If you are low speed maneuvers like the Eastings crawl it’s all electric. If you are following a Patton style blitz you are on the engine.

A must would be a full suite of advanced armor modules mounted around the hull. If it’s a low threat area or being shipped you can strip it down. In a high threat area add on the armor or mix armor types. Like AMAP armor tailor the armor to meet the needs. This already exists.
Augmented by a mix of soft (Smoke, Dazzler, decoy) and hard kill APS. Perhaps even passive detection denial tech, Although there have been attempts at active Stealth tiles those don’t seem to be ready yet.
So this would probably be a passive camouflage system made of a combination of smart netting (Saab Barracuda) and shaped tiles (like Tacticam from armorworks seen on GDLS Griffin III demonstrator AUSA2019) to confuse radars and IR imagers.

The vehicle would have a fully active Hydropneumatic suspension bolted on the sides.( Like K2 and type 10.) This means it can be replaced easily. Like WW2 American or British tanks if a bogie breaks just swap it off for a new one. These would also adjust how the vehicle stands based on terrain or crew wants, Sitting low to conceal more of the vehicle behind an embankment, leaning back to get higher gun elevation or front For more gun depression or standing up for more ground clearance. Lower weight configurations might use band tracks making them even lighter road friendlier at higher weight end conventional tracks.

Operated by a crew of 0... Well some versions might be 0. I mean do you need a crewman in the actual bridge layer or can you have them ride in a JLTV that drives with it? Some as high as a dozen. Unmanned ground vehicles are a coming deal to. Besides if you are moving the tank around the repair area having it remote controlled might be advantageous. The heart of this is Drive or Steer by wire. It what would allow any position in the vehicle to be driver.
Of course for an MBT you want a crew of at least 2, The Driver and Commander with the gunners functions taken by the AI. 3 is still an option. But two seems the want.
The external vision is a series of electro optics mounted in the hull for the driver giving as close to 360* perspective.
Another set in the turret giving the commander a full view. For both not just on tablet displays but in head mounted ones to. With tethered parascope drone to give a overhead view or launched mini drone to probe around. Additionally audio (Boomerang mics) and radar sensors As well as tech like radio direction finding to farther assist. 9671546B-25C2-412D-A970-577B19910683.jpeg
(GDLS Griffin III Demonstrator in Army hands presumably. Very recent photo as indicated by masks photo source General Dynamics Griffin III Candidate to Replace M2 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle - MilitaryLeak)
Most of the time they would operate by combination of conventional vision ports and large sold state touch screen multifunction displays and conventional controls perhaps even game style controllers as well as even being able to stand outside the vehicle like modern tankers. In combat buttoned up or when they need more detail they would use helmet mounted displays. Networked but to a higher degree.
This differs from Armata in that that is a series of multifunction displays on the bulkhead. Where in this would be I think more immersive. Like a virtual windscreen of OLED displays mated to Iron Vision. Seeing through the hull.

Gunnery is a combination of the Commander who selects the target and pulls the trigger As well as the AI that slews and confirms the shot and assists in hunting for more targets. Like a modern tank you probably have three guns. The main, coax and commanders. All three automated to degrees.
The main could be an improved 120/125mm In either longer and or lighter weight types. or go up to a beefy 130mm, 140mm. basically right now the gun seems more an evolutionary step. Mostly it’s what goes on in pointing the gun rather than the gun that is changing.
The Main gun serviced by an Autoloader. France, Japan, South Korea have proven that a Bustle mounted system can work with production tanks.
Round types being an AMP type High explosive, Sabot type long rod, With possibly BLOS Top attack Munitions like SMart 155 or KSTAM II. Seem a safe bet.
The coax And Commanders weapon would probably remain the normal combination of .30 cal and .50cal. Although the flirtation with heavier has happened it never seems to catch.
 
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