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  #31  
Old 09-20-2020, 09:11 PM
swaghauler swaghauler is offline
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The whole idea of scrapping the tanks did NOT come from official sources. Was NEVER official policy, or even being seriously considered.
And I'm betting the idiots who are pushing such an agenda have NO IDEA how maintenance or logistics work. Here's the big argument I have with people who think the A10 should be retired. They ALWAYS say "you have Apaches don't you?"

Logistics 101:

If you fly, then every so many hours OF FLIGHT you WILL NEED to do certain types of maintenance. There are 100-hour, 250-hour, 500-hour, 1000-hour, 5000-hour, and 10,000-hour maintenance procedures that you MUST perform to keep the aircraft flying. Different aircraft will have different maintenance cycles and fixed-wing CAS planes tend to have longer times between maintenance. This means they can fly longer between mandated maintenance and that they cost less to fly per FLIGHT HOUR. A FLIGHT HOUR is a cost to fly a plane per hour that integrates the maintenance cost in with the fuel cost per hour to come up with the FLIGHT HOUR COST. An OV-10 Bronco costs $1,000 to $2,000 per Flight Hour based on electronics installed (a big maintenance cost). An F16A (block 10) costs $10,000 per flight hour while a block 40 F16C can cost $30K per flight hour. An F15 can cost more than $60K per Flight Hour. A typical rotary-wing Apache can cost north of $40K per Flight Hour and require a disproportionately greater amount of time in maintenance than even a Jet (a failing of ALL helos).

In addition, due to the time some of these maintenance regimes take, your availability for aircraft can be less than 50% flightworthy. Combine this with refuel and rearm times and a country with 150 helos might have only 40 or 50 available for missions at any given time.

By comparison, most vehicle maintenance on even the most sophisticated ground vehicle will only climb into the HUNDREDS of dollars per operational hour and can exceed a 90% availability rate. Even when you factor in refuel and rearming times, at least HALF of a vehicle fleet will be available for operations at any given moment.

Contrary to what the airpower boys want to believe, armor will ALWAYS trump airpower for cost-of-operation and operational unit availability. The age of the equipment also adversely affects aircraft more than ground vehicles. Tanks are simply more economical that either Helos or Aircraft.
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  #32  
Old 09-20-2020, 09:41 PM
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Swaghauler!

Amen brother.

One of the reasons the A-10 is sticking around is because when all the whiz bang toys are grounded waiting on parts, you can usually just kick the tires check the fluids and your ready to fly.

An oversimplification to be sure, but more than a grain of truth in that.
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  #33  
Old 09-20-2020, 10:21 PM
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Fixed wing aircraft simply have less moving parts than rotary. It's just logic that they require less maintenance time and effort.
Ground vehicles have the added advantage of not needing to fight gravity. If something fails, you don't have multimillion dollar machines falling rapidly earthward to smash into a million very expensive bits. A ground vehicle can often still be function and add at least something to the battle, while putting a less than perfectly maintained aircraft into the fray is quite likely to result in the complete loss of the machine and crew - if it's even able to get off the ground and into the battle in the first place.

That said, adding a third dimension to the battle is ALWAYS a good thing, but it comes at a cost.
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  #34  
Old 10-04-2020, 07:09 PM
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The tank is dead. Long live the tank.

Interesting article.
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  #35  
Old 10-06-2020, 05:19 AM
Fallenkezef Fallenkezef is offline
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I find that article very interesting and I do quite agree.

Sooner or later the MOD has to realise the Chally 2 needs to be scrapped (I'd say the same about the Tornados). They can not compete against modern armour and ATGM systems and we just can not afford to upgrade them.
In a conflict that doesn't involve third world enemies using kit that would of been seen on a 1970's battlefield, the Chally will be slaughtered.

This leaves 3 options:

1) Buy a better tank from NATO allies such as the Leo
2) Build a better tank using modern tech and lessons learned
3) Scrap tanks entirely and go for other solutions.
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  #36  
Old 10-06-2020, 08:02 PM
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If the Challenger 2 had been continuously upgraded like the Leo 2, it would be on par. They Leo 2 is an older design than the Chally 2 so it serves as a good example of how the base design can be kept effective.
I would have included a 4th option for your list - upgrade the Challenger 2 to levels comparable with the Leo 2
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  #37  
Old 10-06-2020, 11:20 PM
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Thanks for posting that thought-provoking article, Targan.

Perhaps the MBT is headed in the same direction as the battleship c.1941. Sometimes, it can be hard to let go of orthodoxy and envision a novel alternative.

Having seen some recent combat footage out of Nagorno-Karabakh of UAVs hunting MBTs with apparent impunity, it's not hard to imagine a future where MBTs become little more than incredibly expensive mobile crematoriums (I don't mean to sound cold or trite- I really feel for the crews of stricken tanks on both sides of the conflict). I just wonder how infantry are going to move around on a battlefield where armor has been rendered obsolete by precision-guided smart weapons, ATGMs, and UAV-directed artillery.

Are we headed for a reprise of WWI-era static warfare?

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Last edited by Raellus; 10-06-2020 at 11:37 PM.
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  #38  
Old 10-07-2020, 10:23 PM
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Perhaps the MBT is headed in the same direction as the battleship c.1941. Sometimes, it can be hard to let go of orthodoxy and envision a novel alternative.
...
Are we headed for a reprise of WWI-era static warfare?

-
Not so sure, myself. I just saw a vid of a US Army colonel who spent some time with the Ukrainians in Donbass recently. He thought tanks were the only way to generate mobility. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_CMby_WPjk4&t=3s

Tanks, IMO, are still useful, but the days of blitzkrieg are long over. 1940-41 was a narrow window of time, before defenses could bog things down. After that, combined-arms forces could overcome defenses for a limited time-- August 44 in France, June 44 in Belorussia & Poland-- but only for a limited time. Most of Ww2 was not blitzkrieg, but closer to trench warfare (not the same, but closer). I think now isn't too different.
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  #39  
Old 10-07-2020, 10:46 PM
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Talking

".....the days of blitzkrieg are long over."

Tell that to the Iraqi Army and Saddam!
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  #40  
Old 10-07-2020, 11:16 PM
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".....the days of blitzkrieg are long over."

Tell that to the Iraqi Army and Saddam!
Point taken, but that was 31 (Desert Storm) and 17 (Iraqi Freedom) years ago. Times change. We might be in the midst of a paradigm shift, which is seldom recognized by most people when it's happening. It's only in retrospect that it becomes obvious (like in France, 1940, or Midway, 1942).

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  #41  
Old 10-07-2020, 11:26 PM
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Also have to bear in mind the Iraqi's were seriously over matched both times - they didn't stand a chance, and it certainly didn't help that the unmotivated conscripts tossed into the front line surrendered in droves.
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  #42  
Old 10-08-2020, 05:10 AM
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An interesting analysis from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) defence and security think tank.

The Key to Armenia’s Tank Losses: The Sensors, Not the Shooters
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  #43  
Old 10-08-2020, 08:12 AM
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An interesting analysis from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) defence and security think tank.

The Key to Armenia’s Tank Losses: The Sensors, Not the Shooters
Now that... that was a better article to read in regards to the future of warfare. It seems pretty clear that if tanks are vulnerable in this new age of warfare, so is every single other item in the army inventory.

Great find Targan, a thought provoking piece if ever there was one.
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  #44  
Old 10-08-2020, 12:34 PM
Fallenkezef Fallenkezef is offline
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Seems to me that the two key areas of focus for future R&D will be mobile anti-air systems to counter UAVs and systems to counter ATGMs. The West is somewhat behind the curve in the area of anti-air systems compared to the Russians.

Tech operates on a leap frog basis as one advance is nullified a previous tech becomes useful again.
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  #45  
Old 10-08-2020, 01:10 PM
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Default Tanks for the Article

Yeah, that was a really interesting piece, Targan. Thanks for posting.

Some thoughts prompted by the article:

I reckon ELINT is going to be a game-changer on the modern battlefield, given the proliferation of digital systems in modern armies. It's not as sexy as other battlefield weapon systems, so I hope NATO armies don't overlook it.

I wonder what workis being done on passive drone detection systems (since radar is vulnerable to detection, jamming, and HARM-type weapons).

Anti-drone weapon systems seem to be lagging behind drone tech. In recent years, I've seen articles on all manner of anti-drone systems, but UAVs still seem to be a major nuisance on battlefields all over the world.

Since the topic of this thread is tanks, I'm going to start another for discussion of drones.

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  #46  
Old 10-08-2020, 09:57 PM
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Remember when in the 50's and 60's missiles were supposed to be the end of tanks?
Look what's still here half a century later....

Machineguns were said to spell the end of warfare back in WWI, but again, there's still wars. All that's really changed are the tactics to deal with the new threats. SOME of that involves new equipment, but the three basic principles remain as they always have - mobility, protection, firepower.
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  #47  
Old 10-09-2020, 02:16 AM
Fallenkezef Fallenkezef is offline
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Remember when in the 50's and 60's missiles were supposed to be the end of tanks?
Look what's still here half a century later....

Machineguns were said to spell the end of warfare back in WWI, but again, there's still wars. All that's really changed are the tactics to deal with the new threats. SOME of that involves new equipment, but the three basic principles remain as they always have - mobility, protection, firepower.
If we'd gone to war with Russia in the 70's then ATGMs would of dominated but by the mid to late 80's you had composite armour and ERA systems.

It's all a pendulum.
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  #48  
Old 10-09-2020, 03:25 AM
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If we'd gone to war with Russia in the 70's then ATGMs would of dominated...
Would they though? How did the outnumbered Israeli armoured forces fair against them during that period?
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  #49  
Old 10-09-2020, 10:34 AM
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Would they though? How did the outnumbered Israeli armoured forces fair against them during that period?
Is this a rhetorical question? During the Yom Kippur War (1973), the Israelis suffered shocking, unexpected tank losses/crew casualties as a result of Egyptian AT-2 Sagger ATGMs (making their combat debut). Tank losses on the Suez front were so heavy that the Israelis practically begged the USA for replacement tanks. Their experience in 1973 led to the development of the home-grown Merkava MBT, which put an emphasis on crew survivability.

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  #50  
Old 10-09-2020, 10:49 AM
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Is this a rhetorical question? During the Yom Kippur War (1973), the Israelis suffered shocking, unexpected tank losses/crew casualties as a result of Egyptian AT-2 Sagger ATGMs (making their combat debut). Tank losses on the Suez front were so heavy that the Israelis practically begged the USA for replacement tanks. Their experience in 1973 led to the development of the home-grown Merkava MBT, which put an emphasis on crew survivability.
...and yet they still won.
Twice.
Against near impossible odds.

The point is the ATGM did not make tanks obsolete, and the best counter to missiles wasn't increasing armour or doing away with armour entirely, it was changing overall tactics, ensuring tanks did not operate without infantry, artillery and air support.

The development of new tanks would have happened anyway as metallurgy improved, engines became more reliable, powerful, more fuel efficient, and a host of other technological advances. Missiles were not the cause of tank evolution, they were just one part of it.
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  #51  
Old 10-09-2020, 10:56 AM
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The point is the ATGM did not make tanks obsolete, and the best counter to missiles wasn't increasing armour or doing away with armour entirely, it was changing overall tactics, ensuring tanks did not operate without infantry, artillery and air support.

The development of new tanks would have happened anyway as metallurgy improved, engines became more reliable, powerful, more fuel efficient, and a host of other technological advances. Missiles were not the cause of tank evolution, they were just one part of it.
I agree with you on both points (although, regarding the latter, in the case of the Merkava, Israeli experience facing ATGMs in 1973 was a direct catalyst). I only posted re the Yom Kippur War because your post to which I was responding seemed to completely dismiss the impact of ATGMs in the 1970s.

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  #52  
Old 10-09-2020, 04:24 PM
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One of the major mistakes that the Israelis made in the '73 War was with their tactical use of tanks. During the early phases of the war, Israeli tank losses were due to dug-in tanks on the Bar-Lev Line of fortifications, these had been pre-sighted by Egyptian artillery and had dedicated ATGM/RPG teams close assaulting the tanks. In the rush to reinforce/relieve the Bar-Lev Line, early tank counterattacks were often made in platoon or company strength and involved high-speed 'cavalry' charges against dug-in troops, again with pre-sighted arty fires and heavy concentrations of ATGM (to the extent that the Egyptian reserve divisions detached their antitank battalions to reinforce the firing line.)

Another mistake was logistical in that Israel tanks were loaded with APDS/HEAT ammunition (not very effective against dug-in troops), leaving them with only their co-axial machineguns to counter ATGMs (a losing endeavor).

As the Israelis mobilized their reserves and started counterattacking in brigade/division strength, they also started making better use of counterbattery fire as well as heavy mortars to shatter defensive positons. The U.S. also started shipping in HEP rounds in large numbers, in some cases, stripping units in Germany of their holdings of this type. The Israelis also started mounting .50 and .30-caliber machine guns on top of their main guns in an effort to supress ATGM gunners. Tank losses for the Israelis were noticeably lighter than in the opening phases,

Tactics were also modified to employ what became called the 'Sagger Weave', where a platoon of tanks would approach a position and with the first launch of a Sagger, the tanks would maneuver at high speed and use erratic movements while directing main gun and machine gun fire on the launch site in an effort to kill or stun the gunner or force him to lose track of the missile causing a miss. Extensive use was also made of smoke grenades/launchers.

Varations of these tactics have been practiced by tankers ever since. They work, even against later generations of fire-and-forget missiles. It's not perfect, and technological marches on, but tanks also benefit from technology, improved armor/EPA, sensors, ammunition and I'm sure that DARPA is busy working on anti-UAV measures even as we speak.
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  #53  
Old 10-09-2020, 09:37 PM
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One of the major mistakes...

...even as we speak.
You said what I meant and soooo much better!
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  #54  
Old 10-10-2020, 08:41 AM
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Blame it on a love of military history, toooooo many years working for the DoD, and back in 1977, had a chance to work with an exchange officer from the IDF who had been a company commander in the '73 War, LOTS of practical training in how they fight the M60A1, from the Sagger Weave to how to rapidly boresight the main gun in the field (fire a APDS at a target 1,500m out, then adjusting the sight to point of impact).
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