Author Topic: Missiles on gun tanks  (Read 24495 times)

Offline Weaver

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #15 on: February 23, 2013, 02:26:42 AM »
Top attack involves mounting a shaped-charge warhead facing downwards in a (usually) tube-shaped missile which is not a very efficient "fit". In a modern, relatively fat missile airframe, you can get a top-attack warhead that's still a decent size, but I'm not sure about in a Malyutka, which is really, really small.....

Also according to Wikipedia FGM-148 has a body diametre only 2mm wider than that of Malyutka (125mm) but packs a warhead more than twice as heavy as that of Malyutka...... of course I do not know if Malyutka's warhead can have the same diametre as its body, and I reckon that a warhead too much heavier than initially specified is bound to bring forth other problems......

BUT

FGM-148 Javelin doesn't do top-attack the way most such weapons do. Most top-attack types fly horizontally above the line of sight, pass over the tank, and fire their downwards-facing warhead by means of a proximity fuse as they do so. This is relatively easy to arrange: a conventional SACLOS missile would be following the line of sight, so you "just" put a fixed "+5 ft" command into it's autopilot.

A typical such weapon is the Bofors BILL 2. This is 150mm in diameter, but only manages to carry a downwards-facing EFP warhead which is 110mm in diameter with a 40mm precursor charge to detonate ERA. The penetration capability of this warhead is classified, but a figure of 550mm RHA has been quoted, which would look pretty poor if it was going into the frontal armour of a modern MBT instead of down through the roof. By comparison, that Romanian Sagger/MILAN hybrid is quoted as penetrating 900mm.

Javelin, on the other hand, has a conventional forwards-facing warhead and flies a climb-and-dive maneuver, coming down at a steep angle onto the top of the tank. This requires the missile to be MUCH smarter, since it needs to know the position of the target in three dimensions, calculate a course to it independently, and maintain a fully-autonomous lock-on through the flight, something that is only possibly because of it's integral imaging seeker. Javelin may be only 2mm wider than Sagger, but it's also 240mm longer and most of that is guidance electronics.
« Last Edit: February 24, 2013, 12:32:11 AM by Weaver »
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Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #16 on: February 23, 2013, 01:25:49 PM »
I can actually think of a few other reasons why you may want to do this, though--like you--that doesn't mean I necessarily agree with any of them.

4. Your main gun's no good against armor

This one's very situational, but I can think of a few extreme examples where this could be the case.  Two that come to mind are the cases where the gun is tailor made for high explosive work.  This was far more popular before and during WWII, but a more modern example would be the Centurion AVRE.  While that HESH round does nasty things to tanks, it's neither high velocity nor very accurate.  At long ranges, it would have very poor AT performance.  Need the engineering capability, but don't want to make it a liability in tank combat?  Put a couple of ATGMs on it.

Somehow make a tank's main armament nearly useless against enemy armor.  Maybe all prewar stocks are found to have fatal quality flaws and tend to break up against enemy armor instead of penetrating.  These are things that have happened in wartime before, just usually before the time of ATGWs.

5. Dismountable AT firepower

This one's actually been done before.  US tank destroyers in WWII such as the M10 actually strapped bazookas to the sides of the tank.  The idea was that if the TD was knocked out, they could still carry out their mission.  Similarly, the M50 Ontos could have its recoilless rifles dismounted and put on a tripod.  The Sagger equipped BMP started that way, as well.  This is most useful for airborne troops in practice.

6. Intimidation

Iran's probably working on this one already.  Obsolete tank + obsolete missiles = innovative doom tank!  This is the kind of stuff they do all the time.  Combine two obsolete things and suddenly it's new!  The more intimidating it looks, the better.  Effectiveness isn't the point.

Cheers,

Logan

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2013, 03:34:36 AM »
Quote
4. Your main gun's no good against armor

This one's very situational, but I can think of a few extreme examples where this could be the case.  Two that come to mind are the cases where the gun is tailor made for high explosive work.  This was far more popular before and during WWII, but a more modern example would be the Centurion AVRE.  While that HESH round does nasty things to tanks, it's neither high velocity nor very accurate.  At long ranges, it would have very poor AT performance.  Need the engineering capability, but don't want to make it a liability in tank combat?  Put a couple of ATGMs on it.

Somehow make a tank's main armament nearly useless against enemy armor.  Maybe all prewar stocks are found to have fatal quality flaws and tend to break up against enemy armor instead of penetrating.  These are things that have happened in wartime before, just usually before the time of ATGWs.

Or simply when you find out your enemy has upgraded tanks and you now fear your tanks will not be effective.  Interim solution is to give your tanks missiles as an added capability.

An example might be this:  Cold War still going in '90s+.  Soviet Union introduces new FST-1/2/3 series of tanks with 152-mm smoothbore guns capable of firing guided missiles with a range of 6,000-7,000 meters and with improved armour.  Whilst waiting for the introduction of the new Leopard III, Challenger 3 and Abrams M1A3 with the new 140mm gun, all three are equipped with external box launchers using various ATGWs...
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Offline elmayerle

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2013, 11:15:47 AM »
Odd thought, a poor country in the aftermath of WW II has only Lee/Grant tanks and mounts early ATGW's to give them some chance.

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #19 on: February 24, 2013, 02:00:04 PM »
I wonder...what about Kramer X-7 Rotkšppchen missiles added to a Panzer IV?
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Offline Weaver

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #20 on: February 25, 2013, 08:55:50 PM »
I can actually think of a few other reasons why you may want to do this, though--like you--that doesn't mean I necessarily agree with any of them.

4. Your main gun's no good against armor

This one's very situational, but I can think of a few extreme examples where this could be the case.  Two that come to mind are the cases where the gun is tailor made for high explosive work.  This was far more popular before and during WWII, but a more modern example would be the Centurion AVRE.  While that HESH round does nasty things to tanks, it's neither high velocity nor very accurate.  At long ranges, it would have very poor AT performance.  Need the engineering capability, but don't want to make it a liability in tank combat?  Put a couple of ATGMs on it.

Somehow make a tank's main armament nearly useless against enemy armor.  Maybe all prewar stocks are found to have fatal quality flaws and tend to break up against enemy armor instead of penetrating.  These are things that have happened in wartime before, just usually before the time of ATGWs.




Or another rationale: high-velocity gun and shell technology is limited to a relatively limited range of countries, both by expertise and manufacturing capability. Say a third-world country find that, for political reasons, it can't buy upgraded guns for it's tanks from supplier A, but it can buy ATGWs from supplier B....

Alternately, maybe you need both capabilities and this is the best way to get it. That AML-60-7 with ENTACs is a good example on a smaller vehicle: if you gave up either the missiles or the mortar you'd lose a significant slice of capability, and the best gun you're ever going to get on that platform is the short GIAT 90mm which has less capability in both armour penetration and high-angle fire.


Quote
6. Intimidation

Iran's probably working on this one already.  Obsolete tank + obsolete missiles = innovative doom tank!  This is the kind of stuff they do all the time.  Combine two obsolete things and suddenly it's new!  The more intimidating it looks, the better.  Effectiveness isn't the point.


I can see this in a Tehran press release any time now:



 ;D ;D ;D
"I have described nothing but what I saw myself, or learned from others" - Thucydides

"I've jazzed mine up a bit" - Spike Milligan

"I'm a general specialist," - Harry Purvis in Tales from the White Hart by Arthur C. Clarke

Twitter: @hws5mp
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #21 on: February 25, 2013, 09:03:51 PM »
You have to admit Iran has made Wiffing a national priority, they have the back story and the various bits and pieces, now they are just churning out master piece after master piece.

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #22 on: February 25, 2013, 10:37:52 PM »
You have to admit Iran has made Wiffing a national priority, they have the back story and the various bits and pieces, now they are just churning out master piece after master piece.


You have to admit, though, their Photoshop skills really need some work compared to some on this forum.   ;)



Cheers,

Logan

Offline dy031101

  • Yuri Fanboy and making cute stuff practical- at least that's the plan anyway
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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #23 on: February 25, 2013, 11:41:01 PM »
All this discussion kinda makes me wonder what kind of ammunition would be used when a tank manufacturer tests the armour of their product.

NORINCO claims that the frontal armour of their Type 99 could make it through getting shot 8 times by a 105mm gun without significant damage.  While I realize that the best tank PLA has to offer will have to be impressive, I also wonder what'd be the truth behind this advertised invincibility......

Because I am imagining a CM11/12 with a bigger turret bustle, pop-up Malyutka-copy launchers in that bustle, and a resurrected Malyutka-copy programme sporting tandem warhead......
« Last Edit: February 26, 2013, 12:17:40 AM by dy031101 »
Forget about his bow and arrows- why wait until that sparrow has done his deed when I can just bury him right now 'cause I'm sick and tired of hearing why he wants to have his way with the cock robin!?

Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #24 on: February 26, 2013, 04:59:04 AM »
There's another one that I'd thought of, then forgotten.

7. The ability to fire behind cover

A tank is a big, expensive, heavy vehicle with a few major disadvantages.  One is that they're basically direct fire AT weapons.  As missiles are becoming more advanced, the ability to fire both from behind cover and hit targets that are themselves behind cover.  In other words, defilade.



I can especially see this in the late Cold War gone hot vehicles.  I can see this being added to normal gun tanks to give them a chance of whittling down the opposition before they get within range.



This type of system came up again with the 9M123 Khrizantema recently.



Cheers,

Logan

Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #25 on: February 26, 2013, 05:07:38 AM »
Of course another path to take with this is to imagine that perhaps future tanks give up on the main gun as their primary tank killing weapon (say that after 120mm/125mm designers say enough is enough - we're not going to 140mm/152mm).  Instead, in the LeoIII/Challenger 3/M1A3/T-XX etc the conventional gun becomes the secondary weapon (say something around the 50mm size) for dealing with secondary targets and that the primary anti-tank weapon becomes the ATGW.  In this case, you end up with something more akin to a heavy IFV but without the troop carrying requirement.  Maybe even akin to the CV-90 series?



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Offline GTX_Admin

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2013, 05:08:42 AM »
Another spin might be to have standard tanks but with the missiles for Air-Defence.  LeoII with Stingers or even ground launched IRIS-T? etc...
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Offline Logan Hartke

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #27 on: February 26, 2013, 05:32:28 AM »
I'd already considered the AA missile route, but that was OT, so I was focusing on ATGM applications.  I think that if there ever was a major emphasis on defilade firing, I do think you'd see the emphasis on armor decrease proportionally.

Thanks,

Logan

Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #28 on: February 26, 2013, 11:23:51 AM »
Of course another path to take with this is to imagine that perhaps future tanks give up on the main gun as their primary tank killing weapon (say that after 120mm/125mm designers say enough is enough - we're not going to 140mm/152mm).  Instead, in the LeoIII/Challenger 3/M1A3/T-XX etc the conventional gun becomes the secondary weapon (say something around the 50mm size) for dealing with secondary targets and that the primary anti-tank weapon becomes the ATGW.  In this case, you end up with something more akin to a heavy IFV but without the troop carrying requirement.  Maybe even akin to the CV-90 series?

One of the problems with that is chemical warheads are much more easily defended against than are kinetic energy ones, so at the moment armour is in the ascendency in the continual see-saw battle between protection and penetration.  You would need to see a significant increase in penetration for chemical energy warheads.  So, unless we see a change in the way such warheads presently work, this usually comes with a consummate increase in weight for the missile and it means the missile becomes large, unwieldy and expensive.

A way around that is to use a top-attack profile or the one I prefer, a high trajectory system such as FOG-M.  Because they are attacking the thinnest armour sections on the opposing tank, smaller warheads or even more exotic systems such as EFP can be used.  Both however come with their own difficulties and again, if reliant on chemical warheads can be defeated with reactive armour or active defence systems mounted on top of the tank.

One way around that is to use kinetic energy rounds - either missiles with sufficiently high velocities to mimic guns or guns themselves.  We are though, now reaching as has been noted the limits with 120mm calibre and in the late 1980s NATO agreed to move to 140mm calibre, after the brief stint with a longer-barrelled 120mm smoothbore gun (L/44 IIRC).   However such a large calibre carries problems with loading the rounds and so we have seen a move towards autoloaders.  This in turn has introduced concerns about inadequate crew to perform routine tasks such as maintenance and piquette duty.  Interestingly, the French overcame the problem by introducing "maintenance crews" into their armoured units and placed the now unemployed loaders in APCs to accompany the tanks.

Hypervelocity missiles have been flirted with by the US but they never reached any fruitition.  LOSAT has come and gone, morphing into HATM, so obviously simply making a much faster missile is a little more difficult than one supposes.  While it has the advantage of being recoilless, such a weapon needs to be fly a  line-of-sight course, like a gun so they lose the advantage of being able to utilise full defilade which many normal missiles can.

The US FOG-M and the European Polyphen systems, utilising fibre-optic cable, rather than traditional wires for guidance are IMHO an excellent solution.  They allow firing from full defilade, have no "gather" times and can even be utilised for immediate reconnaissance if necessary, utilising their TV cameras to report back on what is occurring on "the otherside of the hill" as Wellington termed it.  However both have been abandoned unfortunately.   

Offline Volkodav

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Re: Missiles on gun tanks
« Reply #29 on: February 26, 2013, 12:36:04 PM »
An idea could be a VLS installed in the rear compartment of an AIFV, looks exactly like the troop carrier version but instead of vegies in the back it has multiple VLS ATGWs.  A very easy if slightly boring Wiff with a number of armoured doors added to a new top plat on the hull rear of your AIFV.