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Weapons of War The machinery of warfare. .

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  #1  
Old 06 May 12, 00:47
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Armor obsolete?

it seems to me that with new and improved aircraft and air to surface weapons..armor may become a thing of the past. i just dont see where armor serves much of a purpose anymore. to all those "tread heads" out there i love armor!! i think it may have out lived its usefulness..if i ruled a nation it would be aircraft and copters!!
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  #2  
Old 06 May 12, 01:36
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I'm going to let some of our more proficient armor guys start this one off, but I'd like to hit on a few things armor has going for it over helos and aircraft.

1) Survivability. Armor gets hit more than aircraft and helos, true. However, quality AFVs are typically taken out at a lower rate than helicopters and aircraft under the same threat circumstances. And AFVs are typically recovered after being lost and returned to service......helos and aircraft typically are not.

2) Cost. A high quality MBT like the Chally II, Leo II, Abrams, or LeClerc costs in the 7-10 million USD range. Comparatively, a high-quality Helo or strike aircraft can cost Tens of millions of Dollars per copy.

3) Persistence. A platoon on the front lines might or might not have air assets currently around them. Air assets have to return to base for fuel. But a defending platoon supported by armor has its support asset with it 24/7, using the same fuel as the trucks and APCs, with troops that can be directly contacted and worked with. It means that no matter when heavy fire support is needed, it's only moments away, rather than minutes for on call or hours for scrambling a sortie from a far away airbase.
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  #3  
Old 06 May 12, 03:17
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Perhaps we will see,Active Protection Systems evolve to deal with such threats., They can already provide a level of protection against ATGMs and RPGs. In any case, that would be the last line of defense. The aircraft or helo would likely have to contend with the air defense system accompanying the tanks.
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Old 06 May 12, 03:28
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You can take a helicopter down with small caliber ground fire. The same fire would bounce of a tank. Air power can not win a war. You can not hold ground with Air power. With proper ground based ADA a ground force can operate even in areas with strong enemy Air Force. Just look at the Sina 1973.
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Old 06 May 12, 17:37
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I think tanks are obsolete countries fighting advanced militaries. For example Iraqi tanks were obsolete againts the coalition which invaded in 2003.

On the other hand tanks still have their place for the U.S. and other advanced militaries, especialy when fighting less advanced enemies.

Imagine a battalion of U.S. M1 tanks against a third world tank battalion armed with T-72 or T-80 tanks. As the two forces maneuver against each other the supporting forces come into play.

The enemy air forces are non existant in this fight, the air above being total dominated by U.S. air power. Probably the most important result of this is that the enemy have no airborne intelligence assets in this fight. U.S. forces have a very good idea of enemy dispositions. U.S. strike aircraft such as the F-16, A-10 fighters and AH-64 Apache helo begin to attack take out many of the enemy tanks and just as importantly their command, control and support forces.

The artillery of both sides comes into action before the tanks meet in battle. The enemy are firing blindly. U.S. artillery guided by airborne intelligence assets is adding to the toll taken on the enemy forces. The most damage is done to the support units bringing up fuel, ammo, supplies and tank repair units. U.S. artillery and airpower start to take out the enemy artillery units, enemy artillery fire starts to slacken as enemy artillery batteries are taken out.

Before the 1st tank versus tank shot is fired the enemy have lost a large number of their tanks to U.S. airpower and artillery. Their support structure has been badly damaged. And they are going into battle blind. U.S. forces have a very good idea of enemy dispositions.

As U.S. and enemy tanks clash the enemy force is blind, confused, demoralized and badly attrited. And that is not even taking into account superior U.S. tanks and tactics.

I will make the prediction that the U.S. M1, German Leopard 2 and British Challenger 2 will be the last traditional tanks fielded by the West. These vehicles will continue to be upgraded. And the West will probably develop a "tank like" vehicle that will be lighter and more easily deployed.
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Old 06 May 12, 17:50
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right now air is somewhat dominant but only when it has freedom to do what it wants. For example what happens in wargames between US forces how effective are the aircraft.

In an even match it it better to have some armor because it is somewhat a game of rock paper sciccisors and if you do not have a rock your going to lose one out of three.
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Old 06 May 12, 17:52
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thank you for the replies. i figured this might strike a nerve on both sides of the fence.
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Old 06 May 12, 18:14
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Armor is important but there might be too much emphasis on the main battle tank. It's necessary for nation state against nation state but lately the fight has been nation state against network. Does anyone see that changing soon?

I'd like to see more emphasis on deployable light armor. I'm thinking light tanks or armored gun systems, not the Stryker. Just because light tanks can't go up against MBTs is no reason not to have them. Perfect is the enemy of good enough.
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Old 06 May 12, 20:02
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During Desert Storm, you could not find a destroyed Abrams. We tried to blow up a couple that got stuck and we couldn't do it. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, we lost a few. I think urban combat and firing rpg's at the top of the turret and at the engine got them. We did not lose any to tank fire. The Tank is not obsolete. They are just more expensive.

It has always been having a proper mix of air and ground assets.

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Old 07 May 12, 05:53
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During Desert Storm, you could not find a destroyed Abrams. We tried to blow up a couple that got stuck and we couldn't do it. In Operation Iraqi Freedom, we lost a few. I think urban combat and firing rpg's at the top of the turret and at the engine got them. We did not lose any to tank fire. The Tank is not obsolete. They are just more expensive.

It has always been having a proper mix of air and ground assets.

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Yeah, I read that. There's a recent account, not sure where I read it, of a Challenger II that broke down and was stranded for a couple of days in Injun Country. The crew just sat in the vehicle and waited for recovery. In the meantime, it got hit by some ridiculous number of RPGs (30-40? someone please correct me if I am wrong). Basically, didn't do squat except scratch the paint.

The top tier MBT's are very survivable. With air supremacy, they are essentially, unstoppable.
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Old 07 May 12, 06:00
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Yeah, I read that. There's a recent account, not sure where I read it, of a Challenger II that broke down and was stranded for a couple of days in Injun Country. The crew just sat in the vehicle and waited for recovery. In the meantime, it got hit by some ridiculous number of RPGs (30-40? someone please correct me if I am wrong). Basically, didn't do squat except scratch the paint.

The top tier MBT's are very survivable. With air supremacy, they are essentially, unstoppable.
Just like the Abrams, protection would be less from the top, sdes and rear. MBTs do pretty well,against RPGs but may not be the case against more capable ATGMs. I don't see armor becoming obsolete.. I expect it to adapt to the threat somehow.

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Old 07 May 12, 06:04
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Armor is important but there might be too much emphasis on the main battle tank. It's necessary for nation state against nation state but lately the fight has been nation state against network. Does anyone see that changing soon?

I'd like to see more emphasis on deployable light armor. I'm thinking light tanks or armored gun systems, not the Stryker. Just because light tanks can't go up against MBTs is no reason not to have them. Perfect is the enemy of good enough.
I like that. Pretty accurate.

Perhaps, the ultimate case in point: M-4A3E8.

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Just like the Abrams, protection would be less from the stop, sdes and rear. MBTs do pretty well,against RPGs but may not be the case against more capable ATGMs. I don't see armor becoming obsolete.. I expect it to adapt to the threat somehow.
So far, they have. I would like see the effectiveness testing of the very latest ATGM's. My last experience with them was TOW II and Hellfire
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Old 07 May 12, 06:46
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Remember the RPG 7 is pretty old and not much help against new MBT. It was not designed to take on a Abraham since there was noting close to it when it was built. Where has modern ATGM are designed to take on modern tanks.
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Old 07 May 12, 10:17
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The Soviets have gone through several more RPG types since the RPG-3 and RPG-7 have come out. Just because these are the ones we are most familiar with does not preclude the Iraqis from getting newer models and other foreign types. Modern Battle tanks may be fairly immune to the RPG on ground level, but are still vulnerable to strikes on top of the turret and on top of the engine deck. Start a fire on top of the engine and I bet the crew leaves quickly! The newest antitank systems like the TOW III employ a system where the warhead fires down into the top of the enemy tank.

There is a report out of Iraq in 2006 that a RPG 29 penetrated a Challenger II and wounded several of the crew.

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Old 07 May 12, 11:16
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The new stuff out there are pretty good and would be a threat to a MBT. But the same can be said for helicopters. A old SA7 may not be much threat to a new aircraft. But the new Manpads out there a real threat.
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