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Author Topic: Putin Declares New Russkie Armor Superior to Allied!
Robert Murphy
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posted 07-17-2000 02:06 PM     Profile for Robert Murphy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Ok, the new Russian President wants to sell his wares to help his cash starved-country, but at a Russian arms show (?) he declared the T-90 and a new Russian support vehicle to be a decade or so ahead of the competition.

Now, are all of us fat-headed, arrogant Yanks, Jerries, and Limeys going to take this one lying down? Or are we going to dissuade all of those defense ministers from third-world countries that regularly read this forum from buying those Russkie weapons, and starting their nasty little border wars with inferior weaponry!!

Robert

P.S. No, I'm not on medication, why do you ask?


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Ssnake
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posted 07-17-2000 03:57 PM     Profile for Ssnake   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Putin is probably exaggerating in claiming the T-90 a decade ahead, but it indeed is another serious step on their way away from cheap mass production to high quality products.
I was shocked to see Paul Lakowski's T-90 armor value estimates the first time. Even if he's off a little (and he's doing the most realistic guesstimates I know of), the T-90 sure isn't a reliable kill even for the M829A2, which is the most advanced US ammo that has been fielded today.

It sure is not invulnerable, and the real weaknesses may lie elsewhere (say, it's too cramped to be comfortable for the crew, making them more weary during sustained operations and other "soft values" like required maintenance, or peace time operating costs etc.). But as far as quantifiable figures are concerned, the T-90 is a serious challenge.


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Robert Murphy
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posted 07-23-2000 04:17 PM     Profile for Robert Murphy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Aw c'mon Sssnake! Just look at those two utter crap tanks they made in W.W. II! The T-34 and KV-I? Not to mention the Iosef Stalin series...

Yes I am kidding

I realize that the T-90 is a potentially very formidable foe - I was trying to stir up some discussion - which I did! (If you ever got stuck in an elevator with me, you'd probably end up strangling me - as I'd be talking your ear off with armor/mil. history questions incessantly! ) I totally agree with you though, (i.e. what you expressed in an earlier post,) that the most deadly part of any weapon system is it's crew; History is replete with so many examples of crack troops routing half-trained, badly led conscripts... Put a crack crew in said T-90, and, oh, say, put you and Mike Z. in an M1-A2, and I'm sure the T-90 would stomp... JOKE!!!! (Robert is suddenly glad handgun ownership is much more difficult and less common in Germany...)

Buuuuut seriously - to my layman's eye, the T-90's (classically Russian) curved turret, save with its seemingly exceeedingly low profile was impressive at a glance.. (Still, that spells - as you make clear in your post - a cramped interior, which spells lowered crew effeciency/endurance no doubt.) Even in the age of Infrared, laser sighting, etc. is this (a low profile) still a fairly important consideration for a tank designer, Ssnake?

What struck me as odd is how the Russians still fire missiles out that 125mm smooth-bore. As you doubtless know, the U.S. (and it's Allies,) gave up on the barrel-launched AT missile years ago. Correct?

Lastly, I must admit I just don't entirely trust Russian performance specs; even when a third party (Jane's?) lists them. One would be a fool not to take the threat of the latest Russian Hardware seriously, (at least AFTER they successfully manage to invade Chechnya... er, I'm not implying war with Russia is likely, thank God...) but I think we have entered an age where the Western high tech toys finally WORK as they were intended too - e.g. I think it a stretch that the AA-11 missile is considered soooo deadly, when Russian guidance technology has lagged far behind the West in the last 10-15 years, as have other sophisticated battle systems. (Not that I wouldn't sh*t a horsehoe if I was a real-life F-16 pilot, and found one on my six...)

Well, if you have time Herr von Sssssnake, feel free to rip me for any inaccurate presumptions in the above...

S! Herr von Ssnake!

Robert

P.S. Maybe Shraonel could run a promotional contest - the person who guesses the real name of the International Man of Mystery (you!) get's a free copy of Steel Beasts?

First name: Hans? Erich? Erwin? Klaus?...

Last name: von Luck? von Steuben, Hardegen? Luth?...

Oh, I forgot!! It's probably classified, sorry!!


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mbaxter
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posted 07-23-2000 09:06 PM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
The T-90 does have one major problem which is well documented. It's engines can't handle warm climates. The T-90 is basically a "hangar queen" unless you fight all your wars in temperate or cold places. Great for the Russians, not so great for many of their customers. Not to say they won't still sell them successfully. Some countries buy Russian stuff merely to gain Russian political support.

For example the Indian government recently ordered 300 T-90's against the objections of their Army leadership, who found them to be completely unusable in their own Rajasthan desert region.


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Ssnake
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posted 07-24-2000 12:02 AM     Profile for Ssnake   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Well, I think the M-551 Sheridan desaster comprised the concept of a barrel launched ATGM for the US. But just because the Americans couldn't get it right it doesn't necessarily mean that it can't be done at all!
The key is the laser beam riding, I think. The missile will control itself to be positioned within the laser beam, and not head for the laser reflection from the target; furthermore laser guidance means that you can fire while moving.
This is different from the Sheridan's guiding system which was subject to frequent dejustation, making either the use of the gun or the missile impossible. Since the armor was inherently crappy, the whole project poisoned the idea of light tanks and a missile/gun combination seemingly forever.

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Ssnake
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posted 07-24-2000 01:57 AM     Profile for Ssnake   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Robert Murphy:
Aw c'mon Sssnake! Just look at those two utter crap tanks they made in W.W. II! The T-34 and KV-I? Not to mention the Iosef Stalin series...

Yes I am kidding


Well, if this was the TankNet, I'd say you must be Lee I Charters, who insists on the Russians being unable to build anything but utter crap for years now - in a most remarkable, uh... no, make that "special" manner...

quote:


Buuuuut seriously - to my layman's eye, the T-90's (classically Russian) curved turret, save with its seemingly exceeedingly low profile was impressive at a glance..

Maybe less impressive if you consider that despite the new designation, it is a T-72 inside. A heavily upgraded T-72, but still. Kontakt-5 seems to be a formidable thing, provided it really works as announced. Which is not sure. Another reason to refrain from buying T-90s might be their higher operation costs, although I must admit that this is speculation.

quote:
(Still, that spells - as you make clear in your post - a cramped interior, which spells lowered crew effeciency/endurance no doubt.) Even in the age of Infrared, laser sighting, etc. is this (a low profile) still a fairly important consideration for a tank designer, Ssnake?

Well, considering most other tanks I know of, this clearly was not the designer's main concern until Leopard and M1 arrived on the scene. Tanks don't have a reputation as comfortable cars - despite their high price. But then Ferraris aren't made and bought for comfort either

quote:
Lastly, I must admit I just don't entirely trust Russian performance specs; even when a third party (Jane's?) lists them.

  1. especially not if listed by Jane's. I'm not sure whether they just do a bad job and simply don't understand what they're reporting, or if they are being paid for disinformation. Being the only source to offer regular information updates on this market doesn't necessarily make them a reliable source. Their naval section is a bloody mess with data for the same ships changing every year (and they don't consolidate), and even in the easier area of land systems numerous blatant errors have been reported back at the Tanker's Net.
  2. Performance specifications unfortunately usually are a clever method to omit shortcomings. Any bloody engineer forced to create such a paper can tell you that. You have a wide spread in your data ? Go list a "typical" or "average" behavior.
    On paper, M1A1 and Leo2A4 are almost identical in all major areas. The M1 may have a slight edge in firepower due to the usage of dU ammo, where on the other hand the Leo's frontal turret armor may be better. Play Steel Beasts, and find out where the real differences are. And they are huge!

quote:
e.g. I think it a stretch that the AA-11 missile is considered soooo deadly, when Russian guidance technology has lagged far behind the West in the last 10-15 years, as have other sophisticated battle systems. (Not that I wouldn't sh*t a horsehoe if I was a real-life F-16 pilot, and found one on my six...)

Yeah, but replace the "AA" with an "AT", and you get both a formidable missile with an excellent guidance system. BTW, you don't need that great guidance system as long as the turn rate of the missile and it's speed are high, if the boom is big enough, and if the operator manages to get it past that cloud of chaff... Even a primitive blast mine can ruin your day in a high-tech tank, even an arrow with a head of flintstone can kill a TC looking out of his hatch at the wrong time.
Todays weapons are less about totally destroying a vehicle, but to render it useless for further operations. The AA-11 may be less sophisticated, but despite Wild Weasels, HARM missiles and other nifty gear NATO didn't dare to fly below 5000m in Kosovo. Seems like the threat potential is high enough to prevent even the world's most advanced airforce from performing an effective campaign.

quote:
Well, if you have time Herr von Sssssnake, feel free to rip me for any inaccurate presumptions in the above...

You wanted a discussion, here you are


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Prof1
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posted 07-24-2000 02:54 AM     Profile for Prof1   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mbaxter:
The T-90 does have one major problem which is well documented. It's engines can't handle warm climates. The T-90 is basically a "hangar queen" unless you fight all your wars in temperate or cold places. Great for the Russians, not so great for many of their customers. Not to say they won't still sell them successfully. Some countries buy Russian stuff merely to gain Russian political support.

For example the Indian government recently ordered 300 T-90's against the objections of their Army leadership, who found them to be completely unusable in their own Rajasthan desert region.


It whence such information? You know what two of T-90 have passed on deserts of India some thousand kilometers at t40C and have not received what breakages?
The crew T-90 confidently amazed targets on range up to 5 kilometers.
The system "Shtora" has reflected ALL the antitank of a rocket which fired at the tank.
You know that the minister of a defense of India has told what T-90 is second on force by the weapon after the nuclear weapon?

And 2 Ssnake why you think what in our tanks very closely?


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mbaxter
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posted 07-25-2000 01:11 AM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Prof1 - I heard that from no less than an Indian newspaper report I saw while doing a net search on tanks awhile back. Then I saw this repeated in several different reports. The T-90 is widely known as a lemon in hot weather conditions because of its delicate engine.

I've also heard the Indian army was forced to fudge their later desert trials so the buying decision could be made. India will buy 300 T-90's at $2.5 million a pop. The Indian army is not at all happy about this. Their consensus seems to be the T-90 is little better than the T-72M's they currently operate, but costs three times as much per tank. Maybe India isn't getting the fully capable version.

This looks like another case of an unwanted weapon system being shoved down the military's throat for political reasons. It happens in the US, too.


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Ssnake
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posted 07-25-2000 01:35 AM     Profile for Ssnake   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Prof1:
And 2 Ssnake why you think what in our tanks very closely?

This sentence no verb. Me no understand. Please specify/rephrase it...


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Prof1
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posted 07-25-2000 06:28 AM     Profile for Prof1   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Ssnake:
This sentence no verb. Me no understand. Please specify/rephrase it...


Ssnake I am sorry for mine English. In general I am not guilty it so the electronic interpreter has translated


Wanted to ask, why you think what in our tanks cramped? (so correctly has written?)
My growth of 1,90 meters and weight of 100 kgs but in T-80 to me is comfortable (well certainly it not Mercedes )



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Ssnake
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posted 07-25-2000 07:20 AM     Profile for Ssnake   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Oh, I didn't want to express that this is a fact. I wanted to say (since I don't have first-hand experience) that this might remain one of the few areas where T-XX tank design could still be inferior.

However, the basic message was that at least as far as published specifications are being concerned, there is little difference between western tanks and current Russian tanks. (I feel obliged to mention that the work on Steel Beasts showed me how much information is lost if you sum up a tank in a specifications paper...)
M1s or Leopards may have been superior in the past decade, but that has been equalled out by now.

Which is not such a big surprise, after all. Russian engineers are neither smarter nor dumber than their colleagues in Germany or the US. It was more a difference in design philosophy which again was very well routed in the macro economic circumstances.

The Soviet empire had a big emphasis for heavy indistries, and managed a high output of reasonably cheap steel. With the cost restraints the designer had to face back then, the solutions they came up with probably were the best that could be achieved.
Furthermore, the Soviet army - as a consequence of the empire's sheer size as well as its loaction - needed and could afford a large mass army, requiring a proportionally large amount of combat vehicles.
The Russian army is not so big any more, and doesn't need that many tanks. Therefore the average tank can become more expensive, and consequently, better in armor protection as well.

The West, on the other hand, couldn't afford to detract many individuals to serve in the armies instead of earning money. Therefore you better let 'em earn money, collect their taxes , and invest in a few high-priced tanks with a higher combat value, which hopefully balances out the obvious inferiority in numbers.

[This message has been edited by Ssnake (edited 07-25-2000).]


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Editor
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posted 07-25-2000 11:21 AM     Profile for Editor   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I have transferred this topic to: Air Defense, Weapons, Platforms.

Editor


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Ssnake
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posted 07-25-2000 11:25 AM     Profile for Ssnake   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Don't count on me visiting this thread again. Might happen, might not.
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Grifo
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posted 07-26-2000 05:33 AM     Profile for Grifo   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Ssnake:IMO you right.T-90 is cool,but not so cool as advertised(I mean a decade superiority).BMP-3 also rocks with all latest features included.But can somebody comment the situation with engines?As far as I know latest modifications of T-72 powered with 1000 hp engines with good high temperature perfomance.And then T-90 powered with 840 hp engines sensitive to heat?This sounds kinda strange to me!
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_ALEX_
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posted 07-26-2000 10:59 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote

[img]http://www.uw.ru/msvirin/t90/t-5-2.jpg[img]

Original T-72 has 740 HP engine. T-90, the last modification of the series, is somewhat heavier and has more powerful (840 HP) engine.


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_ALEX_
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posted 07-26-2000 11:04 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
[img]http://www.uw.ru/msvirin/t90/t-5-2.jpg[img]
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_ALEX_
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posted 07-26-2000 11:22 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Arrgh!..

Very extensive desert tests were included in the overall testing program of T-90 for acceptance into Russian army service (according to an article by the test program manager).

Given the fact that the key customers of Russian tank manufacturers are actually arabs, plus the fact that Russian tank units are stationed in many hot places in former USSR, I don't think they'd take reportedly poor performance in hot climes lightly. This sounds like an engineering problem that can be sorted out easily.


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Zed
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posted 07-26-2000 02:08 PM     Profile for Zed     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Already has..India is getting supercharged units rated at 1000hp, and in Jan '00 ChTZ announced that there would be a 1200hp unit repacing the current one on production lines...

Z


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Rosco
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posted 07-26-2000 02:38 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Slightly off topic but if you really want to get the scoop on anything armor, check out the recently revised Tanknet http://www.tanknet.org/cgi-bin/Ultimate.cgi

However, be warned RB komerades, it's very yankee-imperialist biased and quite technical at times.

------------------
"And if you don't like it, eat a gun"


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mbaxter
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posted 07-26-2000 05:59 PM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
My info on the T-90 having problems in the desert may be out of date, that is, the problems may have been fixed with a new engine. But I had not heard this. Last thing I read from Jane's said the T-90 had been picked over more T-72M's over the objections of the Indian Army generals, who contended the T-90 was little more than a beefed up T-72 and not worth the cost (three times as much as their T-72M's, that is). Also I don't think the Indian models will have the Shtora defensive system, just reactive armor.

Maybe the Indian are just tough customers. Only to way to find out is to have another India-Pakistan war.


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DR2
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posted 07-26-2000 07:18 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Maxter, it makes no sense for the Indians to get the T-90 minus the Shotra; they might as well make more T-72s and add reactive armour.
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mbaxter
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posted 07-26-2000 11:34 PM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Exactly! Which explains why India's generals are so peeved about getting 300 T-90's when they could have had 900 more T-72M's built in India for the same price(India has been making these for years). Keep in mind India's T-72M's have French electronics (thermal sights, laser range-finders) and also reactive armor. I'm not talking about crap T-72's like the Iraqis had. Adding the T-90 to the Indian Army's order of battle also complicates logistics.

Anyway, India has a long track record of ill-conceived arms purchases. But I guess with China next door and building up so dramatically they're just desperate to beef up their forces and aren't taking the time to make wise purchases.

[This message has been edited by mbaxter (edited 07-26-2000).]


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Jussi Saari
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posted 07-27-2000 01:24 AM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by DR2:
Maxter, it makes no sense for the Indians to get the T-90 minus the Shotra; they might as well make more T-72s and add reactive armour.

Makes a lot of sense actually, there's much more improved in the T-90 than just added ERA and Shtora. Even without ERA it's much better armored than the T-72M1s that they currently use, roughly 500-600mm KE protection versus only 300-350mm on T-72M1s, the fire-control system is new and much improved, there's a decent thermal imager, and it can use Refleks ATGMs and HE shells in timer-fused airburst mode.


Jussi


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_ALEX_
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posted 07-27-2000 05:13 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
And more than that! T-90 is a lot better suited to face top of the line modern tanks than T-72M is.

Indian generals' line of thought must be that they are not going to engage US Army in the foreseeable future. Their opponent is likely to be "a plenty of cheap stuff" kind of armed force. Pakistan or China. Indians, afaik, are conscript army themselves. So, from some point of view it might be logical for them to have 900 T-72s instead of 300 T-90s.


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Jussi Saari
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posted 07-27-2000 06:28 AM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by _ALEX_:

Indian generals' line of thought must be that they are not going to engage US Army in the foreseeable future. Their opponent is likely to be "a plenty of cheap stuff" kind of armed force. Pakistan or China. Indians, afaik, are conscript army themselves. So, from some point of view it might be logical for them to have 900 T-72s instead of 300 T-90s.

Considering that Pakistan has recently added Ukrainian T-80UDs to it's old collection of US Pattons and Chinese T-55 copies, I think the T-90 is very much needed. A T-72 would be able to handle the Pattons and Type 59s, but against a T-80UD they'd be completely outclassed, they would be easy pickings for the T-80s from as far as they could be hit, which is much further than where they could hit or penetrat the T-80s. A T-90 would change it from severe disadvantage to slight advantage.

Jussi


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Zed
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posted 07-27-2000 08:06 AM     Profile for Zed     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Jussi,

...your forgeting about the Al Khalid.

(BTW did you ever find that book by Yefim Gordon?)

Z


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_ALEX_
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posted 07-27-2000 08:17 AM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Hmm... indeed, pakistani have T-80UD. Then where is all the talk about having 900 T-72s coming from?
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Robert Murphy
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posted 07-27-2000 05:18 PM     Profile for Robert Murphy   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Llo Bros!

Er, aren't we ovelooking one significant factor here? That being that one side effect of the U.S. thaw in relations with China has profoundly alienated the Indian government? (Depressing isn't it: in much of the world all two countries need is a common border with each other to become enemies. Heck, let's get with it and invade Canada! Naah, too many tough hockey players... ) This and closer U.S. ties with Pakistan, largely spurred by Pakistan's crucial strategic value during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, have ensured that it is not for nothing that U.S. Hardware composes the cutting edge of Pakistani formations and Soviet arms that of Indian. (Not that the U.S. is necessarily to blame...)

Ciao!

Robert


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DR2
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posted 07-27-2000 09:41 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Robert...are you referring to the 'cutting edge' Pattons

MBaxter, I meant to say that the T-90s would have Shotra, or else they would not have been purchased.


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mbaxter
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posted 07-29-2000 04:39 PM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Well if the T-80 is as deadly is at appears to be in Steel Beasts, I'd be scared sh1tless to go up against them even in an M1 much less a T-72.

Of course in the real world the T-80 is cannon fodder just like the T-72 it's based on. Same drill for the T-90. Doesn't anyone find it a little suspicious the Russians haven't used T-90's in Chechnya? I think they know the T-90 will get torn to shreds just like their T-80's were in both the last war and the present one there. I remember how much hype the T-80 was surrounded with when it first came out. Then they saw combat in Chechnya and turned out to be easily destroyed even with RPG's.

We have to consider the track record here.

Regarding the Shtora defense system, while this could (maybe) stop a slow missile like a TOW or Sagger, what good is thing going to do against a tank round? Also, I think it's worth pointing out that ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) only works against HE rounds - doesn't do any good against Sabot.

Personally, I'd feel a hell of a lot safer inside an M1, Challenger, Leopard, Merkava, or other tank that uses the tried and true composite armor for protection. All these vague but unproven promises about ERA, Shtora, Arena, etc. don't inspire much confidence.


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Toecutter
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posted 07-29-2000 11:36 PM     Profile for Toecutter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I propose a new war...in some far away, hopefully religiously and socially backasswords place...without any US crews involved...so we can settle our differences
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Jussi Saari
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posted 07-30-2000 05:10 AM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mbaxter:

Of course in the real world the T-80 is cannon fodder just like the T-72 it's based on.

T-80 isn't actually based on T-72, but T-64. T-72 was initially built as a low-cost, low-tech mass production tank, while T-64 was the high-tech, expensive top-of-the-line tank. T-90 is sort of combination of T-80 and T-72, combining the T-80U fire-control system and some other features into T-72BM hull. (It was originally going to be called T-72BU, but designation was later changed to T-90.)


quote:
Same drill for the T-90. Doesn't anyone find it a little suspicious the Russians haven't used T-90's in Chechnya? I think they know the T-90 will get torn to shreds just like their T-80's were in both the last war and the present one there. I remember how much hype the T-80 was surrounded with when it first came out. Then they saw combat in Chechnya and turned out to be easily destroyed even with RPG's.

Funny how they're using T-72s and T-62s and they're not being blown to shreds... The fact is RPGs can blow tanks to shreds, any tanks, even the mighty M1A2. The key to avoiding that is in not driving your tanks to cities without infantry, so that the RPG gunners can take careful aim from 30-50m away and aim the rounds at weak spots. This time around the Russians are using their tanks as fire support from a distance, which has effectively neutralized the RPG threat.

Analysis of Russian T-72s and T-80s destroyed in first Chechnyan conflict showed that no tanks were penetrated frontally, and most were killed when they got hit in turret rear, rear half of turret top, crew hatches or side hull just below the side skirts. Even weak turret top resisted RPGs where there was ERA, and front armour resisted with or without it. On average it took 5 RPG rounds to find a weak spot and kill a tank, and at some cases tanks retreated from tough spots with over a dozen non-penetrating RPG hits. (There's an interesting analysis of Russian AFV performance in the FMSO website, maybe someone can supply the URL but Altavista should find it with "Foreign Military Studies Office" and "Chechnya" as keywords at least...)

quote:

We have to consider the track record here.

Track record, what track record? To the best of my knowledge no T-80 or T-90 has ever faced another armor-heavy force so that they could have meaningful track record...

quote:

Regarding the Shtora defense system, while this could (maybe) stop a slow missile like a TOW or Sagger, what good is thing going to do against a tank round? Also, I think it's worth pointing out that ERA (Explosive Reactive Armor) only works against HE rounds - doesn't do any good against Sabot.

According to US Army T-72 with Kontakt-5 ERA couldn't be penetrated frontally by "M829" 120mm sabot. (The reason I put that in parenthesis was that it's actually a little unclear whether they meant the M829 or M829A1... but that's another issue.)

quote:

Personally, I'd feel a hell of a lot safer inside an M1, Challenger, Leopard, Merkava, or other tank that uses the tried and true composite armor for protection.

So would I, because those tanks have less weak spots in their armour and don't usually throw turrets if they get hit, but it doesn't mean the rest are just cannon fodder.

Jussi


Posts: 249 | From: Lappeenranta, Finland | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged
mbaxter
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posted 07-30-2000 03:15 PM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
According to US Army T-72 with Kontakt-5 ERA couldn't be penetrated frontally by "M829" 120mm sabot.

Even if this is true, what happens after the first hit has detonated the tank's frontal ERA panels, then another round comes crashing into the now unprotected tank?

This is one of those dirty little secrets about reactive armor. It only works once (on that part of the tank, anyway). Not something you have to worry about with composite armor. It just works, again and again. And composite armor doesn't require maintainence either. Another dirty little secret is the danger ERA poses to your own troops in the vicinity, or any crew members not "buttoned up" when it goes off. Also when it blows up reactive armor often damages components on the tank.

I think reactive armor is more of an interim step, a jury-rigged measure to get more life out of obsolete vehicles. Composite armor is the way to go.


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Rosco
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posted 07-30-2000 04:06 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Mbaxter,

I think the U.S. Army is now considering the use of ERA on their Abrams tanks since adding yet more armor weight to this already too heavy, too thirsty and difficult to deploy vehicle is no longer an option.

Also, have you heard of tungsten based HEAT rounds? They're extremely effective against composite armor, especially when using in a stacked warhead. Only an exploding ERA block would probably disrupt the resulting tungsten jet enough for the regular armor to stop it.

Not to mention, ERA is much more effective against top attack or on any other location where you aren't going to have heavy armor. I'd rather be in a T-90 struck on it's ERA covered roof by an RPG than be in a an Abrams and have to depend on it's paltry 40mm or so of roof armor.

Active armor and protection systems and vehicles optimized for them are the future, it's the 70 ton land battleships that belong in the past.

------------------
"And if you don't like it, eat a gun"

[This message has been edited by Rosco (edited 07-30-2000).]


Posts: 984 | From: Hazzard County | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
mbaxter
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posted 07-30-2000 04:27 PM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Rosco:
Mbaxter,

I think the U.S. Army is now considering the use of ERA on their Abrams tanks since adding yet more armor weight to this already too heavy, too thirsty and difficult to deploy vehicle is no longer an option.

Also, have you heard of tungsten based HEAT rounds? They're extremely effective against composite armor, especially when using in a stacked warhead. Only an exploding ERA block would probably disrupt the resulting tungsten jet enough for the regular armor to stop it.

Not to mention, ERA is much more effective against top attack or on any other location where you aren't going to have heavy armor. I'd rather be in a T-90 struck on it's ERA covered roof by an RPG than be in a an Abrams and have to depend on it's paltry 40mm or so of roof armor.


Interesting stuff. Can you post some links to more details? I'd like to read more about it, especially the part about the USAR considering reactive armor.


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mbaxter
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posted 07-30-2000 04:48 PM     Profile for mbaxter   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
DR2 - AFAIK, Indian Army T-90's will be equipped with neither the Shtora-1 nor the Arena defensive systems. However they will have Kontakt-5 reactive armor. The lack of Shtora-1 and Arena means Indian T-90's won't have any special protection from ATGM's but they will still have the normal protection from tank rounds because of the Kontakt-5 ERA.

All this talk of ERA, Arena, Shtora, etc. gets pretty confusing so let me just clarify breifly:

Shtora-1 is the system that automatically activates IR jamming and laser-defeating smoke grenades to throw off incoming ATGM's. It is activated manually or triggered by an enemy laser "ping" on the tank. It has a passive detection system only (no radar)

Arena is the system that uses a milimeter-wave radar to detect incoming ATGM's and automatically fires a shotgun-like spray of munitions at the right moment to blow up the enemy missile before it hits the tank.

Kontakt-5 ERA refers to explosive reactive armor packs of a more modern variety that can supposedly slow down even KE (Sabot) rounds (whereas previous ERA packs only worked against HEAT rounds).

To sum it up, Arena and Shtora are useless against high velocity projectiles like the main gun rounds from enemy tanks, but they can (theoretically) stop ATGM's. Hope that clears up any confusion any of us might have had.


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Rosco
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posted 07-30-2000 05:27 PM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
I can't find the Abrams ERA info, I stumbled across it months ago by accident in the middle of a dry untitled feasibility study document, however it looks like the fielding of ERA on Bradley IFVs might already be a going concern, this is taken from FAS >

<<< The hull of the Bradley is constructed of welded aluminum and supplemented at critical locations by spaced laminate armor. The latest version of the Bradley, the M2A2, has additional applique steel armor to help defeat ballistic ammunition, with provision for explosive reactive armor for increased protection against shaped charge weapons. The Applique armor tile system is designed to increase the survivability of the Bradley Fighting Vehicle System (BFVS) against shaped-charge threats using reactive armor technology. Information regarding the specific mechanism of operation and threat level is classified SECRET. A Bradley vehicle set of armor tiles consists of 105 tiles in the following quantities: 26 M3A1, 9 M4A1, 55 M5A,1 7 M6A1, and 8 M7A1. The armor tiles were subjected to comprehensive technical testing and evaluation during Phase II (screening tests) and Phase III (performance specification qualification tests). The coordinated test plan for this evaluation was formulated by AMSAA, TECOM, CSTA, PM - Bradley, and ARDEC. The testing has demonstrated the tiles are safe and meet the performance requirements. >>>

------------------
"And if you don't like it, eat a gun"

[This message has been edited by Rosco (edited 07-30-2000).]


Posts: 984 | From: Hazzard County | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
Jussi Saari
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posted 07-31-2000 01:49 AM     Profile for Jussi Saari   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
quote:
Originally posted by mbaxter:

Even if this is true, what happens after the first hit has detonated the tank's frontal ERA panels, then another round comes crashing into the now unprotected tank?


First of all, a hit won't detonate the tank's frontal panels, just the one that it hits. There's usually 3-4 panels of K5 in two rows on both sides of the turret so it means 1/12th-1/16th reduction in protected area. It also doesn't mean completely unprotected since unlike earlier ERAs the K5 doesn't blow up completely: the box contains the detonation and remains in place, slightly bulged. It still adds a few centimeters of KE protection and a good deal of spaced armour against HEAT strikes, and given that the armour behind the ERA isn't weak to begin with in a T-72BM, T-80U or T-90, it remains reasonably protected even without ERA. (The best estimates I've seen say the KE armour without ERA would be in 500-600mm neighbourhood for those tanks, which is somewhere around the protection of M1s and early M1A1s.)


quote:

This is one of those dirty little secrets about reactive armor. It only works once (on that part of the tank, anyway). Not something you have to worry about with composite armor. It just works, again and again.

Well, even that isn't so clear-cut. All armours suffer when they get hit, and around the hole there will be a weakened zone. Some brittle ceramics are particularly vulnerable, but even plain rolled homogeneous steel plate will be metallurgically weakened from a sabot or HEAT hit nearby. The fact that there's a hole also means that when another round strikes nearby, less energy is consumed in pushing the armour material away from the rod's/jet's path since it there's a space to which it can "flow". The reduction is naturally less than a blown-up ERA panel, especially a blown-away early ERA against HEAT, but still.


quote:
Another dirty little secret is the danger ERA poses to your own troops in the vicinity, or any crew members not "buttoned up" when it goes off. Also when it blows up reactive armor often damages components on the tank.

More like a dirty little myth, since the amount of explosives in an ERA block is considerably less than in most HEAT shells. The whole point of ERA is also to put a moving steel plate across the jet's/rod's path, which means that there will be a single big moving plate (and not even that in K-5 since the movement and explosion are contained in the box), not a shower of fragments. (There will be a shower of fragments from the detonating missile/shell, though.) One of the big mistakes the Russians did in the first Chechnya conflict was stripping their tanks from the early-gen. ERA plates in fear of fragments at first, which much reduced the tanks' protection against RPGs for little or no help to infantry.

Jussi


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Rosco
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posted 07-31-2000 05:36 AM     Profile for Rosco   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message   Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
mbaxter >

Check this out.

See what I mean about ERA roof coverage? There's a lot less vulnerable area here than what you'd find on Abrams, also the ERA on the sides at least give a chance of stopping a modern antitank missle. I've also heard that appearantly stacking bags of glass marbles on top of the roof ERA will render it even more effective against top attack HEAT and EFP {Explosively Forged Projectile} type munitions.

Jussi >

Have you heard anything on the new Kaktus ERA or Drozd-2 active protection system?

------------------
"And if you don't like it, eat a gun"


Posts: 984 | From: Hazzard County | Registered: Jan 2000  |  IP: Logged
_ALEX_
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posted 07-31-2000 02:07 PM       Edit/Delete Post   Reply With Quote
Modern Russian tanks also have composite armor. Which is reportedly based on the same physical principles and has similar mechanical characteristics as chobham.

Another nice function of the Shtora is swinging the turret to the direction of laser emitter.

mbaxter, looks like you need to do some fact-finding. Because defeat of Iraqi armor in the hands of US tankers came as no surprise, their T-72s performed just as expected in the circumstances (ie, as a target of turkey shoot). If you are too excited about this, take a look at how marvelously Barbarossa worked for germans. Even though soviet army had by far better tanks in superior numbers.


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