h a l f b a k e r y
The phrase 'crumpled heap' comes to mind.
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Modern composite tank armor is extremely effective. An
M1A2 Abrams has an equivalent thickness of 3 or 4 feet
good steel. This for actual armor only a few centimeters
The only real problem with it is "multiple
hit capability". That is to say if the armor is hit in
the same place multiple times it becomes much less
I propose a module containing a small
stack of armor plates and a robot arm. The plates would
an air activated glue. In any lull in combat the robot arm
could unseat itself and slap plates over any damaged
prolonging combat effectiveness.
M1 Abrams tank
Please see armor section. [Voice, Nov 30 2012]
Rolled homogeneous armor [Voice, Nov 30 2012]
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||Actually, 1cm of Chobham armor is roughly equivalent to
3.5cm of cast steel when struck by a HEAT penetrator, so
the supposed 10cm frontal armor (the specific thickness is
classified, of course) on the Abrams is only
worth about a foot of steel, not 3 or 4.
||BTW, what is your definition of 'good steel'? Specificity will
aid ensuant discourse.
||A heat-activated glue combined with a small blowtorch on
the arm would adhere much faster than an air-drying glue.
Also, an arm long enough to reach anywhere on the tank's
sides and upper hull would have to be quite long and of
sufficient build to support its own weight and that of the
patch; the servos would have to be quite powerful to
maintain stability with the tank bouncing across broken
ground. Both of these necessities mean that the whole
assembly will be quite bulky. Finally, the module would
have to be situated so as not to obstruct the rotation of
||The best scheme would be to place it on the turret itself,
but the only two practical locations, the back or the top,
both present challenges. Installing the module on top of
the turret would interfere with the commander's line of
sight, raise the overall height of the vehicle, and expose
the module to enemy fire (meaning that it will have to be
armored and thus even more bulky). Installing it on the
rear of the turret will interfere with the loading and
operation of the tanks main gun magazines, and of course
the entire module would be lost if one of the magazines
were penetrated, since they are designed to explode
outward when hit in order to save the crew and the vehicle
from complete devastation.
||This is an interesting idea, but there isn't nearly enough
meat on the bones.
||Please, please - allow the cool tones of pure reason to clarify matters. First, consider armor. It is to keep something outside from coming through and hurting those within. If the something comes in, it comes in through a hole in the armor. Now the robot arm: presumably this is because having a person scramble out of the tank exposes this person to hurtful things on the outside. But those robot arms: they will easily be blown up or captured with lassos, and if they go rogue they will give you a wedgie.
||The solution: have the person safely inside the tank apply extra armor on the inside of the weakened spot. People are good at putting things on other things. Hurtful things trying to gain entry thru a previously damaged spot will find new and undamaged armor beneath. A stash of spare 1 cm armor plates would serve well to keep the dirty magazines from sliding around inside the moving tank.
||A fake robot arm atop the tank might still be useful. It could be inflatable to give the illusion of huge muscles, and would mostly perform culturally-appropriate rude gestures.
||Erm, yes: what happens when the robot arm get hit? Wouldn't that be the first thing people would aim for?
||Chobham covers a wide range of ceramic armor.
||The M1A1 is supposed to be ~700mm equivalent
against HEAT, 600 against APFSDS, so 2-3 feet, not
||The key question is whether the robot arm+spares
weighs more or less than simply thickening up the
armor in the first place.
||// Wouldn't that be the first thing people would aim for?
||Probably not. The idea behind most penetrative anti-tank
weapons is a one shot kill. Those with the means to pierce
the armor of a tank (AT rockets, recoilless rifles, or really
big guns) typically try to hit the engine in the rear of the
hull or the magazines in the rear of the turret. Barring
that, they'll go for the thinner armor on top of the turret
or the flanks; a frontal shot is a last-ditch resort. Those
without a penetrating weapon are going to go after the
tracks in order to immobilize the tank. Either way, it
makes little sense to attack the self-repair mechanism first
when you can just attack the tank and then, if need be,
have a better shot at the repair arm in its vulnerable
||Chobham is a composite armor formed by spacing
multiple layers of various alloys of steel, ceramics,
plastic composites, and kevlar, giving an estimated
maximum (frontal turret) 1,3201,620 millimetres
64 in) of RHAe versus HEAT (and other chemical
energy rounds) and 940960 mm (3738 in) versus
kinetic energy penetrators. The depleted uranium
underlay adds 610 mm to that. (linky)
||RHA was some of the best steel of the world war II
era, which makes it good but not excellent
compared to modern steel.
||The arm would be at risk when deployed but the
idea is to use it when the tank is stopped
between battles for a quick patchup, not in the
heat of battle.
||A patch on the inside wouldn't work because A:
the crew can't get to all areas of the tank that
need to be armored and B: the weakened place on
the armor probably doesn't represent full
penetration. If something gets all the way through
the crew is probably dead.
||At some point in the process the manipulator has to give an appropriate hand signal in the direction of the enemy.
||Well it should be capable of flinging poo anyhow.
||Just a question about patches - I don't know much about armor, but I'm thinking a patched-on cover over a blast-blemish in the steel/ceram/plast sandwich will still be a notable weak spot.
||So - what about a patch that covers the hole, but also has a standoff cage and internal deflector plate that will make it difficult for another incoming round to get a clean hit on the same spot?
||Really, I want to post some sort of suggestion for a powerfully-magnetized Roomba-tankmech-R2-droid low-profile thing that can lock down your power couplings, replace armor and jettison parts cannisters while you're shooting/scooting. But... I won't.
||// The arm would be at risk when deployed but the
idea is to use it when the tank is stopped between battles
for a quick patchup, not in the heat of battle.
||In that case, wouldn't it be easier for a crew member to
just jump out and apply the patch by hand?
||RHA is a reference to a manufacturing process--Rolled
Homogenous Armor. Rolled homogenous steel, while not
typically used for tank armor these days, is still good stuff.
However, the RHAe is still based on the medium-carbon
steel used in WWII. Modern RH steel is available in a wide
array of alloys.
||Thinking about tanks - the problem is the people in there. Without them it would be a lot tougher. I wonder if there are drone tanks? Maybe the antenna apparatus is not durable.
||//Thinking about tanks - the problem is the people in there. Without them it would be a lot tougher. I wonder if there are drone tanks? Maybe the antenna apparatus is not durable.
||When the Stryker was marketed, it was supposed to have an unmanned variant. It never materialized, however.
||There are drone tanks in the works, but there are a
number of reasons why the idea takes a lot of perfecting,
most concerning the gun. A tank on the ground is much
more vurlnerable than an airborne drone, and far greater a
liability. If it malfunctions or is
compromised by the enemy in some manner, much hilarity
could ensue. The Defence Department does not like the
idea of "rogue 120mm smoothbore levels town" going viral