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Fill the fighting compartment with water
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It has been brought to my attention that there is a battle between the people who design things to destroy tanks, and the people who design tanks to be less blowuppable.

Now, there are plenty of ways of blowing tanks up, many of them involve hurling dense material at the tank, in the hope that it will penetrate the armour and fill the interior with super fast-moving hot metal.

Now, why don't we fill the tank with water*? The crew can swim about inside secure in the knowledge that any super fast moving particles break up in a few mm of water in addition, should the tank be shaken about violently, the crew won't rattle around inside quite so much. Furthermore, an impact on the surface of the armour will be backed by multiple metres of non compressible material. The crew can be supplied by a regular compressed air supply topped off by the engine during normal operation. The compressed air supply and water will provide enhanced NBC protection. Shockwaves may propagate through water better to kill crew in some scenarios, I'm not sure if they wouldn't have died anyway.

The tank crew may keep pet fish, although they will be prohibited from repeating any "two fish in a tank, one says to the other" jokes.

*or possibly diesel

bs0u0155, Mar 25 2015

.50 cal in water https://www.youtube...watch?v=yvSTuLIjRm8
[bs0u0155, Mar 25 2015]

Ripsaw unmanned tank https://en.wikipedi...ipsaw_%28vehicle%29
has been in development for 15 years now [notexactly, Mar 26 2015]

https://www.youtube...watch?v=hBkHKOijlys russian remote combat vehicles - totally excellent [xenzag, Mar 27 2015]


       It is my understanding that water is very good at carrying impact/shock waves. That would be as fatal as if molten metal was spraying about the tank interior.
Vernon, Mar 25 2015

       But dehydration isn't a danger...
bs0u0155, Mar 25 2015

       " You man the guns, I'll drive. "   

       I'm sorry I completed that bad fish joke - I feel gill-ty now.
normzone, Mar 25 2015

       A better option might be to fill the tank with ping- pong balls.
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 25 2015

       Much like how you can fill a safe with water then blow it up with a firecracker, I suspect filling a tank with water would not make it tougher.   

       I suspect even a moderate concussive blast outside the armour would kill everyone inside, if not blow the doors and/or turret off.
Custardguts, Mar 25 2015

       Fill the tank with a vacuum.
cudgel, Mar 25 2015

       ...or oobleck   

       <obligatory reference> Custard </obligatory reference>
AusCan531, Mar 25 2015

       Everyone has it right. The last thing you want is to make a tank interior better at transmitting shock. The most common killer inside the tank is not the round itself, it's spalling of the interior layer of armor. If instead of throwing splinters, that's producing overpressure, you're going to have dead crew from relatively minor hits.
MechE, Mar 25 2015

       //sitting on a sofa somewhere in Idaho//   

       Actually that's a good point. Given that tanks are relatively slow, tend to have limited vision and seldom experience things like negative G, why are they not all remotely operated?
MaxwellBuchanan, Mar 26 2015

       //given that tanks are relatively slow, tend to have limited vision and seldom experience things like negative G, why are they not all remotely operated?//   

       Flying's quite easy, especially the sort of flying UAV's do. They're never going to fly in contested airspace, because they're easy to jam and easier to shoot down. Tanks are on the ground* where they like hiding. They're going to be hiding from enemy aircraft and their own satellite system simultaneously. There are guns that load themselves, but I'm not sure how they handle swapping the type of ammunition on the fly. Also, there's no known automated way of drinking tea, which is essential for proper tank function.   

       *except the A10
bs0u0155, Mar 26 2015

       //why are they not all remotely operated?//   

       Well, because remote operation doesn't really make sense for a combat ground vehicle.   

       The development of modern tanks has until recently been centered around the concept of massed armoured warfare (namely in eastern Europe). In that scope, remotely operated tanks (or anything else) would be useless, because the first thing to go in the battle would be comms as both parties would jam the shit out of all channels. In fact anything radiating more EM than a rock would probaby get zapped by antiradiation missiles within the first few minutes.   

       Secondly, UAVs are not required to rapidly respond to anything - they loiter, observe, and eventually fire semi-active or fully active ordnance at targets some distance away. It all happens in slow motion. None of this requires split second timing or rapid responses.   

       A tank on the ground, being much closer to the action, couldn't cope with the 1/2 second or whatever it is lapse in comms. Imagine trying to operate a turret firing at enemy troops running around - but with a 1/2 or 1 second delay between what's on the screen, and your control input reaching the machine. It would be impossible.   

       ...However, in asymetrical warfare - against an enemy who can't jam comms, maybe there would be scope to remotely operate an armoured ground vehicle.
Custardguts, Mar 26 2015

       A low earth orbit single satellite bounce would be about a 2.7 millisecond delay. That's not going to interfere with activity on the ground. A double satellite bounce, and including the (dedicated) satellite relay channel would still be less than a hundred milliseconds, slightly more, but not significant.   

       As far as communication jamming, if you make multiply redundant links across a wide band range, including laser relay if there is not overhead cover, it's not so easy to jam. With regards to anti- radiation missiles, even in all out warfare, neither side is going to be able to target every single source broadcasting in certain common bands, especially with spread spectrum communications and active frequency hopping.   

       If you really want to make it secure, you have a series of laser communications drones that are purely autonomous that relay from the sheltered attack vehicle to a satellite. No broadcast radiation further than say a bluetooth or wifi link, and the attack drone can do whatever as long as one or more of the nodes is in range.   

       I would put a strong estimate that we will see remote (operator in theatre) ground based drones within the next decade, two at the outside.   

       However, that being said, I expect them to be smaller, much more lightly armored, and much more single purpose (and as a result, cheaper) than current tanks. The first generation will probably be essentially mobile mines, or slightly more robust and tactically versatile versions of current bomb clearance robots.
MechE, Mar 26 2015

       Your 2.7 milisecond delay has no processing time in it, doesn't take into account compression/encryption etc. In real terms the delay will be significantly longer. At least a couple hundred ms.   

       Anyhow, your drone tank can't do basic tasks like refuelling, simple repairs, or dragging shit out if it's path.   

       I too suspect we'll see remote controlled or semi-autonomous ground vehicles soon. They won't be tanks, and they most likely wouldn't be very useful for active combat. Patrols in occupied territory, peacekeeping or scouting, EOD or just plain keeping point for a manned patrol? Yep sure.
Custardguts, Mar 26 2015

       We've had those for years. See PackBot. Also see my link.
notexactly, Mar 27 2015

       I like the idea of a wire guided tank. If it works for rockets it should be even better for tanks. You could hunker down in the shrubbery a ways away and steer your tank around via a long wire. Then you would be safely outside the tank but close enough not to worry about EM.   

       You could even have your own fake head (but with sideburns) poking out the top (of the tank, not the shrubbery). When your opponent shot that fake head and it just spun around and scowled they would be terrified of your ferocity.
bungston, Mar 27 2015

       //Anyhow, your drone tank can't do basic tasks like refuelling, simple repairs, or dragging shit out if it's path.//   

       Neither can an human crewed tank in combat. At least at first the operator is going to be within kilometers at most, and fully able to catch up with the vehicle as long as it's not actively in combat.   

       As far as the processing lag, in case you hadn't noticed, Abrams tanks do an awful lot of processing before a shell is fired already. On a dedicated link, with care in the design, the processing time will also be in the milliseconds. Certainly less than a tenth of a second cumulative.   

       Finally, the critical factor is cost. If you can field ten of these for the cost of one tank, you rotate them out for refueling or repair, and clear brush by having one be a dedicated bulldozer. The same crew can operate all of them in rotation without nearly as much risk to themselves.
MechE, Mar 27 2015

       See last link.... don't mess with the Russians if they really do have these... very well made little 3D combat animation - well worth watching all of it of you like fighting vehicles destroying everything in sight.
xenzag, Mar 27 2015

       That's a little more capable than I expect to see anytime soon. Their target detection and acquisition systems were remarkably fast and effective compared to their opponents. Not to mention of the traverse speed of those turrets and missile launchers in units that are apparently armored to stand up to assault rifles, to say nothing of the armored car's cannon.   

       Plus the whole low ground clearance works well on smooth paved roads, not quite so sure how they managed to break through walls and keep going.   

       Still, that's the concept, and I don't think it's that impractical.
MechE, Mar 27 2015

       Target acquisition speed speaks to at least two operators per vehicle plus a networked eye-in-the-sky.
FlyingToaster, Mar 27 2015

       After some serious consideration of this idea, I have come to the conclusion it is rediculous. Water is non compressible and everyone knows the insides of tanks are supposed to be compressible. Thus...this is a thoroughly absurd idea.   

       However, if you filled the inside of the tank with canary feathers...Now that's an Idea!
Altoidian, Mar 28 2015


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