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Firing on the Move


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Zinegata #21 Posted Apr 06 2015 - 02:42

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View Postdhread, on Apr 05 2015 - 14:39, said:

As The_Chieftain mentions in his article, Computerized Fire Control System.

 

The fire control system on a modern MBT is a beautiful thing. It is almost as if all you have to do is point at the target and when the gun is loaded and the shell will hit, it fires the gun. ('almost;)

 

Yep, it's this plus the stabilization. No human gunner can beat a computer at computing a firing solution.

 

It's also the reason why the Soviet tank designs started getting left behind in the 80s/90s. While Soviet tanks were still competitive in terms of gunpower and armor (indeed, some top-line Soviet tanks were apparently capable of shrugging off 105mm L7 rounds which armed the majority of NATO tanks), their fire control systems simply never managed to catch up because the Soviet electronics industry had simply been left far behind by the combined efforts of the West and Japan. The explosion in cheap, consumer electronics (e.g. calculators) that began with integrated circuits and led to personal PCs was simply not replicated in the Soviet Union, who by and large began to import Western consumer electronics instead. Indeed, the gap remains to the present day - the top 5 chipmakers are American, Japanese, and Korean. No Eastern European company is even in the top 10.

 

That said...

 

Quote

How do the Abrams, LeoII and other modern MBT's pull off their rather frightening on-the-move accuracy, then?

 

I'm not really sure if this was actually all that common. A lot of people (most of whom seem to have read only Tom Clancy or played Steel Panthers 2) claim this happened a lot during the Gulf War, but a close reading of battles of the first Gulf War show that the Allies in fact tended to have numerical and firepower superiority, hence the Iraqis tended to break and surrender pretty quickly once a few shots were exchanged. The only really big tank battle where the Allied forces were outnumbered and the Iraqis stood and fought was 73 Easting, but a close reading of that battle would reveal there were more Iraqi tank losses to artillery and TOW fire rather than from Abrams tanks. And it's also worth noting that this was fought in the desert, which has less "bumpy" terrain than the German plains.

 

In fact the first time I've seen a detailed combat account with Abrams firing on the move is during the Second Iraq War, particularly the "Thunder Runs" that helped secure Baghdad. And in that case you have tanks moving along paved highways, which again is not exactly "bumpy" terrain.


Edited by Zinegata, Apr 06 2015 - 03:29.


General_von_Nuben #22 Posted Apr 06 2015 - 15:44

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B-b-but does this mean that Soviet mediums didn't actually drive circles around fascist box-tyenk, hit the proletariat-designed auto-aim button and nail them dead center while driving 60 kmh?

 

My fantasy is ruined!



blurr91 #23 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 00:56

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View PostZinegata, on Apr 05 2015 - 17:42, said:

 

Yep, it's this plus the stabilization. No human gunner can beat a computer at computing a firing solution.

 

It's also the reason why the Soviet tank designs started getting left behind in the 80s/90s. While Soviet tanks were still competitive in terms of gunpower and armor (indeed, some top-line Soviet tanks were apparently capable of shrugging off 105mm L7 rounds which armed the majority of NATO tanks), their fire control systems simply never managed to catch up because the Soviet electronics industry had simply been left far behind by the combined efforts of the West and Japan. The explosion in cheap, consumer electronics (e.g. calculators) that began with integrated circuits and led to personal PCs was simply not replicated in the Soviet Union, who by and large began to import Western consumer electronics instead. Indeed, the gap remains to the present day - the top 5 chipmakers are American, Japanese, and Korean. No Eastern European company is even in the top 10.

 

That said...

 

Quote

How do the Abrams, LeoII and other modern MBT's pull off their rather frightening on-the-move accuracy, then?

 

I'm not really sure if this was actually all that common. A lot of people (most of whom seem to have read only Tom Clancy or played Steel Panthers 2) claim this happened a lot during the Gulf War, but a close reading of battles of the first Gulf War show that the Allies in fact tended to have numerical and firepower superiority, hence the Iraqis tended to break and surrender pretty quickly once a few shots were exchanged. The only really big tank battle where the Allied forces were outnumbered and the Iraqis stood and fought was 73 Easting, but a close reading of that battle would reveal there were more Iraqi tank losses to artillery and TOW fire rather than from Abrams tanks. And it's also worth noting that this was fought in the desert, which has less "bumpy" terrain than the German plains.

 

In fact the first time I've seen a detailed combat account with Abrams firing on the move is during the Second Iraq War, particularly the "Thunder Runs" that helped secure Baghdad. And in that case you have tanks moving along paved highways, which again is not exactly "bumpy" terrain.

 

 

The Warsaw Pact missed an entire upgrade cycle when the NATO forces moved from vacuum tubes to solid state in the 1980s.  The result of an industrial age army meeting a digital age army was demonstrated in 1991.



zloykrolik #24 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 02:26

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Here's a link to a good discussion of how modern stabilization works: ​http://www.tank-net.com/forums/?showtopic=18215

BravoTwoOne #25 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 03:49

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I fully concur with what the Chieftain said about "unlearning" one way of doing business in a tank and having to learn a whole new life style. I had the fortune to be involved in pretty much the whole series of M60 tanks that started with the plain-jane M60A1 (there was one actual M60 in the tank company that I joined as a new lieutenant, but it was swapped out about 6 months later) and moved up through AOS (add-on stabilization), RISE (mostly improvements to the engine and suspension), RISE-Passive (no more IR searchlights! Yay!) and then finally the M60A3 and M60A3 TTS (tank thermal sight). When the M1 came into the inventory, I think that the transition to that piece of equipment was actually a little easier because it was such a dramatic change that you lost your old habits a lot quicker.

 

This all happened over what seemed to be an entirely too short period of time. It seemed that we would just have gotten the crews through a couple of tank gunnery rotations and new tanks were coming in again. The maintenance guys (especially the turret mechanics) were going equally as crazy. New manuals. New sets of tools for the crews and the mechanics. New gunnery techniques.

 

I can only imagine what it would have been like to have gone through a transition similar to this in WWII with the M4 series. It was challenging enough doing it in peace time in a relatively nicely equipped kaserne with concrete tank parks, workshops large enough for the vehicles, and firing ranges where the targets weren't shooting back.



Zinegata #26 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 07:05

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View Postblurr91, on Apr 07 2015 - 07:56, said:

 

 

The Warsaw Pact missed an entire upgrade cycle when the NATO forces moved from vacuum tubes to solid state in the 1980s.  The result of an industrial age army meeting a digital age army was demonstrated in 1991.

 

Oh I'm certainly not contesting that an industrial age army is going to be in deep trouble fighting a digital age one. I'm just wondering if the Abrams really did fire on the move as much as advertised instead of pausing to shoot from stationary positions. Fire control computers work even better when the firing platform isn't moving.



TornadoADV #27 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 08:30

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View PostZinegata, on Apr 07 2015 - 00:05, said:

 

Oh I'm certainly not contesting that an industrial age army is going to be in deep trouble fighting a digital age one. I'm just wondering if the Abrams really did fire on the move as much as advertised instead of pausing to shoot from stationary positions. Fire control computers work even better when the firing platform isn't moving.

 

They are, since their forebearers, the MBT-70/KPz-70 program was to bring about the next generation of Western tanks that could adhere to NATO doctorine better. (primarily prepared defensive defilade positions with on the move fighting retreats to the next defense line)

The_Chieftain #28 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 15:48

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Abrams is good enough that you don't need to come to a short halt, but you can't be barreling through rough conditions at full speed either.

 

As an aside, Tornado, why do you have a zoomie name, but a T72 avatar?



msgbean #29 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 17:12

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Apr 02 2015 - 22:23, said:

 

 The other question, that of loading the gun on the move, to my surprise remains rather unaddressed in some tanks such as Abrams. If you watch Leopard 2 or Challenger 2 doing a firing run, you will see that the gun always indexes to a fixed loading position. This way, the loader doesn’t have to chase a moving breech. Abrams, not so much. There is an ‘Elevation uncouple’ switch the loader can trip to freeze the gun in position, but it’s an extra step and doesn’t help if the gun is in a particularly awkward position, such as in max depression.

 

 

Chieftain I have to disagree with you on the "freezing" of the gun.  If my memory serves me right when the loader activated the elevation uncouple the gun returned to zero elevation so that the gun was always level in relation to the turret.  Once the gun was rearmed it would return to the alignment of the sights.

MajorKey #30 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 17:23

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Apr 07 2015 - 14:48, said:

As an aside, Tornado, why do you have a zoomie name, but a T72 avatar?

 

He be slummin'.

US_3rd_Army #31 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 17:24

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As usual, another great article from the The_Chieftain

 

but one burning question remains, when will the next inside The Chieftain's hatch will come out?



The_Chieftain #32 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 18:41

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View Postmsgbean, on Apr 07 2015 - 16:12, said:

 

Chieftain I have to disagree with you on the "freezing" of the gun.  If my memory serves me right when the loader activated the elevation uncouple the gun returned to zero elevation so that the gun was always level in relation to the turret.  Once the gun was rearmed it would return to the alignment of the sights.

 

Hmm.. I'll check.

Wailwulf #33 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 18:56

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Looks like a gamepad

 

 



The_Chieftain #34 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 21:59

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View Postmsgbean, on Apr 07 2015 - 16:12, said:

 

Chieftain I have to disagree with you on the "freezing" of the gun.  If my memory serves me right when the loader activated the elevation uncouple the gun returned to zero elevation so that the gun was always level in relation to the turret.  Once the gun was rearmed it would return to the alignment of the sights.

 

OK, apparently this happens only when the gun is in depression. (Which is handy, since in such a case the breech would be way high and difficult to load). In elevation, it locks the gun in position. One chap reminded me of a practice we used to do on the ready line at the gun range, max-elevate the gun and scan for targets without aiming at them. We did the same thing in Iraq, to scan crowds without looking too threatening.

US_3rd_Army #35 Posted Apr 07 2015 - 23:40

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View PostWailwulf, on Apr 07 2015 - 12:56, said:

 

Looks like a gamepad

 

 

Don't know why, but the first thing i think of when you look at that way is the controller for the Virtual Boy



HVAP_APCR #36 Posted Apr 08 2015 - 00:39

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Apr 07 2015 - 12:41, said:

 

Hmm.. I'll check.

 

Long as you're checking...

 

IF you switch off stab, did it disable lead and the other inputs into the ballistic computer, or not?  Can't remember.  My manuals were lost to a flood a couple years ago.



The_Chieftain #37 Posted Apr 08 2015 - 06:14

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It did disable it. Emergency mode did not apply any lead. For super-elevation, entering a range will result in the reticle jumping up or down, you then had to raise the gun accordingly. Remember, in normal mode, you control the sights. the computer figured out how to move the gun. In emergency mode, you control the gun.

TornadoADV #38 Posted Apr 15 2015 - 02:53

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View PostThe_Chieftain, on Apr 07 2015 - 08:48, said:

Abrams is good enough that you don't need to come to a short halt, but you can't be barreling through rough conditions at full speed either.

 

As an aside, Tornado, why do you have a zoomie name, but a T72 avatar?

 

I'm a USAF brat and did a short stint myself out of HS. Grew up on a SAC B-52 base that also had F-106s for interception so had an appreciation for AF Interceptors, the Tomcat already had enough fans so I became a fan of the multirole capable Tornado, specifically it's F.3 interceptor variant. Same thing basically for the T-72, developed, as you know, as a cheaper mass produced compatriot to the T-64, it suffered a terrible insult to it's image when bottom of the barrel monkey models were little more then target practice to Allied forces in Desert Shield/Desert Storm when in-fact the cutting edge T-72B Obr 1989 was among one of the best tanks in the world at the time.

 

So I'm basically a perpetual B-Team lover.



Prima_Vox #39 Posted Jul 22 2015 - 22:09

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One of the comments I'd add regarding the first Gulf War was the stand off capability.  Even during 73 Easting the ability of the U.S. Armor to see, identify, and engage targets from a far greater distance than the Iraqi's was a key multiplier.  I know that may not directly pertain to the gun stabilization discussion, but it does have a relationship with optics, particularly low vision optics, and the relationship to the guns computing systems.

 

The guy that sees, Identifies, and shoots first almost always wins the engagement, whether he's shooting on the move or parked.  I'm willing to bet that was probably true in WWII and remains so now.

 

 






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