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Thread: M1A3 Announcement

  1. #1
    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    M1A3 Announcement

    Expecting an announcement about US Army's M1A3 Abrams upgrade in October. Scope likely to include:
    - Revised armour incl. increased underbody IED protection
    - 20% weight reduction
    - Meggitt autoloader
    - Smaller turret
    - Lighter XM360E1 120mm gun & new ammo
    - Anti-UAV light cannon
    https://twitter.com/nicholadrummond/...95613473198080


    https://www.meggittdefense.com/produ...ct-autoloader/


    Really cool autoloader system that appears to allow the Abrams to keep the 4th crew member. This should allow them to focus on operating a drone for ISR or other duties. While it isn't mentioned here, I'm assuming that since they are putting Trophy on some of the M1A2s that an APS system is going to be included as well.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 25 Sep 18, at 16:35.

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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    20% weight reduction? They take off armor on one side or what?
    "Only Nixon can go to China." -- Old Vulcan proverb.

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    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gunnut View Post
    20% weight reduction? They take off armor on one side or what?
    Smaller turret and lighter gun is most of it but is it 20% lighter before or after all these upgrades? An autoloader and gatling gun aren't exactly going to be lightweight additions.

    My hunch is it's 20% lighter than the current Abrams before they bolt all the new toys on (which is still impressive) so that afterwards it's similar to the current weight.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 26 Sep 18, at 14:15.

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    I suspect the new light gun will be a chain gun rather than a multi-barrel gatling type. Either way if it is indeed anti UAV must use APS sensors for directional control.

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    Isn't this a completely different tank? This seems like the F-18E/F sleigh of hand where 'its just an upgrade' is used to justify a budget of what is effectively a completely new platform.

    Not sure how they are going to make the turret smaller with an autoloader while retaining the 4th crew member...I think that the company is saying you *could* keep a 4th in the current M1 footprint if you had to but I suspect the main weight savings is lowering the profile (height is limited by standing loader) and decreasing turret size by removing space for loader or moving the gunner to that side and narrowing the overall turret. That might also allow the hull to be more narrow.

    An external cannon weapon station seems a little extravagant. Certainly a gattling should be a non starter. I think it is a bit of a waste to have every tank carry some kind of AAA installation, but if they are going to go that way they should probably adopt something gas or recoil operated. I feel like even a chain run system would be too bulky of an installation for a roof mount.

    Interesting they don't mention powerplant at all? I'd think at this point the hybrid turbine electrical arrangement of the 'Thunder' demo tank would be a good choice; the tech has come far. Certainly the current turbines are long in tooth tech wise. Did they even end up adding APUs to the M1 fleet?

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    Senior Contributor SteveDaPirate's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post
    Not sure how they are going to make the turret smaller with an autoloader while retaining the 4th crew member...I think that the company is saying you *could* keep a 4th in the current M1 footprint if you had to but I suspect the main weight savings is lowering the profile (height is limited by standing loader) and decreasing turret size by removing space for loader or moving the gunner to that side and narrowing the overall turret. That might also allow the hull to be more narrow.
    From the autoloader company's website.

    The compact autoloader is an all-electric, fully automatic ammunition handling system designed for easy integration into the M1 weapon station. The magazine subsystem stores 34 ready rounds of 120mm ammunition in the envelope of the M1 bustle. The transfer unit resides completely behind the recoil path of the cannon. Its operational swept volume does not encroach into any useable space within the turret, thus allowing the retention of the full four man crew.

    The magazine design utilizes a double-row, closed-loop chain of canisters providing outstanding volumetric storage efficiency. Rounds are brought to a designated pick-off point which eliminates the requirement for the current large bustle blast doors in favor of a solid armored bulkhead featuring a small blast port.

    The transfer unit incorporates three degrees of freedom, all closed-loop control, operating in concert to extract, reorient, and load the selected round into the main gun at any weapon elevation between minus three degrees through plus ten degrees. The compact autoloader provides the crew with the ability to fire 12 rounds per minute, on the move, thereby taking maximum advantage of the advances in fire control.
    Name:  Compact-autoloader.jpg
Views: 125
Size:  56.0 KB

    What I'm really hoping for is to see that 4th man re-purposed to focus on organic ISR by operating a drone or the m240 while continuing to assist with maintenance tasks during downtime. That would provide the M1 with a sizable advantage compared to contemporary western MBTs that traded the 4th man for a bulkier autoloader system.
    Last edited by SteveDaPirate; 27 Sep 18, at 17:28.

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    I get that it allows the 4th crew member, I just don't see how they could reduce the size of the turret if the also retain that 4th crew member.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Josh View Post

    (height is limited by standing loader)
    Categorically wrong, the Abrams loader is sitting. Everyone sits. If there is an autoloader you could make the turret slimmer in profile since the loader would not need the space he does now. He could be seated forward rather than sideways. Probalby at a work station. His job would be more akin to the old rto's that used to sit next to the driver in the hulls of older tanks like the M-4 and M-26. Having a dedicated technology worker would improve naigation, IFF/ battle management, and sensor fusion. Keeping him also preserves the inherent strengths of the 4 man crew over the 3 man. A 4 man crew has 72 (commander may be off doing other things) hours a day to do all required tasks plus crew care. A 3 man tank only has 48 hours and more mechanical systems to care for so it eats into combat time and crew care.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_-KEjVd8PKY

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