StrategyPage has video of the Army’s latest anti-tank missile in action. Here’s a vidcap.
Now go watch the video already.
RE: Hot Stuff
Now THAT ‘rocks’!
[Hunting tanks is easy and fun. -- US Marine Corps]
P.S. Its just about to get easier.
Ok, that’s the end of main battle tanks. Not because this missile can take out tanks, that’s old news. Read the details though, this is a hyper velocity kinetic kill missile, the same mechanism used by the best, most destructive tank rounds, it travels at nearly the same speed (1500 m/s vs. 1700 m/s for the APFSDS round) but has more kinetic energy because it has a heavier penetrator, and has greater range (~5,000 m vs. M1′s 4,000 m). So now a Humvee can be nearly as destructive offensively as an Abrams tank (the only difference is that the M1 can carry 40 rounds whereas the LOSAT/Humvee carries just 12). Only, Humvees travel faster (55 mph max vs. 42 mph), have better fuel efficiency (14 mpg vs. 0.6 mpg), and longer range (350 mi vs. 275 mi), and can be transported in ass-load quantities by air (~5 per C-130). I had heard about this weapons program but I was not aware that it was nearing completion nor nearly so capable.
When these go into service the US Army (I understand that they are scheduled for service between soon and right now) will be capable of dropping the equivalent of an MBT battalion anywhere on Earth in 48 hours. And there can be no question but that battles between Humvees with LOSAT and MBTs will be nearly as lopsided as such encounters were with the M1.
Whoa…expensive scrap metal. Yeah, the era of the tank is over. No doubt about that.
Let’s not exaggerate the demise of the MBT. The world has had jeep or truck mounted anti-tank weapons capable of destroying then-contemporary armor systems for a half century. And while the demise of the tank was predicted each time, MBT’s haven’t disappeared.
What really causes the demise of weapon systems is less often a new counter-weapon but a new tactic. Thus the mailed knight wasn’t made obsolete so much by the many weapon systems that could defeat them – such as the longbow or the musket – but by rediscovery of combined arms tactics.
Has the US ever fronted a serious weapon of this type before? The terms that come to mind are “technical” and “horse archer.” The one major disadvantage that I see is the lack of armor. Against guided missiles, armor appears to be nearly useless. Against mines and small-arms fire, however, it’s quite good. Perhaps the days of the MBT as a formation vehicle are done, but it seems to me that it would still be outstanding in an urban role, as the Israelis do with their Merkavas. Everyone said that the battleship’s days are over, but it would still be nice to have a heavily-armored big-gun ship capable of supporting amphibious and coastal attacks without having to spend millions per cruise missile. Just as the ocean is now controlled by submarines, destroyers, and the airplanes supplied by carriers, “plains” warfare will likely be increasingly controlled by heavily-armed light vehicles supported by aircraft.
I’m not so sure that this means the end of the tank. Take a look at the “Blackhawk Down” scenario in Mogadishu, for example. If those Rangers and D-boys would have had armor backing them up, we wouldn’t have come out of there with a bloody nose like we did.
Urban warfare is the wave of the future, and tanks will play a huge roll in helping our troops in that style of fighting. These “heavies” can blast holes in walls, roll over roadblocks, etc. etc. I can see tank on tank battles gone in the future, though.
Corollary to the armor question posted by other commentors, the LOSAT mounted on a HUMVEE would be vulnerable to just about every gun, rocket, or missile out there. Most decisive example of an anti-LOSAT countermeasure would be quick artillery strike, which would cause damage and suppression to LOSAT-equipped units.
The era of the MBT is not *quite* over yet.
Chobham. Nuff said.
Drake: Nah, Chobham helps against shaped charges, but against a penetrator it’s not all that much better than solid armor.
Also, remember, folks: the point of the tank was never to kill enemy tanks. The point of a tank is to overrun and kill entrenched infantry. A Humvee can’t do that because it doesn’t have the armor.
I still prefer the old FOG-M system that the Army abandoned as it allowed engaging armor out of line of sight.
They really didn’t need M1s in Mogadishu, armored vehicles like the Bradley would have sufficed. The tank will still have its uses in certain situations, but I think we’ll see more and more vehicles such as the Medium Armored Vehicle.
But now entrenched infantry will have weapons like these.
Tank on tank battles don’t happen anymore and won’t ever again. Last real tank-on-tank battle was 60 years ago at Kursk. Reasons why:
1) Air power. Any country gets enough tanks together to challenge the US Army, we’ll bomb the hell out of them
2) Infantry anti-tank weapons that are now quite good.
3) Now these–they’re more mobile tank killin’ machines.
Tanks are good place-holders in urban warfare, I’ll give you that, but only in urban warfare absent “tank snipers” with personal anti-tank weapons. They’ve become rather expensive mobile artillery, like battleships.
David, I think you need to read some Arab-Israeli war histories.
Ah, blast, that got cut off.
What I meant to continue with was that histories of the Arab-Israeli wars show that on many occasions there were large scale tank on tank battles. Not to mention 73 Easting in the Gulf War. In 1973, the Israelis confronted an Egyptian army well armed with wire-guided anti-tank missiles that had been heralded as the doom of armor tactics. They weren’t.
Significant advance over the TOW because the time of flight is so short. Has anyone thought to send this to the Iraqi Army?
FRED: “Has anyone thought to send this to the Iraqi Army?”
Mais bien sur!
And let’s not forget 73 Easting.
“Let’s not exaggerate the demise of the MBT. ”
Um, guys? This is the end of their MBTs. “They” being whomsoever is battling against us. Our MBTs are just fine. And theirs are probably just fine as long as they are not fighting an Anglosphere country.
On my computer I have video clips of some 6-8 different tank-killer weapons in the US arsenal. Maybe the French, Germans, Russians (do they have any significant weapon industry left) , China, and the British have some similar weapons, but anybody else? In particular, anybody who we’d be going to war against?
But…does it play that cheesy music when you use it?
Yeah, it means death for their MBTs. But the M1 is 20 years old, and I haven’t even heard talk about developing a successor. I know that the Abrams is the A1 class of the world, but most branches are always considering new things, from the Joint Strike Fighter to the DD(X) destroyers, I haven’t read anything about the next generation of tanks.
The LOSAT is a POS. It is absolutely capable of shredding any current or future tank I grant. But – and these are BIG BUTS – to be operationally effective it has some major drawbacks:
1. Being a kinetic energy weapon it is useless until it has accelerated to ‘ramming speed’. With a max range of 4km it will have a min range of about 1km. That’s not good.
2. The missile fires directly out of a Humvee roof assembly – no turret – and with an angular error capability of 20 deg. So the Hummer has to be pointing at the target. If there are mutliples targets the driver will have to keep going back and forwards to align the vehicle. Not good.
3. The LOSAT is a big sucker. A Javelin, TOW, Hellfire, MILAN are all much lighter and easily man portable or reloadable (and can also shred any current tank). After firing 4 rounds the crew must get out and sweat it out humping new rounds into the roof of the hummer out in the open. The LOSAT is overweight overkill. Not good.
4. The muzzle blast on firing completely obscures the firer and his optics. If not launched perfectly there is only about 1.5 seconds to reacquire and execute a multi-G turn to target. Not good.
5. It is a line of sight weapon. This means that on an open desert terrain it rocks (if the enemy happens to be more than 1km away). In more complex terrain or in support of urban operations it is worthless. Not good.
6. All other missiles have HE warheads. This missile has a long rod penetrator. This means is ONLY uselful against tanks. Fire it into a building or other soft target and it will sail on through. This is precisely why tanks also have HE rounds (HEAT, HESH, etc) because fin rounds (APFSDS) are fuck all use against anything other than a tank. This limits operational usefulness and is not good.
The LOSAT programme was cancelled, restarted, delayed and will now only deliver a tiny number of units to the army. I loved that MPEG of the missile at White Sands too – but this is pork barrel ordnance and a waste of $300m. How many Apaches could you get for that?
This looks a whole lot like HVM finally getting deployed.
Patrick makes many good points. Still, there may be room for operational use, there. I just don’t know enough about the system in question, or even the tactics. When you’re toting around antitank weapons in a Humvee, though, you don’t just sit the thing on a ridge and wait for the tanks to come. You go to where the tanks are in force and in doing so you point yourself directly at the main body. I believe some of his other concerns would be neatly put to bed when you take this into consideration. Go to where the tanks are, kill as many as you can in as short a period of time as possible, then get the hell out of dodge before they can get their turrets around.
On the other hand, good old Hellfire is still an effective tank-killer when you’re going against a technologically weaker force. It’s also good to remember that A-10s are still in service. Unfortunately the A-10 avionics upgrade will occur too late for anything in Iraq. At least that would be true in a rational world.
God Bless America. And we are blessed to be in a country that can develop such devestatingly destructive machines, and yet choose not to use them except in the defense of liberty.