From the Vault: Armor of the Future circa 1960

picture coverLooking back at what previous generations predicted the future might hold can often be amusing.  Books, films and TV of the past often present version of the future that are considerably more fantastic than what actually came to be.  Military thinkers are not immune to this trend either, as today’s article shows.  We present “Armor of the Future” by Major Raymond J. Astor, published originally in the Sep-Oct 1960 issue of ARMOR.  In the article, the author uses as his starting point a quote from General Bruce C. Clarke on future tank requirements.

“We know exactly what we want.  Take the single item of the tank: our requirements are simple.  We want a fast, hightly mobile, fully armored, lightweight vehicle.  It must be able to swim, cross any terrain, and climb 30 degree hills.  It must be air-transportable.  It must have a simple but powerful engine requiring little or no maintenance.  The operation range should be several hundred miles.  We would also like to to be invisible.”

One would assume that General Clarke was speaking tongue in cheek when he made these comments, however the author of the article takes them at face value!

” This requirement could be approached and perhaps fulfilled completely if the United States were willing to assign the necessary scientific resources of the nation to the problem.  Let us examine the problem and determine how this could be achieved.”

Looking back, this claim seems to contain more than a hint of hubris.  Perhaps it is not surprising considering the unbridled optimism concerning technology that was the style in 1950’s America.

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