Two new posts from “Below the Turret Ring” blog

Below the Turret Ring has made a couple of new posts.  As always, their posts provide a fairly lengthy description of some of the latest developments in AFV technology.  These two new posts look at the Austrian Pandur wheeled AFV and the Israeli “Carmel” next generation combat vehicle.  We have included an excerpt from the beginning of each post below.  Click on the headline to go to the Below the Turret Ring site and read the full article.

 

IDF Carmel details emerge

תמונה1A number of 3D graphics showing the Carmel next generation combat vehicle of the Israeli Defence Force, which sometimes is also called an advanced technology demonstrator, have been posted on the internet. The images come from a presentation held by the retired Brigadier General Didi Ben-Yoash, who formerly was the Chief Armored Corps Officer of the Israeli Defence Force (IDF). The presentation was part of the Second International Ground Warfare and Logistics Conference, held on 16th and 17th of May 2017 in the Latrun Armed Corps Memorial. Based on the fact that Didi Ben-Yoash is retied and IsraeliDefense.co.il describes this as a simulation of the Carmel, it appears extremely likely that the final vehicle might appear to be very different.

 

Austrian Pandur projects progression

Pandur-EvoThe Austrian company GDELS Steyr, part of the General Dynamics European Land Systems (GDELS) division and formerly known as Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug GmbH (SSF), is responsible for developing a new vehicle of the Pandur family of wheeled vehicles (FoV). A few photos of an unspecified Pandur 6×6 variant, which apparently is a long wheelbase version of the Pandur II, were taken at a recent event in April. The fact that the vehicle was presented in a modern digital camouflage pattern has caused some funny commencts regarding the lack of style; however here these photos were the inspiration to take a very short look at the Pandur 1 projects in Austria and other countries. The fact that a Pandur II 6×6 is located at the Steyr plant might be a hint regarding the development of the Pandur EVO – it could be used as reference or as base model for the next iteration of the Pandur vehicle. The Pandur 1 is operated in different versions by the Austrian Army (the so called Bundesheer), the Belgian Army (as scout and ambulance vehicles), the Kuwaiti National Guard (some armed with 25 mm autocannons or 90 mm Cockerill medium calibre guns), the Slovenian Army (known as locally as “Valuk”) and the US Army’s Special Forces (fitted with applique armor, operated by the Delta Force and 75th Rangers in very small numbers).

Below the Turret Ring blog on US armor modernization plans

The Blog Below the turret Ring has made a new post looking at US armor modernization plans.  As with their other posts, this is a well written and substantive piece.  Certainly worth a look for those looking for a summary of current US armor plans.  Click on the headline below to go to the full piece.

Below the Turret Ring – US armor modernization plans

2cwCDYzThe armed forces of the United States of America are running a number of projects to modernize the land vehicle and amphibious vehicles during the next few years. The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV), based on a modified Bradley chassis, will replace the obsolete M113 (not called Gavin) in the Army’s inventory. The AMPV features enhanced protection against mines and improvised explosive devices (IEDs), a total of 2,907 AMPVs will replace the M113-based vehicles as general-purpose vehicles, mission command vehicles, mortar carriers, medical evacuation and medical treatment vehicles in the US Army’s Armored Brigade Combat Teams (ABCTs). On the long run a further 1,922 AMPVs might be procured, if the M113 should be replaced at brigade level (and lower) on a one-to-one basis by the AMPV.

In general both Army and USMC are interested in upgrading or replacing the existing medium weight personnel carriers (both APCs and IFVs) in the near future. The Army is working on improving the M2 Bradley and the Stryker, developing ECPs (engineering change proposals) and prototypes for future enhancements. The Marines meanwhile are working on a survivability upgrade of the tracked Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAV), which is being developed by …..

Read the rest of the article here.

 

Below the Turret Ring: Leopard 2 Projects

The blog Below the Turret Ring has written a new post taking a look at some of the latest upgrade projects for the Leopard 2 MBT.

Below the Turret Ring: Leopard 2 projects

In April 2015 the German Army announced it’s plans to increase the operational Leopard 2 fleet by 103 tanks. Since then not a lot has happened, as revealed in official documents and in newspaper articles from the Februrary of 2017. At least some of the tanks are currently owned by the German defence industry, so the government has to buy them back – but no contract has been signed within nearly two years of planning. The Leopard 2A4 main battle tank (MBT) is an improved version from the mid/late 1980s of the original Leopard 2 tank. By modern standards it has outdated armor, a short gun with inferior armor penetration and range, while lacking of modern electronics, optronics and relying on the more dangerous hydraulic systems instead of using electric drives.

leostorage

Leopard 2 tanks in long-term storage

Original reports from last year expected 84 of the new tanks to be upgraded to the Leopard 2A7 or the improved Leopard 2A7V configuration. The costs for buying and upgrading the tanks are expected to be about 760 million Euros, the contract might be signed before summer of 2017; if not the whole program might be delayed by another year due to the German elections in September 2017. The reason for the current delays is a disagreement between the two companies Krauss-Maffei Wegmann (KMW) and Rheinmetall. Current workshare plans see about a third of the work (and the money) going to Rheinmetall, but the company demands more. Rheinmetall acquired the military division of Maschiennebau Kiel (MaK) in 1990, which was responsible for manufacturing 45% of all German Leopard 2 tanks. Rheinmetall is also a major subcontractor for the main armament, delivering the L/55 smoothbore gun for the tank.

Click here to go to the full blog post

Below the Turret Ring

It’s time to check up on the blog “Below the Turret Ring” to see what they have been up to.  Since last time we checked, they have posted two lengthy pieces, one on the armor configuration of the early model M1 Abrams, and a follow-up to their post from last year on Leopard II tanks in Syria.  Click on the headlines in the excerpts below to go to the full version.

 

Below the Turret Ring: Early M1 Abrams composite armor

f5nvtzu3On the TankNet forums, a user with the nickname “whelm” has posted drawings from a formerly classified document on the earliest iteration of the US M1 Abrams main battle tank (MBT). He got this document from Vollketten, a user with accounts at the Sturgeon’s House forum, the WoT forum and other places. It details the armor layout of the tank, showing were the Burlington composite armor is located and how it is specifically implemented on different areas.

Burlington special armor, also known as Chobham armor, is a type of composite armor developed in the United Kingdom by the FVRDE from the late 1960s onwards. It consists of a number of sandwich plates – also called biscuits – which are mounted in a spaced configuration. It is understood that these sandwich plates work as a type of non-explosive reactive armor (NERA), by using an elastic interlayer located between two metal plates (usually steel or alumininum). On impact the rubber will compress to the point of maximum compression, until expanding again and bouncing back. This will move more material into the path of penetration and also shatter thin and fragile projectiles, such as the shaped charge jets created by high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warheads commonly used on anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs) and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs). Essentially NERA works like explosive reactive armor, but with a lot less plate movment, as it only reuses the energy from the impacting projectile, instead of using an external energy source (such as the detonation of an explosive layer) to move the metal plates.

 

Below the Turret Ring: Leopard 2 in Syria – part 2

c2ozgbnwgaaf_6hYesterday a new video was released by ISIS terrorists showing a bunch of destroyed main battle tanks (MBTs) and armored personnel carriers (APCs) near the Syrian city of Al-Bab. This video however has proven something, that I understimated a certain weapon. Not anti-tank guided missiles (ATGMs), not improvised explosive devices (IEDs). A much older weapon: propaganda. The same weapon that turned the Tiger heavy tank – a rather mediocre design of it’s time – to a supposed super tank, that still is being worshipped by some individuals today. However the propaganda worked, invoking a Tiger-phobia on the side of the allies.

Now, what exaclty has happened? A new video showing the exact same area that the first few videos were showing. The destroyed or damaged tanks are probably all identical to the tanks already shown in earlier videos, that have been covered by numerous news articles and blogs. Still some people start writing articles in a sort of kneejerk reaction, claiming that these are newly defeated tanks and that the Turkish Army is just poorly trained or the Leopard 2 is a poorly designed tank, incapable of competing on the same level as the tanks of other countries (even though this is not tank-vs-tank warfare…). This again leads to people to come and reply or spread the articles, which are pushing for their own agenda. “The T-90 is so much better, only one was penetrated!”, “All people who think the Leopard 2 is a good are Nazi-tank fanboys” and “The Abrams/Challenger 2/T-84 is an inpenetratable super tank”. People love to ignore the fact that the Turkish Leopard 2A4 is fitted with out-dated armor, possibly still the first generation of armor technology introduced with the original Leopard 2 in 1979. The fact that the Turkish Army was purged after the failed coup attempt – in which most tank units were equipped with Leopard 2A4 tanks – is intentionally ignored.

Below the Turret Ring: Hardkill APS Overview

The blog Below the Turret Ring has posted a rather lengthy piece explaining the various types of active protection systems available for armored vehicles. Below is the first couple paragraphs, please click on the article headline to to the blog and read the entire piece.

Hardkill APS overview

Active protection systems (APS) have been an important topic when it comes to enhancing the protection of modern combat vehicles since a number of years. Combat in Iraq, Yemen and in Syria has proven the vulnerability of main battle tanks (MBTs) to handheld and/or guided anti-tank weaponry. While many people pretend that active protection systems are a rather new development, many can be traced back to the 1980s and 1990s. One of the earliest APS was tested in 1969 in Germany – that’s 48 years ago! The first APS adopted in military service was the Soviet Drozd system from 1977/1978, that was fitted to a number of T-55 and T-62 tanks. According to unconfirmed rumors Drozd was used in Afghanistan.

Trophy HK.png

A more commonly known APS is Trophy, which has received huge orders by the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) and was adopted on the Merkava 4M MBT and the Namer armored personnel carrier (APC). Aside of the hardkill active protection systems, which actually destroy incoming threats using countermeasures, there is also the less popular category of softkill systems such as the MUSS, which has been adopted on the Puma and is being tested by the British Army.  (click here to read full piece)

 

Below the Turret Ring: December Posts

As we get to the end of the month, we thought it worth looking at what the blog Below the Turret Ring has posted in December. They have two posts for this month, both dealing with German armored vehicles in the Middle East. On December 15 they posted about the Leopard 2 MBT in Syria. On December 22 they posted about a sale of German Marker IFVs to Jordan. We have posted excerpts and links below.  Click on the headline to go to the full article over at Below the Turret Ring.

Leopard 2 in Syria – Donnerstag, 15. Dezember 2016

8hfq9zhTurkish Leopard 2 tanks are actively operating in the war in Syria. The tanks have been photographed at different locations near the town of Al Bab, which is located about 35 kilometres (21.7 miles) north-eastern of Aleppo. A few photos were shared on Twitter, apparently taken by Turkish soldiers. More detailed photos and video footage was provided by the SMART news agency, which is said to have ties to Syrian rebels.

The Turkish Army is operating the Leopard 2 main battle tank (MBT) since 2005, when an initial batch of 298 Leopard 2 tanks was ordered. A further 56 tanks were purchased in 2010 and 2013. The Turkish military previoulsy tested the Leopard 2 Improved (Leopard 2A5/6 prototype), the Leclerc with additional armor package, the Ukrainian T-84-120 Yatagan tank (a version of the T-84 fitted with 120 mm gun and bustle-mounted autoloader) aswell as the M1A2 Abrams fitted with the MT883 diesel engine (as the gas turbine proved to be a main issue for potential buyers). The Leopard 2 Improved performed best, however the Turkish government didn’t purchase the tanks in the originally planned volume and version (up to a thousand Leopard 2A5 tanks were wanted by the military). Instead the Turkish goverment favored the local production of MBTs, where the bid by the South-Korean company Hyundai-Rotem was chosen over Krauss-Maffei Wegmann’s offer, because it included the full transfer of technology instead being a licence production agreement. This lead to the Altay main battle tank, based on South-Korean technology used on the K2 Black Panther MBT.

 

Marders to Jordan – Donnerstag, 22. Dezember 2016

3795783_originalJordan has received an initial batch of 16 ex-German Marder infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs) on the 11th December of 2016 as part of German military aid. The delivery also included 20 mm RH202 autocannons, spare parts and a Marder driver training vehicle. It must be noted that the permission for an export of 24 Marders, 28 Rh 202 autocannons and one Marder driver training vehicle to Jordan was given for 2016. The costs of this equipment is €12.8 million. This means that most likely a second batch of Marders will be shipped this year. A total of 50 Marder IFVs are being delivered to Jordan until end of 2017. Furthermore Jordan is set to receive surveillance equipment, 56 vans and 70 trucks.
The military aid to Jordan is part of a bigger initiative, which costs about €100 million in 2016 and €130 million in 2017. Other recipients of the German military aid are the Iraq, Tunesia, Mali, Nigeria and Niger. Jordan received about €25 million from the German government in order to be able to purchase the Marders.

The Marder IFV is an older design, being introduced into German Army service in 1971. It replaced the HS.30 Schützenpanzer lang, the first infantry fighting vehicle of the world. While offering only average firepower for it’s time, the Marder was designed to feature a higher degree of armor protection, being heavier than all other IFV counterparts of the same era.

 

Recent Posts from “Below the Turret Ring”

It’s time to catch up with some of the recent posts over at the Below the Turret Ring blog.  We have enjoyed following this blog over the past few months, the blog author does a really nice job describing some of the newest developments in armored fighting vehicles.   We decided that rather than waiting to include these in the next installment of “AFV News from around the Net”, we would give them their own post.  Click on the headline to go to Below the Turret Ring and read the full post.

The Hamza multi-role combat vehicle

hamza-vThe privately-owned Pakistani company Blitzkrieg Defense Solutions – and yes, that is the actual name – has developed a new 8×8 wheeled vehicle. Supposedly it is the first 8×8 vehicle developed in Pakistan. The new vehicle is known under the name “Hamza” and was officially presented at the International Defence Exhibition and Seminar (IDEAS) in 2016. It should not be confused with the Al-Hamza, a local version of the M113 fitted with a 25 mm gun in a one-man-turret.

Chile to upgrade Leopard 2 tanks

leopard-2-revolutioonAccording to the Mönch Publishing Group, Chile is said to be looking for an upgrade of the Leopard 2A4 main battle tank (MBT) since 2013. Chile is operating the Leopard 2A4 since 2007, after purchasing an initial batch of 128 tanks for less than €1 million a piece – this low price is understood to be the result of political ties and separate contracts for refurbishment. Later the number of tanks has been increased to 140 and then to 172. The MBTs were modified to the Leopard 2A4CHL standard, which has a modified powerpack.

Challenger 2 LEP bidders downselected; tank to get new turret and new gun?

shaun3-1024x651Two bidders for the life extension programme (LEP) of the British Challenger 2 main battle tank (MBT) have been shortlisted by the UK ministry of defence (MoD). The shortlisted companies will be contracted in the next few weeks for the production of two prototypes worth €25.8 million each. After a 24 month long assessment phase, the final production contract will be made with one of the downselected contenders. In case of unforseen issues, a further €7.8 million can be allocated by the British MoD. Originally the contracts were expected to be signed in October, but the project was apparently delayed, so that currently contracts are expected to be signed in December of 2016. The Challenger 2 LEP is part of the Armour (MBT) 2025 project, which is meant to ensure the Challenger 2 remaining competitive in the timeframe from 2025 to 2035.

SidePRO-RPG armor

inpiz9mThe Swiss company RUAG is offering a wider array of add-on armor types for enhancing the protection of older combat vehicles. It offers three main families of protection products: under the SidePRO brand, armor protection systems for protection the vertical aspects of a vehicle (so the front, sides and rear) are offered, while the RoofPRO brand includes protection systems for the vehicle roof. Lastly the MinePRO brand contains protection solutions for wheeled and tracked vehicles against IEDs, anti-personnel and anti-tank mines.