The time of big tank’s fighting like we saw in Iraq is over for a while.
These new tanks will be in service for the next 30-40 years... their modular armour and weapons and sensors will be upgraded several times over that period. In fact later models might be flexible enough that at front line level certain modules can be popped out and replaced in the field.
As long as the enemy has vehicles with tank level armour then a vehicle able to take on and defeat such vehicles will be needed... that is what a MBT is for.
The big fights now are against insurgents armed with ATGMs, RPGs, and IEDs, no tanks, no aircrafts, just good solders that carry the right weapons that fighting in cities, villages, and roads. For this type of fights the main gun of the tank is not the answer.
Yet the US has seen fit to drag their 70 ton MBTs to Iraq and Afghanistan...
The current tank gun has serious limitations due to its very high velocity meaning it really didn't need high elevation mounts means that in an urban area where targets can be in the tops of buildings or their basements means the current gun layout is not suitable.
For all we know the main gun of the Armata might be able to elevate to very low and very high angles. Previously on Soviet and Russian tanks the elevation was seriously limited to keep the turret small to make it the smallest possible target. With no crew in the target the MBT could have a gun mount up high that allows excellent depression and very high elevation... which means the main gun and any coaxial weapons have a much better field of fire.
What we have to do, is to upgrade the secondary weapons and use them as the main guns for this type of war.
The whole purpose of the heavy vehicle family is to operate in urban environments... does the tank really need lots of secondary weapons when all the APCs and IFVs will have tank level armour and lots of support weapons able to deal with infantry... not to mention the BMPT which is a purpose design tank support vehicle...
The gun that I’ll use for that is the 2A42 30 mm. The gun has two RoF: low and high, the low has 300 RPM, and the high has 800 RPM. I have no problem with 23mm, but I don’t know if it has 2 type of RoF like the 30 has.
Mounting a 2A42 will take up a lot of space, as will its ammo... the problem I have with the 2A42, and I mentioned this in the thread about the BMPT based on the T-90 with twin 2A42s is that it lacks the really high rate of fire to engage aerial targets, but probably lacks the ammo capacity to be a good gun based air defence vehicle anyway, while in terms of punch it only had 4 missiles to hit point ground targets. The best compromise in my opinion was for the Terminator to be fitted with an armament more similar to the BMP-3 but have the 2A72 cannon replaced with the 2A38M cannon of the Tunguska... 2,500 rpm would be ideal for use against aircraft and it has lower firing rate settings for ground targets, while the 100mm gun has the HE power for most ground targets and its HE FRAG shells would be more effective exploding amongst enemy troops than a burst of 30mm rounds.
In the case of armata MBT however it will already have HE power with 125mm shells and laser guided 125mm rounds would probably be more effective against aerial targets too, which means as a support gun to deal with enemy troops I think either a small compact cannon or grenade launcher make the most sense... a KPB would share ammo with the BMPT and any Hind units operating nearby, while the 40mm Balkan grenades will be widely used by infantry too and its 2.5km range should be sufficient for most tasks. Either or both in my opinion, though unlike the model of the BMPT armata the 23mm doesn't need the size of a gatling or its rate of fire... save weight and space with a single barrel KPB.
In a 5-10 round burst the target really wont notice the difference except that the gatling will deliver the rounds slightly closer together.
As for the 4th crew man, the all world still work like this for long time. Tanks are not standing in one place and shoot, they work like artillery “shoot and scout”, you shoot 3 rounds and change your location. You stay in one place you will die. The loader will make the shooting faster.
Actually I would say the opposite... the Soviets and Russia dumped the loader decades ago and modern conditions make it even less likely to want him back. new rounds with longer penetrators will be heavier and more difficult to handle in manned turrets let alone unmanned turrets and the vehicles that stop to load and fire are much more likely to be killed. MBTs have been loading and firing on the move for some time now.
Autoloaders don't get tired.
On top of the loading, the 4th man can operate the RWS, and let the commander do his job, or use a different mount for anther HMG.
The commanders job is to look for threats and give driving commands to the driver and target commands to the gunner. Any soft target that appears he can engage himself with RWS, otherwise the gunner can deal with it.
So the 4th man can be very helpful, even due I understand that his place is in some how dangerous.
There is no place for him in armata.
Thanks for that. I understand all that, I think the 4th man can helpful in the fighting, the maintenance, but I guess the next generation of tanks in the west, will go this way too.
A fourth man would be useful for maintainence and to add an extra body for guard rotation so each man does not spend so long on guard duty, but they can be back at depot... they are not needed in the field.
I would be surprised if the KBTM's turret is chosen over the Terminator's twin 30's which is what UAZ will most likely propose for the Armata BMPT. Don't count on the final design of the Armata MBT to have anything like the KBTM turret.
Of course if you think about it for a bit the best armament for the BMPT would be designed to engage infantry and aircraft... a bit like IFV armament... now the main purpose behind the BMPT was that it was a tank based vehicle with tank level armour and mobility that could go with tanks where the lightly armoured IFVs and APCs could not... with the armata concept the IFVs and APCs will have tank level armour... and with an externally mounted main gun there is no reason why the armata MBT couldn't have a gun that elevates like the 30mm on a BMP-3 with a coaxial 23mm cannon or grenade launcher for that matter...
The most lethal IFV fighting module in production is the BMP-3's which has a coaxial 30mm. So it's not beyond the realm of possibility that the Armata MBT will have something larger than a 12.7mm HMG, I just think it's unlikely.
30mm ammo takes up a lot of space... 23 x 115mm ammo is only slightly bigger than 50 cal.