Armor Aplenty for Today and the Future

 

I remember several years ago when analysts the world over began decrying the tank, citing its vulnerabilities on the modern battlefield from both Man-Portable (MANPAD) and Air-to-Ground ordnance. If that’s true, then someone better tell all the world’s military forces since they still seem to be cranking them out in anticipation of a potential cataclysmic engagement somewhere in Europe.

Recently, Turkey unveiled its first indigenously-built main battle tank dubbed the Altay. Not be confused with the Altaya brand of diecast collectibles, the Altay is a 3+ generation main battle tank (part of the MİTÜP (Milli Tank Üretimi Projesi, English: National Tank Production Project)) designed and developed by Otokar of Turkey for the Turkish Army and export markets. It is named in honor of Army General Fahrettin Altay (1880–1974) who commanded the 5th Cavalry Corps in the final stage of the Turkish War of Independence. In fact this naming is just a diversion that is indeed causing from the name of the race of turkic nations,Altay.

Meanwhile, Italy debuted its newest tank destroyer, the Centuaro II, at this year’s Eurosatory exhibition. Resembling its previous incarnation, the Centauro, the latest Centauro armored vehicle represents a new stage in the evolution of the storied Centauro 105 and 120mm armored vehicle, the first 8×8 wheeled antitank vehicle in the world with a high-pressure gun.

As regards mobility in particular, the power-to-weight ratio, increased to 24 HP/tonne, provides unequalled performance in terms of speed and acceleration thanks to the new-generation IVECO engine, offering more than 720 HP, and to the associated modernization of the transmission, braking system and control electronics.

The digital tyre pressure control (CTIS), allied with run-flat systems, the new suspension and the low nominal ground pressure allow the new Centauro armored vehicle to extricate itself from any type of terrain.

We reported last year how Poland is also developing a main battle tank, which bears a futuristic appearance that seems more at home on the battlefield of Call of Duty than it does against some of the latest weaponry it could face.

The idea of the PL-01 is to try and eliminate the infrared, radar and visual signature of the traditional tank to a large degree, while also relying on guile to take identity masking a step further. In addition, the PL-01 concept aims at bringing to market a tank packed with relevant modern features, many of which already exist off the shelf, while others are still on the developmental horizon.

The vast majority of targeting sensors on the battlefield today rely on the infrared band of the electromagnetic spectrum to do their bidding. The PL-01 attempts its almost magical infrared signature reduction via the installation of temperature controlled wafers that blanket its exterior. This chameleon’s skin of sorts, allows the tank’s skin to match the infra-red signature of its surroundings. It does this by processing what small infrared sensors mounted around the tank detect, and then displays a pattern on the tank’s honeycomb-like covering that best matches the infrared data collected.

As a result, the tank all but disappears to infrared sensors. Even more outstanding, these wafers can also be used like pixels, as each can be manipulated in temperature. This allows for the tank to use active infrared camouflage, such as tiger striping its infrared signature in the jungle, or making it flat like the sand in the desert. The PL-01 also lowers its infrared signature through cooling and dispersing the exhaust from its 940 hp diesel engine.

Hopefully, each of these new weapons of war will be replicated for the diecast military market.

 
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