Technology Used In Tanks


Invention of Tanks

Recent Development

Technology Used In Tanks



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Technology Used In Tanks

Tanks have seen many technological developments over their hundred years of history. In fact, tanks suffer from a short life span owing to their vulnerability due to the present age of unconventional warfare where every day is a new one. Generally, the main body of a tank can be divided into three sections:

  • The driving compartment at the front
  • The fighting section in the center
  • The engine at the back.

Generally, the driver's compartment has three observation periscopes. A camera with a 65° horizontal and vertical field of view positioned at the rear of the vehicle and a television monitor to provide a reversing aid to the driver. The turret is located in the center of the vehicle. Most of the armor used in today's tanks are third generation composite armor. There is also a spall liner present that reduces the number of fragments and narrows the fragment cone. The spall liner also provides noise and thermal insulation.

However, a tank's effectiveness is judged by traditional factors such as its firepower, mobility and protection. A tank which is great on mobility can engage a target from maximum distance, capable of attacking multiple targets and also capable of defeating armored vehicles or entrenched infantry. Mobility means the speed and agility of driving cross-country, the types of terrain that can be covered, the dimensions of obstacles, trenches and water that can be crossed, the ability to cross small bridges, and the distance that it can cover before refueling.

A modern tank is judged by its engine power, vertical step climbed, power-to-weight ratio, angle of slope that can be climbed, and engine torque among others. Tank protection means the amount and type of armor that it can hold, how is it arranged and which areas are given more protection and which receive less of it. It also includes low profile, low noise and thermal signature, active countermeasures and other methods of avoiding enemy fire, and the ability to continue fighting after damage has been sustained.

Most modern tank designs are generally a perfect combination of these three factors. Also, it is not considered possible to maximize all three. For example, increasing protection by adding armor will increase weight and therefore decrease maneuverability.

In all MBTs, the prime weapon is one large gun. These guns are large caliber weapons. Most of the current sizes are 120mm caliber for Western tanks and 125mm for Eastern tanks. These guns are capable of firing many types of rounds, but their current use is commonly limited to kinetic energy (KE) penetrators and high explosive (HE) rounds.

Other weapons in a tank are small caliber machine gun mounted coaxially with the main gun for short distance target. The 12.7-mm and 14.5-mm machine guns on U.S. and Russian tanks can destroy lightly-armored vehicles at close range.

Tanks including the M551 Sheridan, T-72, T-64, T-80, T-90, T-84, and PT-91 can fire anti-tank guided missiles through their gun barrel or through externally mounted launchers. This increases the effective combat range of the tank beyond the range afforded by conventional shells. With it, the tank also has a weapon meant to target slow, low-flying airborne targets like helicopters.

In most of the MBTs, there is a smoke grenade launcher present. It is capable of quickly deploying a smoke screen to visually put up a barrier to shield any enemy attack. Other smoke grenades are developed to create a very thick cloud capable of blocking the laser beams of enemy target designators or range finders. The smoke grenade launchers are also used to launch tear gas grenades and anti-personnel fragmentation grenades.

Though the armor and weapons system continue to be developed, nations are reconsidering having such heavy, expensive to operate and logistically demanding weaponry in the face of unconventional warfare. Nevertheless, tanks are and will continue to be among the most formidable and versatile weapons of the modern battlefield, both for their ability to engage other ground targets and for their shock value against infantry.

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