Turkey Tank Deal

Altay MBT

SHAH ALAM: NOT much information have been revealed following a report by Defense News, Wednesday, that a Malaysian company, Etika Strategi, signed a joint venture with Turkish’s BMC and German’s Rheinmetall AG “to expand into internal and external markets” of armor vehicles manufacturing and marketing.

The report says that BMC is bidding to build the Turkish indigenous MBT, the Altay. And it is likely that the JV company will concentrate on exporting the MBTs after BMC secured the rights to build them.

The report stated that the companies in the JV are “armor industry manufacturers” which is spot on for BMC and Rheinmetall but not an accurate description of Etika Strategi.

Altay MBT
Altay MBT

According to its profile listed by Bloomberg, ” Etika Strategi Sdn. Bhd. is a holding company, which through its subsidiaries, operates automotive, banking and postal services, property, and asset and construction businesses in Malaysia. The company was founded in 1982 and is based in Malaysia.

In a more simpler terms, Etika Strategi controls DRB-Hicom Bhd, which in turn has a subsidiary, DRB-Hicom Defence Technologies Sdn Bhd, or Deftech which manufacture and also maintained armoured vehicles, trucks and other items for the military and other government agencies. It also supplies specialized vehicles and commercial buses.

So technically, Etika Strategi is not an armor industry manufacturer though it controls one. 

Altay MBT
Altay MBT

Etika Strategy is controlled/owned by Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary, who is listed as the eight richest Malaysian by Forbes magazine.

So far there is no official word on what will the Turkish-JV entail for Malaysia. But I am told that currently DRB-Hicom or Deftech will not be directly involved in the deal. Perhaps Syed Mokhtar will set up another company to promote or manufacture the products.

Altay MBT
Altay MBT

Whether or not it will involved selling MBTs to Malaysia and the setting up of an armor manufacturing plant in Malaysia is beyond me at the moment.

However it is likely that the signing ceremony for the JV was the reason Defense Minister DS Hishammuddin Hussein was supposed to go to Turkey in the third week of July. It was cancelled following the failed military coup on July 15.

The Defense News story. HT to LoongJohn.

— Malaysian Defence

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59 Comments

  1. Well, truth is the BMC are fighting againts Otokar for Altay Tank within help of foreign. However, joint-venture with Rheinmetall AG and Etika Strategi was intend for international export. Not the local(for Turkey). Turkish Goverment want local indigenious tank without international help or their component. Full locally MBT which Otokar, Aselsan, Mkek(License german Cannon but local component), and Tumosan has been example because they build tank by their own component. It was last year Erdogan announced that he want greatly reduce foreign import component and material reliance by 2025 or 2030(chance to be reduce is 90%). Anyway, about the tank. For Malaysian Armed Force, they need put autoloader on it.

  2. Will the Altay suit Malaysia, considering its weight of 65t? I thought Malaysia conditions suited only a sub 50t vehicle.

    Reply
    I don’t know the basic requirements for the next MBT. Perhaps the people at Etika knows so that’s why they went with Altay

  3. Well we still didn’t know what kind of mbt BMC is bidding for the competition. It might be different from the altay of otokar. Maybe with smaller dimensions and weight. Although it will take some time until a prototype is available maybe. Just my sekupang.

    Reply
    Its the Altay they are bidding to build, whether or not they are trying to sell for export is unknown

  4. Assuming this news is legit, that means we would be operating the PT-91 in parallel with the Altays? I fail to see the logic of operating 2 vehicle platforms with overlapping roles. It will just cause maintenance to be expensive. Because I don’t think we would be retiring the PT-91 soon since we have just received them in the early 2010s.

    Things will get worse when the polish stops developing the platform because they themselves are currently looking to replace their PT-91s. So in other words, the PT-91 has reached its growth limit. What was the MOD’s long term vision on the tank?

    Regarding the Altay, does anyone know if it shares the same platform with other vehicles like the IFV, Tulpar? Maybe it’s worth looking into this aspect (commonality) as well since we would eventually need to replace the Adnans. And it will be a lot cheaper to maintain our tracked vehicles if they share a common platform.

    Reply
    It’s legit alright but whether or not it will lead to Malaysia buying Altays is another issue altogether. I doubt they will have an export version before 2020. So even if we buy these MBTs it is likely to arrive here by 2025 which by that time the Pendekar would need replacement anyway.

  5. Talon,

    Why does an auto-loader have to included to meet a Malaysian army requirement? Is this just a hunch on your part or do you know for sure that the Armour Directorate has specified a need for an auto loader for future tanks?

    Tom Tom,

    Actually, it’s the ground pressure and not the total weight which is the main concern. Also, with proper engineering support, there are very few places a 60/65 tonne tank powered by a 1,500HP engine can’t go.

    Q,

    No things will not get worse as various parts of the PT-91 are common to various T-72 variants; parts of which are easily available from a variety of sources. As for the non Polish parts [gearbox, AC, etc] these are still available from their respective OEMs. As such when the day comes that Bumar Laberdy stops supporting the PT-91, it won’t be disastrous for us.

    I don’t think we should put to much in the news regarding the Rheinmetall AG, BMC and Etika Strategi partnership as it’s just a private venture. We have had lots of ventures between local companies and foreign ones which eventually lead to nothing.

  6. Azlan,

    Because having an 4 crew in tank(Commander, Gunner, Driver, and Loader) are expensive to operate. Who’s gonna cover their insurance? You? That’s why they need Auto-loader for low operating cost. Which has 3 crew in future tank. Best recommend they using Turret Bustle Auto-loader rather than Carousel type for safety. You already know why the US Military Budget always cut. That’s why they need Revolver type Auto-loader for Abram new variant: M1A3. They gonna start trial it by 2021. Think: Efficient.

  7. Autoloaders may or may not offer a significantly higher rate of fire than a well trained human loader. But this extra rate will rarely be decisive in combat. Tactics, training and maintenance come first.

    Equipment wise, pay attention first to areas like protection, sensor quality and hunter killer capability.

  8. When you talk about manpower cost savings, maybe an autoloader would make sense in a western army that pays a lot more than we do.

    We currently have a fleet of just 48 tanks. If you are looking for manpower savings, I suggest you start with plenty of other areas in the army.

    Furthermore a fourth crewman can help with many tasks that actually help the crew in combat, such as various manual tasks and rotating watch while others rest. The more rested the crew is, the more effective and survivable.

    The other occasion when autoloaders become a necessity is when you introduce unmanned turrets similar to the Armata. While we still have men in the turrets, it makes little difference whether a fourth man is present or not. As I mentioned before, the extra rate of fire is modest, and is almost never a decisive factor in combat.

    It would be wrong to make it a dominant factor in selecting our next tank.

  9. Thank you for the enlightment. Haha thought that they gonna design a new one. Anyway just curious, do the army has any plan for like a direct fire support vehicle? Like a gempita with a 105/120 mm cannon?

  10. Talon – ”Who’s gonna cover their insurance? You?”

    Cut the sarcasm.

    There are pros and cons in going for an auto-loader. The pro in having a loader is having an extra man to assist with maintenance/recovery work. An auto-loader also takes up space. A bustle one is better – in terms of protection – but it has its drawbacks. BTW, the traditional reasons the Soviets went for an carousel auto-loader had nothing to do with cost or ”insurance”.

    Talon – ”Think: Efficient.”

    You should do the ”thinking”. If indeed an auto-loader goes into a future U.S. tank; fine, but this doesn’t mean we should automatically follow suit. It depends on requirements and what the Armour Directorate specifies for our future tank requirements. There are also compelling reasons why other armies have not chosen auto-loaders for their current designs and are not contemplating them for future ones.

  11. The initial purpose of auto-loader introduction was to reduce tank size and weight given how the Russian swap land is not suitable for heavy tanks to make fast movements. Same as the french with the earlier amx series though the french purpose is to mount the heaviest gun on a light weight chassis which is notorious for tipping the tank over. The cost of developing a new loader mechanism and modify the turret going to cost more than adding a new crew.

    Carousel or other type of autoloader, if it hit it, gonna blow one way or another. Casualties is expected. Plus, the myth that carousel auto loader is more danger of cook off have been debunked. The main reason why the T-series is notorious for cook of is not because of the way the rounds is stored but rather poor crew discipline.

    The T series can only carry limited rounds compared to western counterpart. So tank crew jam pack the entire hull with charge and shells making it a potential sardine can bomb. To hit the carousel is near impossible as it is located deep down to lowest level on the tanks. If the tank is not fully exposed, the chances of hitting it very very slim. Even if is exposed it not an easy task as well to hit such small area in between the wheels.

  12. M1A3, if ever being rolled out, will not include revolver-type autogunner. They’re more about getting updated electronic suite as well as rewiring.

    For countries that prefers autoloader, insurance cost is the last thing they have to worry about, besides insurance doesn’t cover anything in the event of war. The main reason is to reduce the profile of a tank, subsequently having reduced weight. Those weight reduction can be reinvested on thicker armor as well as overall survivabilty of the tank

    Anyway we have to look elsewhere for additional MBT. The poles already shut down PT-91 production line and redirected all of their manufacturing effort on Rosomak instead (as well as their new “light tank” project). Anything significant from russia is out of the question due to their role in MH-17 while there’s no way we’re getting Chinese tanks after all the shenanigans they’ve caused in South China sea. Ukraine are also out (despite Mr Poroshenko visit to Malaysia which will inevitably include lobby for defence cooperation) due to them struggling to honor Thailand tank contract.

    Personally, I thought our new MBT would come from JV with South Africa, since they’re looking for Olifant replacement

  13. AM,

    Yeah but fourth crew can be optional incase if the mission were require it but has drawback too(weight increase). Anyway, i wonder why the Russian still use Carousel type Autoloader on Armata. Look at Black Eagle tank. That was their first Turret Bustle Autoloader tank but they throw away those project.

    Azlan,

    “Cut the sarcasm.”

    Even Autoloader has drawbacks but that doesn’t mean the Malaysian Armour Directorate ignore that. Example: Italy new variant Centauro II which feature newly design auto-loader which can switch Manual mode and Auto-mode incase the mechanism isn’t function.

    You should do the ”thinking”.

    I been thinking a lot in future the US and Israel gonna replace their Smoothbore cannon by Railgun which penetrate more armor than smoothbore.

    dundun,

    “If” they don’t want it. One of the US congressman concern if the Abram tank doesn’t have Auto-loader. Of course having a fourth crew will increase the weight of tank. Not only that the tank crew gonna facing such a difficulty terrain like which will stuck the Abram in mud forever. Getting a Abram out from mud will take hour. That’s why the French, South Korean, Japanese, Russian, China, Ukraine, and some country use Auto-loader rather than Loader. Even the drawback but they have experience to fix it in battlefield or out of combat.

    “Anyway we have to look elsewhere for additional MBT”

    You mean Poles PL-01? That’s true but that doesn’t mean they ignore Leopard 2 upgrade and the Poles Goverment has interest to join France and German new generation tank project. And then You can’t blame Russian for shooting MH17 without hard evidence, Chinese of course always issue on SCS, and Ukraine facing trouble economic too. South Africa olifant replacement was name Project Aorta which wheather they want build a new generation tank like France with German or buy a new one from foreign. And what JV stand for?

  14. Talon – ”the US and Israel gonna replace their Smoothbore cannon by Railgun which penetrate more armor than smoothbore.”

    That’s great but as far as we’re concerned it doesn’t have an impact on us and won’t for a long time. Our immediate focus should be on a PT-91 replacement with a newer and more survivable design, not on technologies that are still on drawing board.

    Talon – ”Even Autoloader has drawbacks but that doesn’t mean the Malaysian Armour Directorate ignore that.”

    And I never suggested that we should ignore it. What I am suggesting however is that if we go for a future tank without an auto-loader, that this won’t be the deciding factor in the tank’s performance.

    Alsex – ”The main reason why the T-series is notorious for cook of is not because of the way the rounds is stored but rather poor crew discipline.”

    No ……. The need to have ammo stored in the fighting compartment, ammo intended to feed the auto-loader, makes the tank vulnerable in the event of a penetration in that area. It’s also not only the ammo per say but also stuff like the charges that are vulnerable. Ideally, all the ammo should be stored in a separate compartment with blow out panels but this is not the case. I have been in a T-72 [owned by a private individual]: when looking at all the ammo [inert] and charges that are placed at various points in the fighting compartment, it becomes very apparent why numerous T-72 has suffered catastrophic explosions when hit in that area. The auto-loader itself has some form of protection in the form of a metal plate fitted horizontally but this is no substitute for the fact that ammo and charges are stored unprotected.

    Talon – ” Anyway, i wonder why the Russian still use Carousel type Autoloader on Armata.”

    In the 2000-2002 period, KDMB already had a bustle mounted auto-loader and even a T-84 with a 120mm main gun. For some reason this was never offered to us.

    Alsex – ” If the tank is not fully exposed, the chances of hitting it very very slim. ”

    Not true. Numerous hull down Iraqi tanks, that had only their turrets exposed, were detected and engaged.

    Alsex – ”The main reason why the T-series is notorious for cook of is not because of the way the rounds is stored but rather poor crew discipline. ”

    No. From the Indian T-72 that had its turret blown several feet in the air due to a massive IED, to T-72s knocked out in Syria, Chechnya, Tajikistan and numerous other places, its proven without doubt that its the placement of unprotected ammo and charges that makes the possibility of a huge explosion very possible. It has nothing to do with discipline on the part of crews. Compare that to the numerous Western designs that had a penetration in the fighting compartment but did not suffer catastrophic explosions.

  15. This was what I think. MAF concern the mbt weight is due to numbers of bridge in Malaysia just capable hold up 55t, thrus 65t run at ground of Malaysia may not be an issue.
    Autoloader might load abit faster than human + it can maintain the phase even 20+ shot..limitation it will jam…
    Among western mbt, my choice will be Leclerc . Less 60t + autoloader…sadly it already E.O.P & pricy tank

  16. Dundun,

    My guess is that the South Africans might eventually settle for a wheeled vehicle armed with a 120mm or an existing design when they can’t put off replacing their Olifants any more. I highly doubt they have the cash to develop their own design. No doubt there will be elements in the South African army who will resist any efforts to replace the Oilifant with a wheeled vehicle. Way before their M-1s were ordered, a major worry for some Australian army armour people was that the government would decide to replace their Leopard 1s with a wheeled vehicle.

  17. T-72’s carousel autoloader stores only 24 projectiles and propellant cases horizontally under the floor. Additional rounds are placed around the hull to manually reload autoloader. It is not because of poor discipline. The carousel is difficult but not impossible to hit with projectiles or mines, but any penetration of the hull can ignite the propellant and cause a catastrophic kill. Which is why so many destroyed T-72s have their turrets blown off the hull.

    My opinion is autoloaders will be necessary only when unmanned turrets are introduced or when ammunition reaches calibers too heavy to load by hand. Even the second is not certain as there are still limits and there are other ways to improve penetration. Until then, no advantage in combat.

    Talon – “weight savings”

    The autoloader still takes up turret space which increases turret volume and weight. It weighs more than a man.

    Talon – “rail guns”

    Yeah, and where is the power going to come from, for multiple shots?

  18. Michael,

    The weight requirements were first laid down in the 1990’s when we first started to seriously consider MBTs. Back then, there was more jungle and less paved roads – it’s 2016 and things have changed.
    Granted, there will be areas where MBTs can’t operate but if MBTs can’t operate in certain areas, then they have no business being there in the first place. And, if there are areas in which MBTs can operate but there are bridges in those areas which can’t accommodate them, then this is where ones engineering assets will make the difference. Similarly, if MBTs have to operate away from urban areas; say in the Tawau border area, there will be dirt tracks which accommodate logging lorries. If a dirt track can accommodate a logging lorry, it can certainly accommodate a MBT.

    We can only hope that when the Armour Directorate lays down the technical parametres for our next MBT, that they’ll be different to the ones we had when the T-91s were ordered to reflect the changed circumstances and times. If the technical parametres are the same, then something is wrong.

  19. AM- “The autoloader still takes up turret space which increases turret volume and weight. It weighs more than a man.”

    More weight than just man loader? Please. Adding the Autoloader only reach 55t or more(57t) as limits while the man loader is 60-70t. Look French Leclerc and South Korean K2 Black Panther. Without Short ton or adding feature rather than replacement it weigt remain below 60t. You already see the compare between Abram and T-90 in Youtube. U don’t need to see their firepower but their weight. And Voila! Abram stuck in the mud as a result due for it’s weight. In US parliement, lots of fighting about it.

  20. Anas Akmal- “US Parliament?”

    Yes. The Congressman from US Parliament. Even the Pentagon also run by Congressman. Both Democratic and Republican. What else? Hot girls with guns? Why not.

  21. AM- “Yeah, and where is the power going to come from, for multiple shots?”

    I believe they using a electric power supply.

  22. Are you saying that by looking at the total weight of tank, you believe that all the weight difference comes down to whether there is a human or autoloader? Genius!

    None of the weight difference is from armour composition and design differences, considering these tanks are designed 30 years apart?

    “I believe they are using a electric power supply.”

    Yes and do you have any idea how much electrical power is needed for a rail gun projectile to reach velocities to penetrate armour? Or how to supply this power to a moving vehicle?

  23. MILSPEC- “Not related at all but Its US Congress. Not parliament.”

    Ana Akmal,

    Yes it’s US Congress not parliament. Forgot that. Pentagon also lead by some Congressman.

  24. Talon – ”U don’t need to see their firepower but their weight. And Voila! Abram stuck in the mud as a result due for it’s weight.”

    Ground pressure and weight. All tanks – irrespective of weight and ground pressure – can get stuck at times. During trials in PD, the T-90 got stuck.

    Each tank has its respective merits. Western tanks may be heavier but they have a higher baseline protection level. We only need to look at the various M-1s that were knocked out during and after the 2003 invasion. Just like IDFs Merkavas in 2006; very few M-1s actually were totally destroyed; most were put back into service. Compare that to the more lightly armoured T-72s and T-54/55s and the numbers that were totally knocked out in various conflicts.

    AM, a good book to read is ”King of the Killing Zone: The Story of the M-1” [Orr Kelly]. Lots of interesting stuff not only about the M-1 but how West Germany and Britain respectively went their own ways with the Leopard and Challenger.

  25. Indeed no tank is invincible but the Abrams and Merkava have combat records that are as good as can be expected from any tank today. And both have proven suitable for upgrades over the decades.

    Not that the Leopard, K2 and Altay are less good, but they have not been blooded yet.

    Talon,

    The idea of selecting a tank based on weight or number of crew alone is very foolish, as is putting complete faith in manufacturer’s claims regarding active protection systems and so on.

    The Secretary of Defense is not a Senator or Congressman. The Department of Defense is an executive branch, Houses of Congress are the legislative branch.

  26. Q:

    Why all this excitement about an MBT? They are of limited role nowadays, big and vulnerable to ATGMs and drones. In the future, won’t speed and mobility be the way to go?

    Perhaps invest in a light tank?

    Pardon my ignorance.

    Reply
    Yes and No, there will still be a place for an MBT as does a light tank

  27. Tom Tom – ”Why all this excitement about an MBT? They are of limited role nowadays, big and vulnerable to ATGMs ”

    We’ve heard this argument many times. In the 1950’s people said the tank was obsolete due to the nuclear bomb. After Yom Kippur people said the tank was obsoleted due to the wired guided missile. All these prophecies proved false ……

    When it comes to delivering firepower and having the needed mobility; there remains NO substitute for the tank …. which is why countries are still investing in tanks …..

    Tom Tom – ”Perhaps invest in a light tank?”

    A light tank can never be a substitute for a main battle tank [just like a wheeled vehicle with a 120mm gun can never be a substitute]; as has been proven in numerous conflicts that have taken places over the past decades. By virtue of being ”lighter” a ”light” tank will never be as well protected as a main battle tank and will never offer the same level of flexibility.

  28. Like I said previously, poland is concentrating its military industry on producing both Rosomak APC, K-9 SPH (under license) and Anders light tank. The production line for PT-91 has been shut some time ago.

    It’s not possible to get new batch of PT-91 afaik.

  29. Dundun – ”It’s not possible to get new batch of PT-91 afaik.”

    Bumar Laberdy still has PT-90 hulls that are uncompleted and can be fitted out for export. Not that I’m suggesting we go for additional PT-1s but there are still hulls available.

  30. At the rate the conversation is going, we might as well forget the rail guns and wait for the pulse laser cannons. Greater reliability since lasers don’t have as many moving parts to fail.

    Of course the biggest worry is the power cells for the laser cannons. They will be big and heavy. The hope is for research into di-lithium crystal power cells. These will offer massive power for a relatively small size.

    Yes, I am just joking.

  31. Due to fund restriction and other priorities, just upgrade the existing PT91M and wait till its due replacement date circa 2025 onwards. Hopefully by that time new Altay/Armatta/K2(or is it K1A of Korea) already available for export and if we ever decided to replace the PT91M, lets hope it will be at least 96 MBt (plus 15-20 support vehicles) to make it more meaningful numbers.

    BTW if based on my calculation, most of our ATGM such as Bakhtar Shikan, Eryx and Metis M (roughly all around 500 warheads if i am correct) are supposedly past their shelf life. We only recently ordered around 200 Ingwe. Hopefully we can start replacing them with the likes of javelin etc

  32. kamal – ”just upgrade the existing PT91M and wait till its due replacement date circa 2025 onwards.”

    True but at the end of the day a decision has to be made as to how much cash should be spend. How much is justified in spending on a tank that’s going or might be replaced in less than a decade and on a design that has reached the limit of its growth potential.

  33. Eryx are past their shelf life. That’s the reason why the army were able to buy them in bulk (at about usd1k each, and we bought them by the boatloads I think) mainly as last ditch weapon

    afaik we did send baktar shikan to pakistan to be refurbed.

    I think we do have sufficient anti tank capability as is, but if there is one thing that we can look into to boost our anti-tank capability, maybe we should look into NLAW, which is basically made as a replacement for Eryx

  34. Eryx was first bought to fulfill a requirement for MALBATT in Bosnia to have an ATGW capability. Additional reloads were later bought and only 1 0Para has/had it. Not sure about the Baktar Shikan but we did send MM-38s to Pakistan.

  35. To AM,

    Yes, autoloaders take up space, but simply saying they take up space like human loaders is a false equivalence, autoloaders take up less space than the human loader needs. An autoloader + 3 crew results in a smaller, lighter turret than 4 crew. No autoloader tank, no matter how advanced, weight 60t, while all of the most powerful modern MBTs with human loaders weigh more than that.

    The K2, which the Altay was designed from, weighs 55t. The Altay exceeds 60t.

  36. shadow6nothing10,

    It is a stretch to say the presence of a human or auto loader determines the 5t or so that you mentioned. It is more likely that the difference comes from other choices and priorities that went into the design of the tank.

    Also, a tank’s weight grows over time as weapons systems and armor are added (as on the M-1 and Leopard). Some countries update their tanks more than others, which accounts for difference in weight between the latest of their designs.

  37. AM,

    You can infer, from things like the fact that no autoloader tank in service history has ever weighed up to 60t. Yet all manual loader MBTs that are up to date, weigh over that. This holds true even if the tanks are very different from each other. In that case, you can infer that the autoloader has something to do with it.

    Also logically it makes sense. Reducing the crew in turret reduces the internal volume and thus the armor weight. This shaves off a few tons.

    Yes, tanks have gotten more armored as time goes on. But this does’t just apply to the M1 and Leopard. Tanks like the K2, Type 10 and T-14 Armata are new tanks, so they likely were designed to have similar protection as modern non-autoloader tanks. Yet they still weight less, and never up to 60t. It’s true that countries update their tanks at different rates. But how come *all* modern autoloader tanks weight less that *all* modern non-autoloader tanks? If the autoloader doesn’t affect weight, you’d expect the average weight of tanks (well, specifically tank turrets) of the same time period, with and without autoloaders to be roughly similar. But we don’t see this.

  38. I can’t help but wonder if they have really forgotten that most (or entire) Malaysian soil is totally unsuitable for a 60 tonne MBT like the Altay?

    For goodness sake, one of the primary reasons we chose the PT-91 was because it weighed around 50 tonnes, good enough for our country’s soil to support the tank. :S

    Reply
    Its not the soil lah bro, its the bridges

  39. “Tanks like the K2, Type 10 and T-14 Armata are new tanks, so they likely were designed to have similar protection as modern non-autoloader tanks.”

    Very selective fact-picking.

    You mentioned the Type 10 but did not mention its predecessor the Type 90 which also has an autoloader and is 6t heavier than the Type 10. Don’t you think some design differences are at play here? Can you ascertain the Type 10 has equal or better protection levels than the Type 90?

    The Armata isn’t even comparable because the entire turret is unmanned. Since the Armata turret must be a certain minimum size to support the gun, putting a human loader in there won’t make the turret much heavier, will it?

    This ridiculous discussion started in the first post when Talon said the future Malaysian tank “must” have an autoloader. He made it sound like it should override other factors or that it was a factor at all in the army’s selection process.

    Even assuming you had a point, you can’t name me a tank engagement where an autoloader or 5t weight difference has proven decisive. Or maybe you can show me our requirement to put the tanks on strategic airlifters and fly them to some other corner of the world.

  40. AM,

    You forgot to mention that non-autoloader tanks of the same time period as the Type 90 (1990s) usually weighed 10 tons more. M1A1/M1A2, Leopard 2A4, Arjun, Challenger 2, all weigh around 60t. Autoloader tanks of that time period (eg Type 90, Leclerc, T-90) still weighed on average lower than non-autoloader tanks. If autoloaders didn’t affect weight, the average weights would be roughly similar.

    In the case of an unmanned turret, yes, there is a minimum turret size, but a manned turret is far above that minimum. Reducing a crewmember allows you to get closer to that minimum and thus reduce weight. So, manned or unmanned turret, an autoloader is a good thing to have.

    An autoloader isn’t strictly “necessary” on a manned turret but having it gives you advantages, such as weight reduction and the loader being freed for other jobs (as crewmembers in other vehicles, or back at the base etc). Reduced weight gives you greater mobility, or more efficient fuel consumption, and lets you travel on terrain you otherwise couldn’t go. A big complaint about the Leopard 2 in Indonesian service, for example, is it’s inability to go anywhere except city spaces and army bases due to its weight.

  41. “shadow6nothing10:

     A big complaint about the Leopard 2 in Indonesian service, for example, is it’s inability to go anywhere except city spaces and army bases due to its weight.”

    The Indonesian Leopard 2s took part ini several exercise in Natuna, South Sumatera and Lampung. There bases are in Java. There is no problem with its weight. In fact the Indonesian Army planning to buy additional Leopard 2s.

    “Nanti pada 5 Oktober, kita sudah punya Helikopter Apache, dan kami juga akan membeli beberapa tambahan tank Leopard,” ujar KSAD Jenderal TNI Mulyono saat menghadiri acara temu muka dengan jajaran Kodam VII/Wirabuana di Markas Batalyon Kavaleri-10/Mendagiri di Makassar, Sulawesi Selatan, Selasa.

  42. Falcon unmanned turret is uses far less space than manned turret that they’re replacing and they could still sport 120mm gun.

    Also keep in mind that 21st century material and manufacturing technology can reduce a tank’s weight. For example, US army had some of its abrams upgraded and the upgrade includes replacing the existing copper wiring with optical fibre. That alone makes the tank 2 tons lighter.

    Between unmanned turret, lighter main gun and optical fiber (as well as stuff like solid state technology that will only getting lighter and smaller as time passes), we can make a MBT even lighter without sacrificing its protection or firepower.

    This much weight reduction means we can make a lighter, smaller tank that could fill in the MBT role but with less footprint, or all the weight reduction can be reinvested in armor protection

  43. shadow6nothing10: “You forgot to mention that non-autoloader tanks of the same time period as the Type 90 (1990s) usually weighed 10 tons more. M1A1/M1A2, Leopard 2A4, Arjun, Challenger 2, all weigh around 60t. Autoloader tanks of that time period (eg Type 90, Leclerc, T-90) still weighed on average lower than non-autoloader tanks.”

    Your 3 examples:
    Leclerc: 54.6t
    Type 90: 50.2t
    T-90: you should be embarrassed to mention a tank with so much lower protection levels.

    Compared with the M1A1: 57t
    Compared with the Leopard 2A4: 55.15t

    Where is the massive weight difference that you claimed?

    “If autoloaders didn’t affect weight, the average weights would be roughly similar.””

    Once again you prove unable to understand that tanks are not designed to the same concepts, requirements and environments. A good example being the difference in weight between the Type 10 and Type 90, which are both autoloader tanks.

    You also vastly overstate the operational importance of the autoloader. Even if autoloaders offered a significantly higher rate of fire than a well trained human loader, it wouldn’t be decisive in combat. Tactics, training and maintenance come first.

    “the loader being freed for other jobs (as crewmembers in other vehicles, or back at the base etc)”

    We currently have just 48 tanks and won’t have many more, so this is a non issue for us. It’s good to have an extra man to help with maintenance. In armies with 4 man tanks, new crewmen often start in the loader’s seat before moving to other roles. Reason being it is a good position to observe and learn about the other crew roles.

    “lets you travel on terrain you otherwise couldn’t go”

    At 55t, this is academic. Things like ground pressure, power to weight ratio and combat engineering support are more important determinants of mobility.

  44. shadow6nothing10: “But how come *all* modern autoloader tanks weight less that *all* modern non-autoloader tanks? If the autoloader doesn’t affect weight, you’d expect the average weight of tanks (well, specifically tank turrets) of the same time period, with and without autoloaders to be roughly similar. But we don’t see this.”

    Even this is incorrect. The Ariete has a human loader and at 54t is lighter than the Leclerc you mentioned.

  45. AM,

    Even you showed there is a weight difference. And that weight difference has only grown in modern times. Now most manual MBT’s weigh over 60t. You claim that autoloaders don’t affect weight, and their lightness is only due to other factors, but then how come those factors seem to make autoloader tanks on average lighter than manual tanks? The weight ranges for 1990s tanks was 45-55, while the range of manual tanks was usually 55-60. Sure, design differences can contribute, but how come “design differences” seem to on average favor autoloader tanks being lighter? Seems the autoloader has something to do with weight too.

    I never said tactics, training, maintenance didn’t matter. My point is that an autoloader can contribute to those strengths.

    Actually, having fewer crew per tank can be advantageous for nations with small populations. Or who want to risk less troops be put in danger. So nations like yours could benefit from this.

    Yes, ground pressure, p/w ratio and combat engineering are important. But reducing the weight of the tank also helps. You think we should consider multiple factors that make a tank more effective. I agree. Which is why I’m confused when you consider multiple factors, but outright ignore other factors such as the autoloader, and a couple tons saved in weight. Shouldn’t we be considering all factors of a tank we can improve to make it more effective? That is why i also support the autoloader, and the reduced weight of the tank, because it is just one more factor that can add on to all the other factors that make the tank effective.

  46. “Even you showed there is a weight difference. ”

    I showed with the Ariete and Type 90 that manual loader tanks can be lighter than autoloader ones. You keep referring to average weights, which I think is a silly approach because it ignores all the intended design priorities in individual tanks. In the first place it is silly to use averages when you have 3 or 4 tanks on each side.

    “Even you showed there is a weight difference. And that weight difference has only grown in modern times. Now most manual MBT’s weigh over 60t. You claim that autoloaders don’t affect weight, and their lightness is only due to other factors, but then how come those factors seem to make autoloader tanks on average lighter than manual tanks? The weight ranges for 1990s tanks was 45-55, while the range of manual tanks was usually 55-60. Sure, design differences can contribute, but how come “design differences” seem to on average favor autoloader tanks being lighter? Seems the autoloader has something to do with weight too.”

    Funny you are talking about “1990s tanks,” tanks today and weight growth. 90s tanks and current day 120mm tanks are the same tanks. Some of them have grown heavier because of upgraded armour, longer guns, additional armament, ERA etc. For example there is a 5t difference in turret weight between the Leopard 2A4 and 2A5 because of a new turret and extra armour.

    Earlier you claimed a difference of “10 tons more” which ismply does not exist. Especially when you compare apples to apples, ie compare a Type 90 to a tank of the same generation like an Ariete or the 2A4, not the 2A6.

  47. AM,

    Averages are an important part of finding out the effect of something. For example, if one fertilizer makes plants on average taller than another fertilizer, you can infer that the first fertilizer is more effective than the other. It’s not perfect, but it’s better than only looking at individual data points, because you won’t be able to infer any relationship between the fertilizer and plant growth. Same with any case involving comparing one scenario with another, such as autoloader or not.

    If the Ariete is lighter, why aren’t most manual MBT’s? What’s stopping them from being as light as autoloader tanks?

    Why do you think design differences mostly cause autoloader tanks to be lighter? Why can’t manual tanks benefit from these ‘design differences’ too? If they can, why are they on average heavier than autoloader tanks? Why can’t they be the same weight? If it’s these ‘design differences’ that affect weight, why aren’t they built more on manual tanks? Why are they mostly seen on autoloader tanks? Have you considered that it’s the autoloader that enables these ‘design features’ to be used most effectively, or that the autoloader itself affects the weight?

    We know that the autoloader can reduce weight. We know that the Soviets were only able to reduce the size and weight of their tanks by replacing the 4th crewmember with the autoloader.

    I use tanks from similar time periods to each other eg. 1990s tanks or modern (2010s) tanks. Because I want to compare tanks with roughly similar technological advancement level. It’s not fair to compare a first generation Leopard 2 with a modern M1A2 SEP v4 right? They are just too technologically apart from each other. I could use other time periods if you like eg the 50s, 60s.

    The 10t weight difference is true for modern tanks. I made a mistake with the Leo 2A4 and M1A2 weights (the weigh ~55t not 60t), but they still weigh heavier than autoloader tanks from same time period. Now modern manual tanks weigh mostly 60-70t and modern autoloader tanks weigh 45-57t. That is a roughly 10t weight difference.

  48. For the record, I support comparing MBT’s in the same generation. That’s what I was trying to do when comparing MBT’s of the same time period. Autoloader tanks still mostly weight lighter than manual tanks of the same generation.

  49. The thing about averages is they are only meaningful when you have a large sample size or large number of data points, and when the difference in averages is significant relative to the data point.

    Here we are talking about 5 or 6 tanks, and a difference of 0-2t relative to a data point size of about 55t.

    Also, the number of data points on side should decisively outnumber the number of counter-examples.

    “We know that the autoloader can reduce weight. We know that the Soviets were only able to reduce the size and weight of their tanks by replacing the 4th crewmember with the autoloader.”

    The Soviets left off much more than an autoloader to save weight. To keep the turret low, they restricted crewman height of 1.6m. The tanks are less spacious, which is not good for crew fatigue. They also left off a firewall between the crew and the ammunition, which is the cause of such tanks having their turrets blown off and the crew incinerated. They nominally have ammunition loads comparable to western tanks. But in practice, the autoloader has limited capacity and the rest of the rounds are crammed dangerously into various spaces within the tank.

    Western tank designs have avoided these characteristics since the 1980s, but the Russians only moved beyond them with the Armata. Which is why the T-90 and so on have too many design differences to be compared with Western 120mm tanks on the basis of the autoloader alone.

  50. AM,

    Comparing averages with the few tanks we have is still more informative than not comparing data points at all and only thinking about them individually. How else would we determine any relationship between autoloaders and weight? If you think about the data points only individually, there is no way to determine any relationship.

    And the number of data points do outnumber the number of counter examples. In most tank generations where there are manual and autoloaders, most autoloader tanks weigh lighter than most manual tanks. The ones that deviate from that rule are few.

    Let me clarify my comment about Soviet tanks. They implemented many weight saving features, but in the end the autoloader was also necessary to keep the tanks under the required weight. Without it, the tanks would’ve weighed over the limit.

    It’s been documented that the Soviets used autoloaders to reduce weight or save volume. So Soviet (and eventually Russian) tanks are lighter partly thanks to the autoloader. Russian tanks are actually evidence that autoloaders are able to reduce weight and volume.

  51. If you insist on considering the T-90, then you are clearly disturbed because the T-90 pulls down the average weight of autoloader tanks, even though the reason for its lightness are much lower protection levels. No equivalent manual loader tank was designed with such protection levels to balance the comparison.

    “Russian tanks are actually evidence that autoloaders are able to reduce weight and volume.”

    Incorrect. An under-floor autoloader, with low ammunition capacity of 22 rounds and stuffing the other rounds dangerously elsewhere in the tank, and skipping a firewall makes you able to reduce weight and volume.

    If you had the ammunition stored in a turret bustle, just like all the other tanks you mentioned, you would have additional weight and volume. Just by having an autoloader, you would not be able to reduce weight to the level of a T-90.

  52. “Just by having an autoloader, you would not be able to reduce weight to the level of a T-90.”

    I never said this. This is an absurd notion.

  53. “Autoloader tanks of that time period (eg Type 90, Leclerc, T-90) still weighed on average lower than non-autoloader tanks.”

  54. Talking about weight is useless, MBT cons is the weight because it has thick armour protection and big firepower. So, weight is the least consideration. PT91 pendekar is an example how weight become priority.
    If weight become priority then medium tank maybe the answer. Even modern medium tank capable of trowing ATGM.

    Autoloader or not……no problem.

  55. Yes, autoloader tanks of the same time periods usually do weigh less than manual tanks. This means that the autoloader likely contributes to some weight loss.

    But that’s different from saying the autoloader alone will bring the weight down to T-90 levels. I thought you said the T-90 was an exception, or are you walking that back?

    Concerning the T-90, I’ve told you that a lot of features helped make Russian tanks smaller, INCLUDING the autoloader. The autoloader alone doesn’t do it, but it helps.

    I wrote another reply post to your other points, I don’t know where it went. I’ll try to reply again.

    You don’t have to include the T-90 in the averages. Even then, autoloader tanks are on the whole lighter than manual tanks of same generation. And who says the T-90 has poor protection levels? Do you mean the ammo storage issue? If you’re talking about armor only T-55s, T-62s and exported T-72s had poor armor.

    “Incorrect. An under-floor autoloader, with low ammunition capacity of 22 rounds and stuffing the other rounds dangerously elsewhere in the tank, and skipping a firewall makes you able to reduce weight and volume.”

    But you have to have an autoloader for that arrangement to work. There is not enough room to put a fourth crewmember and ammo in the Russian tank. That still means the autoloader does help in reducing weight by allowing the tank to be built will less internal volume.

    The autoloader in the turret bustle would still result in a lighter tank. In the autoloader bustle, all that is extra are the links that link the ammo storage cylinders, the motor to move the ammo links, and the autoloading mechanism. These weigh less compared to the armor that will be saved by removing the 4th crewmember and reducing internal volume. Armor is very heavy. So overall, the autoloader reduces weight, even in a bustle autoloader.

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