Tuesday, October 08, 2013

General Dynamics Land Systems Europe SK 105. Outside chance for the 82nd Airborne Tank?

I have been trying hard to figure out what vehicles the US Army would pick to compete for the 82nd's Airborne Tank Regiment.

Immediately BAE's CV-90120T came to mind but after that I was stumped.  Many people suggested the French ERC 90, but that vehicle is out of production so what could fill the need?  Almost every vehicle that I came up with wasn't a light tank but actually a mobile gun system mounted on wheeled vehicles.

Larger offerings in this category that come closer to what I believe the army is looking for are not transportable or droppable by C-130.

Then I remembered General Dynamics Land Systems Europe still has a dinosaur from the '60's listed on their site.

The SK-105!

Stats follow via GDLSE website.
The SK 105 is a light tank family of vehicles with a rifled 105 mm gun. The latest version of the vehicle (A2) incorporates a 2-axis stabilized turret with electrical drives. It further provides its users with latest generation IR sights, a ballistic computer and the ability to fire APFSDS rounds for increased lethality.
Due to its low weight, the SK 105 can be transported by C-130 Hercules transport aircraft or amphibious assault boats. This vehicle is specifically designed for mountainous terrain or areas with reduced infrastructure and has an improved climbing ability and maneuverability compared to heavier main battle tanks.
SK 105 A1
SK 105 A2
Greif armored recovery vehicle
Engineering vehicle
SK105 driver training vehicle
Armored personnel carrier
Mortar vehicle
What has me most geeked about this offering (and the BAE product) is the fact that we're looking at a family of vehicles.

We could, if the Army follows through, finally see that long lusted for but never achieved...Mechanized Airborne Forces!

That would be a serious.  Serious.  Oh shit type force that would compete with the Marine Corps realistically as a forcible entry option.  Instead of seizing an airport and moving out at 3 miles an hour, you could either parachute or LAPES in a mechanized force that can go out and kick ass.

SIDENOTE:  I just realized when trying to see what Army procurements officials were looking at in finding an off the shelf vehicle, exactly how limited armor innovation is becoming.  There are no new designs coming out of any of the design houses except BAE.  Even there new concepts are getting crushed.  Remember the SEP?  That had all the hallmarks of an outstanding 8 or 6 wheeled APC.  Modular for real and not just a talking point and it could get no buyers.  Instead we're seeing improvements on vehicles that were designed in the 60's and 70's.  Once the current design teams break up or retire, armor development in the West is going to stagnate.  The only good news is that Russia and China aren't putting together anything outstanding either.  TURKEY, S. KOREA, JAPAN and SINGAPORE will probably become the leaders in tank development. 


  1. I think you've posted before but I'm just repeating how much I missed the chance for the AAI RDF/LT.


  2. Wow, that AAI prototype still looks modern.

    However, the Army will probably go with the AGS that they tested in the late 1990s.

  3. what about the General Dynamics ASCOD LT105

  4. The Sk 105 and Saurer APC are OLD. And only the Austrians really used the Saurer.

    If you look at the vehicle, it is tiny. Nominally it says it can carry 2+8, but I have doubts. I've seen them up close and there is no way you could get 8 modern infantryman wearing body armor, webbing, etc. This was built for skinny guys from the 60's, carrying a Stg58 and 8 20rd mags, canteen, bread bag, Y-straps, bayonet and a small linen rucksack.

    Interestingly enough, the base model is 15 tons, three plus tons more than a stripped down base M113. No aluminum.

    I'm not saying it couldn't be done, but you would need more of them nowadays. Plus, I bet the CV90-120 has better optics and imaging eqiupment than the Sk 105.

  5. Some ideas for the 82nd:

  6. I am going with the Army wasting slightly less than 100 million on this program then cancelling it when it fails because impossible design requirements, or vehicles become way to expensive.

    I am an optimist because I think it will fail well before the waste a billion on it.


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