Sunday, April 21, 2019

Has the IFV become the "main force vehicle" in armored formations replacing the Main Battle Tank?

Quick question.

Has the IFV replaced the MBT as the main force vehicle in armored formations replacing the MBT?

Looking across the landscape I think a case can be made...especially if US ground forces consolidate and make standard the 50mm cannon that is the objective weapon for the US Army's Next Generation Combat Vehicle.

Here me out before you kill the idea.  First take a look at the weapon on the NGCV.

We're moving up to a 50mm cannon.

What can this gun do?  EVERYTHING a 105mm or 120mm cannon can except bust tanks.  Some jobs it's less than optimal but we've accepted less than optimal in many ways.  Think about urban combat.  We've rid ourselves of the fabulous 165mm demolition gun.  We accepted the fact that against structures in the Middle East the 120mm would punch thru instead of blasting walls.

Will a 50mm kill tanks?  Nope.  But most turrets being offered (to include the one on the NGCV) have anti-tank missiles built in, and most have them under armor.  Like the EOS 2000T below.

The next thing to be considered is the tracked vs wheeled discussion.  For this topic it doesn't matter. Wheels are here to stay.

So what do we have.

Whether the Eitan...

Or tracked like the appears from my seat that for the most part, IFVs can fulfill many of the roles reserved for MBTs.

In essence supporting the infantry.

With the addition of the 50mm cannon we're seeing these vehicle approach being able to give us direct firepower and even a bit of shock action.  In the future we can expect development of new rounds to enhance their firepower.

Is the MBTs reign over?

I'm not sure but between cost, lack of strategic mobility (in the case of the US), high maintenance demands, and heavy logistics train to keep them in the field, I think it can be argued that we're heading for an unexpected revolution in armor.

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