This article, we'll be taking a look at a couple of currently in-development vehicles for Armored Warfare...
Development is continuing over at Armored Warfare following the latest brace of patches, with two in-depth articles detailing the upcoming "TTB" Tier 9 MBT, and the M113 "Hellfire" Tier 9 Tank Destroyer. Here, we'll be looking at the vehicles' in-game implementations, and some images of the vehicles in question.
The TTB, or "Tank Test Bed", was a proposed evolution of the M1 Abrams, with the intention of utilising an unmanned turret in a similar manner to other such concepts of the late Cold War. The three crew would be located in the front of the vehicle in an extended crew compartment (requiring the removal of fuel tanks), and the armament would be a standard Abrams 120mm M256 L/44, fed from a 44-round magazine.
Unlike many other upgrade concepts, the TTB was built and tested, as well as the autoloader system. Its implementation in Armored Warfare, however, will deviate somewhat from reality, intended to represent the series of upgrades which have been bestowed upon the Abrams itself since its introduction, with players able to unlock upgrades granted the vehicle TUSK v3 ERA, improved smoke dispersal systems, both soft-kill and hard-kill APS, and an improved crew capsule. The M256 cannon will also be able to be upgraded to the XM360E1 120mm cannon, with superior shells and an improved autoloader with 16 additional shells in the tank's magazine.
A development of the ubiquitous M113 chassis, mating the hull with eight Hellfire ATGMs normally mounted to helicopters, the M113 "Hellfire" was developed in the late 80s to meet the need for greater anti-tank capability. While it reached the prototype stage, the fall of the Soviet Union put an end to the project, while the prototype itself was able to survive and is currently preserved at the Heartland Museum of Military Vehicles in Nebraska.
The vehicle itself mounts eight Hellfire launchers, with storage for a further 20 missiles in the repurposed troop compartment. The armour of the vehicle was unchanged from its standard version, being made of light aluminium, and was considered to mount either the 114A or 114F versions of Hellfire, the latter of which carries a tandem warhead to help defeat ERA and other defensive measures. In-game, this vehicle will be an incredibly flimsy but devastating TD, launching full salvos of missiles at targets, with a choice of three missiles; the 114A with standard warheads and 900mm of penetration, the 114F with tandem warheads and 1,300mm of penetration, and the 114N Hellfire II thermobaric ATGM as part of additional vehicle progression (similar to the recently introduced French vehicles).
In a historical article about the development of SPAA doctrine, the devs have revealed that one or more of the DIVAD program vehicles will be coming to the game in Update 0.30. DIVAD was a program requiring the development of SPAA with several key characteristics;
-The ability to target helicopters and planes at higher ranges than the Vulcan system
-Advanced Targeting capability
-The ability to keep up with American armored formations
-The ability to engage ground and air targets
-Enclosed turret to increase crew survivability and address issues encountered with the M42 Duster.
Weapons systems specified as suitable included the 30mm Mauser and 35mm Oerlikon cannons, the 30mm GAU-8A Avenger (famously mounted to the A-10 Thunderbolt), the 35mm Gatling and the 40mm Bofors L/70. The companies contacted for the project were Ford, General Dynamics, General Electric, Raytheon and Sperry, and the two most successful would be provided with a 29-month deadline and a M48A5 chassis upon which to mount the system.
Raytheon's proposal consisted of a modified Gepard turret with twin 35mm Oerlikon guns, an identical configuration to the Dutch CA-1 Cheetah, and would be licensed produced by the company.
General Electric meanwhile proposed a turret armed with the 30mm Avenger cannon and guided by advanced radar, doubling the effective range of the 20mm Vulcan greatly increasing lethality.
Sperry meanwhile suggested a modification of their previous T249 Vigilante with the 35mm Gatling cannon, operating in an AA-mode with 3,000RPM or ground-attack mode with a reduced 180RPM.
General Dynamics intended to use the same 35mm cannons as the Raytheon proposal, but would instead mount them within a specially designed turret, with a FCS developed from the Phalanx which was already in-production at the time
Finally, Ford proposed a design they called "Gunfighter", armed with a pair of 40mm Bofors which, while inferior in rate of fire, would be higher in terms of flak bursting produced by each shell, and would utilise a rader derived from the F-16.
In 1978, Ford and General Dynamics were declared as winners, and each company given the contract for a prototype. the General Dynamics proposal was designated XM246 while the Ford prototype was designated XM247.
As always, for more information on the vehicles discussed in this article, head to the following links:
And for historical information on some of the concepts discussed, head here: