Tuesday, August 08, 2017

The Abrams TFV

The latest version of the Abrams main battle tank has a remote weapons station (RWS) on its turret.

I'd still like to see an infantry fighting vehicle version of the tank used as a support vehicle so heavy but still lighter Bradley Fighting Vehicles don't get lit up supporting the advance of the tanks.

Equip such a support vehicle with a smaller turret that houses a 40mm auto cannon and an anti-tank missile launcher plus give it two remote weapons stations.

Perhaps the tank fighting vehicle (TFV) could have a couple dismounts in it, mostly for scouting work.

And if the RWS could be operated by gunners in the rear using reachback technology as I argue here in Infantry Magazine, you could dismount the scouts without losing the onboard firepower.

Or you could have pure reachback for the TFV to operate the RWS with no dismounts, purely for mobile support, only bringing up infantry if the advance is stopped. I mean, if the tanks are held up by bad terrain (including cities), you will want the infantry dismounted anyway.

Then the TFV could move into a city or bad terrain accompanied by infantry with the Abrams held back for long-range fire support where they won't be vulnerable to shorter-range ambushes in close terrain.

The Israelis use their older Merkava main battle tanks for Namer (or Nemer) fighting vehicles. Yes, with the engine in front the Israeli tank has an advantage as a fighting vehicle over the rear-engine Abrams.

But I'm not trying to put too many troops in the Abrams TFV. I just want a survivable support vehicle that can keep up with the Abrams on the move and suppress infantry trying to kill the tanks.

We do have a lot of spare Abrams tanks not in the force structure that we could afford to modify. Why not try some out at the National Training Center to see if they can work in whatever configuration?

Remember, I call this a TFV and not an IFV that has exceptionally effective armor. Maybe the Abrams main battle tank could use a TFV in support more than it could use an IFV.

UPDATE: Strategypage has more on the newest up-gunned Namer, including that an American company is building them. So our industry has the ability to do this, even if our tanks are not a well suited as the Merkava for the conversion--unless we focus on using reachback for the RWS on an Abrams TFV.