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Infantry Armour and its Evolution.


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#1
Cyrax

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This is a mix between my thinking out loud, and questions.

Number 1) The "Motor Cross" Armour

Yesterday I watched StarShip Troopers, and today I watched Terra Nova.

In both these, and many films and programs about "future soldiers", they wear a type of body armour.

I know that is actually just motor cross armour, or similar. But it got me thinking about why they wear it in films and why soldiers dont wear something similar but "ballistics rated" these days. Is it that kevlar too difficult to mold and shape into close fitting body armour - or is it simply too heavy, and we need to find a new material to use?

What we seem to use is either massive a bulky (bomb disposal) or offers torso protection and top of head protection.

I read a while ago about military scientists and engineers trying to synthesis "spiders web" on a massive scale to use as armour due to its amazing properties. Not sure what ever came of this though.

Number 2) The full body suit

Think "Mass Effect" or "Halo". A form fitted suit made up of plates and synthetic material covering most of if not all the body. It will most probably have to be powered from another source (other than just the user) other wise it would be too heavy, unless, again, a new, lighter armour is found. And then there is the power source - are batteries are something we are still struggling to shrink?

I mention weight, but then you get career soldiers, special forces and you have them training in this type of gear for months, years even, they would be come accustomed to it, no?

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Number 3) The battle suit.

Think of the Wolverine from "C+C Tiberium Sun" Tau Battle suits in Warhammer 40k, Avatar battle mechs etc. These are mechs, powered by a single man but usually much larger and packing heavy fire power. Will these replace Humvees in the future?

Im just chucking out thoughts. I suppose the future will depend on the type of fighting that is done.

#2
TPI

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So far as i know we are still a decade away from spliceing the spiders web gene into the place of goats milk gene's and it will most likely not be used without metal plates.

Erm as for mech suits well yea probably even longer away i hope so we can have guns again.
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#3
lil airsofter

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i think someone will scale down reactive armour so it can reinforce kevlar, that or synthetic rubbers that catch bullets and stop penetration, at worst you get a few broken bones.
sights are there for a reason, you dont need a bigger battery, you need better eyes.

#4
M_P

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What happend to dragon skin/scale or whatever armour, I saw it somewhere, it looked like it worked well, even against point blank grenades

#5
Cam-the-airsoft-sniper

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What happend to dragon skin/scale or whatever armour, I saw it somewhere, it looked like it worked well, even against point blank grenades


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#6
rusty1109

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As for the starship troopers and terra nova armour you have to remember the threat profile is mainly comprised of (very!) angry beasties.

When not facing ballistic weaponry the benefits to agility and endurance gained from a lighter armour make it the preferred choice.

#7
Cyrax

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As for the starship troopers and terra nova armour you have to remember the threat profile is mainly comprised of (very!) angry beasties.

When not facing ballistic weaponry the benefits to agility and endurance gained from a lighter armour make it the preferred choice.


Good points. I think that the full body armour will be the next step eventually. Fully protecting soldiers would be expensive but obviously the most beneficial idea.

Apparently when the challenger 2 battle tank becomes obsolete in the coming decades, the british army does not intend to replace them - the era of large scale open conflict is coming to an end, and they believe the money can be spent elsewhere - on the infantry soldier and their fighting vehicles i hope. the new IFV are already impressive and impervious to a great deal of fire power, but the man doing the room to room clearing and treading on the IED's is where the money needs to go!

But then im sure some special forces would argue that lightweight is the way to go - if you are going to get shot at you can either wear body armour and hope they have poor/ good aim, or try and be able to dodge and weave and close with the enemy. In this case, the lightweight starship trooper style armour, customized and optimized for CQB would be better and less restricting.

#8
M_P

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I think our troops should dress like storm troopers, no one would mess with us then.
Or alternatively, dress as Spartans and get dropped in by v22 ospreys.
OR dress in power armour and own like Calgar's crew

Or do I play too many games?

#9
Cyrax

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Storm trooper armour is massively impractical, not least because it is bright white. And Spartan Armour is not currently achievable, mostly due to the required power but many things. What else you got?

#10
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Edited^ :P

#11
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#12
Hubert

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The problem with armour in general pretty much comes down to the peson (or people if it's a tank) inside.

The human body is still as fragile and breakable as it was in 1066.
There may come a day when infantry body armour can stop a 155mm howitzer shell.
Will the person survive?
The very sudden impact and violent shockwaves will probably kill them. The person might not even have a bruise on them - but their insides will have taken one hell of a beating. You can see this in tank warfare too - even if you don't get spall (red hot fragments from the inner-skin of the tank) bouncing around, tests done (by our good friends the Aussies) that whilst the armour stopped the round, the people inside (represented by pigs) died from serious internal bleeding - no external wounds.
It's the one reason that I feel power-armour (as much as I love it :lol:) would be utterly useless.

(save space, slightly off topic
The Challenger's life span is expected to be about until 2035. With BAE working on various new technologies it doesn't surprise me. Though to say tank warfare is over is a tad on the premature side - many said the tank was useless after WW1. Of all the NATO nations in Afghanistan with combat troops on the ground, we're the only ones who aren't using MBTs. The Canadians were thinking "end of the tank" up until 2006, when they realised that IFVs don't pack the punch (or moral boost) that a 120mm armed 70 tonne tank has.
IFVs will never fully (and shouldn't) replace the tank. They don't have the protection a full tank has, and nor do they have the full armament of a tank. But - and this is the most important factor of all - they put the men inside at risk, more so than an APC. If you want to move men, use an APC. If you want it to fight, use a tank.
FRES should have brought us a family of useful light, medium and heavy weight tanks to supplement our armoury, but due to stupidity on a grand scale at the MOD and Gordon Brown, it hasn't.

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#13
Cyrax

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So i suppose, in theory, it would be better to have a large powerful round tear straight through, like the 7.62 in somalia, for example, rather than try and stop it and suffer blunt force trauma/ internal mushing?

And then, why not go with the light armour, as i suggested earlier, if you are going to get shot its going to do damage, why not be a smaller faster target in the first place?

And as sci fi as it sounds, our next step should be shielding and the ability to slow or deflect a round, as opposed to outright stop it?

Also, thanks for the info on the tanks, i wasnt 100%.

#14
Hubert

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Well one of the arguments for taking 5.56 over 7.62 was that 5.56 rarely goes through-and-through a human, whereas 7.62 can go clean through somone and not kill them outright (I'm not talking about the 'bezerker' syndrome or 'running amok', or even in Somalia/Serria Leyonne where the locals were drugged out of their eyeballs, but literally the round sailing through the body without hitting bone/organs). Aaand I'm not quite sure where I was heading with that...

You have to get that balance of protection and movement.
With the current generation of firearms, the speeds involved (excluding the big high velocity stuff like .50cals) probably isn't enough to cause "instant mush" with someone's organs - but would be enough to break bone. Grenades on the otherhand - perhaps. (of course the easiest thing to do would be flippantly say "don't get spotted!")

As for your Sci-fi stuff - in 5 years time, the commanders of Challenger 2s may well be making "power up the forcefield" quotes, as BAE have designed (and it looked pretty useful actually) 2 electrically charged anti-munition devices (ok, forcefields). One charges the armour plates so stuff explodes just before contact, the other projects an electronic charge around that explodes shells in mid air (some feet away from the tank)

As for IVFs - they don't know what they are. Not enough room for a proper full squad, not enough firepower to take on tanks, not enough armour to engage tanks.
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#15
Cyrax

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Should probably rename this thread the future of warfare. Evolution of warfare is one of those things that i find rather interesting.

I think, like that Ghost Recon game, that sometime in the future, armed robot type things, controlled by a human, will accompany squads. They can safely diffuse IED's, use advanced optics and communication equipment, and be bullet magnets. I say some squads, because obviously they are not suited to every role.

I take it you are not a fan of the IFV? I see their point, quick, mobile relatively moderate/ high fire power and better suited to a more confined, urban environment than a tank.

And in a world where Apaches and other combat helicopters can decimate tanks, is there more of a role for the IFV, which are often outfitted with faster firing weapons, are probably cheaper to produce and as mentioned, quicker to move around?

The annoying thing is that it is pretty much impossible to know what will happen next, as stuff will evolve depending on what we fight. Whilst in all likeliness that will simply be "insurgents", diplomatic relations could break down with north korea and bam, another out and out war.

#16
lil airsofter

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i think hovertanks are the best way to go. i heard of one with air jets that can throw it 15 metres up in the air for three seconds with only slightly less weight than a challenger 2.
sights are there for a reason, you dont need a bigger battery, you need better eyes.

#17
Hubert

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I dislike the IFV/MCV with a passion.
They try to do 2 jobs, and get the worst of each role. You have to remember that your IFV has gone from a metal box carrying troops - to a metal box carrying troops, that's also shooting at you with relatively big guns (30mm autocannons). Suddenly, the IFV becomes a much bigger threat than a normal APC (like the FV432, the M113 as the Yanks used to have)

That, and they just don't have the same psychological effect as a tank has. To paraphrase Oddball from Kelly's Heroes, "a tank can give you a hell of a lot of options".

Take the Danes in Afghanistan - they've been using their Leo2A6s a lot. With a lot of success. So much so, that on 19 occasions in 2010, we've had to borrow a squadron (3 tanks).
What happens? The Taliban run. They know that if they haven't prepared some huge IED specifically designed for tank busting, they're screwed.

Here's a conflict no-one looks at much - Israel. They're using MBTs in a counter insurgency (or occupation depending on your politics, but that's not for here). Their Merekva MBTs are without a doubt one of the most protective combat vehicles around.
Also - their tanks can carry 6 men. They aren't IFVs. They're full blown tanks, which can also carry a unit of men. (But, 6 at the max)
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#18
lil airsofter

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for urban combat, thats a great idea, a tank carrying both protection and being able to deliver troops for an assault.
sights are there for a reason, you dont need a bigger battery, you need better eyes.

#19
rusty1109

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There's no question that any MBT that can carry troops would be a better MBT if it did not have to do so.

Likewise for troop carrying vehicles.

#20
Hubert

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The troop carrying element is purely an extra - since the Merk has it's engine at the front (giving the driver more protection), the space behind the crew's fighting compartment is vacant, so the designers gave the Merk the capability to carry 4-6 men (or 150 extra rounds of ammo for the 120mm gun). It wasn't initially designed to do that, it was just a happy 'coincidence'. (Also, the Merk has a 'tank-bulance' variant, an ambulance - with a 120mm gun on top...)

It makes sense. The troops act like Soviet tank riders, or the Bombey Grenediers of the Commonwealth army in Burma. They protect the tank from threats it might not be able to see (or engage)

And something I forgot to talk about from Cyrax's post, re:helicopters
Most modern tanks have inbuilt capabilities to protect them from the apache's (or equivilant nation's gunship) missiles, unless the apache is at very close range.
Everything from chaff, flares, heat exchanges, electronic warfare counter measures (EWCMs) and radar jammers that are used today (the Challenger is covered in these, especially the latter 2) make it difficult for missiles to successfully track the target.
The reason the Apache has been so deadly in Iraq (both Gulf '91 and 2003) and Afghanistan is that the tank they've been used against are 1960's (or 80's in the case of the rarer T-72) lack all of these features.
I'd say the tank still has an important role to play.

(I'd like to apologise for taking this so wildly off topic... sorry!)
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