Why is it so hard to find the armor thickness on modern MBTs?

Discussion in 'Weapons, Technology & Equipment' started by vashstampede, Sep 6, 2012.

  1. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Back in the history, we know all about the armor thickness on every tank's frontal, side, rear, top, and bottom. All the specifications are made public knowledge.

    Today, when I look at modern day Main Battle Tanks, nowhere mentioned detailed armor specifications in the name of "classified".

    American M1A2,
    German Leopard 2,
    British Challenger 2,
    Russian T-90,
    French Leclercq,
    Israeli Merkava 4,
    Chinese ZTZ-99A2

    Some armors claimed to be "equivalent to" 800~1000mm of steel armor. Obviously they are not made with pure steel, it must be some kind of super classified secret alloy.

    Does anyone know their actual armor specifications from all sides?
  2. pilot2fly

    pilot2fly Member

    Now a days they really want to keep that secret. Imagine if the enemy finds out about the thickness of the armor. They could build ammunition and rounds to penetrate it just enough to cause damage.
    skyblue likes this.
  3. Adlai

    Adlai New Member

    Also, many modern tanks place less of an emphasis on raw armor thickness, instead using technologies such as active protection or cobham armor. Revealing the exact nature of a modern tank's armor would give away the whole advantage of being an early adopter of a new technology.
    skyblue likes this.
  4. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    I think the US Tank manufacturers uses Depleted Uranium in the tank armor. Other nations use Tungsten Carbide.
  5. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    With nobody use pure steel armor any more, of course the raw thickness of the tank armor mean very little in the actual armor quality these days, but I'd still like to hear the actual thickness, as well as the "equivalent to" in the thickness of steel armor.

    I believe only those M1A1 used in the first Gulf War had Depleted Uranium added to their armor. While it does give extra protection against enemy fire, it in fact harm the tank crew. The infamous Gulf War Syndrome might be the result of the depleted uranium in both tank armor and in the tank shells.
  6. Vladimir

    Vladimir Siberian Tiger

    As of now there is no substitute for depleted Uranium. Engineers should work to reduce the harmful side-effects of depleted Uranium, rather than dumping it altogether.
  7. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    There is always radiation in depleted uranium. There is no going around it. Even if they can somehow shield the side effect from the tank crew by covering the armor with a layer of some kind of radiation absorbing material, what about when the tank is damaged and the depleted uranium is exposed to everyone on the battlefield?

    Same with the anti-armor shells. When you fire them everywhere on the battlefield, you will feel the effect of your own ammunition. It is simply not safe to use anything to do with radiation on the battlefield.

    I am sure there are better alternatives out there for people to discover.
    You also don't see depleted uranium in the armor of any other top tanks in the world.
  8. Tristan009

    Tristan009 New Member

    Of course. Considering how much money it would cost to protect the crew from the Uranium ("radiation absorbing material") it's just not worth it. There are other materials which work just as well as armour (although I myself am not an expert on what these might be!) Obviously, the army would prefer that we didn't know - who would want the enemy to have more information than necessary?
  9. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    Depleted Uranium is just that, "depleted" there is as much radiation in the luminous dials on your wrist watch as is in a DU armour piercing round. DU is very dense, more so than Tungsten Carbide which makes DU a better raw material for armour piercing ammunition. The very dense nature of DU makes it hard to be penetrated making it effective as tank armour. Also DU is plentiful for the US & UK due to it being a bye product of the Nuclear industry and so is very cheap (because there is little non military use for it). Tungsten carbide is very expensive because it has to specifically made for weapons production.

    Unfortunately the word Uranium scares those who have no knowledge and so the horror stories abound. It took years for the effects of radiation from the Hiroshima and Nagasaki A bombs ( very dirty bombs) to manifest itself in most of the radiation victims, Chernobel was a Tsunami of radiation but human radiation victims, even after 30 years are numbered only in hundreds, and yet, fire a few DU rounds in the desert and suddenly eveyone for miles around is dying of cancer! Inhaling small particles of DU will not do your lungs any good, but then inhaling iron filings or tungsten carbide particles is not a healthy option either.

    Also Gulf war Syndrome affected many who were not within 100 miles of a piece of DU ammunition. What they had in common was the cocktail of anti- chemical agent drugs they had to take.

    If you want a bogey man? then look elswhere because depleted uranium is not it.
    CarpeNemo and skyblue like this.
  10. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    According to 2005 research,[32] at least some of the most promising tungsten alloys that have been considered as replacement for depleted uranium in penetrator ammunitions, such as tungsten-cobalt or tungsten-nickel-cobalt alloys, also possess extreme carcinogenic properties, which by far exceed those (confirmed or suspected) of depleted uranium itself: 100% of rats implanted with a pellet of such alloys developed lethal rhabdomyosarcoma within a few weeks.
    It seems the likely replacements for DU ammunition are in fact possibly more dangerous to humans than DU itself. But of course, they do not include the names, Uranium & Nuclear, so they are "acceptable" to the world at large.
    The point is, and this is important, you can sit right next to a DU piece of ammunition or a piece of DU tank armour for a hundred years and you would suffer no harm. Consume DU particles and your health will suffer,but if you consume Tobacco your health will also suffer. DU particles created by the penetration of a DU round against a tank will fall to the ground very quickly and are unlikely to be a health risk to anyone.

    You would have to stick your face into a piece of desert known to be contaminated by DU particles to be at risk!!

    This is the reality.
    skyblue likes this.
  11. vashstampede

    vashstampede Active Member

    Are you sure about it?
    Depleted Uranium can affect people from hundreds miles away when the wind carry already contaminated particles there.

    It is well known how the disposal of the nuclear waste from power plants a pain for most countries. If it is truly harmless like a watch as you claimed, then every country could just dump their nuclear waste in the local landfill and forget about it...which is obviously not the case.

    I hope it is not some pro-military industry propaganda lol.
    I would like to see some actual trustworthy medical reports on the side effect of Depleted Uranium, or rather no side effect as you claimed.
  12. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator


    The above link should answer your questions. Note that DU is actually used to "SHIELD PEOPLE" From radiation. Note DU has "FAINT BACKGROUND RADIATION" just like the luminous dials on a wristwatch.

    There are those (including scientists) that feel that DU particles from ammunition are a real cancer threat, there are no medical studies yet that can clearly state a case either way. It takes years to come to conclusions so we will have to wait and see. As stated previously, Chrernobel radiation was going to kill millions, yet 30 years on the figure is a few hundred. Why did a sea of radiation have so little effect even after 30 years, yet DU (with minute levels of radiation) particles are supposidly killing hundreds, only days and weeks later.
    skyblue likes this.
  13. skyblue

    skyblue Active Member

    The whole point of armor is to shield the troops, not contaminate them. This reminds me of the people who think GMF are dangerous to eat. There is no profit in harming the people you are paid to protect, in armor manufacturing or food manufacturing. We (humans) constantly learn new and better ways of making things but there is no conspiracy to hurt people: if for no other reason than because it is not profitable for an R&D firm to do so. If there are real damages, the firm would be put out of business by the lawsuits alone. In general, business, even contractors for the military do not WANT to harm those they are paid to protect.
  14. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Propaganda is also an added armor to be considered now these days.Pro-war and post-were campaign differs a lot when analytical process done.

    A demanding 500 mm armor may be practically stood 700 mm. Many reasons there behind this.My uncle is a retired Army-Major .He told me Defence Ministry never ev'er let the civilian know the data, military-secrets are kept in many folds. Even some times the machine-operator or the tank driver may not know the actual specification.

    Any federal authority never expose their weakness/inferiority either to country-people or to personnel.Moreover state-propaganda always tend to go high to keep upraise strong mentality of its personnel.He also mentioned if any espionage system break into the matter,not to worry much,since it may took away the dummy one.

    To me, Kermit Beahan not knew his mission with Enola Gay?
  15. GulfWarVet71

    GulfWarVet71 New Member

    The DU used in the Gulf War in tanks armor and in shells, specifically those of the Phalanx CWIS Gatling guns used on Navy warships. These bad little buggers, R2D2's as we called them, fired a depleted uranium armor piercing round at a rate of 3,000 rounds/minute. Of course, if you've ever witnessed these guns in action, I am not telling you anything you don't already know.

    In the gulf war specifically, these shells were discarded to the ships deck, essentially contaminating the teak wood planks on the top deck of the battleship I was on. Who's job was it to acid wash these decks, none other than yours truly!! So, with that said, Gulf War Syndrome has been an issue I have been dealing with ever since I returned stateside in April 1991. Who knows if DU is a primary cause? I sure don't and nor does the government say anything about it either.
  16. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Really true that majority civilians just unaware of it, even very few of them able to know a little, till you like people raise That curtain for whats going on and on ....:rolleyes:

    State policies are based upon and deals with political benefits.Propaganda forces people to Believe/Understand necessity of deployment.Personnel is there to carry out what been briefed since State paid for.

    Implementation of carcinogenics in warfare varies from state to state principals. Obviously there were a good number of other carcinogenics used in'91 and '01 along with dU,extended from Gulf up to Afghanistan.

    I know you are well aware of $ 10 m Congress approval towards GWIR [Gulf-war Illness Research].Also hoping you know Paul Sullivan[vet-'91 Gulf//founder of Veterans for Common Sense] said ''.... as per Department of Veterans Affairs' definition of who qualifies for Gulf war veterans-'91, benefits should include up to those who served in Afghanistan.The report associates the symptom of deployment....VA should expand the geographical definition of the current Gulf War to include the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan........''

    "Veterans have high faith in Dr. Haley's dedicated and informative research," said Paul Sullivan of Veterans for Common Sense and a Gulf War veteran."This finding is important because for the first time physicians who care for Gulf War veterans now have a medical explanation for many of the unusual symptoms."

    [[Report: New vets showing Gulf War illness symptoms
    Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY5:26p.m. EST January 23, 2013]] //
    Study provides more clues to Gulf War illness - and hope
    Kelly Kennedy, USA TODAY8:10p.m. EST November 26, 2012]]

    So the geographical extension is seen in an increasing manner.One more interesting thing is that [I hope you know] 1/4th of 700,000 Gulf'91-Vets developed this syndrome and graphically increases the complexity,of which persistent fatigue,widespread pain,gastrointestinal disorders and skin abnormalities are prime.Anti-measures[precautionary] and doses were not maintained properly due to improper training of the personnel.Specially the Vets,those who used the permethrin or some others alike on there clothing may also develop variable malfunctioning organs.Its shocking to me that honorable Vets still have to wait for......authentic antidotes.

    High interest is there you know that dU munition is still considered legitimate conventional weapon,despite debates at UN,several bans on dU by states and other global movements ongoing...least interest is shown to tackle dU issue once and for All.State said the main cause of this inertia is that a clear link between the use of dU and potential health-effect isn't proven. Forces operating in The areas, are covered under a Maintained Guidelines of Protection.
    [[IKV Pax Christi collected military manuals and guidelines on how to deal with depleted uranium contamination from six different armed forces, including NATO guidelines.... Hazard Aware. Lessons learned from military field manuals on depleted uranium and how to move forward for civilian protection norms ]] // Briefing: depleted uranium weapons, a need for precaution....International Coalition to Ban Uranium Weapons
    www.bandepleteduranium.org //
    ICBUW: US Army think tank urges Army Secretariat to accelerate search for alternatives to DU
  17. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    Recently I heard that US and UK fired atleast 6 hundred-thousands plus dU tipped armour piercing shells at various defending targets,this means may be near 'bout 300 tons of dU lefted over at battle field.

    Is it true UK Vets'[Gulf '91] are advised by Government to visit US or Canada for advanced treatments/testings ?

    If Pentagon knew much earlier about these Effects,Defence Ministry must had taken some preventive measures,what are these ?
  18. aghart

    aghart Former Tank Commander Moderator

    600.000? seems a few noughts too many have been added on. I doubt that the UK had more than 6oo DU tank rounds in it's entire armoury. So assuming they actually fired them all, that means the US fired 599,400 DU rounds in a 100 hour ground offensive?
    UK vets advised to go to the US? First I've heard of it.

    Preventative measures against what?
    The fact that allied servicemen took a cocktail of drugs to protect them from chemical weapons and the toxic air caused by the Iraqi's firing all the Kuwait oil fields is likely to be the major cause of gulf war syndrome.
  19. Diptangshu

    Diptangshu Active Member

    You know, I have no trusted link to verify the quality/quantity etc,etc. Last week what I was reading I told earlier,mentioning here also....

    .....during the ['90-'91]Desert Storm terror campaign at least 944 thousand rounds of dU munition fired from US A-10 Warthogs all over Iraq and Kuwait,by 30mm-7 barrel gattling gun enable to spew 3900 r.p.min.......// [Depleted Uranium] : www.serendipity.li/nato/du.htm //

    Another topic I was reading, states that ..... atleast 4 hundred thousand kgs of dU have been fired in both Gulf Wars......//http:88www.ikvpaxchristi.nl-[Clearence and decontamination].

    I must admit as far as my knowledge goes that UK used the lesser number of dU munitions than US.
    ....'advice for UK Vets[Gulf '90-'91] ...' I was listening a tv-news long back,that just I unable to recall right now,speaking frankly.

    For ... 'preventive measures......' actually I intend to know about Training programme of the respective personnel for how to deal with those munition, is mandatory or not,other than drugs or something like medical-aids.
  20. GulfWarVet71

    GulfWarVet71 New Member

    I seriously wouldn't doubt the numbers. You must know about the US government and military that ammunition waste is a huge problem and has been for years. I wouldn't be surprised if the US fired a total of 600,000 round of DU in one day. Like the american soldier and weaponry, they are expendable, meaning if one is lost it will be replaced by two more. My point is, that I am sure neither government really paid much attention to the amount of rounds fired in total and if anything, it would be a guess-timate!!

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