Samstag, 27. August 2016

Back from the dead: Anders and PT-16

Yesterday Polish sources started to tease new armored fighting vehicle developments, today first footage of the two new developments has been released: the Anders and the PT-91 developments have been resurrected to serve as a base for the new vehicles. The PT-91 main battle tank (MBT) has lead to the new PT-16 MBT.


The Anders was originally developed as a family of vehicles, most prominently a light tank. The family of vehicles also included an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) version aswell as several other roles. The project was however terminated.
The Anders is a front-engined vehicle with steel tracks. It is made from welded steel with further applique composite armor added for enhanced survivability. 





The new Anders is fitted with Oto-Melara's HITFIST-30P turret (the same turret as used on the wheeled Rosomak IFV). In so far this is identical to the earlier Anders IFV prototype, however features and details have been altered. This configuration is meant to compete with the new Borsuk IFV, that is being developed for the Polish Army. The Hitfist turret is armed with a 30 mm Bushmaster II chain gun from Aliant Techsystems (ATK) and a coaxial machine gun. Furthermore new Spike-LR anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launchers have been added to the turret. One launcher holding one missile is located at each side of the turret. These launchers has been developed on behalf of the Polish Army for the Rosomak wheeled IFV. 
The Hitfist-30 turret can be armored up to STANAG 4569 level 4 (protection against 14.5 mm API all-round), but on the original version used on the Rosomak it was less protected. The addition of ceramic armor made by the Israeli company Rafael was necessary to reach level 4. 
The Anders' hull is designed with modular protection ranging from STANAG 4569 level 3 (protection against 7.62 mm NATO AP ammo with tungsten-carbide core) to level 5 (protection against 25 mm ammunition) or beyond. The vehicle is not amphibious.


The new tank is supposedly called PT-16, but it is not clear if this is the final name. It is mainly meant for export, as the backbone of the Polish tank force is meant to be the Leopard 2, which is in process of being upgraded to the new Leopard 2PL configuration in the near future. The new PT-16 tank is somewhat related to the PT-91 "Twardy", because it utilizes an upgraded version of the PT-91/T-72 hull.


However it seems to feature a new welded turret, which is armed with a 120 mm smoothbore gun manufactured by Huta Stalowa Wola (HSW). While Poland had started the development of a local copy of Rheinmetall's 120 mm smoothbore design, the gun of the  PT-91 is supposedly manufactured under licence; it has not been revealed whoo is responisble for the gun design and licencing; possibilities include companies from France, Germany, Ukraine or Switzerland. The gun is capable of firing Rheinmetall's latest 120 mm DM63 APFSDS and DM11 HE rounds. The new turret has to include a new autoloader to load the longer 120  x 570 mm unitary catridges for Rheinmetall's smoothbore gun design; how exactly this has been solved by the Polish engineers is unknown, but the Anders light tank and the Pl-01 concept tank utilized bustle mounted autoloaders.



The tank is protected by new modular composite armor. The turret armor is extremely thick and is reminiscent of the AMAP composite armor from the German company IBD Deisenroth as utilized on the Leopard 2 Evolution. IBD Deisenroth has supplied the armor package for the Rosomak-M variant and will deliver the armor for the new Leopard 2PL version. In so far it seems to be possible that IBD delivered the armor for the PT-16. It is understood that there will be some sort of local production of IBD's armor for the Leopard 2PL; if this is done under licence or with a local subsidairy is not clear at the moment. The hull front seems to be fitted with applique armor modules, but retains a number of classical T-72 features; the integrated hull armor might still be identical to that of the T-72M1/PT-91.



The tank is fitted with a 1,000 horsepower (hp) engine from a Serbian supplier. Supposedly it can deliver up to 1,100 hp, but has been only rated for 1,000 hp on the tank. The upper side of the hull is protected by applique composite armor panels, while the lower side is protected by rubber skirts.


The turret is fitted with a remote weapon station (RWS) and a new sensor system. The RWS is armed with a machine gun and might double-act as a commander's sight. The commander is at least not provided with a separate sight yet and there also appears to be no proper commander's cupola, but rather a few vision blocks integrated into the turret roof. The sensor system consists of at least two modules, one at each side of the frontal turret. Each module contains three sensor units. These units might be cameras or laser-warning sensors.


Further details on the PT-16 are expected to become public within the next days.

Kommentare:

  1. In the video that Damian sent us, I heard the guy saying "600mm" when pointing at the hull.

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    1. Yes, the new hull applique armor has supposedly a thickness of 60 mm; with the slope that's an increase of 160 mm along the line-of-sight. However it is not exactly clear if the old T-72M1 armor, the PT-91 armor (like the upgraded T-72M1 but with a further 16 mm steel plate added) or the PT-91M armor arrays are used for the hull.

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    2. So they added a 60mm composite plate on top of the existing armor?
      Was the base armor changed or left as it is?

      Or maybe I didn't understand something?

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    3. Polish engineers are going to add at least 60 mm of modular, composite armour to original T-72M1/PT-91 hull armour and they think that "it will significantly increase the protection level".The obsolete base hull and turret armour wasn't changed. In case of turret, protection of its frontal part should achieve 1000 mm RHA (rather impossible against KE, probably vs HEAT) and they estimate that it will be comparable to Leopard 2A5 although it's very doubtful.

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    4. What is the reason to choose a powerplant from Serbia? Cost? PT-91 engine was never popular because the extra power was obtained by using a turbocharger, which in turn raised fuel consumption. M84 engine should be similar in this regard.

      There are also other options. France offers a Renk engine and Ukraine the 6TD.

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    5. @Alejandro The PT91 actually comes with two engine versions... First, is the original W46 engine with a turbocharger and injection system from Bosch, rated at 850HP. These were used in tanks that were upgraded to PT91 standard. The other version, rated at 1000HP, was judged to be actually too powerful to not cause problems with existing transmission, so as far as I know, it was only used in the tanks delivered to Malaysia. As they were newly built, the hull was modified to fit a powerpack consisting of that engine and a Renk ESM350 transmission.

      This is actually the gist of the issue at hand - anything that requires hull modification immediately sends the costs sky-high, and apparently even more so if its the engine compartment and mountings. The serbian engine is, in fact, still a follow-on to the W46. While the talk of a 'powerpack' suggests a new or heavily modified transmission, I believe the core concern of the design team was to get something that would be cheap and that would require no extensive/expensive work on the hull/engine compartment, and be interchangible with the W850 engines used across the PT91 fleet.

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    6. @Alejandro
      The basic armor is not changed because in 90's during construction PT-97/2001 ("old" Gepard) it was found to be too much expensive.

      Then the hull armor was projected to increase from 380 to 550 mm RHAe due to replacing glass textolite with CAWA-2 ceramic armor. But it should have replaced the original cast turret with new welded turret (like in T-90A/S).

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  2. Somewhat.... the PT-16 turret seem's resembled from Turkish Altay Tank.

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    1. which is a copy of the South Korean K2.

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    2. It's original PT-91's (polish variant of T-72M) turret with composite amour and 120mm gun mounted. It's not clear what's inside of that turret and to be honest I thing that constructors do not know that either...

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    3. 120mm smoothbore cannon with autoloader. If it is Turret Bustle Autoloader, the crew will have extra survivability and extra space in the hull. Since this is intend export or Polish Army(optional) the Malaysia will have interest on it(if they want 120mm cannon). However, the Malaysian Private Company Etika Strategies Sdn Bhd(which also owner of Deftech) has team up with Turkish BMC and German Rheinmetall AG for Altay Tank competition, export, and bla3(idk but anything maybe?). Doesn't care, as long as the PT-16 are worth it to try for next expo. Can't wait.

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    4. @qudduscrap yup, it's a 22 round, completely externalized bustle autoloader offering a 12 shots per minute firing speed. The idea is to replace the turret (helps manage overall weight) but using existing turret as a base is also considered. And Rheinmetall AG has vested interest in the PT16, since the applique armor is co-produced by their subsidiary, IBD Deisenroth. I am sure they'd love to bleed both Poland and Malaysia for brand new vehicles, but they also get something if either (or both) governments decide to protect and modernise what they already have.

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  3. Allow me to provide some details that may be impossible to catch by outside observers.

    Firstly, the optical block you have a close-up of, belongs to OBRA. This system was developed for PT91, and since has been deployed on nearly all new or modernised armored hardware Poland orders. The system is similiar to ROSY, in that it is a laser illumination warning system which can automatically react to detected threats by deploying rapid obscuration or by turning the turret towards the threat. Here's link - http://www.pcosa.com.pl/en/warning_systems/ssp-1_obra-3_laser_warning_system-12.html

    Second, there is a deeper reason for Anders getting resurrected. That reason is the problems with OTO-Melara's Hitfist-30P and deepening cooperation with german industry, notably MTU and Rheinmetall.

    Hitfist-30P was 'sold' on a promise that the italians can integrate Rafael's Spike while maintaining the system mass limit for Rosomak to remain amphibious. This was all but proven impossible, and while you can see a functional turret on your photo, it is both expensive, and too heavy for the original Rosomak chassis to stay amphibious as intended. The core problem was the fact that the Spike and the onboard IR camera use different wavelenghts, causing problems when switching to track-by-missile mode. The issues were further complicated by the unfortunate fact that the italian turret places its optronics on the right, just above engine cooling vents. Warm air from there doesn't exactly help observation, regardless if optical or IR. This was partly solved by stripping the Hitfist-30 of its original IR camera, and integrating a new one, but this is costly, and the issue of added weight remains. While the weight issue was also solved, the Rosomak-M, which can remain amphibious with the extra load, requires extensive chassis modification, adding even more cost.

    As you can imagine, Poland isn't keen to solve the problem by throwing piles of money at it, especially that a cheaper option exists. That option is the ZSSW-30 unmanned OWS. The programme to develop that took longer than expected, but the ZSSW-30 is rumored to be in the last stages of testing. It does provide missile integration, and its weight fits within current amphibious limit of the Rosomak, making a very straightforward firepower upgrade.

    However, this means that the military MUST find a way to somehow 'dispose' of the Hitfist-30. And here we come to the Anders. While deploying that would require the army to drop the amphibiousness requirement, this has been increasingly problematic, and the Borsuk IFV programme is rumored to be stalled due to the fact that required protection levels simply can NOT be achieved while retaining the amphibious capability. Meanwhile, Anders has undergone extensive testing in the recent years, is completely local IP (excluding the fact its been developed using COTS approach), and since it's not amphibious, it is said to be a good match to work alongside Poland's Leo2s. Should this option be chosen, these vehicles could conveniently take any Hitfist-30P taken off Rosomak IFVs, also conveniently masking the cost of changes needed to integrate the ATGMs.

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    1. As for the PT-16... while Poland operates 245 Leopard 2s, more than Germany itself at the moment, these serve in only 4 of Poland's 11 panzer battalions. 4 more have PT91s, and 3 'vanilla' T72M1s, which can hardly be considered of any real value. The contract with Rheinmetall to modernize the local fleet of Leopard 2 tanks included several 'offset' options. Rumor has it that IBD Deisenroth armor modules for the Leo 2 upgrade will be built under license in Poland, and the license scope and cost is improving with volume. With T72s not leaving the line of service anytime soon due to zero availability of affordable alternatives, a modernisation push was only matter of time. The PT16 is reportedly using applique modules built using IBD Deisenroth technologies, on top of Ukraine-designed and tested T-72-120 solution, down to a welded-in ammo magazine in the back and a 120mm cannon based on the 2A46 to ease weapon installation. The openness of the Ukrainians to offer manufacturing license is in turn used to pressure Rheinmetall into 'entering the fray' with their 120mm offering, so as to not 'invite' a major client into replacing Leo 2 gun in the future. Recent state-level industrial visits to factories in Ukraine that produce electric turret and weapon drives suggest that the entire solution doe the PT16 may be in fact sourced there, with the turret taking its final shape with the installation of applique modules designed with the aid of IBD Deisenroth.

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    2. Thanks for your informations, I have incorporated them (together with other infos and photos) into a new post.

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  4. Guy from the third photo said in the interview that PT16 uses original PT91/T72 turret. I'm not sure how they squeezed 120mm NATO autoloader in it, because it uses fixed one piece ammo, unlike orignal autoloader which uses separate-loading ammunition. Maybe they cutout back of the turret and made niche for autoloader and ammo there? We need wait for for photos of back of the turret :-P

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    1. This is also my guess. It is very notable that the tank was not shown from the back. I can only note that the current budget of Poland included financing for a study item '120mm cannon autoloader' which was intended for Gepard, among others.

      Another notable fact is a veritable offensive of ukrainian industry in Poland, offering not only finished products and components, but also know-how. That's why I guessed above that the turrent may actually be based on Ukrainian T-72-120, the cannon may also be sourced there, and the shape of the turret is unfamiliar due to applique modules likely designed together with IBD Deisenroth.

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