U.S. Army Fort Benning and the Maneuver Center of Excellence has declassified images of four future Optionally Manned Tank (OMT) concepts to replace the US M1 Abrams main battle tanks.
There are also early specifications sheets for the first 3 variants of the OMT, and none for the fourth.
There are also some pages from a specification that describe the system.
The OMT systems presumably contains the following, which is simply a part of the description:
- Air filtration and air conditioning / heating system as a single module, for easy replacement, the module must be connected to an automatic contaminated air sensor
- In case of problems, there should be a transition to “manual” / mechanical control in case the power supply or hydraulics dies, incl. loading the gun.
- Automation of some processes of evacuation of vehicles, incl. automatically retractable hook.
- Machine condition sensors (logistics – which parts need to be replaced) and track tension sensor to detect dangerous situations / breakdowns.
- “Transparent armor”
- “Spoofing” of the system, i.e. systems of active counteraction
- Independent surveillance systems, similarly to the M2 / M3 battle tanks.
- If the computer of the OMT considers that the target in the sight is friendly, it sends a message to the gunner like “are you sure?”
- Angles of declination, Schaub from behind the hills
- Any Wi-Fi and other little things like USB connectors for charging devices
- The ability to put different weapons in place of a coaxial machine gun, 7.62, 50 cal and 40 mm AG, all this should give itself out even less when firing (reducing the flash of a shot, etc.)
- digital map, the ability to receive 3D maps of the terrain from drones, use the data for planning operations. The ability to use a device with a digital card both under armor and with open hatches (you need a special mount). Proposal also for an operations planning module, which will also be a digital map, device. must have different overlays, incl. from electronic combat infantry systems.
- Improved suspension units
Also, the US military’s vision of key OMT technologies, how they affect the use of machines:
- The most significant among those technologies that the crews tested was the UAV. But for the transition to crews of 3 people for the use of UAVs, improvements must be made:
- The UAV should help in maintaining “local security”, you need the ability to look straight down, inspect the 300 zone around the unit, use radar, teplak, and other control methods, without the need to leave the tank. The document speaks of an “Indirect Detection / Proximity Sensor” sensor which is never used. need to get out of the cars
- The UAV must have the ability to show long-range targets (“long-range target locator”) which is connected to JCR / WMI (I do not know how they are translated), with the ability to measure the distance with a laser and receive data on the output by the sector, the direction from the car
- the range of the UAV should be equal to the direct fire range of the main gun
- optics improvement, automatic adjustment to display settings, tepak + night light and combined vision modes (night light + thermal overlay)
- UAVs must have automatic functionality. return.
- The idea of arming the UAV received biased estimates.
- Option to increase the time spent in the air by “attaching” it to the car with a power cable
- All the above wishes for UAVs lead to the need for the UAV operator to have knowledge not only in the use of UAVs, but also in the organization of work / air movement, control of indirect fire. It is not entirely clear who / how / when will perform the role of the UAV operator, but control systems should be simpler and more intuitive to use.
- One may need several types of UAVs, one basic and expensive, the rest are simpler and cheaper, but only for certain simple tasks.
- Active Protection System – good, especially for the less protected OMT variants
- 2 IWS is too much, one interferes with the other, 1 is enough. IWS should also be able to transfer targets to the gunner
- Sensors for laser irradiation should automatically indicate the direction of exposure and fire smoke grenades.
Back in May 2020, there was a Virtual experiment carried out by the US Army on the tank, and the following experiments were carried out:
During the Virtual Experiment, the Soldiers “virtually fought” multiple computer-based tanks with their associated M&S performance characteristics to assess four key areas:
- The ability of the proposed OMT configurations to conduct combat operations.
- How do each of the OMT key technologies impact the vehicle’s operational utility?
- The tactical behavioral impacts and lethality of using differing primary weapon systems.
- OMT crew control team performance impacts including the ability to conduct key combat tasks
“Gaining the insight from our current Armor Soldiers, the ones who best understand what they have in the field today and what they want to see tomorrow, is of critical importance to this process,” said Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, director of the NGCV CFT. “Here, before we have bent a single piece of metal, we are getting Soldier input on caliber size of ammunition, optimal speed requirements and more. Engaging in these Virtual Experiments is part of our campaign of learning that allows us to refine the technology and ensure the best, most current technology is integrating into the final design.”
With the completion of the Virtual Experiment, the Detroit Arsenal team will now review the collected data to refine and update the OMT virtual prototypes based on the 1st CAV Soldiers’ feedback.
“Additional experiments are scheduled to occur in FY21/22”, said Steve Pinter, program manager for Warfighter Experimentation at GVSC. “Upcoming experiments will provide further insights into the development of the OMT based upon refined learning objectives and lessons learned from previous experiments. The experiments will also be conducted against a simulated near-peer adversary in an operational environment to better understand and develop future vehicle requirements.”
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