Watch the Pentagon’s Stealth Tank Leap Over Bombs
Army imagines a new kind of armored warfare
That’s a big if.
A talented artist at the U.S. Army’s Tank Automotive Research Development and Engineering Center has drafted some fascinating art depicting the GXV in action. Unlike the sedate artist’s conceptions of most military hardware, these drawings are like a graphic novel.
Nice art, even if the concept is a possible dead end. You can see the drawings here.
The GVX is supposed to represent a new concept in tank survivability. Instead of the traditional method of adding thicker armor—which inevitably results in a heavier vehicle—the Pentagon wants to apply advanced technology to keep its future tank light and well-protected.
Several of the drawings depict this advanced protective tech in comat. Slide #5 shows the GVX automatically dodging an artillery barrage, scooting away right as the shells land.
In slide #17, the tank deploys its “dynamically moveable armor.” An armored slab slides along rails from the front of the vehicle to the rear, just in time to deflect an incoming anti-tank projectile.
Slide #21 shows the tank avoiding damage from a roadside bomb by raising its chassis three feet in the air.
The little GXV, which looks like something out of Star Wars, is supposed to be half the size of today’s M-1 Abrams. Slide #15 shows the tank taking advantage of its petite profile—around 13 feet long—to hide behind boulders as it sneaks up behind a platoon of enemy tanks on a rocky battlefield.
In slide #16, a GXV hides in ambush behind parked cars during an urban battle, as what appears to be a Russian-style tank passes by unaware.
The drawings depict still more sophisticated defenses. Slide #4 shows a sniper taking a bead on the vehicle. Why a sniper is shooting a rifle at a tank isn’t clear. The tank appears to detect a glint of light from the rifle’s telescopic sight and automatically blasts the sniper with its cannon.
Slide #15 is hard to decipher, but appears to feature a GXV intercepting an rocket in mid-air, perhaps with an active protection system like Israel’s Trophy.
The drawings also highlight the GVX’s mobility. The new tank is meant be just half the weight of a 60-ton M-1. Various slides show the tank hanging under a CH-47 helicopter—which doesn’t normally lift tanks—and descending on a battlefield via parachute.
Slide #20 demonstrates the GXV’s agility. The vehicle maneuvers around abandoned and destroyed cars blocking a city street. Slide #9 shows what appears to be a troop carrier version of the GVX with space for eight soldiers plus several crewmen.
What’s striking about these drawings is their emphasis on survivability. They don’t show traditional armored combat, nor do they depict a long-range gun duel with enemy tanks. They do show the GVX in numerous urban warfare situations, or deploying behind enemy lines by helicopter.
If these are the hypothetical battlefields guiding the Pentagon’s future tank design, this suggests that the military is anticipating a future of armored warfare as different from World War II and Desert Storm as D-Day was from Waterloo and Cannae.