Monday, February 13, 2006



Is it me or what? But doesn’t it seem weird when on the same day that Dean called Cheney Aaron Burr, that just like Burr, Cheney shot someone. We all know who shot someone else named Burr.


The Abrams tank armor system was not really put to the test during military operations in Iraq. There were virtually no reported hits on the highly protected frontal arc or on the "heavy" ballistic skirts; all tank losses to enemy fire were defeated from the top, side and rear. Iraqi soldiers had clearly familiarized themselves with the capabilities of American tanks during operation Desert Storm and avoided engaging them in direct battle. For example, there were no reported cases of anti-tank guide missiles (ATGM) being fired at any US army vehicle. At the same time, Iraqi resistance fighters, whose ranks were bolstered by scores of trained Iraqi soldiers, have clearly learned to exploit the vulnerabilities of the US systems. They managed to destroy up to 20 enemy tanks even with their antiquated light anti-tank weapons, mostly Soviet rocket-propelled grenades such as the RPG-7 or its Chinese and Egyptian variants, with rounds developed in the 1970s-early 1980s. The results of combat operations show that the side armor of the Abrams tank is completely inadequate to fire from light anti-tank weapons, including older generation weapons, making these tanks unsuitable for operations in built-up areas.
For example, in a widely-discussed incident, an M1 tank from the 2nd Battalion, 70th Armor Regiment, 1st Armor Division was hit and disabled during a routine patrol on 28 August 2003. The American press, deluded by its own reports of the "invulnerability" of the Abrams, claimed that some kind of "secret weapon" was responsible for the damage. In fact, published photographs clearly show that the offending weapon was none other than a simple RPG. The hollow-charged jet penetrated the side skirt and turret ring and continued into the crew compartment as it disintegrated before finally coming to rest after boring a cluster of craters 30-50 mm deep in the hull on the far side of the tank. The crew was lucky to have suffered only minor shrapnel wounds as the projectile passed through the gunner's seatback and grazed his flak jacket. On April 2, 2003 an RPG attack from the side disabled another tank by penetrating the turret's hydraulic drive.
The side protection of the M1 turret is also inadequate. On 7 April 2004 an anti-tank RPG penetrated the side of the turret resulting in serious wounds to two crew members. The top of the tank is equally vulnerable, and even the glacis was easily defeated by anti-tank weapons. For example, on April 10, 2004 a tank was hit on the right side of the glacis by an RPG fired from an overpass and destroyed. Additional measures designed to increase protection for the Abrams tank have showed mixed results. Halon firefighting gear has proven largely ineffective. Practically all secondary fires resulting from enemy fire, engine breakdown or overheating destroyed the tank completely. For example, the 7 April attack noted above ignited the tanker's personal effects attached to the outside of the turret, and since the crew had abandoned the vehicle, the fire was left unchecked, while on 10 April, fuel leaked out of a damaged fuel tank and ignited. Externally stored items, including on one occasion an external auxiliary power unit (EAPU), caught fire on several occasions and led to catastrophic losses. On the other hand, the vulnerability caused by externally stored items only underlined the wisdom of storing ammunition in a separate compartment protected by blast doors, which contained fires and saved the crew when the main rounds ignited.
The distribution of catastrophic damage to the Bradley IFV was somewhat different. In spite of the vehicle's explosive reactive armor (ERA), its protection proved to be completely inadequate in combat against even outdated generations of light anti-tank weapons. This led to several episodes of defeat from RPGs, accompanied by crew casualties and in several cases the complete destruction of the vehicle from resulting fires. Significant losses of Bradley vehicles resulted from Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) placed in cars or on roads. IEDs made from one or two 122 and/or 152 mm shells with between 4 and 14 kg of explosive proved more than adequate to inflict heavy damage to equipment and crew. The worst case was on January 17, 2004 when the explosion from an IED made from two 152 mm shells overturned the vehicle and destroyed the crew compartment, killing all five crewmen. The Abrams tank proved much more resistant to IED, as only one tank was destroyed on October 27, 2003 by an IED, presumably constructed from a 240 mm Soviet-made mortar-bomb with an explosive charge of 32 kg.
It is interesting to compare the losses sustained by the Bradley Fighting Machines from light anti-tank weapons and IED to the experience of the new Stryker Medium Armored Vehicle. This wheeled 8x8 has about the same ballistic protection as the Bradley (360-degree protection from 14.5 mm shells). Enhanced survivability against RPG is provided by slat armor: testing and combat experience in Iraq has shown that this steel grille is able to prevent the proper functioning of anti-tank grenades and the formation of a hollow-charged jet. The Stryker also has higher survivability against mines. Whereas exploding mines have almost always stopped the Bradley in its tracks, the Stryker as a rule has been able to escape from the area of detonation. For example, on 9 September a Bradley was blown up by an IED placed in a parked car on Haifa Street in Baghdad with an explosive charge of about 10 kg. The IFV suffered damage to its tracks and lost mobility. Two crew members were injured and another four were hit by small arm fire and RPGs when they tried to exit the vehicle. Reinforcement units evacuated the crew and the vehicle burned unchecked. On 11 October, 2004, a car in Mosul rammed into the side of a Stryker, detonating a similar explosive charge. The MAV suffered serious damage, the commander was killed, and seven out of 8 wheels were punctured, but the vehicle retained mobility and was able to return to base on its own. In another pair of incidents, a Bradley and a Stryker each lost their front suspension arm, on 12 October and 20 December respectively. Again, the Stryker retained mobility while the Bradley did not.

Armor facts
This is very interesting site... » » »
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