Thursday, June 8, 2017
Wheeled armored vehicles keep getting bigger
I've mentioned before my experience with South African Ratel infantry fighting vehicles, which were big and relatively tall. This was an advantage in the southern African bush, because their commanders and gunners were able to see over the bush to locate enemy targets, whereas our foes in their Soviet-era tanks and APC's were blinded by the vegetation, unable to see more than a few feet in front of them.
Nevertheless, by the standards of emerging modern IFV's, the Ratel was still relatively small. Courtesy of SNAFU, we find this photograph of two contenders in the Australian Army's Land 400 IFV/APC component. (Click the image for a larger view.)
From right to left, we have the ASLAV wheeled light armored vehicle and M1 Abrams tank (both currently in service with the Australian armed forces), followed by the Patria AMV and Boxer, both of which are finalists in the Land 400 competition.
Note the size of the latter, newer vehicles compared to their older predecessors. It's striking. They'll be much more visible to the enemy under many conditions - enough so that I'd be concerned about being inside them on a highly-contested battlefield. I'd be feeling rather vulnerable!
Nevertheless, I suppose such growth in size is inevitable, given the requirements such vehicles will have to meet. I note that the US Marine Corps is testing two wheeled APC's, the SuperAV and the Terrex, as part of its Amphibious Combat Vehicle program; and Israel has developed the Eitan APC. All are of similar size to the Australian contenders.