tank reload mechanism

February 29th, 2004  
John Arthur

Topic: tank reload mechanism

Are there any MBT tanks that have an automated reloading mechanism, and if so can anyone please describe a little about how it works?

For instance, does the barrel have to return to level position first?

Also, I'm looking for at least a vague idea of how large or complicated the assembly would be, and whether it would be mounted to the floor or suspended from the aft end where the ordnance/ammo is stored?

Or; if there is no such invention, how do you think it would work if it did exist? What would be your idea of an optimum design?

Thank you and God bless.
February 29th, 2004  
Are there any MBT tanks that have an automated reloading mechanism, and if so can anyone please describe a little about how it works?

Alot of the older Soviet Models, in particular the T-72, although I don't know if they still come standred on the newer stuff. Ill check some sources to see what I can find out.
February 29th, 2004  
Most modern MBTs don't use autoloaders as they are heavy, complex adn prone to jamming when you really need them to work (plus the odd one or two that mistakes the gunner's arm for a projectile ).

Current examples that do use an autoloader (aside from old Soviet ones) include the French Leclerc, the Japanese Type 90, Pakistani MBT 2000 (joint project with NORINCO and therefore Soviet based), Polish PT-91 (T-80/72 based), Chinese Type 85-II (T-72 based), Russian T-90 (T-80 based) and Ukranian T-84 (again, T-80 based).

For most countries, a fourth crewmember adds so much to crew endurance, flexiblity and utility that an autoloader simply isn't worth the complications and supposed higher rate of fire.
February 29th, 2004  
Animal Mother
The Swedish Stridsvagn 103 had an autoloader as well, with quite an impressive rate of fire, 15 rounds a minute, fed by a 50 round magazine.
March 1st, 2004  
John Arthur
Okay, so as mentioned at;
"Another innovation is a new automated ammo storage/loader, located in a turret bustle. It is separated from crew compartment by an armored bulkhead which greatly increases crew survivability."

A 'bustle' is "a framework worn at the back below the waist for giving fullness to a woman's skirt." So that would be the extra section add-on at the back end of the turret.

I suppose then that perhaps the armored bulkhead has maybe a sideways roller with insets for the rounds to fall into, and hull integrity is maintained even during a fast rate of rotation as they drop into the slots in the bustle and are somehow loaded through into the turret and into the gun breech after the roller rotates 180 degrees. How it does this without the old way of having the barrel "...lock at +3 degrees..." for loading, must be quite a trick, especially given the "Rate of fire: 10-12? rounds/min".

Or maybe it uses a reciprocating piston that pops through the bustle 'baffle armor' into the turret, rather like a giant-size version of a gas-powered self-loading machinegun.

Maybe the bustle has a separate internal bulkhead that separates the ram from the magazine, through which a slotted roller rotates so that as it brings the round around and through, it maintains airtight integrity in the bustle, as it drops the round into the ram receiver and then drives it forward through into the turret.

Could be when the gun fires the recoil slams it back and as it reaches the end of the throwback, it drops out the old shell firing pin or whatever and drops in a new shell, then as it recoils forward on springs, it self-rams and relocks automatically, doing this somehow regardless of firing angle.

That is not a lot of time for cycling out of exhaust gasses from the barrel before breaking open the breech into the interior of the turret chamber, unless the turret chamber has positive ventilation. But it would take an uncomfortable level of interior positive pressure to do that, so maybe the entire internal recoil-reload mechanism is enclosed in a thin metal pressure clamshell casing, not a bad idea anyways to keep crew from getting tangled up in it. With a taller clamshell casing, the barrel could be at any angle inside the clamshell and still do all that.

Thus if the bustle is hit, the internal bustle roller prevents penetration into the ram, keeping the turret safe. This is speculation of course.

With all that, there might not be much room for climbing back and forth from side to side inside the turret.

Jamming. Hmm. Increased crew endurance, flexiblity and utility and so on. Yes, there is that. You can't just give it a kick or a whack with a handy weskett wrench, can you?

And now, I will check out the Swedish Stridsvagn 103.

Thank you gentlemen and God bless.
March 3rd, 2004  
Autoloader =

1. Notoriously Unreliable.
2. More tech, more stuff to break, more parts to order, more administrative tail.
3. Dangerous. (T72 used to load the gunner's arm into the breech).
4. If it breaks, tank can't shoot, making it combat ineffective.

Manual Loader=

1. Extra set of eyes to help pull 360 degree security.
2. Extra set of ears for radio watch.
3. Extra body for deatils.
4. Extra set of hands to help perform maintainance.
5. If loader gets killed or injured, gunner can move to loaders position and load, and tank commander can still engage and fight the tank.
6. On M1 series tank, loader can troubleshoot radios and get you back on the net when your equipment breaks.

At 15 rounds a minute, S Tank (Swedish Stridsvagn 103) loads a round every 4 seconds. American loaders that can't load at 4 seconds usually get fired. Also, when was the last time the Swedish S Tank saw combat? I don't put any faith in non-battle proven weapons systems. (see LeClerc, Leo 2A4/A5/A6, etc, etc...)

Manual Loader wins.
March 4th, 2004  
John Arthur

Topic: manual reloading

I get the impression from reading an explanation somewhere, that when the gun fires it recoils backwards and at the end of the stroke, it locks the breech open ready for the next round. The loader stands right behind it, ready to heave in the next round, which slides into the breech under its own momentum and makes the breech close and lock itself shut automatically, at which point the gun returns to a forward position, ready to fire the next round. Did I get it right?

Or does the loader stand to one side of the breech? Is there a grab bar for him to hang onto to stay out of the way of the breech?

I'm also interested in what color the interior and the shells are, and how big the compartment is; like, six feet high by six feet diameter?

This is really getting interesting, and I can see you're right about manual reloading being superior, so long as the loader has a good lower back, seeing the shells weigh about 45 pounds each.
March 5th, 2004  
Go to your recruiter. Tell him you want to be a 19K.

All your questions will be answered.
March 5th, 2004  

Topic: Yes

Common, as we all know, all of these autoloaders are unrelaible. Otherwise they would be on the M1A2, the Challenger II, the Leopard 2A6 or at least the Merkava Mk IV(i mean, if anybody needs to save on personnel....its us....). The autoloader is nothing but trouble.
March 5th, 2004  
I agree. The Autoloader concept will be debated until the cows come home, But I am pretty sure the US/NATO will never adopt one. It's too much trouble and too unreliable for any prolonged us.