An MBT light for the US Army. A solution also for Italy?

(To Tiziano Ciocchetti)

Already in the mid-'60 years the US Army had introduced into service a light tank (15 tons), the M551 SHERIDAN, to be assigned to airborne troops. However, the use in the field was very negative, due to the lack of protection and lack of reliability of the 152 mm cannon / missile launcher.

Last year the Pentagon issued a requirement for the development of the MPF (Mobile Protected Firepower) program, which provides a means of 25-30 tons with a good level of protection and firepower. In the initial phase of the EMD (Engineering & Manufactoring), the SAIC (Science Applications International Corporation) and the General Dynamics seemed to propose the best solutions to meet the demands of the US Army.

The first offers a light wagon with two-seater turret armed with a stabilized piece, in fully digital mode, 105 mm and equipped with automatic loading, with a reserve of 12 / 16 shots. The turret features a 454369 STANAG 5 ballistic protection, while the vehicle is propelled by a 8V-199 TE 20 MTU diesel engine capable of developing 700 Hp of power - associated with an automatic KDS HMX 3000 transmission, with a ratio power weight equal to 24.5 Hp / t - allows the vehicle to reach the speed of 70 km / h.

The General Dynamics proposes instead the GRIFFIN III - based on the hull of the AJAX, developed by the same company as a substitute for the British Army's CVRT reconnaissance crawler vehicle family, which is also proposed as a combat vehicle for infantry, as Capable of carrying 6 men, it is equipped with a newly designed modular turret, armed with a piece of 50 mm, derived from the M-813 BUSHMASTER from 30 mm, (with vertical aiming area between + 85 ° and -20 °) and is equipped with the Israeli active protection system (APS) IRON FIST, which implements the protection capabilities against the threats of today's operating scenarios, characterized by a large diffusion of counter-truck systems.

From the latest news it would seem that the SAIC has been replaced by BAE Systems, which will develop an evolution of the M-8 BAGS (Buford Armored Gun System), already offered to the US Army, in the years 90 of the last century, as a substitute for the 'M-551 SHERIDAN.

Photo: BAE Systems