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IFV Armaments: East vs. West

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  • IFV Armaments: East vs. West

    It's seems obvious that "Western" (US, German, UK) infantry fighting vehicles have significantly different armament arrangements than their "Eastern" (Russian, Chinese) IFV counter-parts. Namely the fact that Western IFV seem to prefer a 30mm cannon combined with externally mounted ATGMs (Bradley, Puma), while Eastern IFVs prefer a 100m gun/ATGM launcher with co-axial 30mm cannon (BMP-3, ZBD-97). I have a couple of questions for the members here to discuss:

    1) What are the advantages and disadvantages of each arrangement? Do you believe they are significant?
    2) Which you do think is preferable, or instead, in what combat scenarios would one arrangement have an advantage?
    3) Why have these differing arrangements developed as they have? Is it combat philosophy, technological differences, etc?

    If you see fit to enlighten me, thanks in advance.

  • #2
    The Bradley system is one I can vouch for personally. A pair of TOWs and a 25mm gun with AP or HE ammo available at the press of a button is hard to beat.
    The problem was re-loading... and not the TOW. Little more than the loaders upper arms and face were exposed, and you would have to have a clear view of the rear deck to notice that.
    The 25mm was another issue. To load the belts into the bin, the turret had to be facing a certain direction and the clumsy process took several minutes no matter what you did. Not a very happy situation in a fight.

    A 100mm gun/launcher? Seems too small, and the Sheridan tank of the 1960s had a 152mm that was awful- the recoil of firing a conventional round knocked the missile sights out of alignment most times.

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    • #3
      These IFV / APC things are getting more and more like light tanks that just happen to carry a few troops troops. Cost has got to be going up with all that weaponry, and cost was something originally intended to be kept relatively low IIRC. From what I've read about the 100mm it's missles give the IFV a much longer range agains other IFVs but I don't know about handling an MBT. I've seen 25mm Bradley fire and it seemed pretty effective, and the coax had a high pucker factor as well.

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      • #4
        At 100mm, the ATGMs fired by the eastern designs are probably a little underpowered compared to the 152mm of a TOW missile or even the 127mm Javelin. On the other hand, is it worth downgrading your anti-tank capabilities if it gives you the option of having 100mm HE shells? Or, do you consider a 30mm HE shell more than sufficient?

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        • #5
          Not all Eastern IFV's are armed with a 100mm soft recoil gun and a 30mm automatic cannon. There are also some wheeled BTR types still in use. I would say there are much more tracked Eastern IFV's with either a 76mm soft recoil or 30mm automatic main armament.

          Do you just want to compare a couple of individual types?

          Pruitt
          Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

          Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

          by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Pruitt View Post
            Not all Eastern IFV's are armed with a 100mm soft recoil gun and a 30mm automatic cannon. There are also some wheeled BTR types still in use. I would say there are much more tracked Eastern IFV's with either a 76mm soft recoil or 30mm automatic main armament.

            Do you just want to compare a couple of individual types?

            Pruitt
            Quite right. It wasn't my intention to hint that "all" IFVs fit this "Western/Eastern" split.

            Regarding individual types I would highlight the Bradley and the Puma (Western) vs the BMP-3 and the ZBP-97 ("Eastern"). They are all fairly modern weapons, so I think it's fair to assume that they are a result of some considerable experience and doctrine.

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            • #7
              I would say that in general, the Eastern designs are more effective against infantry in all circumstances. the 30mm Cannon is going to be fairly equal with the Bushmaster 25mm against leg troops, and having a 100mm HE shell to throw into fortifications, buildings, and the like. It's just a more versatile combination against leg troops than using TOWs or Javelins on buildings, not to mention more economical. However, the ATGMs carried by the Eastern design IFVs are usually a bit anemic, especially for dealing with modern MBTs.

              Against a more combined arms approach, the Western concept of a mid-caliber cannon and a few good ATGMs is vastly superior. In those circumstances, the priority is supporting your infantry against a combined-arms enemy.

              Eastern IFVs (by design and from wargaming experience) really need MBT support to run against a combined-arms operation. A platoon of MBTs can support 2 companies of mech infantry, but you need a ratio nearing 1 MBT per platoon of IFVs. The MBT handles the enemy mechanized targets, while the IFVs fight the infantry, soft-skins, and enemy IFVs at close range (where they go for double-teaming).

              In contrast, Western IFVs (Bradley for example) have a limited ability to function as the only necessary armored element in a combined-arms team. In a pinch Bradleys can carefully take on enemy MBTs with a solid chance of survival (provided they get their shot off first or the MBT misses the first shot). They can also reliably take on Enemy IFVs at extreme range with their missiles, something that the less reliable missile/launcher combinations on Eastern IFVs wouldn't necessarily want to do. Once the enemy armored vehicles are destroyed, the Brads can then move up and support with light cannon fire. Not as effective as larger HE rounds, but the key to combined-arms is to survive until you have a chance to overmatch the enemy. In the competition, the Bradley has the edge in surviving until that point.
              Tacitos, Satrap of Kyrene

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              • #8
                Why talk when there is videos`?



                “For there is nothing more serious than a lunatic when he comes to the central point of his lunacy.”

                Max Sterner

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                • #9
                  One must credit the Eastern concept for changing the game entirely. With the first BMP release, they changed the APC battle taxi to the IFV and while the West was reluctant to follow suit, the idea was too good to resist.
                  "I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them."
                  George Mason
                  Co-author of the Second Amendment
                  during Virginia’s Convention to Ratify the Constitution, 1788

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