[deutsch] Dipl.-Ing. Rolf Hilmes: Überflüssig oder unverzichtbar? Zur Zukunft des Kampfpanzers


A presentation (in German) of the German 'tank pope' Rolf Hilmes (the German equivalent of Ogorkiewicz in authorship).

Sorry, I had nothing really to blog about this week. I've been too busy with other things for weeks (the past three or four blog posts were pre-scheduled).



  1. Funny pictures of the Italians pawing at the F35 at a display. "Do not touch."

    Is mercury the toxin in the coating? There is something, GAO noted that if the refuelling probe scraped the AR coating it had to be declared HAZMAT when the tanker landed.

    Sorry, the only German I know comes from Rammstein lyrics.

    Been listening to an interesting old series on Youtube "The Secret War" from 1977, its a technical deconstruction and history of WW2. Some interesting move/counter-move stories from the horses mouths. The stuff concerning RV Jones makes your blood boil.

    1. Youtube can try to auto-translate with subtitles for you.

    2. Check out the stories about the impact auto translate had on the slaughter in Myanmar.

      We're not at bablefish levels yet.

    3. IMO the Main Battle Tank Concept as it is now is a dead end. The triangle of protection, firepower an mobility how it is understood in the classical way is obsolete, especially in the question of understanding protection mainly as armour. Stealth, Diversion and Mobility will become much more important and that needs much lighter and therefore smaller plattforms.

      Today the spiral is: we need a better armour because of the enemy fire power and a better gun because of the enemy armour. To be mobile we need therefore stronger (bigger) motor, and bigger tank. Because the gun is so big, we need a big turret and all the area and volume results in even more weight because of the extra-armour we need etc and in the end the vehicle resulting from this logic is unwieldy, far to heavy and its logistical footprint becomes a burden and not a solution.

      To spare weight first of all the tanks must become much smaller. The smaller the tank, the lighter the armour is and many people underestimate how much this spares. Then an intelligent armour deesign / concept can also spare weight. This does not mean fewer protection, but the same level of protection with much fewer weight. Automatisation is also a point which adds in this direction. The crew should be 3 at a maximum.

      For the same reason the chassis of IFV is not good for a next generation main battle tank, because of the resulting size of the vehicle (more size - more armour - more weight).

      Then we also need a solution in the question of the gun / weapons and also especially in the question of fighting other targets than other MBTs. Against all other targets a middle-caliber machine cannon / autocannon (50mm, 60mm, 76mm) is much more better than the todays big caliiber guns (120mm and more). But how to fight heavy armour with such guns ? Hardly ever. But the simple solutiion would be to install several ultra high speed atgms at the tank. Moreover this would also allow one to upgrade the anti-mbt firepower much mmore easily in the case that the enemy armour becomes stronger instead of replacing then a complete turret and a heavy gun.

      So to summarize my concept:

      The new mbt must be as small as possible, with a high grade of automatisation and stealth features and a as high as possible mobility in the terrain with a machine cannone (76mm caliber) and several high speed atgm (like CKEM). Also it must include the best available softkill and hardkill. And the armour should be front centric and not all around.

      Such a tank would also be much more versatile.