Authors: Vollketten and Madestcat
this is another patent archive gem, brought to you by the two authors named above. Enjoy!
Paul-Werner Krapke proposed this vehicle in or around 1983. Krapke was connected to the design of the Leopard tank series, as he was Chief of the Leopard II design team, so expect this vehicle to be heavily based on the Leopard II tank underneath. The task of the vehicles was primarily to fight enemy MBT’s and armoured vehicles and to improve the anti-tank capabilities in the range of up to 2000m while being capable of defeating current and next generation tanks.
It is described thus “…an anti-tank destroyer consisting of a tank chassis with no turret but equipped with a tank cannon”
The name is: Panzerabwehrkampfwagen or roughly ‘Anti-Tank Combat Vehicle’
Design features from Concept to Solution
- Crew of 3 with the driver doubling as the gunner (so Commander, Loader, Driver/Gunner) – it’s worth noting no automatic loader is specified. With the driver doubling as the gunner, the optics are arranged in such a way as to allow him to see where the commander is aiming and thus he can steer in that direction, aim and fire.
“Fighting with a limited gun arc requires the driver to take part in the battle” which would mean Commander, Driver/Gunner and Loader as the crew.
- Low profile to maximise concealment and thereby reduce the size of the target it presents to the enemy with a final design height goal of only 2.3 metres and the firing height of 1.7 metres.
- Specified is a gimbal mounted 120mm gun, capable of firing both KE (Kinetic Energy – APFSDS-T) and CE (Chemical Energy – HEAT) ammunition.
- 15 degrees of traverse each side, depression of -10 and elevation of +15 were planned, but only a traverse of +13 with depression and elevation of -8 and +20 could be achieved with movement controlled by an electric drive.
- Optical sights connected to the gun and a simplified fire control system (it’s not designed to fire on the move so this makes the systems a lot simpler and presumably cheaper), although night fighting equipment is also specified.
- A remotely operated machine gun is mounted too and is controlled by the loader.
- A coaxial machine gun is also possible to be added if required.
- Ammunition is stored in the lowest part of the vehicle outside the crew station, below and to the side of the engine. Due to the layout of the interior, more ammunition can be carried than in a main battle tank too with storage of at least 50 rounds.
- The vehicles is described as having “Quite good survivability”
- Frontal protection is adequate and starts 900mm above the ground and specifically “must have greater frontal protection that a main battle tank and a side and roof protection against known enemy artillery”
“Since a casement design assures improved frontal protection by lowering the silhouette and allowing thicker frontal armour to be used particular attention has been paid to these two aspects” – Paul Krapke
- So its not just ‘thick’ but the glacis is sloped which is split to accommodate the cannon at 30 degrees from the horizontal with “an underlayer of special armour”
- For the sides of the tank above the level of the skirting plates the hull slopes inwards sharply and must be sufficient to keep out shell fragments from artillery.
- Top of vehicle is “bomblet proof” and has only a single hatch for the commander.
- The originial plan is for a total vehicle mass 40 – 50 tonnes and protection against ATGM like PARS- 3 and “most tank cannons”.
- The actual design though comes out at 50 tonnes with the protection required.
- Engine air intakes and exhausts are located at the sides and back respectively with the engine in the rear leaving enough space for the crew to access and egress the vehicle via a rear door. Ammunition can also be resupplied via this door.
- An NBC overpressure system keeps the crew safe in a chemical environment and an “explosion suppression system” was designed for the battle station and engine compartment.
- At the front, there is a large bulldozer type blade fitted so the vehicle can dig itself into cover.
- The vehicle is not meant to be as mobile as MBT’s, as the combined use of the vehicle with MBT’s is not planned
- Centre of gravity must be centrally located to avoid ‘barrel strike’ where the gun hits the ground, which on the 6 wheel set-up means the centre being approximately at the third wheel.
- Suspension should be identical to the MBT (Leopard 2), so its a six wheeled Leopard 2 suspension.
- Must be capable of following the IFV in use though
- The engine itself is not specified but the output must be between 600 and 750kW in order to deliver 20 horsepower per tonne and use an automatic 4 speed gearbox. In general terms, it will be mechanically similar is the means of delivering drive to the wheels as the Leopard 1 or 2.
- Unusually, this engine is to be mounted at one side in the rear and to have ammunition stowage under it.
- The driver is provided with a video camera displayed on a monitor so he can reverse quickly into cover without instructions from the commander.
- Top reverse speed is to be 30 kmh.
Project is concluded that it is:
- Less complex than an MBT
- More reliable than an MBT
- Lower maintenance than an MBT
- Significantly (30%) cheaper than an MBT
- Estimates a need to 1700 of such vehicle to meet the needs of the 1990′s.
In a nutshell, it’s a take on the old fashioned casement TD, putting heavy emphasis on protection and an attempt to produce a cost effective vehicle. Sadly, it seems it was never tested or built and lacks the flexibility an MBT brings to an army.
Medium Anti-Tank Defense by Major James Cope, US Army, December 1988
Leopard 2 – Paul Krapke
International Defense Review March 1983 “Design Concept for a Heavy Tank-Destroyer”