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"Does a Hi-Tech Grav Tank Need a Turret" Topic

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998 hits since 29 Jun 2011
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Eli Arndt Inactive Member29 Jun 2011 1:43 p.m. PST

Given a suitable level of grav tech, would a tank be able to do away with the need for a separate turret?

My thought here is that if you have the ability to manipulate gravity for the purposes of both lift and motion, then you could save on materials and solidify your tank by removing the turret and having an assault gun style vehicle. This vehicle could swivel on it's axis as it moved along to bring it's gun on target.


Alex Reed Inactive Member29 Jun 2011 4:37 p.m. PST

That would depend upon the degree of sophistication of the Gravitic Technology.

My roommate has some drawings for a grav vehicle that place a sphere in the middle of the vehicle as the "Turret." The vehicles themselves are thinner than one might think for a "Tank," and only contain one human occupant (all other systems being controlled by a dedicated AI or Constructed Intelligence of some sort).

But unless the vehicle wasn't able to rise off the ground very far, it wouldn't need a turret, as such. If the vehicle was stuck in a terrain follow mode, then it would probably need a turret of some sort.

infojunky29 Jun 2011 9:54 p.m. PST

I have considered this question as well and the best answer I have come up with is sometimes. It really all depends on the design of the weapon and vehicle.

Lampyridae Inactive Member29 Jun 2011 11:58 p.m. PST

Tank armour is usually concentrated at the front… my usual explanation is that it needs to be able to fire to the sides without exposing its own vulnerable enemy sides to fire.

Rising very high is also dangerous for what is technically a close air support vehicle. I'd keep it as a terrain hugger.

TopGunAce's 15mm grav tanks have the right idea. Streamlined fast attack craft… basically armoured UFOs with big guns.

The CMG Praesentia attack drones are probably would they would end up looking like. Small, unmanned, flat, with fixed gun mounts.

commanderroj Inactive Member30 Jun 2011 4:19 a.m. PST

I'd like to see more weapons on articulated/telescoping mounts myself.

LostPict Supporting Member of TMP30 Jun 2011 4:57 a.m. PST

I think the design philosphy for grav drive AFV would probably end up being more akin to Helicopter gunships than tanks. Primary weapons designed to engage along the axes of travel at a substantial distances with secondary weapons remote operated turret mounted capable of engaging the forward arc.

From a design perspective, articulated weapons would induce considerable moments at the articulation points due to the recoil and the momment arm. If the weapon is in-line it acts directly on the center of mass, other wise the moment creates large torque which can create vehicle control issues and substantially limit the size of the weapon. This assumedly would not be an issue for beam weapons, but a substantial design impediment for projectiles weapons.

I think the chief advantage of a turret is the ability to engage off-axis targets to your axis of motion. Assuming that inertia still matters, quickly swiveling an assault gun style tank to engage a target at 90 degrees to the direction of travel would create a high-gee effect for the operator and at a significant velocity also creates a marked reaction time issue to avoid collission for a ground vehicle. This is far less an issue for airborne vehicles engaging targets at much longer ranges.

OBTW, we have played Hammers Slammers with with slower moving Assault Gun style tanks opposing much lighter high speed hover tanks. At short ranges, the Assualt Guns were rather easy to outmanuever for side shots against their weaker side armor in a terrain rich game. Of course, this was just a game and not vehicles that had to be designed within physic's engineering, cost, and logistics constraints. But the bumblebees had a good day!

Just some considerations. :-)

Lost Pict

Insomniac30 Jun 2011 5:30 a.m. PST

It would depend on the vehicles ability to fly at the same speed in any direction and still maintain a level of control.

If you were on your way from A to B and got attacked on the left flank, your whole tank would have to turn so you would have to be able to continue on your way flying sideways whilst firing your main weapon.

Alternatively, if you had a weapon system that had the ability to fire in any direction without the need for a turret, like guided missiles or some sort of energy weapon that could be focused from any point around a circumferential ring, then a turret wouldn't be required and you could fly forward to your heart's content.

How about a compromise…fixed main gun and additional guided missiles for protection around the edges?

clkeagle Inactive Member30 Jun 2011 6:08 a.m. PST

As far as ballistic munitions… It could work if the gun were on some kind of limited ball-mount, so it could move a 15-30 degrees in every direction.

Otherwise you'd have to aim the entire tank in the direction of your shot, which might be at a 45-degree upward angle. And if a tank was floating at that angle, it seems that would expose the underbelly, which is probably weaker armor, and almost certainly houses the grav plates.

I think it's more likely that turret engineering will evolve to much faster rotation time… able to engage a target on both the left and right flanks in a matter of seconds. A fun side product tankers of the future will initiate new troops by spinning them in the turret until they vomit. :)

Chris K.

Alex Reed Inactive Member30 Jun 2011 7:41 a.m. PST

1. What is "Hammer's Slammers" (Googling – Oh… It is silly…)?

2. Depending upon the assumptions made about the gravitic tech in question, off-axis G's are not an issue. Remember, GRAVITIC TECHNOLOGY.

"G's" are units of GRAVITY. Thus, completely manipulatable via a Gravitic Technology (assumptions notwithstanding). Such as only able to operate perpendicular to the plane of Gravitic force. That is just one possible assumption.

This whole thing was why my roommate suggested a ball-turret in a hollow of the center of a grav-tank, with the tank itself shaped like a cross between a flying wing and a helicopter gunship (I think the old Soviet models).

And… Why would you put a person in the turret?

That is a contemporary assumption that has no place in a future where gravitic technologies exist. Even with current technologies, New Tanks are being designed more as Manned Drones than as tanks. They only have a driver as a Back-Up, for instance. The tank drives itself most of the time.

With just slightly more advanced technologies, a person would be on board simply as a locus of responsibility in the event of any "Accidents" (likely made by that person, rather than the AI).

Dr. Ron Arkin at Georgia Tech, who is head of the US Military Panel that creates the policies and governs the technologies for AI Agencies in Military Technologies (especially weaponized technologies, such as Drones), gives regular talks around the country on the issues of keeping fallible and emotional humans in the combat loop. Turns out that it is incredibly dangerous to humans to leave fighting to them. They make mistakes a computer isn't going to make, due to fatigue, emotion, stress, poor sensory equipment (the only area where a Constructed Intelligence might find itself sharing with humanity).

But, considering that WE are currently removing people from the turret, why would someone who is at least 50 to 200 years ahead of us have someone in the turret?

Odds are likely, at that point, the only humans on the Battlefield would be considered Non-Combatants. Or the unfortunate Targets in a war that resembled that described by Hugo deGagis: A War between the Amish and the US Military Industrial Complex.

John Treadaway30 Jun 2011 8:11 a.m. PST

In Slammer's, 'Blowers' (which are not grav tanks and are not really 'Hover tanks' but are effectively not much different) versus hover assault guns/tank destroyers/turretless tanks are almost as effective as each other (as per described in Dave Drake's books: they can very effectively spin on the spot.

Inertia suggests that spinning a 50tonne turret is faster than spinning the whole 170 tonne tank and is probably still a little faster than spinning a 110 tonne tank destroyer but I guess the difference might not be much.

In a world of serious grav tanks then I assume that some form of control over mass and inertia exists for the anti-grav to work, so spinning turrets or whole tanks, and overcoming the inertia/mass implicit with that, probably makes no odds.

To be frank, in Dave Drake's books it's all about making something that's familiar to the readers so that they can identify with it, I guess.

On that basis, turreted tanks are certainly an more recognisable shape.

John Treadaway

Wartopia Inactive Member30 Jun 2011 8:25 a.m. PST

There used to be an Xbox 360 game called Chromehounds. It featured a wonderful online component for multi-player battles. You could design your own SF vehicles using wheels, tracks, legs, and even a hover/anti-grav style floating chassis.

Based on playing that game I believe turrets would still be useful. There are many instances in which a speedy floater needs to move rapidly across the battlefield while engaging targets in a different direction. It's also helpful to be able to extend a weapon above a terrain feature while concealing the hull.

Sadly the publisher shut down the Chromehound servers so public multi-player is no longer available. But you can still deign your own vehicles for the single player campaign. We're talking hyper detailed design with an extraordinary number of options. Players designed all manner of vehicles from zippy little carts to tall armored towers. Some even became extremely proficient with indirect fire.

Alex Reed Inactive Member30 Jun 2011 12:45 p.m. PST

Just because a grav vehicle is pointed in a direction does not mean that this is the direction that it will be moving in.

Yet another assumption of contemporary attitudes invading the future.

(Jake Collins of NZ 2) Inactive Member30 Jun 2011 1:00 p.m. PST

This is true Alex, but if the main AT threat I'm worried about is in one direction, and the target I want to engage is in another, and assuming that it continues to prove unfeasable to have heavy armour on all facings (a separate argument to be sure) then a fixed gun is a disadvantage compared with a gun mounted in a revolving turret (certainly doesn't have to be a manned turret though). The turret mounted weapon will always be more flexible, and has minimal drawbacks compared with a fixed weapon.

LostPict Supporting Member of TMP30 Jun 2011 2:08 p.m. PST

Back to the g-forces I mentioned wrt high speed maneuvers and their effects on control. The better term is centripetal forces which are independent of the gravity well and derive from inertia (and are normally quantified in units of a "g" or "m/s2").

I mistakenly assumed that the GRAVITIC TECHNOLOGY propulsion was for creating repulsive forces between the tank and planetary mass, but the vehicle would still had to deal with inertia. If inertia is also out the window, then spinning the vehicle around doesn't effect the operators (or control system if unmanned). Likewise such systems could also be used to negate the recoil from any projectile weapon system, etc. And could probably be used as weapons in their own right.

Of course, such a set of physics breakthroughs are pretty far removed from today's technologies, vehicle design constraints, and probably obviate any motivation for a ground war and tanks.

I think I will stick with silly Hammers Slammers and similar ilk sci-fi settings which derive from likely extensions of the current understanding of physics. I understand that is not everyone's cup of tea, but it is mine and all that my little bitty brain can grok.

Lost Pict

Eli Arndt Inactive Member30 Jun 2011 2:33 p.m. PST

One thought is that if you can do away wit hyour turret, you can then reallocate the weight to armor.


Farstar Inactive Member30 Jun 2011 3:54 p.m. PST

I mistakenly assumed that the GRAVITIC TECHNOLOGY propulsion was for creating repulsive forces between the tank and planetary mass, but the vehicle would still had to deal with inertia.

It isn't so much a mistake as it is an indication that "Gravitic Technology" means different things to different SF writers, gamers, and artists. Define what it means to you, define what it doesn't mean to you, then establish the cultural context for war in your hypothetical state, and design from there. Different cultures will apply identical tech breakthroughs in very different ways…

infojunky02 Jul 2011 1:49 a.m. PST

Here are a couple of Concept tanks playing with the Idea. link

Alex Reed Inactive Member02 Jul 2011 4:30 a.m. PST

If you are going to do something like that, why not have a weapon that is capable of traversing the entire circumference of the vehicle?

Or at least part of it.

For laser/maser beam Weapons, all you need are internal optics to guide the beam to an emitter, and then a final amplifier at that site.

Particle Weapons would be only slightly more complex to channel, and Plasma Weapons would require something similar to Particle Weapons (a charged channel to an emitter).

The weapon itself would be stationary inside the vehicle, with two or more emitters on various points of the vehicle.

Projectile Weapons are the only weapons that really present an issue with the need for a "Turret" or some form of "fixed-mount" (where the weapon has the structural support necessary for recoil, etc.)

Sargonarhes02 Jul 2011 1:32 p.m. PST

Simplest idea is what you want is a flying tank. So it becomes more of a heavily armored gunship than it is a tank.

Ironically I designed a tank like it, it couldn't fly like a gunship. But it stayed low to the ground and it's sides were more heavily armored than it's front, the main gun was in a ball turret for some mobility. I called it a Snapping Turtle which is what the idea of it was. Added a system of vertical launched missiles later and some anti-personnel charges around it.

billthecat02 Jul 2011 4:20 p.m. PST

Does a Martian need a raygun?

Farstar Inactive Member06 Jul 2011 4:50 p.m. PST

You decide, then design the Martian, and the raygun, accordingly.

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