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Posted: 3/23/2006 9:43:48 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 9:58:25 AM EDT by chapperjoe]
Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge tank carrier parked on side of beltway right over the american legion bridge on Md side.

On it is what is clearly an Abrams 'lower' but with a modified turret.

a) no gun barrel, and it wasn't just missing teh gun barrel, the front of turret was almost flat.

b) the front of turret and chasis (Blue areaof my pic) was COVERED (every part, every nook every corner) with what appeared to be reactive armor.

c) Black box on my pic is where there were two large rectangular boxes on the rear behind turret, farther in than the tracks, towards the center of the tank but not touching each other - about two feet wide each, at least three feet tall, as tall as the top of the 'turret'.

Entire thing was desert tan.

wierdd. is there some kind of command variant of the M1 like the israelis do with their tanks? Didn't look like that kind of turret though.



Also this morning I saw either 1 C17 doing three circles over tysons corner or there were 3 of them in a row on a wierd pattern. They came east from dulles towards beltway and then made a really tight right turn towards the south and over the horizon.

I think it was only one doing circles cause the paths were exactly the same.

any thoughts on either of these?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 9:56:14 AM EDT
As far as the Abrams, Aberdeen?

Steve.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:43:53 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 10:44:20 AM EDT by chapperjoe]
I've seen convoys of carriers hauling what looked like M48's and 60's before (same route, VA to Md, prolly aberdeen, yeah. But never an abrams that is clearly a testbed of sorts for something or other. IT was HUGE. didn't realize how big they were.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:48:25 AM EDT
and no this wasn't a TUSK kit. the 'cubes' were much smaller, like the late russian looking stuff.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 10:49:20 AM EDT
plus the command variant of the abrams (BCV) has the gun and std turret, just upgraded.... you guessed it, comms.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 12:26:03 PM EDT
Probably just running tests of different types of armor at Aberdeen. You don't need the gun or mount for preliminary testing of anything really. All you need is a hull.

The Army doesn't and never will make a "command" tank that looks different than a normal tank, because then you know who to shoot first.

As for the C-17's, there are airways in the sky, just like freeways on the ground. Also during approaches you have all sorts of maneuvering you have to do over navaids. Flying outbound to a navaid, and turning around is a standard instrument procedure turn. Most USAF aircraft operate under IFR (under the rules of instruments), even when VMC (i.e. clear weather). The one that was doing racetracks was probably holding.

Nothing odd about either one really.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:19:33 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Ross:


Nothing odd about either one really.



Okay the entire abrams was pink.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:54:27 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/23/2006 1:55:37 PM EDT by Tommmo]
Possibly a prototype for a new Anti-IED vehicle or a tank recovery vehicle?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 1:55:50 PM EDT

Originally Posted By Tommmo:
Possibly a prototype for a new Anti-IED vehicle?



nah I think they've TUSKed that already, no?

plus the armor was all wrong for that..... if I didn't know any better I'd say they were trying out new armor and were going to aberdeen to shoot AT it. I don't get the boxes on teh rear unless they were instrument recorders or some such.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 3:03:14 PM EDT
or something to protect the ass end of the tank where the turbine is...was it placed in a manner to provide protection to the back?
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 5:16:49 PM EDT
someone who generally 'knows' these things suggested that it was a prototype of some system he's heard a contract put out on being returned to the contractor for further testing/upgrades.
Link Posted: 3/23/2006 7:46:17 PM EDT
hey Chapper, I know when I was an Abrams crewman they were testing out the M1 platform to be a replacement for the aging AVLB system (Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge) as well as testing it out to be a replacement for the CEV (Combat Engineer Vehicle).

It sounds like you might have seen whats known as the "Wolverine" which is the AVLB replacement test bed being carried on the back of a HET (Heavy Equipment Transport)
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 2:33:23 AM EDT

Originally Posted By bull_8:
hey Chapper, I know when I was an Abrams crewman they were testing out the M1 platform to be a replacement for the aging AVLB system (Armored Vehicle Launched Bridge) as well as testing it out to be a replacement for the CEV (Combat Engineer Vehicle).

It sounds like you might have seen whats known as the "Wolverine" which is the AVLB replacement test bed being carried on the back of a HET (Heavy Equipment Transport)



first off, thanks for your service. if I was to go army, I'd probably want to be a Abrams tanker too. I can't imagine what its like riding into battle in that chariot of mayhem .

second, I don't THINK (coulda been!) this was a wolverine, I'm as well versed on these platfroms as a couch commado can be, and I'm pretty sure this was some kind of upgrade to the std M1A2 being tested.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 2:55:13 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 3/24/2006 2:55:50 AM EDT by Ross]
If you can imagine it, the Army is or has tested it.

We had a M551 Sheriden that the Army shoehorned a 750HP M60A1 powerpack into the back. The engine took up so much space, the turret had to be removed and a rotating camera was put in place for the developmental testing. It was and engine with tracks on it. Needless to say it was a rocket sled. That bitch would haul ass.

They were testing an idea that if you have a VERY fast tank, you could do alot of things you just couldn't do with a normal tank. The idea was to have a rapid fire (i.e. full-auto) 75mm gun on it that would fire three round bursts at targets. That was the point of the camera. They needed some way to simulate a turret and see if the idea was worth developing.

While there's obvious limitations with the "test mule", it's just an example of the things the Army tests. For every well known, high dollar program, there are dozens or even hundreds of small programs that are carried out to just validate a concept or prove that it's a bad idea.

The one you saw could be anything, from testing armor configurations, to just a mock-up for visual puropses, to a directed energy weapon that needs no turret but requries two big box-like generators to run off the turbine in the back.

Oh, and pink was the standard Brit desert camo several years ago. It actually hides better than tan in some areas of desert.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 3:55:00 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Ross:
If you can imagine it, the Army is or has tested it.

We had a M551 Sheriden that the Army shoehorned a 750HP M60A1 powerpack into the back. The engine took up so much space, the turret had to be removed and a rotating camera was put in place for the developmental testing. It was and engine with tracks on it. Needless to say it was a rocket sled. That bitch would haul ass.

They were testing an idea that if you have a VERY fast tank, you could do alot of things you just couldn't do with a normal tank. The idea was to have a rapid fire (i.e. full-auto) 75mm gun on it that would fire three round bursts at targets. That was the point of the camera. They needed some way to simulate a turret and see if the idea was worth developing.

While there's obvious limitations with the "test mule", it's just an example of the things the Army tests. For every well known, high dollar program, there are dozens or even hundreds of small programs that are carried out to just validate a concept or prove that it's a bad idea.

The one you saw could be anything, from testing armor configurations, to just a mock-up for visual puropses, to a directed energy weapon that needs no turret but requries two big box-like generators to run off the turbine in the back.

Oh, and pink was the standard Brit desert camo several years ago. It actually hides better than tan in some areas of desert.



what did the regular military think of the sheridan idea with rockets and all? haven't read much good 'bout it.
Link Posted: 3/24/2006 8:47:37 PM EDT
As far as the C17's ''doing circles'' is concerned, they were probably en route to Andrews or Dover and had to do a few "doughnuts in the sky" to accomodate other traffic. Arrivals to Andrews use the same arrival corridor (STAR for the IFR rated pilots out there) as traffic inbound for DCA. This takes them over Dulles and then east towards DCA and ADW. Sometimes things get a little backed up and traffic has to hold temporarily until they can be vectored on to their destination
Link Posted: 3/25/2006 3:36:15 AM EDT

Originally Posted By chapperjoe:

Originally Posted By Ross:
snip



what did the regular military think of the sheridan idea with rockets and all? haven't read much good 'bout it.



The Sheridan was basically a beer can with a gun. There wasn't much in the way of armor. Heavy machinegun fire (like 14.5mm and up) and mortar fragments would go through the hull. It was the cost for it being light enough to air drop and be amphibious.

Technically it wasn't a tank, but an armoured recon vehicle. It also replaced the Scorpion 90mm SP AT gun from the 50's. Back when it was used Army wide, it was used in the Cav platoons of the ground Cav troops. Only the 82nd used it as a tank because it was the only thing close enough that could be dropped.

It's light weight and huge gun weren't a good combination. Recoil was the big problem. Also because it was such a big round, you could only carry 9 missles and 20 conventional rounds in the Sheridan.

The gun/launcher was interesting in itself. It shot standard rounds or a big missle. The missle wouldn't guide until 1250m and the HEAT round only went 1000m, so there was a 250m blind spot where you couldn't shoot a tank. The fact that this was one of the first generation of missles didn't help matters much. The missle dropped out of the line of sight while the rocket motor kicked in, etc. which is why it had the 1250m minimum range. It took that long to raise back up and start guiding. The missle itself was VERY fast, and had a range of over 5000m. It was about as accurate as the TOW, but flight time was far less because of it's high speed. The M60A2 had the same gun/launcher, but being a MBT took the recoil easier. When everything worked it was probably the best anti-tank tank of it's time, but I think the gun/launcher concept pushed technology a hair too far at the time.

It was an interesting concept though. You could probably do a much better job making a workable gun/launcher now, and given the future of lightweight armor, I'd bet you see it again in the future.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 7:19:08 AM EDT
One possible idea for the boxes on the rear deck of the Abrams was that a lot of the tanks that are getting disabled in Iraq are taking RPGs up the tailpipe so to speak and that disables the engine, so maybe armor of some sort?

And another big problem with the Sheridan at the time was that when you fired a HEAT round, it scrambled the guidance systems for the missile so bad you couldn't hit with it at any range.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 8:40:34 AM EDT
This is a great area for weird military sightings. My office is in the flight path for Belvior and there are often helos flying in unusual and very agressive formations around the mixing bowl. While fishing off Quantico a few years ago, I was treated to a personal air show where an F18 and a Harrier used my boat as a strafing target and a recon plane used me as a pylon and dipped his wings at me. Then, a transport hover craft entered the water and I decided we needed to be somewhere else. There must have been some VIP that they were showing off for, but it seemed like my boat was the center of the action.

Honestly though, the holos sometimes scare me. Sometimes, they fly in wave after wave and circle the area as if looking for something to shoot at. I always turn on the radio to see if I've missed something.
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 11:30:16 AM EDT
i used to live in spotsylvania, and once i got treated to a pair of AH-1W Cobras doing practice gun and rocket runs on some cows that were playing the part of very distressed Hajjis admirably
Link Posted: 3/27/2006 12:03:48 PM EDT
Chapper -

this:


Or this:

The bottom one, if you'd remove the bridging section, sounds like the ARV version that's been
worked on for a while. It has the turret section w/o armament, and the two large rear support sections.

Just an idea.
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