Combined Arms for Powered Armor

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Zixinus
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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Zixinus » 2018-05-14 10:03am

You could also work around the issue by having specialist APCs that don't store the PAs inside them but outside. So if a PA needs to be manned, a pilot just goes through a hatch inside the APC (if the design allows that). That way, the PAs aren't dead weight that take already-crowded space and actually provide some protection to the APC (or if you want to avoid that plus stuff like dust, you can make a mini-sarcophagus for the PA while it is still outsdie) . A PA getting shot and destroyed is preferable to all PA operators getting killed.
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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by KraytKing » 2018-05-14 10:18am

Gunhead wrote:
2018-05-10 12:33pm


The best weapon to kill infantry, PA or no, will still be artillery, mortars, mines, IEDS, air power and vehicles because those can carry the really heavy hitters.
Okay, perhaps I oversimplified. Yes, those weapons would still be good at killing power armor. But so would power armor. I meant that the usual way infantry is engaged is with other infantry, either directly or as support for armor. That would still be the case, only the infantry would be clad in power armor.
And again you're not thinking this through. There's zero reasons, aside from the obvious, why PA would make vehicles bigger. APCs and even stuff like Humvees can easily be fitted with missiles and autocannons of 20mm and up, so they already have sufficient firepower to take out even the most optimistic PA. The only reason why anyone would make an APC bigger, would be to have it transport said PA. This again has nothing to do with armament.
As to bigger soldiers, that's just inherently fucking silly and totally counter productive. If I can make power armor, there's zero reason to make a soldier in it bigger, it's quite the opposite. Smaller guy = smaller suit = less weight = bigger effective payload.

-Gunhead
I think you misunderstood. Vehicles don't increase in size to fit power armor, they get bigger as doctrine changes. Because once infantry are carrying 20 mm AT guns, it becomes a bit more difficult for vehicles to survive. If a Humvee gets bigger and more armored to deal with PA weapons, vehicles that are designed to kill Humvees get bigger to carry bigger weapons and more armor to protect against new Humvee weapons. The process continues until everything ends up scaled up slightly from what it was. And using the term "bigger" is a bit misleading; perhaps it's better to say "more expensive." More protection thanks to more advanced armor might actually lead to shrinking vehicles. But the point is, it would be more protective and more difficult for unarmored infantrymen to kill anything on the battlefield.


And obviously I didn't mean you put bigger guys in the suits, I meant that a man in a suit is bigger than a man not in a suit. Thus, bigger troopers.
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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Jub » 2018-05-14 04:45pm

KraytKing wrote:
2018-05-14 10:18am
I think you misunderstood. Vehicles don't increase in size to fit power armor, they get bigger as doctrine changes. Because once infantry are carrying 20 mm AT guns, it becomes a bit more difficult for vehicles to survive. If a Humvee gets bigger and more armored to deal with PA weapons, vehicles that are designed to kill Humvees get bigger to carry bigger weapons and more armor to protect against new Humvee weapons. The process continues until everything ends up scaled up slightly from what it was. And using the term "bigger" is a bit misleading; perhaps it's better to say "more expensive." More protection thanks to more advanced armor might actually lead to shrinking vehicles. But the point is, it would be more protective and more difficult for unarmored infantrymen to kill anything on the battlefield.


And obviously I didn't mean you put bigger guys in the suits, I meant that a man in a suit is bigger than a man not in a suit. Thus, bigger troopers.
You do realize that bigger vehicles are harder to armor, right? For every increase in volume, you're going to get a significant increase in surface area which is going to need to be armored on every face. This adds weight, increases engine strain, requires more fuel. messes with ground pressure, causes transport issues, etc. and all because you seem to think some form of PA will actually cause a proliferation of 20mm/anti-tank weapons to kill them...

That's naive when there's no reason why existing battle rifle and heavy machine guns aren't going to cause any reasonable power armor serious problems as is. There's just no way a 400kg combined weight PA suite is going to resist a 7.62mm AP round. This isn't even to mention the proliferation of 2-round burst armor defeating weapons, improved anti-PA rounds and the like all of which are going to cost far less to produce and can be issued to the mk. I grunt all while costing way less than power armor.

The fact is, without major breakthroughs in battery tech, any power armor that can last 36 hours while not cooking its user is going to cost as much a comparable amount to a vehicle while offering less protection, carrying less firepower, having near zero capability as a transport, and generally not being that much of a force multiplier. Dollar for dollar there are way better things you can buy to make your soldiers more effective on the battlefield.

These other goodies could include, a big dog style pack mule that can ditch its noisy power pack in favor of the ultra-dense batteries needed to keep power armor running for 36 hours. It can carry gear, other drones, ammo, a secondary heavy weapon system for a squad, you know the stuff power armor could possibly carry for a unit. You might also armor them so that they can drop prone and provide cover for the unit using them, this doesn't risk a soldier's life and you get significantly increased armor thickness as any round that punches through one layer of armor doesn't do anything aside from breaking a drone. It can also fold up in ways a person in power armor can't and/or it wouldn't care about being hung off the side of a vehicle either of which makes it fairly transport friendly.

In short you're waaay over wanking power armor while not reading the issues constantly raised all over this thread.

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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Vendetta » 2018-05-14 06:14pm

Sky Captain wrote:
2018-05-10 10:04am
During wars in Iraq and Afganistan coalition forces often lost troops when their vehicle got blown up by IED. I wonder how power armor would change that. If every soldier riding in vehicles would have power armor it would certainly icrease survivability during IED or RPG attack , but how much? Would it be worthwile increase in protection? Maybe better solution just to develop more bomb resistant vehicles.
Casualty rates from IED attacks on transports may not actually be significantly different.

Quite a lot of the casualties caused by IEDs going off under transports aren't because the vehicle was penetrated, but because the floor suddenly goes from - to ^. Power armour isn't going to stop the fact that the human leg is not actually capable of being moved that suddenly upwards without becoming damaged. (Also why power armour will not actually offer a significant speed improvement, it would just tear ligaments and joints by trying to do so to an operator who can't move that fast without it).

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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by KraytKing » 2018-05-15 07:39am

God damn it. Lost internet right as I posted. Well, here's a shortened version:

Jub, your points are valid. However, I would look in history. Since the second world war, our soldiers have gotten substantially bulkier and more expensive, as have our vehicles. This occurred as technology developed and powerful weapons became available to small formations. I might add that our fancy, expensive infantry armor doesn't provide significant increase in protection from rifle fire. Thus, I think it reasonable to project that marginally more effective armor capable of carrying heavy loads would see concurrent increase in size or at least capability of other vehicles.
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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Vendetta » 2018-05-15 10:58am

KraytKing wrote:
2018-05-15 07:39am
Jub, your points are valid. However, I would look in history. Since the second world war, our soldiers have gotten substantially bulkier and more expensive, as have our vehicles.
Not necessarily. The Abrams is somewhat smaller than the immediate postwar M103 for instance (whilst being considerably better armed and protected), and comparable in size to the M48/M60.

So to say that there's an upward pressure on size of armoured vehicles isn't really accurate. It turned out that bigger wasn't better, even (especially) in the face of increasing anti-armour capabilities. (and the soviet experience was similar, with the end of war and post war IS series mostly being hangar queens, and the relatively compact T-54 family having much more staying power)

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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-05-15 01:28pm

Also, combat load is probably a different proposition from humping load, unless the statistics I've heard about "OMG modern soldiers carry 60 lbs, when they only carried 20 in WWII!" or whatever are actually based on combat load. But as far as I know, unless on a long term mission, most soldiers in modern militaries only really carry ammunition, body armour, water, and a few supplies.

It does add up fast granted...
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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Vendetta » 2018-05-15 04:37pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-05-15 01:28pm
Also, combat load is probably a different proposition from humping load, unless the statistics I've heard about "OMG modern soldiers carry 60 lbs, when they only carried 20 in WWII!" or whatever are actually based on combat load. But as far as I know, unless on a long term mission, most soldiers in modern militaries only really carry ammunition, body armour, water, and a few supplies.

It does add up fast granted...
Also they are festooned with ruggedised electronic gubbins and batteries for same.

(Though part of the weight issue for modern soldiers is load distribution, it's mostly all strapped to the upper body).

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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Captain Seafort » 2018-05-15 05:03pm

Elheru Aran wrote:
2018-05-15 01:28pm
Also, combat load is probably a different proposition from humping load, unless the statistics I've heard about "OMG modern soldiers carry 60 lbs, when they only carried 20 in WWII!" or whatever are actually based on combat load. But as far as I know, unless on a long term mission, most soldiers in modern militaries only really carry ammunition, body armour, water, and a few supplies.

It does add up fast granted...
That sounds like a combat load to me. Either that, or high-end travel loads have dropped considerably from the hundredweight+ the paras and RM were lugging round the Falklands.
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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-05-15 11:18pm

Jub wrote:
2018-05-14 04:45pm
That's naive when there's no reason why existing battle rifle and heavy machine guns aren't going to cause any reasonable power armor serious problems as is. There's just no way a 400kg combined weight PA suite is going to resist a 7.62mm AP round. This isn't even to mention the proliferation of 2-round burst armor defeating weapons, improved anti-PA rounds and the like all of which are going to cost far less to produce and can be issued to the mk. I grunt all while costing way less than power armor.
Protection against 7.62mm tungsten solid shot at point blank range is definitely plausible with existing materials and that kind of weight budget; protection against discarding sabot rounds is not but in that case you're accepting that effective range is probably about 100m. Course that's the typical range of most infantry combat, but that's also linked to infantry intentionally avoiding exposure to longer range fire. Tungsten armor piercing ammo usually has pretty limited effective (AP) range in these calibers anyway because the bullets are really light even in unitary rounds, so they slow down real quick.

Some real exotic armor technology will eventually be plausible though, like very small scale explosive reactive armor. Durability against everything that isn't a bullet is generally the critical problem though, but it's also a place we've started making progress. Fiber impregnated ceramic armors for example have yet to be shown to have higher ballistic limits against AP bullets then the same ceramic material used alone, but they standup to stuff like rock strikes much better, and the holes from being penetrated are smaller.

The fact is, without major breakthroughs in battery tech, any power armor that can last 36 hours while not cooking its user is going to cost as much a comparable amount to a vehicle while offering less protection, carrying less firepower, having near zero capability as a transport, and generally not being that much of a force multiplier. Dollar for dollar there are way better things you can buy to make your soldiers more effective on the battlefield.
Yeah battery power is not plausible right now for a 400kg suit. Though realistically most of the advantages of powered armor could be had in a lighter package where batteries are more plausible, all the more so if you engineer the battery packs as part of the armor. Some kind of solid oxide fuel cell though could give a much better power to weight ratio with no moving parts, though it will have a high thermal signature.

IN theory though batteries are actually plausible which could have the same energy density as liquid hydrocarbon fuels, and nearly as high as power to weight ratios (superior possibly in bursts or hybrid systems, some battery some capacitor) but of course we are at the thinking about CGI concepts for how these kind of configurations would actually be built stage of life.

It's pretty interesting to me though that this is possible even in theory. Largely linked to the fact that so much of the mass in hydrocarbon fuels is worthless for energy, while pure hydrogen storage has it's own really undesirable problems.

These other goodies could include, a big dog style pack mule that can ditch its noisy power pack in favor of the ultra-dense batteries needed to keep power armor running for 36 hours. It can carry gear, other drones, ammo, a secondary heavy weapon system for a squad, you know the stuff power armor could possibly carry for a unit.
Big dog launching drones to bring you more batteries has a certain appeal. Or a hummve for that matter. In a battle like Mosul or Raqqa even an 8 hour battery lifespan could be useful for say EOD techs, as long as you had a good way to recharge. Large suits of power armor will probably never equip all infantry no matter how good it gets.
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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Sea Skimmer » 2018-05-15 11:41pm

Vendetta wrote:
2018-05-15 10:58am

Not necessarily. The Abrams is somewhat smaller than the immediate postwar M103 for instance (whilst being considerably better armed and protected), and comparable in size to the M48/M60.

So to say that there's an upward pressure on size of armoured vehicles isn't really accurate. It turned out that bigger wasn't better, even (especially) in the face of increasing anti-armour capabilities. (and the soviet experience was similar, with the end of war and post war IS series mostly being hangar queens, and the relatively compact T-54 family having much more staying power)
Umm the M1 tank is over a full meter longer then the M48, M60 and M103. The basic M1 tank was lighter then the M103 by five tons sure, while being much heavier then an M60, but by 1985, just five years into series production, a version five tons heavier had been introduced, and now according to testimony to congress in 2017 the M1A2 tank now weighs 80 short tons, which is 15 tons over the M103 tank! Infantry carrier vehicles have been going up in size steadily as well. A Bradley is three times the weight of the original M113 of M103 vintage, and still nobody thinks it has enough armor.

For LOL this also means if you put a mine plow on a present model M1A2 tank the result is actually a 100 short ton vehicle! The triple digit win is now!

Really only reason the M1 tank was ever any lighter then the M103 was radically advances in automotive technology. The two tanks actually have the same 85in diameter turret ring which is a big size driver on a tank. The MBT concept basically meant we took away the side armor from a heavy tank, kept the frontal armor and gun, and used improved engines to make it as fast as a medium tank. Only the Soviets accomplished any real weight reduction in the process, and Soviet tanks haven't proved to be amazing in battle. Nor have they stuck to that low weight limit, the T-64 was a 36 tonne tank and now the Russians are building nothing but 50 tonne tanks for some time now with no increase in firepower and an actual decrease in speed. All weight sucked into heavier armor to survive greater threats. The IS-2 and IS-3 tanks were both about 46 tonnes.

Ian Hogg used to quote an old saying you can find in books written before he was born and began writing his own books, the jist of which is... "in peacetime the cry is all about mobility, in wartime for weight of shell." This was in reference to artillery, but if you replace shell weight 'size and armor' you'll find it awful true about AFV design as well. And a lot of other things. Standards of armor and firepower always increase in wars.

Even in a war like Vietnam where a lot of really heavy equipment was undesirable, the armament and armor of the vehicles that did get used tended to go upward. In Iraq the US went from unarmored hummers, to armored hummers, to MRAPs that weighed x3 to x5 times as much as the original unarmored hummers.
Vendetta wrote:
2018-05-14 06:14pm
Casualty rates from IED attacks on transports may not actually be significantly different.

Quite a lot of the casualties caused by IEDs going off under transports aren't because the vehicle was penetrated, but because the floor suddenly goes from - to ^. Power armour isn't going to stop the fact that the human leg is not actually capable of being moved that suddenly upwards without becoming damaged. (Also why power armour will not actually offer a significant speed improvement, it would just tear ligaments and joints by trying to do so to an operator who can't move that fast without it).
Yeah IEDs made from large amounts of explosives aren't going to be countered by powered armor. A lot of anti personal landmines could be though, particularly bounding kinds of mines that spray a large area with shrapnel.

Interestingly a British guy came up with an idea to counter the underbelly IED threat that was literally.... counter rockets. The explosive was sensed, and then the rockets fired to counter the overturning force of the explosion. This did NOT prevent the explosion from breaching the vehicle hull if it was able to do so, but it did counteract much of the violence inflicted.

This got tested full scale a couple times on the firing range and actually worked, a video was on youtube years ago but I can't find it at the moment. The idea was just coming to futition around 2011 when the US and UK were pulling out of Iraq and funding for rush trials of this kind of thing evaporated.

I'm not sure how practical this would be for powered armor though. I'm kind of imagining a large steel ski boot that goes up as high as possible and is equipped with the rocket system to prevent the user from being violently thrown about, while relying on the forged steel to block the direct fragmentation.

Problem is I have this feeling that if the landmine exceeded the threshold for counteraction what would happen is the top of the boot would shear off an even greater portion of the guy's leg then would otherwise be turned to pulp, but possible to amputate.
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Re: Combined Arms for Powered Armor

Post by Vendetta » 2018-05-16 12:12pm

Sea Skimmer wrote:
2018-05-15 11:41pm
Umm the M1 tank is over a full meter longer then the M48, M60 and M103. The basic M1 tank was lighter then the M103 by five tons sure, while being much heavier then an M60, but by 1985, just five years into series production, a version five tons heavier had been introduced, and now according to testimony to congress in 2017 the M1A2 tank now weighs 80 short tons, which is 15 tons over the M103 tank! Infantry carrier vehicles have been going up in size steadily as well. A Bradley is three times the weight of the original M113 of M103 vintage, and still nobody thinks it has enough armor.
The hull is longer, but the total length of the vehicle gun forward is shorter than the M103, and the M1 is narrower and lower. Additionally the extra weight in newer revisions is armour material and internal systems rather than "now make it bigger". (Remember, the point here is about size not mass, the idea that power armoured infantry would lead to an overall embiggening of other vehicles so they could be tougher, whereas concentration and materials are more likely changes without significant size increase).

And sure, the M2 is larger and heavier than the M113 (having a 25mm cannon turret helps there, of course), but the M1126 is getting smaller again.

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