Armor: August 2, 2000


: The US Army has detailed the weapons being considered for the Future Combat System, the program to produce a new tank. The Army says that several of these weapons will be used, but not all will be carried by the same vehicle. 

@ Compact Kinetic Energy Missile: This weapon is 1.2 meter long and weighs fifty pounds. It is a small version of the LOSAT (Line Of Sight Anti-Tank) missile. This is a hypervelocity missile with a speed of 2,000 meters per second and works by driving a penetrator through the target by sheer velocity. The Army is considering vertical launch for this weapon.

@ The Multi-Role Cannon, a conventional weapon with both direct-fire (4,000 meter range) and indirect fire (up to 50 kilometers) modes. This might be an electro-thermal-chemical weapon.

@ The Advanced Fire Support System is another Beyond Line of Sight weapon. Described as "Rockets in a Box", this could fire several relatively cheap missiles with different functions. One would be the Loitering Attack Missile that could circle over the battlefield looking for a target for 30 minutes, or reach a target 100 kilometers away. 

@ The Electromagnetic Gun is an option, but won't be ready by 2010 and might be installed on later vehicles in the production series. 

@ Directed Energy Weapons (lasers, charged particle beams, or high-power pulse weapons) are being considered for use against particular targets and "smart threats".--Stephen V Cole


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