Monday, February 10, 2014

Steel Beasts ProPE 3.0 - Hunter-Killer Capable Tanks: The M1A2 SEP

After a very bad online combat performance this past Friday, I've been sent back to the virtual armor school. Although most of my virtual command (a platoon of computer-controlled M1A1s) displayed good gunnery, I've been told that not everything in armored warfare boils down to the amount of rounds on target. The choice of targets is where I failed.

It was a very entertaining discussion and an additional post about the bigger picture will follow soon. While talking about engagement areas and fire control with an avid Steel Beasts fan, he pointed out that people usually get the "massive fires" thing wrong. This was after a mission where frequently different platoons were shooting at the same enemy tank. Sigh. :) So, to learn about targeting priorities, he suggested to go and practice against overwhelming odds with a single tank. For some reason, he suggested the M1A2 SEP. And I am here today to tell you that the target acquisition and fire control goodies that this tank packs are really impressive.

The gunner's office. That digital display has many functional buttons and I have yet to find out what are they about.

The commander's office. The display in the bottom in the commander's tactical display and the display on top of it is the commander's independent thermal viewer (CITV). Keyword here is "independent", meaning that the commander can be scanning for targets in one direction while the gunner is doing the same with his thermal viewer at any other direction. 
The CITV displays the main gun and gunner's primary sight as a solid line emanating from a boxy tank icon (bottom right). The direction of the CITV's scan is shown as a dashed line. In this case the main gun is pointing ~12 o'clock while the CITV is pointing at ~1 o'clock.
Well, things just got a lot more interesting. Two T-90s at a 1,000 meters range is not exactly good news. That BMP-3 passing by will be ignored for the time being. The magnifications available in the CITV go up to an impressive 50X. Handling targets to the gunner and getting a round out of the main gun from the CITV is very fast and with a little practice it can be done in one second or so. 
Target! Another battle scene as seen from the CITV.
This type of target acquisition is so-called "hunter-killer", where one independent sensor/system acts as a "hunter" (the commander using the CITV), acquiring and handling the target to the "killer" weapon system (the gunner) who gets the job done.

The other tank in the Steel Beasts ProPE 3.0 arsenal that is "hunter-killer" capable is the Leopard 2A5. I never payed too much attention to this type of target acquisition arrangement in the Leo, but I will definitively take a closer look.



Gibsonm said...

Some good M1A2 SEP information here:

Doug Miller said...

The M1A2 SEP is such a sweet tank. I do have to say I've taken a real shine to the Leopard, as well!

LL said...

Actually, there are many tanks and other vehicles with "hunter-killer" capability in SB Pro PE 3.0, e.g.: all of the other Leopard 2 variants (not just the A5), Challenger 2, Leopard AS1 & Leopard 1A5-DK, and even the T-72M1.

Gibsonm said...

Well Leo AS1's idea of "hunter killer" is to stick your head out of the commander's hatch and look around with your binos, then scream "from my position" as you grab the override.

I was on one for quite a few years and it certainly does not have the independent sighting units that the M1A2 SEP and Leo 2A5s have, which is the commonly accepted definition of "hunter-killer"

LL said...

Hmmm, the AS1 in the game has the same PANO/override functionality as the 1A5, which allows the commander to separately scan for targets with the periscope, then override the turret and slew it over to the PANO's point-of view. In the M1A2 and Leo2 series, the commander presses a single button and the turret automatically slews to his designated POV without further input from the TC. In the Leo AS1 (in SB, at least), the TC has to move the joystick/mouse to align the turret and PANO, but he does not have to look at the GPS sight picture to do so. This qualifies as at least semi-auto target designation via the PANO, IMHO, and therefore "H-K" capability. Perhaps we're using different definitions of "H-K"?

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