DARPA developing futuristic tank design with less armour, more tech

20 Aug 2014

The US military’s research and development wing DARPA is looking to change the 100-year-old design of the tank from one based on heavy armour to faster hi-tech vehicles.

Since they first appeared on the battlefields of World War I, tanks’ development has been based on increasing the strength of their armour to protect them against more advanced and powerful weapons.

Now, the US military is examining the possibility of completely switching this traditional design in the face of a rapidly changing battlefield that puts more impetus on being able to manoeuvre rapidly from more advanced technological weapons.

An artist’s concept of a future GXV-T tank. Image via DARPA

According to DARPA’s website, it has begun developing its Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) programme. GXV-T will see the tank transform from a lumbering, heavily armoured machine designed to withstand punishment to one that can move at much faster speeds, and places the emphasis on using technology to deflect any incoming attacks.

“Inspired by how X-plane programmes have improved aircraft capabilities over the past 60 years, we plan to pursue ground-breaking fundamental research and development to help make future armoured fighting vehicles significantly more mobile, effective, safe and affordable,” said Kevin Massey, DARPA programme manager.

Compared with today’s tanks, the next generation of tanks are expected to be smaller and lighter by 50pc, faster by 100pc, and able to access to 95pc of a battlefield’s terrain.

Russian T-90 tanks image via Shutterstock

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic