Tanks are tracked, armored vehicles with guns of generally 75mm or more.
Most modern tanks are classified as main battle tanks or light tanks.
U.S. Army Tank Doctrine
The light tank is armed with machine guns and a light gun to engage infantry, unarmored vehicles, and lightly armored vehicles.
The light tank relies on its mobility and smaller profile to avoid fire, since its light armor makes it vulnerable to many battlefield
weapons. Usually small and light enough to be air-lifted and air-dropped. Typically used for reconnaissance and security roles.
The medium tank has heavier armor and is armed with machine guns and a heavier gun. The medium tank usually has enough
mobility to close with the enemy, enough armor to survive small-caliber hits and large-caliber near-misses, and enough firepower
to destroy other medium tanks. Typically used for a broad range of offensive and defensive operations, including infantry support.
The heavy tank features heavier armor protection and larger weapons, often resulting in limited speed and range.
Typically used for breakthrough operations.
The main battle tank (MBT) combines the roles of the medium and heavy tank to create a multi-purpose vehicle.
The term "anti-tank" originally denoted systems specifically designed to destroy tanks. The term now includes weapon systems
designed to defeat armored combat vehicles. Anti-tank weapons which cannot penetrate tank armor can still be a formidable threat if
they can defeat or damage more lightly armored fighting vehicles.
Although there are unique anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) launcher vehicles with unique ATGMs, most launcher vehicles are
military and commercial vehicles adapted with pintel mounts for portable ground launchers, with ATGMs manually loaded and launched.
The tank destroyer is a self-propelled anti-tank gun. The main gun is sometimes mounted in a rotating turret, but is more
often mounted in the upper glacis plate with limited ability to traverse and elevate.
The self-propelled recoilless gun uses gas vents to counter the recoil of a low velocity projectile.
Increased protection and firepower on light armored fighting vehicles such as infantry fighting vehicles and armored reconnaissance
vehicles have blurred lines of distinction. A number of armored fighting vehicles can be characterized as reconnaissance vehicles,
tank destroyers, fire support vehicles, or assault vehicles; but they have tracks, armor protection, and guns of 60mm or greater.
Thus, they can also be used for light tank missions.
The armored personnel carrier (APC) is an infantry transport vehicle with light armor and limited firepower (usually one
or more machine guns). The APC is a "battle taxi." It is intended to carry soldiers to the combat zone, where they
dismount to fight.
The infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) is designed to fight with soldiers onboard, to carry the soldiers forward without
dismounting them if possible, and to support them with direct fires if they do dismount.
The IFV has more protection and firepower than the APC. Also known as an infantry combat vehicle (ICV) or a mechanized infantry combat vehicle (MICV).
The amphibious assault vehicles (AAV) is an APC that is capable of open ocean operation from offshore through rough seas
and plunging surf. It is capable of traversing beaches, crossing rough terrain, and performing high speed operations on improved roads.
The airborne fighting vehicles (AFV) is an air-droppable light armored vehicle which can transport troops and provide fire support.
The field car is an unarmored or lightly armored wheeled vehicle. Armed forces use large numbers of wheeled vehicles as
weapons carriers, command vehicles, scout vehicles, field ambulances, and general transports.
Combat reconnaissance vehicles are designed for operations at or beyond the forward line of own troops (FLOT),
not to initiate combat but to survive if engaged. They may operate in combat reconnaissance patrols with heavily armed
vehicles such as tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. Many offer sensors no better than those on other armored vehicles,
and use optics for a variety of combat support missions, such as fire support.
The mission of the field artillery
is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy by cannon, rocket, and missile fire and to
assist in integrating all fire support into combined arms operations. Field artillery considerations include the following:
- It provides first round fire-for-effect (FFE) capability.
- It is an area fire weapon. However, point targets can be destroyed by using a terminal guidance munition (TGM).
- It has a limited ability to survive enemy ground, air, and artillery attacks. Weapons can be detected because of their large
communications and firing signature. Artillery survivability is enhanced by dispersion, hardening of positions, and various
positioning and displacement techniques.
- It is best employed when massed on observed targets.
are very effective against lightly protected personnel and for obscuration, illumination, and close-in defensive fires.
Mortar considerations include the following:
- They are ideal for responding to immediate suppression and immediate smoke missions.
- Planning and using mortars for smoke and illumination at critical times on the battlefield allows more cannon artillery to shoot killing munitions.
- They are easily detected by counterbattery radars.
AIR DEFENSE VEHICLES
Tactical air defense is used to protect ground force units and other potential targets from attack by enemy fixed-wing aircraft and
armed helicopters. There are three general categories of air defense artillery vehicles:
- Surface-to-air missile (SAM) systems.
- Anti-aircraft (AA) gun systems. These vehicles may be employed to engage ground targets as required.
- Gun/missile hybrid systems.
A vehicle's sensor package may consist of one or more radars, direct view optics, and electro-optics systems. The sensor package is
the single most important aspect of air defense systems since these devices perform the surveillance and tracking functions. Radar
systems have traditionally been the most popular sensor for air-defense systems, however, with the latest generation weapons they are
usually supplemented with a variety of optic or electro-optic sensors such as; TV cameras, night vision sights, and laser rangefinders.
ENGINEER AND LOGISTICS VEHICLES
VEHICLE WEAPON SYSTEMS