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Extreme heat in army tanks endangers troops; forces use tank blanket to keep troops from baking

McG

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Forces use tank 'oven' to keep troops from baking
DANIEL LEBLANC
Globe and Mail
09 Mar 07

OTTAWA — No, they are not testing the latest in military food rations.The Canadian Forces are using a giant oven in Ottawa to replicate summer conditions in Kandahar, and there is nothing culinary about their goal. Instead, they want to see how their 43-ton Leopard tanks will react under the Afghan sun.
Article Here

It seems we now have some information on the effects an Afghan summer day will have on the Leo C1 & its crew, and we know ways to reduce this effect.  Hopefully we can put this knowledge to use quickly & make this a non-issue.

One of the biggest concerns is solar loading on the tank.  Basily, the conversion of sunlight on the outside to heat on the inside.  As most people know, a black car parked in the sun will get hotter than a white car.  So, it seems odd to me that the tests did not look at painting the tanks a lighter colour (like an arid tan) and determining the benefits achieved.  If it works, the concept could be extended to all vehicles (as time, recources, and the BG's tempo allows).  Sure, other veh may have AC, but that requires the vehicle to be running (and so consumes fuel).

As a single measure, paint will not meet the need.  However, it could help when used in conjuction with other options.
 

geo

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unicolour tan or green - overlayd with tons of sand and dust........

On a highway, camo paint won't help you much
On a wide open plain with the large dust plumes during moves, camo paint won't help you much

The Americans, Brits & Israelis haven't found much use for camo paint in this kind of environment - where vehicles are concerned.

With troops moving slowly, working on being one with the land, the cadpat does help..... but there is a huge difference between a Sapper and a large truck/LAV/C2

BTW, I do not think painting the vehicles a sand or white colour will provide you with much of an improvement in shedding heat.  We've been in Eretria & other hot places in UN white... it was still hot as hell in an "easy bake oven"
 

McG

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geo said:
On a highway, camo paint won't help you much
On a wide open plain with the large dust plumes during moves, camo paint won't help you much
When static & observing, the proper colour paint may help.  When in a fight, the correct paint could slow detection of a vehicle firing from a well selected hull-down position (and that delay might be the difference between our vehicle getting hit by a TB anti-tank weapon vs our vehicle killing the TB anti-tank crew).

geo said:
BTW, I do not think painting the vehicles a sand or white colour will provide you with much of an improvement in shedding heat.  We've been in Eretria & other hot places in UN white... it was still hot as hell in an "easy bake oven"
Reduced solar load (using an over the whole tank suite that the Globe & Mail showed pictures of) was found to be of value in the tests.
 

Cdn Blackshirt

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What is the technical hurdle I'm missing:
1)  Lack of space?
2)  Lack of electrical capacity?
3)  Both?

Thanks, Matthew.  :salute:
 

Gunnerlove

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http://www.sfu.ca/casr/ft-isaf-armour5.htm

I could not imagine the cooling load required for a Leopard. It would not supprise me if it was over 2 tons though (cooling systems are rated by how many tons of ice they could melt in 24 hours with the amount of heat they can extract).  3000sqft house = approx 3 tons

Hurdles include

space, weight, cooling sucks lots of power and 240 is better than 120 which is way better than 24volts, removing the heat from where you need it removed (if the turret is cool but the driver is cooking the situation will still suck for the crew), removing heat from systems before they heat the interior of the tank (think hot tanks of fluids), making it survive and operate for long periods in high heat, vibration and dust.

Oh and my favorite thermal mass. You need a system large enough to cool a vehicle that has been heated by the sun in a short period 30mins-1hour to a reasonable temp but small enough so as to be able to control the temp without massive spiking. Refrigerants are also a concern as large systems contain large amounts of them. When some are exposed to high heat and/or flame they break down and produce some very toxic chemicals.

Making a system will be easy, making one that works well will be the real challenge.



 

Cdn Blackshirt

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Speaking as a guy who knows little about tanks, but knows a little physics and has always been a pretty decent problem solver:
what about creating a set of beige/offwhite insulation tiles to cover all sunfacing surfaces (with the exception of those directly over the engine compartment)?  The offwhite beige colour would reflect most solar energy, and that which is absorbed would still be insulated from the hull by some sort of synthetic rubber or foam. 

With that in place, at least you'll have reduced the cooling load and your condensor/electrical draw should be greatly reduced accordingly.


Matthew.  :salute: 
 

geo

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the newer Leo2 A6s have some form of AC for the crew.... trying to retrofit a 35 yr old vehicle (Leo1 C2) makes absolutely no sense. 

WRT thermal tiles - using space shuttle technology.... ??? other than the fact that it isn't bullet proof, it should work - though the white tiles would attarct a lot of attention -wonder if they come in a selection of colours (other than white & black)?
 

Gunnerlove

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Best bet, start shopping for a newer tank. Anything we can do by summer will be band aid. Bet we could get a deal on 12 A6s as we would be using them on operations. I am sure the Germans would love to see how they work out in combat without putting their crews at risk. This is not a slag of the Germans, learning by watching others is the smart way of doing things.

As far as thermal barriers, I guess the Barracuda IR covers will be of some use.
 

geo

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gunner...
Per the press release somewhere above, the germans were only prepared to lease 6 A6s and sell A5s... which I would presume we could retrofit to A6 on our dime, prior to final delivery
 

GAP

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You would have to get one for each window of the tank....
 

Rowshambow

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Sorry just a few things,

1) it's a LEO C2 not C1(different turret)
2) walking with kit on down a mountain is different, you might get some type of breeze, and if anyone has been in a veh with windows closed, you know the only breeze you get is man made!
3) The RCD's we had with us in texas a few weeks ago ate more gravy than the Strats!!

Watch the news next week, you just might see an announcement regarding these problems with the C2 and the possibility of new (or used) Leo 2
just my 2 cents!
 

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http://cnews.canoe.ca/CNEWS/War_Terror/2007/04/03/3906930-cp.html

CP exclusive: Canada to lease new tanks for Afghanistan

By MURRAY BREWSTER
   


 

OTTAWA (CP) - A federal cabinet committee has given the green light to the lease of 20 state-of-the-art tanks to replace aging armoured vehicles in Afghanistan, The Canadian Press has learned.

The cabinet priorities and planning committee approved the lease of the German-built Leopard A6M tanks last week, said a Defence Department source, who asked not to be named.

The recommendation, which is unlikely to be overturned, is now on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's desk for final approval.

The news Tuesday came as Gen. Andrew Leslie, the country's top army officer, said he might have to consider pulling existing tanks - which don't have air conditioning - out of service in Afghanistan this summer because of the heat.

He also told troops in Kandahar to expect a decision from the prime minister on the new tanks within a week.

The new tanks have air conditioning, as well as improved protection against road-side bombs and suicide vehicles, both of which have been packing progressively bigger punches lately.

The army has a handful of older Leopard tanks, which are currently doing duty in western Kandahar as part of NATO's Operation Achilles.

The deal, which apparently includes access to ample spare parts, also gives Canada the option to purchase an unspecified number of additional tanks at a later date.

Reports last winter suggested that in addition to a lease, the army wanted to purchase 80 new Leopards, but the source said that number is likely to be scaled back.

Harper wouldn't bite on questions about the future of the vehicles.

"Cabinet has been discussing the tank issue and we'll have an announcement on that shortly," he said in Kitchener, Ont.

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, in Montreal for a speech, said he wasn't aware the issue was resolved.

A Defence Department spokesman didn't deny that a lease arrangement has been struck.

"We are exploring a number of options to address an operational requirement," said Lt. Adam Thomson. "However, we have nothing to announce at this moment."

The defence source could not say how much the arrangement was worth, but brand new Leopard tanks cost roughly US $6 million each.

Currently, the army has 17 of its old 45-tonne tanks patrolling the desert and dirt roadways of rural Kandahar. The biggest drawback to the vehicles is their lack of air conditioning in a climate where daytime summer temperatures soar above 50C.

Defence Department researchers have looked at installing air conditioners in the vehicles but that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per vehicle.

Another idea proposes to give tank crew cooling vests - the same kind used by professional race car drivers - but they would be cumbersome when layered along with existing body armour.

Aside from the comfort factor, the lease of new tanks is seen as a more cost-effective solution, said the defence source.

Alex Morrison of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies said buying new equipment is better than retrofitting.

"It just makes more sense," he said. "This is a decision that's been in the mill for at least the last seven months."

New Democrat defence critic Dawn Black said she's not opposed to the lease arrangement, but only because it means tank crews won't have to roast.

"I think it was irresponsible to deploy them, knowing they weren't suitable for the climate," she said.

In February, a policy think-tank produced a report that criticized Canada's deployment of tanks to Afghanistan, saying the 1970s vintage Leopard-C2 vehicles were vulnerable to insurgent attacks.

Researcher Michael Wallace, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, argued that new Leopard A6Ms would also be vulnerable to road-side bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. He said the introduction of tanks had the potential to spark an "arms race" with insurgents, prompting the Taliban to build bigger bombs.

Morrison dismissed the arguments, calling them ridiculous.

"What would they have us do?" he asked. "Take the tanks home and then the insurgents won't use whatever weapon they have? What will happen in the end is the insurgents would control the whole country."

www.canoe.ca
 

geo

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Remember to turn both Radios & A/C off before starting the engine... :)
 

midget-boyd91

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Canadian Sig said:
New Democrat defence critic Dawn Black said she's not opposed to the lease arrangement, but only because it means tank crews won't have to roast.

So, the only reason she isn't opposing the army from getting new tanks, is because they have air conditioning. You know, I never thought that air conditioning was the turning point for opposition  ::).  Maybe we should take out air conditioning from all out out-dated equipment *cough* M-109 *cough* so that the other parties will help out in obtaining new equipment.  ;D
 
    Anyone heard of a possibly date for the first deliveries? (Pending they don't fall through)
 

Jammer

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So hear it is Zipperheads far and wide:
Canada will lease 20 Leo 2 A6s for use in Afghanistan (...and there was much rejoicing...yay!)
 

geo

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also an option to buy...
we can pick up some slightly used "cheapies"... Leo2 A4s or 5s and upgrade them to 6s at a far far cheaper price than picking up the new ones
 

The Gues-|-

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Yep, if that excites you, there is going to be even better news to come, sooner or later...
 

The Bread Guy

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News here, Armour discussion thread available here.

Shared in accordance with the "fair dealing" provisions, Section 29, of the Copyright Act.

Brutal summer heat may force Canadian army to park its tanks in Afghanistan
John Cotter, Canadian Press, 3 Apr 07
Article link

Canada may park its force of 17 Leopard tanks in Afghanistan this summer to avoid losing any crew members to the brutal heat.  By August the temperature inside the 42-tonne steel monsters, which aren't air-conditioned, could climb as high as 65 degrees Celsius, Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie said Tuesday. "We don't have a solution that is outside the scope of a newer, more modern machine," said Leslie, commander of the Army branch of the Canadian Forces.  "We will have to restrict their operations because we are not going to lose soldiers because they overheat."  Asked if the tanks may not be used at all during the summer, Leslie said it is an option the army will consider based on the temperature.  Leslie has told Canadian troops in Afghanistan that Prime Minister Stephen Harper will make a decision later this month on the future of the 30-year-old Leopard 2 tanks, which were designed to fight on European battlefields.  The military began sending the tanks to Afghanistan last fall to give added punch to Canada's battle group in Kandahar.  Most of the Leopards have been operating as part of a 250-soldier task force in the Maywand district in support of Operation Achilles, NATO's offensive to drive the Taliban out of the northern part of Helmand province ....


CP exclusive: Canada to lease new tanks for Afghanistan
Murray Brewster, Canadian Press, 3 Apr 07
Article link

A federal cabinet committee has given the green light to the lease of 20 state-of-the-art tanks to replace aging armoured vehicles in Afghanistan, The Canadian Press has learned.

The cabinet priorities and planning committee approved the lease of the German-built Leopard A6M tanks last week, said a Defence Department source, who asked not to be named.

The recommendation, which is unlikely to be overturned, is now on Prime Minister Stephen Harper's desk for final approval.

The news Tuesday came as Gen. Andrew Leslie, the country's top army officer, said he might have to consider pulling existing tanks - which don't have air conditioning - out of service in Afghanistan this summer because of the heat.

He also told troops in Kandahar to expect a decision from the prime minister on the new tanks within a week.

The new tanks have air conditioning, as well as improved protection against road-side bombs and suicide vehicles, both of which have been packing progressively bigger punches lately.

The army has a handful of older Leopard tanks, which are currently doing duty in western Kandahar as part of NATO's Operation Achilles.

The deal, which apparently includes access to ample spare parts, also gives Canada the option to purchase an unspecified number of additional tanks at a later date.

Reports last winter suggested that in addition to a lease, the army wanted to purchase 80 new Leopards, but the source said that number is likely to be scaled back.

Harper wouldn't bite on questions about the future of the vehicles.

"Cabinet has been discussing the tank issue and we'll have an announcement on that shortly," he said in Kitchener, Ont.

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor, in Montreal for a speech, said he wasn't aware the issue was resolved.

A Defence Department spokesman didn't deny that a lease arrangement has been struck.

"We are exploring a number of options to address an operational requirement," said Lt. Adam Thomson. "However, we have nothing to announce at this moment."

The defence source could not say how much the arrangement was worth, but brand new Leopard tanks cost roughly US $6 million each.

Currently, the army has 17 of its old 45-tonne tanks patrolling the desert and dirt roadways of rural Kandahar. The biggest drawback to the vehicles is their lack of air conditioning in a climate where daytime summer temperatures soar above 50C.

Defence Department researchers have looked at installing air conditioners in the vehicles but that would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars per vehicle.

Another idea proposes to give tank crew cooling vests - the same kind used by professional race car drivers - but they would be cumbersome when layered along with existing body armour.

Aside from the comfort factor, the lease of new tanks is seen as a more cost-effective solution, said the defence source.

Alex Morrison of the Canadian Institute of Strategic Studies said buying new equipment is better than retrofitting.

"It just makes more sense," he said. "This is a decision that's been in the mill for at least the last seven months."

New Democrat defence critic Dawn Black said she's not opposed to the lease arrangement, but only because it means tank crews won't have to roast.

"I think it was irresponsible to deploy them, knowing they weren't suitable for the climate," she said.

In February, a policy think-tank produced a report that criticized Canada's deployment of tanks to Afghanistan, saying the 1970s vintage Leopard-C2 vehicles were vulnerable to insurgent attacks.

Researcher Michael Wallace, of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, argued that new Leopard A6Ms would also be vulnerable to road-side bombs and rocket-propelled grenades. He said the introduction of tanks had the potential to spark an "arms race" with insurgents, prompting the Taliban to build bigger bombs.

Morrison dismissed the arguments, calling them ridiculous.

"What would they have us do?" he asked. "Take the tanks home and then the insurgents won't use whatever weapon they have? What will happen in the end is the insurgents would control the whole country."



Canada to lease 20 modern tanks from Germany for Afghan mission
Leopard A6M equipped with much-needed air conditioning

CanWest News Service, Ottawa Citizen, 4 Apr 07
Article link

The Canadian government is proceeding with the lease of 20 of some of the most modern Leopard tanks on the market as it boosts its equipment stocks in Afghanistan.

Defence sources told the Citizen that Canada will lease the 20 Leopard A6M tanks from Germany. The tanks, which have improved protection against landmines and other enemy weapons, could be shipped to Afghanistan direct from Germany, sources said.

Krauss-Maffei, the original German manufacturer of the Leopard tanks, also has a maintenance team in Kandahar working on other equipment for multinational forces there so there would be a built-in support system for the tanks, sources said. In addition, the new Leopards are outfitted with an air conditioning system so they could operate in Afghanistan's stifling summer heat.

Canada's older Leopard tanks now in Kandahar do not have air conditioning and there have been concerns the heat would limit their usefulness on the battlefield. Temperatures inside the vehicles would soar beyond 60C.

The lease was approved last week by the cabinet priorities and planning committee.

The Citizen first outlined the details of the tank lease arrangement in February when Canadian Forces officers started initial discussions with German officials in regards to the deal. The arrangement has now received Canadian government approval.

Defence Minister Gordon O'Connor wasn't releasing details about the Leopard tank lease yesterday. But he did say that the tanks were a necessity for the Afghan mission. "Our experience in Afghan has proven we need main battle tanks," he said. "It's really to offer security to our soldiers."

Mr. O'Connor suggested that the decrease in the number of Canadian casualties in the last six months was due to increased use of heavier armoured vehicles, including the tanks.

But Canadian Forces officials have acknowledged that the terrain in Afghanistan is also taking its toll on the military's vehicles. Army commander Lt.-Gen. Andrew Leslie said in Kandahar that some of the service's light armoured vehicles will have to be replaced because of the excessive wear and tear.

Mr. O'Connor explained that meant the vehicles will be sent back to Canada for repair and they will be replaced from the existing inventory. He said there is no need to buy new light armoured vehicles. The same thing will happen to the Nyala armoured vehicles that wear out over time, he added.

Lt.-Gen. Leslie said yesterday in Kandahar that the 17 Leopard tanks currently in use there are "at the end of their legs" and are in need of being replaced. In an address to troops earlier this week, Lt.-Gen. Leslie said Prime Minister Stephen Harper is considering the acquisition of new tanks and that there could be a decision on the matter within the coming days.

But when asked if the army will have to park the older Leopards altogether during the hottest parts of the Afghan summer, Lt.-Gen. Leslie said that's "an option which we'll have to consider."

"We are not going to lose soldiers because they overheat," Lt.-Gen. Leslie said. "We will have to restrict their operations," he added, saying the tank issue was the greatest concern raised by troops in his recent tour of the battlefield.

Lt.-Gen. Leslie said the interior of the Leopard tanks in use here can reach as high as 65 C during hot summer months.

Over the past year there has been a major about-turn in the Canadian military's view of the usefulness of tanks. The Leopards were originally scheduled to be destroyed or sold off, but the army put a halt to that program. It sent the Leopards to Afghanistan in the fall and began its search for newer tanks to purchase or lease.

Three years ago, however, Gen. Rick Hillier, then army commander, labelled the Leopards as a "millstone" around the neck of the service. Several months later, Gen. Hillier wrote an article for the Citizen criticizing retired officers who wanted to keep the Leopard tanks in the army's inventory. He called those officers "armchair strategists" who didn't understand the changing face of warfare.

But as they came to grips with the war in Afghanistan, senior military leaders changed their minds and turned to the tank to provide increased firepower and protection.

Yesterday, the second-in-command of Canada's tank squadron in Afghanistan agreed heat is a significant problem in the tanks -- explaining that because of the combination of air temperature, internal hydraulics and engine heat the tank compartments are already reaching temperatures of about 48 C.

"Having somebody work in above 50 to 60 C is a huge challenge," said Capt. Craig Volstad.

Canada's army has been trying to find solutions to make the tanks cooler -- testing options such as heat shields for the outside of the tanks or cooling vests for the troops to wear inside -- though Lt.-Gen. Leslie conceded yesterday that none of those are likely to bring the relief that is needed.

"We don't have a solution that's outside the scope of a newer more modern machine," he said, adding there are currently tanks available from other countries that could be in Afghanistan and ready for use by the summer.

 

geo

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Mr. O'Connor explained that meant the vehicles will be sent back to Canada for repair and they will be replaced from the existing inventory. He said there is no need to buy new light armoured vehicles. The same thing will happen to the Nyala armoured vehicles that wear out over time, he added.
After writing off some 25+ as BER and intending to rotate the inventory back to Canada for a refurbishment/rebuild he says what?

With little or no reserve, to replace the ones leaving Afghanistan, they will have to pull vehicles from an operational unit OR strip CMTC of their LAVs to get sufficient newer ones....

How long before someone wakes up I wonder?
 
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