Boudicca Main Battle Tank

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Boudicca Main Battle Tank
Boudicca drawn.png
Boudicca MBT of C Squadron, 11 Loweport Lancers in desert camouflage
Place of origin  Arthurista
Service history
In service 1982-2002 (Mark 1)
2002-present (Mark 2)
Used by Commonwealth Army, Victorian Army, Lion's Rock Army
Production history
Designed 1974-1980 (Mark 1)
1998-2002 (Mark 2)
Manufacturer Arthuristan Dynamics
Produced 1983-present
Number built 3,600
Specifications
Weight 65 tonnes (Mark 1), 68 tonnes (Mark 2)
Length 11.6m (gun forward)
Width 3.51 m
Height 2.95 m
Crew 4 (Mk 1), 3 (Mk 2)

Armor Modular composite armour, heavy ERA
Main
armament
120mm L/52 rifled gun/launcher (52 rounds),
or'
140mm L/50 rifled gun/launcher
Secondary
armament
L94A1 chain gun 7.62x51 co-ax, Sharpshooter Remote Weapon System with 7.62mm L6A2 General Purpose Machine Gun machine gun
Engine Arthuristan Motors AVE-2 V-12 turbodiesel (Mark 1)
Arthuristan Motors AVE-A3 V-12 turbodiesel (Mark 2)
1,200 kW (Mark 1)
1,600 kW (Mark 2)
Transmission Hydropneumatic
Operational
range
550km on road
Speed 65 kph on road


The Boudicca is an Arthuristan Main Battle Tank. It succeeded the Endurance Main Battle Tank in Arthuristan service.

In the mid-70s, the Arthuristan Ministry of Defence decided to acquire for a replacement for the Endurance. In particular, the new vehicle was to correct several of its predecessor's flaws - most notably poor mobility, while keeping its strengths such as its powerful main armament and adequate armour. A joint project with Emmeria, known as the XM825 main battle tank, was attempted. It ultimately failed due to delays, cost overrun and irreconcilable disagreements among the designers. The Arthuristan Dynamics team pressed on with its own prototype which, renamed the Boudicca, entered pre-production in 1982. In turn, the Emmerians developed the M9 Hunter to replace their increasingly obsolete M5s.

The Boudicca incorporated the latest advances in composite armour technology, while mounting a V-12 turbo-diesel engine for a reasonable power-to-weight ratio. Armed with a 120mm rifled gun/launcher weapons system (140mm in the Mk 2), it is capable of engaging and destroying contemporary armoured threats encountered on the battlefield.

Firepower

Boudicca MBT

L24A2

The L24A2 is a 120mm rifled cannon, the main armament of the Boudicca Mk 1. It is a linear descendent of the L11 120mm rifled gun of the Endurance Main Battle Tank. It is 55 calibres in length and is constructed with electro-slag refined steel, with its bore and chamber lined with chromium to prolong its service life. Fifty two one-piece rounds are normally carried, stowed in a blow-out compartment in the turret bustle.

Anticipating that Boudiccas would need a reliable means of engaging and defeating tanks equipped with the latest generations of composite armour, a special ammunition was developed for such an occasion. The Arthuristan Smart Top Attack Munition (ASTAM) is, contrary to popular belief, strictly speaking not a gun-launched anti-tank guided missile (GLATGM), but is rather a rocket-assisted guided shell. Nevertheless, it shares much of the same characteristics. It has a range of over 8km. With it, the tank can engage targets while remaining fully behind cover, allowing recce platforms or other vehicles to designate targets. Lobbed on a relatively high-angle flight, the ASTAM can deploy winglets and autonomously search for and engage targets (i.e. the 'fire and forget' capability) using its own on-board millimeter-band radar and IR sensor. It can attack the top of a tank (typically its most vulnerable position) with two explosively formed penetrators fired in rapid succession, detonating any ERA attached to the target before hitting the vehicle's roof.

Boudicca Mk 1s usually carry an ammunition load of 24 APFSDS, 24 HESH and 4 ASTAM rounds. The first KE-round to serve with the Boudicca was the HV-1 APFSDS munition. It had a heavy tungsten alloy core and was originally designed for the old Endurance. It was succeeded in the mid-80s by the DU-cored HV-2, in turn supplanted by the HV-3 in the early-90s, which was designed to counteract heavy explosive reactive armour. The current HV-4 features a greater length-to-diameter ratio and is thus considered "significantly more effective" against modern derivatives of the original Anikatian Jeopchok-5 heavy explosive reactive armour.

L36A1

Boudicca MBT

The L36A1 is a 140mm L/50 rifled gun-launcher system, which forms the centrepiece of the Boudicca Mk 2 upgrade package, introduced in 2014 and slated to be gradually retrofitted to older tanks as they undergo routine overhaul. It is designed to ensure that the Boudicca would remain competitive in the international market, against the latest in tank gun technology such as the Austrasien 14.5cm PzK M-05 L/52 and Rodarian 130mm ETC. It is backwards compatible with all legacy munitions using a slip ring. The only new ammunition developed so far for the 140mm rifled gun is the HV-5 depleted uranium APFSDS round, which combines a modified version of the HV-4's penetrator with a significantly larger propellant charge.

Secondary weapons

The Boudicca is armed with a L94A1 chain gun chambered in 7.62mm as a co-axial weapon. Originally, it features a pintle mounted L6A2 General Purpose Machine Gun at the commander's hatch behind a detachable gun shield. As of mid-2015, the Sharpshooter Remote Weapon System is being retrofitted to most Boudiccas in active service.

Fire control

The Boudicca Mk 1 features a the Thermal-Optronics Gunnery System (TOGS), an integrated fire control suite featuring an passive thermal gunner's sight mounted on a panoramic periscope mated to a digital ballistics computer.

The TOGS-2 upgrade was part of the Boudicca Mk 2 package. It adds the commander's own independent panoramic optical/IR sight, allowing him to override the gunner and lay the gun himself and employ hunter-killer tactics. The gunner's thermal sight has been upgraded to a second generation FLIR system. Also added is a powerful milliband radar to the FCS, allowing the tank to track targets up to 12km away, lock onto targets based on the data transmitted via unit net from other tanks or vehicles and open fire on them with either shell or ATGM without requiring visual sighting from the tank. Another new feature is the trigger-delay mechanism, which prevents the gun from being fired if any sudden movement is drastic enough that the gunner’s aim could be thrown.

Due to budgetary constraints, it is unlikely that the entire Arthuristan tank fleet will be upgraded to Mk 2 standard. However, as of early-2015, all Boudicca Mk 1s have been upgraded to the Mk 1M standard, featuring the TOGS-2 fire control suite, but without the gun or armour upgrade of the Mk 2.

Protection

Passive armour

The Boudicca Mk 1 represented the forefront of composite armour technology when it was first developed in the late-70s. In particular, it pioneered the use of ceramic modules to defeat HEAT rounds, believed by most analysts to be compressed silica and/or alumina tiles set in a matrix alongside steel, fronted by a laminate of triple-hardened steel, aluminium foam and rubber (the Aspis applique module described below) and backed by a perforated heavy tungsten alloy strike plate. In the Mk 2, the passive armour suite became more modular in composition in order to facilitate rapid repair in the field. Titanium components are introduced to reduce the weight of the armour suite, while the ceramic tiles are strengthened through the introduction of carbon nanotubes.

An alternative, emergency wartime production variant of the armour module has also been developed. It is fronted by a layer of perforated, hardened steel, followed by rubber, then a layer of relatively cheap ceramics (alumina or pyrex are both acceptable) backed by tungsten or steel. Although this setup compromises protection levels to a measurable extent, as well as being slightly heavier, it does not necessitate the use of rare, strategic materiel such as titanium alloy, enabling tanks to be turned out however dire the straits of the wartime economy. Tanks protected by this downgraded armour scheme are labelled as Boudicca(E).

The crew compartment is lined with a layer of dyneema and ballistic kevlar for anti-spalling defence.

Applique armour modules

Two modular applique armour suites may be fitted to the tank: ERA or spaced.

The first option features the Hoplon heavy explosive reactive armour. Consisting of plastic explosives sandwiched between heavy steel plates, it can exert tremendous pressure on penetrating KE projectiles and snap APFSDS rods in half. Needless to say, they are also effective against HEAT ammunition.

Alternatively, one may opt for the Aspis spaced-armour module. It consists of a multi-layer laminate of aluminium foam, rubber and titanium alloy plates. Its function is to degrade the performance of KE munition or HEAT jets by subjecting the penetrator to stresses caused by alternating layers of materiel with greatly different hardness and density. Although not as effective in absolute terms as the Hoplon, the Aspis is much lighter and capable of multi-hit protection. It is fitted to most vehicles in peacetime.

Whichever modules chosen, damaged applique units may be rapidly replaced in the field. A fully-loaded Boudicca equipped with applique armour may weigh more than 70 metric tonnes.

Redoubt Automatic Countermeasure System

The Redoubt Automatic Countermeasure System was developed for the Boudicca Mk 2. It is an integrated suite combining automatic hardkill and softkill countermeasures with a variety of sensors. Its sensors component consists of apertures and receivers placed on a variety of spots on the vehicle's upper superstructure and covers the entire upper hemisphere. It includes electro-optical and radar targeting warning systems derived from similar technology developed by Arthuristan Dynamics Supermarine for the Tempest fighter and a millimetre-band miniature radar array capable of detecting incoming missile or RPG rounds. Once a threat is detected, it is defeated using a variety of soft- and hard-kill countermeasures.

The softkill component uses automatic decoy and smoke-dischargers effective against all relevant electro-magnetic wavelengths (derived from the MASS decoy system in use in the Commonwealth Navy. It also incorporates DICM and laser dazzler-blinders to directly attack and disable targeting devices once they are detected.

The hardkill component uses a pod of sixteen vertical-launched missiles mounted on the rear of the turret to intercept incoming threats. The missiles are shaped like small mortar bombs equipped with a proximity sensor, with a shell made of a fully-combustible material, designed to neutralise incoming ordnance with blast pressure alone. It is thus cheaper than 'hit-to-kill' solutions, as it does not rely on complex interception-generating systems, while at the same time unlikely to generate as much collateral damage to the surroundings compared to fragmentation-based setups, an overall design which the Ministry of Defence feels offers the best compromise.

The Mk 1M modernisation of older tanks contains the softkill component of the Redoubt. The hardkill component will be retrofitted as and when budgetary conditions allow.

Signature reduction

The latest upgrade package equips the tanks with active thermal panels to achieve some degree of IR stealth. Radar-absorbent coating helps to lower the tanks' signature and help to avoid detection, while counter-laser bloomers have been installed to destroy laser range-finding gear targeting the vehicle.

Mobility

Boudicca MBT during a live fire exercise

The Boudicca features a V12 turbodiesel developing 1,200KW of power in the Mark 1 model and 1,500KW for the Mark 2. Maximum on-road speed is 65km/h.

Networking

Boudicca Mark 2s are equipped with the Arthuristan Dynamics Digital Battlefield Management System which integrate vehicles in one or multiple units into the combat network (the ARES Battlenet in the Arthuristan Army), allowing them to communicate efficiently and share valuable intelligence, whether with other tanks and vehicles, UAVs, APAF aircrafts providing CAS, or any other platforms or 'information nodes' of the Arthuristan military. Such tactical data are displayed on the commander's tablet computer, which can be mounted in a bracket at his/her station. Enemy sightings, targeting information and other intelligence gathered by the tank's sensors are also automatically transmitted across the ARES battlenet and thus made available to all other platforms linked to it. Mark 1 tanks are also rapidly retrofitted to utilise this network in a crash program, even those vehicles which are not slated to receive any other upgrades in the near future.

Arbalest Missile Carrier

The Arbalest is a special variant of the Boudicca, designed as a carrier for twelve Vantage anti-tank missiles. The missile pod is concealed in the turret bustle, and is only raised and exposed when firing. Externally, from the frontal axis, the Arbalest resembles a normal Boudicca tank, including a fake main gun. Target detection capability is provided by a mast-mounted sensors package, which includes a thermal imaging system and laser-rangefinder. A troop of six are attached to each armoured regiment (battalion), allowing the long range precision interdiction of enemy armoured assets before the two tank formations reached gun range.

Variants

Tank variants

  • Boudicca Mk 1
  • Boudicca Mk 1M (Mark 1 tank with Mark 2 network, FCS upgrades and softkill countermeasures)
  • Boudicca Mk 2

Other variants

  • Boudicca AVLB (armoured bridge-layer)
  • Boudicca ARRV (Armoured Recovery and Repair Vehicle)
  • Boudicca AVCE (Armoured Vehicle Combat Engineers)
  • Arbalest Missile Carrier