|HTA-01 Rhinoceros Main Battle Tank|
Test scale model of the MBT-74X before introduction.
|Type||Main Battle Tank|
|Place of origin||Carthage|
|Used by|| Carthage|
|Wars|| Northern War|
Second Pacific War
|Designer||Danel Group Armored Solutions|
|Manufacturer||Danel Group Armored Solutions|
|Unit cost||NS$8.5 million (HTA-01DM, (FY2011))|
|Produced|| 1974-1991 (MBT-74)|
|Length|| 11.52 m (37.80 ft) (gun forward)|
7.18 m (23.6 ft) (hull)
|Width||3.60 m (11.8 ft)|
|Height|| 2.80 m (9.19 ft) (max)|
2.40 m (7.87 ft) (min)
|Crew||3 (commander, driver, gunner)|
|Armor||Second-generation composite armor, depleted uranium strike plates, optional ERA|
|T-17S 120 mm L/54 smoothbore gun (42 rounds)|
| Variable by model:
|Engine|| Danel Group VTX-12-1200 V-12 turbocharged multi-fuel diesel engine|
1,200 kW (1,600 hp)
|Power/weight|| 27.3 hp/tonne|
|Suspension|| Active hydropneumatic (MBT-74, MBT-74AM1)|
Active in-arm hydropneumatic (HTA-01DM)
|Ground clearance||Variable (0.1-0.6 m (0.3-2.0 ft))|
|Fuel capacity||1,400 l (370 US gal) internal; 360 l (95 US gal) external|
|775 km (480 mi)|
|Speed|| 72 km/h (45 mph) on road|
54 km/h (34 mph) off-road
The HTA-01 Rhinoceros (formerly MBT-74 Rhinoceros) is a third-generation main battle tank designed and fielded by the Republic of Carthage. A successor to the MBT-64 Elephant, it is highly mobile, well-armed and well-armored. Developed in the early 1970s and entering service in 1974, the MBT-74 has been the backbone of the Carthaginian armored force since the early 1980s, when it finally replaced the MBT-64 in most roles. It was the first Carthaginian tank to adopt composite armor for protection and an autoloader for the main gun, allowing for a significant reduction in size despite the improvement in firepower, protection, and mobility.
Three major variants have been put into service since 1974, including the baseline MBT-74, the improved MBT-74AM1 in 1991, and the current HTA-01DM beginning in 2007. In 2008, current models of the MBT-74 were redesignated the HTA-01 in accordance with the newly-adopted Joint Equipment Inventory System, although the designation was not retroactively applied to previous models. Although the newer HTA-02 Jaguar II is entering service and is projected to replace the HTA-01DM, the Rhinoceros is expected to remain in service for at least a decade with regular units, and longer in reserve service.
- 1 Protection
- 2 Armament
- 3 Mobility
- 4 Variants
- 5 See also
- 6 Details
The MBT-74 was the first Carthaginian tank to adopt the use of composite armor for improved protection against shaped-charge weapons. The initial formulation relied on a mixture of rolled steel, glass-reinforced plastic, composites, and kevlar in prototypes but was replaced with an improved version using boron carbide in place of the glass-reinforced plastic for the production model. Glacis armor remained a layered array of textolite and hardened steel estimated to be approximately 240 millimeters (9.4 in) thick.
A new turret was introduced with the MBT-74AM1 in 1984 with a new armor arrangement designed to make more effective use of special armor. Unlike the previous curved turret face, the new turret uses angled flat plates similar to other tanks of the same era such as the European Leopard 2 with the special armor array mounted above the ceramic tiles. Total array thickness was also significantly increased. Hull construction was also altered with additional spaced layers above a thinner textolite and steel array. Beginning with the MBT-74AM1, depleted uranium heavy metal modules were added to the armor matrix, increasing weight but further improving protection against KEPs. Mounting points for Russian Kontakt-5 explosive reactive armor modules were added in 1987
The HTA-01DM modification added compatibility with newer applique armor sets, including a variant of the Ōarai-type reactive armor developed for the HTA-02 Jaguar II. This armor set is lighter and focused on turret and limited glacis protection due to the smaller weight margin available in the lighter HTA-01. Slat armor is also available as an add-on feature to improve resistance to rocket-propelled grenades and other shaped charge munitions.
Camouflage and Concealment
Initial production MBT-74s were painted in standard desert tan or jungle green paint schemes depending on their deployment zone. This scheme replaced the previous three-color desert and jungle camouflage patterns previously employed by Carthaginian ground vehicles. Beginning in 2012 most combat vehicles of the Carthaginian Army were repainted to a unified color scheme and current standard design is a coyote brown designed for good performance in both desert and woodland conditions. All of the paint schemes use the High-Durability Camouflage Coating for reduced infrared signature and improved resistance to weathering and chemical agents. Vehicles may occasionally be repainted with other designs for parade or special duty.
Two six-barrel smoke grenade launchers provide concealment for the tank in the visible and infrared spectra, providing concealment from thermal imaging. While the original MBT-74 and MBT-74AM1 was designed with an engine-mounted smoke generator, this feature was removed in the newer, more compact VTX-12-1200 powerplant due to flammability concerns with the use of jet fuel and there are no plans to restore this functionality.
Active Protection System
The initial MBT-74 Rhinoceros was not equipped with an active protection system, but the MBT-74AM2 variant introduced in 1991 included a softkill protection system, using jammers to impede the effectiveness of SACLOS missiles and an IR spotlight to spoof IR-guided missiles. The HTA-01DM variant includes a variant of the Rho Aias active protection system used in the HTA-02 Jaguar II, using a multiple-tier system of IR and laser detectors to track incoming rounds and both softkill and hardkill suites to intercept them. Because the HTA-01DM does not incorporate the larger sensor array of the HTA-02, detection range is somewhat reduced, but the system is still capable of defeating rocket and missile attacks and has some efficacy against kinetic attacks.
As is common for modern main battle tanks, the MBT-74 is equipped with an automatic halon gas fire suppression system. Automated temperature and visual sensors in the tank can detect a fire in the fighting compartment within milliseconds and suppress the fire within seconds, while crew members have access to hand-held fire extinguishers for additional firefighting flexibility. A second fire-suppression system is located in the engine compartment and can be controlled by the driver. Ammunition arrangements in the HTA-01DM have moved non-ready rounds out of the turret and into the lower hull in space vacated by the more compact engine plant, improving crew survivability.
T-17 smoothbore gun
The original MBT-74 was equipped with a 120 mm L/44 smoothbore gun, designed to fire both conventional rounds as well as anti-tank guided missiles. ATGM capability was considered crucial in light of increasing engagement ranges, while potent KE capability was also considered necessary to provide the flexibility for shorter-ranged battles and infantry support operations. However, improved armor technology rendered the T-17 obsolete, and a longer-barrel gun was chosen for later models. The HTA-01 is the first Carthaginian tank to incorporate an autoloader, eliminating the fourth crewman from the vehicle. The T-17A L/50 model was introduced in the MBT-74AM1, while the current T-17S L/54 model was designed for the HTA-01DM and incorporates a number of weight-saving measures as well as a new laser firing system.
The MBT-74 has two to three secondary weapon points, depending on model:
- A 7.62 mm coaxial chain gun mounted to the right of the main gun and attached to the gun's stabilization system. It can be aimed and fired using the gunner's primary sights by flipping a selector switch. In the HTA-01DM, this weapon was replaced by a standard CRA-336 7 mm chain gun for ammunition commonality with newer vehicle types.
- A 25 mm roof-mounted retractable autocannon for anti-aircraft use. This weapon's independent sights are connected to the commander's station, allowing him to remotely control the weapon and guide it against both air and ground targets. It is equipped with a 3x magnification sight as well as day and night optics for all-weather engagement. Despite this, the gun was demonstrated to be unreliable and difficult to use, and was deleted in subsequent models.
- A 12.7 mm roof-mounted machine gun attached to the commander's hatch for anti-infantry and light anti-vehicle work. Equipped with a 3x optical magnification sight, it requires the commander to expose himself to enemy fire to use. The MBT-74AM1 introduced a gun shield for this mount, while in the HTA-01DM the weapon station has been replaced by a 15.5 mm chain gun remote weapon station, removing the need for the commander to manually fire the gun and offsetting the loss of firepower from the deletion of the 25 mm autocannon.
The onboard EPU-592 combat control system installed in the HTA-01DM replaces the independent fire control and driver sensor units in previous models with the same unit designed for the newer HTA-02 Jaguar II. This unit collects data from a web of sensors embedded throughout the vehicle and can select relevant inputs to calculate the proper firing solution for the selected weapon. Alongside general-purpose sensors such as the CITV and gunner's primary sight, the system also has access to a laser rangefinder, crosswind sensor, cant sensor, boresight alignment data, ammunition, gun, and ambient temperature data, a barometer, and a muzzle reference system to determine gun droop. Additional information on round performance based on type is stored in the computer and can be combined with user-inputted data for calculation, with firing solutions updated 100 times per second. This solution is projected onto both the commander and gunner's sights, and either is capable of firing the gun. Unlike the HTA-02, this system is not capable of slewing the turret automatically.
In normal operations, the commander using his CITV is tasked with searching for targets and maintaining situational awareness, transferring spotted targets to the gunner for engagement. The main and coaxial armaments are equipped with a backup visual aiming system for operation in the event the primary fire control system is damaged or inoperable. Manual hand cranks are also available to traverse the turret in the event of a turret drive malfunction.
The original MBT-74 Rhinoceros was equipped with a Danel Group R-330 V-12 multi-fuel diesel engine providing 1,100 kW (1,475 hp) and allowing for a maximum theoretical speed of 98 km/h (61 mph) on improved surfaces. However, these speeds greatly increase the risk of damage to the drivetrain and crew and speed is normally governed to 72 km/h (45 mph) for safety reasons. The Elissa-Arishat HM-22A-19 hydrokinetic transmission provides five forward and two reverse gears. The R-330 is capable of using jet fuel, as SFT-08 has been the standard fuel type for the Defense Forces since 1988.
In an effort to address significant weight increases, a new engine program was initiated in 1985 to develop a more efficient, more powerful powerpack for the HTA-01. The result was the Danel Group VTX-series of diesel engines, designed for minimum volume and improved fuel efficiency. The VTX-series uses oil cooling rather than conventional water cooling, allowing for much higher engine temperatures and reduced cooling air volume. The 12-cylinder VTX-12-1200 was introduced in 1993, with the new powerpack with transmission using only 50% of the volume of the original R-330 powerpack. The new VTX-12-1200 provides a slight increase in maximum output combined with a significant decrease in power loss to cooling systems, increasing available motive horsepower. The freed volume in the engine bay was used for addition storage and auxiliary fuel tanks, increasing range.
Fully fueled, the HTA-01DM can travel approximately 775 km (480 mi) on roads and 500 km (310 mi) off-road. External tanks of similar capacity to those developed for the HTA-02 can also be mounted to extend range. The powerpack can be replaced in the field in approximately 30 minutes and is separated from the crew compartment by a fireproof and sound-insulated bulkhead.
The R-330 engine incorporated the ability to operate on only four cylinders as an integrated auxiliary power unit for extended periods, providing electricity for the onboard electronics while stationary. As the VTX-12-1250 was developed for the HTA-02, which incorporates an onboard battery pack as an APU, this feature was lost in the engine replacement program and instead a compact rotary engine unit was included for stationary power.
The active hydropneumatic suspension allows the vehicle to raise and lower its ride height in quadrants controlled by the driver. This allows the vehicle to lower itself as far as 10 cm (4 in) above the ground or up to 60 cm (24 in) for cross-country travel. This also allows the vehicle to increase its vertical gun traverse by supplementing it with a forward or backward hull tilt. The HTA-01DM replaces the original suspension units with more compact and lighter in-arm units similar to those used on the Jaguar II.
Tank desant provisions are minimal, but with the turret locked forward men can be carried on the rear engine deck and the turret bustle, although the latter is highly advised against. Straps and hand holds are available for infantry use along with an infantry telephone for communication, although the strap points may be obscured if the tank crew has filled the bustle rack with equipment. If engaged, the Rhinoceros uses either smoke or natural cover to conceal itself in order to disembark its troops before disengaging the turret lock and proceeding into combat.
Despite being relatively light compared to many other main battle tanks, the MBT-74 cannot be carried in most tactical airlifters and requires a strategic airlifter to transport. A single RFS-224A multi-role tanker-transport can carry a single battle-ready or two lightened tanks, while the RTS-224B transport can carry two battle-ready tanks or three lightened tanks, which require support facilities to make battle-ready. This low capacity makes aerial transport of a large armored formation difficult, but smaller formations have been air-deployed in the past.
It is also commonly transported aboard oceangoing vessels, including both amphibious assault ships and freighters. When carried aboard amphibious assault ships, tanks are deployed via landing craft directly to the shore, while vehicles carried by freighter are usually delivered to the docks as roll-on roll-off cargo. Stockpiles of vehicles are maintained at readiness for deployment as part of the military's pre-positioning program.
- X-MBT: Prototype model first completed in 1970, used for systems testing and evaluation. Fourteen testbeds were produced using mild steel and four with armor steel for ballistic testing. All units have been retired with six mild steel prototypes on display and the remainder scrapped.
- MBT-74 FSED: Twelve pre-production prototypes of the largely finalized design produced in 1972 for final testing and evaluation. All units retired.
- MBT-74: Initial production variant introduced in 1974. 31,954 tanks produced in total, including 240 LRIP models later upgraded to full production standards.
- MBT-74P (Provisional): Introduced in 1977 based on experience gained in the Northern War to address shortcomings in the basic design, including improved turret protection, new tracks, and a more reliable stabilizer for the gunner's sight.
- MBT-74AM1: First major modification introduced in 1984, including a new turret with modern special armor and the longer-barrel T-17A L/50 cannon, a new bustle rack for crew storage, improved fire control systems, and improved hull protection. A total of 27,564 tanks were produced in this series.
- MBT-74AM1 NTO (New Turret Overhaul): Original production MBT-74s upgraded with the new turret of the MBT-74AM1. While possessing identical turret protection to new-production AM1s, these upgraded tanks retain the original MBT-74 hull protection and were prioritized for replacement by new-production MBT-74AM1s and AM2s.
- MBT-74AM2: Second major modification introduced in 1991, improving turret armor and replacing the previous fire control system with an all-digital version. The upgrade also included the addition of a softkill active protection system and a more powerful climate control and NBC filtering system. A total of 17,992 tanks were produced in this series.
- MBT-74AM2 RRM (Reconditioned and Restored Modification): MBT-74AM1 units reconditioned and upgraded at the factory to AM2 standards.
- MBT-74DM (HTA-01): The final modification of the MBT-74 series, introducing the new T-17S L/54 gun for improved firepower, further improved armor and compatibility with a number of systems later introduced in the HTA-02 Jaguar II. This upgrade also replaces the softkill APS with a simplified version of the Rho Aias hardkill APS used in the Jaguar II. A total of 28,390 tanks were produced from 2001 until production of the Rhinoceros ended in 2013.
- MBT-74DM TOM (Total Overhaul Modification): MBT-74AM1 and AM2s upgraded to MBT-74DM standards at the factory. These tanks constituted half the MBT-74DM fleet at peak, but have been prioritized for retirement over new-build MBT-74DMs with fewer service hours.
Variants based on the MBT-74 chassis and powertrain:
- REC-334 Hercules: Armored recovery vehicle designed to assist stricken and damaged tanks. 7,650 produced. All units now retired and replaced by the HET-11 Thoas based on the HTA-02 Jaguar II.
- REM-350 (HEC-22) Phoenix: Armored combat earthmover designed to break through or establish earthworks and field fortifications. 1,950 produced with 1,105 still in service.
Tanks of comparable role, type, and era
|Average unit cost||NSD$8.5 million (FY2011)||Manufacturer|| Danel Group Armored Solutions|
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries
|Production to date||
105,900 (all models)
|Crew||3 (commander, driver, gunner)|
|Combat weight||58.90 tonnes||Height over hull||2.80 m (9.19 ft)|
|Hull length||7.18 m (23.6 ft)||Length with gun forward||11.52 m (37.80 ft)|
|Width over skirts||4.0 m (13 ft)||Ground clearance||Variable (0.1-0.6 m (0.3-2.0 ft))|
|Fire height||1.83 m (6.0 ft)||Ground pressure||1.032 kg/cm2|
|Type||Feed||Ammunition||Traverse||Elevation||Maximum effective range|
|120 mm L/54 T-17S smoothbore gun||CR-115M bustle autoloader|| 42 rounds
|360° (40°/sec)||+20° to -10°||18,000 m w/guided munitions|
|CRA-336 7 mm PCTA chain gun, coaxial||200-round ammunition box, dual feed||6,000 rounds||360°||+24° to -8°||2,500 m|
|CRA-334 15.5 mm PCTA electrically-operated revolver cannon in FRC-354 remote weapon station||200-round ammunition box, dual feed||1,600 rounds||360°||+50° to -20°||2,500 m|
|Gunner’s sighting system||Commander’s surveillance system|
|3D Gyrostabilized panoramic SuperSight II-R FLIR, CO2 laser rangefinder, electro-optical rangefinder||Independent 3D Gyrostabilized panoramic SuperSight II-R FLIR, CO2 laser rangefinder and designator|
|Driver’s primary viewing system||Battlefield management system|
|Elecro-optical/IR closed-circuit cameras, Day/Night vision blocks||ECR-571 multiband/multimode VHF/UHF communications suite, GPS/INS and electronic compass, EPU-592 centralized combat management system|
|Armor & Protection|
|Assembly||Structural armor||Spall liner|
|Gas tungsten arc welding||Dual-hardness steel||Polyethylene spall liner w/boron filler|
|Passive armor array||Steel/aluminum/rubber spaced armor, silicon carbide tiles, and UO2-100 strike plate|
|Floor protection||Boron carbide tiles, steel spaced armor, internal V-hull|
|Add-on armor||Oarai-type explosive reactive armor, optional cage armor|
|CBRN protection||Sealed hull w/overpressure system, HEPA and centrifuge filtered, boron radiation shield|
|Fire suppression||Active protection system||Concealment|
|Automatic Halon1301 fire extinguisher system||Radar/IR multi-tier Rho Aias APS w/two-tier hardkill defense and two-tier softkill defense||2 x 6 tube (2 grenades per launcher) grenade dispensers, engine smoke generator|
|Estimated front thickness||Estimated side thickness||Estimated rear thickness|
| 125 mm APFSDS, 140 mm HEAT (turret)
105 mm APFSDS, 140 mm HEAT (hull)
| 57 mm APFSDS, 105 mm HEAT (turret)
57 mm APFSDS, 105 mm HEAT (hull)
| 40 mm APFSDS, 80 mm HEAT (turret)|
40 mm APFSDS, 80 mm HEAT (hull)
|Powerpack||Danel Group RE-1200T V-12 turbocharged multi-fuel diesel engine|
|Output|| 1,200 kW (1,610 hp)
20.37 kW/tonne (27.3 hp/tonne)
|Fuel capacity|| 1,400 l (370 US gal)
360 l (95 US gal) in external drop tanks
|Transmission||Elissa-Arishat HS-22A-19 hydrostatic transmission|
|Steering||Double-differential hydrostatic, T-bar control|
|Brake system||Ceramic composite disc brakes|
|Type||Road wheels||Return rollers/idlers|
|Two-cylinder single-piston in-arm active hydropneumatic|| 6 660 mm (26 in) independently-sprung dual track wheels
AM-390 rubber-tired steel-lined aluminum
|Front idler/rear sprocket, three return rollers|
|Drive sprockets||Idlers||Shock absorbers|
|11-tooth rear drive||Dual compensating front idlers||On wheels 1, 2, and 6|
|Type||Center guide, dual-pin, double-block rubber-padded|
|Width||Shoes per track||Ground contact length|
|635 mm (25 in)||78||4.5 m (15 ft)|
|Maximum level road speed||72 km/h (45 mph)||Gradient||60%||Maximum vertical obstacle||1.25 m (4.10 ft)|
|Maximum off road speed||54 km/h (34 mph)||Side slope||30%||Maximum fording depth|| 1.6 m (5.2 ft) unprepared |
6 m (20 ft) with snorkel
|Average cross country speed||40-50 km/h (25-31 mph)||Minimum turning diameter||Pivot||Maximum trench-crossing distance||270 cm (106 in)|
|Operational range||775 km (480 mi) fuel + 200 km (120 mi) w/external tanks|