British Tank Improves Mobility
Vickers, the British tank maker, is developing a new lightweight tank, which may be code-named Tracker. The all-electric vehicle will be powered by a fuel cell; each wheel will have its own motor. The conventional gun will be replaced by an electric rail gun (with twice the muzzle velocity of a conventional gun), a type periodically considered by the U.S. Navy (such a gun is reportedly being tested in Scotland). Some of the weight saved by the lighter electric gun might translate into an anti-helicopter defensive system.
The gun would be used mainly against other tanks; Vickers is proposing an accompanying robot vehicle to fire missiles armed with high explosives. The designers hope that careful design, the use of new compound (largely non-metallic) armor, and a crew of two will cut weight to about 15 tons without sacrificing much of the capability of conventional tanks weighing four or more times as much.