DARPA's Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GSV-T) program is an effort to revolutionize tank design. To that end, the advanced concepts research wing is considering designs that focus less on armor and more on mobility and speed. This wild concept video should give you a good idea of what the U.S. military is striving to achieve.
A key goal of the GXV-T program is improving the survivability of ground-based armored fighting vehicles by increasing vehicle agility.
"Vehicle agility involves the ability to autonomously avoid incoming threats, either by rapidly moving out of the way or reconfiguring the vehicle so incoming threats have a low probability of hitting and penetrating—all without injuring the occupants in the process," notes DARPA at its YoutTube page.
The new DARPA video shows three different solutions: the active repositioning of armor, burst acceleration, and suspensions that would enable the vehicle to dodge incoming projectiles.
More from DARPA's official GXV-T page:
For the past 100 years of mechanized warfare, protection for ground-based armored fighting vehicles and their occupants has boiled down almost exclusively to a simple equation: More armor equals more protection. Weapons' ability to penetrate armor, however, has advanced faster than armor's ability to withstand penetration. As a result, achieving even incremental improvements in crew survivability has required significant increases in vehicle mass and cost.
The trend of increasingly heavy, less mobile and more expensive combat platforms has limited Soldiers' and Marines' ability to rapidly deploy and maneuver in theater and accomplish their missions in varied and evolving threat environments. Moreover, larger vehicles are limited to roads, require more logistical support and are more expensive to design, develop, field and replace. The U.S. military is now at a point where—considering tactical mobility, strategic mobility, survivability and cost—innovative and disruptive solutions are necessary to ensure the operational viability of the next generation of armored fighting vehicles.
DARPA has created the Ground X-Vehicle Technology (GXV-T) program to help overcome these challenges and disrupt the current trends in mechanized warfare. GXV-T seeks to investigate revolutionary ground-vehicle technologies that would simultaneously improve the mobility and survivability of vehicles through means other than adding more armor, including avoiding detection, engagement and hits by adversaries. This improved mobility and warfighting capability would enable future U.S. ground forces to more efficiently and cost-effectively tackle varied and unpredictable combat situations.
The ultimate goal is to create tanks that are half the weight and twice as fast. To make it happen, the agency is planning to award contracts to companies and researchers over the coming months.