Panzer-4

From Atlas
Panzer-4 Dragoner (Dragoon)

PZ-4a on display before parade
Type Main Battle Tank
Place of origin  Vazandia
Service history
Used by see users
Production history
Designed 1998 - 2011
Manufacturer Kaiserliche Waffenkammer
Unit cost $8.9 million (Panzer-4a)
Produced 2012
Variants See Variants
Specifications (Main Battle Tank)
Weight 55 tonnes
Length 10.8 m
Width 3.6 m
Height 2.4 m
Crew 3

Armor Trapp Militärtechnik AG M2010 Verbundpanzerung-K and Lautzenhausen Stahlindustrie GmbH KS19 Steel
ERA and NERA modular armor kits, plus soft and hard-kill anti-missile systems
Main
armament
Trapp Militärtechnik AG PG9-120 smoothbore gun (40 rounds)
Secondary
armament
1 × 12.5x102mm SMG-2/Pa (RWS-compatible)
1x 7.95x55mm MG-5/Pa GPMG (Coaxial)
1x 40x55mm GW-85/Pc AGL (Coaxial)
Engine 12-cylinder water-cooled diesel
(Weight – 2550 kg) 1,500 hp (1,110 kW)
Payload capacity x40 main gun rounds
x300 12.5mm
x800 7.95mm
x80 40mm
Suspension Hydropneumatic in-arm suspension unit
Operational
range
450 km
Speed Paved road: 70 km/h (43 mph)
Cross country: 50 km/h (31 mph)
Acceleration from 0–32 km/h (0–20 mph) in 7 seconds

The Panzer-4 Dragoon (Vazandisch: Panzer-4 Dragoner) is a next-generation main battle tank developed for the Imperial Republican Army by Kaiserliche Waffenkammer in conjunction Trapp Militärtechnik AG, Lautzenhausen Stahlindustrie GmbH, and Pommernschloss AG. Developed as a replacement for the Panzer-2, the Panzer-4 saw the longest development time of a Vazandian tank at 13 years. Combat effectiveness of the PZ-4 is believed to be significantly greater than that of the PZ-2, and easily on-par with or surpassing many contemporary designs as well.

Mass production began in 2012 and continues until today, with all PZ-2s to be replaced in frontline service by 2023, and replaced in reserve service by 2029.

Development[edit]

With the rapid development of competing VSO and VP tanks believed to be outclassing the controversial Panzer-2, the General Staff submitted a request for proposals to numerous defense contractors in 1995. In 1997, a full doctrinal review and defense analysis exercise had identified key features that a tank would require for a modern conventional fight against the Vastava Pact. Weaknesses were identified in the PZ-2 and in general Vazandian armored doctrine that could be rectified with a new design that catered to the terrain of Vazandia, hardened and digitized various internal systems, took advantage of new advances in IR and thermal optics, and that made use of a modern autoloader to increase the fire rate of the main gun. By 1998, the General Staff's request for proposal had yielded nothing that offered solutions to the issues identified by 1997's doctrinal review, and state-run Kaiserliche Waffenkammer stepped in to lead a team of private entities in a new, ground-up design.

In early 1998, KW had selected Trapp Militärtechnik and Pommernschloss to cooperate on the new design and Lautzenhausen Stahlindustrie was later contracted for use of their KS19 steel and to assist Trapp with development of the classified Verbundpanzerung-K composite armor. The project was dubbed PZX2000

Pommernschloss led development of the gunner's and vehicle commander's individual gun sights (including their integrated IR and thermal sights), as well as the integrated communication, IFF, data-link, GPS, and navigation systems. Most internal electronical systems were based on the general IWM (Integrated Resilient Military Systems) architecture in use by all Vazandian Armed Forces, though in 2010 this was brought up to date to make use of the IWM-VF (Integrated Resilient Military Systems - Capability Enhanced) for the production model.

Trapp, who'd submitted two different designs to the original program in 1995, combined a number of lessons learned on that project for their work on PZX2000. Working on the armament, engine, chassis, fire control system, suspension, transmission, composite armor, and turret, Trapp has the lion's share of the development credit.

Initially, a prototype gun, the PG8-120SV, was fitted to the early experimental PZX models; the PG8-120SV was originally intended for the PZ-2, then the rejected proposals for the 1995 project. After several years of trialing, the PG8-120SV was replaced by the final PG9-120. The new gun system is integrated with a high-end fire control system that supports programmable munitions, works with the tank's autoloader, and links with the vehicle commander's gun sight to allow dual-gunning for faster target engagement. In addition, the PZX program developed numerous new munitions for use with the new PG9 gun, including advanced depleted uranium APFDS rounds designed to defeat modern VP ERA, anti-personnel canister rounds with programmable delayed detonations, and a new multi-purpose munition featuring impact point detonation, delayed detonation, and airburst modes, all programmed through the FCS's data link. An Extremely High Frequency Radar allows the tank to lock on to targets out to almost 10km with the help of an IR camera, allowing greater accuracy against distant targets and preventing redundant engagement by other friendly vehicles with the IWM-VF data link.

Both the early suspension and transmission were highly problematic for the PZX until a Kaiserliche Waffenkammer engineering "strike team" tackled the issue in late 2006. The resulting design changes drastically increased performance and reliability, resulting in the PZ-4's unique In-arm Suspension Unit (IAA). The IAA allows the tank to lean from side to side or corner, sit lower, stand taller, or lower the front or rear by controlling each individual bogie on the tracks. Sitting results in better road performance and a lower profile, while standing offers better off-road handling by increasing ground clearance. Leaning forward or rearward modifies the gun's depression and elevation. On the fly bogie manipulation also reduces chassis vibration significantly, offering greater accuracy for the main gun and reducing wear on parts. A dynamic track tensioning system maintains the most optimum track tensioning while in use and drastically reduces the chance of throwing track.

Verbundpanzerung-K, the highly-classified composite armor system developed by Trapp with assistance from the material science department of Lautzenhausen Stahlindustrie, remains one of the defensive highlights of the tank, even with its capabilities kept tightly under wraps. In combination with the modular and optional NERA and ERA designed specifically for the PZX, Verbundpanzerung-K is considered to be a top-tier armor system capable of facing down the most deadly of VP and former-VSO anti-tank weaponry.

For the engine, a compact 12-cylinder water-cooled diesel engine was selected, then combined with a smaller, secondary gas-turbine engine. While the diesel engine operates as the primary powerplant for the tank, the gas-turbine is capable of powering auxiliary systems such as the turret, electronics, batteries, and defensive countermeasures within the tank without the noise, fuel consumption, maintenance cost, and thermal output of the primary engine.

Kaiserliche Waffenkammer brought forth a number of experimental systems for the PAX, several of which remain classified. One such system is the AS-2 APS- a multi-faceted active protection system featuring explosive counter-projectiles, electronic jamming countermeasures, integration with the FCS's Extremely High Frequency Radar, and a laser dazzler. The AS-2 also includes laser warning receivers and radar warning receivers along with directional VIRSS grenade deployment.

Variants[edit]

  • PZX2000 Modell I – Earliest full-prototype, shown in 2003. Numerous systems were legacy systems brought forward from the PZ-2.
    • PZX2000 Modell II – Prototype featuring redesigned transmission and suspension demonstrated in 2008
      • PZX2000 MII.a – Nearly the same as a Modell II, though featuring the final PG8-120SV gun before the transition to the PG9 occurred.
  • PZX2010 – Final demonstration tank, featuring the PG9-120, Kaiserliche Waffenkammer-developed AS-2 APS, and Verbundpanzerung-K composite armor. Tested in 2011 and accepted into service in 2012.
  • PZ-4a "Dragoon" - First service model that began serial production in late 2012. Identical to PZX2010.
    • PZ-4aZ "Ispolin" - Ziridavan production model featuring export-legal FCS, optics, and digital systems as well as a localized, non-classified variant of IWM-VF. AS-2 was not included.
    • PZ-4b – Improved variant of the PZ-4a that was accepted into production in early 2021. The "b" model includes numerous software updates, an improved multi-faceted APS (Kaiserliche Waffenkammer AS-3), strengthened track pins, and more sensitive meteorological sensors developed by Pommernschloss. Retrofitting of PZ-4a underway, as well as new-production.
  • PZ-4 2025 – Upgrade package under development with an entirely new suite of next-generation IR and thermal optics, long-range color cameras, high-resolution terrain scanning system, and redesigned frontal turret armor based off PZ-4aZ.
    • PZ-4 2030 - Same as 2025 model, but with an experimental 130mm electrothermal-chemical gun.

Operators[edit]

Current operators[edit]

See also[edit]

Tanks of comparable role, performance and era[edit]