Index Home About Blog
Newsgroups: sci.military.moderated
From: Paul F Austin <>
Subject: Re: Tank engines
Date: Fri, 13 Feb 1998 18:39:46 GMT

P Arundel wrote:
> I see that the latest Russian tank , the T90 is powered by a V12 piston
> engine and not a gas turbine like the preceeding T80. Does this suggest
> that (as far as the Russians are concerned,) the gas turbines
> disadvantages outweigh its advantages? Does the need to carry more fuel
> offset the lighter weight of the power plant? Will the next generation
> U.S. tank be powered by a turbine or a diesel?

Most European tank engine manufacturer have concentrated on diesel
engines exclusively. In the US, there's a competition between turbine
and diesel engines.

In terms of power density (horsepower per cubic foot of installation),
it's about a wash between modern turbocharged diesels and gas turbines
for MBTs. Power density is a critical parameter because of the weight of
armor wrapped around the volume the engine, radiator, air filters et
cetera require. Power to weight ratio is less important than power
density because the weight of the engine itself is a small part of a
MBTs total weight.

Turbine engines (at least the one in the M-1s) seem to have better Mean
Time Between Overhauls than the diesels and the diesels have better fuel
consumption, particularly at low power levels.

Turbine engines are improving in the fuel consumption area and diesels
are improving in the power density area. It's a constant competition.
Right now, the US Army is staying with turbine power for the next
generation tank but is funding a competitive diesel engine development
as well. Since the "next generation tank" probably won't apear for 20
years, it's not real urgent.
Eat a live toad, first thing in the morning
and nothing worse will happen to you all day
Paul Austin

Index Home About Blog