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James Warford's T-80 Follies

This article was originally titled "T-80: The Soviet Solution, The Tank's Missile System is Aimed at NATO's ATGM Vehicles, Not Tanks", and was written by everybody's favorite compulsive liar, James M. Warford. It was first published in the January-February 1987 issue of Armor Magazine. You may remember the name from before --- he's the guy who has an unhealthy fixation of the failed T-64, and he coined the bogus term "Premium Tank" (that no other writers have taken seriously, as demonstrated by the fact that only Warford uses the term). You may also remember him as the guy who uses dozens of "Phantom
Sources" (a Suppressed Evidence Fallacy, along the lines of Senator Joseph McCarthy claiming to have a list of X number of Communists in the State Department --- which was later discovered to be a LIE).


This time he's out trying to convince the armor community that the T-80 and it's gun-launched AT-8 Songster missile are some sort of Soviet conspiracy to eradicate Western ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile) vehicles, and that the AT-8 is "not really supposed to be" an anti-tank missile.

I'm not kidding you, he ACTUALLY SAYS THIS.
 
That "Captain" James Warford became a Major at some point after writing this trash (let alone wasn't booted out of the Army altogether) speaks volumes of the hypocrisy, ineptitude, and corruption that govern the US military's promotion system --- but I digress.

Underneath the line below, you will see what he wrote, some especially eyebrow-raising comments that are underlined, and my response to them in [brackets and bold text].

DISCLAIMER: The "Fair Use Doctrine", in Section 107 of the US Copyright Code, gives me the right to duplicate the original work for non-profit educational purposes. I am aware that I do not have the right to use this intellectual property for profit, and I have no intention to, nor does any other party have my permission to do so.

----------------------------------------------------------------------------

The first battles had been fought four days ago. Now, on the 8th of July, Team Alfa is set up in defensive positions on BP Eagle, overlooking Engagement Area One. Captain Wilson was pleased with his battle position and his team's sectors of fire. He felt lucky that BP Eagle was one of the few in TF2-10 AR's area that provided long and clear shots into one of the designated kill zones. Captain Wilson had just called his platoon leaders to go over the plan for tomorrow's attack, ["TOMORROW'S attack"? What the HELL?! Attacking "tomorrow" is World War 2 stuff --- today's military forces attack in the next hour, if not earlier (and that includes the ENEMY, as well). It just goes to show that one doesn't get to be a Major-or-higher rank in the US Army by understanding the pace of warfare in their era] when he heard a loud explosion. The call on the radio confirmed that one of his attached M901 ITVs had been hit and destroyed. [In real life this would still happen, and they would still be shocked and utterly dumbfounded by it, but it wouldn't be because of some Super-Secret-Squirrel weapon system --- it would be because the US Army is ignorant of the threat that fixed-win Airpower represents... and thus learns the hard way, via SU-24 Fencers and Su-25 Frogfoots, how 300 F-111 Ravens and A-10 Thunderbolt IIs were able to destroy over 1500 Iraqi tanks in less than 5 days during Desert Storm]  Suddenly, there were two more explosions and two destroyed M2 Bradleys. The Bradleys had pulled out of their hide positions to try to find out what had killed the ITV. [That was an INCREDIBLY stupid thing to do (ever hear of "divide and conquer"?), not that one could seriously expect a Banty Rooster Major to comprehend Clauswicz's "Mass" paradigm of modern warfare] The team's two tank platoon leaders called in spot reports that identified enemy tanks approaching rapidly from the east. As the number of enemy vehicles increased and closed to within range, the M1 tanks opened fire. The team's remaining ITVs and Bradleys had already started firing into EA One, but with limited success. As Captain Wilson realized that some of the enemy tanks were opening fire from beyond their
normal maximum effective range
,
[How would a US Army TC *not know* what the effective range of a Soviet tank is?]  he got the last spot report from his mech platoon leader: the third Bradley had been lost. For some reason, it appeared that the long-range fire of the enemy tanks was being concentrated on Team Alfa's Bradleys and ITVs...

[Let's stop for a moment and analyze that. The Bradleys and ITVs were apparently
attacked from outside Line-Of-Sight --- a feat impossible with the AT-8 Songster ATGM implied to gave been used. Also, nobody seems to have detected the radio noise associated with a Radio-Command-Guided Missile. Furthermore, the enemy could only have achieved surprise like this in hilly or heavily-forested terrain, where Radio-Command-Guided Missiles are rendered useless due to all the radio wave echoes that such terrain causes. Assuming these ARE ATGMs, who's to say that Tank Destroyers or IFVs aren't maneuvering alongside the T-80s? Lastly (and this is the best part), the scenario seems to assume the T-80s are hitting Bradleys and ITVs well behind the M1s from beyond the 4km range of the
M1's 120mm gun --- that would make the AT-8's range AT LEAST 10km (the official Soviet public figure being 6km), despite this range being impossible for a missile in the AT-8's size category with mature 1980's-era rocket motor technology
]

 
The Soviet Army's preoccupation with NATO's antitank guided missile (ATGM) development and deployment is well-known and well founded. This is not only because of a long-standing interest in modern antitank weapons - an interest the Soviets have had since the 1940s [They were interested in them for a LOT longer than that, having been assailed by tanks in the White Revolution, when several Western armies (including the US Army) invaded and attempted to overthrow the Communist government. Warford also seems to have failed to notice that the Soviet Union had over 8000 tanks in service by 1935 (any army with 8000 tanks today would have the 3rd most-powerful tank force in the world, just behind China and Russia) --- this is relevant because tanks and anti-tank
weapons go hand-in-hand
] - but more specifically, they have closely watched the increasing capabilities of high explosive antitank (HEAT), or hollow-charge, warheads. These HEAT warheads, attached to a missile or rocket, could destroy almost any tank. While this technology was developed during WW II, it did not come into its own until much later. [Actually, it came into it's own *during* World War 2 (M1A1 Bazooka, Panzerfaust, RPG-2, etc.), and was developed BEFORE World War 2. The M9 Shaped Charge warhead on the M1A1 Bazooka's rockets, for example, was developed in the mid-1930s] The Soviets have been partially successful in dealing with this threat, but their
concern over HEAT-armed weapons remains a priority.
[That's not much of a surprise, given that while the only KE (Kinetic Energy) threat to tanks is cannon-fire from other tanks, while CE (Chemical Energy) Shaped Charges powerful enough to kill MBTs are found in RPGs, ATGMs, recoilless rifle rounds, rockets, aerial bombs, landmines, projectors, hand grenades, cluster bomb submunitions, and so on. One wonders what the US military was thinking, not fielding any ERA for the Abrams tank or Bradley IFV during the Cold War, despite the Blazer ERA System already being used successfully on the US military's own M60 Pattons --- talk about "fleeing" TOWARDS the danger!]

It was this concern, combined with their development of the Operational Maneuver Group (OMG) concept, that caused the Soviets to develop and field tailor-made weapons systems. In the area of tank development, they specifically needed to field a system capable of performing as the cutting edge of the OMG tactical concept. With the T-80, this requirement has apparently been satisfied.


Background

Before the capabilities and characteristics of the T-80 main battle tank can be discussed, the tank's evolution and relationship to its predecessors should be examined.
Ever since the fielding of the T-34/85 medium tank in 1944, Soviet tank designs have been a series of successive steps on the same ladder. [Forgetting something, Warford? You know, like the fact that the T-34/85 is an up-gunned T-34 --- which was introduced in 1940!] The first tank in this series - a tank used in combat in some countries as late as the 1970s - started an evolutionary design process that created several other new tank designs and established a consistent theory for Soviet design bureaus. This pattern was unbroken from 1944 until the mid-60s. [It was NEVER broken. Every MBT the Soviet Union ever fielded was a T-34 descendant]

All of the tanks fielded during this period, with the exception of the T-44,
were produced in large numbers and went through a constant series of changes
and modifications. The base models, and their years of introduction, are listed
here:
T-34/85.......................1944
T-44..........................1945
T-54..........................1949
T-55..........................1958
T-62..........................1961

[Note to the audience; the T-44 was a warmed-over T-34/85 that was a disaster --- only a few thousand were made, and they were never exported. It was soon eclipsed by the T-54, and the subsequent T-55 is a basic product improvement of the T-54 design. The subsequent T-62 was just a T-55 with a new turret and gun, and a new glacis plate... which like the T-44, was a disaster. So, in short, you're looking at only TWO generations of tanks!]

It was not until work started on the T-62 MBT that a problem was encountered. [The problems were numerous, because the Soviets took the basic T-34 formula, and threw everything about it out the window that made it successful --- simplicity, reliability, and good ergonomics] The responsible design bureau had developed a new hull for the new tank, but design problems "prevented it from being ready for the introduction date set for the T-62." [The gun used on the T-62 was one of the worst ever made for an MBT, which is why no other tank has ever used a Smoothbore 115mm gun. This gun was also the raison d'etre of the T-62, and when ammo for Rifled 100mm guns (as on the T-55) that penetrated as much armor were developed in the late 1960s, the justification of the T-62's existence vanished] The result was that a slightly modified T-54/55 hull was used. Work apparently continued on the new hull design while the T-62 was produced and supplied to most Soviet client states. (An interesting point about the development of the T-62 is that very few are used by the non-Soviet Warsaw Pact member countries, and as a result, most of them ended up in the Middle East.)


Was T-70 the T-64 Test Bed?</u>>
[Another note to the readers --- the "T-70" was a Light Tank used in World War 2. There was never a "T-70 Main Battle Tank"]

It did not take the Soviets long to correct the problems in the new hull design, because "prior to the first public appearance of the T-62 in 1965, anew Soviet tank - designated the M1970 or T-70, was identified by Western intelligence sources.'' [Here, Warford cites his own story from the September-October 1985 issue of Armor Magazine, titled, "T-64, IT-122, and IT-130: The Soviet Advantage". It's dubious enough to cite one's own prior work as evidence for a claim, but when it's a claim that flies in the face of experience, precedent, and common sense (e.g., "The Tank's
Missile System Is Aimed at NATO's ATGM Vehicles, Not Tanks
"), it's the editor's responsibility to connect the dots --- lest a prestigious publication for Armor Magazine become an unwitting Spam Zombie for career Yellow Journalists. Also, where are the photos, Soviet documentation, eyewitness accounts, crew testimonies, and museum pieces of these "IT-122" and "IT-122" tanks that said article is all about? That's an easy one to
explain; they NEVER EXISTED --- they were made-up by Western journalists!
] Several
sources also identified another tank, seen prior to the T-70, designated the T-67.

[This sentence had no footnote number attached to it --- always beware of journalists who make shocking insinuations without providing EVIDENCE!] This vehicle, which was used for tests only, "consisted of a T-62 on the T-64 (T-70) chassis." ["T-70? WTF?!", you say? Read on --- you'll understand soon enough...] The tests were apparently unsuccessful and the T-67 disappeared from view. [Maybe that's why there's no tangible evidence that a tank with that designation ever existed?] The T-70, however, was a completely different story. [Namely, it was a Fairy Tale] That tank has clearly been associated with the start of the T-64 MBT program [Newsflash, Warford; T-70 was only a "placeholder" designation that NATO used for the T-64, until they could determine it's actual Soviet designation --- the same thing was done with the T-80, which NATO placeholder-designated the "T-74". That this designation is STILL used in context of being an actual tank name a decade later says a lot about Warford's journalism "skills".] and has appeared in several
unclassified books and periodicals.
[This claim was uncited as well. What would happen if YOU made uncited references to "several" documents in every other paragraph as well, in an article you sent to Newsweek, for example? They'd send it back to you, with a note telling you to cite your sources before they would publish it. You see, unlike the US Government (which the US Army, and by extension, it's Armor Magazine), Newsweek can be sued --- therefore, Newsweek be sued for publishing false information] The limited information that has been released suggests that the T-70 was the prototype of the T-64, [Again, a jaw-dropping insinuation with no citation as evidence --- I'm not holding back a footnote number for this claim, because there was none. It seems Warford does this a lot] and as such, would be the key vehicle in the "detour" that was about to change Soviet tank design theory. [Or, perhaps this "T-70" was ACTUALLY a technology testbed, and therefore not a serious contender for an actual production run?
Therefore, there was no "detour"
]
 
According to various sources, [Another Suppressed Evidence Fallacy. Does Armor Magazine EVER query their authors on uncited references?] the T-70 prototype was produced in very small numbers during the early 1960s. [That would make it an "Ob'yect" vehicle (which is what the Soviets designate every technology testbed, prototype, etc.), not a production MBT --- and therefore, not a vehicle that would ever be designated "T-70"] The tank mounted the T-62's 115-mm main gun, but carried it in a new turret that was mated to the new hull mentioned earlier. [This would indicate that this tank prototype was actually developed  as a possible alternative to the T-62, as no country in their right mind fields two new and different tanks at the same time] There is still some confusion and disagreement concerning the T-70, including a discussion in past pages of ARMOR. [Much the same as teenagers argue over baseball cards. If you don't believe me, go to the website of Armor Magazine (the "Professional's Publication") and read the "letters" sections of their back-issues. By the way, he failed to cite a source as evidence of THIS well --- despite writing this article TO Armor Magazine!] The unresolved question has to do with both the T-70 and the follow-an production model of the tank, which has since become known as the T-64. [Again, "T-70" was nothing more than an interim NATO designation for the
T-64, until they could find out what it was ACTUALLY designated
] The earlier of the two tanks was identified years prior to 1967, the year that several sources claim to be the debut year for the T-64. [There's no citation for THIS "", either --- I can't decide who's more inept; Warford for writing it, Armor Magazine for printing it, or the Armor community for not running Warford out of town] There are other sources, however, that report the start of T-64 production as early as 1964 or 1965. [Dammit Warford, if you aren't going to PRESENT any sources, don't CLAIM any! As for the T-64 entering production before 1967, the official Soviet figure was 1967, the
officially-recognized US Army figure was 1967, NATO recognized 1967, Jane's recognized 1967 as well, and after the Cold War Russia revealed the T-64's effective date of introduction to be --- surprise, surprise --- 1967
] Based on confirmed sightings of the T-70 prototype prior to 1965, the latter is the more likely of the two possibilities. The appearance of the T-70 prior to the T-64 going into production may also explain why the initial intelligence reports of the T-64 mislabeled the tank as a failure. [Wait... what?] The reports concentrated mostly on the tank's automotive performance, [...which was bad all the way to the T-64's VERY bitter end] but also went as far as to say that the automatic loading system sometimes "ate" Soviet tankers, and that "few gunners are excited about the prospect of having their arm fed into
the breech of the cannon ..."
[It's true --- T-64 tankers themselves have attested to this, and so have crews of export-model T-72s that use a similar autoloader. The only person who seems to doubt it is Warford --- who's journalism career, as you can see, is built upon making mountains of molehills, and foretelling the introduction of future hardware that never comes into existence (IT-130, FST-1/2/3, PT-5, etc.). That he still has any credibility says a LOT about the academic honesty of Armor Magazine --- and with it, the rest of US military] More recent information, however, when combined with
the timetable above, indicates that these early assessments were exaggerated and may not have been references to the T-64 at all. The most likely answer is that these well-publicized problems were related to the T-70 prototype, and that the majority of these problems had been solved by the time the T-64 was put into production. What took the Western intelligence community several years to realize has now been confirmed: by detouring from established procedures, the Soviets were able to field a truly innovative tank that had no real counterpart in the West.</span></p>

The T-64, eventually identified as the best or current main battle tank in the Soviet Army, allowed the Soviets to realize what they had wanted from the beginning. They now had a true main battle tank capable of both operating on the modern battlefield against the huge number of NATO ATGMs and - as required - assume the role of the heavy tank. As a result, the coveted but obsolete heavy tanks could be retired from front-line service.
 
The performance capabilities of the T-64 were the key characteristics the Soviets would carry forward into the next Soviet tank (NST). [This must be what the US military called imaginary Bogeyman Soviet tanks in the 1970s --- the "FST" replacement designation was obviously concocted to allay suspicion (in much the same manner as the blockade of Cuba being called "ORSTAC", which is "Castro" spelled backwards --- you know the old truisms about "military intelligence")] The firepower of the T-64 is well known and consists of the Rapira 3 125-mm main gun [As far as I can ascertain, Warford is the only person who seems to think that any Russian tank gun was ever named the "Rapira". The TRUE use of the name "Rapira" is for the 2A29 100mm Towed
Anti-Tank Gun --- NOT a gun actually fitted to any tank!]</span></b>. The capabilities of the standard gun have been widely discussed elsewhere, so more specifics are not required here. But suffice to say that this new gun allowed the Soviets the room they needed to take the firepower of the T-64 a step further with a new capability to be discussed a bit later on.
 
The mobility requirements of the modern battlefield were met by equipping the T-64 with an unconventional engine, a flat 5-cylinder design with horizontally opposed pistons. [As mentioned in earlier rebuttals, this engine was a failure. It's multi-fuel capability was useless, because gasoline and jet fuel are dangerously flammable for an AFV to use, and Soviet tank formations didn't stock the stuff anyway. It was also dangerously-overpowered for a 5-cyilinder engine, and suffered a disproportionately-high frequency of breakdowns and engine fires as a result] This 750-hp engine provides the 38-ton T-64 with a crosscountry speed high enough to accompany the BMP-1 and BMP-2 IFVs. [...implying that this was the objective. This is an example of how Western journalists tend to tend to rationalize Eastern weapons in a
Western philosophy (e.g., the M2 Bradley being designed to keep pace with M1s)
]
It may have been this drastic improvement immobility that sealed the fate of the slow-moving Soviet heavy tanks. [Note how Warford presents Speed (one of numerous individual elements of Mobility) as Mobility itself --- this is the classic US Army Mobility Ethos which, like much of it's other Ethos', is one-dimensional, over-simplistic, ignorant, insular, and institutionalized firmly in place. Warford fails to mention that Soviet Heavy Tanks were also doomed by their low power/weight ration, short range, high weight, and trucky transmissions] It is interesting to note here that one of the features that tie the T-80 to its immediate predecessor, the T-64, is the location of the tank's exhaust system. The T-64 and the T-80 are the only two tanks built since the T-34/85 that emit their engine exhaust from the rear of the engine compartment.
 
Perhaps the most discussed - and to the Soviets, the most important - aspect of the T-64 is the tank's frontal armor protection. The possible configurations and designs of this armor have been the subject of heated discussion for several years. While it is known that the Soviets have been working on composite steel-ceramic laminate armor as long ago as 1940, the exact design that reached the field with the T-64 is difficult to second-guess. [It's just differ rent types of steel, laminated together --- this was already known in the West by the 1980s] Some sources [What sources? Tell us, or don't claim you have them] have chosen to overcome this difficulty by
concluding that the Soviets have not used an advanced armor design at all. One factor that these sources cite is the retention of the cast (apparently) all-steel turret. But as previously discussed in the pages of ARMOR, the employment of a cast turret does not in any way rule out the use of composite armor. It is possible, however, that the Soviets decided not to use advanced armor and simply continued with the cast steel turrets in use since the T-34. This theory, if true, would mean that the Soviets chose to ignore one of their own tank design priorities, the ability to survive hits by modern HEAT-armed
anti-tank weapons. A much more likely theory is that the T-64 employs an effective design of advanced armor for both the glacis plate and the turret front. This composite armor is probably a modem development of the early Soviet (and American) designs primarily intended to defeat the HEAT-armed weapons of their day. Several sources, including International Defense Review, agree that the latter theory is probably correct. According to Soviet Military Power 1986 the latest models of Soviet main battle tanks (to include the T-64) [Latest? A tank whose protection and development began and ended in the late 1960s, with no export customers, and no participation in the following 3 Soviet ground wars? Hardly! Warford seems to have an unhealthy fixation on the T-64 --- far beyond it's strategic, technical, and historic relevance --- doesn't he?] are fitted with "improved armor incorporating laminates and composites." [It doesn't seem to have dawned upon Mr. Warford that the discovery of T-64s having "improved armor incorporating laminates and composites" might mean that this was BACK-FITTED into the T-64 fleet on a more recent date, especially given that Soviet industry lacked the metallurgy skills to mass-produce armor of such composition in the 1960s --- as did the West] Perhaps the best indicator of the defensive capabilities of the T-64's
frontal armor is the massive effort that has been taken by NATO countries to develop new and effective ways to defeat it.
[Again, a blindly T-64-fixated assumption --- this one being a Confusion of Cause and Effect Fallacy. The definition of this fallacy, according to "Attacking Faulty Reasoning, Second edition" (1980, pg. 91), is "...confusing the cause and effect of an event or in failing to recognize that there may be a reciprocal causal relation between the two events in question." See? Making citations in order to validate one's claims isn't so difficult, is it?] The success of this effort is questionable, however, since the newest Western antitank weapons are being designed specifically for top attack, thus avoiding the frontal armor of the tank altogether. A final word about the armor protection of the T-64 concerns the Soviet use of reactive armor. Intelligence sources [Which, I'm sure, must be "Classified", as they are not cited... Not that extenuating circumstances are EVER an excuse for an
absence of proof
] have confirmed that T-64s are being fitted with add-on reactive armor plates, an armor that appears similar to the Israeli Blazer reactive armor used successfully in Lebanon in 1982. "If the Soviets are fitting reactive armor to tanks already fitted with laminate armor, then they could well have complete protection against most of the antitank guided weapons on which NATO relies so heavily for much of its antitank defensive capability."</span></p>

The actual T-80 design proved to be more conventional than an artist's M1-like sketch[Yet, incredibly, very similar mistakes to those made in this cautionary tale are made by the article that features it!]


Identification Problems Develop

When Western intelligence sources were suddenly faced with two new Soviet tanks, upon the appearance of the T-72 in 1977, the problem of correct vehicle designations became a heated issue. The problem continued to be even more of an issue with the appearance of the T-80. The NATO armies had been anticipating a still newer tank after the T-64 came on the scene. [It just goes to show how deaf, dumb, and blind Western intelligence had to be, to somehow fail to notice a tank that had been in service for TEN YEARS (the T-64), just after learning of it's replacement in the following year (the T-72, in 1977), and yet somehow also fail to notice the STOP-GAP T-72's replacement enter service in
the year prior (the T-80, in 1976). Honestly, those "intelligence" analysts must have been asleep
] Defense sources began to talk about the next Soviet Tank (NST), called the T-80, in the mid-'70s. [No citation is provided to substantiate these "sources"... as usual. Also note that Warford implies that the West know the T-80's true designation, which is historically inaccurate] According to one source, a tank called the T-80
was undergoing troop trials in 1977. Information about this tank became available and NATO anxiously awaited the release of a picture of the new tank. In 1977, the T-72 was shown on parade and was subsequently exported, so the T-72 was clearly not the T-80. Speculation on this elusive tank continued, speculation made more complex by a new flow of information pointing to a Soviet tank with a large, boxlike turret. [Note that no citation is made as to the source of this info --- a mistake obviously also made by whomever perpetuated the rumor in question] This data seemed to indicate that the
new tank would incorporate some form of Chobham armor in its turret. Soviet Military Power published an artist's impression of this tank, an M1 Abrams lookalike, in 1981, but some sources decided - based on recently released information - that the Abrams-like tank never really existed. This judgment may well prove to be incorrect, but only time will tell. [This may be just one sentence, but it's also an amalgam of gleaming logical fallacies. First, the sketch was done by a Western artist, invoking Western tank design
philosophies, an applying them to an Eastern tank. Second, the notion that this failed attempt to divine the appearance of the T-80 "...may well prove to be incorrect, but only time will tell", is a plainly-obvious Wishful Thinking Fallacy (the sketch itself, as you've seen, was itself Wishful Thinking) as well as a Contrary-to-Fact Hypothesis Fallacy (the fact is, the real-life T-80 doesn't look like an M1 Abrams), and an Argument From Ignorance Fallacy
]

The T-80 designation problem continued with the publication of the next two
editions of Soviet Military Power, in 1983 and 1984. The square-turreted
vehicle was gone. The tank labeled earlier as the T-80 was now shown as a
modified T-72, called the T-72M1 by the Soviets.
[Right designation (by
chance), wrong vehicle
] In spite of the appearance of the T-72M1, the
designation of T-80 was still being heard. The confusion was finally put to
rest with the publication of Soviet Military Power, 1986 and the release
of a few actual photographs of the long awaited T-80. The tank is very real.</span></p>

 



 



Family Resemblances



 



 
As mentioned above, the direct predecessor of the T-80 was the T-64. If the few
pictures that have been released are examined, the relationship between the two
tanks is clearly more than coincidence. In fact, the only recognition features
of the T-80 that are not on the T-64 are the T-80's T-72-style, rubber-rimmed
roadwheels and the right-hand-side mounting of the primary IR searchlight on
the turret
. [The T-80 has Passive Thermal Sights --- it NEVER USED an
"IR searchlight"
] Beyond these two exceptions, the family
resemblance is so strong that some sources have described the T-80 as a
"modernized version of the T-64 tank."11   As is true with any Soviet weapon
system, detailed information concerning the T-80 is very scarce. In spite of this,
using some of the details recently made available, an assessment of the tank
can still be made. The firepower of the T-80 is probably the single most
discussed characteristic of the tank.
[God only knows why --- it's
weapons are virtually identical to those of the T-64 and T-72
] Based on
unclassified information from several sources, the main armament carried by the
T-80 has been confirmed to be a combination gun/missile launcher designed from
the standard 2A46 Rapira 3 125-mm cannon
[Here he goes again, attributing the name of a
Towed 100mm Rifled Anti-Tank Gun to a 125mm Smoothbore Tank Gun. Then again,
perhaps the Soviet Union, Jane's, and the CIA were all wrong, and only James
Warford was right? Yes, that MUST be it!]
. This is not only the most
controversial feature of the tank, but also the most criticized, [What
criticism? And who's criticizing it?
] in light of the various
unsuccessful American attempts at the same type of
tank armament
[As expected, Warford got
it ASS-BACKWARDS --- the MGM-51 Shillelagh missile was designed first, then the
guns that could fire it were designed around it. The first ACTUAL attempt at
integrating a gun-launched ATGM into an EXISTING tank gun was the
"Swifty" missile, which wasn't selected for production, but very much
unlike the Shillelagh, it was an engineering success
]. These
American missile-firing tank programs, begun in 1961, included five vehicle
designs and resulted in one vehicle being fielded in 1974. The most interesting
of the designs that were not fielded were the MBT70/KPZ70 and the XM803,
test bed tanks
[The XM803 was NOT a "test bed tank" --- it was
a last gasp attempt at a production tank based on the MBT70, and it was
SIGNIFICANTLY watered-down, technologically, from the MBT70
] that
incorporated several new technologies. The most important innovation was the
152-mm cannon/missile launcher, which differed from the short-barrelled
gun/launcher on the fielded M60A2
["Differed from"? For REAL?!
The guns on the MBT70 and the M20A2 had the same 152mm bore, and fired the same
ammunition!
]; the gun/launcher on the MBT70 and XM803 was capable of firing
a high-velocity 152-mm APFSDS-T round in addition to the HEAT-armed Shillelagh
missile. This may have led the Soviets to develop a similar dual-capability
main gun.
[DEAD WRONG --- the Soviets built the 125mm weapon as a pure
tank gun, and later designed a smaller gun-launched ATGM (the AT-8 Songster)
into it. This is the *opposite* of what the US attempted to do, with the Shillelagh
Missile developed first, and a HUGE 152mm gun later designed around it
]



 



 



How the AT-8 Kobra Fits In



 



 
The wisdom - or lack of it - concerning this choice of main armament has been
heavily criticized by Western defense sources [WHICH sources?]
who contend that the days of the guided missile launcher are past. [All
you ever read in military publications from the 1970s onward is missiles,
missiles, missiles. Who the hell does Warford think he's fooling?
] The
reason for this, cited by these sources [Name them damnit, or stop
saying there ARE sources!
], is the advent of Chobham-type and
reactive armors which can negate the missile's shaped charge warhead. These
sources
[Again, no sources. I guess Mr. Warford is just too damned good
to be held accountable for anything he claims
] go on to say that this
limitation has already been noted by the Soviets and points to the fact that
the Soviets have already begun to add top armor to the T72M1
[They
didn't add ANY armor to the roof --- what they added was the Arena Active
Protection System, which eliminated the threat of top-attack ATGMs altogether.
So much for Warford's "top-attack ATGMs are the wave of the future"
stance
] in realization that a newer era of top-attack weapons has
begun. Finally, the small diameter of the HEAT warhead that such a missile
would carry (because it must be fired through the 125-mm gun tube) would have
little or no effect on the advanced frontal armor of NATO's newest MBTs
. [Wow,
conceited in your own technology, much? If this limitation were real, NATO
wouldn't have bothered to field HEAT rounds for the SMALLER 120mm bore that the
Leopard 2 and M1A1 Abrams used
] According to one source, "The combination
of gun/missile-capable main armament would present more drawbacks than assets,
even if the ammunition fired were of an advanced type and using laser guidance
to achieve superior effect."12



 
While it is true that the unclassified press has published several pictures of
the T72M1 fitted with "non-metallic" add-on armor bolted to the turret and hull
(above the driver's position), and the West is developing a new series of
top-attack weapons, there is no reason to
associate these developments with the 125-mm gun/missile launcher
. [Time for a reality check. Top-attack ATGMs were first
proposed in the 1970s, and the first production top-attack missile (the Bofors
BILL) began it's development in 1979 --- YEARS before the Russians started
adding this new armor. Cause = Effect. Or perhaps you're gullible enough to
believe that the Soviets for some reason wouldn't develop and field a countermeasure
to a new trend in anti-tank weapons?
] The sources mentioned above
have failed to bring out the most likely reason the Soviets have opted for such
a combined system. The AT-8 "Kobra" antitank missile fired by the T-80 is not
intended to kill modern NATO tanks from the front.
[Then why is it that
the AT-8 was given a more powerful Shaped Charge warhead than even the 125mm
HEAT rounds first used by the T-80? And why does it have a range that just so
happens to exceed Western tank guns by almost 50%? These facts were KNOWN in
the West before Warford even wrote this
] It is, more likely, designed
and employed to destroy the numerous ATGM delivery vehicles deployed by NATO
.
[OK, let's assume for a moment that this was the intention --- how would one
go about maneuvering MBTs to outflank and attack ATGM Carriers? What sort of
changes in Soviet Tactics and Doctrine would this entail? How would the Soviet
Center of Gravity be affected by relegating it's 125mm gun tanks to a
"counter-ATGM" role? And how would the REST of the Red Army cope with
the considerable *hole in thier ranks* that shifting-away thier best tanks
would create? The scenario Warford portrays is tactically and spatially
impossible! He seems to believe that Soviet tanks fight in a vacuum, that they
will simply do as they please without recourse to the other Soviet forces
fighting the same foe
] While there is a secondary capability to engage
tanks like the M1 Abrams and the Leopard II from the flank or rear
, [You've
GOT to love that notion, that tank-busting is somehow a "secondary"
capability for a gun-launched ATGM with a Shaped Charge Warhead. Also quite
revealing is that this would indicate that the Soviets are assumed not to think
NATO's newest tanks are all that powerful --- which contradicts Warford's
previous assertion that the AT-8 is "not intended to kill modern NATO
tanks from the front
", because it "would have little or no
effect on the advanced frontal armor of NATO's newest MBTs
"
] the
missile's primary targets are the M2 IFV, the M901 ITV, and the Jaguar I and
II. These targets are not only much more within the destructive capabilities
of a 125-mm HEAT-armed missile
[They're also vulnerable to missiles with
more prosaic HE warheads --- yet, a warhead type that experience shows to be
extremely effective against very thick armor (Shaped Charge or HEAT warheads,
as opposed to "Vanilla" HE) are used instead
], but are also of
the utmost concern to the Soviets.
[Indeed, that's why they made Su-25
Frogfoot Attackers and Mi-24 Hind Attack Helicopters --- given that these were
really also scary to US tank crews in the 1980s, I guess they're for attacking
ATGM Carriers (and not tanks), just like the AT-8
] The elimination of
vehicles like the ITV and Jaguar from a distance beyond the maximum effective
range of concurrently deployed NATO tanks, may be just the capability the
Soviets have been waiting for.



 
Two final points about the AT-8 "Kobra" concern the missile's guidance system
and the T-64. Several sources have linked the T-80 with a laser-guided missile.
The missile guidance system is reportedly housed in an armored box or cover on
the right side of the turret, in front of the commander's cupola. One source
went so far as to suggest that the T-80 could use its laser to designate for
helicopter-launched ATGMs. While it is possible that the AT-8 is
laser-guided, it is more likely that the missile is radio-frequency guided
.
[Oh my god, how could this guy make such a phenomenal mistake? He can't even
discern a 1970s-era, Radio-Guided AT-8
Songster from a 1980s-era, Laser Guided
*AT-11 Sniper*! Did he BUY his Major's insignia? He sure didn't buy any issues
of Jane's!
] This is not only a less sophisticated system, but would require
less training and support
, [Yep, it's REALLY hard for soldiers to figure-out
how to point a laser beam!
] since the Soviets have been fielding the
radio-frequency-guided AT-2 Swatter and AT-6 Spiral for some time.
[It
seems to have escaped Warford that the reason they still employed those
missiles was to use them up, because that's cheaper and more beneficial than
simply scuttling them to make room for newer missiles. Then again, we've seen
that a LOT of plainly-obvious facts have escaped him...
] Finally, it should
be mentioned that the T-80 is not the only missile-firing tank the Soviets are
currently fielding. The earlier tank is designated T-64B, and "has been in
service with the Soviet Army for many years.."13 This tank, the latest
variant of the T-64, has many of the same capabilities as the T-80
. [Such
as it's exorbitant pricetag, unreliable powerplant, track-throwing tendency,
and small numbers
] One theory about the T-64B carries the strong family
relationship between the T-64 and the T-80 one step further: this theory brings
out the possibility that the T-80 could be a combination of a new hull and
suspension system, mated to the turret of the T-64B. While this conclusion is
possible, more information will have to be released before it can be confirmed.



 



 



Engine and Armor



 



 
Compared to the amount of discussion about the T-80's main armament, very
little has been released about the tank's engine. Several sources have
confirmed that the tank is powered by a turbine engine rated at approximately
900-980 hp, which gives "a power-to-weight ratio of 3:1 tons/horsepower, superior
to that of the T-72."14 This would imply a weight of about 45 tons for the
T-80.
[It weighed 50 tons, and the Soviets made no secret of this fact
by the time Warford wrote this. Recall from "The T-64 Premium Tank
Hoax" that he also lied and/or Did Not Do
Research
on the T-64's 45-ton weight
] Although the T-80 is the
first Soviet tank to be fielded with a turbine engine, the Soviets have been
interested in these engines for some time. According to one source, the
Soviets "had tested a turbine-powered tank in the late 1960s and early 1970s,
but it had proven a failure."15
[The T-80's turbine was a failure as
well --- the Soviets just pretended it wasn't. This is because the notion of
using a Gas Turbine engine in a tank is a conceptual dead-end bridge
]
Even less information has been released concerning the T-80's armor protection.
The most significant known feature here is the use of the cast armor turret. The
characteristic Soviet turret appears to have changed very little.
[That
kind of puts a damper in Warford's little "Premium Tank" thesis,
doesn't it?
] Western intelligence sources must be careful, however, to give
the tank the assessment it deserves. If the Soviets were capable of designing a
composite armor turret for the T-64, as long ago as the tank was designed, it
follows that they are capable of doing the same for the T-80. It can be safely
stated that the T-80 is fitted with at least the same level of protection as
the T-64.
[There's no way it was EVER that lousy] Even more likely,
however, is that the Soviets have taken advantage of the most recent
technological breakthroughs and have improved at least the tank's frontal armor
accordingly. If this proves to be the case, the T-80 can be expected to
cause as much of an impact in the West as the T-64 did so many years ago
. [So
then, the T-80's decade-long existence eluding Western intelligence services
--- and the widespread public humiliation of said intelligence services that
would result from it's eventual discovery, revealing them to be hollow institutions
--- is going to humiliate the West to lie about the T-80, claiming it to be
more fantastic than it actually is? Actually, that figures
]



 
Finally, two conclusions can be drawn from the long-awaited, secretive
appearance of the T-80 (and the first Moscow parade appearance of the earlier
T-64). First, since very few photgraphs have been published - and all of these
by Western sources - it is highly unlikely that the T-80 will be exported to
any other country
. [Indeed, none would be on thier way to Syria, China,
or  as Warford wrote this --- NOT!
] This pattern has been well established
'by the T-64. If the T-80 is someday exported, it will be only after another
as-now unidentified new tank has replaced the T-80 as the current or best main
battle tank in the Soviet Army. This status was confirmed by the sudden
appearance of the T-64 in a parade through Red Square in Moscow on 7 May 1985.

[It first entered service long before that, in 1966 --- that it wasn't seen
before the '80s confirms that they were hiding thier shame
] This was not
only the first Moscow parade to feature the T-64, but also provided a first
look at a previously unseen version of the tank. Sources have identified this
tank as a version of the T-64B that is "not fitted with the guidance equipment
for the Kobra guided missile system."16
[That kind of puts a damper in
Warford's premise that the AT-8 Songster/Kobra is all that good, doesn't it?
]
Now that a T-64 has been photographed in Red Square on parade, it can be
expected that the T-64 will soon be seen in service with a Soviet ally
. [It
was never planned, and never happened --- and given that the T-64 was a
plainly-obvious rustbucket POS, which the Soviets hurriedly replaced with the
T-72, it's really no surprise
]



 



 



Conclusion



 



 
The picture of a mass of Soviet tanks rapidly
approaching NATO defensive positions marked by knocked out and burning ATGM
vehicles is a grim one
. [...and a
self-evident LIE. If the Russians were planning on invading the West, why did
they disregard the high gun elevation and depression standard in Western Bloc
Tanks? Western Europe, you see, has these things called HILLS, and a LOT more
than Eastern Europe has. And why did they integrate built-in Dozer Blades into
EVERY MBT they built after the T-62, if they weren't planning on digging-in on
the Eastern Bloc's predominantly-flat terrain? To quote Judge Judy; "If it
doesn't make any sense, it's not true"! Then again, what do you expect
from a Closet Sovietologist? The Sovietologists failed to predict EVERY
milestone event in the Cold War, including the collapse of the f***ing Berlin
Wall --- rather than try to predict *anything*, they made-up virtually
EVERYTHING in order to sound "brilliant" enough to further (or
rather, in most cases, *keep*) their careers! Sounds an awful lot like Major
Warford, doesn't it?
] This prospect, as well as the new Soviet
ability to engage NATO vehicles at beyond the NATO tanks' maximum effective
range is what now faces the armies of the West. The Soviets have a main battle
tank that is based on the successful technology they fielded with the T-64,
["Successful"?! The T-64's own crews called it the "Steel
Grave"! It's APU ran only on flammable and potentially-explosive Gasoline;
it's autoloader demonstrated a tendency to load the crew; they were all based
only within a few miles of the factory that made thier engine, because they
were so unreliable; the type of engine the T-64 was built around was never
repeated in any other tank; the Soviets deliberately sheltered them from the
fighting in China and Afghanistan; when they finally DID see combat in Moldova
and Chechnya, they were BUTCHERED; and so on
] as well as the acquired
technology the U.S. Army pioneered with the combined gun/missile launcher. It
is this new threat that the armies of the West must understand and counter
prior to occupying BP Eagle.



 
The T-80 has allowed the Soviets to finally solve the NATO ATGM problem that
they feared for many years.
[Here's an interesting question that this
story apparently makes no attempt to answer --- what EVIDENCE suggests that the
Soviets identified a "NATO ATGM problem", and where is the evidence
that they "feared" it? Warford presents none --- we are simply
expected to unthinkingly believe that Western Bloc ATGMs are so fantastic, that
the Soviets would concoct a grandiose plot to attack them especially using some
super-secret-squirrel-supertank. After all, it's not as though the protection
features of the T-80 don't apply equally against *tank rounds* (except for
Sabot rounds, which are usually the only munitions that Whoppertanktards ever
take seriously).
]With a new main battle tank that does not require the
support of a heavy tank or tank destroyer (a feature that was carried over from
the T-64B),
[Earth to Warford --- ALL Soviet MBTs WITOUT EXCEPTION do
not "require the support of a heavy tank or tank destroyer". Why? Because
MBTs are the REPLACEMENT for ALL Heavy Tanks and Tank Destroyers, with no
exceptions. This douche seems to have missed the widely-documented fact that
the Red Army HATED Heavy Tanks, and plotted the T-54 as a means to erase the
Heavy Tank entirely --- and that the only reason the T-10 Heavy Tank continued
to see production and service after Stalin died (Heavy Tanks were Stalin's Pet
Rock --- he LOVED them, and wouldn't let the Red Army get rid of them --- and
what Stalin wants, the Red Army ALWAYS gets, lest another "Great
Purge" befall them). You see, the ATGM effectively made the cannon-armed
Tank Destroyer a meaningless gesture, while the Heavy Tank was proven WORTHLESS
by their results in combat during World War 2. So why does Warford suggest that
the *T-64* made Heavy Tanks and Tank Destroyers unnecessary? Because Warford
LOVES them --- go through back issues of Armor Magazine on thier website, and
you'll see that he can never shut-up about them (OCD, much?). In his warped
mind, Heavy Tanks and Tank Destroyers are superweapons, and only the great and
mighty T-64 "Premium Tank" (yes, he actually calls this
Rube-Goldbergian rustbucket "premium") is worthy to replace them; the
lowly T-54/55 and T-62 are below mentioning, despite 125000+ of them seeing
over 40 years of service in 50+ countries by the time of this article, as is
the "puny" T-72 (of which 20000 served the armed forces of 10+
countries when this was published, and it was still in production --- as I
write this at the end of 2010, the T-72 is STILL in production, and 25000+ have
been built)
] plus the speed required to exploit a breakthrough into the
enemy's rear area,
[Incredible --- this guy actually thinks Soviet MBTs
are weapons made for the OFFENSE! This is clearly contradicted by Soviet tank
tactics and doctrine that were KNOWN in the West by this time (Soviet tank
policy was not secret information, and only the Defense Establishment and the Corporate
Media that depends on the former's funding seem to have missed this fact). For
starters, the Soviets designed ALL of thier tanks for high reliability over
only very short durations, which does not suit a tank in the attack. Another
issue is range, the average of which for a Soviet tank was 100 miles shorter
than the range of Western tanks. Compare the 400-mile+ range of the AMX-30
(which was EXPRESSEDLY designed for the attack), to the 310-mile range of the
Leopard 2 (designed to be an all-rounder), and the average range of a Soviet
MBT at 250 miles --- a range better-suited for the defense. Lastly, note that
all Soviet tanks have a VERY narrow range of gun elevation & depression;
this isn't suitable for the western side of the Iron Curtain, because it's very
hilly and mountainous, but it's just fine for the East, which is flat and has
few natural defiles. In other words, the notion that Soviet armor is for the
attack is easily-disproven --- which doesn't stop con artists like Warford from
selling the notion
] the Soviets finally have the tank they have been long
awaiting. The T-80 is the Soviet solution.




CAPTAIN JAMES M. WARFORD was commissioned in Armor in 1979 as a distinguished military graduate from the University of Santa Clara, CA. He has served as a tank platoon leader and support platoon leader in the 2d Armored Division. He is currently the commander of A/2-66th Armor Regiment (COHORT), 2d Armored Division (Forward).
Remember that Capt. James Warford guy who tried to dupe the US Army's Armor community into believing the failed T-64 was the second coming, and that the Russians were going to develop some super-secret squirrel "Premium Tank"?

It seems he was running amok well before then.

One of his earlier fibs was that the T-80 was some kind of "supertank" (as opposed to simply a new generation), and that it's gun-launched anti-tank missiles were actually for use against ATGM-firing Tank Destroyers, like the M901A2 ITV.

I kid you not --- he actually tried to sell the idea that the AT-8 Songster and AT-11 Sniper anti-TANK missiles were not for use against tanks! Does he REALLY think we're all that stupid?

Have a read of my retort of that article, and see for yourself.

Also, if you want to see the original article with all it's graphics, you can read it here; [link]
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:iconvoughtvindicator:
VoughtVindicator Featured By Owner May 23, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
The T-80 never used an IR searchlight? The things only ever got thermal sights from the T-80UM onwards. T-80A/B/BV/U/UK/UD all had IR lights.

This was first published in 1987, the T-80UM didn't even exist back then.
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:iconvoughtvindicator:
VoughtVindicator Featured By Owner May 24, 2014  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Also, no one ever calls the M113 the "Gavin" except the the crackpot at combatreform
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:iconbeltar1:
Beltar1 Featured By Owner Feb 17, 2014

T-44 was not a disaster. And compared with T-34-85 it was a huge improvement. Produced vehicles served for very long time. It was just interum model and USSR had thousands of T-34-85s in fact there was even a modernization project for it in 1960 and my father saw at least 2 T-34-85s in working condition during his service in Soviet army in 1977-79. Neither was T-62 as final model of T-54 family. BTW there were only 300 T-54s built from 1946 to 1949. That's where real headache was. So if you think that T-54 was outstanding tank you're right but it was far from perfect during it's youth.

The disaster was JS-4 which was totally abondoned and totally new project JS-5 (I want to see it in WoT :( ) which later turned to JS-8 was started.

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:iconpassin:
Passin Featured By Owner Apr 24, 2013
I'll be the first to admit that I am not particularly familiar with the ins and outs of tank/armoured vehicle design and tank killing, but this guy makes me feel like a positive genius. I have two questions though.


1: Is this guy EVEN involved with tanks or armoured vehicles of any kind? I'm seriously doubtful (or just plain depressed) that he manages to make such a pigs ear of the OPENLY AVAILABLE facts.

2: What is a Sovietologist?

Incidently, I'm assuming that the Russian's had suitable counter-attack plans that may well have involved invading Europe. I wonder what they would have done then. (Incidently, I think you just made COD MW2 and 3 cry.) ;D
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:iconblacktailfa:
BlacktailFA Featured By Owner May 6, 2013
Unfortunately, Warford is upheld as a celebrity of the Armor Community. Google "James Warford, Tanks" or "Jim Warford, Tanks" (without the quotes). You'll find that he's gotten his hands into the cookie jars of many books, magazines, and web pages. Such faith is often misplaced, however, as demonstrated with "Viktor Suvarov" (real name; Vladimir Rezun);
[link]

Sovietology (also, "Kremlinology") was a branch of Political Science dedicated to the study of politics and policies in the Soviet Union.

Or at least, that's what it was in theory --- in reality, their "science" was a sham, and simply told their customers what they wanted to hear;
[link]

[link]

[link]
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:iconpassin:
Passin Featured By Owner May 7, 2013
Ah, clarity. Thanks for explaining that
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:icondarkproxy:
DarkProxy Featured By Owner Nov 28, 2011  Hobbyist Writer
So he induces fear and terror with lies for what?
Reply
:iconblacktailfa:
BlacktailFA Featured By Owner Dec 1, 2011
At the time this article was published in Armor Magazine, the US military was trying to sell Congress on a lot of Rube Goldberg gadgets. There was a lot of criticism being leveled at these programs, so the DoD constantly predicted future "threats" to justify these expenses --- this article was part of this Social Engineering "threat-selling" project.

The projects that this this article was attempting to create a market for are pretty easy to deduce; at the time it was published, the US Army and GDLS were trying to get Congress to fund a number of "upgrades" for the M1, including DU armor, a CITV, the more expensive (but not more powerful) LV100 engine, a gun-launched ATGM,and --- of course --- the rest of those 12000 chassis' that the Army originally asked for.

There were other weapons in hot water as well, like the Paveway III guided bomb that was "validated" by dropping it from a crane, the WASP missiles that rejected target tanks at Eglin AFB in favor of civilian cars on the nearby freeway, the IR-homing Sensor-Fuzed Weapon that was aimed at tanks heated-up with hot plates, the Maverick missile that would sometimes hit it's mark, and so on.

The problem is (for the Defense Welfare State), Congress' memory wasn't as poor as the Army thought; they remembered the promised timeline, costs, and performance that the M1 Lobby didn't deliver. Congress was starting to see through the "threats" which the M1 Lobby insisted were inevitable, like the NST ("Next Soviet Tank") prediction that the T-80 would look just like the M1, complete with an M1-like Chevron-shaped turret, and the FSTs ("Future Soviet Tanks" --- ever wonder why there were THREE of them?). That, and the fact that 105mm-armed tanks killed T-72s (that "justified" the procurement of the 120mm M256) in Syria and Angola made the lawmakers pretty irate as well.

So, given that the real-life "threat" weapons proved ineffective against "obsolete" weapon systems, what better way to get funding for new ones than to build another *Strawman*?
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:iconzeraful:
zeraful Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Hobbyist
"here were other weapons in hot water as well, like the Paveway III guided bomb that was "validated" by dropping it from a crane, the WASP missiles that rejected target tanks at Eglin AFB in favor of civilian cars on the nearby freeway, the IR-homing Sensor-Fuzed Weapon that was aimed at tanks heated-up with hot plates, the Maverick missile that would sometimes hit it's mark, and so on."

You forgot the SPAAG that lock on ground target instead of air :)
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:iconblacktailfa:
BlacktailFA Featured By Owner May 26, 2012
You mean the M247 Sergeant York DIVAD? It couldn't even lock onto *ground* targets. XD
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