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Plus ça change...


US prototype tank aptly named "The Skeleton Tank" on display at the Ordnance Museum, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland.

The Skeleton Tank.
This beastie was an experimental tank built in 1918 by the Pioneer Tractor Company, Winona, Minnesota.  Only one was made.  Happily, she survives and spends her days under a shelter at the Ordnance Museum at Aberdeen Proving Grounds, Maryland.

The intent was to develop a lightweight vehicle capable of crossing trenches just as the heavier, Brit-designed tanks we used did.  But we wanted lighter, faster, cheaper.  The same holy grail we've been chasing with tanks ever since we slapped painted canvas on a horse.  The Skeleton Tank achieved this objective by building the lozenge shape with... pretty much standard plumbing pipe and fittings, and hung an armored box in the middle armed with a machine gun.. All that air was considered a feature, not a bug.  Less stuff for the bad guys to hit and cause internal spalling and ricocheting about in the fighting compartment.  Of course, it also meant fewer weapons.  She was engined with two 50 horse engines giving a breath-taking speed of 5mph.  Lookout Indy, here I come!

Picture courtesy Yellowute via Wikimedia - more pics here.

Now.  The Ripsaw MS1.

The Ripsaw MS1, by Howe and Howe Technologies, Inc.

From the Howe and Howe Technologies, Inc,  website:

"Started in January of 2008, MS1 is a hardened high standard Ripsaw, designed specifically for US Army UGV Application. MS1 will have weapons installed and will be rigorously tested by ARDEC to prove its capability and effectiveness in saving human life."

Heh.  Wonder if I can get one to play with?  Yanno, for a review from this powerful website we got here?

H/t, Toluca Nole


with a flanged sprocket, and return rollers the same size as the road wheels...   should be in for some fun testing.  i know the first thing i would do would be to pivot steer me some doughnuts.

and, yes, that 1918 skeleton is a lovely lean beastie.
How much you wanna bet Obama cuts funding for this project under his new military budget?  He's already promised to eliminate expensive weapons programs, and seems to be focusing on those that are still basically on the drawing board, like this new tank.

All hail, Obeyme, who obviously doesn't subscribe to the idea of intimidating your enemies into submission without firing a shot.
Oh, I dunno, AFSis - he could kill FCS in *favor* of this much cheaper robot.
Gunner, target - BMP!
Fire.... ooops.

At least that was my first impression on glancing at that knife-edge prow.

  yea, a BMP w/ a TOW on top... :) You're right, though.. at first glance its a WTF moment.   Gonna be fun times on the target recco days of the training cyclce. Especially fun, because you're gonna hafta bring in all the Navy & AF zoomies too.....

Less stuff for the bad guys to hit and cause internal spalling and ricocheting about in the fighting compartment.

And the tradeoff is -- now the bad guys knew where to concentrate their fire. Directly into the in-plain-sight crew compartment.

BTW, where'd they put the dual 50hp chuggers -- out in the unprotected portion or inside the crew cabin?
Oh, they're *in* the crew compartment.  I'm sure it was just a luvverly place to be with frabjously wondrous ergonomics.
Yeah, I was afraid that's where they were located. Based on the paucity of exhaust vents and intakes, I'm assuming the crew that did the initial testing either used supplemental oxygen or unassed the vehicle ten seconds after ignition.
Well, you may have  a point there, John.  After reading the information at Howe, it looks like they rigged that sucker up with minimal cash.  Further development and testing probably won't add a lot to the current cost.  Interesting.  I wish I had the brains and the means to build something as kewl as a ginormous remote control tank!
I had a comment, but at the risk of exposing myself for the ignoramus I know I am, I want to ask about targeting the tracks and wheels.  That's what *I* would do if I had to cripple it.  Proceed to ensmarten me, but please have a care for my poor mind.  You will have to use small words and connect the dots.
Well, Cricket, there's nothing wrong with that approach at all...
It is a test-bed, right?  Because the lack of protection on the treads shows exactly where to shoot to disable this tank.

And bogie wheels?  Blast from the past!
Well, I am not a strategy type person.  My comment was along the lines of why use a tank when dune buggies are faster and designed for sand?  Why not flesh them out with some armor and firepower?
Just asking.
Then you'd get *this*...
All our new tanks will be canvas covered plywood, armored with multiple layers of hope, and powered by 2,000 unicorn power motors.
Looks like the prototype or mockup for "l'enfant terrible" of 1914 vintage.
All our new tanks will be canvas covered plywood, armored with multiple layers of hope, and powered by 2,000 unicorn power motors.

No no, it's powered by believing in change (of its own location)...

For Mikey; given our current capabilities, in a situation where someone is likely shooting back at you, the niceties of point of aim and suchlike, while of endlessly entertaining debate on YouTube, pale to insignificance in comparison to the center of mass - SHOOT school.  If you have time to piddle about with point of aim, you are not in mortal danger, so why are you giving away your position by shooting?