The British Army unveiled a tank concept this month that comes equipped with advanced technologies that could make even Superman blush.
The “Streetfighter II” was put to the test during training exercises in early January that were designed to evaluate combat efficiency of joint armor and infantry operations in urban settings. And while the armored behemoth is supplemented with elements reminiscent of its predecessors, the Streetfighter II employs a new feature that could dramatically enhance the capabilities of tracks and accompanying infantry.
The IronVision X-ray system, made by the Israel-based Elbit Systems, enables tankers to see a full 360 degrees of their vehicle’s exterior without opening a single hatch. The added protection is welcome in urban environments where enemies have substantial cover and can take advantage of a vehicle’s blind spots.
The innovative tech comes with a network of both infrared and electro-optical cameras, coined “situational awareness cameras,” that are distributed around the tank’s hull. The camera network then transmits real-time imagery in high resolution and full color, day or night, into IronVision’s high-tech display in the tanker’s helmet visor. The IronVision visor contains a tracking mechanism that transmits visual data based on the tanker’s line-of-sight and head position.
The tank also comes equipped with a bulldozer extension that, as seen in the video below, makes quick work of a van parked in its path. Soldiers in the official British Army video below also used the bulldozer arm as a makeshift stretcher for a simulated casualty evacuation.
“I do hope this concept does become reality because it makes our life on the ground a lot easier,” British Army Cpl. Towers commented in the video.
Other notables that make life easier for everyone involved:
- The tank’s external tablet communication system allows ground troops to view a live feed of its video system, thus providing the infantry images of potential threats without losing the cover of the tank.
- A small, unmanned ground vehicle can be deployed from the tank to assess potential hazards in buildings or other areas that remain hidden.
- On top of the turret is a Brimstone anti-tank missile system, a long-range weapon that can locate targets using both laser-guided and millimeter-wave radar no matter the time of day and regardless of weather or environmental conditions.
- The tank employs a 120mm main gun, as well as a secondary armament that includes one .50 caliber and two 7.62mm machine guns.
- The communication system, like its predecessors, maintains data sharing capabilities.
J.D. Simkins is a writer and editor for Military Times, and a USMC veteran.