Poor old tanks, here today…but tomorrow? Who knows? MBT’s today are the most sophisticated land based weapon system ever devised by man. Their fighting and operating software is as sophisticated as any modern jet fighter. Their main weapon is able to pierce almost any know material with aiming systems that allow theoretical engagement distances of over two miles while on the move. Of course we all know the sales brochure always exaggerates, and while they may not be able to kill an enemy at ten miles distant at night, in fog, while shrugging off an air attack; as weapons they are impressive and deadly. But what about the future? Infantry now carry AT weapons that put a German 88 to shame. Drones can kill tanks and no crew is risked in the effort.
The future is bright for the manned and unmanned armored fighting vehicle. Electronic counter measuring are increasing in ability while decreasing in size and operational sophistication. Armor such as Chobham II is even defeating the dreaded HEAT threat after decades of trying. Power plants that are more fuel efficient and more powerful are allowing greater speed and distance. New track technology is allowing greater service time with less repair. Dark War postulates that these improvements will be carried on for the next 50 years allowing the tank to remain in front line service. So, I do not propose some new futuristic armor or some other ‘silver bullet’ explanation for why tanks are still the primary breakthrough weapon in the near future, just the ability of tank producers to maintain a lead over the cost, portability, and range of those systems seeking to kill them.
What about ‘Hover Armor’ I hear you ask. Well, some of you are saying ‘Hover Armor? Really!’. Why not? Hover systems have been a part of the battlefield since the Vietnam War, growing in size, speed, and incidentally armor protection. A light tank capable of 100mph/160kmh while toting a 105 or 125 main gun or it’s equivalent rail gun would be mighty useful. Especially one that can cross water without a bridge.
Whats all this talk about ‘Rail Guns’ is your next query I bet. I bet I have an answer too. The first electromagnetic gun was created in 1845 by Professor Kristian Birkland and the full potential of this technology has yet to be exploited. Power is the main problem with rail guns. The amount of energy to power sufficient electromags hold this technology back. The ability to fire a shell at relativistic speeds means that new super heat resistant materials hard enough to crack armor must be invented. If the need is there, and it IS there, the means will be found.
How about the laser? Will the fields of tomorrow look like the Star Wars of today? No. If you can understand what it takes to power a few power hungry electromags can you image the power needed for a laser. Portablilty is still the issue with lasers. There is an emitter array potential on the new Zumwalt Destroyer and modern lasers are spelling an end to manned fight over battlefields even as your read this. But if you can power a rail gun you can switch that power to a laser. Now the tank has a perfect anti-missile, anti-air, anti-personnel weapon. Armor would pose a real problem however as the laser would have to stay on target for a considerable period of time.
I foresee infantry in fully functional power ASSISTED suits and not too far off. These suits will offer ballistic protection, and be man sized NBC protection for infantry in the field. The longer the soldier has to stay in the suit the less effective either the suit or the man will be.
Okay finally artillery. Is the king’s final argument now obsolete? Maybe. Rocket barrages are devastating and unjamable. But super rail guns able to launch heavy caliber semi-intelligent shells long distances is a theory worth exploring. And if the semi-intelligent shells using a battery of sensors can scan, pick out and hit the best targets so much the better.
These are some of the consideration I put into making Dark war. But the final clincher was simply this: I find myself playing Dark War often. Sometimes it just suits the desire for a simple armor game perfectly. The results are often surprising even playing the same game again and again. And that makes it a winner in my book!-enjoy