by Max Barry

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MBT-Jaguar

Today, the FSR's military announced the release of the MBT-1 Jaguar, which was developed jointly with Puertollano. Designed from the ground up to operate in difficult terrain the MBT-1 Jaguar features several key innovations not found in other tanks.

One of the more visible features of the Jaguar is its advanced suspension system which allows for individual control of every bogie on the tracks. This allows the Jaguar to "sit," "stand" and "kneel", as well as "lean" towards one side or a corner. "Sitting" gives the tank a lower profile and offers superior handling over roads. "Standing" gives the vehicle higher ground clearance for maneuverability over rough terrain. "Kneeling" increases the angular range in which the tank's gun barrel can elevate and depress, allowing the vehicle to fire its main gun downhill as well as engage low-flying aircraft more effectively. The suspension unit also cushions the chassis from vibrations when traveling over uneven terrain, as the bogies can be adjusted individually on-the-fly. Using the suspension system, the Jaguar can also elevate its main gun up to twenty-four degrees, which allows a curved trajectory attack at a hovering helicopter target 5 kilometers away.

The suspension system also benefits from a high-resolution terrain-scanning solution. This allows the vehicle to "plan ahead" by scanning nearby terrain up to 50 meters away in all directions and calculate the optimal position of the bogies in order to improve vehicle handling over uneven terrain. This also plays in with the computer-aided aiming solution, as the tank can automatically adjust for terrain changes while aiming.

The vehicle can cross rivers as deep as 4.1 meters using a snorkel system, which also serves as a conning tower for the tank commander. The system takes approximately 20 minutes to prepare. The turret becomes watertight while fording, but the chassis can take in 500 gallons of water to prevent excessive buoyancy from the air inside the vehicle and keep the tracks planted firmly on the ground. Furthermore, the tank can enter combat-ready status as soon as it resurfaces.

The Jaguar also has a hard-kill active protection system to protect the tank from anti-tank threats. It uses a three-dimensional detection and tracking radar and a thermal imager to detect incoming threats. The active protection system can detect warheads up to 150 meters from the tank, and a defensive rocket is fired to destroy them at 1015 meters away. With that, the system can neutralize rocket-propelled grenades and anti-tank guided missiles. As for softkill capability, the tank is capable of VIRSS grenades which can effectively block optical, infrared and radar signatures. The tank also has a Radar Warning Receiver and radar jammer. Four all-bearing laser warning receivers are also present to alert the crew should the vehicle become targeted, and the computer can also deploy VIRSS grenades towards the direction of the beam.

The Jaguar has a 130mm electrothermal-chemical gun which is mounted on an unmanned turret. Several military analysts from various countries have already said that this might "revolutionize" tank warfare. In addition to the reduced profile, faster firing rate, and increased protection from the unmanned turret, the ETC gun provides greater range, accuracy, payload, and firepower than conventional guns. Also, the munitions of the ETC gun is insensitive to non-engineered methods of firing, which means that the Jaguar is fairly immune from their ammo being detonated by a penetrating projectile.

Although not much is known about the Jaguar's armor, the tank utilizes a composite blend which is kept secret and an NBC system. More innovatively though, the tank utilizes electromagnetic reactive armor, though not much info has been released about this technology. The tank also features improved optics and engines. The fire control system was greatly improved, and atmospheric sensors alert the crew if the tank enters a hazardous environment. Moreover, unconfirmed reports state that if in an emergency, the tank can be piloted by just two crewmembers, or even just one.

Finally, the tank was built to be network-centric. In fact, its speculated that the tank can automatically spot and track visible targets, compare them using the data link established with other friendly vehicles to prevent redundant target engagements and fire its main gun without manual input.

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