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i see many pictures of 60-70's tanks with what look like big
searchlights on the main tubes. both rooshan and allied.
are those lights or sighting systems? don't see them today,
so i'm guessing they're for aiming.
Reply to
e
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They are searchlights for engaging targets during periods of limited visibility. Some are white light, others are infrared. I think the last three US tanks that used searchlights were the M48A5, M60A1 RISE/Passive and M551A1 Sheridan.
You don't see them any more because the US went to thermal sights with the M1/A1/A2 and M60A3TTS. Thermal sights give the tank the ability to see targets based on the heat generated by the target (tanks, troops, etc.) and do not need artificial light generated by a searchlight or ambient light amplified by passive night sights.
Once the enemy had passive or IR sights, using an IR searchlight made your tank a glowing target in their sights.
Reply to
RobG
They're infrared searchlights - often coupled with a regular white light searchlight in the same mounting.
Modern night vision systems have rendered them obsolete.
Cheeers,
Reply to
Bill Shatzer
like active radar. thanks.
Reply to
e
That did lead eventually to things like fire controllers who would target the, uh, target, while the delivery platform could either a) see the reflected signal passively, or b) use guided munitions to do the job. The job of the sighting aircraft or ground crew became pretty exicting as a result though, in the former because they would attract more unfriendly attention, and the latter because in addition - more so if close to the enemy - they could easily attract "friendly" attention to boot (Did you say "A4", that's a D you dolt! Farrrrkk!).
Reply to
Gernot Hassenpflug
Tank gunnery using IR searchlights was done the same way.
Reaching way back into my memory banks here and showing my age, but the tank using the searchlight was not the tank firing. One tank (the searchlight tank) would illuminate the target and the firing tank would follow the IR beam to the target with his passive sights. You just wanted to make sure you followed the beam from the searchlight to the target and not the other way around.
In combat, the firing and illuminating tank would alternate. The theory is that the searchlight tank catches your attention (if you have IR capabilities too), lights you up and his wingman takes you out.
Reply to
RobG
RobG> Tank gunnery using IR searchlights was done the same way. RobG> Reaching way back into my memory banks here and showing my RobG> age, but the tank using the searchlight was not the tank RobG> firing. One tank (the searchlight tank) would illuminate the RobG> target and the firing tank would follow the IR beam to the RobG> target with his passive sights. You just wanted to make sure RobG> you followed the beam from the searchlight to the target and RobG> not the other way around.
RobG> In combat, the firing and illuminating tank would RobG> alternate. The theory is that the searchlight tank catches RobG> your attention (if you have IR capabilities too), lights you RobG> up and his wingman takes you out.
Oh, thank you for enlightening me, interesting stuff Rob, I had no idea. Makes me glad not to have been a tank driver (the closest I can come to thinking about the dangerss of lighing up oneself is the way the USN ships got pasted in late 1942 in the Solomons when using searchlights).
Reply to
Gernot Hassenpflug

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