Aircraft-style firing-controls installed in latest tanks

2 December 2016 Alexey Moiseev, Izvestia
Joysticks with buttons will replace control columns on all Russian armoured vehicles, facilitating the work of the gunner and saving crucial time.
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The MROMC has two joysticks, similar to those used in helicopters. Source:Igor Zarembo/RIA Novosti

Russian armoured vehicles of the future, including military vehicles based on the Armata and Kurganets platforms, will be equipped with new firing-controls, which will simplify the work of the gunner and free up some precious space in the armoured vehicle.

Modern Multifunctional Remote Operational Management Complexes (MROMC), developed by the V.V. Tarasov Aviaavtomatika, will replace the currently used control columns, nicknamed ‘Cheburashka’ for their resemblance to the character in children’s books, which were developed in the late 1950s).

“We are currently completing development work on our multi-functional control panels,” the press service of Aviaavtomatika told Izvestia. “As early as next year, this product will be delivered to the Ministry of Defence for further testing directly inside the armoured vehicles.

The MROMC has two joysticks, similar to those used in helicopters. The shape is adapted to the structure of the human hand, with recesses for the fingers. Each joystick is equipped with special wrist supports and is height-adjustable, allowing the gunner to set them as required.

Every joystick has a set of buttons, each of which is responsible for certain functions of the firing-control system. The one on the right is responsible for the sighting device: it has buttons that allow the gunner to select a target, and point the gun to it. The buttons of the left panel are connected directly to the instrumentation of the tank or armoured personnel carrier (APC). They allow the gunner to turn the turret of the combat vehicle, and lift the cannon up and down. The left joystick also allows the gunner to select the type of ammunition, and also holds the trigger to fire the cannon.

Military expert Vlad Belogrud told Izvestia that joysticks – now installed on tanks and APCs and used to manage firing devices – are installed in all modern armoured vehicles.

“NATO armies started installing these types of control panels in the mid-1980s, which allowed then to solve several problems at once,” said Belogrud. “Placing the firing controls on two separate joysticks facilitates the work of the gunner, and saves precious seconds, crucial in combat.”

Belogrud said these joysticks are much smaller than traditional controls and free up considerable space inside the vehicle, allowing for a more compact layout for the combat vehicle.

“Another advantage provided by these panels is better ergonomics,” he said. “Modern tanks and armoured personnel carriers are supersaturated with sophisticated electronics, such as night vision devices, target recognition and tracking systems. Management of all these elements simultaneously can distract the crew during battle.”

According to Belogrud, the installation of joystick-type controls in armoured vehicles is also associated with the emergence of new mechanisms for turning the turret, which improve the accuracy in aiming and shooting.

First published in Russian by Izvestia.

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