M1 Tank Survivability

From this tweet, we find video of what purports to be an attack on a Saudi M1 Abrams tank in Yemen.  It’s pretty poor quality video. It is actually hard to tell if it is indeed an Abrams. The roof doesn’t quite look right.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5h6Ngwb2aDY]

The missile is probably an 9M133 Kornet, which is quite the formidable weapon, and quite capable of destroying an M1.

But in this case, look closer.

We see a massive blast at missile impact. And we see what appears to be some sheet metal or similar flying off to the upper right. But as the fireball fades, what we don’t see is any secondary explosions or post impact fire. The second explosion is simply a replay of the initial impact. It’s quite possible the missile either simply missed the tank, or hit a non-vital part of it. Or if it did impact the crew compartment, the on board fire suppression system worked as advertised to immediately suppress any fire. The M1 tank wasn’t built to be indestructible. It was, instead, built to provide the greatest likelihood that the crew would survive an attack, even one that destroyed the tank.

Very Bad Bradley Tactics

The only other nation to buy the Bradley Fighting Vehicle is Saudi Arabia. They bought 400 after seeing its performance in Desert Storm. And they are currently using them in Yemen against Iranian backed Houthi rebels. Unfortunately, they’re not using them well.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h87a41N-IhU?feature=player_embedded]

That first attack is simply inexcusable.  The dismount team should have been providing local security.  As for the ATGM attacks, again, crews need to be alert and scanning their sectors.

Another point. Compare this video of a Russian built vehicle immediately bursting into flames. Think back to the video of the Bradleys.  You’ll notice they don’t instantly brew up. The vehicle might be inoperative, or even beyond repair, but the fire suppression system works, at least long enough for the crew to escape.

And take a look at this video of US forces training in Ft. Irwin. Vehicle commanders are up and scanning. They’re also using their weapons to suppress any possible missile teams.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NL57h5Tmn00]

And so it begins- Saudi Arabia begins operations in Yemen.

Earlier today we told you that Iran was fighting a proxy war with Saudi Arabia in Yemen. Now it appears that Saudi Arabia has begun operations to roll back the Iranian supported Houthi rebels.

SANAA, Yemen — Saudi officials on Wednesday announced they had launched a military operation in neighboring Yemen, after Shiite rebels believed backed by Iran swept toward that country’s second-largest city and forced the president to flee.

The Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, made the announcement on Wednesday evening.

Some parts of Aden remained held by forces loyal to President Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, who abandoned his refuge in the seaside city. But the troops appeared initially overwhelmed by the rebel blitz, suggesting the insurgents were close to taking control of their latest major battlefield prize, witnesses said.

It’s unclear just how far Saudi Arabia might want to push. They certainly wish to minimize their entanglement in historically messy Yemen, but still wish to address the threat to their southern border, and critically, ensure the strategic waterways in the area remain open.

Notably, there appears to be no US involvement in what just yesterday the White House defended as a success story in Yemen.

H/T to DKE for the news.

In Case You Missed It…

While President Obama is busy pissing off long time allies like the French and Germans* both through policies that offend them, attempting to align more closely with autocratic Russian strongman Vladimir Putin, and spying on just about everybody, you might have missed another Obama “success” story.

Since World War II the US and the kingdom of Saudi Arabia have had a steady, if not always strong, alignment. And that alignment is in danger of rupture.

Saudi Arabia often strikes us more as  a “frenemy” than an ally. We all know that 15 of 19 hijackers on 9/11 were Saudi nationals, as was, of course, Osama bin Laden. And Saudi subjects finance radical madrasses worldwide, preaching a vision of Islam that sneers at the mores and values of our Western culture and heritage.

But the Saudi royal family, despite appearing to be an absolute monarchy, is in a difficult position. As much as they try to moderate and modernize their culture, any shift to a more liberal** stance risks seeing them overthrown by their own radical elements. The family has to walk a tightrope between maintaining relations with the West, and not inviting internal revolt.

Saudi Arabia’s single biggest external security issue is Iran. The incredibly deep schism between Sunni and Shia means Iran is an even greater threat to the kingdom than any possible internal unrest. And the specter of a nuclear armed Iran is the nightmare fuel for Saudi foreign ministry types.

Sadly, Obama seems to take at face value the extraordinarily meager crumbs of reconciliation the new Iranian president Rouhani.  This is incredibly naive, even for this feckless administration. The Iranians are clearly trying to buy time to further their nuclear weapons program. Toning down the rhetoric is an easy way to do it. That our own government can’t see that is astonishing.  Further, even in the incredible case that President Rouhani actually did wish to change the relationship between the US and Iran, such a policy decision is out of his hands. The president of Iran can do pretty much anything he wants, policy-wise, so long as it is exactly what the Supreme Ruling Council wants.

Michael Totten has a terrific post that showcases the fruits of our amatuer foreign policy, a policy so bad that it is driving Saudi Arabia away from the US, and into the arms of… who knows? He goes off the rails a bit there, but the diagnosis is spot on.

Personally, I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if China was quick to make friends.

*To be honest, I’m not a bit dismayed to hear we’re spying on them. We’re supposed to spy on everybody but our own citizens.

**Not in the American political sense