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M48 Variant. Unknown.
The AFV ASSOCIATION was formed in 1964 to support the thoughts and research of all those interested in Armored Fighting Vehicles and related topics, such as AFV drawings. The emphasis has always been on sharing information and communicating with other members of similar interests; e.g. German armor, Japanese AFVs, or whatever.
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Rick_Eshleman
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 5:30 pm
Post subject: M48 Variant. Unknown.

In 1986 I was escorted in the Restricted Area, "Behind the Fence" and allowed to photograph most items there. Does anyone have an idea what this M48 variant was intended for? Thanks. Rick
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MarkHolloway
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:09 pm
Post subject: Re: M48 Variant. Unknown.

What the heck????!!!

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Rick_Eshleman
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 6:17 pm
Post subject: Re: M48 Variant. Unknown.

Note the driver hatch, hydraulic part welded to it. Here's a few more views.
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Dontos
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 10:00 pm
Post subject: Re: M48 Variant. Unknown.

That is Bizarre!!

I'm clueless

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Don
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Doug_Kibbey
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 22, 2012 11:03 pm
Post subject: Re: M48 Variant. Unknown.

Well, going at it systematically...it has stabilizing feet attached to a rectangular box that is itself attached to a tank. It is meant to be lowered from the position we see it in now. It has numerous points of attachment to the top of the "box" and shielding for the crew (maybe just a driver) in the former turret ring area. Something nasty was to happen forward of the vehicle that would affect stability. What are we missing that mounts to that box? Missile launch?, charges?, crane? Maybe something to approach and fight oil well fires with explosives? Would be nice to know what the rest of the rig is supposed to be.
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Rick_Eshleman
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:32 am
Post subject: Re: M48 Variant. Unknown.

I have yet to find what this one of a kind modification was. Robert Lessel was the PAO who escorted me through did not know. It appears to be some form of engineers test rig, and probably doesn't exist any longer.
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Joe_D
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 11:29 am
Post subject: Re: M48 Variant. Unknown.

Thanks Rick,

Now my head hurts.

For what it's worth, the tank chassis is an M48, the picture showing the shield with hydraulic ram and valves also gives you a good view of the drivers hatch, which is the small type indicative of that version.

Remote piloted vehicle looking at the lack of any crew member station visible either on top or by lack of any real access to the drivers position. The big box on the rear could be the actuator system for shift select/steering/accelerator control. Ideal location to access necessary linkage and looks very similar to ones used with mine test vehicles. Interesting that she uses a commercial type APU very similar to what welding rigs use, but doesn't have the generator associated with it. My guess to operate the hydraulic pump by means of a PTO shaft.

"Something nasty" is exactly what I was thinking Doug, but looking at the fittings and all the other accompanying items I don't think it would be blast related, since most of that stuff would get ripped off, especially the outrigger arms, unless they were just designed to keep the box stable when not attached to the tank and were removed when operated. That box, it's shape, and the material it's constructed with are what's intriguing. The steel looks to be at least 3 inches in thickness, which would make sense on the bottom for blast mitigation, but why all around? Looking at the raising/lowering mechanism and it's travel limits based on the hardware and fulcrum points, it looks like it was designed to be lowered below the level of the vehicle and the surface it's on. The other really interesting feature are those huge blocks under it with the channels and the similar curved ones on the sides. Weird. Box looks almost like some sort of sarcophagus. Thinking "Nuke" related from the 50's. Who knows? Just a really strange vehicle obviously designed for a very unique job. Nothing used on it is so out of the ordinary that a well equipped GS/DS shop couldn't acquire through off the shelf Military/Civilian stock and fabricate. Something Aberdeen had lot's of expertise in.

Looking at the mechanics involved, I would guess it was some sort of "delivery/recovery vehicle". Of what is the million dollar question. Had to be dangerous enough to do it remotely.

Thanks Rick for sharing something very, very different. Wow!

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sapper141
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 1:53 pm
Post subject: Re: M48 Variant. Unknown.

Ok this one has got me interested as well. Along with what the others have observed, I don't see an operator's position with sections plated
over the turret ring, or antenna mounts for a remote vehicle like the ROBAT or Panther. Now another question to throw in the mix what is with the generator up on the platform?
Seeya


Last edited by sapper141 on Wed Oct 24, 2012 1:27 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Rick_Eshleman
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PostPosted: Tue Oct 23, 2012 3:05 pm
Post subject: Re: M48 Variant. Unknown.

I'm glad this has all of you interested! I had taken those photos years ago and forgot I had them. Somebody should have information on this! I also theorized about "Robotic Nuke Dispenser", "Explosives Disposal", etc. but have yet to find anything on this. By looks of it Early M48 chassis and probably 1950's era modification, it should be totally declassified by now. Any older Aberdeen Scientists or Engineers out there? Rick
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