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Tank fire control computer

Category: Term of the day

Tank fire control computer

The tank fire control computer is the heart of the tank fire control system. It calculates the corrections that are required to enable the tank weapon system to fire accurately.

The tank fire control computers can be either analogue and digital.

The analogue computer takes continuous physical inputs from various vehicle systems and manipulates them through electrical circuits, to produce a real time solution to the ballistic equation. Because the analogue computer relies on built-in circuitry for its functions, it is not a simple task to "reprogram" it for, say, a new ammunition. Unlike its general purpose digital counterpart, the analogue computer does not have a memory or use software and this means that it is normally designed to carry out a limited number of specific tasks. This lack of a broad programming flexibility is a disadvantage, but the analogue computer does have some positive features:

  • Great precision and accuracy can be built into the machine for its specific task,

  • The cost can be kept down by restricting the computer to only those components and functions needed for the given application,

  • There are no costly software programs to be written or maintained.

Nevertheless, despite these factors, the digital computer is now much preferred because of its greater inherent flexibility and its long term potential outside the weapon control area. In the digital computer, all the input parameters are fed in as, or converted to, binary numbers (composed of zeroes and ones), which can easily be represented by electrical impulses. The binary numbers can then be processed through a series of arithmetic and logical operations, using the program held in the computer memory.

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