So the only way to increase kill range in a tank is to fire missiles and forget about AP rounds. Or get firepower from somewhere else. Like a Nag carrier to get out in front and blow the opposing tank squadron with a flurry of Nags. Now that is something I'd like to see. Intermixed with a tank squadron we get a few nag carriers and engaging the enemy tanks at a greater distance. and hang back and let the arjuns move forward and mow the rest of them down. Fancy I suppose.
Indeed. The best way to take out enemy tanks is to use airpower or other stand off weapons like a Nag carrier . That is how the helicopter gunship came into being and became so successful. The experience of WW-II (Hawker Typhoon tank killers, IL-2 "Sturmovik" and of course dedicated coldwar planes like the A-10, Su-25 and later Apaches) and later will make mince meat of an armored column if given half a chance (as the IAF hunters did to the Pakis in 1971) . So in some ways in the anti tank role the MBT is antediluvian /outdated.
So if the primary /best method of taking out enemy tanks is airpower, why should a tank be optimized for throwing darts at other tanks at less than 2km range? Oh well, Maharaj will come tie himself into knots into trying to answer that, but will still come out and say "smooth bore"
and that whatever I write "supports" his assertion!
I doubt any tank gun can effectively deal with targets at 4-6 km even if its rifled gun with hesh rounds , at those ranges the shell accuracy will drop off quickly unless one is using tube launched missile with HE-FRAG like Lahat
It really is NOT a smooth bore vs rifle debate, but a far more profound debate, rather missile vs guns. Look what happened in Naval warfare. The gun was the primary weapon for centuries, with it's development reaching it's apex in WW-II with battleship guns of 16, 18 even maybe 22 inches (Yamato 's ?), field guns which fired something like 4 tons of weight in shells in a full salvo to some 25/30 mile distance , so that it needed to correct for the curvature of the earth for accuracy! The guided missile made it obsolete and now the gun is just a small "appendage" in front, and the ships itself are radically different, with anti ship and anti air taken over by missiles!
If you think such a scenario has come about in land warfare, the tank will sport some 10 VLS anti tank/anti heli Nag kind of tubes for anti tank , with the "gun" being something like a Bushmaster autocannon at best for anti infantry /close in work! A slightly more armored Nag carrier is the New MBT! It makes no sense to mount a 120mm whatever gun with that weight and space and armor to throw darts at another tank!
So what is the catch here ? Problem is that helicopter/missiles/airpower are very good at messing up the opposition, but fail at what is the core of a tanks mission which is "To Take Ground and Hold Ground" . Airpower etc, cannot Hold ground. There is no substitute for the tank for that and it's staying power.
And if you are looking at staying power, there is no substitute for tube artillery. Missiles are orders of magnitude more expensive, limited in quantity and dont work in such kind of situations.
Think back to what happened to the surviving WW-II Battleships, what are they used for currently (the ones still left). Shore battery support! If you want to pummel a target repeatedly, there is nothing quite like guns. So yeah, while at 6 to 7 km range, a HESH/HE/ spin stabilized round will find it difficult to take out a moving target and will require a guided missile, to pummel a stationary target, fortification , nothing like it!.
Now if that is what the tank's role is going to be like, rather than shoot darts at opposing tanks primarily (a role taken over by heli/ air power/missile), would you rather have a smooth bore or a rifled weapon that is far more accurate and deliver more ammo ?
So, really if the IA is going to look at a FMBT with a target weight of 25 /30 tons, it will go the missile way , with a very small tank, with Nag VLS tubes, a 700hp engine, a bush master cannon and no inability of the main gun to engage opposite MBT armor, but ability to take a few hits, unlike the infantry combat vehicle, because of heavier armor. The evolution that happened in sea has to happen in land as well I think.
This is fundamentally different from the tank philosophy since WW-II when the primary weapon was big enough to take out enemy armor. Well, now the primary weapon will be a missile , and the gun is just an "appendage".
So, Maharaj Ji's "smooth bore is future" doesn't compute as Mr Spock would say. Oh yeah, the Nag VLS tube will be smooth bore of course, but even the autocannon will be rifled only.
JM and all the rest of it applies as usual.