Glossary
Home > Glossary
modified: Nov 10, 2012
A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  M  N  O  P  R  S  T 

AFV
see Armored fighting vehicle
Amphibious tank
(also called amphibian) is a tank that is able to move both on water and land.
APC
see Armored personnel carrier
APFSDS
(Armor-Piercing Fin-Stabilized Discarding Sabot) is a type of ammunition that uses kinetic energy to penetrate a target. Fins added to the base make the round stable. They are generally fired from smoothbore guns because rifling decreases effective penetration.
Appliqué armor
refers to extra plates mounted onto the hull or turret of an AFV. The plates can be made of any material and are designed to be retrofitted to an AFV to withstand weapons which can penetrate the original armor of the vehicle.
APU
see Auxiliary power unit.
Armored fighting vehicle (AFV)
is a wheeled or tracked combat vehicle protected with armor and armed with weapons.
Armored personnel carrier (APC)
is an armored fighting vehicle designed to transport infantry to the battlefield and may be armed for self-defense.
Artillery tank
is a tank fitted with short-barrelled howitzers to provide close fire support for tank units.
ATGM
(anti-tank guided missile) is a guided missile primarily designed to hit and destroy heavily-armored military vehicles.
Auxiliary power unit (APU)
is a vehicle device that provides power for non-propulsion functions.
AVLB
(armored vehicle-launched bridge) is a combat support vehicle designed to allow other tanks and AFVs to cross rivers. It operates by placing the bridge across a river or trench. It then detaches from the bridge and moves aside to allow other vehicles to cross. Finally, it crosses the bridge itself and reattaches to it on the otherside.


Bore evacuator
(fume extractor) is device on the barrel of the gun that prevents the propellant gases from flowing into the vehicle's fighting compartment when the gun breech is open to load another shell.
Breech
the rear end of a gun barrel.
Breech-loading weapon
is a weapon in which the shell is loaded from the rear of the barrel (i.e. the breech). It significantly reduces the amount of reloading time. Compare with muzzle-loading weapons.


Caliber
the inside diameter of a gun barrel usually measured in inches or millimeters.
Caterpillar track
is a track made up of a series of interlocking rigid units.
CEP
(Circular Error Probable) is the radius of a circle the area of which contains 50% of the points of impact of a ballistic missile.
Chassis
(plural: chassis) is the frame that supports the rest of the vehicle. The convention is to write the number of wheels first, followed by an "x" and then the number of wheels driven. For example, 4x2 means there are four wheels two of which are driven.
Coaxial weapon
is a weapon mounted side-by-side with the main weapon. The arrangement is actually paraxial (parallel axes). Coaxial weapons are usually aimed by use of the main gun control. It is usually used to engage infantry or other "soft" targets when the main gun collateral damage would be excessive, or to conserve main gun ammunition.
Cupola
from the Latin word cupa, meaning little barrel, is a small turret often designated for the commander of a tank.


Desant
(Russian: Десант) is a Russian term for airborne or parachute drops, and naval infantry amphibious landing operations. A tank desant is a tactic where infantry soldiers ride into battle on tanks and later descend to fight on foot.


EDZ
(elementy dinamcheskoi zashchity, dynamic protection elements) is a reactive armor developed by the NIIBT to significantly reduce the penetration of HEAT warheads.
Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA)
is a type of armor that reacts by exploding upon impact. It can't withstand more than one hit to the same exact spot.


Fire control
is the control of the delivery of a projectile to a target.
Firepower
is the capability of a weapon to identify, engage and destroy an enemy target.
Flame tank
a modified tank that has a flamethrower mounted on its chassis rather than the main large-caliber gun.
Fume extractor
see bore evacuator


Glacis
is the front plate of a tank which is usually the most heavily armored part of a tank.
Great Patriotic War
refers to the Eastern Front of the Second World War in which the Soviet Union fought Nazi Germany and its allies from June 22, 1941, to May 9, 1945.
Guided missile
is a rocket that can be directed in flight to change its flight path. In typical usage the term "missile" refers to guided rockets, and "rockets" to unguided ones.
Gyroscope
an instrument that aids in stabilizing the main gun (i.e. maintain the orientation of the gun).


High explosive anti-tank warhead (HEAT)
are made of an explosive shaped charge that uses the Munroe effect to create a very high-velocity partial stream of metal in a state of superplasticity that can punch through solid armor.
High explosive squash head (HESH)
(In the U.S., known as "High Explosive, Plastic", HEP) is a type of explosive ammunition that is made of metal shells filled with plastic explosive.


IFV
see Infantry fighting vehicle
Infantry fighting vehicle (IFV)
(also called mechanized infantry combat vehicle, MICV) is an armored fighting vehicle used to carry infantry into battle and provide fire support.
Intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)
a ballistic missile with a maximum range that is greater than 5,500 km.
Intermediate-range ballistic missile (IRBM)
a ballistic missile with a maximum range between 3,500 km and 5,500 km.
Izdeliye
see Obiekt


Medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM)
a ballistic missile with a maximum range between 1,000 km and 3,500 km.
MIRV
(Multiple Independently targetable Reentry Vehicle) payload for a ballistic missile contains multiple warheads that can strike several targets or fewer targets repeatedly.
Missile
is a self-propelled, explosive projectile used as a weapon towards a target (see also "Guided missile").
Monocoque
(also called structural skin, stressed skin, unit body, unibody, unitary construction, or Body Frame Integral) is a construction technique that supports structural load by using an object's exterior, as opposed to using an internal frame that is then covered with a non-load-bearing skin or coachwork.
MRV
(Multiple Reentry Vehicle) payload for a ballistic missile that deploys multiple warheads in a pattern against a single target.
Muzzle
the open-end of a barrel from which the projectile exits when fired.
Muzzle-loading weapon
is a weapon in which the shell is loaded from the muzzle. Compare with breech-loading weapon.


NBC
an abbreviation for "nuclear, biological, and chemical."
NIIBT
(Nauchno Ispytatielny Institut Bronietankovoy Tekhniki, Scientific Test Institute of Tank Technology) is located in Kubinka, Russia.


Obiekt
(meaning Object, interchangeable with "izdeliye" meaning article or item) is a Soviet term used to refer to tank prototypes. It originated in the Second World War at the Nizhni-Tagil design bureau. Obiekt numbers were given to designs since the project codename or designation remained a secret. When prototypes are accepted for service, they are given their 'T-' designation.
OKB
(Russian: Опытное конструкторское бюро) Experimental Design Bureau. OKBs were institutions working on design and prototyping of advanced technology, usually for military applications.


Penetration aid
a device or tactic used to improve an ICBM warhead's chances of penetrating a target's defenses.
Pintle mount
is a mount that allows the gun to be freely traversed and elevated whilst keeping the gun in one fixed position. It is most commonly found on armored vehicles and aircraft. Unlike a turret, a pintle has little or no armor protection.
Post-boost vehicle (PBV)
also known as a "bus", is the portion of a rocket payload that has the maneuvering capability to independently target each warhead of a MIRV on a final trajectory toward a target.


Rangefinder
a device that measures the distance between a weapon and a target to accurately aim that weapon. Active rangefinders employ sonar, laser, radar or something similar to determine the distance while passive ones such as stadiametric, parallax or coincidence rangefinders make use of trigonometry.
Reconnaissance
is a military term referring to an exploratory survey or scouting conducted to gain information.
Reticle
also called a crosshair, a shape that is used for precise alignment of firearms.
RHA
see Rolled homogeneous armor.
Rifled gun
a gun with a barrel that has a helix-shaped pattern. It improves the accuracy of a projectile by spinning it which makes the projectile stable.
RKKA
(Russian: Рабоче-Крестьянская Красная Армия, Workers and Peasants Red Army) was the national army of the Soviet Union.
Rolled homogeneous armor (RHA)
is a theoretical basic type of steel plate, used as a baseline to compare the effectiveness of military vehicle armor.
Running gear
the parts of a motor vehicle not producing or controlling power including the frame, suspension, steering, and brakes.


Short-range ballistic missile (SRBM)
a ballistic missile with a maximum range that is 1,000 km or less.
Sight
an optical device that aligns the eye to a weapon to assist aim. It was mainly used in earlier tank designs and may include a reticle.
Smoothbore gun
opposite of a rifled gun. The barrel has no engraved pattern.
Snorkel
is a device used for air intake and engine exhaust when a vehicle is wading through deep water.
SPAAG
(Self-propelled anti-aircraft gun) is a mobile vehicle designed for the anti-aircraft role.
Sponson
is a projection from a vessel or land vehicle for protection, stability, or mounting of armament.


TEL
(Transporter Erector Launcher) is a vehicle that can transport, elevate to firing position, and launch one or several missiles.
Throw weight
is the effective weight of a ballistic missile payload. It generally is the weight of all components except for the launch rocket booster and launch fuel.
Trim vane
is a large flat device at the front that keeps an amphibious vehicle afloat by preventing the nose from digging into a wave and forcing the vehicle under.