Terrestrial energy is trying to develop integral molten salt nuclear fission reactors. These nuclear reactors would have about 20-200 times less volume than conventional nuclear fission reactors. The US, Europe and China are trying to develop supercritical carbon dioxide turbines that would have 100 times less volume than regular steam turbines. The Hammer’s Slammers Science fiction nuclear hovertank would be enabled with the two technologies that are under development (molten salt reactors and supercritical CO2 turbines.
By shrinking the nuclear reactor and the turbine by 100 times, plenty of other vehicles are made possible. Various nuclear ships and submarines can be revamped. Also, space bases with nuclear become more possible with one launch.
The 60 MW thermal IMSR would be the size of a fairly deep hottub. The Supercritical CO2 turbine would be about 8-10 cubic meters. The Supercritical CO2 could boost the electrical power to 33 MWe. 33MWe is 44,254 horsepower, which is about 30 times more power than the 1500 horsepower in current tanks. The 550 ton Russian Zubr hovercraft has 57000 horsepower. So a 170 ton nuclear fission (integral molten salt with supercritical CO2 turbines) could be designed with hovercraft capability.
Hammers slammers imagines 170 ton nuclear fusion powered tanks
The Russian Zubr landing craft has a cargo area of 400 square meters (4,300 sq ft), and a fuel capacity of 56 tons. It can carry three main battle tanks (up to 150 tonnes), or ten armored vehicles with 140 troops (up to 131 tonnes), or 8 armored personnel carriers of total mass up to 115 tonnes, or 8 amphibious tanks or up to 500 troops (with 360 troops in the cargo compartment).
5 Kuznetsov NK-12MV gas turbines;
2 for lift, 3 for propulsion; 5 x 11,836 horsepower
Propellers: 3 four bladed variable pitch propellers
Speed: 63 knots
340 tons (light)
415 tons (normal)
555 tons (full load)
Military Lasers in the 10-100 Kilowatt class now should be into the Megawatts in the 2020s
200 ton Panzer VIII Maus was the largest tank ever built
Problems with the super heavy tanks are that they cannot cross bridges, tear up roads and were slow (because of problems getting powerful engines). The engine power problems would be solved if there was a compact nuclear source as described above. Having a hovertank would solve tearing up roads.
Brian Wang is a Futurist Thought Leader and a popular Science blogger with 1 million readers per month. His blog Nextbigfuture.com is ranked #1 Science News Blog. It covers many disruptive technology and trends including Space, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, Medicine, Anti-aging Biotechnology, and Nanotechnology.
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