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10 Aug 15. US Army’s combat vehicle strategy seeks capability, not platforms. Key Points:
• The army’s Combat Vehicle Modernisation Strategy is seeking a broader set of attributes
• Officials are considering various options, such as hosting main guns on an autonomous vehicle
The US Army is taking a new approach for developing and fielding combat vehicles, hoping a broader capability requirement – which could include unmanned weapons – nets more success.
Previously the army approached vehicle acquisition by outlining the “things” it wants to buy, but has not had “a strategy for capability”, General David Perkins, head of army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), said during a briefing at the Ground Vehicle Systems Engineering and Technology Symposium in Novi, Michigan.
Recent major combat vehicle developments have ended in failure, with the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) terminated in last year’s budget, the Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) family of systems in 2009, and the Crusader self-propelled howitzer in 2002. The army now hopes a new Combat Vehicle Modernisation Strategy can achieve success by focusing more on an ‘end state’ rather than certain equipment types.
“The strategy is a combination of ends, ways, and means” and ultimately is meant to deliver an ‘end’ that is “a combination of mobility, protection, and lethality,” Gen Perkins said earlier this month.
In the US political system it is often easier to secure funding for specific equipment or for addressing a specific threat; it is much harder to sell Congress on investing in something amorphous, such as a general combination of attributes.
“The product of our combat vehicle modernisation strategy is not a tank, it may not even be a combat vehicle as we know it now,” he said. “The end of our strategy is a capability to apply mobility, protection, and lethality” that provides the army a competitive advantage.
Many observers expect that the end product will be an infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) – especially given the need to replace ageing Bradley IFVs – but Gen Perkins stressed a need to look at this differently.
An IFV or a main battle tank is “merely a way to get at an end state”, he suggested, “maybe the lethality [weapon system] is not organic to the vehicle, maybe the vehicle is plugged into something else, some other autonomous capability that can deliver lethality.”
Over the next five years the army hopes to recapitalise its M1A2 Abrams main battle tanks, Bradley IFVs, and Stryker combat vehicles, while working towards slowly introducing Armoured Multi-Purpose Vehicles (AMPVs) to replace ageing M113-series armoured personnel carriers.
From fiscal year 2021-29 the service plans to prioritise lethality improvements for its Infantry and Stryker brigade combat team (BCT) formations with “a Mobile Protected Firepower platform” and for its Armoured BCTs with “the addition of third-generation Forward Looking Infrared [3G FLIR] technologies”. Moreover, in that timeframe the army expects to invest in “Active Protective Systems [APS]/and Hostile Fire Detection [HFD]”, according to its modernisation blueprint. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Aug 15. Armour experts sceptical over T-14 ‘invisibility’ claims. Armour specialists from both Russia and the United States are sceptical of recent claims made by the enterprise that produces Russia’s new T-14 Armata MBT that the tank is essentially “invisible” to radar. The claim was made by the director of the Nizhi-Tagil-based UralVagonZavod (UVZ) plant, Vyacheslav Khalitov, on Ekho Moskvy radio on 3 July. “We essentially made the invisible tank,” said Khalitov. He also elaborated on the tank’s internal arrangement, stating that key “emitters” that normally make other tanks vulnerable to current-generation anti-armour weapons are fitted as far as possible into