Army GCV Faces Budget Axe

Army GCV Faces Budget Axe

The Pentagon is considering cutting more than $100 million from the Army’s massive effort to replace its outdated Bradley fighting vehicle.

According to a report by InsideDefense​.com:

“A draft resource management decision from the Office of the Secretary of Defense would cut $150 million from the Army’s $1.4 billion budget request for the [Ground Combat Vehicle] in fiscal year 2014, but deeper cuts are also being considered by OSD’s cost assessment and program evaluation shop (CAPE) under a “ground forces program review” study. Sources said those cuts would slash between $600 million and $700 million annually from the GCV program between FY-14 and FY-18, according to a Defense Department official close to the matter.”

The news surfaced about one month after the Congressional Budget Office slammed the GCV program, arguing that the Bradley replacement will likely weigh more than the M1 Abrams tank. That means that the GCV could weigh as much as 84 tons, the CBO maintains. That’s twice as heavy as current Bradley vehicle.

The CBO latest working paper, “Technical Challenges of the U.S. Army’s Ground Combat Vehicle Program,” makes the GVC resemble overly ambitious Army programs that failed in the past such the Comanche attack helicopter, the Crusader self-propelled howitzer and the family of super vehicles under the failed Future Combat Systems program.

Matthew Bourke, an Army spokesman, acknowledged that the service was reviewing the GCV acquisition strategy but declined to discuss specifics. “The Army is currently reviewing the GCV [engineering and manufacturing development] phase acquisition strategy to ensure we maximize competition to the greatest extent possible, while maintaining affordability and requirements achievability,” InsideDefense​.com reported.

The Army intends to replace about 40 percent of the Bradleys in its heavy combat brigades with GVCs. The Army issued a revised RFP in November 2010 after the initial solicitation were deemed too ambitious and created a real possibility that high technical risks and immature technologies would lead to spiraling costs and schedule delays.
The revised RFP left some flexibility in how the contractor could address the requirements and designated a manufacturing cost of between $9 million and $10.5 million per vehicle, an average procurement unit cost of $13 million per vehicle, and a sustainment cost of $200 per mile of operation.

Three teams submitted proposals.5 In August 2011, the Army awarded contracts valued at about $450 million each to two of the contractor teams: one led by General Dynamics Land Systems and the other by BAE Systems.

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Shows the current procurement system is broken. And show how much a waste this whole GCV program was. Instead of a M-2/3 upgrade which would solve most issues the Army ends up on paper with a HUGE sized target thats heavier than the Abrams tank. Hope GCV dies soon. JLTV is better use of R&D dollars then this boondoggle.

Just go and buy Namer, currently in production with GD US, with a 30mm RWS attached and get on with it.

namer is too big and heavy for the US. it’s fine for israel, but would be difficult for the US to deploy in urban or underdeveloped areas. an IFV isn’t a tank.


Stick to Bradley. Maybe new turret, new engine? Replace M113’s with turretless Bradleys.

I wonder what would happen if we designed a bradley variant that was extended by a roadwheel or two.

Perhaps this could be a wake up call for the Army to get their act together and restructure the program, like the JLTV’s near death experience last year.

It would certainly be preferable to gutting the program. There is a need for a new IFV but for Chrissakes the DoD needs to stop the endless stream of failures.

Whoops, looks like it did.

“I wonder what would happen if we designed a bradley variant that was extended by a roadwheel or two.”

My guess? It would wind up weighing 62–84 tons.
I swear, someone needs to stand behind these program heads with a wooden ruler. And rap the across the knuckles and scream “NO” in their ears constantly, to keep these damn things from spiraling out of control.

I’m just curious why the Biggest Defense Related Story of the day that “Canada Cancels their JSF Participation” isn’t being covered here?
.Canada Cancels JSF http://​www​.aviationweek​.com/​B​l​o​g​s​.​a​s​p​x​?​p​l​c​k​B​l​o​gId

If Congress reduces the funding of a program that is still in the research and development phase, how does that affect the program? Do the competing companies just stick to lab work and powerpoint?

There are othere reports today saying the Canadian government won’t confirm the kill and may simply put the F-35 in an open competition with other aircraft. The F-35 was chosen by Canada without a competition, but no contract was signed for a purchase.

I’ve read those as well. But this even if it goes to a “Fly Off” will be it’s end because of Up Front costs and Operating Costs. It will just be the first, Australia & the Netherlands will be next. With the F-35A at around $179 Million ( with engine ) and between 30-35K per flight hour depending on who“s figures you believe. It’s just not cost effective for countries with smaller Air Forces and much Smaller Defense budgets.

Like I’ve said before, Replace the Bradley’s turret with the new 40MM CTA remote gun and add either 2 Javelin or Spike Missiles, which will free up a lot of room inside the Bradley and give it a Lot more Fire Power.
It would be relatively inexpensive and would be using the same Ammunition a lot of our current Allies will be using. Britain & France to name a few. And as stated above replace the M113’s with turret less Bradley’s.

what is the status of the CTA gun? is it in production yet?

Yes for the British & the French. The British just signed a contract in Nov. for both the Warrior WCSP and FRES Scout projects. LM UK is doing both turrets. And they will start fielding them in 2016–2018.
. http://​www​.defenseindustrydaily​.com/​W​C​S​P​-​B​r​i​t​a​ins

It’s not cost effective for any country. What a monstrosity. It’ll bankrupt the military!

Yet they’re predicting 80tons for the GCV.…

Just go with the German/Dutch Boxer, Isreali’s Namer or the Swedish CV-90.

The CBO report did not slam the system. It just presented the facts.

If the defense readers were to pay any attention to the Canuks and their F-35 drivel, it would be a full time effort. Cancel the F-35 and go buy some used Cessna 150s, we are exhausted from listening to the whining.

Yes, but the facts show the GCV as imagined is not a viable option. There’s no way to achieve full-squad carrying capacity, and high levels of protection without impacting deployability. Something’s gotta give. Seems like a lighter option — akin to a larger M2/M3 with active anti-armor defense — could address most needs. Yet even this approach would offer sufficient IED protection? If not, can any vehicle design support all combat scenarios?

The Bradley-based variant of the GCV is a non-starter from a logistical perspective. Far too heavy to transport, and less than useful if it can’t cross a bridge that an M1 can. Complete waste of time.

No M-2/3 upgrade would solve the squad size problem, which is the important one.

No they are predicting 62 — 84T. Writers don’t mention the smaller number so readers get excited and post more.

Also that’s the CBO report not the Army position which I’d be very interested in seeing.

blight — whatever they choose it has to fit a nine man squad (former Bradley rifle company commander)

tmb — what armored vehicles don’t have a flat bottom hull. The Namer? No. The Puma? No. (add more here _____)

The IED suseptibility from the bottom is a canard. M1s are susceptible to IEDs. Put enough explosive underneath and ANYTHING is susceptible to an IED. We have to accept risk if we’re going to find a deployable, affordable solution.

I was thinking more like MRAP designs which seem to be driving some of the protection requirements. Completely understand that and IED can always be made bigger. That’s why I said the Army would have to be willing to accept a protection limit.

tmb — seems like you’re making the same mistake the yahoos working the program are. MRAPs and tracked vehicles have very different characteristics and strengths and can do so because they trade different things like height for mine offset but then having a higher target profile and less mobiity. I know you know this.

The problems with shaped hulls on tracked vehicles is sacrificing armor protection on the lower sides, strength of running gear and solutions to those issues raise the profile which impact being a target and mobility. Think the M48 Patton series for the last successful boat shaped tracked hull.

The problem with the decision makers is realizing you can’t have it all and prioritizing.

62ton is the size of most nations MBT.….

Don’t get me wrong. I think that’s heavy also though the best tracked APC’s carrying a 9 man squad are pushing or over 50T. The only exception might be the S. Korean K21 which is almost too good to believe (I’d like more info on the armor and see what nine man S. Korean squad in the back looks like e.g. stature, body armor etc.)

My point is every story makes maximim use of the 84T figure without mentioning the 62T.


“There’s no way to achieve full-squad carrying capacity, and high levels of protection without impacting deployability.”


An old engineering maxim about design tradeoffs says, “Fast, cheap, good. Pick any two of the three.”

Armored vehicle design has never been trivial, and it’s becoming more and more difficult recently. Especially given the sorts of cost constraints the services are now going to be facing.

The approach the Israelis took with Namer, and before that Achzarit, has a lot to recommend it. Capacious. Protective. Affordable.

But sadly not even close to easily deployable.

In an earlier thread, someone was commenting from the mech-inf perspective about how hard it makes their job to have squads split across multiple vehicles.

There is no reason to doubt this. But the general trend is going that way whether any of us like it or not.

Heavy APCs like the Namer are brilliant for an open-terrain fight. They can’t maneuver in urban confines, will crush weak bridges, and can’t be moved by a C-130 theater airlifter. Wheeled MRAPs vaguely work in cities to provide protection, but are inherently prone to rollovers and suspension breakage in places without roads. MRAP in mud? Fuggedaboudid.

Ideal: small enough for MOUT maneuvering. Light enough to be moved in a Hercules. Low enough ground pressure to go off road, including in mud, remaining stable and unstuck. Protective enough to equal the likes of an MRAP. Not a budget buster.

The design trade space at that point has had something squeezed out of it: passenger capacity. You probably can’t do more than 2+5 in that form factor. More likely down to 2+4 with the 4 in contemporary battle rattle. Which inevitably means split squads. And the difficult consequences thereof.

If someone has a solution that doesn’t involve goat sacrifices and magic incantations, let’s hear it.

And most of those militaries realisticly can never really go many places in the developing world. The heavier the force the more expensive, terrain restricted, etc.

Not to mention the US is really a Naval force. Our Land armies should be small we need vehicles that can be shipped to shore easily at even 62 tons thats insane.

There are a million reasons that its a bad idea.

Sometimes your doing more harm than good trying to make war “Safe”. More and more armor on the troops leads to men who at 30 have the knees of 70 year olds.

The same thing was seen with the MRAPs. They couldnt go where they were needed into the narrow allies and such. Meaning troops had to hump it farther. Then there is the fact that you cant look human behind 62 tons of armor.

I suppose we’d need someone who served in South Korea to comment. I’m not sure if they do the whole IBV+ESAPI+other gear that Americans do.

“Which inevitably means split squads. And the difficult consequences thereof.”

You are going to need about 2–3 times as many of these for starters. That or reduce the number of troopers used.

I hate to say, “I told you so.” — but I did. The real idiocy is that if all they were go to do is PIP the M1 and Bradley in the first place, what was the point of closing down Lima ? I see Army leadership becoming more and more “sequestered” from the rest of the world. If you don’t mind the pun…

I think it might be possible to add some modest V shaping to the hull bottom and add a layer of spaced armor to mitigate the damage from IEDs and mines. Part of the problem is that they killed the MGV family of vehicles for political and budgetary reasons, not good solid engineering, and now they are caught in the web of excuses they spun out back then. Not that it really matters, But I do think that if you stretch this program out, that opens Pandora’s box even more, making it harder to get any design over the line, Eventually, you end up with a hollow force and foreign armies fielding superior systems, not unlike where we were in the 70s, It is happening again.

I didn’t “neg” you but I think that the Army like most services either foolishly believed sequestration wouldn’t happen as the Pres promised in the debates or are nothing better than political apointees.

Ugh, here we go again. Blind wistful thinking for the good old days that never were…

First there were no MGV prototypes and given we weren’t EID obsessed then there’s ZERO reason to believe we’d be “modest “V” shaping” armored hulls which wouldn’t be adequate anyway. Then there’s the thought process at the time that almost perfect situational awareness (which never existed) would make typical armor approaches “unnecessary”.

I do agree with your thought that a drawn out acquisition spells doom for the program.

“someone was commenting from the mech-inf perspective about how hard it makes their job to have squads split across multiple vehicles.” It was me and it wasn’t just “hard” it was downright impossible to fight squads as a coherent unit when in the offense responding to an unexpected threat (often). It only took a fight that had a huge role for the Infantry to relearn a WWII lesson.

“But the general trend is going that way whether any of us like it or not.” First I’d ask for examples. Then I’d ask about what the recent experience/performance looks like.

I would counter some of the newest vehicles like the Boxer (wheeled), the K21, the Namer carry nine or more. The Israelis next to us have the most experience with mechanized Infantry.

IF there’s a trend in the opposite direction it doesn’t mean its right. Better to do it right than keep relearning what works filling bodybags. There’s a lesson there…

Yeah, they want too much and making it all work adds complexity, cost, risk, and you end up with a system that isn’t good at anything. They seem to do a wish list w/o considering what each requirement will mean to the performance, risk, and cost.

IED protection and mobility are almost mutually exclusive. To get good IED protection, you have to increase the center of gravity which makes the vehicle unstable and a bigger target. The weight makes it slow and adds maintenance/operating costs. If you put a bigger engine it to offset the weight’s mobiliity penalties, you just end up with a bigger heat signature issue.

Even if there is enough protection for the crew to survive, it’s fairly easy to get a mobility kill with an IED. The other issue is it’s relatively easy to make a bigger bomb. It’s damn hard to make a better protected vehicle.

lol Army delusion never dies. told ya. btw you’re wrong, there were MGV prototypes. NLOS-C was an MGV. but i suppose you have a smart aleck answer to this one, too. http://​www​.dote​.osd​.mil/​p​u​b​/​r​e​p​o​r​t​s​/​F​Y​2​0​0​8​/​p​d​f​/ar

you describe the Army’s m.o. perfectly!

i’ll bet a case of beer that when GCV goes down they will find a way to blame it on OSD, the politicians, and a casualty averse public that refused to fund the Army adequately, as opposed to their own breakdowns in rational decision making.

It would GCV would be nearly twice as BIG.

Whenever I look at the operational goals for the GCV, I get confused. Now, I’m out of my area of expertise here, but hasn’t the Bradley been used mostly a reconnaissance vehicle (though one with a pretty good offensive punch thanks to the TOW missile) rather than a troop carrier? I think the GCV is trying to fill a mission role that doesn’t really exist. What’s wrong with the concept of Abrams tanks, and improved Bradleys clearing the way forward for Strykers carrying infantry?

Sorry, but it seems to me that creating a fast, armored troop carrier with a serious offensive punch and armor that can stand up to Improvised Nuclear Devices, while remaining deployable and cheap to operate is a pipe dream.

majr0d: Your idea for the K21 looks like it would work out just fine. If what I just read is all true.
. http://​www​.armyrecognition​.com/​s​o​u​t​h​_​k​o​r​e​a​n​_​k​o​rea

But I’d rather see the New 40mm CTA gun system used on it.

My bad. I should have said EVERY MGV except for the ONE (prototpyes is plural) NLOS produced in Jun ’08. Less than a year before the program was cancelled.

How did it defend against IEDs?

Most Bradleys serve as ICV’s instead of Cav vehicles (the M2 vs. the M3 family). “By the end of 1994 the Army had produced a total of 6,724 Bradleys, 4,641 in the M2 Infantry configuration and 2,083 in the M3 Cavalry configuration. http://​www​.fas​.org/​m​a​n​/​d​o​d​-​1​0​1​/​s​y​s​/​l​a​n​d​/​m​2​.​htm

Keep in mind all the three Bradley equipped Armored Cavalry Regiments were mothballed. The one that remains is Stryker equipped.

Strykers don’t have the cross country mobility of M1s. They can’t keep up.

Not my idea. I think blight brought it to my attention.

I can’t believe the armor protection is as good as it sounds though I can’t prove it.

Slight correction: 2nd and 3rd still exist and run with Strykers.

And now that I think about that, how the hell can Strykers perform offensive recon and screening missions for an armored attack? 2nd and 3rd ACR were meant for Corps-sized offensives Desert Storm-style. I don’t see how we could do that again without relying on each BCT’s cavalry squadron. Does the cavalry doctrine say anything about that?

If it is, that would be the way to go, with both the Army & Marines because of it’s limited amphibious ability. But like I’ve said up above, I think we should go with the 40MM CTA Gun System for the added Fire Power and the fact that it only takes up as much room as a current 25MM cannon. Less space equals more Ammo. Plus the ability to add 2 Missiles doesn’t hurt either.

Thanks for keeping me straight. The two that remain are Stryker equipped.

Ref doctrine, I don’t know. The old ACR’s didn’t have battalions of Infantry. Obviously some things have changed. I doubt they can execute the old “Guard” mission legacy ACR’s were uniquely assigned to do (like tube artillery at the Squadron level, let alone Abrams tanks).

I don’t know enough of the 40mm CTA to say it’s equal in space requirements to any other system.

At a very simple level, the bigger the round the less you carry. Also the requirement for a high quality fire control system to provide first round hit probability (so you use less ammo). 40mm rounds allow for more types of fuzes like air burst.

Whatever the decision we REALLY need to keep in mind this is an IFV not a tank. When the Bradley was fielded it took DECADES to teach folks it’s not a tank and some STILL haven’t learned that lesson).

At 84 tons it should have got the axe before it even left paper.

swimmingly. haven’t you heard the army is not a cf. http://​asc​.army​.mil/​d​o​c​s​/​p​u​b​s​/​a​l​t​/​2​0​0​7​/​4​_​O​c​t​N​o​vDe… “In the fall of 2007, several Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C)
prototypes” “S” unless this article is a bunch of Army propaganda bs… that never happens now does it?

Put up a tinyurl for you.

“Army Transitions Hybrid Electric Technology to
FCS Manned Ground Vehicles”

I dug up the K21 during the CBO blog posting.

That said, it was declared at 25 tons because they armored it up with fiberglass. Difficult to say how it would’ve done being shot at. I guess if given the option to put appliques the weight might creep up to the 30’s, but that’s still much more acceptable than 60–80 tons. There’s also the expected weight of electronics…

Fiberglass may serve the same purpose glass does in chobham armor. Problem is I don’t know nor if it’s effective. I’ve never heard of fiberglass being used as armor. How does fiberglass react to fire/heat? Can it be returned to service after being struck? My point is the reported protection at 25T seems too good to be true. They are reporting Bradley A2 protection for 9 grunts vs 6 at 30% less weight. 40T seems like a more reasonable cost for those capabilities. The Army should go back and have included it in the AoA.

From the Jun 2008 story…

The U.S. Army’s Future Combat Systems (FCS) Program successfully completed full prototype integration of the first FCS Manned Ground Vehicle (MGV) Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C)… A total of eight NLOS-C prototypes will be produced into 2009, with all undergoing rigorous testing, safety certification and evaluations at various Army test facilities…

According to an old (2008) report from Forecast International, the K21 (also called “K300 KNIFV”) carries 3+9 fully equipped. No idea what stature assumptions they made on those 9. The armor (at least as of then) is conventional welded steel armor, with an additional layer of bolt-on spaced laminate steel/composite armor. The firepower is more impressive: a 40mm L/70, a TOW, and a secondary 7.62 M60, plus some grenade launchers.

Weight is 25 tonnes. Sounds like they traded some force protection for mobility and punch.

Cost was ~$3.2M each in 2008.

The development gets stretched, the contractors bill by the hour, and the final result ends up being slightly more expensive and slightly more obsolete when it rolls off the line than it would have been.

Cutting $150M from the next year of GCV development is not significant. The meat of the story is that someone seems to have noticed that even if the affordability miracle occurs, the Army is planning to spend nearly all of its combat vehicle funds over the next 15 years on this one program, producing fewer than 2000 vehicles in all.

The K21’s armor is reported to protect against 30mm across the frontal arc and 14.5mm on the flanks. Sounds equal to the Bradley which is hard to belive considering it carries 30% more. This makes we wonder how accurate the data sheets are on the k21.

“If not, can any vehicle design support all combat scenarios? ”

Probably not, and very unlikely at a cost you can afford. If it does, the design will require heavy compromise and probably be adequate at all, but great at none.

Even a M1A_ is poor at urban conflict and it’s considered a damn good tank. MBTs are just not mobile enough in a confined area and relatively vulnerable in cramped streets. The GCV will have many of the same issues.

“Seems like a lighter option — akin to a larger M2/M3 with active anti-armor defense — could address most needs.”

For a non-IED threat is seems like the best way to go. The systems are a bit new and unproven and have friendly fire concerns, but it is the best protection potential while maintaining manuverability and not being ridiculous.

I doubt very much if it would be worthwhile to defend the FCS survivability concept, but a couple of myths are worth attacking. First, the idea of “near-perfect” situational awareness was an analytical construct in experiments designed to measure workload — which is a definite concern in the design of digital C2 systems. Some people got it wrong, and tried to postulate that as a design feature. The ISR system of systems in FCS was layered — but there is absolutely and utterly nothing wrong with this — it is just the right thing to do. FWIW, it was the Infantry School that changed the 1998 version FM 71–1 to the effect that the company would start bounding platoons prior to contact since intel would also tell where and when contact was imminent. An excessive reaction to the 1988 language, which was flawed in the opposite direction.

woo hoo go army!

Actually, I was told that the MGV team had developed a V-shaped hull design before they blew the program up. Another inconvenient detail, mind you. If all they wanted to do was stretch the program and delay LRIP, other options were available to save money and address the cost and risk issues in SDD. FCS suffered greatly for rushing — I don’t think I am being too harsh here — from Milestone A to B. I’m one of the few who never accepted the myth that it was “all about the network”. Irrespective of the maturity of FCS Battle Command, the network was always going to perform within its physical limits. Be all this as it may, an incremental lifecycle model should be a way to achieve flexibility when critical design parameters are not known — not a way to kick the can down the road.

The big problem with the Stryker family of vehicles is that they are far less capable of defeating armor mounted that the BFV, with or without tanks. No TOW under armor, no automatic cannon. Just a 50 caliber machine gun or a 105 mm cannon. This does not mean that organizations so equipped cannot screen or cannot perform reconnaissance. We learned over and over again at the NTC that good reconnaissance takes time. Just throwing out a forward screen of scout vehicles in the movement to contact is not reconnaissance. In most armies, these missions are performed by line companies and platoons. The reason we put in the “advance guard” company role in FM 71–1/71–2 in 1988 was that we were beginning to understand that companies don’t just do a movement to contact all on their lonesome. So we ripped the forward security element out of Soviet doctrine and started training our own people how this worked. The Cav guys never understood this, though McGregors book pretty much shows how he maneuvered 2/2 ACR like a tank battalion at 73 Easting.

“First, the idea of “near-perfect” situational awareness was an analytical construct in experiments designed to measure workload” No. The FCS program touted “seeing, knowing, doing first”. It was the justification for a smaller lighter force that could precisely interdict the enemy.

From the rand study analysis of the FCS program (a great AAR)
“In the case of the Army, the optimistic assumptions of tactical-level (including down to the company and platoon echelons) situational awareness seemed to enable the use of lightweight FCS vehicles. In the case of the Army, the optimistic assumptions of tactical-level (including down to the company and platoon echelons) situational awareness seemed to enable the use of lightweight FCS vehicles. A favored TRADOC saying during the early 2000s was “see first, decide first, engage first,” a hallmark of the Objective Force.36 Translated, this essentially meant that future U.S. forces would be able to detect their opponents before the enemy found them, and U.S. units would be able to assess the situation quickly and engage the enemy with standoff precision fires before the opponent could direct fire from an ambush position. This much-improved level of situational awareness would, it was claimed, facilitate much lighter armored vehicles (which were, of course, also needed to fit into the VTOL aircraft associated with the air mechanization concept) since heavy armor, always a hedge against tactical surprise, would not be needed as much if at all in the future. A light force that would be much more deployable and yet be as lethal and survivable as a heavy force was so powerful an idea that it became the dominant theme for the Army After Next, soon to be designated the Objective Force. The network was the enabler, but little effort was expended on network architecture at this stage. The dominant interest was on the vehicles.” p 14 –15
“Tension in the operational concept between the needs for both MCO and asymmetric warfare capabilities led to tension in a number of important requirements. In the original SoRC, a key requirement is for FCS to “provide near-real time combat identification of friend, foe and noncombatant across the spectrum of operations.”115 Like the C-130 deployability requirement, unprecedented tactical intelligence underpinned the FCS operational concept. As a 2001 Objective Force White Paper articulated, at the tactical level, FCS forces would “see first, understand first, act first and finish decisively as the means to tactical success.”116 By detecting, identifying and tracking enemy units and developing a “common operational picture (COP),” or detailed understanding of the enemy’s capabilities and intent, FCS forces would, as the concept assumed, be able to achieve rapid battlefield dominance before the adversary had a chance to gain the initiative.“ p 80
Rand Study Lessons from the Army’s Future Combat Systems Program http://​www​.rand​.org/​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​/​d​a​m​/​r​a​n​d​/​p​u​b​s​/​m​o​n​o​gra

BTW, you clearly are ignorant about the evolution of Infantry doctrine. It’s always been doctrine to start bounding forces when enemy contact was imminent. I’ve read it in 70’s era M113 based FMs 71–3 and I was taught that in basic in ‘85. Contact never determined when to start bounding overwatch in the last 40 years.

Sometime you have to stop trying to rewrite history and acknowledge FCS was a bad idea and Ft. Benning wasn’t the reason for its failure.

The M1126 Stryker isn’t a good Cav or Scout vehicle. The ACR’s are not CAV organizations. The battalions are identical to Stryker infantry BNs. They are called CAV to maintain the lineage alone. I commanded in 3–5 Cav. It was an Infantry BN forced to use CAV Guidons.

The “Guard” mission for an ACR isn’t the advance guard mission you refer to. It is much more than a screen mission. It was a mission unique to the ACR and targeted at Europe with the heavy soviet threat. It is in effect a defensive mission vs the advance guard offensive mission.

The Stryker is not an adequate

I was told FCS vehicles would be C130 capable also and we would be able to “know, understand and do first” because of technology. It was as true as Santa and the tooth fairy.

Agreed. The Stryker was a fast infantry carrier, period. Put in in any other role and it flops royally.….….

I wouldn’t go that far. The MGS (105mm assault gun), the ambulance, the mortar carrier all do a very good job at the specialized roles they have. The problem becomes when folks try and use them in roles they weren’t designed for.E.G. The MGS isn’t a tank killer. It’s supposed to provide support to the Infantry (which is why they are assigned to Infantry companies vs. used in massed tank companies). The gun being smaller and the platform being wheeled aren’t the only considerations.

This is what I was referring to: From the FM: “A guard force performs all the tasks a screening force performs. Guard missions require units to fight the lead enemy regiments at ACR or separate brigade level, and the enemy advance guard battalions at squadron or battalion level. The ACR may be assigned a guard mission to support corps operations. Squadrons also frequently perform guard operations, as do separate brigades. A guard force–

Prevents enemy ground observation of, and direct fire against, the main body.
Reconnoiters, attacks, defends, and delays, as necessary, to accomplish its mission.
Normally operates within the range of main body indirect fire weapons.”

BCT squadrons do this mission with M3s. The ACRs were a mix of M1s and M3s. As you described, the ACRs were turned into Stryker BCTs (with mostly infantry) in all but name.

Yes but the specific vehicles is a relatively minor difference. ACR’s had a lot more firepower than similar sized armor or infantry units. Tube artillery organic was organic to the squadron. Troops had almost twice as many vehicles and an organic mix of Bradleys and M1s. The ONLY Infantry in the ACR of old were the mortarmen. uge difference in combat power and the ability to operate independently.

I suppose the modular brigade concept means we actually have more scouts in the formations, but it bothers me that the missions conducted in ODS by 2nd and 3rd ACRs are now done piecemeal at the BCT-level.

VeP, FCS suffered greatly from being rushed from wet dream to Milestone B, without pausing anywhere in-between. The AoA was a joke — it essentially assumed that all of the not-yet-demonstrated technologies (network, armor, hybrid-electric drive, sensors, etc.) would work perfectly, and that bandwidth would be infinite. Then it compared that situation with the status quo, and said “Gee, this is much better. Let’s do it.”

It is true that the MGV team was scrambling to find a way to retrofit a V-hull onto the design when the program was finally cancelled. But the program was dead long before that; it just hadn’t stopped spending yet.

BTW, I can independently verify majr0d’s take on the dependence on the network. In 2006, senior program officials (when pressed) would admit that the basic concept was to substitute information for armor, then not get hit.

It is silly to imagine that one can always predict when and where contact will occur. The 1998 manual simply assumed that the information would be available to guess right. I once had a battalion commander who accused me of executing a “deliberate attack” when I went into bounding overwatch after crossing the phase line where his own battalion op order stated that contact was “expected “. About 1200 meters later, my lead platoon caught my opponent in a defile, and I fed the fight faster, even though one of my platoon leaders had throw track and was basically out of it. So we won. I personally wanted to strength the language in the 1988 version of 71–1, but never got it done…we had big fights over this at Knox in the early 80s.

Infinite bandwidth is by definition impossible. Part of the problem is that a good many people out there simply don’t understand networks, even when the simulation they are using to model the systems is itself a network. I don’t think they ever came close to maxing out bandwidth, and they certainly did not come close to challenging CPU. The field tests necessary to characterize the FCS network were never done.

I also think it is B.S. to characterize heavy armor as a “hedge against tactical surprise”. That is just an invitation for tankers to be arrogant and tactically stupid.

A guard mission is a guard mission whether it is an advance or rear guard (or a flank guard). While, the context of the mission governs its intent, the word means the same irrespective of the level of command or the force allocated to perform it. The guard force fights on its own to protect the main body and enable it to maneuver (which in a retrograde, means giving it time to get away). In the advance, the guard force develops the situation, although to some extent that is true in the retrograde. There are subtle differences between a rear guard mission and a delay, especially a high risk delay, although similar TTPs may be used to do either mission. The Cav guys had a tendency to associate missions with echelons of command, because they wanted to limit and define the missions their organizations could do without reinforcement.

I’m not at all sure what these guys were thinking.…In Desert Storm, the Cav regiments were doing an advanced covering force mission in a Corps level movement to contact. The 73 Easting battle proceeded more or less on doctrinal lines, with the corps covering force making contact, developing the situation and then passing through the main body. We may never see such a classical Napoleonic battle again in our lifetime. Even though we do expect BCTs to fight on a broader front, with greater independence than before, it is not at all clear to me that it is a good idea to dedicate 1/3 of their combat power to reconnaissance and security missions. Also true for the FBCT, whose manuever battalions were 20% reconnaissance and security on top of a brigade level ISR squadron. The real deal is that in expeditionary early entry, you need a fairly sizeable and heavy force in as soon as possible to do what a covering force does. Current thinking ? Clueless.

Of course infinite bandwidth is impossible. I’m just saying that the ‘analysis’ that justified FCS as the preferred alternative assumed that there would be sufficient bandwidth to provide every conceivable end-to-end network application to work flawlessly — including extremely time-sensitive transactions like sensor-shooter coordination.

I’m not sure what you mean by “they ever came close to maxing out bandwidth”. FCS wasn’t providing the network; they were going to have it handed to them by JTRS and WIN-T, over which they would (by some undefined magic) have network management powers without having to get down into the guts of the waveforms. JTRS learned the hard way that wideband MANET quickly consumes all available bandwidth just for routing overhead if your network gets larger than about 30 nodes. Since the FCS CONOPS envisioned networks of 100+ nodes, this was bad news.

I’ll throw you this bone, Rod. Since I have not seen this Rand study before, I promise to take the time to read it, and will comment if anything worthwhile pops out. Although the intention appears to be to give FCS a decent burial with subtle curses and criticisms, there does appear to be some useful information not previously available to the public. Their conclusions don’t need to agree with my opinions — not all of which I am willing or able to express here — for it to shed light on the matter. But here is an admittedly rhetorical question — can you have too much information ?

“It is silly to imagine that one can always predict when and where contact will occur.” Absolutely.

“I also think it is B.S. to characterize heavy armor as a “hedge against tactical surprise”. Agree.

“But here is an admittedly rhetorical question — can you have too much information?” No (but you can be overwhelmed with too much info). The problem though with FCS was an unrealistic expectation of what sensors were going to be able to tell us about the enemy let alone the management of that info so we could use it in the manner envisioned (“see, know, act – first”).

I should have specified the ICV variant, but you are absolutely right. The Stryker has it’s place, and I believe part of the reason it got a bad rap was because the Army misused it.….

Though in support of your statement the scout version of the Stryker is kind of silly. The only benefit being the smaller logistical footprint by using a common vehicle. Sure it has the extended mast capability but unlike the CAV Bradley that tripled the number of TOW rounds. The Strker cav vehicle wastes internal space. A smaller four or six wheel variant would have been better for recon. Maybe slapping some motorcycles or ATVs inside for the dismount scouts might have added capability and justified the size of the vehicle.

The Marines put a 25mm on their recon type vehicle which at least used a lot of that internal space. Not so convinced that’s the way to go though because we have learned the more offensive capability one gives a scout the more likely they are to engage vs. scout unless extremely well disciplined.

I’m not an Army guy, and thus not wedded to a particular ground war fighting doctrine. But I worked advanced technology for seven years in the Future Combat Systems program. So I would ask a few naive questions of folks more expert than me. What if Armor and Anti-Armor technology has already fought its conclusive technology battle… and Armor has lost? What does that imply for future ground vehicle design and war fighting doctrine?

Most of us recognize the wide availability of tandem metal-jet RPG warheads, large fertilizer-based IEDs, and stealthy anti-armor mines. We also know that present and future wars are unlikely to be fought on only one type of open terrain. Vehicle movements on roads are inherently predictable. Off-road movement often destroys the property of people we’re supposedly protecting and reinforces hatred of western invaders.

The conundrum which grows from this combination is also predictable: survivable infantry fighting vehicles or tanks MUST be large and heavy… which makes them expensive, impossible to deploy fast, and difficult maneuver in narrow urban mazes or mountainous terrain. Lighter equipment is less survivable.

So where do these facts take us? What must we change in our thinking to address reality as it exists? Must we embrace a high-casualty war-fighting doctrine? Or is there some other way we can step out of this box we’ve built around ourselves? I don’t personally have answers to these hard questions. But I do recognize that some of us are like drunks under a lamp post — looking for the dime where the light shines (and where we were educated as war fighters), rather than where the dime is more likely to be,out in the shadows. We can’t get useful or actionable answers by asking the wrong questions, folks.


What about the K-21 IFV from South Korea? 25-tonnes, crew of 3 + 9 troops, 40mm cannon and amphibious. Doesn’t this pretty much meet all requirements?

German Army has/is replacing Marder with new vehicle. Buy it! And while we’re at it, buy the Wiesel light track for cavalry and airborne units

That GCV was even started reminds that the services live in a never-never land separated from the economic and fiscal realities facing the nation. Given that we are not just broke, but putting $1.3 trillion on the credit card each year, can’t we adapt the Bradley to serve our needs a bit longer? Is the promise held out by the GCV realistic? This is no time to be developing new, marginally better hardware like the GCV, or the F-35 for that matter.

Depending on the RPG it can penetrate from 300 — 600mm of armor. Most IFVs defend against RPGs with dismounted infantry, on board weapons, reactive armor or standoff approaches like SLAT armor or chickenwire.

The Puma doesn’t carry a nine man squad. That’s a key requirement and a lesson relearned in Iraq. Read the CBO report.

The Boxer is a great vehicle but it’s wheeled and can’t keep up with the M1 cross country (not to mention we’re invested in the Stryker).

blight and I have been chatting about that. It’s promising but the press is almost unbelievable. It carry’s 30% more troops at almost 30% less weight and provides almost the same protection as a Bradley? I sene there’s a catch with the armor. How does fiberglass react with high temperatures? Can a hit vehicle be returned to service. I’d like to see the stature and equipment of that nine man squad. Are they wearing body armor?

Might be the solution but I’m very cautious when a deal sounds too good to be true.

“A guard mission is a guard mission whether it is an advance or rear guard (or a flank guard).” Yes, but an advance guard isn’t a Guard mission. The Advance Guard mission is an offensive mission designed to penetrate the enemy FLOT and wreak havoc in the rear or to decively engage a superior force so follow on echelon forces can maneuver on it or around it. Advance Guard missions are assigtned to a reinforced company or BN. Typically an armor organization is the core upon which it is task organized (not a Cav TOE unit).

The ACR Guard mission is a defensive mission assigned to ACRs because of their superior firepower over other TOE CAV and armor formations. The lowest level a Guard mission can be accomplished is at the BN level. It is an economy of force mission designed to protect a larger organization.

You are clearly confused on doctrine. The use of the word “guard” in what a force is named and it’s use as the action in a mission statement are two different things. The nuance’s are important just like “seize” is different than “control” when applied to a piece of ground. (Seize= physically on it, Control can be attained by putting terrain under fire).

Like you said, copying Soviet doctrine and terms confused folks.

I remember this so well because I had it hammered into me at the Armor Officer’s Advance course. Being a light Infantryman it was totally new to me.

One very interesting nugget presented in the CBO report was how individual APS systems interfere or interact with eact other hasn’t been deconflicted or networked. Then there’s the problem that some of the active and passive anti-armor systems jam your communications.

So imagine the platoon wedge or column where every vehicle fires off an active defense round to one RPG, can’t report contact and might have it’s GPS signal masked (so higher doesn’t know where you are exactly on the battlefield) by its active and passive anti armor protection systems.

Sticky problem. APS seems to be commonly portrayed as much more mature and less problematic than they actually are. One thing FCS taught me is to be extremely skeptical of what the vendors are telling you and don’t let the technophiles blind enthusiasm blind you (inviting them or their kids along seems to temper blind enthusiasm).

The US Army doctrine of lighter, mobile forces was crushed by the Irag war and IED’s. Then the MRAP
was developed and the US Army was faced with the problem of OCCUPYING a hostile territory. The problem for the GCV is the US Army has two conflicting requirements. Fast and mobile for shock and awe followed by static deployment in a defensive posture to defend the taken territory. One vehicle does everything is not going to be viable unless the technology of armoring the vehicle is improved to significantly reduce weight.
The US Army is best served by having vehicles tailored to the mission requirements.

“Here, wear this and stand in front of the tank, and we’ll see if this active defense system doesn’t kill you when it goes off…”

providing a vehicle that transports squad size staff is not going to work, the previous statements list all the faults. small lightweight, fast vehicles that carry fewer personnel may work if lots of them are deployed and they are mobile enough to get around better than a apc. deploy them with lots of tank and arty. support. for get the heavy guns on the vehicle, as they are useless when under heavy fire, lots of little bee’s running around are harder to hit and have mobility. the fact that when one is destroyed there is less loss of people and money. facts are facts, the stronger you build a vehicle the more fertilizer/explossives will be added to the mix and will just blow it higher. provide the protection to the personnel and not the vehicle. find a way to detect the ied’s as they will not be stopped from killing our people unless they can be detected and subdued. loved the john deere gators, to bad they are not supplied with some light weight armor like kevlar.

Most sources seem to be saying that the armor is a laminated fiberglas and metal composite. If that’s the case, they may have traded multi-hit capability for weight. Recent versions apparently also have both hard– and soft-kill APS.

Given that the external dimensions aren’t much bigger than a Bradley, and yet they carry 9 dismounts, I suspect the vehicle does NOT provide significant underbelly protection by current US standards.

Something doesn’t seem right.

Consider you will then have to buy twice the number of vehicles. We’ve also discussed at length the difficulty of employing the squad from two different vehicles while under fire. (I commanded a Bradley company.) We made that mistake with the Bradley and relearned the lesson in Iraq. Read the CBO report they address the issue briefly but hit the key points.

I read in the CBO report that the Army is accepting some risk to troops and people outside the vehicle. I don’t know how big the problem is. General sensibilities when it comes to these matters is greatly lacking in the general public and even much of the military sector. Stand behind a claymore, LAW, AT4, RPG or Javeelin when it’s fired and it will kill you.

If people are expecting no casualties when you employ a defensive system they belong in the same bunch of ignoramuses that think zero civilian casualties justified the OEF ROE or over hype the IED threat.

Food for thought as one reads the reports and tries to make sense of it.

BTW, Some would mount claymores on the outside of tanks in Vietnam as a defensive measure against close in enemy infantry. Problem is a claymore doesn’t differentiate between enemy and friendly troops when used.

Well, let’s just say that at least two of the guys who wrote the book don’t agree with the people who taught your class. This was pretty well hashed out by the authors of 71–1 and 71–2 in the 1985–87. I can understand why the Cav guys came into kick sand in people’s eyes. They looked at the guard mission as a reserved word that belonged to them and them alone. But for what it is worth, the transposition of noun and verb forms in mission statements is a typical grammar pattern, such that “Company A moves to contact (as the battalion advance guard) is essentally the same statement as Company A is the battalion advanced guard in the movement to contact”. I won’t even begin to defend the linguistic dyslexia that convinces professional officers think that this is a distinction that makes a difference.

One more thing. Knox did not make up the battalion advance guard stuff. The originator was the primary author of 71–2, who was an infantry officer and a SAMS graduate. When we saw what they were doing in 71–2, we didn’t wait around. We picked it up as a fundamentally good idea, incorporated the changes our classroom materials, then retrofitted the 71–2 concept into the draft version of 71–1, which trailed 71–2’s publication date by about a year. The tendency at the time, including in the Cav manuals, was to clearly align missions, tasks and associated TTPs as self evident reflections of mission command. Rather than some horridly lengthy statement of intent, all you needed was a standard mission statement with a why statement appended, and we expected company commanders to understand what they needed to do by doctrine. At least this what the language as used sought to accomplish. The Cav troop manual, FM 17–98 was written with much the same intention in mind and there was a good bit of stylistic cross-fertilization.

this is one more example of the obviously incompetent people who are running the pentagon. how much longer do we have to put up with this idiocy? people usually get better in their jobs over time. the people in the DOD seem to sustain their sheer stupidity throughout their careers. we seem to have two big threats to our military superiority. one is communist china and the other is the pentagon and the people who run it. it does nor seem to matter who is in the white house when you have brain dead people in our military procurement system. most big countries fall from within. that seems to be the way our country is headed.

“BTW, Some would mount claymores on the outside of tanks in Vietnam as a defensive measure against close in enemy infantry. Problem is a claymore doesn’t differentiate between enemy and friendly troops when used.”

Zumbro mentioned a McGyver of claymores detonated with commo wires from inside the tank. It never sounded kosher, but hey, if you’re alive to talk about it…

Lots of little bees would not have penetrated very far into Fallujah or Najaf, or be able to follow the tanks into Baghdad.

““Company A moves to contact (as the battalion advance guard) is essentially the same statement as Company A is the battalion advanced guard in the movement to contact”.

That is doctrinally correct. The mission is movement to contact.

That is different than, “___ Cav Squadron (or __ ACR) GUARDS (emphasis added) from phase line ____ to phase line ___ to protect the flank (or cover the withdrawl) of ______ BDE/DIV/CORP. “ Note: the unit can be no smaller than a CAV squadron (of an ACR) or an ACR and is in effect defending for a much larger unit. Unlike the delay mission there is no requirement to set an end time.

“Advance Guard” is the equivalent of a “DLIC” (Detatchment Left in Contact) or “strongpoint” (unrelated terms). It isn’t a mission but a concept that includes specific tasks the unit executes as part of an offensive mission.

“What if Armor and Anti-Armor technology has already fought its conclusive technology battle… and Armor has lost?” What evidence do you have that this is the case?

“survivable infantry fighting vehicles or tanks MUST be large and heavy…” No, there is a myriad of ways to make IFVs survivable and we have used them throughout history. Halftracks in WWII didn’t fight tanks. Avoiding the most likely avenues of approach minimize IEDs. Avoiding the use of roads. Stating IFV must be large and heavy to survive is like saying bombers must have a large bomb load and extreme range. The truth is it depends on many issues.

“Must we embrace a high-casualty war-fighting doctrine?” Which doctrine are you talking about. The last attrition based approach was Nam. We have suffered about 6000 dead in over a decade that almost ten times less than Nam and the rough equivalent of D-day. Why the hyperbole?

Check out the CBO report. It really does a great job of explaining a myriad of issues. I’d consider it reference material for anyone interested in mechanized warfare. http://​www​.cbo​.gov/​s​i​t​e​s​/​d​e​f​a​u​l​t​/​f​i​l​e​s​/​c​b​o​f​i​l​e​s/a

The rand study on FCS I mentioned in this thread speaks at great length of the error of relying on immature tecchnologies to realize new warfighting approaches. http://​www​.rand​.org/​c​o​n​t​e​n​t​/​d​a​m​/​r​a​n​d​/​p​u​b​s​/​m​o​n​o​gra

You said you as an Air Force officer worked FCS. Would you know who said the Air Force and national intelligence would be able to tell us if a building was occupied or not and if the enemy was armed? Some actually wanted to model these capabilities that never happened into FCS analytic testing.

Army already has an A4 M113 ready to go. It has and extended chassis, electric hybrid drive with an all electric mode of operation and a quiet band track. And it can keep up with Bradleys and M-1s. Its also more survivable than a Bradly.

Why is the government paying for R&D? let the contractors develope equipment to a set of specs, prove it works and then have DoD buy it. Somewhere along the late 1960s or 70s contractors convinced the DoD it would be cheaper to pay for R&D nd now we waste BILLIONS every year on projects that never come to fruition.

At some point the DoD convinced itself it needed to have unproven technologies in its weapons and the industry convinced the DoD and Congress that it wasn’t fair to put the risk on them. This arrangement probably continues because the industry keeps convincing the DoD doing the unproven and risky is still a worthwhile proposition (easy to do when it’s not your money being risked.)

“Fast, cheap, good. Pick any two of the three”

Sadly recent acquisition efforts have gone for “slow, expensive, compromise, you can have all three!!”

In looking at all the comments and wondering why we are still trying to build something new, why not try the marine’s LAV-25 and see if it meets the requirements that are needed. With this push for morotized and not tracked vehicles (stryker), this could be a viable and cheaper means to get what you need and still be able to maneuver effectivly on the battlefield. As a gunner on a bradley the M2424 Bushmaster cannot be beat unless you change it to to 30 mm from the apache. This is just food for thought.

The LAV-25 can’t hold a full squad, it’s a scout vehicle. It also has to be able to keep up with the M1 Abrams and you can only count on another tracked vehicle to do that.

Ah the old 3/5 Cav. I used to go barter parts from 3/5 & 5/5 mechanics in the old days at Ayers Kassern. We had 4 additional M3s attached to us during DS, they were crewed by 8th ID troops(3/7Cav) who were supposed to reinforce 3/5. A old 19D from HHC 4/32AR. Great memories.

Yeah, the Rock! I remember those times well.

Merry Christmas.

But the Israelis found it almost critical to have some heavy tanks in city fights.


Why don’t we just go with TWO M-2 IFVs per squad with associated medics, snipers, spare ammo/food/equipment?


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