Army Defends GCV, Keeps Lakota Stateside

Army Defends GCV, Keeps Lakota Stateside

U.S. Army officials had to defend the high-priority Ground Combat Vehicle Wednesday as lawmakers continue to scrutinize every program in the Army’s budget.

The service recently decided to delay the effort to replace the Bradley fighting vehicle by adding another six months to the GCV program’s engineering, manufacturing and development phase. The Army had already announced a six-month delay to the technology development phase in January.

Rep. Ken Calvert, R-Calif., said he wanted to know if the Army is taking the right steps to ensure that the costly program will be relevant far into the future.

Secretary of the Army John McHugh told lawmakers that the Army is “really trying to go to school on our past mistakes” to avoid future missteps.

“We started out on the wrong foot when we put out a [request for proposal] that contained about 1000 must-have requirements,” he said, explaining how the service was reaching for too far on an effort that was too dependent on immature technologies.

Program officials have now trimmed the tier-one requirements down to about 137, McHugh said.

General Dynamics Corp., based in Falls Church, Virginia, and the U.S. subsidiary of London-based BAE Systems PLC have received contracts valued at about $450 million apiece to develop the GCV systems.

Army officials are expected to down-select in about six months to a single vendor in the Milestone B portion of the program, a decision that will save the Army $2.5 billion, McHugh said.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno told lawmakers that he wasn’t sure he even supported the GCV effort when he took over as chief of staff.

Looking at the Bradley’s performance in Iraq convinced him.

“The Bradley did not perform well in Iraq,” he said. “It did not protect our soldiers, it did not carry a full squad and we cannot put into the Bradley the IT capabilities that we want in order to pass information.”

Other lawmakers wanted Army officials to explain why the 249 UH-72 Lakota helicopters in use with the National Guard is not being considered for a possible armed-aerial scout role in the active force.

The Lakota has performed tremendously, Odierno said, but it’s designed for specific missions such as homeland defense rather than the harsh conditions of the battlefield.

The Army decided to buy the Lakota because it had to deploy most of its UH-60 Black Hawks to the warzone, he said.

The Lakota is “not an aircraft we can deploy operationally,” Odierno said.

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““The Bradley did not perform well in Iraq,” he said. “It did not protect our soldiers, it did not carry a full squad and we cannot put into the Bradley the IT capabilities that we want in order to pass information.””

Oh dear, Majrod just blew a gasket after reading this.

I’ll agree with the Chief on the last two and conditionally on the first one. Did we lose Bradleys to IEDs? Of course. We also lost a few Abrams as well.

“Other lawmakers wanted Army officials to explain why the 249 UH-72 Lakota helicopters in use with the National Guard is not being considered for a possible armed-aerial scout role in the active force.”

I wonder if those Congressmen were around when we decided to buy the Lakota. The Army told them back then that it would be a stateside aircraft.

of course the pork spenders who started this will defend it: Murphy’s law ICC is dead GCV is on the way. And good riddance to pork crap projects

Now the army seems to think that creating a Bradley variant (only now weighing in at an estimated 80 tons) is the way to go. This came as something of a surprise to me, considering that the DoD is trying to figure out how to shorten and reduce their logistical problems — only to increase them via GCV.

The army is getting so heavy that it can’t deploy anywhere without months of notice.

To make matters worse, they were looking yet again to create a vehicle with a bunch of new technologies that don’t exist yet. Maybe they haven’t gotten the picture, but their budget is going DOWN. Hence, for practical reasons, they need a vehicle that can be upgraded without causing a nightmare, and an acquisition program that is (for once) efficiently run.

The US Army is on it’s defensive heels.….reeling from one issue to another whether it’s the uniform, the M 4 carbine or the Bradley. More importantly, it would seem the Army really doesn’t know how to handle the new Air Sea Battle Plan, while at the same time the Navy and Marine Corps keep chugging along with oplans that make alot of sense.

C’mon Army.… get your act together! FUBAR??

PolicyWonk, while I agree having a 70+ ton AFV is a horrible idea your assertion that the Army cannot deploy anywhere without months of notice has completely over looked both the IBCTs (Infantry, Airborne and Air Assault) and SBCTs. In addition, the existence of pre positioned stocks of heavy equipment at multiple locations accross the world means that a number of ABCTs can deploy with relatively short notice as well.

“they were looking yet again to create a vehicle with a bunch of new technologies that don’t exist yet”

Which is probably the core of it. Decouple R&D from procurement, and procure what has been demonstrated, not what you saw in a movie, then upgrade later.

“The Bradley did not meet our arbitrary metrics, so we need a new vehicle that will”.

“Build an invincible Tiger tank that can shrug off 75mm anti-tank rounds but is so unreliable half will be abandoned in the field!” ~Adolf You-Know-Who

There aren’t any Army personnel in the Air Sea Battle office. Kinda hard to handle a game when you’re not invited to play.

Yeah, but even the IBCTs and SBCTs wait for Dick Cheney and his Haliburton buddies to bring air-conditioned temp lodging, McDonalds, Burger King and Pizza Hut to the battle front, otherwise the quality-of-life would suffer. And don’t forget steak night! So. I’ll bet one of those remaining 137 priority one requirements is for the on-board beer cooler!

tmb2 — Concur. Even more so if one accepts the unrealistic standards and overblown casualty aversity of our decision makers. This will bite them in the butt when they have to deploy the next force (just like it did when we went to Bosnia which fueled the development of the Stryker). We consistently plan on fighting the next war like the last one.

You probably know but the Lakota had to have the AC system totally reworked because internal temps were hitting 140 deg and impacting electronic performance (as well as the crew). A combat helicopter that needs a working AC to be combat ready isn’t one you want to have to deploy. It also is contractor maintained, has no deicing capabilities, has a carbon monocoque body (no easy fix for a bullet hole), it seems to be delicate, cramped in back and offers no performance advantage over Kiowas. UH-72A LAKOTA LIGHT UTILITY HELICOPTER (LUH) Operational Test and Evaluation Report (1st paragraphs say it all) http://​pogoblog​.typepad​.com/​p​o​g​o​/​f​i​l​e​s​/​u​h​7​2​a​_​l​uh_
Here’s a good discussion. http://​www​.socnet​.com/​a​r​c​h​i​v​e​/​i​n​d​e​x​.​p​h​p​/​t​-​1​1​1​887.…
or http://​abcnews​.go​.com/​b​l​o​g​s​/​h​e​a​d​l​i​n​e​s​/​2​0​0​7​/​1​1​/​che

Agreed regarding the McDs, BK and Pizza Hut; most of the Soldiers that eat at those places need to be on a diet anyways. THe only one I would ask to be kept is the Tim Hortons Donuts that was on KAF. Not sure if that is there anymore, probably left with the Canadians. But as someone who spent 1/4 of a deployment deficating in 55gal drums and eating MREs with the rest of the meals consisting of UGRs, I can tell you the occasional grade D steak is a welcome change of pace.

One idea of an Army complement/alternative to ASB is here:

But of course, taxpayer knows full well that Dick Cheney left Hallibuton over 13 years ago… right?

Doesn’t matter until you sell the direct stock you own of a company.

Though a mutual fund that owes Halliburton shares…well, you can argue that’s the fund’s decision, not your own.

If Eve didn’t eat the apple, original sin would’ve been Adam acting on an insider tip to invest in property outside of Eden.

You’d be interested to know the Bill Gates foundation is spending money on the next generation of outdoor toilets. Mostly for third world countries, but with potential military applications. For instance, biochar.

If you were feeling gutsy, you could use it for bbq charcoal. And if not, it’s sterile and can be used to fill HESCO barriers. Everyone wins. No more shitburning.

Now the airborne will never get that paradroppable tank…RIP AGS.

Nope, he didn’t own the direct shares and his options were already being given to charity. http://​www​.factcheck​.org/​k​e​r​r​y​_​a​d​_​f​a​l​s​e​l​y​_​a​c​c​u​ses

Cheney draws deferred compensation from Halliburton. That was a point of contention when he was SECDEF. The lawyers ruled he didn’t have to sell it or put into a blind trust.

If he didn’t own stock, then more power to him.

Though the deferred payment thing is common, and very nice of Halliburton to reduce his tax burden. That said, most people who get to where he does can make enough money speaking, consulting and investing to never ever need to be “employed” in the classical sense ever again.

Surprised they paid him enough that he wanted it deferred in installments to put it into a lower tax bracket. I thought the usual practice was to put it into stocks and shares to make it capital gains. Considering that he was well off before, he probably could’ve spread the money out over ten years to put it in an even lower tax bracket.

And it was owed to him no matter how the company did unless it went bankrupt and he bought an insurance policy to cover that eventuality. Read the link I provided to factcheck​.org.
There is lots to dislike Cheney about but this particular crap is not among them.

You do know that the AH-64D needs A/C to function as well right?

Badmonkey, just about every military vehicle with electronics needs an air conditioner. Read the articles he posted. The issue was the helicopter was initially fielded without adequate air conditioning and was overheating.

The original Tiger worked well enough, this is more of a Tiger II or Maus to be honest.

The mobile gun system is supposed to replace the AGS, although it really can’t. You think the lesson they’d learn from Iraq is that a big enough bomb will defeat any armor.

Or maybe they would learn the lesson the Israeli’s learnt.

Heavier armor and advanced vehicles reduce personal casualties even in the face of much more advanced weapons and threats.

Yom Kippur War — Average of 2 casualties per armor penetration
1982 Peace for Galilee — Average of 1.5 casualties per armor penetration
2006 Second Lebanon War — Average of 1 casualties per armor penetration

The weapons and threats used in the Second Lebanon war far outweigh anything the U.S. has come up against, and were more than even the Israeli’s were used to.

Which is why one of the results of that last war is the Namer. Heavy armor works.

Sure, a large enough IED will destroy anything. But now you’ve made it far more complicated, harder to conceal and limited the amount that can be deployed.

The Israeli model makes sense when everything is driving distance, and in an arid landscape. What about deploying by sea or air, or in countries with numerous decrepit bridges? No way the US should accept Namer, or anything similarly heavy (and keep in mind that Namer is too heavy even without a turret). Moreover, while Israel’s victory in ’67 is no doubt impressive, fighting against insurgent groups in Lebanon is a small subset of the type of conflict that the US might be fighting in the future.

And Army also lost Strykers in Iraq as well, early on at a higher rate than Bradley losses (prior to the bird cage slat armor), but in effort to “polish a turd”, Stryker losses were buried for the sake of making it look like the fix-all vehicle the Army needed/wanted for a long time.
I also see the Army fails to recognize that even MRAPs are susceptible: in Tallil 2009 at the RPAT yard, we often saw the sad results of MRAPs ambushed by those Iranian shaped charge grenades.
At such close ranges as city fighting, it took little effort to pitch one at the trucks that easily missed the add-on side armor “tiles”.
We saw one slaughtered by no less than 7 hits on one side, incluiding 4 thru the large windows.

In such instances, even an active protective system would be overwhelmed by massed attack.

There is no perfectly, or even ideal, invulnerable vehicle,
but rather, any design has to be a compromise solution.
Sadly, we now have gone back to committees designing weapons; too often those committees have few, if any, people who genuinely know an ounce of the history of armored vehicle development.

It is indicative of the types of conflicts in the future, the tactics and the weapons.

If the U.S. doesn’t seem to be having a problem deploying the M1A2 TUSK’s, Wolverine’s, etc, then there is no excuse for not being able to deploy a heavy APC.

For the sake of this discussion, it’s probably worthwhile to distinquish a mobility kill from a catastrophic kill. It depended on the size of the IED, but all three classes of vehicles had varying levels of success protecting their crews even when the vehicle was disabled. The trade off to crew protection of course is the Stryker and MRAPs were restricted in where they could drive and the missions they could be given. 2SCR sent task force into Baquba in 2008 with two reinforced battalions led by Strykers. I think most of the troops fared okay, but nearly a dozen Strykers had their wheels blown out from under them. On the flip side, having too heavy of an IFV means you’re also restricted to solid terrain, limited number of bridges, and you’ll have more pauses for fuel and maintenance.

For Iraq we had the friendliest coastal nation in the region with a 6 lane highway into the country. For Afghanistan we only deployed a company of tanks and didn’t even try to do that until a couple years ago.


Indeed, if we were to try to air transport 70+ tons of GCV, we would only be able to get ONE onto a C-17, just as with an M1A2. But even with pre-positioned stocks, there have historically never been enough around (even in Kuwait, prior to Gulf War II) to get the job done. It took months to get all the gear in, and it took months to get it all back out — regardless of pre-positioning.

The logistics problems with such heavy equipment are downright nasty, as anyone who’s involved with them directly will tell you. Getting it there, transported somewhere close to the battle-space, and keeping very heavy armor maintained, fueled, etc, involves a lot of heavy support.

I’m all for a replacement for the Bradley if it isn’t the right platform for the job — but we need to be cognizant of the problems we create for ourselves that the DoD has not been shy about complaining about the logistical headaches. Hence its desire to reduce the logistical burdens.

And true the Army has its airborne and smaller units, which help and are immensely useful. But for a large operation involving heavy armor the same problems will persist, especially if we use the “Powell Doctrine” as our strategy for doing so (as we found in Iraq — you go in with out sufficient forces to secure the nation, you’re inviting huge problems).


We deployed a handful of tanks compared to legions of infantry.

One can keep harping on the Israeli experience that doesn’t have to deploy its forces far from its borders. You’re failing to understand the US’s requirements or that every future conflict won’t be against insurgents, Israel’s primary threat today.

Israel doesn’t have a lot of air to air tankers. It’s a key shortcoming in its ability to bomb Iran’s nuke program. Why didn’t Israel not buy tankers earlier? Because it didn’t need to project power. It’s learning a different lesson today. We’ve already learned that lesson.

And I’m not proposing on replacing every single Bradley with a Heavy APC like the Namer.

But having a few units of Namers to accompany the M1A2’s into the most hostile areas while providing protection for the infantry inside is invaluable (whereas a Bradley would be a death trap).

Sure, keep the Bradley’s and M-113’s for the less hostile zones and use MRAP’s for the occupation period.

I don’t get why it has to be an all or nothing.

The Bradley did well in the early part of Iraq due to the invasion and being used as designed. It is not a city patrol vehicle!! The 3 man crew is PART OF THE SQUAD last time I checked, If you weren’t, FA, you’d know that!! I gues the driver of an M109 is not a part of the crew?? Huh, Gen Ordinero? No vehicle including the Abrams stood up well to IEDs and triple staked mines and 30 hits from RPGs in city fighting. Name a tank or AFV that does!! The Stryker took hits and got shot up too!! This 70 ton monster is too big for most bridges, aircraft and will lose mobility and maneuverability. The cost of ops will be prohibitive!! Remeber the Elefant tank of WW2 The germans had this bohemouth that couldn’t maneuver, had a ton of armour and a huge gun. It was CRAP!!! Remember the M551 Sheridan, too light, too complicated too deadly to it’s crew!! Get something in between!! You can’t design a fighting vehicle that works in every envirement like you can’t ahva a single world wide CAMO UNIFORM ACUs REMEMBER!!!

Mostly because of the way we’re organized. The Army doesn’t have a specific “frontline” brigade, a “breakthrough” brigade, and an “occupation” brigade. We’re organized so that every unit can be ready to do whatever mission is needed so we all get the same equipment. There are benefits to specialization, but trying to decide how much of each vehicle to buy would be a guess (unless you were willing to spend the money to have fleets just sitting in storage).

I see you still aren’t getting the deployment requirement of the US Army.

You also don’t know a place is the “most hostile” until you get there.

BTW, we don’t use M113s to transport Infantry. We have even expanded the use of Bradleys to transport other combat elements on the battlefield (e.g. air defense), M113s are on the way out hence the AMPV.

John agree with much of what you said but the crew of the Bradley is not considered part of the rifle squad. Today we split the rifle squad across vehicles (the greatest shortcoming of the Bradley). We relearnedthat lesson with the Stryker and are trying to fix it with the Bradley’s successor hence the requirement it carry the full nine man squad and crew. Am M109 is different. The crew is not a weapon system away from the arty piece unlike an Infantry squad (yes, a gun crew can act like a fire team but it’s not meant or trained to).

We should look a foreign models. Don’t the Germans have an excellent vehicle? Why reinvent the wheel.

Aren’t engineers still using the M113, along with the M577 as a command vehicle?

I suppose Bradley versions (including turretless Bradley or stretch-Bradley) may appear and squeeze out the last –113’s…

I have had a few engineers tell me they are using Bradleys but I know they are also still using M113s. I sense engineers in Bradleys is a unit thing vs. an Army decision. A big obstacle is if engineers adopt Bradleys they also have to adopt the same gunnery tasks expected of Bradley crews which is another thing to add to their palette and I doubt there’s much enthusiasm for it. Suprisingly Bradley Gunnery is just if not more demanding than tank gunnery (you have the gun AND the missile system to worry about).

Mech Infantry/Armor and FA BN’s still use the M577 (there’s about 3–4 in maneuver BN’s, almost double that in Arty). Not that many really and they are a C2 vehicle primarily used in the stationary mode. Mech BNs put there CDRs and Ops officers in fighting vehicles (M1, M2/3). Some medics are still using M113s but some mech units have actually switched to medical Strykers.

The Huey 2 would have been able to go to war…

Bingo. Unlike Israel, the US fights in all environments, under all conditions and with logistical chains in the thousands of miles…If all we had to do was fight with commuting distance, our equipment and weapons priorities would be different.

I’m not voting you down…but, there isn’t an American service not struggling to adapt at the moment. They all have their issues…how’s that LCS working out? Hmmm…how about that over-the-horizon amphibious assault vehicle the USMC has been working on? The LSW role in the USMC? ALL the services face acquisition issues and it’s not sequestration that’s killing them (although causing major heartburn at present), but a failure to properly prioritize objectives…which do NOT align with objectives, which are also poorly defined and funding is always a secondary consideration in practice, despite being a TOP priority in statement. All of this is largely driven by Congressional requirements which shackle DoD processes as a matter of restricted structure.…meaning, from govt to DoD, confusion is our greatest enemy. The dust will settle and a new pivot point in funding and direction will take shape. It will take time…and ultimately, DoD as a whole has never been perfect and never will. You know the term, “The Army isn’t what it used to be and never was”? Army is doing no worse than anyone else under the DoD umbrella at the moment…how’s that CG Cutter coming along? USAF 5th Gen Fighter? Sorry…think the point is made.

Also…whatever it’s deficiencies, I was always happy to see the Bradley and its 25mm.

I’m so glad to see Maj Rod making the argument for Future Combat Systems, even as we know he despised FCS and was happy when it was cancelled. Moral of the story — an excellent light tank doesn’t just come around every day.

Not just portable toilets — portable water treatment systems. The Marines have a couple of programs of record on this subject. Shh — don’t tell anybody — very useful in OOTW.

This subject has been discussed ad nauseum on DoD Buzz. We might get so desperate as to buy the Puma outright, as we did the Fuchs/Fox NBC Recon vehicle and numerous Stryker Brigade and MRAP “interim solutions”. The problem of why we can’t field a major ground system isn’t just a technical problem — it is a systemic bias that begins and ends inside the Beltway.

I guess that’s an improvement from the pallets of water bottles shipped around for OIF.

That said, using water reclamation to extend water reuse means less water resupply. Something like an RO membrane that can be carried into the field or staged in smaller and smaller outposts means less water transport to the front line. Afghanistan used to have qanats everywhere, though the Soviets destroyed a lot of the infrastructure…

I understand that all to well, I helped field the aircraft LUH 72 into service with the ARNG.

I’d have to look up the name of the system, but from what I read the purification equipment they were testing would recycle 75% of the used water on the FOB. They were testing it with the “Force Provider” FOB-in-a-box systems. If you haven’t seen it, imagine a tricon that folds out into a shower/sink, a couple of tricons that fold out into an MKT, and 14-man tents that only need air to erect instead of support beams.

VP — I was making an argument for FCS?

It’s true an excellent light tank doesn’t come around every day but FCS sure didn’t have one. The last one I remember was the M8 AGS. http://​www​.fas​.org/​m​a​n​/​d​o​d​-​1​0​1​/​s​y​s​/​l​a​n​d​/​m​8​-​a​g​s​.ht

Thanks for withdrawing my 1st Amendment Right.

Anyone that doesn’t believe the Pentagon R & D and procurement system is FUBAR is smoking crack.

Containment lite — seems like I’ve heard that before. Thanks for the link, I haven’t had the opportunity to read Armed Forces Journal since I was a kid! That was a pleasant trip down memory lane for me.

What do you think of some of the work coming out of BAE’s shops? Just wondering!

Why pay a contract to develop anything. Make it a competitive build off. They would build a “thing” from the RFP specs and the Army or what ever service would have a competition for the best “ting” that meets the specs. Let the contractors take the initial gamble. Play the game or get out of it. We did that in 1940 for the “jeep”. who knows without reinventing the wheel/track it might work again. Of course you have to get the defense/industrial intercourse ended. Who is on top in that relationship? Where is IKE when you need him. MMCS(SW)(SS) USN Ret.


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