Army Mulls Trading New Vehicles for Upgrades to Old Ones

Army Mulls Trading New Vehicles for Upgrades to Old Ones

The Army is refining a deliberate strategy of incremental development to address the uncertain fiscal environment of budget cutbacks, sequestration and the possibility of more continuing resolutions, service leaders said.

Army leaders are working on adjustment strategies designed to protect certain investments and could lead to the canceling of others.

Some of these strategies include leveraging commercial off-the-shelf technologies as well as incremental modernization of existing platforms, said Brig. Gen. John Ferrari, deputy director of Program Analysis and Evaluation, G8.


“We want to incrementally improve things that already exist. The development cost of improving something that already exists is not as great as the development cost of something that doesn’t exist already. Let’s prioritize the things we have and make them better,” Ferrari said in an interview with Military​.com

Army leaders want to protect and preserve high-priority developmental programs such as the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle, Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle and Ground Combat Vehicle — however those leaders have said all programs must be reviewed because of budget cuts.

“Functioning like this is dysfunctional,” said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Raymond Odierno, speaking recently about the existing budget environment at the Association of the United States Army Annual Meeting and Exposition, Wash. D.C.

While emphasizing the importance of these and other major programs, Ferrari emphasized that science and technology investments should be preserved and protected.

“There are areas where we are technology makers. With things like armor and explosives there is not a lot of commercial sector research going on. What we want to do is focus our technology and S&T dollars into areas where we are technology makers and move that forward so that when we have money there is something there,” Ferrari said.

When it comes to rotorcraft, however, there is a sizeable commercial market that dovetails with the military, allowing for greater synergy with Army aviation platforms looking to leverage the latest available technologies, he added.

“We will keep cutting in incremental technologies into Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook over the next couple of years. There is a strategy where we are able to have savings while protecting the future,” Ferrari said.

Another example of this strategy is the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, or AMPV. The service plans to engineer it with an ability to incrementally accommodate new technologies — such as electronics, network and communication gear – as they evolve.

As a multi-mission armored vehicle, the AMPV is slated to replace the aging M113s in the Army’s current arsenal. The Army recently released a draft Request For Proposal to industry in order to solicit feedback for the platform, Ferrari said.

“It is a very non-complex system that is engineered for the applications to come in as they are needed.  It will bring the Army a capability that enables it to quickly integrate new technologies into formations in a cost efficient manner as opposed to an Abrams which is really a platform that has a complex system,” Ferrari added.

As for the Abrams main battle tank, it need to have its main subsystems changed every 10 to 12 years, Ferrari said. If the AMPV is part of the same formation, and engineered for incremental growth at its inception, then perhaps it can carry the latest in Satcom technology and communications gear and link to the Abrams, Ferrari said.

“If you were able to turn the AMPV into a roving WiFi then Abrams might not need Satcom-on-the-move,” he explained.

Overall, sequestration and budget uncertainties have already impacted a range of Army priorities, including the need to reset war-damaged equipment after it returns from theater.

“Over the past year sequestration came into being and there was also an OCO (overseas contingency operation – war spending) shortfall. So the combination of sequester and the shortfall in funding for the war meant we had to take risk in certain programs – about $1.7 billion of reset was deferred,” Ferrari explained.

“We need that steady flow of funding for two to three years after the war ends in order to get everything through the system. Otherwise we’ll be sitting on broken equipment.”

The absence of an appropriation means the Army is unable to plan quantities of materiel and establish “new-start” developmental programs, Ferrari said.

Ferrari also explained that cuts can disproportionately fall on readiness and modernization programs because nearly one-half of the Army’s budget is tied up in equipping and taking care of soldiers. Those costs can’t be tweaked or adjusted as easily.

Along with the other services and DoD as a whole, the Army faces its portion of an additional $500 billion in cuts over 10 years should sequestration continue, Ferrari said. The Army makes up about a quarter of the DoD budget, he added.

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If the Army Up-Graded the Bradley , by getting rid of the current turret system and installing an “New 40 MM CTA ( case-less Ammunition ) remote turret” and added either Javelin or Spike Anti-Tank missiles to it. The would have room for 3 more infantry soldiers. As well as increasing the vehicles Fire Power quite considerably. An the Up-Grade won’t cost the Tax Payer Billions of $$$ on development of a completely new vehicle.

If the US Army breathe new life into the M-113 and kept the MRAPS, they would have upgraded system

My comments keep getting Deleted by the Administrator????

The Bradley is an absolute sitting duck to IEDs and was a brutal failure during Iraq and Afghanistan. You need a redesigned bradley and that’s what is being discussed as one of its replacements. No easy fixes here

That’s because the Bradley is not an armored car. It was never intended to be used on extended patrols in unsecured areas by itself. It’s designed for infantry support and battlefield recon. And note, it’s been great at both of those tasks in every deployment.

Breathe new life into the M113? There really isn’t much more you can do with the thing.

It’s (M113) a box, there’s plenty you can do with it. Same for the Bradley and any other armored vehicle. The biggest issues are lighter weight armor appliqué, better armament and a defense against simple AT weapons like RPGs and IEDs. Any future wars will be against enemies that are similar to the ones we have fought since Vietnam. All out war is too costly, those days are gone. No more WWIIs especially with Nuke weapons.

Sure it has its uses, but it is at it’s end for practical upgrades. For example, you could never get sufficient protection from RPG or IED weaponry without adding many tons of weight, and then you’d need a new drivetrain and suspension. Mounting better armament? You’d have to take up room in the body for a turret ring for a mount, or stretch the body. Either way, yet more of that pesky weight problem. The M113A3 is a useful general purpose tracked vehicle, however it is no longer cost effective to develop it any farther. (I mean, you could add the composite armor, stretch it, put a bigger engine in and add a turre– oh dear, we’ve created the M2 Bradley.)

“We will keep cutting in incremental technologies into Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook over the next couple of years. There is a strategy where we are able to have savings while protecting the future,” Ferrari said.

Notice one aircraft is conspicuously missing…

The only think I can think of for the M113 is to turn in into a remote gun platform like a drone for the Army.

Bradley wasn’t designed for the mine/IED environment. Going V-bottom also raises your ground clearance, which makes hull down more complicated.

A turretless Bradley might be a good replacement for the M113. Might even throw in the MCRWS to gain a medium caliber weapon and nine dismounts?

Yeah, but only if the Army gets a good plan to replace the Bradley in the first place. And here I thought the Stryker was supposed to be the M113 replacement.

Stryker was meant to be an interim solution bridging the Bradley and the FCS IFV.

Which is odd then. Because Stryker is plainly an APC and not IFV. Indeed, in terms of armor and armament, it is very similar to the M113. And much like the M113, the base chassis was designed to be flexibly used on a multitude of variants.

Stryker was never meant to replace the numerous roles of the M113: command post, ambulance, engineer’s vehicle…the fact that separate SBCT’s were stood up is indicative.

Turretless Bradley is the best we can hope for for a while. It’s the cheap solution, but if we magically stumble upon the next generation of IFV we’ll be back at square one: with an IFV that is one generation ahead of its support vehicles and using different parts, and complicating the supply chain.

Bradley’s problem is mine resistance, but reductively an anti-tank mine (or a big IED) is scaled to take on the biggest tanks. I imagine IED’s sized to take out Humvees will not catastrophically destroy the Bradley.

SO is the GCV prototypes this is all bull because one General wants a new IFV. Face it a big enough IED can kill any new vehicle new or old.

Yeah but some rich General wanted a Star war looking A Star Wars looking APC so he want both of the vehicle scrapped.

SO the none combat jobs the M113 does its fine for a ambulance and mortar carrier its silly that we need a heavier and slower vehicle to hold wounded solders in. I find it funny how does DoD brass know what future computer will look like the AMPV concept may be obsolete in a few years. More money and corruption is what this whole AMPV program is. Since we have better APCs than either Russia or China makes no sense to waste billions on a system we wont need.

The M113 is slower than the Bradley. On the plus side, it’s tons lighter and smaller, which is a boon when it comes to strategic lift. The ones in service are old though, so I suppose they would require an expensive SLEP and upgrades if one wanted to improve on them. I have a soft spot for Turretless Bradley; but Bradley IFV weighs in at 30 tons…turretless Bradley probably weighs in at 23–27 tons, and is probably too big for the C-130 if they needed to be moved on the next available aircraft. Turretless Bradley wouldn’t have a weight advantage on the Stryker though, though being tracked it would have reduced ground pressure exerted on the aircraft; though not sure if this translates into more Turretless Bradleys carried than Strykers.

Interesting that the Stryker was never made for those, for example using Command Post, Ambulance, and Engineering vehicle:

M1130 Command Vehicle — Command post.
M1133 Medical Evacuation Vehicle — Ambulance.
M1132 Engineer Squad Vehicle — Engineering Vehicle.

I mean, how is the Stryker family not supposed to have been the M113 family replacement?

SBCT’s were originally meant to have as many of the Strykers as possible, the Stryker was marketed as a “Family of Vehicles”. There’s a mortar carrier and the ATGM variant as well, but replacing the M113 in the “rest of the Army” wasn’t intended. All the variants were in place to have as few different chassis types as possible in the SBCT, and theoretically to aid in their strategic mobility.

There’s a cost issue involved as well. Replacing the M113s in Army inventory 1 for 1 with the Stryker is a possibility. It would save the cost of upgrading older command, ambulance and engineering M113’s to include the hardware of the Strykers. The M113’s base weight is lighter than the Stryker, but if the Stryker has lighter, newer equipment it may all wash out.

Another issue is strategic lift. Strykers were originally slated to be C-130 mobile, not sure if they’ve given up on that yet. The –113’s are lighter, but I’m not sure if the command post version is C-130able. Lighter also means more can be moved by C-17, which is always nice if you can move more vehicles of a BCT with the same lift. Replacing M113’s with strykers means more lifts required, and thus more careful planning of what to bring at which phase. (eg, you could’ve moved ambulance, command post and engineering M113, but now you must choose two in the same amount of lift, or something like it).

I suppose the other possibility is tradition. Generals may like their little shoebox and hate the Stryker? Some kind of pro-track/anti-wheel bias in the Pentagon?

Army thinks they can get the next iPhone and “skip” the Stryker. They are probably wrong. Which is why we’re still back at the drawing board for GCV.

As far as I can tell, they are still working on C-130ing the Stryker family, and a recent army wargame (Unified Quest) assumed it could be done.

Interesting discussion. But nobody has mentioned the use of Active Mine Protection Systems (AMPS) which directly counteract the mine blast forces at the belly plate/floor structure. These can make a dramatic improvement in mine blast performance on vehicles such as the M113, Bradley, and Stryker, and dealing with that problem then opens up the opportunity to make other modifications to suit the upgrade requirements.
Have a look at http://​www​.advanced​-blast​.com for a brief overview of the concepts, which are fully proven and currently in final development to production standard in the UK.

How interesting. All we’ve got today is increasing standoff between ground and vehicle and V-bottoms, which is all stuff the Rhodesians and South Africans gave us in the ‘80s. New solutions are always interesting…

Australia did, they are called m113as4. Pretty sure since the project finished last year those vehicles are just sitting around army bases doin nothing. Meanwhile the aslavs and bushmaster IMVs are in Afghanistan. Lol go figure

I hear the sound of the can getting kicked down the road again. How many times have we been through this charade when it comes to armored vehicle modernization ? I keep reminding this group of the FCS MGV design, which was never tested and therefore never disproved. Some people will never forgive me for bringing up past injustices, but I hope I might be forgiven for believing that the Army’s modernization strategy has lost all coherence in the wake of budget austerity. FWIW — the Bradley is far from my favorite IFV design — the thing is a pig in too many respects. The turret is one problem with the design, but far from the only problem. That near-vertical frontal glacis, high profile and minimal armor protection are pretty high hurdles for technology to overcome. Choosing to upgrade the Bradley reflects a “who cares” attitude towards IFV capabilities. Arrogance never won a war.

While the government has accountants/auditors review rfp’s (request for proposal), the results of suggested decreases in cost can be ignored, especially when the buying official wants a job there after retirement or the company has too many contracts and politicians in their pocket. An example is that 400 dollar hammer that could be bought for $20 at the local hardware start.

But, overall the idea that something new will be far more costly than a rework of something already in production is true.

We’ve been over this, Vitesse. The FCS MGV design could be cut in half with a .50 cal. The only reason anyone ever thought it could be survivable was because it was going to have exquisite situational awareness via magic ad hoc networks, and kill all foes before they could get into direct fire range using NLOS-LS missiles. In simulations using realistic network capabilities, FCS always got reamed. In COIN or other asymmetric environments, it was even worse.

That statement is simply false. I under stand the layered survivability concept in FCS, indeed, the contribution of the network to survivabilty is still an unanswered question unless you were a believer in the validity of CASTFOREM runs. But the ground vehicles themselves were as well armored as the design allowed, and certainly equal to or better than Stryker, Bradley and the M113 platforms. I’m not arguing against the laws of physics, just a realistic understanding of the actual trade space involved. Too many people appear to have grown a vested interest in hiding the real lessons of the past, and claim to know what they actually know nothing about.

There is definately a great deal to know about this topic.
I like all the points you made.

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