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Where we are now and beyond the Bradley!


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Was hunting for info on a prototype elevated firing system for tanks when I came across this study, which looks at what the U.S. Army needs to replace the Bradley. It not only looks at how things were done in the past (explicitly includes several iterations of the Bradley, to include carried unit config and manning)), how they're done now (M2A3 Bradleys and Strykers), what foreign countries are doing, and where the Army needs to go, based not merely on the missions but on a detailed assessment of the nature, types and directions of threats.

Much food for thought here in this CBO (not CMBO) report.

Technological Challenges for the Ground Combat Vehicle

http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/files/cbofiles/attachments/11-06-2012-Ground_Combat_Vehicles.pdf

Regards,

John Kettler

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Thanks John. Will give this a read today.

"...the GCV would weigh from 64 to 84 tons, making it the biggest and heaviest infantry fighting vehicle that the Army has ever fielded. It would rival the M1 Abrams tank in size and weight and be twice as heavy as the Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle, the current infantry fighting vehicle...."

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Funny. In a sad way.

Look at the history behind the Bradley. It started simple and "mission creep" created what we have; a bloated, poor, IFV. It does a GREAT job as a light tank. It does a passable job as a protected transport for troops.

We have the Stryker. It carries 9, but less well protected than the 7 in a Bradley.

So, we need a tracked, heavily armored, 9 man carrier? LOL, that means the Army will change the squad size to 10. A platoon needs more than just 27 seats. (The platoon hq and attached support, if any.)

The drawback to the Bradley is the number of tracks needed and the splitting up of the squads. How will the GCV change this? Oh, that's right, bigger. Luckily it won't need to be transported anywhere or need a lot of fuel to keep running. Why do I imagine that huge German tank running on 4 u-boat diesels when I read this requirement document?

If they design it for 84 tons, you KNOW it'll be fielded closer to 100. Gah. I'll bet they'll want it to be airdroppable and amphibious, as well! ;)

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Funny. In a sad way.

Look at the history behind the Bradley. It started simple and "mission creep" created what we have; a bloated, poor, IFV. It does a GREAT job as a light tank. It does a passable job as a protected transport for troops.

We have the Stryker. It carries 9, but less well protected than the 7 in a Bradley.

So, we need a tracked, heavily armored, 9 man carrier? LOL, that means the Army will change the squad size to 10. A platoon needs more than just 27 seats. (The platoon hq and attached support, if any.)

RAND took a look at this issue:

Understanding Why a Ground Combat Vehicle That Carries Nine Dismounts Is Important to the Army

(also happens to be a nice look at the history of US rifle squad composition)

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You're all most welcome! My brother, George, SFC, U.S. Army, Ret., was in the first Stryker BCT to deploy to Iraq. Am pretty sure the patrols he ran were in Hummers, and his real job was to run the TOC. Dull, dull tour! Mortars, rockets and VBIEDs, one of which nearly blew him to bits. My family connection to the Stryker end of the GCV Study.

What I really wanted to say, though, pertains directly to this super IFV. Back in the early 1980s, the classified quarterly Journal of Defense Research took a hard look at the threat environment of the period (way more benign than the current one) and concluded that in order to get a combat survivable IFV, it was going to have to have Abrams level armor (made sense, since the analysis was predicated on an Abrams chassis) and be that size, but not height, in order to carry enough men to make the whole thing worthwhile. At the time, I thought that was pretty wild--until I came across the Achzarit, which is the same basic concept, but much lighter, less well protected and vastly cheaper.

Over two decades later, it appears we're still trying to figure out what we need and why. Of course, given the incredibly protracted process which eventually birthed the Abrams, should we be surprised?

Regards,

John Kettler

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On the topic of combat vehicles, I found these blog posts extremely interesting. Looks at the past and future of the IFV/APC, and argues for using APCs with MBT level protection rather than IFVs.

http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.se/2009/06/challenging-ifv-concept-part-1.html

http://defense-and-freedom.blogspot.se/2009/06/challenging-ifv-concept-part-2.html

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c3k,

You left out: loud enough to be heard on Mars (have been within 20 feet of one at startup at Ft. Benning), smoke discharge rivaling a steam locomotive and being another skyscraper on tracks, a la the Grant! Compared to it, the M1's turbine whine was all but inaudible. No wonder the latter ran wild in the field exercises and time and again got the drop on forces used to fighting the earlier roaring, snorting monsters, a role the Bradley now has. My brother was in Scouts on the M3 CFVs, and how they envied their FRG brethren in their modern, quiet, low 234/1 equivalent, the Luchs. Like its predecessors, fitted with a driver on both ends!

Regards,

John Kettler

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The US army purchased a total of twenty one thousand MRAP vehicles. That's compared to 6,700 Bradleys purchased since its inception in 1981. That could be seen as a commentary on the viability of the IFV concept. But then again, the Army now plans to scrap roughly fifteen thousand of those MRAPs. That could also be seen as a commentary on viability of the IFV concept.

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The US army purchased a total of twenty one thousand MRAP vehicles. That's compared to 6,700 Bradleys purchased since its inception in 1981. That could be seen as a commentary on the viability of the IFV concept. But then again, the Army now plans to scrap roughly fifteen thousand of those MRAPs. That could also be seen as a commentary on viability of the IFV concept.

Werent the MRAPs purchase because the HMMWVs prooved to be extremely vulnerable in an asymetric conflict, especially when hit by IEDs? AFAIK the MRAPs werent purchased to replace the Bradley as combat vehicle, they were the US Forces answear to almost a decade of irregular warfare in Afgahnistan & Iraq. When facing a conventional enemy on a symetric battlefield, i think the Bradley would still do its the job of carrying and supporting infantry much better than any wheeled APC.

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Figure 3-2 in the GCV Study looks more together than it really is. The Irregular Warfare attack angle breakdown seems to utterly not consider fire from second stories and up, to include rooftops, not to mention other elevated firing positions for RPGs and such. Would also note that Figure 3-3 doesn't take into account the instantaneous firefighting systems on such AFVs as the Abrams. Nor does it consider things like ammo compartment blowout panels in the last part of the crew/occupant survivability equation.

Regards,

John Kettler

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I was very surprised to see, in the discussion of the Bradley lift capability for a platoon, that it has two FOs! Frankly, I find this astounding at this unit level. In fact, I'd expect even one per platoon to be unusual, never mind two. Evidently, I need to keep more current in military affairs.

Regards,

John Kettler

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Most are being sent to local police dept. around the country. About 2 weeks ago our SWAT team got 2 MRAPs. Just new toys for them to play with.

When I was younger our local PD SWAT toys consisted of something with a bigger bang than a .38 caliber pistol. Shotguns and or hunting rifles not 2 MRAPs.

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  • 2 weeks later...

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