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1. BFIST.  Also the proper nomenclature as far as I can tell is now "M3A3 BFIST" I'm not entirely sure why the M7 designation went away but it's now treated as a derivative of the Scout Bradley vs a separate platform.  

2. In regards to spotting, simply put there isn't much of an advantage to it.  It has the same basic optics package as any other A3 generation Bradley (which is similar to the M1 optics).  It's not really that great of a target acquisition tool.

3. Where it does shine is being a great thing to process fire missions, and especially aviation, usually taking several minutes faster (especially in terms of aviation).  Also while not especially good in terms of acquisition, using it to get LOS on targets spotted by more durable systems will bring pain in a lot faster.

4. While alluded to earlier, it's amazing at managing aviation tools.  Also because it has both the Fire Support Officer (the LT in the track itself) and a team of FISTers (the NCO led team carried in the back) and the radios for both to call for separate missions.  This means if you have UAVs you can just leave it on missions using one of the assets on the BFIST, and then use the other "team" to coordiated fixed wing or rotary.  The faster mission process speed pays dividends in that regard.  


In terms of gun artillery while the processing speed is much faster, I find using the platoon leader (in the case of all units) or the dismounted FIST team (in the case of infantry) to be more or less suitable.

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2. In regards to spotting, simply put there isn't much of an advantage to it.  It has the same basic optics package as any other A3 generation Bradley (which is similar to the M1 optics).  It's not really that great of a target acquisition tool.
 

Are you sure? I thought the FS3 sensor was carried?

The second model that replaced the M981 (FISTV) is the A3 BFIST. It incorpo- rates the FIST MEP with a digitized M3A3 chassis. Features incorporated from the M3A3 chassis include the commander ’s independent viewer with 360-degree tra- verse and the IBAS, both second-genera- tion FLIRs, to improve target acquisition and engagement; the 25 mm gun; the 7.62 mm coaxial machine gun; DAGR; and digi- tal command-and-control enhancements. The first unit equipped for the M3A3 BFIST was the 4th Infantry Division in 2003.

The Fire Support Sensor System (FS3) is being integrated into both BFIST configura- tions. The FS3 is composed of two sub- assemblies: the long-range advanced scout surveillance system (LRAS3) and the laser designator module (LDM), which will soon be replaced by the diode-pumped laser des- ignator module (DLDM). When the LRAS3 and LDM are integrated into the BFIST ve- hicle, it becomes known as the FS3.

LRAS3 provides twice the amount of tar- get detection over the IBAS, while targeting and designating under armor from the gun- ner ’s position. This capability meets the 2004 heavy/light ordnance objective. The BFIST with FS3 will allow the fire support team to detect, identify and designate tar- gets for precision munitions at greater ranges while remaining protected by the vehicle’s armor. The new ranges meet the requirements and allow for laser-guided smart munitions, laser-guided bombs, and missiles for rotary- and fixed-wing aircraft. The first unit equipped with the A3 BFIST with FS3 was the 1st Brigade Combat Team 

http://www.ausa.org/publications/armymagazine/archive/2013/10/Documents/WeaponsCombatSystems_GreenBook2013.pdf

 

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The LRAS3 is much better at very long to extreme ranges.  It does not offer a better wFOV or better detection of near (4 KM or so) type targets, and it is still controlled by the turret crew who already have optics (so it's not like there's a third set of eyes looking).  For most CMBS games, this means there should be a fairly negligible difference in spotting.

I'd honestly forgotten about the LRAS3.  When I was in the Cav we still had M7s, when I had a BFIST in my Company I did not care so much about what the track did as much as what the FSO team did with it.   However in my exposure to both systems they did not seem to locate targets any better than the M3A2s and M1A2 SEP v2s they worked beside.

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Both Russian and US observer vehicles suffer from the same issue in the game, namely they're not really meant to be within shooting range of the enemy during a hot tactical engagement. Ideally they'd be peeking over a ridge looking down the length of a river valley into a distant town. There's just not that many maps that are optimal for their employment. I can imagine fighting in a built-up European environment (average LOS roughly 1500m?) the real world observer vehicles would have similar problems being properly utilized.

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In regards to what MikeyD just said, that was certainly the case in Korea.  More practically we expected the BFIST to serve as a point of entry for targets spotted by the platoons or other company assets into the Joint Fires network with the actual fire and adjust portion being executed by the unit in contact. He usually remained with the company HQ elements, or just behind the supported platoon. 

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Thanks for all the answers. Hmmm, it seems that it's in the game the BFIST's are not always that useful. I'm playing the Valley of Death scenario. There are no aviation assets and I would need to move it really close to the front line to get some decent LOS or the arty. That would be just too risky.

Edited by Ivanov
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When within direct fire engagement ranges the BFIST is pretty worthless both in real life and in game.  Probably why the developers chose to emphasize the fire support coordination role rather than target acquisition-- although, the time bonus is a bit lost on the vehicle itself unless used in tandem with a UAV for instance.  Might be worth looking at providing the support time bonus to FIST personnel in a formation where a BFIST is present.

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Still better than the Armored Knight!  I have no idea why anyone thought that was a good idea, it isn't like it offers much over the HMMWV based things the COLT used to use.  

'Low intensity conflict' acquisitions were all the rage for a while back then, I think we can blame the Knight on that!  The humvee variant was coincidentally also called a Knight.  We trained on them just long enough to realize they were too heavy standalone to be efficiently up-armored.

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Likely.  My Army lifespan covered the high point of Iraq war spending through the beginning of the downsizing.  Sort of funny to see all the crap we bought when times were good, or programs that operated entirely based on the amount of money thrown at it.  Either way seems like if you're building a platform for ABCTs it might be better off keeping it Bradley based instead of the ASV.  

I think we've gone too far with uparmoring though.  I mean I like armor and all, but the level of armor+the actual need seems a bit counter-productive.  Going to COIN?  Let's get you some M-ATVs and stuff.  You need a truck for the chaplain to tool around in?  Let's get you a soft top.  

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