Wednesday, October 22, 2014

AAV replacement challenge...nope, just a procurement train wreck.

Keeping the AAV in service till 2030 and beyond is like asking Gulf War 1 Marines to ride into battle in LVT's from WW2.

Check this out via Forbes...
The details of how this plan emerged are complicated and depressing, because General Amos gradually came to realize that he lacked the resources to implement his vision of what the top Marine Corps ground modernization priority should look like due to congressional spending caps on military spending. Not only would the new amphibious vehicle not be able to offer the enhanced survivability and maneuverability of a planing system — it would move more slowly through the water like the existing vehicle — but it would have wheels rather than tracks, because that’s what the service could afford (tracked vehicles have traditionally been preferred for all-terrain mobility).
In effect, the lesser of two amphibious vehicles the Marines had been planning to develop became the centerpiece of near-term modernization, and the idea of replacing the existing AAV was deferred for the umpteenth time.
But wait there's more...
The larger question here, though, is whether the Marine Corps can finally firm up its plan for modernizing amphibious vehicles and make some progress on fielding new systems. As the capabilities of prospective adversaries have advanced, many observers have begun to question whether amphibious warfare has a future. Failing to field modern systems capable of safely transporting warfighters from ship to shore exacerbates concerns about the dangers involved. Thus, if the Marine Corps wants to sustain political support for its most distinctive mission, it needs to start bending metal soon.
I don't even need to see the budget to know that the Marine Corps can't afford the F-35, CH-53K, buy more MV-22's, the JLTV, upgrade the M1A1 to US Army M1A2 Tusk standards and afford the ACV.

The USMC procurement train wreck is a reality.

Visit, Board, Search and Seizure...Video by Lance Cpl. Dani Zunun

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

KC-390 roll out.

Thanks for the link Alfredo.

pics via Poder Aereo ...more at their site.

Mack Defense Corporation.

Serious problems within the S. Korea's Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA)

Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA) explains that the contract was signed since the manufacturer Lockheed Martin promised to resolve the engine defect until the delivery of F-35A and the U.S. government also guaranteed. However, it is still hard to understand why DAPA was in such a hurry to conclude the contract despite an obvious quality issue. As it requires spending enormous tax money, whopping 121 billion won (114.15 million dollars) per unit, DAPA should have pointed out issues for improvement and led the contract to our advantage. As FX project changed from tri-party competition system to a single-party negotiation, did it put the Korean government to an inferior position where it couldn’t say anything to the U.S.?
Let’s see the K2 (Black Panther) that DAPA calls a "high-end battle tank." Hard-kill anti-missile system that detects and hits attack from the enemy has been developed, but it cannot be deployed since it has a collision with the soft-kill anti-missile system, which is already equipped. During the recent parliamentary audit, lawmakers pointed out that the state-of-the-art submarines cannot operate under water for sufficient time due to fuel cell issues, and the spare ammunition will run out within a few days in case of war. It is quite worrisome to see the waste of budget and also the loophole of defense.
This year’s budget for defense is 35.70 trillion won (33.68 billion dollars), accounting for 14.4 percent of the entire government budget. If the government fails to secure efficient weapon system after spending enormous money, how will it explain to the public? Thorough investigation must be carried out into whether there might be any corruption by "Military-mafia," aiming rake-off from the weapon trades behind the scene.
The S. Koreans spend a whopping 14.4 percent of their entire budget on defense?  Amazing.  If the Europeans spent just half that percent then nut jobs world wide would tremble in fear of the free countries of the world.

I really need a definition of what they're calling hard and soft kill systems.  I'm assuming that its a Trophy type system for hard kill and maybe some type of spoofing/smoke grenades for the soft kill.  I'll have to dig into that one.

Onto the sub issue.  This is interesting.  That means that the S. Korean Navy probably isn't as formidable as I thought it was.

It appears that DAPA has serious problems and they might extend to the S. Korean military.

Out with a whimper.

Thanks for the photo link Ruben.

I expected to be ready to crack open the bottle that I had saved up to celebrate Amos relinquishing command.

I really can't.

Instead I feel a little sad.  I have been one his biggest critics.  I have hated almost every move that he made (except his reversal on the sleeves down thing).  I sensed but could never prove that he was more a political animal than a military leader.  Additionally I felt that he looked out for the wing at the expense of the Ground Combat Element.

So I'm not sad to see him gone, its more like I'm sad to see a career end on such a sour note.

I hated his policies/initiatives/procurement and think that he hurt the Corps but I still wish him well.

Either way the above photo is telling.  I don't see it as nostalgic but as an indication that he left with a whimper.

Sidenote:  Its ironic but as Ruben said...Marines will go into combat in vehicles that are as old as his vintage soft top beetle.

Ingalls ship building appears to have won the LPD II war.

via USNI News.
Secretary of the Navy Ray Mabus has signed an internal memo recommending the service base its next generation amphibious warship (LX(R)) on the existing San Antonio-class (LPD-17) warship design, first reported by the Inside the Navy newsletter on Monday.
Mabus’ approval of the memo, which he signed last week, validates more than a year of Marine Corps lobbying for a new amphibious ship based on the existing 25,000-ton San Antonio design.
“Through a focused and disciplined process that analyzed required capabilities and capacities, as well as cost parameters, it has been determined that a derivative of the Amphibious Transport Dock (LPD-17) hull form is the preferred alternative to meet LX(R) operational requirements,” read the document.
The lead ship of a San Antonio derived LX(R) would cost about $1.64 billion with follow-ons costing about $1.4 billion for a total of 11 ships, according to information from the service.
Navy officials would not comment to USNI News on the memo saying the service typically doesn’t comment or confirm details on internal memoranda.
Read more about the Ingalls proposal here.

Interesting.  This move by the Navy to go ahead with the LPD II could indicate the direction of several internal battles that are being waged within the Marine Corps.

What the hell am I talking about?


*  Many want to see the Marine Corps head down the "support" SOCOM path.  That way of thinking de-emphasizes amphibious shipping and moves toward placing small detachments of Marines aboard smaller ships AND  MPS ships.  That way of thinking has taken a beating though.  The experience in the war on terror has shown that small units can be isolated and destroyed.  The reaction has been to "upsize" all units.  Gone are the days of 2 man sniper teams.  Now you'll see an entire sniper platoon head out.  Additionally while the SEALs, Green Berets will still operate with small squad size formations at times, they'll always have a company of Rangers waiting in the winds (or another infantry unit) ready to swoop in to pull their bacon out the fire...that along with copious amounts of indirect fire...and air support that would make a battalion commander get a woody.

*  You also have the "air assault" side of the house that believes that the key to future warfare is to stow the cannons, the AAVs, the tanks and depend on air alone.  This is mostly seen in the push to utilize the MV-22 in every possible scenario imaginable.  Its also seen in the dogged determination...beyond all force a budget strapped service to buy an expensive, maintenance hog named the F-35.  Again, real combat experience is highlighting the folly of such thinking.  During a supposedly peaceful insertion a CV-22 was almost shot out of the sky, several SEALs injured and the aircrew will probably get a medal for getting their ship back at all.  This concept was built around the 100 man Company Landing Team.  The reality of small units operating far from support is the same as the "support SOCOM" dilemma.  Already these feet dry SPMAGTF-CR's have been plus sized back up to infantry battalion strength.  The "air assault", "sea going 101st Airborne" is taking a beating in Marine land.

*  Last you have my camp.  The traditionalist.  This faction believes that the Marine Corps should be a general purpose force that is capable of dealing with all spectrum's of combat.  Additionally this camp believes that we've started to encroach on Army turf and they in reaction are encroaching in ours.  To put a bow on this, this faction believes that Marines are "from the sea" and amphibious shipping is how we get to work....or at least in the vicinity of work.

Depending on how this plays out we could see who wins.

You know what I want to see but budgets, the General's club and General Dunford will declare who wins.

It must be observed however that this is also a win for the carrier mafia.  Too often the USS America is described as a "carrier" and not what it is.  An amphibious ship designed to get Marines and their equipment to where they are needed.