Friday, February 12, 2010

Oshkosh and the US Army deliver a body blow...

Oshkosh has been racking up the wins lately.  This will effectively move BAE out of the Defense Vehicle business.  They will remain a power in aviation and will still have a strong market share in Europe thanks to Hagglunds but their foot hold in the US combat vehicle market is in jeopardy.

via Oshkosh business alert...

U.S. Army Affirms FMTV Contract Award to Oshkosh Corporation 
OSHKOSH, Wis., Feb 12, 2010 
(BUSINESS WIRE) -- Oshkosh Corporation (NYSE:OSK) today announced the U.S. Army has affirmed the contract award to the Company, originally received on Aug. 26, 2009, to produce the Family of Medium Tactical Vehicles (FMTV). The bids of all three competitors for the FMTV program were re-evaluated by the U.S. Army in response to recommendations made by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) following a review of competitors' protests of the original contract award to the Company. The Army undertook an exhaustive review during this FMTV bidding process and applied fairness and rigor to its decision. Upon completion of a thorough, in-depth re-evaluation, the Army determined the contract would remain with Oshkosh. Additionally, the Army canceled the September 4, 2009, stop-work order it had issued pursuant to the GAO's protest procedures. The Oshkosh contract allows the Army and U.S. taxpayers to begin realizing significant cost savings for the FMTV program.
"We are very pleased the Army affirmed its original decision that Oshkosh Corporation's FMTV bid clearly represents the best overall value for the Army, the taxpayers and the Warfighter," said Robert G. Bohn, Oshkosh Corporation chairman and chief executive officer. "Oshkosh Corporation, our employees and our suppliers stand ready to serve our customer, and we are delighted that the Army has yet again concluded that Oshkosh was the right choice. Our focus has always been on the Warfighter and making sure we deliver high-quality, high-performing vehicles on time."




ITV Growler...

I did a story on the ITV Growler last month.  The upshot of the whole thing is that we've been down this road before with the M422 Mighty Mite.

Well in the comments section a reader gave me a link to a news story that must be posted ... especially since DOD Buzz.com is running a story on the vehicle.

Watch it and weep. 

LCS shocker....

The LCS is more heavily armed than the Absalon Class Flexible Support Ship and many Frigates. How? If you look at its stated armament of one 57mm cannon and its two 30mm Bushmasters its competitive in the cannon arena. What will push the LCS ahead of its competitors? The NLOS missile system.

With the NLOS attack missile (especially with a mix of precision and loitering attack) you have a small ship that is capable of controlling a wide swath of sea even before adding in its aviation element.

From Wikipedia...
Precision Attack Munition
Used to attack vehicles, armor, and other targets of opportunity. Utilizes 3 modes of GPS/INS, semi-active laser homing, and autonomous imaging infrared. Carries a multi-mode warhead effective against several types of targets. It also includes an online library of pictures of targets, so that it can visually identify what it is homing in on.
  • Weight: 117 lbs (45kg)
  • Diameter: 7 ins (18cm)
  • Length: 5 ft (1.5m)
  • Guidance: GPS/INS, imaging infrared, semi-active laser homing.
  • Datalink: Networked for in-flight updates, retargeting and images.
  • Motor: Variable thrust rocket motor
  • Range: 40 km
Loitering Attack Munition
Designed to fly to a preset area and loiter while autonomously seeking out targets.
  • Weight: 117 lbs (45kg)
  • Diameter: 7 ins (18cm)
  • Length: 5 ft (1.5m)
  • Guidance: GPS/INS, laser radar (LADAR) seeker with automatic target recognition.
  • Datalink: Networked for in-flight updates, retargeting and images.
  • Motor: Micro turbojet.
  • Range: 70 km with 30 min loiter time.
Many, myself included, have criticized this warship based on its perceived weapons fit. We were wrong. The LCS as the Navy is obviously designing it, will have a very robust attack and self defense capability. In addition to holding NLOS missiles these canisters can also mount air defense missiles.

This outline from Naval-Technology has been the "guide" by which we've all been basing our assumptions.
Again, we were deceived. Perhaps it had something to do with the Navy's focus on mission modules. Perhaps it was the 'wow' factor with the ships speed. Either way a critical design feature of the LCS-1 and LCS-2 has been ignored. It might be time to re-evaluate our critique of the ship. A US Army 5-ton truck can easily hold two canisters. That's 30 missiles. An LCS might pack 8 canisters? That is a tremendous war load. Vid from Lockheed Martin.


video

Shocking and Sad...

War News Updates has a story on world poverty. Usually I'm such a hard headed- stubborn-stupid bastard that I would have skipped the story. Well the guy writing the blog is good. He had a picture that caught my attention. Go to his site to read the story. I shamelessly stole his pic and am posting it here. If this doesn't break you down, nothing will...and read the caption. Its a certifiable kick in the balls...


*Update*
War News Update was kind enough to provide a little background to the picture and information on the story of the Photographer that captured the scene. Follow the links...and read what he wrote in the comments section...consider it your Friday perspective...
http://www.english.neu.edu/news/images/kevin_carter.jpg
http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,981431,00.html

Brutality you might not hear about...

War is tough, and brutal.  But some acts still make one pause.  This act of brutality certainly caught my attention.  Now to see if it makes the BBC, CBS or FoxNews...via DVIDS...

Joint Force Operating in Gardez Makes Gruesome Discovery

KABUL, Afghanistan – An Afghan-international security force found the bound and gagged bodies of three women during an operation in the Gardez district, Paktiya province last night.

The joint force went to a compound near the village of Khatabeh, after intelligence confirmed militant activity. Several insurgents engaged the joint force in a fire fight and were killed. Subsequently, a large number of men, women, and children exited the compound and were detained by the joint force. When the joint force entered the compound they conducted a thorough search of the area and found the bodies of three women who had been tied up, gagged and killed. The bodies had been hidden in an adjacent room.

The joint force immediately secured the area and requested expert medical support and will conduct a joint forensic investigation.

Eight men were detained for further questioning.
It would appear that the enemy is making the same mistake in Afghanistan that they did in Iraq.  They're turning against the local population.  

3d Air Support Operations Squadron

Do you remember these guys?  They were hailed as the first Air Force Stryker unit.  This from AF.mil.

First Air Force Stryker unit deploys to Iraq

Posted 8/16/2005
by 1st Lt. Teresa Sullivan
354th Fighter Wing Public Affairs

8/16/2005 - EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska (AFPN) -- The first Air Force Stryker unit marked its first deployment with the high-tech Army vehicle when it departed here Aug. 14 for Iraq.

About 20 Airmen from the 3rd Air Support Operations Squadron deployed with the Army’s 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, both stationed at nearby Fort Wainwright.

“Our guys are ready and they’re focused,” said Lt. Col. Russell Smith, 3rd ASOS commander. “We’re deploying with the Stryker brigade and I’d say this is a great partnership. We’re truly a part of one team.”

The 3rd ASOS serves as the primary air liaison between the Army and Air Force during ground operations. The squadron became the first Air Force unit to receive the Stryker in May at the Army’s Joint Training Center at Fort Polk, La., where training continued in preparation for the Iraq deployment.

“Having the Strykers will help us by improving our capability and survivability during fast-paced ground operations,” Colonel Smith said of the 3rd ASOS transition from Humvees to the same Stryker vehicle used by its Army partners.

Not only will the 3rd ASOS be able to complete the mission more effectively, Colonel Smith said, but they will benchmark techniques and procedures for future operations.

“They are setting the standard on how to do business for years to come,” said Col. Paul Johnson, commander of the 354th Operations Group here to which the 3rd ASOS is assigned. “Stryker vehicles have proven themselves throughout Iraq, and our joint terminal attack controllers will benefit from the same level of protection and firepower as their brethren Soldiers.

“Special communications and sensor equipment, essential to their unit, have been installed on their vehicles,” Colonel Johnson said. “With these new state-of-the-art vehicles, our 3rd ASOS personnel will not only fight today's fight, they will develop the tactics, techniques and procedures our Stryker-equipped Airmen will be using in the future.

“We’re the first Air Force unit to have Strykers and we’re excited to use them in combat,” Colonel Johnson said of the five customized tactical air control party Strykers 3rd ASOS Airmen will use to perform their mission.

The squadron provides a bird’s-eye view of the battle for the battle commander by serving as the liaison between air and ground forces. They play a critical role in the 172nd SBCT mission, Colonel Smith said. Having specially modified TACP armored Stryker vehicles offers more top cover for Army ground troops.

“We are the Air Force experts at the ground commander’s right hand,” Colonel Smith said. “Without airpower expertise on the battlefield, we leave the great American Soldier on the ground exposed. The Army has transformed into an agile and light fighting force, but in doing so, it has become far more reliant upon air power.”

TACPs manage the air space above Army ground troops, guiding reconnaissance and surveillance aircraft and pointing out enemy targets for pilots performing close air support missions. They also coordinate with higher headquarters arranging theater airlift.

In addition, combat weather Airmen assigned to the 3rd ASOS provide weather forecasts to tell the ground commander how the weather will affect the ongoing battle plan. The current or anticipated weather may significantly affect what types of aerial support the Air Force can provide, and how effective the support will be.

TACPs consist of joint terminal attack controllers who are experienced Airmen specially trained to give weapons delivery clearance to close-air support aircraft.

The 3rd ASOS will deploy in two rotations of about six months each.
This is interesting because the concept had merit (I still question the Stryker vehicle but having an attached USAF support unit seems like a no brainer).  It seemed like it showed promise yet I can find no information on the unit, whether they're still using Strykers or not and if they are in Afghanistan.  During the time of this news story they were assigned to the 172nd  Stryker Brigade Combat Team (now the 1st Stryker Brigade 25th Infantry).  Do they still maintain that relationship?  

3rd ASOS website