Thursday, October 25, 2012

General Dynamics. What does the Tracked Styker tell us about the their Marine Personnel Carrier Entrant.

General Dynamics took a page out of BAE's playbook and dominated the AUSA meeting like BAE dominated the Modern Day Marine get together.

Totally out of the blue they came up with a medium tracked vehicle to add to their portfolio based on the Stryker.  I'm trying to read tea leaves here but could we be looking at a strategy to get the Marine Corps Amphibious Combat Vehicle and Marine Personnel Carrier contracts?

What I mean by this is that they're playing the price shootout game.  They leverage the massive Army buy by basing a family of vehicles off one variant. 

Imagine this...the Tracked Stryker along (that will have further modifications like the driver moved further back, the vehicle widened and larger tracks placed on it) wins the Army's AMPV contest, with a few more modifications its made to swim and because of the Army's buy they'll be able to price compete on the Amphibious Combat Vehicle and with the work done to make the Amphibious Combat Vehicle they simply revert to wheels and enter the Marine Personnel Carrier Program with the same basic hull that swims.

I could easily be wrong but it makes manufacturing and design sense.

11 comments:

  1. Stryker will NOT be selected as AMPV, that’s a given. Say if that program somehow survives, the only realistic candidate is over stocked Bradley. Army simply couldn’t afford buying up to 3800 brand new armored vehicles, not mentioning additional R&D cost associated with getting tracked Stryker ready for combat.
    As for ACV and MPC going forward, I seriously doubt that we will ever see either one entering mass production. At best case scenario, one of the two will survive after sequestration, most likely the cheaper (and less capable) one which points to MPC. To save money, MPC may very well end up being extended LAV SLEP/buy.

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    1. i disagree on a couple of points. common sense would say that the Army is crazy to be going after the GCV and AMPV right now. but they are so its going forward. additionally we can all talk about sequestration but the economy will take a huge hit if we cut defense spending. i forgot the name of the economic thinker but govt spending is one way to get the economy moving and when you add the knock on effect of defense spending then you see as big a return as you do on infrastructure work. additionally no one can ignore what the Chinese are doing so the programs will go ahead. for the Army i would bet that the AMPV is needed more than the GCV so the Stryker could easily win.

      as far as the Marine Corps is going, we're going to see the AAV upgrade for sure. the only question is whether BAE will be able to sell the idea of the AAV upgrade morphing into the ACV. their program manager has already talked about how they have an ACV design they're working on that has the same hull form of the AAV. the vehicle in doubt is really the MPC. it was always considered a complimentary design. if the ACV/AAV upgrade becomes afordable then that's the only way it dies. otherwise the Marine Corps simply HAS to have a new armored personnel carrier. its a MUST HAVE, not a WANT TO HAVE!~

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  2. LAV SLEP/buy doesnt float, so that, alone keeps it out of the MPC game.

    ive always said the styrker was alot of what the Corps was wanting, and if you can make a tracked version of it with some Amphib upgrades you got a good platform thats easy to maintain, can be upgraded as it goes, and well has some awsome varaits. (would love to see a mgs tracked stryker in the corps...would simply rock) that being said...only 4 road wheels? how many shocks does this thing got? because thats going to be a rough ride

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    1. they're suppose to be improvng it with 8 roadwheels, make it wider and add a bigger engine. it really seems like the mods they're talking about will help move it toward being able to float

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  3. For the last decade army invested billions of dollars into FCS armor vehicles (remember that one?), it got absolutely zero back for these investments. What make you think they can get right this time, now with two major programs running concurrently and a much tighter budget? Let’s be realistic for a moment, folks. It ain’t gonna happen.
    Among all majors, only JLTV enjoys a good chance of making it to the finish line. Army should use her limited resources wisely, upgrading current platforms over developing and buying new toys. That’s a no brainer in the age of austerity.
    Here is my prediction of what will actually happen as far as vehicle modernization goes. GCV will be cancelled along with ACV. BAE proposes a moderate AAV Recap which is then accepted by the corps since no other financially feasible alternatives are available. MPC will morph into another round of LAV SLEP with the possibility of additional buys to make up the attrition/losses. As far as being able to stay afloat with limited mobility in the water, all MPC entries so far won’t make the requirement if given extra armor/protection kit attached to the vehicle body. A base MPC configuration won’t survive today’s battle ground filled with IED/RPG hybrid threats, use that as a benchmark is worthless.

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    1. we're gonna have to agree to disagree then. i'm not being a cheerleader on this, i'm just being practical. what do you think is going to happen if all these programs actually get killed like you're talking aobut?

      wer're right back in recession. between BAE, General Dynamics, Lockheed Martin, SAIC and others you're looking at 100,000 professionals being laid off...at least that many. toss in some airplane cancellations and the number balloons. that's what Eisenhower was talking about when he spoke of the defense industrial complex. its self sustaining and any attempt to cut it will result in at best short term fiscal damage to the country.

      sorry bud. you're wrong.

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  4. Here is the thing. In late spring this year, army conducted a GBC usage study by borrowing contemporary IFVs from our allies (Sweden provided CV-90, Israeli loaned a production representative Namer) and placed them side by side with good old Bradley for a friendly comparison (or competition). Guess what? The feedback from soldiers mostly favors Bradley. Clearly, adaptation of a more modern IFV offers marginal advantages in performance. Is that a good investment? I doubt it. Other than insisting on having 9 men squad able to fit inside a single vehicle, I don’t see any other rational reason of ditching Bradley for something more fancier but also far more expensive. The army has an inventory of approx. 6000 Bradley. Along with the upcoming force structure reduction, it has enough platforms to cover both GCV and AMPV requirement. Redesign interior electronic/console layout to win back so called space and weight constraint. Engine and transmission replacement gives back the mobility margin long lost. Remove turrets from portion of the Bradley fleet and now you have your base AMPV. You can spend your savings on items actually matters in tomorrow’s warfare. i.e. network connectivity on the move, advanced armor/protection system, and a larger caliber weapon for firepower enhancement (BTW, army brass still prefers 25mm for their GCV, which is clearly out gunned by today’s standard). The platform centric approach to weapon system is obsolete; army needs to refocus on capability centric thinking.

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    1. i fully agree with most of what you said there. but the Army doesn't want rebuilt, it wants new.

      your solution is simple, straightforward and would have the vehicles in troops hands within a couple of years. but again, the Army don't want simple.

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    2. So, they took a bunch US soldiers who operated the Bradley and had them test the Bradley vs. foreign competitors? And they choose the Bradley over the ones they were less familiar with in the test?

      It reminds me of when WWII Fighter Aces (those who survived) what their favorite fighter was. Americans, Russians, Germans, Brits, Finnish, etc. and by golly, to a man, they always replied it just happened to be the model they flew. I'm betting the Bradley guys felt the same way. What would those test have shown had they been unfamiliar with the Bradley before testing.

      Both the M113 and Bradley were very vulnerable to IED attacks aimed at the bottom of their hulls during Iraq. These vehicles were developed decades ago and are not suitable for operating in the environments our forces will likely face. Is the Tracked Stryker the solution? I don't know but sticking with the Bradley as is, even with the BUSK upgrades, is not ideal.

      If BAE can demonstrate that a Bradley based AMPV can survive IED attacks, more power to them. But there' a reason why the Army has a GCV contest to replace the Bradley. What purpose would it serve to replace M113's with a vehicle based on another vehicle wants to phase out of service?

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    3. I say bias could play a role of favoring Bradley during White Sand evaluation, but look at larger picture please. Which vehicles on the market today has IED protection built into the design? I can only recall two: Puma and Namer. Puma was eliminated from initial GCV competition for unclear reasons. Namer is a good candidate, except its weight may be considered too heavy for US Army’s taste. Both models are foreign origin (remember not invented here syndrome?), industrial policy dictates domestic assembly and production. The up front cost will offset any benefits of adopting an off the shelf solution. Developing a brand new combat vehicle from scratch is out of question. That’s not going to happen, my friend.

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  5. Well, I should point out that 600 Namers are being produced by GD in Lima, OH because the IDF needed them faster than their domestic industry could produce them, so your domestic manufacturing point is moot, at least in regards to the Namer.

    http://defense-update.com/tag/namer-ifv

    I doubt it would be difficult to build a PUMA or CV90 in Lima if that is what we selected. Heck, the Swiss MOWAG Stryker wasn't designed in the US, but it's built here now.

    The Puma and CV90 both have 10kg mine protection, but whether that translates into IED protection is for guys with engineering degrees to figure out.

    The main drawback of the Bradley is that the fuel cells are located in the bottom of the hull. Even with blast-proof cells in the BUSK III variants, it isn't ideal for obvious reasons. I've read of changes in the new AMPV Bradley chassis moving fuel cells to the ramp, but haven't verified it myself. Still, the ramp isn't the best place either.

    I get where you are coming from because it makes perfect sense to use the Bradley chassis for the AMPV logistically, but it isn't a sure thing. If funding is the overriding concern, though, I could see the Bradley chassis being selected since there are so many hulls to utilize and the built-in logistics chain.

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