Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Army Ground Combat Vehicle in trouble.

via AOL
The Army's proposed Ground Combat Vehicle would offer less combat power, at a higher cost, than buying the German-made Puma already in production or even just upgrading the Army's existing M2 Bradley, according to the Congressional Budget Office. CBO issued a report todayassessing different alternatives to upgrade Army heavy brigades' infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs), tank-like war machines with tracks and turrets designed to carry troops into combat.
The non-partisan CBO, Capitol Hill's in-house thinktank, has slammed the Ground Combat Vehicle program before, but never this hard. The office's analysts took the Army's own criteria and created a grading system that scored different combat vehicles for effectiveness. Using a scoring scheme that prioritized protection above all, followed by firepower, mobility, and passenger capacity, in that order, the CBO rated the Puma highest, followed by a notional upgrade to the Bradley, followed in distant third place by the GCV. (The Israeli-built Namer came in fourth). Even under an alternative grading scheme that weighted all four criteria equally -- putting much more emphasis on the capacity to carry troops -- the 6-passenger Puma still edged out the 9-passenger GCV, largely because of its superior firepower.
Read it all over at AOL if you haven't already.

I'm making the call now.  The Ground Combat Vehicle program is going to be scrapped and you'll see the Bradley upgraded even further.

There isn't much to add to this story except that I wonder what would happen if the GAO evaluated all these vehicles with the exact same weapons fit.

Lets go middle ground and magically put 30mm cannons on all the vehicles involved.  I would bet that the Bradley would win going away.

13 comments:

  1. What is in your opinion the best option in this case?

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    1. i'm really not sure. i'm not sure what the end goal really is behind the program. the Bradley is rather young compared to Marine armor and the Stryker is younger still. i never saw the rationale behind the GCV and because i don't i can't determine which is best.

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  2. I'm not sure how they figured the Puma as having "103% better" firepower to even the base Bradley. Spike-LR is at best a lateral move from TOW. 30mm APFSDS isn't THAT much better than 25mm sabot. I suppose 30mm airburst is a significant upgrade over plain 25mm HEI. But then an upgraded Bradley with a 30mm should be equivalent, IMHO.

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  3. The GAO report seems to entirely miss the main point that the Army has decided after a decade of combat that it requires it's IFV's to carry a 9 man squad and that no vehicle fills the requirement. The Namer isn't an IFV and neither the Puma nor Bradley carry 9. Thus none of the alternative suggestions in the report are viable.

    The Army also seems to be emphasizing protection in the program, including from mines and IED's, and again it's not clear any of the suggestion meet the protection requirements either. The weapons fit, in my view, is the least of the issues. The main driving requirement is carrying 9 dismounts with a significantly higher level of protection than the Bradley.

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    1. well that's the real problem isn't it. you can't have it all. armor, mobility and firepower either are balanced or they aren't. if you emphasize armor then you're giving up on mobility. quite honestly you might be looking at a new class of vehicle if you're going to go with a track that can carry 9 dismounts, a 40mm cannon and still keep up with a abrams. i seriously wonder if it can be done and be affordable.

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  4. The Namer does have an IFV version with a Samson unmanned turret. I'm not sure if that means 9-man squad will fit in it or not, but there is an IFV. I'm certain a new unmanned turret could be developed if need be.

    Plus, Namer could be a replacement for the AMPV.

    What I don't get is why the CV90 III isn't considered. 35 tons, 25mm to 40mm autocannon options. It also has the Armadillo APC for an AMPV option.

    Plus, the CV90-120 could be used as a Mobile gun system.

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  5. A RWS on Namer means you lose 1+ dismount for a gunner station or you double up the commander and gunner role. The Army probably has a 2 man turret as a requirement. Additionally you lose more dismounts trying to find more space for 30mm ammo and extra ATGW's.

    The CV90, like the Puma, doesn't carry 9 dismounts to begin with. All of these are excellent vehicles but they simply don't meet requirements. It's worth asking why the manufacturer of either the Puma or CV90 hasn't considered a stretched version able to carry 9+ dismounts as an IFV?

    The Namer is a modified Merkava IV and has unmatched protection for an infantry carrier. It's also 60 tons. It's not clear it meets the mobility requirements and it would have to be larger in an IFV version and I'd guess it would hit 70 tons.

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  6. CV90 has seven road wheels for only 35 tons. I think it is ripe for a stretched, heavier protected version circa 45 tons. BAE owns Hagglunds so they aren't going to propose it, but it is interesting as a platform for more development.

    I don't think there is any reason to bulk up or add ten tons of armament or turret for the Namer. I don't get why the GCV has a manned turret as a requirement, but if that is how they want to go, then a commander, driver, gunner bumps it up to three crewman and only 8 troops. That pushes it into CV90 capacity territory.


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    1. i wanna see what a major upgrade to the Bradley would look like before the take one step further. either that's a go or no go and then they proceed. if its a go then its settled. if not then explain why the need to carry 9 dismounts exists and we can work from there. if valid then we go with the GCV contest as its obvious nothing in existence meets requirements.

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    2. The current Brad platoon is 3 x 9 squads, awkwardly split between four vehicles. Two Brads carry part of squad 1 and 2, and the other two carry the other parts, along with squad 3 split between them. So there's no way to detach an entire squad without bringing along

      Plus there is no room for attachments.

      The CBO's Puma proposal also wouldn't keep squad integrity.

      The GCV would put a full squad in each of three vehicles and leave the last for attachments.

      I know the Army has a hardon for the 9 man squad just like the Marines love their 13 man squad. But would it really be that bad to alter the section/team/squad size to fit the vehicle? It seems like an argument over minutiae.

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    3. ...without bringing along part of another squad.

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  7. Those 9 dismounts give the vehicle a squad of three, 3 man fire teams.
    It's Tactically sound.
    The Bradley is here and we don't have to wait for production or snapping in as we would with a new vehicle.

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    1. The current Bradley platoon TOE has 3 x 9 squads already. They're just split across four vehicles and there is no room for attachments.

      BTW, the 9-man squad is 2 x 4 man fire teams plus a squad leader.

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