Sunday, August 30, 2015

Wheels vs Tracks...has the worm finally turned?

Note:  You guys are gonna have to work with/deal with me on this.  I'm experimenting with a new concept for the blog.  Statements made in the comments of blog posts will be popped out to start a new discussion.  Its just an experiment to see how it works, so bear with me.

Wheels vs. Tracks.  Has the worm finally turned?  That's the question brought on by this statement by Herbert...
And why have tracks to operate in rough terrain if all your fuel and other support vehicles are wheeled and cant' follow?
That's just a small snippet of what was said.  The conversation was dealing with the definition of mobility but that part stood out to me because it brings us to the tracks vs wheels thing.

Enter the USMC.

I've been following the USMC's Amphibious Combat Vehicle contest for awhile now.  If you've been following me then you've seen me gyrate between advocating for a detuned EFV, a dramatically upgraded and modified AAV from BAE (still begging them for the actual concept pics of it) and then trying to guess what wheeled vehicle the Marine Corps will select for the project still 7 or more years away.

Having said all that we're reminded of this video by HQMC...

You can watch the whole thing (its quite informative) but the part I want you to focus on starts at 4:38.  That's General Mullen talking and the issue is whats at hand today.  Tracks vs. Wheels.

He states in the clear (and I'm paraphrasing) that wheels have caught up to tracks when it comes to mobility over broken ground.  In talking to him I was challenged to call the staff at the Nevada Test Center to confirm the results of testing on the MPC test bed that showed its mobility rivaled that of the M1 Abrams.

The interesting thing is that we've seen it in the USMC.  The MTVR is approaching almost legendary status as being able to go anywhere and get the job done.  If you look around the globe you see others making the same claims about their wheeled IFVs.  The French VBCI, the Singaporean Terrex 2, the Italian Super AV and others all claim to be able to keep up with tracked vehicles across all terrain.

So ending this the question is asked one final time.

Has the worm turned?

SIDENOTE:  We've all see the go-pro vids of pilots and aircrewman...even a few of sailors doing there thing.  I wish for once a Combat Cameraman or a grunt in the Army or Marines would strap a go-pro to their helmet and give the public a birds eye view of what its like to be going cross country in the back of an AAV or Bradley.  Policy Makers, Congress, the SecDef, even the guys running the services need to be reminded of the heat, dust, and how you can lose situational awareness in the back of these things.  Even better would be to see it from splashing off the back of an LPD to the trip to shore and finally the moment when the ramp goes down.

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