13 October 2020

U.S. Army Modernization

Like most articles on the future of the military, this one is full of vague platitudes. But, it does contain some specifics:
The Long Range Protected Fires CFT appears on track to deploy both the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) and the Precision Strike Missile in the early 2020s. 
The Air and Missile Defense CFT has received the first of 144 Interim Mobile Short-Range Air Defense (IM-SHORAD) systems. 
The Soldier Lethality CFT is making great progress on the Integrated Visualization Augmentation System. 
The recent Project Convergence exercise demonstrated the value of new networking, command and control, and battle management capabilities to integrate and enhance the performance of existing sensors and weapons, including space-based systems and aircraft such as the F-35. . . . 
Ultimately, the Army will have to triage its 33 modernization programs. . . . 
The Army has major upgrades underway for both its main battle tank, the M-1 Abrams 2C, and its Paladin self-propelled artillery system, ensuring its relevance for decades to come. 
The Army’s modernization strategy envisions deploying a new ground combat platform, the Optionally Manned Fighting Vehicle, to operate alongside improved M-1s and Paladins. 
Long-serving weapons systems such as the Tomahawk, Patriot, and Standard missiles have been adapted to new missions. 

The Army’s 31 modernization programs include a number of what could be characterized as upgrades. 
For example, IM-SHORAD is based on a Stryker wheeled combat vehicle with a new turret that carries an existing gun, missiles and sensors. In the future, a tactical laser may replace the current gun system. The “secret sauce” is the integration of all components into a functioning weapons system. 
Similarly, the ERCA is derived from the Paladin gun system with a longer barrel, new breach, and more energetic propellants. An upgraded system will address critical capability gaps faster and at lower cost than a new start in both cases. 
The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle, a replacement for the obsolescent M-113 is itself a variant of the Bradley, minus the turret and with enhancements. . .  
What is required is the right mix of new starts and upgrades. . . . For the Army, this clearly means, at minimum, adding long-range fires, new air vehicles, improved air and missile defenses, and networking/C3 to a force that will include upgraded versions of the M-1, Bradley, Stryker, Patriot, Apache and Blackhawk helicopters, to name just a few[.]

The balance of the analysis argues that choices have to be made since there isn't enough of a budget for everything, that only the best programs should be chosen, and that the military, rather than civilians should play a leading role in decided which programs to pursue. 


Dave Barnes said...

Weapons systems should prioritized by the number of jobs in the most powerful congressional districts.

andrew said...