FCS - Future Combat Systems - Evolution

Rafael

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Hola!!!

I'm interested in information on the evolution of the FCS.
These are two models I made from depictions taken out of ARMOR MAGAZINE in 1997. The model is a concept contest winner apparently designed by Dr. Asher Sharoni, from Western Design Howden (WDH)




Thanks,
Rafa
 

Ranger6

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Rafael,

What information are you looking for? There are a number of good sites with information on the FCS and related systems. However, as the program is still in the design stage, there will very likely be major revisions prior to cutting metal. ;)

Also, it's important to note that the FCS contains three different vehicle systems: Tracked, Wheeled, and Unmanned. So far, the most information that is available is on the tracked system(s).

Hope this helps a little -- I'll post more information after I dig it out of my "archive."

Abraham
 

Anderman

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Hola Rafael,

i don't know if you know this the "future combat system" and the "future combat systemS" are different project
the first was a replacement project for the M1.

http://www.fas.org/man/dod-101/sys/land/fcs.htm

Code:
The new conception of the Future Combat Systems [plural] as a distributed battlefield system of systems [in the 20-ton class] represents a rather dramatic departure from the previous concept of the Future Combat System [singular] which was focused on a 40-ton tank.
maybe this links helps a little bit to:

http://www.mainbattletanks.czweb.org/Tanky/dfsv.htm
 

Rafael

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Thanks for replying, amigos!!

I understand that the FCS started life as a replacement search for a substitute for the M-1 Abrams Tank. It envisioned a "threshold or interim model", before going to full scale development of the definitive tank.

Then I found that the "System" in FCS was changed to "Systems" to accommodate the development of up to 16 (?) manned and unmanned ground and air vehicles.

It all happened sooo fast...When was the "Systems" introduced?
....and why?

Of course, there were other programs, like the FSCS (Future Scout Combat System), which I lost track of..... Maybe I am confused by the sudden change (for example an MBT weighing in 40 tons to another of 20+Tons...)

Thanks for your analises and explanations

Rafa
 

Anthonyp

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Without going into it, the FCS is still very much in flux. Globalsecurity.org actually has closer pics to the latest design incarnation than what fas.org has. They're about two generations old.

And it's still Future Combat System (no s), at least within BAE Systems and TACOM.
 

Ranger6

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Hi all,

I just got home and was able to find the resources. In addition to the ones already mentioned, I would add: www.army.mil/fcs and www.g2mil.com.

The fornmer is an official US Army site and "tows the official line" but still contains a wealth of information, the latter is a somewhat idiosyncratic review of current and future warfare trends by a former USMC officer. BTW, the latter is very critical of the entire FCS project.

For what it is worth, part of your problem Rafael, is that the Army is basically trying to pull a fast one -- replacing the M-1 Abrams (a 65 ton MBT) with the FCS "Mounted Combat System" which is planned to weigh in at about 24 tons. Of course, any idiot can see that the MCS is a souped up light tank. However, the Army learned its lesson with the cancellation of the M-8 Armored Gun System (another attempt to push into production a system designed to do too many things adequately without doing any one thing well enough to make the effort worthwhile).

The reality, of course, is that the Army will be needing new systems soon. And the funding is getting more scarce. The US is now in the same situation the UK was in the 1920s and 1930s: we have a large and widely scattered empire to protect with an barely adequate number of troops. Face it, a 24 ton tank is easier to transport than a 65 ton one. And for these Third World style operations a light tank will be more than enough to accomplish the mission (think Op Iraqi Freedom). The real problem is -- what do we do if we ever have to face an army on par with us technologically (say the Chinese).

Sorry about the rant. As I was saying, there is a wealth of information at the above sites!

Abraham
 

Rafael

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Very illustrative.

Then, there's a dicotomy in this problem. What is then the FCS (I acknowledge the term "Systems" not currently in use) do when confronted with heavy armored MBT systems like the Russian Eagle and whatever there is that the Chinese might throw against it?

How well are this vehicles expected to fare in an asymmetric environment (IMHO the most common in the future)?

I know the program is developing and nothing concrete has come out of it in the form of a service-ready-vehicle. But does the "tank" member of the family incorporate something new in terms of protection/mobility/lethality beyond the current M-1 MBT version?

What does Networking mean to this new generation beyond the obvious ease of operation?


Meanwhile I will be reading the references you posted, but I would appreciate your sharing of comments and opinions.

Thanks.
Rafa
 

Ranger6

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Rafael,

You just hit the nail on the proverbial head! DoD along with the "Transfomation Cult" have decided that all future wars will be fought by a US military with complete mastery in all fields -- technical, informational, morale, etc -- and will thus be able to fight our style of Net Centric Warfare. Since we will have precise intelligence of where the enemy is we will be able to hit him while he is so far off that his systems won't be able to strike back (akin to the situation the British 8th Army was in in early clashes vs the Afrika Korps).

This will almost certainly work as planned if we fight against tin-plate dictators like Saddam Hussein or Manuel Noriega, but is not the answer to counter-insurgency campaigns (as currently transpiring in Iraq and Afghanistan), is also inapplicable in the "War Against Terrorism", and probably won't work without heavy losses if we ever have to face a first rate army that is technologically equal to us.

For example, much of our situational awareness is based on the premise that we have sattelites in orbit able to identify enemy movement in real time. This would allow us to position our forces to destroy said enemy force before it even has time to deploy. But, what if the enemy has the ability to shoot down our sattelites? We will be as blind as they are. Oh, BTW, the Chinese have successfully tested an ASAT system similar to the one we abandoned about twenty years ago.

So here you have it: Deja Vu all over again. The US Army seems forever fated to be facing enemy Tiger tanks with our Sherman 75s. That's the result of looking at war through a managerial/business school mentality rather than a warrior mentality. Keep in mind, I hope my entire prognosis is wrong, but somewhere along the line somone is going to have to wake DoD up to the fact that the only replacement for an MBT is another MBT.

Ragrds,

Abraham

PS I should let everyone know that in my "other" life I'm a professor of Military History, though in the last few years I've become very interested in futurism (hence my joining this group). ::)
 

vajt

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Unless they develop some radical armor, either using nano-materials and/or new electric armor and combine it with active protection, there is no way a light tank will match the protection capability of a current M-1.

From what I hear, the new Russian T-95 tank will be a modular design with an unmanned turret. It will still weigh around 40 tons but the crew compartment will incorporate extra protection with new materials, new generation reactive and active armors will also be used, it will have a reduced silhoutte and weight due to the smaller turret and new stealth features. Now this to me sounds like a true next generation MBT.

-----JT-----
 

sferrin

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Ranger6 said:
Rafael,

You just hit the nail on the proverbial head! DoD along with the "Transfomation Cult" have decided that all future wars will be fought by a US military with complete mastery in all fields -- technical, informational, morale, etc -- and will thus be able to fight our style of Net Centric Warfare. Since we will have precise intelligence of where the enemy is we will be able to hit him while he is so far off that his systems won't be able to strike back (akin to the situation the British 8th Army was in in early clashes vs the Afrika Korps).

This will almost certainly work as planned if we fight against tin-plate dictators like Saddam Hussein or Manuel Noriega, but is not the answer to counter-insurgency campaigns (as currently transpiring in Iraq and Afghanistan), is also inapplicable in the "War Against Terrorism", and probably won't work without heavy losses if we ever have to face a first rate army that is technologically equal to us.

For example, much of our situational awareness is based on the premise that we have sattelites in orbit able to identify enemy movement in real time. This would allow us to position our forces to destroy said enemy force before it even has time to deploy. But, what if the enemy has the ability to shoot down our sattelites? We will be as blind as they are. Oh, BTW, the Chinese have successfully tested an ASAT system similar to the one we abandoned about twenty years ago.

So here you have it: Deja Vu all over again. The US Army seems forever fated to be facing enemy Tiger tanks with our Sherman 75s. That's the result of looking at war through a managerial/business school mentality rather than a warrior mentality. Keep in mind, I hope my entire prognosis is wrong, but somewhere along the line somone is going to have to wake DoD up to the fact that the only replacement for an MBT is another MBT.

Ragrds,

Abraham

PS I should let everyone know that in my "other" life I'm a professor of Military History, though in the last few years I've become very interested in futurism (hence my joining this group). ::)

The Chinese ASAT system is more like the old Russian one. It's nothing like a 3000 pound missile launched from a fighter aircraft. As for the tank situation I'm with you there. IMO Rumsfeld is right up there with McNamara when it comes to screwing things up. AFAIK there is NO heavy tank componant in the FCS lineup. Last I heard though is that sanity is starting rear it's head and the M-1 will be around a while. Hopefully they're going to replace it with another heavy tank when the time comes instead of a 10,000lb HUMMER with CKEM on it. With the Dems coming into power though I won't be holding my breath. :mad:
 

sferrin

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Lineup from the GD FCS site. Not seeing a heavy tank there. Mostly bloated-Bradley looking things. :'( Actually come to think of it they look more like the Venus probe from the Bionic Man. :'( :'(

(link is to high res version)

http://www.xmission.com/~sferrin/fcslineupnd4.gif
 

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Rafael

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They're really nice. And the family resemblance is there in all their faces.

What nags at me is the doubt of all of you gentlemen. I too don't see a Main Battle Tank in there. At least in the classical sense. Unless a technological breakthrough is inside and over all of them, I keep thinking they will be easy preys to massed RPG attacks, Networking and all notwithstanding.

Like I said. They're all nice. As is nice the notion of a 24 ton air transportable/droppable tank. But a functional, fully capable mini-MBT?.

Or an armored Gun system capable to take on heavy opposition while it has to retreat to avoid being hit and survive?

And if active countermeasures, be them grenades, flying plates, or other device exhausts, what will be standing there between the crew and an RPG or APFSDS or HEAT round?

What about good 'ol heavy armour?

I would like to see them roaming the battlefield. But I would like it the most if they were more survivable and lethal.

Am I wrong, gentlemen?

Rafa
 

Rafael

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vajt said:
Unless they develop some radical armor, either using nano-materials and/or new electric armor and combine it with active protection, there is no way a light tank will match the protection capability of a current M-1.

From what I hear, the new Russian T-95 tank will be a modular design with an unmanned turret. It will still weigh around 40 tons but the crew compartment will incorporate extra protection with new materials, new generation reactive and active armors will also be used, it will have a reduced silhoutte and weight due to the smaller turret and new stealth features. Now this to me sounds like a true next generation MBT.

-----JT-----
And I agree with you there, JT. I also read somewhere that the M-1 was to be around for a while longer, and I think that is good reasoning prevailing.

And that T-95 you mention sounds a lot like the FMBT program that predated the first FCS program.

One thing That made me start this thread was to know more about the evolutionary steps that led from M-1 to FMBT to FCS in terms of design and requirements.

Any comments?

Thanks
Rafa
 

yasotay

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There is no heavy armor, because none of these vehicles are intended to replace the M-1 series, or the M-2 for that point. The intent of the FCS is have a more rapidly deployable mechanized force. It is also attempting to improve the use of information technologies
 

sferrin

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yasotay said:
There is no heavy armor, because none of these vehicles are intended to replace the M-1 series, or the M-2 for that point. The intent of the FCS is have a more rapidly deployable mechanized force. It is also attempting to improve the use of information technologies
Not so sure about that. That my be the intent today but you know some bean-counter will have a hissy when the time to replace the M-1. That or it will soldier on way past it's prime because it's cheaper to do so. A prime example would be the M109 Palidin. When it's over the hill (some would argue that happened several years ago) they won't replace it with something more capable (because they cancelled it), they'll just say "use the FCS gun" and a report will get pulled out of a hat that justifies it. Some genius will come along and say "FCS version X can kill tanks" and it will be a done deal. Look for the M-1 to be replaced by Sheridan Mk 2. (Sorry if I sound cynical but I've not been inspired by many of the procurement decisions in the last ten years. Apparently it's more important for the politicians to vote themselves another raise than to see the soldiers have the best we can give them.)
 

yasotay

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I certainly can agree on the bit about the politicians. The Crusader, like the Comanche, kept growing and was so heavy only the bridges in the Western World would have supported it. While I can agree with the antiquity of the M109 Paladin, it has to a certain extent found a new lease on life with less than major warfare and the advent of the Excalibur round. To be sure it has seen better days and everyone else has equipment with much better reach. The FCS canon system is actually doing rather well. Its biggest problem is that it can shoot faster than you can keep it in supply.

One of the reasons that the FCS came around is that it did not appear that the United States would find itself facing a massed mechanized force, or at least a competent one in the coming years. It was recognized that all of its ground force equipment was built for the Gotterdamurung in West Germany. While very good kit for that battle, when the American planners started looking at other places that might need consideration they found that those systems were not as well suited. It does you no good to take M1A1 to a country where not a single bridge will support its weight under any circumstances. Also the only way to get these heavy forces to a place is by ship. Not the fastest way to get there, especially if it is a land locked country (Afghanistan). Otherwise you have to put one single tank on a C-5 sized aircraft, which is exceedingly inefficient for force delivery. With FCS you are to have a system, that you can put two of them per C-17 without having to get wartime waivers and you can get it into other than international airports. Ultimately the United States is looking to have organizations and equipment that are not reliant on airports and seaports for access. Give them a football pitch and a beach and they can deliver mechanized forces, supported by air and naval forces. We shall see...

Cynicism- these days is analogous to being pragmatic.
 

Ranger6

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:eek:

Guys,

I am shocked! Truly shocked to hear you say that "cynicism is the new realism." Of course, we all know its true -- but it's still shocking! ;)

No really. I have to admit, its nice to know I'm not the only maniac who hasn't yet been infected by the folly fungus, aka "transformation." Obviously, the only thing that can replace an MBT and survive on the modern battlefield is another MBT. Almost needless to say, that means trading speed and transportability for firepower and survivability (after all, Americans are skittish about casualties!).

Now to show my full hand. I think the FCS is lunacy, but does contain the seedling of a good idea:

First, it looks at the problem of designing the new generation of AFVs from a weapons system approach, rather than from the perspective of each discrete vehicle.

Second, I think it's about time the Army intrgrated moratrs and artillery into a total combat package. The Israelis have been deploying task specific packages -- three tanks, four APCs and a mortar or SPG -- on an as needed basis. For all the supposed flexibility of the IBCT, it still relies on brigaded battalions from different units that have never trained together on MISSION SPECIFIC maneuvers.

Third, some of the ideas -- externally mounted weapons, for example -- make a lot of sense. The M-1 is a humongous beast and is very vulnerable to top attack. Sure, we can hope to have complete mastery of the air -- as we did in Iraq (twice) and Afghanistan. But, what if we don't? What if a few attack helicopters manage to get through our air supertiority screen (as happened to the Israelis in Lebanon in 1982) and loose a barrage of ATGWs before we even realize they are there?

Finally, I r3ealize we are in the same situation now as we (and the British) were before and during WWII. We have a big empire to police, falling defense budgets, long distances to carry heavy weapons, and falling manpower levels. Its enticing to think that Technology can sweep away all those problems. But, my problem is that DoD has no fall back plan in case of any other contingencies. Thus, we seem to be fated to replay either North Africa in 1942 (British light and Cruiser tanks attacking like cavalry to get close enough to fire back at the German Pz4s) or Normandy in 1944 (trying to kill Panthers with the medium velocity 75MM gun on the Sherman). I'd hate to be the poor sod in a "Sheriden 2" -- a really apt analogy.

Best,

Abraham
 

Antonio

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Great post Ranger6!

Finally, I realize we are in the same situation now as we (and the British) were before and during WWII. We have a big empire to police, falling defense budgets, long distances to carry heavy weapons, and falling manpower levels. Its enticing to think that Technology can sweep away all those problems
Just a couple of comments because I don't want to go off-topic:

Not only the USA or Great Britain have problems to handle their empires, also Spain or Rome experienced that before. It is natural that an entity grows to an inflexion point when it starts to collapse because its size make its unefficient.
When your offensive budget turns into defense budget you reach the inflexion and Empire stability = 1/Defensive budget

Cheers:)
Antonio
 

yasotay

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It would appear from recent events in Lebanon and Iraq, that heavily protected MBT are susceptible to infantry borne weapons like RPG 29, Koronet ATGM and even .50cal sniper rifle. That said I am not one who espouses the “Armor has met its Agincourt” found in some communities. Ironic really, that it was the other side of that same conflicted area where in 1974 the same inaccurate allusion was formed.

Having done some work with FCS for a few years now, I can tell you that most of those working it have a very keen respect for the necessity of “conventional armor”. In fact the hardest part of the program has been getting the heavy community working FCS to use the capability of an integrated system of combat vehicles and soldiers to support their maneuver. Mostly they want to drive into the fight in their chariot, impervious to the environment and smite the enemy. The idea of mounted 'supporting' dismounted and using other peoples weapons to defeat the threat, is not very enticing to them.

Of note, one of the drivers for FCS was the realization that had Iraq had the desire to press their initial advantage in Gulf War 1, the Airborne Division would have been not much more than a “Speed Bump”. Regardless of the reality, it was a very cold stone in the stomach of politician and senior officer alike. The US had two types of forces Light (airborne, air assault) and heavy (armor and mechanized). The Stryker Brigades are the first, interim, capability to add a middle weight force. FCS is not a panacea of war, although to get funding these days you have to say that, but an attempt to get as much firepower into a mobile rapidly deployable force as possible.

At the risk of sailing off topic with pometablava, another key indicator of “inflexion” comes when the society itself begins to concern itself with the individual vice the society as a whole. President John F. Kennedy’s words, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” was likely the high water mark of US expansion.
 

vajt

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Actually what would have been more effective and realistic is that the FCS should be what the Stryker is currently used for. Something for the ligh/medium mobile forces. They should have stayed with the wheeled design and continue development on the next gen Abrams as the true MBT. When you hear about the new tanks in development in Russia and China (and the countries that can easily purchase them) I doubt the 120mm FCS will do well on a one-to-one matchup.

-----JT-----
 

yasotay

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As implausible as it might seem, the Stryker is an interim system that is to be replaced by FCS; an attempt to get a medium weight force without waiting for the technology. There are some who would argue that there is a good chance that the FCS will become systems that are added to the Stryker family; although politically I doubt that will be the final decision.

I also doubt that the heavy armor business is gone in the United States. I think that it is on the back shelf while the medium force is being developed. Politically, after the recent Israeli experience there may be some folks wanting to see if there are ways to make the heavy armor more than a heavy target. I have seen briefs of heavy armor that looks more like a land battleship, with the entire ‘anti-this-that-and-the-other-thing’ technology festoon about the hull and turret.
 

Ranger6

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"I have seen briefs of heavy armor that looks more like a land battleship, with the entire ‘anti-this-that-and-the-other-thing’ technology festoon about the hull and turret.
 

Ranger6

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Sorry guys, I was trying to insert a quote and hit the wrong button.

Look, in essence, the problem is systemic: Building a land battleship will be no better than building an FCS as a replacement for the M-1. Therein is the rub, however. The US Army and DoD insist on doing things backwards -- instead of looking at doctrine first and then tailoring the hardware to what we really need, they first look at the hardware available, look for the greatest number of technological leaps forward (to reduce manpower needs and hence casualties), and only then define a doctrine around what they have.

I don't want to toot my own horn too much, but, I have an article on a very related topic -- the T-92 light tank project -- in "AFV News" for January 2007 and another one on the way in "Strategy and Tactics" (hopefully it will appear any day now . . . )on the first attempts to leap ahead technologically as a way of replacing the MBT (which in case was "obsolete" because of Nuclear Weapons!). I'm also writing up a more scholarly (e.g., with footnotes and references) on the same subject for "Armor Magazine."

This is serious stuff -- not only are we dealing with the overall strategic situation of our country, but we are potentially risking the lives of the very troops we hope to save!

I'm not involved in actual programs (no security clearence, I'm an academic) but I do read. And I heartily recommend Thomas Adams "The Army After Next," a thorough going critique of the entire "Transformation" concept, which in many ways is now DoD's religion.

Abraham
 

sferrin

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Ranger6 said:
I'm not involved in actual programs (no security clearence, I'm an academic) but I do read. And I heartily recommend Thomas Adams "The Army After Next," a thorough going critique of the entire "Transformation" concept, which in many ways is now DoD's religion.

Abraham
There appear to be signs that "tranformational" may have ruin it's course with the exit of MacNama. . I'm sorry, Rumsfeld. People are starting to realize that US soldiers aren't Superman and Maguiver rolled into one and can't win wars with a laptop and a mean face. Oakleys don't kill people, guns do. Unfortunately sanity is just beginning to prevail as it's being shown the exit. Come 2008 god help us all. (Political rant off.)
 

yasotay

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I have seen first hand the myopia at Ft. Knox. "Though shall find no other than the M1". So I think that there is room for misgiving on all fronts. I do not know if you have seen any of the Army's charts for force structure, but it does not get rid of the heavy force. However when you ask the Armor community how they plan to do their job if there is no way to get to a port (how many M1A1 and Bradley are in Afghanistan), or to the country in question, you either get stares or shrugs with "Not my problem." I can tell you that last years Lebanon mis-adventure has run a cold chill through the heavy community. Having started life as a tanker and then spent most of my career hunting them from better than 4 kilometers, if you run into an enemy who knows what they are doing, a tank is just as good a place to kill three or four soldiers as a truck. In fairness the FCS will be festoon with kit as well. Ultimately, the FCS effort may prove to have been worthwhile for how it provides improvements in battle command and situational awareness systems to the entire force, even if the vehicles are not fielded.

The irony of this whole mess is that everyone wants to think that FCS is going to replace M1/M2, and that is just not the case. IT will reduce the number of brigades with heavy armor, but there will be more heavy brigades than you might think. From my perspective FCS is an attempt to provide more than just light infantry for anything other than major conflict, so it does help save lives because I do not want my children to be a "Speed Bump", or my country to be embarrassed because my land force cannot get to the fight because an allied country elects not to stand by its treaty obligations.

This could almost be a debate on religion in the United States Army. As I tell my Status Quo friends, the Brown Bess was a brilliant weapon, and the horse cavalry was crucial for 2000 years or better. I can remember the same sort of arguments when the Army started the AH-64 Apache program to replace the AH-1 Cobra; horribly expensive and unproven technology replacing a known and respected system. I will end with "We agree to disagree. Time will prove out who is right."
 

sferrin

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I'm not claiming heavy armor is the be all and end all just that there are times when nothing else will do. I agree that there need to be some deadly lightweight vehicles but more as replacements for the various HUMVEE mutants. LOSAT (being replaced with CKEM) will add significant power to the first guys on the ground. (Unfortunately it too is/was a HUMVEE mutant)
 

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vajt said:
Unless they develop some radical armor, either using nano-materials and/or new electric armor and combine it with active protection, there is no way a light tank will match the protection capability of a current M-1.

From what I hear, the new Russian T-95 tank will be a modular design with an unmanned turret. It will still weigh around 40 tons but the crew compartment will incorporate extra protection with new materials, new generation reactive and active armors will also be used, it will have a reduced silhoutte and weight due to the smaller turret and new stealth features. Now this to me sounds like a true next generation MBT.

-----JT-----
Actually the U.S. is very fortunate that Russia didn't give Iraq ERA, DU Rounds and Nightvision/Thremal Imaging Equipment because the good ol M1 wouldn't last to long, read why U.S. Army changed from "M829 APFSDS" to "M829A2 and now M829A3"
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kontakt-5
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_model
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-72
 

Ranger6

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::)

Guys,

This thread is really a big help! I've been doing a lot of research on the previous generation of FCS (dating back to the 1950s) and I'm getting a sense of "Deja Vu all over again" (to quote the inimitable Yogi Berra).

1. Yes, it is true that the M-1 is a large heavy combat machine. HOWEVER, the reason there aren't any in Afghanistan is that they aren't needed to fight the kind of war that needsa to be fought there. Believe me, if anyone thought that an M-1 would help, they'd find a way to get some there. It's not a question of "not my problem." It is a question of matching resources to the fight we need -- in fact, the FCS would be of little use in Afghanistan, where the best forces are light infantry and special ops.

2. That said, the official Army line is that the FCS WILL INDEED replace the M-1 Abrams as our MBT "lite." If you don't believe me, read the editorial by MG Robert Williams (CO of The Army's Armor Center, the "thinking" part of ARCOM) in the current issue of Armor Magazine. He's talking about creating a vehicle that can destroy enemy armor at a range of 8KM (about 5 miles)! Obviously, such a vehicle can carry less armor since in a perfect world (the current fantasy land that DoD and ARCOM seem to live in) no enemy will be able to fire back at such a range. The only problem is the our rules of engagement won't allow our troops to fire at 8KM, because even with the best intelligence, we may mistake a civilian vehicle for an MBT. The result? Although the M-1 can engage at similar ranges, most Tank combat in Iraq has been at ranges of 2KM (just over a mile) OR LESS. In other words, we're still fighting at WWII tank gunnery ranges!

As usual (see my letter to the editors in the same issue of Armor) the problem comes from looking for a technological leap foreward, developing the systems, and then forcing doctrine to fit to the technology. A far better way to do things would be an gradual evolutionary process of fitting available technology to our doictrine and then matching BOTH to the actual needs at hand plus our probable near future needs.

It pains me to note that much of the Army's success in the last 60 years owes more to the bravery and skill of our troops than to the adequacy of our equipment.

Abraham

PS When/if I publish the article version of these posts (yeah right!) I will acknowledge your kindly thoughts!
 

yasotay

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Well Abraham, We agree to disagree. ;D

1. The "Not my Problem" is exactly the problem. You are right that it is a resource issue. M1 is a thirsty tank with a huge logistics tail. Just the sort of MSR hogging target the Tailban and insurgents love to target. You ought to talk with the folks at the Army Logistics Center about the M-1 and fuel (and the fuel to get the fuel to them). The only thing worse is Aviation. I seem to see a lot of NATO allies driving around in medium weight vehicles. If they wanted it they would indeed have it, however all of the other things (logisiticians, engineers, etc.) that would have to go in country to support heavy forces would be the Army's problem.

2. The idea of the ranged fire is to provide support to a larger area. You are correct that the rules of engagement will make long range shots less likely, however part of that is sensor fidelity. The real benefit of the extended range is that the dismounted force can get fires faster.

3. Evolution and revolution are relative. When President Regan started the M-1 and AH-64 program, as an M-60A3 driver I thought the M1 a huge mistake (turbine engine and a thermal sight worse than the one I had). Big Mistake. Then as an AH-1 Cobra driver I saw this exceedingly expensive AH-64 come along (big, very expensive, flying using thermal imaging). Big mistake I thought. So I have come to the conclusion that "change is hard". Then it should be, since they are dealing with peoples lives.
 

vajt

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Actually the U.S. is very fortunate that Russia didn't give Iraq ERA, DU Rounds and Nightvision/Thremal Imaging Equipment because the good ol M1 wouldn't last to long, read why U.S. Army changed from "M829 APFSDS" to "M829A2 and now M829A3"
1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kontakt-5
2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monkey_model
3. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T-72
[/quote]

Damn...I just read about the Kontakt-5 and now they have a newer one, the Kaktus? Wouldn't want to mess with that new ERA...I guess it would be 4th generation ERA.

-----JT-----
 

yasotay

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Now that it has been released, check out the latest issue of Defense News. The US Army intendeds on retrofitting the M1A1 series to keep it viable through 2050 (good luck with that). Many of the systems being worked for FCS will be retrofitted to both M1 and M2 series. I applaud this decision, but hope that the Army will continue to develop a viable medium weight force. Something the M1 and M2 will never be. While the Stryker family is a good capability, I do not think it will ever have the cross country mobility of a medium weight tracked system. Ground pressure and California Bearing Ratio analysis proves this out.
 

Rafael

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Great news!
And very instructive comments from all of you, gentlemen.

So is FCS definately aimed at filling a gap between light infantry and heavy armour?

Rafa
 

sferrin

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yasotay said:
Now that it has been released, check out the latest issue of Defense News. The US Army intendeds on retrofitting the M1A1 series to keep it viable through 2050.
Damn, I should open a psychic hotline.
 

yasotay

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Rafael said:
So is FCS definately aimed at filling a gap between light infantry and heavy armour?

Rafa
Yes that is the idea. It will be something like the middle of the Century before all of the FCS Brigades are fielded, assuming the plan does not change over the course of 5 to 10 administrations.

Personally, I am planning on jetting around in my "Jetson's" flying car around 2030. Spending more time worrying about how George Steinbrenner's clone has muck'ed up the NewNew York Yankees starting line up, while letting the robots worry about foreign policy enforcement in the world.

The wine is exceptional tonight. ;)
 

Rafael

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Great footage, but is it an actual FCS equpment/concept on top of that LAV?
The capabilities shown are frightening.

Rafa
 

Kadija_Man

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Its a modified LAV Air-defence vehicle - its the first time I've seen a Stinger used in an ground-to-ground role. I think it is more a testbed of the various ideas, such as remote operation and networking. The RPV is based I suspect on the Nulka hovering decoy, which is an Australian developed naval system.
 
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jeffryfontaine

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I would have to agree with the reinvention of the wheel theory. It seems to run in cycles within the military and about every twenty years or so, they come out with another "brilliant idea" that apparently everyone before them had forgot about.

After having been part of the madness for a number of years as an intelligence analyst in the Army where I was tasked to interpret and analyse aerial photography and satelite image of denied areas. Back when I was in uniform, I was swept up by the latest buzz words and such but now as a civilian I can say that it does look like there is a lot of monkeys running the show within the DoD.

If the Army were serious about fielding a vehicle now that is capable of being carried internally by helicopters they should have considered the German Wiesel which comes in a variety of sizes as I recently discovered. In addition to the better known and most commonly seen Wiesel Mk 1 armed with a 20mm Cannon and the Wiesel Mk2 fitted with the TOW ATGM (thank you AFV Club) there appears to be a lengthend version that was developed for medical evacuation. This stretched Wiesel could very well be used for other applications not unlike the Russian BMD. All of these vehicles are capable of fitting inside the current heavy lift helicopters such as the CH-47, CH-53.

Some of the arguments for not buying the Wiesel would be that it is too small. It is unable to carry a fire team or a rifle squad, there is room inside for three or four personnel. Maybe this is where the Army needs to rethink their organization and structure for small infantry units and start thinking about using fire teams as maneuver elements with a separate vehicle for each fire team instead of stuffing your entire squad into one container, at least with two vehicles, you can do the lead and wingman technique that seems to be so popular with the aviation elements.

Instead of a self propelled artillery piece, why not go back to towed systems? If you want rapid deployment and the ability to deploy from a heavy lift helicopter, then towed artillery and mortars are the best solution to the problem. Not to mention that when your prime mover goes down, you still have an artillery piece that can be hooked up to another prime mover if necessary and you are still able to perform the mission. As far as the size of the weapons, it may be time to take another look at smaller artillery calibers such as a 105mm or 75-76mm size weapons. If this is to be a rapid deployment force then artillery needs to be small and light as well. Maybe it is time to look seriously at the old 75mm pack howitzer as a solution to the problem.
 

sferrin

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Okay start with an M-1 chassis, replace Javelin with CKEM, the 25mm with a GAU-8, Stinger with RAM. . .that oughta do it. ;)
 
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jeffryfontaine

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sferrin said:
Okay start with an M-1 chassis, replace Javelin with CKEM, the 25mm with a GAU-8, Stinger with RAM. . .that oughta do it. ;)
Better to redesign the M1 and put the engine/transmission up front like the Merkava, that way you would have a rear entrance and space available for troops or other equipment.
 
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