As promised, this is the first in a series of articles chronicling the most interesting systems I saw at the Maneuver Conference (formerly known as the Infantry Conference).
General Dynamics showcased the Stryker test bed vehicle. This is the Stryker with the latest modifications/technology for the Army to play with determining the future direction of the Stryker. It was maximized for troop occupancy with individual seats for every passenger well in excess of the nine man squad, very roomy. It featured a double “V” hull, external separate sidewalls to provide more protection for the tires and most noticeable, a turreted 40mm remote weapon system. The Kongsberg Protech Systems new Medium Caliber Remote Weapons Station was sporting a 40mm cannon and does not protrude into the troop space. A little over a 100 rounds are stowed in the turret to the left/right of the gun under armor. Troops inside can reload the gun from inside the vehicle or even toss different kinds of rounds in the ammo basket for different targets (e.g. AP, HE or air burst). If the Stryker were fielded with this turret it could still carry and deploy the nine man squad.
The Infantry School is interested in giving the Infantry platoon a little more punch than the .50 cal or Mk19 mounted on Strykers today. Considering the plan is to consolidate the M1128 MGS (a Stryker mounting a 105mm gun) out of the Stryker infantry company into its own company in Stryker BN’s (a good idea from the training perspective), it’s a good idea to beef up the motorized infantry platoon’s firepower. No decision has been made if every Stryker will get a 40mm. It might be limited to one of four vehicles per platoon.
BAE had the Marine Personnel Carrier on display. This is an amphibious wheeled vehicle capable of operating in seas state 3, can carry 9 passengers plus a three man crew. It has a V-shaped hull and has a range of 20 nautical miles. It’s being offered to replace the AAVP7, a 70’s era vehicle serving as the Marines amphibious assault vehicle. The Marines need a replacement badly.
This is a pretty sound vehicle except for two issues. It’s not tracked so it’s not going to have the mobility of even the ancient AAVP7.
The bigger issue is this will carry nine infantrymen. Problem is Marine squads are 13…
That means the Marine squad hits the beach 30% weaker or has to link up under fire. This is the greatest weakness of the Army’s Bradley relearned in Iraq and why the Army has been so adamant that its replacement carry the whole Army nine man squad.
Marines, don’t repeat the Army’s mistake. We lived with it for 30 yrs and still trying to fix it.
Finally, we have the XM8 “Buford” Light Tank. The Maneuver Center is pressing to fill a capability gap we’ve had for 20 years since the retirement of the M5551 Sheridan. That being mobile cannon anti-tank and infantry support for Stryker BDEs and light infantry divisions though primarily the 82nd. While missiles are great the reality is that missiles don’t suppress very well (maintain a rate of fire to keep the enemy’s head down and stay in static positions), guns do and relatively cheaply.
The “Buford” is based on the Bradley hull. It mounts a 105mm gun with an automatic loader and carries a variety of ammo types up to 30 rounds. It is air droppable by C130. This would have been very useful in Afghanistan where the M1 tank deployed by Marines has had mobility issues in the restrictive terrain and a voracious fuel appetite. Check out the video which features airborne drops, different armor packages which change the “look” and the extensive survivability testing the Army does on tanks.
Stay tuned. Aircraft and things that go BOOM coming up!Tags: Buford, light tank, Maneuver Conference 2013, MPC, Stryker, XM8