UPDATED 12 September 2009



Canadian LAV-III 8x8 armored car the U.S. Army wants to buy so it can run over mines like the BTR depicted here

"The primary purpose of an Army - to be ready to fight effectively at all times - seemed to have been forgotten....

The leadership I found in many instances was sadly lacking and I said so out loud. The unwillingness of the Army to forgo certain creature comforts, its timidity about getting off the scanty roads, its reluctance to move without radio and telephone contact, and its lack of imagination in dealing with a foe whom they soon outmatched in firepower and dominated in the air and on the surrounding seas - these were not the fault of the Soldier, but of the policymakers at the top".

--General Matthew B. Ridgway, U.S. Army Chief of Staff, U.N. Forces Commander during Korea War, Airborne Commander in WWII


Senator Stevens wants pork, RAND says Army is buying a lemon, Army Soldiers need the diamond-in-the-rough: the M113A3 Gavin

Read all about it here!


A little known fact is that in WWII, the U.S. Army horse cavalry existed all the way to 1944 even though it was of no use in the fighting in the Pacific and most of Europe's battlefields!


Because the Army Chief of Cavalry, General Herr refused to do the right thing and mechanize the cavalry but had powerful Congressional friends who prevented him from being fired. The same kind of situation exists today with the current Army Chief of Staff, General Shinseki refusing to field a mechanized M113A3 Gavin-based brigade combat team with parachute forced-entry and cross-country fire & maneuver capabilities instead stubbornly insisting road-bound rubber-tired lav3stryker armored cars that CAN'T FIGHT and CAN'T FLY by C-130 be used. This is despite the fact that the M113A3 Gavins out-performed the lav3strykers at the recent Fort Lewis Congressionally-mandated comparison evaluation tests. The absurdity of such a heavy lav3stryker armored car which makes the C-130 sacrifice so much fuel that you can drive it farther than you can fly it--has not been lost on Rumsfled's DoD. But like General Herr in 1940, they cannot fire or correct the wheeled armored-car-with-a-computer Tofflerian madness due to political corruption so they are now seeking to "work around" the flimsy lav3stryker brigades by surrounding them with mechanized (tracked) M113A3/M2/M1 forces and forward deploying them so the heavy wheeled armored cars will not have to be flown by any USAF aircraft. You could surround a brigade's worth of 300 x ice cream trucks with tracked AFVs and call the force "full operational capability"; the tracks will be used to do the heavy fighting and off-road dirty tasks while the wheels frolic along paved roads and trails as far back in the rear as possible. Maybe when General Shinseki retires in June '03 the current Tofflerian self-destructive course of the U.S. Army can be turned around?

Inside The Army
December 23, 2002

DOD Wants Alternate Fielding Plans For Army's Brigade Combat Teams

The Defense Department has asked the Army to develop alternate fielding plans for its Stryker Brigade Combat Teams that would change the units' home-station locations, sources say.

The request is included in a recently signed program decision memorandum, which outlines major changes for the fiscal year 2004 budget request and outyear spending plans.

The PDM and other documents also direct the Army to augment the capabilities of the SBCTs and to consider acquiring fewer than the six teams the service wants.

Currently, the Army intends to field six Stryker brigades. The service has already transformed two units located at Ft. Lewis, WA, into Stryker teams. [Editor: the lav3stryker-cursed 1st BDE/25th LID at Ft. Lewis is part of the 25th LID in Hawaii]. It also plans to convert the 172nd Infantry Brigade (Separate) at Fts. Wainwright and Richardson in Alaska; the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light) at Ft. Polk, Louisiana; the 2nd Brigade of the 25th Infantry Division (Light) at Schofield Barracks, Hawaii; and the 56th Brigade of the 28th Infantry Division (mechanized) of the Pennsylvania Army National Guard.

Officials have spent significant amounts of time during the past few months debating how many Stryker teams the Office of the Secretary of Defense would permit the Army to own. According to the program decision memorandum, OSD has "approved" acquisition of the first four SBCTs. The Army may not, however, expend funds in fiscal year 2004 for procurement and fielding of brigades Nos. 5 and 6 without approval from Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz.

To get that approval, the Army must submit a plan to OSD detailing how it would use the money now slated for the last two Stryker brigades. Top Army officials, including Secretary Thomas White and Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki, have publicly stated that six Stryker teams are required. However, OSD wants the Army to formulate other options as well, some of which would include cutting one or two SBCTs from its forces.

As part of the revised Stryker strategy, OSD has directed the Army to examine new locations for the SBCTs. In a Dec. 12 memo, Wolfowitz asks the service to look at permanently placing a team in South Korea. The Army should also consider bases in the United States and Europe, according to the memo.

In addition, the Army is to evaluate the possibility of associating and stationing SBCTs with Air Force Air Expeditionary Force units "to reinforce the development of joint operational concepts," states the Wolfowitz memo. Relocating one or more of the six -- or perhaps fewer -- SBCTs likely would attract negative attention from Congress. Sens. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska) and Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii), the chairman and ranking member, respectively, of the Senate Appropriations Committee, have a strong, vested interest [Editor: political corruption; lav3stryker units in their voting districts] in the Stryker program. Sens. Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, both influential Republicans from Pennsylvania, also have a stake in the decision. Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-Louisiana) sits on the Senate Armed Services Committee.

Putting a team in South Korea under the current climate could also prove tricky. The U.S. military has fallen out of favor with a sizeable portion of the Korean populace and the country's new president-elect, Roh Moo-hyun, has called for changes in the relationship between Seoul and Washington. Though service sources say the money for brigades Nos. 5 and 6 remains in the budget, the Wolfowitz memo indicates the service may have to spend those funds in other ways. OSD wants the Army to improve the Stryker teams to a level it calls "Full Operational Capability." [Editor: this is a veiled expression that lav3stryker units are not combat capable] Wolfowitz does not define exactly what FOC means, but cites general objectives listed in a Nov. 12 memo from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.

At that time, Rumsfeld stated, "I am not inclined to approve funding for" the fifth and sixth SBCTs in the fiscal years 2004-2009 program. The secretary suggested that he "might be persuaded otherwise" if the Army could demonstrate a plan for augmenting the Stryker teams. According to the November memo, Rumsfeld believes that teams 5 and 6 must be "distinctly different from past descriptions of the Stryker -- that is, true combined-arms units." The Army should consider adding to the SBCTs aviation, air defense, sensors, enhanced command and control and, "as an element of a fully combined-arms team, armor when appropriate," the memo states. The Army's "plan of action" must also detail how all of the Stryker brigades "will be organized so that they can operate independently of a division base and how their combined-arms structure would be applied to various missions -- peacekeeping, forced-entries, major combat operations." A joint experimentation strategy "that will enable a combined arms Stryker unit to operate with other elements of the joint force" is required as well, states the memo.

Rumsfeld notes that "these changes to the [SBCTs] will cost money. You should look for funds within Army resources. For example, if you cannot find the money for backfitting the first three brigades, we might stop at the [fifth] and use the money intended for the [sixth] to pay for the backfit," he suggests.

Wolfowitz takes it one step further, directing the Army to provide funding options that would utilize "some or all" of the money slated for the last two teams "to remodel a combination of the first three brigades and/or other units (e.g., elements of the XVIII Airborne Corps)" as a way to achieve Rumsfeld's capability goals.

Wolfowitz directs the Army to consult with the OSD director for program analysis and evaluation and the vice chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff as it develops the new SBCT design and fielding strategy.

Rumsfeld originally wanted the Army to complete the plan by Dec. 1; however, according to the Wolfowitz memo, the service now has until July 8, 2003, to submit its proposal.

-- Erin Q. Winograd


Senior Australian Army officer exposes Lexington Institute [a paid hack for the current U.S. Army leadership, look where they get their money from: our tax dollars!] propaganda mouthpiece Dan Goure' as one who parrots the Army's false claims about the lav3stryker and he does so without any documentation or backup to support his (the Army's) claims:

Defense News
November 4-10, 2002

Stryker Claims Untrue

In his commentary, "Stryker Drives to the Future," in the Oct 21-27 issue, Daniel Goure makes a number of claims about the capability of the U.S. Army's Stryker that cannot go unchallenged.

He states that it consumes less fuel, requires fewer man hours or repair and needs a smaller logistical support base. Compared to what? The Canadian experience is the contrary, where the complexities of the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV)-3 have resulted in a cost per kilometer, less turret costs, that ranges from the same as an M113 armored personnel carrier to four times as much.

He also states that Stryker is more flexible in complex terrain. This too is a fallacy, as the lack of pivot steering capability, when compared with tracks, severely reduces its maneuverability in tight areas. The vulnerability of the tires due to the thin sidewalls required for the Central Tire Inflation System means these are an Achilles heel, particularly against any adversary who is aware of this weakness.

Another claim is that Stryker can move faster than a tracked vehicle. This is true along hard roads, but on soft ground, the laws of physics still favor a tracked vehicle with its lower ground pressure. The result is, Stryker needs the extra speed to take the long way around and in the process be channeled through predictable defiles, increasing its vulnerability.

The claim that Stryker is one-half to one-third the weight of existing armored vehicles also is misleading. This is the case when compared with a tank, but it does not have the protection, firepower or mobility of a tank. The reality is that due to the complexity of the hull shape required for a wheeled vehicle, it actually will weigh more and have poorer mobility than a similarly protected tracked vehicle.

The one advantage it will have usually is better mine protection. The much higher ground pressure of wheeled vehicles compared with tracks also will limit any potential required to keep the vehicle relevant (e.g., armor improvements). This is true not only due to mobility consideration, but also to axle-load limits.

Wheels have an important place in a balanced Army, but their utility is at the lower end of the spectrum.

Lt. Col. Doug Fraser,
Royal Australian Army
Standardization Representative,
Kingston, Ontario


A senior USAF officer writes:

"Some senior airlift officers had some interesting comments about Stryker. There's 3/4 of an INCH on either side of the Stryker when it gets loaded into a C-130. You cannot carry anything else onboard when it's loaded in its stripped configuration, which means the crew, extra armor, ammo, etc. have to go in another plane.

Here's the real kicker--they couldn't fly the Stryker up to Andrews AFB (the big 'demo' that was supposed to convince the doubters) from Pope AFB in North Carolina because when you put one Stryker into a C-130 it limits the range to under 200 miles! You have to offload so much fuel to get the plane into a safe flying configuration that it can't fly very far at all--certainly not operationally significant distances. But never mind the details--we have some transformation to do!

Our airlifters just roll their eyes at all the Army's antics, but they play along because they know the Army is the only agency who wants more airlift. They don't care how stupid the concept might be (IBCT in 96 hours? A howler! They can't get an IBCT from Ft Lewis to McChord in 96 hours!), they're just happy to have someone generating more airlift squadrons and wings for them. So it goes."

C-130 Overloaded with wheeled vehicles crashes and burns in Afghanistan: how will they be able to fly 19-21 ton lav3strykers?

This article lays out yet another set of sad implications from Army lies. In this case, the Army understated cargo weight and it cost 3 Americans their life, in addition to a MC-130 etc. And this cargo only weighed 25,000 pounds. What are we doing with Styker at over 40,000 pounds? This should be exposed.

Army Times
December 09, 2002

Weight of cargo cited in crash of MC-130H
Three killed in June 12 accident in Afghanistan

By Bruce Rolfsen

The June 12 crash of an Air Force transport in Afghanistan that claimed the lives of a Soldier and two Airmen was caused by the plane being overloaded with cargo, an accident investigation board concluded in a report released Nov. 15. Air Force Brig. Gen. Frederick Van Valkenburg Jr., a fighter pilot and commander of the 37th Training Wing at Lackland Air Force Base, Texas, presided over the board. He concluded that a combination of "imprecise information" about cargo weight and a "get-the-job-done" attitude led to fatal mistakes.

Valkenburg faulted the weight-estimating procedures used by the Army - and accepted by the Air Force - for allowing the plane to take off with a load heavier than estimated. He didn't fault any individuals for the accident.

The Air Force Special Operations Command has made five changes to its cargo procedures as a result of the accident but the command won't discuss specific changes, said spokeswoman Maj. Karen Finn.

The accident took the lives of Army Sgt. 1st Class Peter P. Tycz II, of the 3rd Special Forces Group, Fort Bragg, N.C., and two Air Force loadmasters, Tech. Sgt. Sean M. Corlew and Staff Sgt. Anissa A. Shero, both of the 15th Special Operations Squadron, Hurlburt Field, Fla.

The assignment for the crew of the MC-130H Combat Talon II that day was to help ferry 30 Soldiers, their vehicles and their gear to Kandahar from a remote dirt-and-rock landing strip near the Bande Sardeh dam.

The movement required five flights split between two aircraft.

The MC-130H, based in Oman, was to fly three of the hops, while an older MC-130E Combat Talon I, staged out of Uzbekistan, was to handle two trips.

As Air Force special-operations planners worked up the flights' fuel and cargo requirements, they figured the first payload weighed about 17,500 pounds and that the maximum allowable load was 21,000 pounds. The Talon carried a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle, a Special Forces gun-mounted vehicle, a trailer and three Soldiers.

The payload's weight was a critical factor for the night operation because the special operations-modified C-130 took off in thin air from a dirt airstrip at 7,200 feet above sea level.

About 45 minutes before the crew members departed their Oman office for the plane, a mission coordinator got word the Army had upped cargo weight to 20,500 pounds, the report said.

The weight estimates came from Army Special Forces team members at Kandahar. And because there was no practical way to weigh cargo at such isolated airstrips, Air Force special-operations crews depended on Army weight estimates.

The mission pilot, a major with 4,721 flight hours in C-130s, was given a verbal message about the change, but he misunderstood and thought the new weight was 19,000 pounds.

But all those estimates were wrong, the accident investigation board concluded.

When the investigators weighed similar gear plus other items in the Army trucks - such as six cases of MREs - the board concluded the cargo weighed between 23,000 and 25,800 pounds.

The first sign of problems came when the Talon had to abort its initial takeoff roll because it hadn't accelerated fast enough. The aircrew thought the problem was caused by a tailwind.

After turning around, the plane made a second takeoff attempt and this time got airborne. But the Talon couldn't reach a speed higher than about 123 mph and an altitude of 200 feet.

The landing gear was pulled up, but within seconds the plane began losing speed and altitude after it lost the lifting effect of being near the ground. Even after the flight engineer began dumping fuel, the plane couldn't stay aloft.

At 30 feet above the ground the pilot announced, "We're going down."

The MC-130H struck the ground tail first and skidded to a halt about two miles from the runway.

Loadmasters Corlew and Shero and Soldier Tycz, all of whom were in the cargo bay, died immediately from head injuries.

The other five aircrew members and two Soldiers escaped from the plane before it caught fire.

Bruce Rolfsen covers Air Force issues.


A persistent reporter and critic of the lav3stryker fiasco is Don Loughlin. Don is a retired ordnance engineer and is also a former Marine tanker. His detailed and blunt criticisms have not been publicly refuted by any Department of the Army, DARPA or DOD official. He used the Army's own data and sources to critique the Army leadership's false justifications for the Stryker program. He cites his most important documents in his report,





Former Speaker of the house, Newt Gingrich blows whistle on lav3stryker deathtrap; tells doD to cancel it

Pittsburg Post-Gazette National Security reporter


Army's new wheeled armored vehicle criticized

DEEP KHAKI: LAV's remote weapon system conks out after 48 rounds! Aussie LAVs sent home in disgrace after East Timor

HEAVY METAL: M113A3s are better vehicles than bloated LAV-IIIs: why do you think U.S. Army is so afraid of comparison testing?

Armor and small arms expert Stan Crist reveals why the M113 Gavin is the better choice for Army BCTs:

His slide show:


His recent article in the Winter 2003 issue of SPECIAL WEAPONS FOR MILITARY & POLICE. It's in stores, but it can also be ordered from:

1115 Broadway, New York, New York 10010
Phone: (212) 807-7100 Fax: (212) 807-1479
Email: HarrisMags@aol.com

Online orders:



LTG VanRiper calls Millenial Challenge '02 war games a fraud

LAV3STRYKER FAILS EVEN IN RIGGED WAR GAMES: U.S. Army Operational Test and Evaluation Command observers reveal lav3stryker was dismal failure at MC'02!

PDF File

This is the 21-slide briefing from the Army Operational Test Command (OTC) observers at Millennial Challenge 02 conducted at the National Training Center (NTC), Fort Irwin, California.

It is a PDF document.

In case you didn't know if a PDF document is clearly scanned you can on the top tool bar select "T" for text and copy text and paste into a microsoft word document as we've done here to better utilize the data.

Here are the "smoking gun" excerpts showing the Army is lying about lav3stryker and how its was a dismal failure at MC02, and the obvious conclusion to those aware of the situation vis-a-vis the outstanding M113 Gavins which the Army owns 17,000 that could be upgraded at a fraction of the cost and attain better warfighting capabilities. Details:


The entire 21 slides are attached and the key slides are posted here with my commentary to show the context.

Key Excerpts:


"It was observed that the ICVs accounted for zero kills during the Raid mission.

* It was apparent to the observers that the RWS was not boresighted; as one observer stated that the gun was pointed 20 degrees left of the target."


"Seat Padding is insufficient

There is insufficient room was available for upper torso while wearing fighting load (front to back).

Weapon system could only be loaded from the outside of the vehicle, thus exposing ones self to enemy small arms fire"
Conclusion: 19-21 ton Lav3stryker didn't kill ANYTHING during the war game, its impotent, nothing more than a thinly armored truck that can't shoot on the move and exposes the vehicle commander (VC) to enemy fire in order to reload the puny machine gun.

For a fraction of the $3 million cost of a too large, too heavy lav3stryker we can put a real shoot-on-the-move 25-30mm autocannon with continuous ammunition feed, with fire & forget anti-tank guided missile on a more compact and lighter 10.5 ton M113 Gavin and still fit and be light enough for a C-130 to transport it. Instead of looking through a remote weapon system (RWS) narrow optic, the Gavin track commander (TC) would have his head out of the turret to acquire targets before dropping down to engage.


"RWS failed to provide on the move SA of the enemy within LOS.

- The company drove into 2 ambushes prior to reaching the objective.

- The RWS must come to a halt to engage targets. This take on an average 2 minutes.

- The enemy destroyed 13 of 14 ICVs during ambushes by the enemy BMPs, small arms, and grenades. This occurred because of the requirement to stop and acquire targets."
Conclusion: U.S. Army stated publicly to Inside the Army magazine that only 4 lav3strykers were destroyed. Clearly, the Army is lying since almost all of the lav3strykers were killed and then re-keyed to come back to life; the type of cheating OPFOR Commander LTG VanRiper objected to so much, he quit the war game.

The Tacoma News Tribune of August 8, 2002,a newspaper with a bias towards the lav3stryker since it means jobs for their local economy in an article by Michael Gilbert; "Strykers Winning War Games" states:

"By the end of the mission, the unofficial count was four of 16 Strykers knocked out, 28 Soldiers killed out of a company of about 200, and one Stryker out with transmission problems".

So this biased news sources is BRAGGING about 4 x lav3strykers dead with 44 men inside which is 25% of a rifle company---that would be combat ineffective to do anything....and this is something GOOD????....disgusting...

But U.S. Army OPTEC observers say 13 out of 14 Strykers were destroyed (completely wiped out)....

Someone is LYING and being LIED TO.

The RWS doesn't allow the lav3stryker VC to fight with his head outside the vehicle for situational awareness (SA) like a M113A3 Gavin's TC can with a more lethal 25-30mm autocannon turret. So lav3strykers "die" each with about a dozen men inside.


"The RWS did not provide adequate target resolution during engagements.

- The enemy used flashlights to decoy the Stryker unit.

Vehicles commanders could not simultaneously fight and direct the ICV, maintain SA of the dismounted infantry, man radio nets, maintain FBCB2, or call for fire."

Conclusion: the VC leaders in the lav3stryker are blind-as-bats having to operate their vehicles essentially buttoned up due to the RWS.

We have and so have dozens of other countries---successfully fought and maintained SA using M113 Gavins and dismounted infantry squads; details are contained in Army Manual FM 7-7. We can do this. We can do this well with M113A3 Gavin IAVs.



13 tires have been replaced within the 96 hours closing on NTC. (6% of the company ICV tires)."
Conclusion: In just 4 days of operations 13 TIRES have had to be changed, each time stopping the lav3stryker and making it an easy mobility kill for the enemy to finish off into a total kill. The Army's troubles and costs will escalate when you multiply the number of lav3strykers--in a force of 300, every single vehicle will have to change at least one tire during a 4 day operation in a rocky desert area. This is absurd and dangerous; entire units on tracks routinely go through entire NTC rotations without having to change even a single track on a single vehicle. Placing a metal box on 8 air-filled rubber tires multiplies by 8 the opportunities for a mobility failure on EVERY lav3stryker.


"One vehicle was deadlined for HMS.

- These two vehicles had to retighten excessively while being transported via ground transportation.


"Stowage General

Transportability procedures for MC02 are not representative of actual due to the many work- arounds derived from the problems with the HMS.

- It took 15- 20 minutes to reconfigure the ICV to combat ready."


"Stowage General

The unit needs 8 each scales for weighing the vehicles. Even with the eight scales from the Brigade the unit took over 4 hours to measure and weigh 2 vehicles."
Conclusion: the Height Management System (HMS) which tries to lower an overly high vehicle so it can squeeze under a C-130 roof adds not needed complexity to an already overly complex vehicle, making it unreliable and costly to maintain.



We must take into consideration that safety restrictions prevent the ICVs from running the APU and that the fuel consumption will be greater.

- Hours Vs Miles.
- Some ICVs may have better mileage due to them running the APU.
- Three APUs have gone down."
Conclusion: yet another faulty system on the lav3stryker lemon is its non-functioning APU.


"Stowage Internal Squad

The squad loaded equipment into last two feet of the vehicle based upon a load list from the PM. There was very limited ammunition simulated in the ammunition racks on the vehicle much of it was stowed inside the vehicle. The javelin was not loaded into its stowage space."


"There was very limited ammunition simulated in the ammunition racks on the vehicle.

- The unit needs the weights by type ammunition to simulate basic load."


"Stowage General

Upon weighing A5 they discovered that it was over 700 Lbs. Over the AF weight limit.

- The crew removed 7 rucks, 6 water cans, and 1 Javelin.

A12 was over 500 Lbs over the weight limit and removed 5 water cans and 3 rucks.

A14 is down for HMS- The HMS allowed the frame to rest on the tires and rubbed the paint off the vehicle. The CTIS is failing during transport- The driver had to stop and tighten the chain several times during transport from YTC to SCLA.
Conclusion: yet again the Army is lying and not actually putting combat loads into the overweight lav3stryker to try to deceive Congress and the American public. It takes 2 x C-130s to transport 1 lav3tyker and infantry squad because even after lots of work-arounds, the vehicle fills up the C-130 cargo bay and blocks escape in event of a crash landing. USAF has only authorized 4 Army Soldiers to ride inside a C-130 with a lav3stryker inside.

The lav3stryker has clearly failed the Key Performance Parameter (KPP) for the Army's IAV for IBCT requirement of deploying by C-130 COMBAT-READY and should be cancelled immediately. The lav3stryker cannot deploy by C-130s safely or combat ready.

In sharp contrast, the M113A3 Gavin is already proven capable of carry REAL. FULL combat loads of men, equipment and ammunition and rolls off a C-130 by cargo parachute airdrop or STOL airland COMBAT-READY. Go ask General Meigs of USAEUR who has an Immediate Ready Force (IRF) in Germany with M113A3 Gavins that has been ready to fly into Afghanistan ever since the U.S. involvement in the war, but HQDA will not send them in because it would show the world the Canadian lav3stryker is an un-needed, multi-billion dollar purchase and waste of American tax dollars. Details:

M113A3 Gavins in USAEUR SETAF


Squad do not have sufficient room on the vehicle to put on and take off protective clothing and equipment

Squad members could found it difficult to access a canteen, drink, then restow it

Squad found it difficult to access ammunition and load personal weapon.
Conclusion: the lav3stryker is so pathetically cramped Soldiers can't even pull out a canteen and drink. We have perfectly good M113 Gavins with plenty of space for the troops inside, that are combat proven that we can even stretch the hull and provide even more living space all at a fraction of the cost of the too cramped lav3stryker.


"Location of recovery 35061 16576; time to recover :43; No damage to the vehicle; A 14 was used to recover A 12 from a 8'- 10' ditch using the tow cable. It is possible that if an alternative method was used to recover the vehicle it would have tipped over."
Conclusion: the lav3stryker as a rubber-tired wheeled vehicle is so immbile that it gets stuck on the flat, open desert of NTC. After getting stuck numerous times, experience will lead Soldiers to restricting these armored cars to roads and trails so they can avoid embarrassment in front of their peers though in combat will provide the enemy easy ambush victims akin to GM 100 in Vietnam. When using the inadequate winch, Soldier injuries and deaths over time will occur.



One Full- up- pack was replaced within 3 hours.
BSB is not maintaining a fuel consumption log.
PMCS is difficult due to restrictions."
Conclusion: by taking a 16.5 ton lav3 peacekeeping armored car and slapping myriad gear and computers to try to make it into a 19-21 ton quasi-combat vehicle, the engine, suspension and transmission have been grossly overloaded. Fuel consumption and engine break-downs will be not allow the low-cost panacea HQDA has told Congress the IBCT with over 300 lav3stykers will be.


Soldiers Magazine, the official magazine of the U.S. Army, November 2001 issue:


USAREUR's Ready Force

THE Immediate Ready Force was established to improve USAREUR's ability to rapidly respond to potential contingencies within the European Command's area of responsibility.

The cornerstone of the IRF is the Light Immediate Ready Company from the 1st Battalion, 508th Infantry Regiment, in Vicenza, Italy. This Airborne force is deployable within 24 hours and can be quickly reinforced with additional units from SETAF's 173rd Brigade.

The remainder of the IRF is tailored into force enhancement modules that add specific capabilities in the form of combat power, communications, military police, engineers, scouts, and tactical or strategic control assets.

The FEMs can deploy separately or together, based on the mission, to provide a capable, tailorable and integrated force.

Combat power ranges from the Medium Ready Company, equipped with M113 armored personnel carriers, to the Heavy Immediate Ready Company, equipped with M1A1 tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles.

Key to the mobility of the IRF is its ability to deploy using tactical airlift assets already available in the European theater, belonging to U.S. Air Forces Europe.

Every IRF FEM is C-130 deployable, with the exception of the HIRC, which requires heavy-lift capability in the form of C-17 or C-5A transport aircraft.

The successful partnership between USAREUR and USAFE, working together to meet the needs of the EUCOM commander, has been an essential part of the development and employment of the IRF.

Also key to the readiness and rapid deployment of the IRF is the prepositioning of equipment at the Deployment Processing Center.

Located at Rhine Ordinance Barracks, the DPC stocks complete equipment sets for the FEMs, maintaining them at a 100 percent readiness rate.

The location of ROB, adjacent to Ramstein Air Base, the primary aerial port of embarkation in Germany's Central Region, helps speed the delivery of IRF personnel and equipment anywhere they are needed. -- MAJ Paul Swiergosz


Before you can say Jack Robinson...
Text: Lt. Sveinung Larsen -- Photos: SFC Sven Christian

Two Apache helicopters shoots rockets and machine gun for cover fire, the rockets make a shrilling sound as they knock out every target on the Ramjane Range.

When the Immediate Ready Force (IRF) moves, it really moves quickly. Less than 48 hours after their initial alert notification, they were ready to exercise Combined-Arms live fire in MNB East.

The IRF is drawn largely from the 1-18th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, based in Schweinfurt, Germany. It is a fast-moving American unit specialising in rapid-response, deployment and support to European contingencies. Late August the IRF exercised on a swift and decisive response in Kosovo.

At the request of UNMIK and COMKFOR, USAREUR directed this deployment to Multinational Brigade East, under the command of Brig Gen. Dennis E. Hardy. The IRF included Infantry, Scout and Military Police assets, in addition to command, control and other support elements. The Soldiers deployed with M113A3 Armoured Personnel Carriers and High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles. The exercise is the final event of the IRF's training on rapid deployment in Kosovo.

Heavy fire

Operations officer Tom Fisher gives his briefing in a tent in Ramjane Range close to camp Bondsteel

"Our mission is to conduct a hasty defence movement to deny a paramilitary incursion in our sector," says Operations officer Tom Fisher standing in a tent in Ramjane Range close to camp Bondsteel. The IRF is waiting for the exercise to begin. First the scout locate the different targets and directs artillery fire from Camp Bondsteel. After the targets had been barraged, the scouts engage with mortars and machine guns while pulling out and giving room for a infantry company. At this point the company commander moves in with his men to engage the enemy.

Half through the exercise, the units are running low on ammunition, and requests air support from Bondsteel. Two Apache helicopters arrive and the Soldiers lie low on the ground as the helicopters drop the ammunition while shooting rockets and machine gun for cover fire. The rockets make a shrilling sound as they knock out every target on the Ramjane Range. Indeed a strong demonstration of both the projection capabilities of the IRF, and the rapid force projection capabilities available to the Task Force Falcon commander.


Immediate Ready Force Deployment

The first element of the KFOR U.S. Immediate Ready Force (IRF) arrived at Camp Able Sentry (FYROM) at 11:50 a.m. yesterday, less than 48 hours after their initial alert notification.

The IRF is drawn largely from the 1-18th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, from Schweinfurt, Germany. At UNMIK and KFOR request, the United States Army Europe (USAREUR) headquarters directed the deployment. The force will be assigned to Multi-National Brigade East under the command of Brig Gen. Dennis E. Hardy.

The IRF is composed of roughly 120 Soldiers and includes Infantry, Scout and Military Police assets; command and control; and other support elements. The Soldiers are deploying with M113A3 Armored Personnel Carriers and High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles.

The IRF's capability to rapidly deploy from Central Europe and immediately begin executing a wide range of military missions in Kosovo proves USAREUR's ability to respond swiftly and decisively to European contingencies. This IRF deployment is further evidence of the U.S. commitment to NATO's work to achieve peace in Kosovo. Its presence will add additional flexibility and force protection capabilities to MNB East.

August 22, 2000

First element of IRF arrives at Kosovo staging point CAMP BONDSTEEL, Kosovo (Aug 17, 2000) --The first element of the Immediate Ready Force (IRF) arrived at Camp Able Sentry at 11:50 a.m. today, less than 48 hours after their initial alert notification. The IRF is drawn largely from the 1-18th Infantry Battalion, 2nd Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, from Schweinfurt, Germany. At the JCS's direction, USAREUR deployed this force. The force will be assigned to Multi-National Brigade (East) under the command of Brig Gen. Dennis E. Hardy. The IRF includes Infantry, Scout and Military Police assets; command and control; and other support elements. The Soldiers are deploying with M113A3 Armored Personnel Carriers and High Mobility Multi-Purpose Wheeled Vehicles. The IRF's capability to rapidly deploy and immediately begin executing a wide range of military missions proves USAREUR's ability to respond swiftly and decisively to European contingencies.

This IRF deployment is further evidence of the U.S . commitment to NATO's work to achieve peace in Kosovo. Its presence will add additional flexibility and force protection capabilities to MNB (E).

For more information about this news release, contact Task Force Falcon Operation Joint Guardian Public Affairs, Camp Bondsteel, Kosovo, telephone: 00-49-621-730-781-5078, SATPHONE 00-871-762-069-495, or E-mail: pao@bondsteel2.areur.army.mil

Army Times
November 6, 2000
Pg. 18

Ready - And Waiting
USAREUR's Immediate Ready Force specialty: quick to react
By Sean Naylor

SCHWEINFURT, Germany - Which new Army organization is structured for early deployment, is mostly deployable by C-130s, has a significant medium-weight component and is available for missions today?

If you answered one of the Initial Brigade Combat Teams at Fort Lewis, Wash., you'd be wrong.

The first of those isn't supposed to be ready for real-world missions until December 2001.

The real answer: U.S. Army Europe's Immediate Ready Force.

While much of the Army's attention is focused on the medium-weight brigades the service is establishing at Lewis to make itself more relevant for the 21st century, the Army's European component has quietly stood up its own quick-reaction force.

The battalion-size force combines a heavy company of Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles, a medium-weight mechanized infantry company mounted on M113A3 tracked vehicles, and platoons of scouts, engineers, MPs and communications troops.

Strictly speaking, the IRF is not a new unit. Rather, it is a new capability, responsibility for which rotates every six months among USAREUR's four ground maneuver brigades. It is designed to be used in conjunction with SETAF, the Southern European Task Force's Vicenza, Italy-based Airborne Brigade, which functions as the Army's initial entry force in Europe.

The force is the brainchild of USAREUR commander Gen. Montgomery Meigs. [A HERO.]

"My objective was to try to create a range of capability here," he said in an Oct. 16 interview. "In some situations the may need a headquarters with a brigadier general and an MP platoon. In another he might want a brigade with a heavy component in it."

The IRF can be tailored to meet either requirement, he said.

The new force had its genesis in the deployment of Task Force Hawk from Germany to Albania last spring. That task force was built around a deep strike force of Apache attack helicopters and Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. It also included armor, mechanized infantry and light infantry components, as well as much of the V Corps headquarters and other combat support and combat service support elements.

The Army was heavily criticized for taking several weeks to deploy the full task force. But much of the delay stemmed from a lack of adequate airlift, officials contend. Many of the Air Force's C-17 aircraft required to lift the heavy equipment into Albania were busy helping in refugee relief operations. At the conclusion of Operation Allied Force, NATO's war against Serbia, Meigs sat down with then-V Corps commander Gen. John Hendrix to discuss how to fix the shortcomings.

Deploy in 24 to 48 hours

Meigs said he wanted to be able to give the commander-in-chief of U.S. European Command a force he could deploy in 24 to 48 hours, "but without having too many people standing on their heads."

Hendrix, who had previously commanded the 3rd Infantry Division (Mechanized) at Fort Stewart, Ga., suggested establishing a force similar to that division's Immediate Ready Company built around Abrams tanks and Bradley Fighting Vehicles. The Army tasked 3rd Mech to provide that capability to the XVIII Airborne Corps after canceling plans to buy the Armored Gun System light tank for the 82nd Airborne Division.

"I said, OK, having a heavy immediate company makes sense, but we need a range of things to draw from because a lot of times what you're trying to put in is not necessarily a heavy force," Meigs said.

In addition, he noted that any European-based force built around Abrams and Bradleys has a significant drawback: To deploy in a hurry it needs to be airlifted on C-17s, which U.S. Air Force Europe doesn't have.

"One of the lessons of Allied Force was this requirement for intra-theater mobility ... We needed a capability that would move on C-130s that are organic to USAFE," Meigs said. Therefore Meigs decided to include not only a heavy company in his IRF, but also a medium-weight company based around M113A3s, the Vietnam-era armored personnel carriers no longer used by mechanized infantry [NOT TRUE, SEAN, M113A3s are of 1987 manufacture NOT FROM VIETNAM, M2 BFV MECH-INFANTRY BATTALIONS STILL HAVE M113A3s in HHC, and 1 M113A3 in EACH RIFLE COMPANY]. The Army still has thousands of them in storage [WHY YOU UPGRADE THESE SUPERIOR TRACKED VEHICLES INSTEAD OF WASTING $4 BILLION ON ROAD-BOUND, INFERIOR LAV-III wheeled armored cars].

The aluminum-hulled 113s are small and light enough to be flown by C-130 Hercules transport aircraft. But the same characteristics that make the 113 so deployable also make it more vulnerable to enemy fire than tanks and Bradleys. [IF IT GETS HIT---BY BEING MORE CROSS-COUNTRY MOBILE THAN M1s/M2s, M113A3s can AVOID GETTING HIT]

"An armor-piercing .50-caliber round will go right through it," [WHY YOU ORDER THEN PUT ON HMG/RPG RESISTANT P900 APPLIQUE ARMOR ON M113A3s] said Maj. Gen. John Craddock, commander of the 1st Infantry Division (Mechanized), based in Wuerzburg.

For that reason, commanders here say they have no intention of sending the medium company into a situation it cannot handle.

"One wouldn't try to put the medium company in a big tank battle," Meigs said. "But as the backbone of an Airborne force on the ground quickly, it could be very useful."

A typical mission might see the SETAF Airborne Brigade seize an airfield, with the medium company being flown in immediately afterward in C-130s to help strengthen the perimeter, officials here said. Meigs added the Army also recently had given SETAF 63 Humvees to make the Airborne force more mobile once it hits the ground.

The Army replaced its last 113s with Bradleys in the active-duty mechanized infantry force in 1989. The boxy, tracked vehicles remain in engineer and other outfits. Preparing mech infantry forces in Europe for possible real-world missions in the 113s, however, presented something of a training challenge.

"The Army is a learning, thinking, adaptable organization,"

Gen. John M. Keane
Army Vice Chief of Staff


U.S. Army Moves To Avoid Armored Vehicle Test

Most New Armored Vehicles Exceed U.S. Army's Medium-Weight Needs

U.S. Army: Armored Vehicle Too Vulnerable To Gunfire


Its clear when you read Coram's book, that Col Boyd fought very hard to create PHYSICAL agility in both the F-15 and F-16. He fought to not bog down these aircraft with gadgets to preserve their basic PHYSICAL agility.

However, its also depicted that Boyd first created a platform with lots of physical agility by good DESIGN. The Lav-III armored car which the Army has gadgetized into the lav3stryker does not have good physical agility in the first place. In air-to-air combat, the size and shape of the wing is a driving factor, in land combat its GROUND PRESSURE. If your vehicle rolls on rubber tires and these tires have a lot of weight pressing down on them, they will be unable to go off roads and cross country at will. An armored car's inability to maneuver cross-country is like if your aircraft couldn't do aerobatic maneuvers. In an increasingly lethal land battlefield where you cannot afford to be hit, its vital that ground vehicles be able to move cross-country through concealing vegetation to evade line-of-sight targeting. But the lav3stryker cannot do this from the "get go". By moving its fuel tanks to the outside it lost props/rudders and cannot even swim. Its way too heavy to be lifted by helicopters and cannot fly far or safely in C-130s to get into positional advantage for land combat. Does the year that the lav3stryker was concocted make it tactically sound in physical reality?

Its illogical why some Boyd proponents can understand the need for PHYSICAL agility in an aircraft but cannot see that the same is just as important in a ground combat vehicle.

Its my firm belief that if Col Boyd were alive today and the facts were presented to him, he would rightly conclude that a M113 Gavin light tracked AFV could be digitized with SA and more powerful weaponry and protective features than the immobile and vulnerable lav3stryker which is of the erroneous bigger-is-better mindset. In land combat, bigger means a better target for the enemy. The M113 Gavin was created from its design to be an all-terrain, agile x-country capable armored fighting vehicle--before there was the "lightweight fighter" there was the "lightweight ground fighter", ie the AM-PVF, Airborne Multi-Purpose Vehicle Family. The fact that the M113 Gavin has proven itself over time is testament to its basic foundational soundness vis-a-vis the planet earth we live on. Military forces must first be powerful against the earth to achieve military effects, then they can direct their energies against human opponents.

U.S. ARMY MECHANIZES WITHOUT A DOCTRINE 1940-Present; seduced again by the laxity of wheels

At the dawn of World War II, the U.S. Army's Chief of Cavalry, General Herr refused to mechanize his branch with tracked internal-combustion-engine armored vehicles, clinging instead to muscle-powered animal horses even though in WWI enemy machine gun and artillery fires made cavalry movement impossible on the western front. Rather than fixing the problem and firing General Herr, a "work-around" was employed; the creation of an "Armor branch" with no sound, traditional doctrinal battlefield function to guide it; it was half-combat engineers breaking through for infantry and half-cavalry screening ahead for enemy for the main body. However, the actual result was a hybrid that did neither function very well---Compare the British 79th Armored Division "Hobart's Funnies" on D-Day to the bloodbath at the U.S. Omaha Beach where we only had gun tanks---and compare the later Sherman medium offensive tank's 75mm gun versus the 88mm gun on the German Tiger heavy defensive tank, and the resulting tank crew losses.

The Army during WWII, tried to cobble together a "mechanized cavalry" to screen ahead for infantry and armor units using M3 and M8 wheeled armored cars and a fanciful idea of being ultra "stealthy" and avoiding combat entirely. This combat avoidance mentality failed miserably against the smart Germans in North Africa (1942), Sicily (1943) and Italy (1943-4) until it was realized that M3/5 Stuart light tracked tanks were needed in a mini-combined-arms team with scouts on foot and jeeps, a mounted mortar and tracked assault gun all at the ready to fight for reconnaissance and break contact when needed.


The History of U.S. Army Mechanized Cavalry 1940-1985

After WWII, the Germans warned us that even their large bi-directional armored cars were inadequate even for reconnaissance:

"Very important to avoid making reconnaissance equipment heavy.
For this reason, we tried through the war to develop a decent light tank for the reconnaissance units, but we were never successful.... the eight wheeler [reconnaissance vehicle] had the serious disadvantage of being too large and heavy, while the four wheeler was not really mobile enough in cross-country work. You know the eight wheeler was so big and heavy because the reconnaissance troops, naturally, wanted as big a cannon as they could get. Well, that does not work."
--Major General Hermann Balck, German Army 1932-45, in a taped interview on 12 January, 1979, page 40. Performed under contract number DAAK40-78-C-0004, Columbus Laboratories, Tactical Technology Center, 505 King Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43201.

However, decades later these and many other clear warnings not to use armored cars have been ignored. Current leaders of U.S. Army are again trying to "work around" the intransigence of tradition-bound branches (Armor and Infantry) to field a C-130 air-transportable armored vehicle equipped force by creating a "hybrid" without any doctrinal foundation using ARMORED CARS to transport a quasi-cavalry type combined-arms team---but not to seek intel (recon) on the enemy and run away----but to do quasi-combat from a safe distance--the same flawed avoidance mentality of early WWII mechanized cavalry---with firepower bombardment followed by a CNN documented occupation to "score points" at home with Congress to secure more funds for the Army. The current IBCT force structure plans on using armored cars to transport entire 9-man infantry squads inside, plus a 2-man crew---when the road and trail-restricted, vulnerable, air-filled rubber-tired armored car has been throughout history a miserable failure, losing a few scouts at a time, with burned-out hulks littering the countryside all over the world. This web site has just a few of these horrific images of wheeled armored cars, which have no design justification for use as massed infantry transports. If the IBCT is just to be a "quasi-cavalry scout force" to call in air strikes from the USAF, we can certainly do better and heed the hard-learned lessons of WWII paid for in the blood and lives of our own men by making it a survivable light tracked armored fighting vehicle equipped force that can also FIGHT and MANEUVER not just hope the enemy leaves it alone.

What makes an armored car a poor choice for a combat vehicle?

Mobility- Any armored vehicle must be able to get itself into, through and hopefully out of a combat situation. Roads might be the way to get to battle, and they might be the reason for the battle; but in general, battles are fought over varying terrain types with the side able to operate away from predictable roads/trails having the decided operation and tactical advantage. An armored vehicle must safely transport its human cargo to the battlefield, wherever that battlefield may be---not just on comfortable roads/trails. Combatants rarely get a chance to limit their battlefield. Predicting and dictating the condition of the battlefield are luxuries for dreamers and theorists. Practical Soldiers make-do with the dirt on which they stand. Wheeled vehicles have some basic faults when off-road performance is an issue. These faults have been examined and reexamined for 85 years, but they fall into the following and the wheels are still miserable failures:

Tires must be different depending on different terrain. Large soft tires for sand, large semi-soft to hard heavily treaded tires for terrain. Narrower harder wide spaced tread for rain... or compromises there in. No one tired tread shape covers the majority of user needs. Rubber tires need air to keep their shape and once punctured they are useless---even with a run flat insert, the vehicle must limp home. Rubber burns and if ignited by a RPG or molotov cocktail will leave the vehicle ground to its rims. In contrast, Tracks work over a wider range of terrains with little modification. Track road wheels and idlers are solid and can even be solid steel without any rubber, impervious to small-arms fire, artillery bursts and molotov cocktails.

Ground pressure is a problem with tires, the higher the pressure the more the vehicle will sink into the terrain on which it sits. This is not a big problem on a city street, highway, paved road. It becomes a big issue when operating on grass and dirt in the third world, especially when water is added to the mix. The constant ground contact by treads, ability to widen track segments easily, and number of roadwheels in contact with the ground allows for excellent handling characteristics for track systems if they remain under 20 tons.

The LAV-III/IAV's 20-24 ton weight pressing down on just 4 axles becomes an issue with a high 20-40 PSI ground pressure, the vehicle weight must be minimized. The fact remains that the greater the amount of armor weight equals greater protection. The added suspension, drivetrain, steering endemic to an armored car plus equipment, fuel, and troops increases overall vehicle weight, which results in designers decreasing the thickness of the body and decreased armor protection--the LAV-III/IAV is only 1/2 an inch thin. The higher the ground pressure, the less terrain floatation. In contrast, the M113A3 Gavin weighs 10.5 tons and has a ground pressure of just 8.63 PSI, while being an armored box 3 times thicker than a LAV-III/IAV and more armor protected--plus rolling on metal tracks that don't go flat, essentially impervious to enemy small arms fires and able to rumble over verticle obstacles like fallen logs, barricaded cars, debris.

Terrain Floatation which also has to do with firing-on-the-move is a bad problem in any wheeled vehicle. The better the floatation the less the vehicle bounces, rolls, and yaws on broken terrain at speed. Armored cars, basically all wheeled ATV vehicles, have a practical speed limit over open or broken terrain. They do well on road surfaces but must proceed slowly across a field or through the woods.

Crew Protection-Besides transportation, crew protection is an essential consideration with armored vehicles. If armored protection was not important, the job could be accomplished with a Deuce and a half truck. Armored cars have some glaring weaknesses when it comes to crew protection. Armored cars are tall and narrow to allow for large diameter tires. These large wheels allow for limited off-road travel in firm open soil areas, but makes it a bigger target. In addition, the lighter armor required on wheeled vehicles means less crew protection than is optimal in heavy combat. (What most armored vehicles are intended for.) The LAV/MAV/MGS is tall and made of thin sheet metal. The M2/M3 has a high silhouette, but is at least reasonably well armored against RPGs and heavy machine guns rolling on steel tracks that don't get flat.

Lighter Armor means less crew protection. Even in the absence of any limitations on vehicle height, the presence of wheels means that the added weight of armor plate and reactive armor boxes necessary to protect a squad sized crew becomes an issue because it must create space for the wheels to turn and flex with suspension. The LAV-III/IAV uses thin steel which makes it twice as heavy as a M113A3 at less armored protection and is too brittle to accept exlosive reactive armor recoil forces to defeat shaped charge wearheads like RPGs and ATGMs have. The thick, aluminum armor on the M113 facilitates use of explosive reactive armor and the basic chassis can be easily modified to include heavier and more shape advantageous armor types. The narrow gage of the wheeled vehicle also presents some problems with armor thickness impinging on crew space. Armored cars must have their front wheels to turn to steer so armored skirts of any protective consequence are out of the question---a straight in shot at the underhalf of the vehicle sides goes straight into the crew compartment exploding fuel, ammo and burning up men.

Survivability of the vehicle as a functional part of a field formation is critical. An armored car can be "knocked out" by blowing off a tire, wheel, axle combination. A tracked vehicle can be re-tracked and lose little combat effectiveness by the loss of one or multiple roadwheels or sections of track (called short-track). Oblique hull shapes are necessary to help deflect mine blasts and some small-arms fire in any armored vehicle. However, the narrow gauge and limited suspension points of armored cars impinge on the interior shape and configuration of the vehicle. The lack of extra power and terrain floatation inherent in a wheeled armored car prohibits much applique' armor from being fitted to make them proof against small-arms fire, expedient lame weapons let alone RPGs and ATGMs.

Firepower-a vehicle armored for combat usually must be armed for combat. The stated purpose of this new LAV-III/IAV armored car is to provide fire support to its troops among an eclectic mix of ambulance and command vehicle tasks. The problems with the fire support role for an armored car in combat are very daunting. Putting anything greater than a 76mm on a tall narrow vehicle is more than difficult. The turret configuration becomes too cramped to work - This was a problem with the Churchill tank in WWII. It never developed into a great tank because it was limited by its narrow turret ring. The narrower the ring the greater the limit on gun size. Modern mounts and techniques increase it, but ultimately you are limited by Sir Isaac Newton's laws of physics.

Gun stability - a stabilizer has to work like a gimball with a two or three hundred pound gun mount bouncing over open terrain, even on a road. The 25mm Bushmaster barrel and breech assembly weighs in at about 180 lbs. The gun mount is several hundred. (Part of the screw-up with the M2 Bradley is having a very heavy, large 2-man turret leaving you three men short of a full 9-man rifle squad.) To put this system in a narrow, tall armored car you sacrifice your stabilizer. We lose mobility since we have to stop to shoot -to hope to hit anything. Roll and yaw is another factor in stability. A narrow axle length and tall gun position equals serious roll problems in laying the gun. The worst is the yaw. Tracks tend to dampen yaw since there are a greater number of axles on which to spread the motion. If the wheeled LAV-III/IAV armored car looks like a quasi- "tank", it will be tried to be used like a "tank" to get line-of-sight on a target, even if it is just a truck with a "boom-boom" on it. The LAV-III/IAV has the full and complete probability of being inserted into situations that would be much better performed by true tracked tanks, true tracked armored scouts, and tracked infantry carriers.

These vehicles are best marginally suited for scouting on predictable terrain with roads/trails and constabulary work. Adoption of such a vehicle constitutes a serious problem for the military in the near and far future. It is one more signal that the military is being thought of as a "big green policing" instead of combat machine. Warfare and police work might involve threatening people, using guns, and hustling around, but Soldiers are not cops and police work is not Soldier work, unless a Military Policeman.

It is probably wise that the U.S. Army train and equip a Brigade-sized constabulary peacekeeping force comprised of Military Police and some other Soldiers located at Fort Drum, New York and sending the 10th Mountain Division to the mountains of Fort Carson, Colorado, to be a real "Mountain" Division again acclimated to combats at high elevations like Afghanistan. The LAV-III/IAV armored cars the Army gets stuck with after canceling the contract could equip such an organization that isn't in a hurry to deploy anywhere dangerous. Using the "Big Red One" as a police brigade is really stupid policy. Equipping our troops with an armored car that can't be C-130 transported as advertised and provides less than adequate military functionality is a no-go.

General Shinseki has goofed on several levels. He might have been an excellent commander, and done his duty in wartime with honor, but that does not make him a clear-headed strategist or technotactical planner. The IAV "tests" were weighted in the favor of the favored LAV-III armored car and he then rammed the acceptance of his "pet" project through the "tank destroyer mafia" of Armor branch, which is both interesting and damning. Although it is indicative of a bad trend in an Army "yes-man" culture devoid of true leadership values and skills, the Army is nevertheless moving into a poorly run and badly thought-out drive to allegedly "lighten" its force structure, when its really making itself HEAVIER and less combat capable. A loud and resounding "STOP!!!" would be a good thing to hear from the Defense Secretary's office at this time. The Army needs a more flexible light tracked armored fighting vehicle structure with more cohesive units. Lightening should mean that those units should be more compactly organized, more 3D mobile and not less mobile, less armored and less armed.

War is a serious business and the U.S. military is based on a WWII culture of desperation blind-obedience; Soldiers in our Army do not think and are not encouraged to think nor bring forward their findings to make leadership make wise decisions. Despite this, after 2 decades of hard work after WWII, egalitarian visionaries like General James Gavin listened to the troops and created the air-transportable, light tracked armored fighting vehicles needed to create a global, go-anywhere, all-purpose combat force in the M113-based Armored Cavalry Regiments used so effectively in Vietnam.

Its self-evident that in Vietnam, the U.S. Army had the world's greatest all-purpose combat force in its 2D ground and 3D Air Cavalry when the 11th ACR and the 1st Air Cav teamed up to fight. However, in the aftermath of the Vietnam War, the institutional Army without visionary, thinker-doer, 2D/3D maneuver, egalitarian lead-by-example leaders like General Gavin to guide it, threw away the never-equaled combat cavalry capabilities of the 11th ACR and forced her many combat vets out of the service to enhance the careers of the heavy tankers in Europe who didn't see action in Vietnam and then tried to throw away their trusty mounts--- their light tracked M113s---in order to return to heavy tank destroyer dueling in Europe against the impending Soviet tank Army invasion. The Army should have developed the tracked tank even under a "quasi-Armored" branch---along two general paths; 2D "heavy" for armor versus armor combat and 3D "light" for a continuation of the Air/Ground Cavalry ethos through the 2nd, 3rd and 11th separate ACRs and a triple capability (TRICAP) 1st Cavalry Division instead of heavying up over 6 divisions and playing around with not-sound-for-combat, rubber-tired wheeled dune buggies in the 9th High Technology Test Bed Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. The Army already had the world's best rapidly C-130 air-deployable ground cavalry force in its M113A3 ACAV type units, it just needed to apply this force structure into the XVIII Airborne Corps via parachute forced-entry for the 82nd Airborne Division and up-engine its CH-47 Chinook helicopters to transport these light tracks for the 101st Air Assault Division. Unfortunately, Army decision-makers made a serious mistake in their analysis of the 1973 Yom Kippur War thinking the lesson learned was to just create very heavy tanks to survive at the platform-versus-platform level of combat; when the truth is that the Israelis overcame the enemy's surveillance strike system by COMBINING ARMS CAVALRY-STYLE via reorganized units and having a 3D air maneuver element project forces across the Suez Canal (water barrier).

However, fighting a foe like the Soviets---essentially a mirror image of ourselves---is a lot easier in a top-down, blind obedience outfit than trying to outfight the wily and asymmetric VC/NVA in Vietnam or Arabs crossing the Suez Canal in a surprise offensive, which requires decentralized warfighting and trust and confidence in junior officers and enlistedmen. That the 11th ACR M113 light tracked ACAV-type units in Vietnam succeeded and beat the enemy in Vietnam at their own "asymmetric game" yet the Army leaders of the time refused to continue this formula for success is inexcusable.

After making an American version of the WWII German heavy Tiger II 70-ton defensive tank (M1) , Armor officers without a real branch doctrinal purpose decided they needed "security guards" so their tanks were not ambushed as they had to rearm/refuel constantly to feed their turbine engines and their main gun ammo to kill enemy tanks and collect notches on their gun tubes. Therefore, the Army created the "Bradley" machine gun, infantry-carrying 25-33 ton tank. Fed by paranoia about survivability against massed Soviet weapons fires, they doubled the M113 aluminum alloy armor hull thickness to get heavy machine gun protection and slapped a 2-man turret with 25mm cannon, 7.62mm medium machine gun and TOW anti-tank missiles---basically all the weaponry types they wanted for the Fulda Gap fight but couldn't fit onto the M1s which were maxed-out carrying tank-killing 105mm and later 120mm guns/ammo. In the process, they created an infantry carrier that cannot fly by C-130 or Army helicopters to get to a global fight in a hurry, cannot swim, cannot travel off-road without trepidation, is a huge target and can only carry 6-7 dismounts who are buttoned up deaf and blind in the back and cannot fight mounted like troops in M113s can. The two Soldiers in the BFV turret think of themselves as quasi-tankers who want to employ the BFV's weaponry like a tank and the dismounted infantry action gets nullified by rank/ego. If the Army had listened to armored vehicle engineers they would have realized adding applique' armor to M113s with bigger engines would have achieved RPG-level protection without smothering vehicle air-transportability, swim capability and cross-country performance. Indeed, the stereotypical non-Airborne, non-Air Assault 2D "Legs" had taken over the Army and ruined it with a lust to fight wars in safe armored "cocoons" learning the wrong lessons from the 1973 Yom Kippur war----which is that MANEUVER through MOBILITY is the key to victory.

To make matter worse, the Army created the M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle version of the M2 BFV simply to boost production numbers and soak up more budget share from Congress during the Reagen-era build-up. The M3 CFV and its brother, the M2 are not certified for parachute airdrop nor fly efficiently inside USAF C-17s to be airlanded---only 2 BFVs can fly at a time---the same disappointing number of less-capable but equally larged-sized 20-24 ton LAV-III/IAV armored cars that can fly at a time.

Clearly, the U.S. Army made a mistake with the overweight M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle and should have at the very least continued the 11th ACR Vietnam ACAV-type force structure by upgrading M113s into highly air/sea/land mobile cavalry platforms guaranteeing that Army light forces had forced-entry armored firepower as well as an all-purpose combat and reconnaissance screening force for heavy units. Fortunately the Army's M1 and M2/M3 "cash cows" were so expensive they could not afford to equip every unit, so the many M113s were transferred to the combat support units in an Army Heavy Division, constituting 50% of all its vehicles and insuring the vehicles are updated regularly. Thus, the Army is in an unique position today to correct a mistake it make in the early 1980s and create a global Cavalry and Combat Engineering tank force using available M113s, if the fatal wheeled replay of the bloated Bradley, the 20-24 ton LAV-III is cancelled as the Interim Armored Vehicle.

Fortunately, today, U.S. Army officers are being led by world events to rediscover the capabilities and enduring design requirements of light tracked AFVs like the mighty M113A3 which now serves with the U.S. Army's 173rd Airborne Brigade in Europe as a C-130 air-transportable rapid-reaction force. IDF M113s are again saving the day in the fight against global terrorism while the sexy air-filled rubber SUV-tired armored cars stay home away from the rough neighborhoods of combat and beg for more and more tax dollars to fix their endless faults.

The tide of truth and reality is turning against the LAV-III as IAV concoction as smart Soldiers and Paratroopers examine the facts and find the rubber-tired armored car a disaster as a troop carrier:

Paratrooper.net forum

It's OFFICIAL, Lav3stryker is a TURKEY!!

The U.S. Army has had the world's finest air-transportable light tracked armored fighting vehicle for over 4 decades yet has failed to heed the repeated calls of its Soldiers to fully optimize them to have a 3D decisive maneuver force to work in concert with heavier 2D maneuver forces. The U.S. military is full of favorite "war-toys" and units which leaders chose to play or not play according to their whim not what works best. Consider how long it took us to put Army boots-on-the-ground in Afghanistan to do encircling maneuver when sexy, favored air strike firepower and brash marines failed, and then after the majority of the enemy had escaped. Consider how long its taken to get AH-64 Apache and A-10 Warthog close-air-support attack aircraft overhead to support our Soldiers on the ground, and why they still do not have adequate artillery, 120mm high-angle mortars and M113A3 type light tracked armored vehicles to fight the enemy from strength not inferiority. The Afghan Army with light tracked BMPs and T-55 medium tanks are better equipped than U.S. Army Light/Air Assault Infantry forces there! All because the U.S. military's leaders play their "favorites" and will only grudgingly use what works, after being backed into the corner of obvious public failures---the disastrous choice of the LAV-III armored car for air-transportable forces is no different; at some point its visible failures will result in the best vehicle known all along being used in its stead: the light tracked, mighty M113A3 Gavin, which should be sent into Afghanistan immediately, Army politics aside. The mission and the troops should ALWAYS come first.

CHECHNYA 2001-Present


Where - Asia
When - don't know

It's real.

The video clip above shows a BTR type vehicle that is the Russian version of an 8x8 wheeled armored car like the Canadian LAV-III. We don't know if the pictures were taken by a follow-on vehicle in the convoy or by the Chechens that buried the mine and fired the mortar round (fireball in the last several pictures). We think they're frames from a video. At the bottom of this page you'll see links to see the entire video sequence of the wheeled armored car being easily destroyed.

We're trying to get a copy of the videotape, if it exists. The video was available at the Chechen rebel website (kavkaz.org) on the page:


A source for the entire picture series of this incident can be found at:


Let's not quibble, a rubber-tired armored car restricted to roads is a deathrap restricted to predictable routes and the pictures taken from the video tell the story. The reason why the Russians are on the outside of the vehicle is because they have learned that when a vehicle hits even lower explosive mines while buttoned-up, sitting inside the vehicle, the G-Force breaks the Soldier's neck. Of course those sent flying are not likely to survive, either.

Click here to start the Chechen ambush of an armored car slides!


Compare the actual footage through the link above of a Russian BTR
armored car restricted to roads running over mines in Chechnya with the U.S. Army LAV-III derived Interim Armored Vehicle (IAV) 20-24 ton bloated with gadgets, wheeled armored car selected to be its Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) motorized infantry platform...can high-ground pressure 40 PSI soft rubber-tired armored cars drive over rugged mountain terrain like found in Afghanistan? Or will they be road-bound and easily ambushed and destroyed as they were throughout the entire Soviet versus Mujihadeen war from 1979-1989? Will they stay mobile after enemy fires hit their tires? Why should we be any different? Because we have a computer screen inside? Isn't this avante garde' technoarrogance destined to result in American boys coming back dead?

Because the U.S. Army's leaders are so eager to spend money to increase their budget share and brown-nose to liberal politicians with less threatening wheeled peacekeeping vehicles, they have refused to send the combat-ready light tracked M113A3 Gavin armored fighting vehicle unit from Ramstein AFB in Germany to Afghanistan to support the 101st Airborne (Air Assault) "Screaming Eagles" thus they will have to fight on foot in the world's most heavily landmined areas!. Media attention on the mighty tracked M113A3 would reveal that no LAV-III/IAVs have to be purchased at a waste of billions of dollars; this money would be better spent upgrading M113A3s to get increased armored protection, mobility and firepower capabilities far superior to the LAV-III/IAV's 1/2 inch thin can body rolling on rubber tires with a mere pop gun as armament.


Burned-out Malaysian Condor wheeled armored car after the Somali firefight

Remember "Blackhawk Down!"???

Report of Malaysian Defense Attache' on combat actions in Somalia

See photos of shot-up HMMWV wheeled armored cars from the battle

When Pakistani tanks and M113 tracked vehicles led Malaysian armored cars in Somalia to rescue Task Force Ranger on October 3, 1993 (Joint Forces Quarterly, Letters to the Editor) the Defense Attache from Malaysia reports that 2 wheeled APCs destroyed (see photo above) and 6 of his men were wounded in action (WIA) and 1 killed in action (KIA) from enemy fires...So why do we want to employ such thinly armored cars in a combat role?

KOREA 1950-Present

This is not a new "revelation". Consider U.S. Army combat experiences in Korea:

Major Robert A. Doughty writes in, The Evolution of U.S. Army Tactical Doctrine, 1946-76, Combat Studies Institute U.S. Army Command and General Staff College Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, August 1979 about the Korean War 1950-53:

"Offensive tactics were also modified and improved in the first part of the war. In the initial fighting, some American units had gotten into serious trouble by charging on the roads up valleys without first securing the high ground on the flanks. This exposed them to ambush or to envelopment or encirclement tactics. After he became commander of the Eighth Army, General Ridgway pushed to get the Americans off the roads and into the surrounding hills. The effect was to broaden the front of American attacks. Closely coordinated armor-infantry teams still operated in the valleys, but they maintained a presence on the hills to the left or right".

Yet these lessons were continually ignored by the lazy, wheel-bound Americans: "In regard to the incident on October 18, 1969, as mentioned in "The Second Korean Conflict," the four 7th Infantry Division Soldiers killed were in a 3/4-ton utility vehicle, not a jeep. They were members of "C" Company, 1/32nd Infantry ("Queens Own"). I was a Staff Sergeant serving with the Battalion Headquarters Company Reconnaissance Platoon in the 1/32 at the time. C/1/32 was providing garrison personnel for Guard Post Turner, the westernmost of two such guard posts in that sector inside the DMZ. There were usually 18 men in each guard post. Just after dawn on the 18th, a pair of gun jeeps from the 1/32nd Headquarters Company Reconnaissance platoon escorted all but one of the vehicles, a 5/4-ton truck, back and advised that they would return at 1030 hours to pick up the last vehicle, what was involved in mess maintenance. At about 0830, the truck left the guard post unescorted. The driver and a Staff Sergeant in the cab were armed with .45 ACPs and the two Soldiers in the back had M14s. Evidence found afterward (footprints and cigarette butts) indicated that the ambushers had set up there before dawn and may have been watching the gun jeeps, and escorted vehicles come and go for some days. Without the gun jeeps to contend with, they fired more than 100 .32-caliber PPSh submachine-gun rounds into the vehicle from 15 to 20 feet and at least two grenades, one on which landed in the bed of the truck. All four Soldiers seem to have died in the first assault. All four tires were flat, the windshield and driver's side window had been shot out and the engine holed. Charlie Company personnel radioed an alarm and stayed in the guard post until Recon gun jeeps arrived and secured the area. A patrol in the area north of Turner tried unsuccessfully to intercept the ambushers."

Michael John Ruffley
Carbondale, IL

VIETNAM 1946-1975

Burned-out-to-the-rims truck after the Tet offensive,
tracked M113s saved the day despite intense enemy fire

A computer screen will NOT excuse away a non-mobile, non-survivable platform. The LAV-III/IAV is no more mobile or protected than an armored HMMWV. Its "Blackhawk Down!" or Groupement' Mobile 100 (Vietnam) 1954 ALL OVER AGAIN!

Death on the Highway: The Destruction of Groupement Mobile 100

by Captain Kirk A. Luedeke in the January-February issue of U.S. Army ARMOR magazine is a good account except for its politically correct cowardice to not point out the obvious fact that GM 100 was destroyed because its rubber-tired wheeled vehicles made it road-restricted and vulnerable.

The tragedy of Mobile Group 100 whose men are still buried there 5 decades later in what is called "THE VALLEY OF CROSSES" is a foretaste of the U.S. Army in the future if it commits institutional suicide by becoming an all-wheeled organization. The following account is reprinted from the October 1971 "TYPHOON":

"The two Viet Minh regiments in the central plateau area," noted [Bernard] Fall, "had now worked out their tactics in fine detail: unhampered by heavy equipment, unburdened by such matters as keeping open several hundred kilometers of road, they were able to move faster than any motorized force opposing them which by necessity had to operate from the peripheral roads."
Within a week, the center of action shifted north again to the area of An Khe where the Viet Minh had cut Highway 18 in the east. An Khe was held by Group Mobile 11, composed of lowland Vietnamese. Once again the Group Mobile 100 took to the roads, traveling 140 kilometers to the fortified camp at Pk 22 (i.e., Pleiku 22, the kilometer marking at the point 22 kilometers from An Khe traveling toward Pleiku) at the eastern entrance of the Mang Yang Pass. Their task was to keep Highway 19 open to An Khe.
On Apr. 1 elements of the G.M. 100 were employed to open the road from Pk 22 to Pk 11 while units of the G.M. 11 provided security from there to An Khe for a gasoline convoy. After the convoy completed its mission, the security units began withdrawing from Pk 11 leapfrogging one another toward Pk 22.
At 3:30 p.m. as the units of G.M. 100 passed Pk 15 they were ambushed by two battalions of the 108th Regiment. The French counterattacked and managed to gain enough time to clear the road of wrecked vehicles, load up their dead and wounded and pull back to the camp at Pk 22. The ambush cost the G.M. 90 dead while the Viet Minh lost 81. The GM was now 25% understrength.
Despite its weakness in the face of growing enemy strength, the G.M. 100 was sent back to An Khe to relieve the G.M. 11. There it began digging in to prepare for the expected Communist onslaught.
On May 8, 1954, Dien Bien Phu fell and a few days later the men of the G.M. heard the following broadcast from Viet Minh loudspeakers:
"Soldiers of Mobile Group 100, your friends at Dien Bien Phu have not been able to resist the victorious onslaught of the Vietnamese People's Army. You are much weaker than Dien Bien Phu. You will die, Frenchmen, and so will your Vietnamese running dogs."
It became obvious that the G.M. without reinforcements could not hold An Khe, and the order was given for its return to Pleiku. On June 23 intelligence reported a Viet Minh force moving toward Highway 19 in the west. The G.M. 100 began its evacuation on June 24 with Pk 22 as the objective of the first day's march.
The evacuation began at 3 a.m. with the 43rd Colonials in the lead. The troops were dismounted providing a screen for the vehicles. [Notice the BS excuse offered by the IBCT apologists that they will use a TTP like "dismounting early" to prevent road amushes will not save fatally immobile and vulnerable road-restricted armored cars]
At Pk 6, the rearguard received sniper fire and at Pk 8 a soldier suddenly keeled over dead, hit with a poison dart from a montagnard blow gun.
Rocks on the Road
Shortly after 12:30 p.m., a report was received from jungle commandos screening the advance that Viet Minh elements were three kilometers north of the highway.
Around 2 p.m. the 43rd Colonials reached Pk l5 where a small plain covered with elephant grass borders the road. They found rocks on the road, a sign of an ambush, and sent out a company to reconnoiter through the elephant grass.
"The Viets were here," wrote Fall. "The big, the final ambush to engulf all of G.M. 100 was ready to be sprung. Vietnam's 803rd People's Army Regiment had kept its promise. The main striking force was already in place, its weapons poised, while the French were strung out along a road where their heavier firepower could hardly come into play."
The reconnaissance company triggered the ambush and the Viet Minh opened up with devastating mortar and artillery fire [think what this would do to a "new", sexy, $2,000,000 Canadian-made LAV-III/IAV = "Canadian Bacon"]. Within a few minutes the lead armor was destroyed and the mobile command post knocked out.
Soon the French ammo trucks began to explode under the Viet Minh mortar barrage. At the same time, the Korea Regiment arrived, pushed through the wrecked vehicles and linked up with the 43rd which managed to get a few of its vehicles running and break out. But the Viet Minh quickly closed the ring. The Korea Regiment formed a defensive perimeter and dug in. The B-26 bombers arrived from Nha Trang to strafe and drop napalm but the fighting was at close quarters now and they were ineffective [So much for a LAV-III/IAV computer screen's "situational awareness" calling in an air strike to save you--we still live in a PHYSICAL WORLD where you cannot just "mouse-click" reality to conform to your fanciful plans].
The remnants of G.M. 100 were ordered to break out to Pk 22. When it became dark the break out began into the dense jungle south of the road. There the G.M. broke up into [dismounted, on foot, no wheeled vehicles] small units for faster movement and began its arduous trek. During the night the G.M. suffered hundreds of casualties to Viet Minh ambushes and the next day the struggle continued.
On the morning of June 25 after 40 hours of almost continuous fighting, the survivors reached the camp at Pk 22 held by the 1st Airborne Group. After the stragglers were collected, the French pulled back to a Mang Yang Pass garrison held by the Montagnard Mobile Group 42.
The battle was not yet over for now the retreat began again from the Mang Yang Pass to Pleiku. By June 28 the French were only 30 kilometers from Pleiku and had entered an area of plains with tilled fields and villages bordering the road when signs of an ambush began to appear. It was now the 108th Regiment's turn.
This time the French were prepared to react when the first shots were fired. They quickly formed a defensive perimeter with their artillery and vehicles in the center. At 12:15 p.m. the Viet Minh infantry attacked the sector held by the Korea Regiment, broke through and pressed on toward the artillery now firing at point-blank range.
The Korea Regiment managed to counterattack, however, and with yells of "Coree" hit the Viet Minh in the flank. They were aided by the arrival of the B-26s which, for once, had the Viet Minh in the open. The Viet Minh were forced to withdraw. On June 29 the convoy reached Pleiku.
Group Mobile 100 was finished. Less than half of its more than 3,000 men made it from An Khe to Pleiku. Virtually all its vehicles and equipment were destroyed or captured. In five days of fighting the Korea Regiment had suffered more casualties than in two years of fighting in Korea.
On July 20 the armistice was signed at Geneva ending the First Indochina War. On Sept. 1, 1954, the Group Mobile 100 was officially dissolved by the French High Command.

The irony is that just about a decade later the Americans would be fighting to keep Vietnam from being split in two and to keep Highway 19 open. While the America 1st Air Cavalry's spoiling Air Assault attack at LZ X-Ray is well-known ("We were Soldiers once and Young" by General Hal Moore), what is less known is that South Vietnamese "ARVN" troops, not known for their fighting ability at all, IN TRACKED M113A1s DEFEATED ELITE NORTH VIETNAMESE LIGHT INFANTRY lying in wait in ambush via superior cross-country mobility and armored protection only possible via aluminum alloy vehicle construction. In the exact same area where the French GM 100 in their steel constructed armored cars were annihilated, the LACKLUSTER ARVN smashed the elite NVA using FIREPOWER AND MANEUVER possible by virtue of their aluminum alloy M113 type tracked armored fighting vehicles. You can read all about this in LTC J.D. Coleman's book "Pleiku" or renamed "Choppers". Or you can ask LTG Hal Moore about it since he walked the battleground of GM 100 personally. No one aware of the fate of GM 100 is a fan of road-bound wheeled armored cars! A convoy of rubber-tired armored cars hit along a road is stuck--the vehicles cannot pivot turn, cannot go off-road to escape the ambush and once hit in their tires cannot move at all! "Hell in a very small place" indeed!

The limited off road mobility of wheels is a huge weakness. Groupment Mobile 100 in Indochina (1954) and X Corps' Chosin Reservoir withdrawl (1950) had to use the roads because they were wheeled and couldn't get off road or up hills to hold the high ground as troops withdrew. The ChiComs were able to run the ridgelines in Korea and the Viet Minh used the jungle trails to get to the ambush sites on Route 19 east of Pleiku.

If you are tied to wheeled vehicles, every time the road is blocked, you lose time and momentum. And a foot infantry force that knows where you HAVE to go will place ambushes at every opportunity, until they can dig in a force big enough to hold up the main wheeled column and decisively engage it. Today, they will get as close as possible to deny the use of air power and use everyting to force the air assets too high to be effective. You better have a tracked Combat Engineer Battalion to lead the march and push through obstacles for the wheels. Check pages 242-243 in the chapter "End of a Task Force" in Fall's Street Without Joy to see what can happen if the enemy knows where you have to go. It's a textbook on how to get killed in wheeled vehicles. It's also one of the reasons GEN Westmoreland used his Engineers to clear back the jungle from the main roads: to keep the VC/NVA at a distance and to allow air power to attack more freely.

Stopping a wheeled force is a matter of terrain analysis and small groups of Sappers who force the wheels off-road and into long detours, where the wheels are subject to ambush. When wheels are stopped or have to go off-road, mortars can be fired to cause wheel damage by fragmentation, even if no vehicles are hit and destroyed. The opportunity to mine routes is too easy, and the steady loss of mobility (wheels) will lead to loss of maneuver (firepower and troops),which will prevent mission accomplishment. Then the zoomies will claim all the credit because THEY were able to attack the enemy. What they won't say is that the enemy can avoid the zoomies and spoof their high tech gadgets/expensive munitions into attacking dummy positions, and until the enemy can't function as a fighting force, the zoomies will be flying CAS and recon missions forever.

Wheels are fine for log efforts, except if the unit is too far off-road for wheels to travel. You need trailers that can be linked into trains, with band tracks placed over the wheels, and pulled by a M113 to resupply a unit deep off-road. We probably need several big light tracks with a large diesel engine to pull a battalion TF's combat trains anywhere the tracks go to avoid the fate of the Germans with wheeled log in the mud in Russia in WWII, and the French in Vietnam I.


During the U.S. invasion of Grenada, Russian-made BTR-60 armored cars were easily mobility killed by shooting their rubber tires flat and then exploding fuel inside by puncturing through their thin armor with LAW rockets or Ranger 90mm recoilless rifles.


Brazilian Caravel 4x4 armored car knocked out by 120mm APDS at Al Bussayyah, Iraq, 28 Feb 91. Notice all 4 tires are flat, creating an immobile target easily finished off.

From a U.S. Army Lieutenant Colonel:

"FYI, according to ODS expert Thomas Houlahan, there were only two coalition attacks that failed during [Operation Desert Storm] ODS. One on Kafji, one on Kuwait International Airport.

In both cases, failure resulted from the loss of wheeled vehicles with flat tires. See pages 79 and 178 of "Gulf War, The Complete History" by Thomas Houlahan.

So much for the desirability of wheeled vehicles in desert combat!

Can someone please give General Shineski a copy of FM 71-100-2.......please!

The U.S. Army's own manual FM 71-100-2 CHAPTER 8 ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS states: (watch it suddenly get yanked off the internet! fortunately globalsecurity.org has a mirror copy of FM 71-100-2 online in case they try to cover-up the truth)


The best time to drive on sand is at night or early morning when the sand is damp and traction is better. By reducing tire pressure, vehicles may gain some traction. However, prolonged driving on partially deflated tires will overheat the tires and break down the sidewalls.

Sandy deserts may be broken up by windblown dunes. Crossing dunes requires careful reconnaissance. Units should stay on the upwind side if possible. The wind may have built up sand around small scrubs forming small hills. Wheeled vehicles should not attempt to move through areas where this has occurred"

EAST TIMOR 1999-Present

The Australian Army reports that their wheeled 8x8 LAVs failed miserably in terms of mobility during recent combat operations in East Timor, an American exchange officer reports:

Australian LAV turned over in East Timor, tracked M113s had to take over and bear the brunt of the fighting

"Just returned from Australia. While there, the Australian officers to include their senior leadership outlined the problems they encountered with the LAVs in East Timor. Apparently, the LAVs were never able to operate off the roads and when the rains washed out the asphalt road surfaces, the LAVs bellied out and the Australians became entirely dependent on the M113s for operations in the interior. They have decided that the LAVs are useful on roads inside Australia where the requirement to cross the northern deserts quickly make them useful. However, for deployments, they are inclined to restrict the use of LAVs to urban areas where the roads are good and rely otherwise exclusively on the new upgraded M113s that they are purchasing. Apparently, the ground pressure exerted by the LAVs is very high indeed and this was a problem on East Timor's poor roads as well. Plus the LAVs provide little or no protection against mines. Australian Generals like MG Abigail and Brigadier Quinn along with a host of Australian Majors and Lieutenant Colonels left me with the impression that the LAVs could be useful in the context of home defense, but should not be the first consideration for use in the deployable formations of the active army. Not sure this is really news, but in view of the language in the QDR that urges accleration of the U.S. Army's 3400 man LAV-equipped motorized infantry brigades called IBCTs, the side-by-side testing with tracked vehicles is more critical than ever."

This is why the Australians are smart and are upgrading their M113s while the U.S. Army's current senior leaders lust for inferior wheeled armored car platforms to create their centralized, top-down bureaucratic transformation concoction without evidence or wisdom backing it up but with sexy "high-tech" looking micro-managing digital electronics inside.

A PBS Frontline interview with Pentagon Analyst Franklin C. Spinney goes into detail why the Army's transformation scheme is top-down without any evidence or facts backing it and is afraid of any sort of real, physical comparison TESTING or experimentation. The page has been removed by the liberals at PBS who want to see our military damaged, and can only be accessed by Google Cache:

Spinney speaks about Army Transformation before being censored by PBS

Spinney is right on except for the fact that we have 8 decades of evidence proving wheeled vehicles are unsuitable for ground combat, and the Army's current leaders have made it very clear how they want to use IBCTs and the "objective force" BCTs---that they prescribe to the Tofflerian/RMA "bombard & occupy" firepower hubris without 2D ground maneuver much less 3D air/ground maneuver. The Army's convenient shelving of the Future Transport Rotorcraft (FTR) to pay for the Future Combat System (FCS), 20-ton one-size-platform fits all situations proves they have no desire to do 3D maneuver. They want risk-averse operations, executed by blind obedience robots Soldiers, and whenever possible by air and ground robots in their place. Begging for firepower from someone else--ie: the Air Force is the crutch of the Army transformation mentality to grab dollars from Congress and sound bites on CNN. That this doesn't work and defeat real enemies (Iraqis, Serbs, Taliban, Al Queda terrorists) is not a factor in current Army leadership thinking, it looks good on TV.

The Australian Army M113 upgrade is being done by DENIX at a very reasonable cost. Even the Canadian Army is upgrading its M113s calling them "Tracked LAVs" to gloss over the fact that they cannot subsidize their economy buying an endless amount of inferior LAV-III armored cars with limited usefulness that cannot even rumble over barricaded cars in peacetime riots much less war. In fact, the Canadians can't get there LAV-III/25mm 2-man turret equipped armored cars to Afghanistan to do peacekeeping by C-130s, they are too big and heavy. Latest word is they are going by ships. Maybe by the time they arrive the last of the Taliban/al Queda terrorists will be long gone so they can safely drive their armored SUVs around downtown Kabul and hand out candy?

NEW ZEALAND 1999-Present

New Zealand Soldier dies in East Timor...and the immobile LAV-III would not have been there to help


Burton goes for a Burton Over LAV-III Deployment
Rodney Hide
Thursday 16 Aug 2001
Press Releases - Governance & Constitution

ACT MP Rodney Hide today accused Defence Minister Mark Burton of misleading Parliament with his response to the usefulness of the army's proposed new LAV-III vehicles in East Timor.

"I asked the Minister a written question about how the to be purchased LAVIIIs would have been used to support the troops involved in the East Timor fire-fight in which the New Zealand private was killed last year, given the terrain in which the fire-fight occurred.

"In his detailed response, the Minister said that in the East Timor terrain where the Private Manning was killed, the proposed new LAV-III "would not have been far behind the patrol conducting the tracking", "would always have been on immediate notice to come forward", that "when the foot patrol came into contact with militia personnel, the LAV would have immediately been activated" and that "The noise of the vehicle moving to the site might have caused the opposing group to withdraw".

"That answer also said that the day after the fire-fight, New Zealand personnel using the current armoured carriers were able to move within 30 metres of where the patrol had been contacted.

"The Minister tabled this answer to me in Parliament on July 18.

I have now learned through an Official Information request to the Chief of Defence Carey Adamson that the Minister based his answer on a the draft response prepared by the Army but not signed off by the Chief of Defence. This answer was forwarded to the Minister's office on the on July 10 but withdrawn on 11 July and the Minister's office was informed that the answer was wrong.

"The subsequent answer signed off by the Chief of Defence flatly contradicted the first draft response, and said that "Because of the rugged nature of the terrain in the immediate area where the fire-fight occurred, it would not have been practicable for the LAV-IIIs to have been used. There was no realistic alternative to moving on foot."

"Yet, five days later the Minister tabled an answer based on the fanciful first response - after he had received a completely different answer from the Chief of Defence.

"The Minister has a great deal of explaining to do. It's no wonder he didn't turn up in the House today to take my question.

"He needs to explain why he didn't give a correct answer when the Chief of Defence had advised him that it was wrong. And he needs to explain why he is buying 105 LAV-IIIs that couldn't support our troops when they are needed when the 'old', 'clapped out' M113 could," Rodney Hide said.

Media Release
Max Bradford
National Defence Spokesperson
16 August 2001

Serious doubt over adequacy of LAVs

There are serious question marks over the New Zealand Army's proposal to purchase 105 LAV armoured personnel carriers for $658 million, National's Defence spokesperson Max Bradford said today.

"Minister of Defence Mark Burton has been doctoring answers to questions from Members of Parliament to fit the Government's decision to buy the LAV III vehicles.

"We now have clear evidence of Mark Burton changing answers approved by the Government's chief military advisor, the Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Carey Adamson.

"Air Marshal Adamson advised the Minster in a draft answer that the LAV IIIs would not have been practicable in the rugged East Timor terrain where Private Manning was killed.

"The Minister of Defence refused to accept a draft answer which made it clear that it would not have been practicable for the LAV IIIs to be used in the incident involving Private Manning. This makes it clear the LAV IIIs are not suitable for use in many parts of East Timor where they would be needed.

"On the other hand it showed that the existing M113 armoured personnel carriers were suitable and where able to move within 30m of the place where Private Manning's patrol was fired upon.

"East Timor is typical of the terrain where we are likely to deploy peacekeeping forces - forces which need APCs which can be used in the terrain.

"This confirms my view that successive Ministers have received poor advice from the army and that there should be a full inquiry into the adequacy of the LAV III before New Zealand makes an irrevocable goof of major proportions in defence," Mr Bradford said.

NEW ZEALAND: Army caught in political imbroglio
by Bernard Moran
Printed in Issue: 22 September 2001

Bernard Moran reports from Auckland on a scandal that has engulfed the NZ Army.

New Zealand Labour's Minister of Defence, Mark Burton, has finally conceded that a Parliamentary enquiry will be held into claims that the Army organised a covert political strategy to increase its share of defence funding and lobbied to end the Royal NZ Air Force's combat arm, the A4 Skyhawks.

In Parliament on August 30, Opposition Leader and former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley stated: "We believe there is mounting evidence that covert and seditious behaviour was going on within the Army from early 1997, through to the end of 1999 and possibly beyond then."

Earlier that week the Nationals released a nine-page letter, written in March 1997, by Lieutenant Colonel Ian Gordon (then with the NZ Defence Staff in London) to the Deputy Chief of General Staff in Wellington. The letter outlines a detailed strategy to insert selected army officers into key positions where they could subtly influence senior politicians.

The National Party defence spokesman, Max Bradford, claimed the Gordon letter spoke of "destroying" any organisation or individual who took a different view from the Army's.

All this came in the same month that the Auditor-General, David Macdonald, released a scathing report on how Defence staff bungled the Army's largest re-equipment project since 1945: the purchasing of 105 General Motors armoured personnel carriers, the LAV-III. The project has ballooned from an initial allocation of NZ $212 million to $677 million, and is still climbing to almost $7 million a vehicle.

He condemned the bitter power struggle between the Army's Chief of Defence Staff, Major-General Maurice Dodson, and the Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Carey Adamson. The working atmosphere and practice at Defence Headquarters were described as "dysfunctional".

Meanwhile, Dr David Dickens, Director of the Centre for Strategic Studies at Victoria University in Wellington, and a critic of recent defence policy decisions, suddenly found his Government funding withdrawn. Prime Minister Helen Clark denied any responsibility.

So what is going on? The root cause is the lack of money spent on defence by two successive governments, Labour from 1984 to 1990 and the incoming Nationals under Jim Bolger (Prime Minister 1990-97). The UN deployment to Bosnia involved working with British forces, and brought home to the Kiwis the woeful state of their equipment.

The 1997 Defence Assessment White Paper envisaged the Army rapidly deploying lightly equipped forces: "but it must have sufficient firepower, mobility and protection to cope with the type of warfare that could occur within the Asia-Pacific region, as well as the changing spectrum of peace support operations."

The Army considered that future forces would be engaged in "manoeuvre warfare" (alongside more heavily equipped allies) and that fast, agile light armoured vehicles would be required not only to carry the infantry, but to provide effective firepower in support. This led to an internal debate on "wheels versus tracks".

Wheeled vehicles might be more suitable for operating in Australia, or in a repeat of the Gulf War, but the other view was that "manoeuvre warfare" was unlikely in the jungles of the South West Pacific and Asia. However, the "wheels versus tracks" review completed in September 1998 recommended "wheels".

Which brings us to the March 1997 letter of Lieutenant-General Ian Gordon. With hindsight it is clear that the Army was deeply concerned that they would get the crumbs after the Air Force and the Navy had been fed. In the opening paragraph of his letter, Gordon wrote:

"Funding allocated by NZ Defence Force [representing the three services - Ed] has been to Navy and Air at the expense of Army. Army appears to lack influence in the centre (NZDF) and a different approach is required to regain this influence. It is contended that to gain the requisite influence, Army must now open a 'second front' in its war with the centre."

Army had to identify and control the pathways to the making of defence policy and then "gain the requisite degree of control over the policy-making process; co-ordinated at the highest level to ensure each campaign advances the strategic purpose".

East Timor was a godsend for the Army, enabling it to cultivate deep links with the incoming Labour Government and provide behind-the-scenes support for cancelling the American F-16 Lease-Buy deal. A peacekeeping Army is more acceptable to Labour's coalition partners, the Greens and the Alliance Party. [Clintonista types that think armed forces for war are not needed]

Now, with Ian Gordon's letter in his hands, and the RNZAF's fighter pilots and support staff handed their notice, you can imagine how Air Marshal Adamson regards his Army colleague. For the record, Major-General Dodson denies any knowledge of the Gordon letter.

The Auditor General's report confirms that the Army wanted the "state-of-the-art" LAV-III, and essentially the tender specifications were determined to achieve that end. [Editor: sounds like what the U.S. Army did with IAV specs, doesn't it?] It was bad luck for the competitors, and a German subsidiary of Daimler is threatening to sue the NZ Government for NZ $2 million on the grounds that their time and money was wasted.

Not mentioned in the Auditor General's report is a meeting on October 12, 1998, in the Conference Room of the NZ Embassy in Washington DC. Major-General Dodson was on a routine visit as Chief of the General Staff to Australia, Hawaii and Washington. Also present in the Conference Room was James Armour, President of AM General Motors, Dr Kent Stephens and Lt Gen (retd) James Hughes of Litton Industries, the manufacturer of the LAV-III. Jim Bolger was the NZ ambassador at the time, and presumably the meeting was first cleared with Wellington.

Registrations for the tender process were called in June 1999. Earlier, a British consulting firm had recommended that there was no need for tenders, as the LAV-III was clearly the best vehicle. [Editor sounds like the same non-sense U.S. Army spokesman use to say M113A3 vs. LAV-III/IAV testing is not needed] The contract was signed in January 2001, and the 105 vehicles will be delivered over the next three years.

NZ First MP Ron Mark has been a persistent critic of both the tendering process and the LAV-III. Of all the MPs in the NZ Parliament, Mark has the necessary credentials. He first served as a diesel mechanic with the NZ Armoured Corps, working on the Vietnam-era M113s, and then joined the British SAS, serving mainly in the Middle East. On his return to the NZ Armoured Corps, he rose through the ranks to Major.

Mark maintains that his contacts in the Army tell of deep discontent over the choice of vehicle. Incredibly (as the Auditor General points out), the mistrust and lack of communication between the Ministry of Defence, the NZ Defence Force and the Army, resulted in no one being responsible for maintenance evaluation. The skilled technicians required to maintain the sophisticated LAVs are not currently available, and will have to be recruited at a time when such skills are greatly in demand in the civilian sector.

Nor was Litton Industries required to bring an LAV-III to New Zealand for field testing in the rugged, tussock country around the Waiouru training ground. Based on reports coming out of Canada, there are concerns about the vehicle's stability.

Investigate magazine has run letters from anonymous NZ servicemen. One reports covertly attending a lecture last year by two Canadian warrant officers, who showed slides of the LAV's alleged handling difficulties on sloping ground.

They detailed mechanical problems such as occur when the 25mm cannon is fired; the ejected casings fall and tend to jam the driver's hatch and the turret. The gun can fire 200 rounds, but takes 23 minutes to refill. The battery-powered turret often loses power, and when this happens the gun stands up in neutral. The turret is computer-operated, and there are a whole range of "no-fire zones" installed on the gun that cannot be manually overridden.

The LAV-IIIs cannot be used in East Timor because of the narrow unstable roads; nor are they amphibious, presumably an essential capability for operations in this part of the world.

It is now acknowledged by the Ministry of Defence that the gun needs to be upgraded to 30mm, and there is the vexed problem of fitting the LAV into an Air Force Hercules C-130. This rather crucial requirement was termed "desirable" by the Ministry of Defence, and the Army and Mark Burton have obtained a video that shows a LAV being squeezed into a C-130 by deflating the tyres.

However, according to a Pentagon report on weight limits, the C-130 can fly a 42,000 lb payload about 560 nautical miles. As the LAV-III weighs 41,942 lbs, the RNZAF will be able to fly one nearly half way across the Tasman Sea to Sydney!

Tibor Banfy, a Hungarian businessman in New Zealand, arranges barter deals and had been encouraged by Jim Bolger to advise him on any potential defence purchases. Banfy discovered that the Hungarian Border Guard had 68 unused Russian-built BTR-80s, with more available at a landed price in New Zealand of NZ $230,000 per vehicle. 105 BTR-80s would cost NZ $24 million compared with NZ $677 million for the LAVs.

Rugged and battle-tested, the BTR-80 can be "retrofitted" to NATO standards by Vickers and Bofors. A 30mm "drop in turret" can be fitted and the series offers a range of armoured vehicles based on the same chassis, ambulances, cargo carriers and even mobile howitzers. The vehicle is amphibious and capable of crossing 106 kilometres of lake or sea at a stretch. {Editor: the LAV-III isn't even a GOOD armored car!!!!]

Currently used by the Turkish and South Korean armies, the BTR-80 had the best serviceability in Bosnia out of 16 contenders. Radios can be made compatible with it and a U.S. Cummins diesel engine can be fitted, although the Russian-designed one meets requirement. The BTR-80 can be carried by the RNZAF's C130s.

Helen Clark wrote to Banfy listing the reasons why the BTR-80 would be unsuitable. It was clear that she had been misinformed by her advisers.

Appearing on TVNZ's Face the Nation on September 6, the Nationals' Max Bradford was interviewed with Defence Minister Mark Burton.

Bradford brought up his July 19 letter to the Minister, in which he expressed his concerns and suggested the need for a bipartisan enquiry. Incredibly, Bradford had still received no response to his letter.

However, Burton has agreed to an enquiry, but is arguing for time to weigh up legal advice. Naturally there are fears that the terms of reference will limit full disclosure. Former Deputy Secretary of Defence Robin Johansen was on the program and stated that he was eager to appear before any enquiry. He said that the Army really had no clear idea of why they needed such an expensive and sophisticated vehicle as the LAV-III. He was astonished at Army's inability to provide any doctrinal or operational justification.

BALKANS 1995-Present

LAV-25 of USMC being towed out of the mud by a tracked vehicle; a common occurrence--why do you think the AAV-7 and AAAV are TRACKED?

Wheeled armored cars cannot safely traverse mountain roads, in 1995 a French VAB 6x6 rubber tired armored car tumbled down a mountain, then burned, killing 3 U.S. diplomats:

CNN report Here is an excerpt:
August 19, 1995

From Correspondent Christiane Amanpour

BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINA (CNN) -- A peace mission in Bosnia- Herzegovina has proven fatal for three U.S. diplomats and a French U.N. Soldier. Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Robert Frasure was killed when his armored vehicle plunged down a ravine. Earlier reports said that the vehicle had hit two land mines but that has been proven not to be the case.

The other Americans killed were Joseph Kruzel and Nelson Drew. Two other U.S. officials and two French U.N. Soldiers were hurt. The head of the delegation, Assistant Secretary of State Richard Holbrooke, was traveling in a second vehicle and escaped injury.

Ambulances ferried the wounded to hospital in Sarajevo. The accident happened on the dangerous route over Mt. Igman to the Bosnian capital. The diplomats were traveling in a convoy of U.N. armored personnel carriers. U.N. officials say one vehicle slid off the muddy road into a ravine and caught fire.

"There are engineers working on that road and this is already a treacherous mountain road," said U.N. spokesman Alexander Ivanko. "It has been raining for three days now and the road must be in very bad condition."

They were taking that mountain route because for months it has been the only way into Sarajevo, bypassing the Bosnian Serbs, since they have shut down the airport and blocked regular road access through their territory.

Twisting and turning all the way into the city, the greater danger on Mt. Igman comes from Bosnian Serb guns and mortars that can and do target traffic.

Charred wreckage and many dead testify to that. But there have also been many road accidents since the U.N. diplomats and other civilians have been forced to travel this way.

As you can see from the photo above of the Canadian LAV turned over in the Balkans, even with snow chains, rubber-tired armored cars lack traction even on roads and are unsafe. Placing a heavy metal box on air-filled rubber tires is simply not mechanically sound or safe. Its a desperate measure. Tracked vehicles are more mobile and safer.

The U.S. Army's own manual FM 71-100-2 Infantry Division Operations, Tactics, Techniques and Procedures, CHAPTER 8 ENVIRONMENTAL CONSIDERATIONS states:


It will significantly reduce the mobility of a force which lacks proper equipment and training. Snow cover reduces vehicle mobility, and snow over 1 meter deep will stop all wheeled vehicle movement. Wheeled vehicles can operate on established roads and in rear areas only. Full-track vehicles with low ground pressures are best for movement over snow-covered or muddy terrain. Deep snow often limits depth in combat missions because movement is slow. Snow depths over 24 inches will almost entirely stop movement on foot without the aid of snowshoes.

Reconnaissance by patrols on skis, snowshoes, or in light oversnow vehicles should precede unit movement.

Extreme cold decreases the importance of water obstacles. However, concentrated artillery fire, air bombing, or deliberately placed demolition charges may turn frozen areas of water back into obstacles or traps. One foot of solid ice will carry light tanks while 3 to 4 feet of ice will support virtually any load. Snow over 18 inches deep will limit or completely stop use of wheeled combat vehicles except on cleared roads. It may also hamper operation of track vehicles".

In the Balkans during the summer months after the snow melts, U.S. marines finally arrive after the U.S. Army in order to claim they did something but their LAV-1s are mired hopelessly in the mud. Other wheeled vehicles, restricted to roads due to high ground pressure poor mobility roll over mines and are destroyed.

In response to the failure of wheeled vehicles in snow, ice and steep terrain, U.S. Army Task Force Eagle obtained BV-206-type M973A1 tracked Small Unit Support Vehicles (SUSVs) to remain ground mobile. These same type tracked over-snow vehicles were used in Afghanistan for the first U.S. Army helicopter Air-Mech-Strike combat air assault in history, flying into positions to block escaping terrorists, search cave hide-outs by CH-47D Chinook helicopters during Operation Anaconda.

An excellent description of the failure of rubber-tired wheeled vehicles in the Balkans can be read in the May/June 1996 issue of U.S. Army ARMOR magazine, BOSNIA REPORT: Task Force Eagle's Armor and Cavalry Operations in Bosnia

by Colonel Charles Lehner, Retired.


In the Arab-Israeli conflict wheeled vehicles are easy targets for land mines and car bombs. IDF Soldiers easily cut the tires of enemy wheeled vehicles to immobilize them. Could you do this to a tracked vehicle?


You would think the Army would find out the TRUTH about how poorly wheeled LAVs have been in the USMC by asking lower-ranking men not those that "spin" for a living. In fact, the 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor of the 82nd Airborne borrowed some LAV-25s from the Mc for Desert Shield/Storm and hated them because they constantly got stuck in loose sand. So much for armored cars being great in the desert!

A U.S. Army 3rd Battalion, 73rd Armor, 82nd Airborne Platoon Leader writes:

"Older LAVs do not have CTIS (Central Tire Inflation System). As with all things mechanical, things break and wear out. Run-flat system is to allow the vehicle to move to an MCP [Maintenance Collection Point]. It is limited and for use on flat and hard terrain. 5 mph and 50 miles is the limits on the run-flat.

When in Saudi, our LAVs needed to deflate the tire to get about 30% better traction and mobility in sand. In the salt marshes, we stuck all of our scout platoon LAVs in the mud. Took our TRACKED M551A1s and our HEMMT wrecker to get them out. (The HEMMT used its 50KLB winch when stationary)

We got rid of them after DSLD/DSTSTM and went back to Hummers. The MP BDE did not want them either. (Not air-deployable - Screening Criteria) They went back to the USMC. To airdrop them we had to deflate the tires to fit in the C-130".

LAV armored cars in U.S. marine service have not fared well, tipping over and killing several marines due to an excessively high center-of-gravity and a dangerous illusion that thinks these vehicles can do 60 mph safely. A heavy armored body pressing down a complex 8-wheel drivetrain exerts tremendous stresses and is a heavy burden on engines, making LAVs prone to catching fire with disastrous consequences.


ALMAR 031/01

Date signed: 07/12/2001 ALMAR Number: 031/01 R 121600Z JUL 01
UNCLAS //N05000//
ALMAR 031/01



Read the following quote from a McLAV crewman:

"Having been a Driver, Gunner, and Vehicle Commander on the marine corps LAV-25, I can say that the LAV does have mobility restrictions vis-a-vis tracked vehicles. Whenever I was up in the turret, as either a Gunner or VC, I would do mental terrain exercises, simply running hypothetical tactical scenarios on the terrain we were in (i.e., where would I move if we were engaged here, etc.)
I have to say, I found that there was a lot of terrain in Northern VA that could be considered chokepoints for the LAV, which a tracked vehicle could traverse with ease. Areas where we were driving in which we could NOT leave the road net. Primarily heavily-wooded, or exceedingly hilly terrain. Also, some obstacles which a tank could take in stride, we would have to go around.
In Northern Australia, we were further handicapped by the abysmall maintenance that had been performed on our MPS LAV's. The tires were thoroughly dry-rotted, which resulted in orders that we were NOT to leave the road. I saw tires punctured under circumstances which, if the tires were in good repair, would never have happened.
The LAV is a good hog, but you DO have to watch where you're taking it. And good maintenance is a MUST."

So much for the "maintenance holiday" some in the Army think heavy armored car bodies bearing down on air-filled rubber tires will be! Whatever imagined savings over tracks will be burned up in tires!

In Afghanistan, LAVs has gotten stuck in soft sand, and suffered numerous flat tires.

SOUTHERN AFGHANISTAN - marines from the 15th marine expeditionary unit change a tire on a Light Armored Vehicle during a patrol here December 8, 2001. Photo by: Sgt. Joseph R. Chenelly

Change a flat tire while on a combat patrol? What happened to "run-flats"?

Marines from the 15th marine expeditionary unit extend a winch from a Light Armored Vehicle to pull another vehicle out of soft sand during a patrol east of Kandahar city December 10, 2001. Photo by: Sgt. Joseph R. Chenelly

Where is that "high mobility" in the desert? Notice the men are lax security-wise without wearing helmets in a war zone...or is the fighting over...as in the bombardment is done, now we occupy?

Here is something that few people understand.


The LAV-III will not replace the thousands of M113 Gavins in Army service. So this LAV will require new logistical overhead ("a new logistical tail", new schools for the drivers and mechanics). A system to purchase and stockpile all the unique spare parts. The Army already has 246, 000+ wheeled trucks with different parts and tires than LAV-IIIs! All these Generals talk about eliminating the "Iron Mountain" e.g. the need for huge stocks of parts and supplies, but now they want to introduce another major end item for each Army Corps to support overseas. They are really lying, bureaucratic, racketeers trying to soak up maximum tax payer monies.

They are really going to need a huge stockpile of tires.

These "run flat" tires include foam and a central air pressure management system so they can keep going for a while with bullet holes and shell fragments. However, they will come apart after a few miles with so much weight (20 tons) bearing down on such small, narrow tires (to fit inside the C-130?), and go flat if the engine is cut off or knocked out.

Who wants to change out tires after every skirmish?

Where will the tires come from so quickly?

Maybe they can mount a dozen spare tires around each LAV-III to provide added armor protection???

Some may think we could pinch pennies by using retreaded tires on LAV-III/IAVs---no can do---vehicles with Central Tire Inflation Systems (CTIS) cannot operate SAFELY with recap tires that could explode under variable pressure.

So LAV-III/IAVs would need a steady supply of new, frssh tires just to operate, costing millions of dollars since each vehicle has 8 tires---a Brigade of 300 means 2,400 tires alone!

The wheeled nightmare only gets worse...by trying to make a tank on wheels, severe stresses are placed on the drivetrain and body..even though Mc LAV-1s are only about 15 years old, they are already developing cracks and holes some of which comes from rust and corrosion from their thin steel bodies. But don't just believe me! Read the story below!

MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. (May 31, 2001) -- A damaged tactical vehicle is a hindrance to the operational readiness of any Marine Corps unit, so when 2d Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion found a foot-and-a-half long crack in the side of one of the unit's vehicles, repairs had to be made.

In order to save the marine corps thousands of dollars on the maintenance, a contact team from marine corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif., traveled across the country to fix a 19-inch fissure in the side of a 2nd LAR Light Armored Vehicle.

In most cases, according to Staff Sgt. Kenneth Lee, a damaged vehicle would be shipped to MCLB Barstow, calif., or MCLB Albany, Ga., for repairs - a very expensive process.

"Barstow took the contract for $15,000," said Lee, the staff noncommissioned officer-in-charge of 2nd LAR's welding shop. "It would have cost us that much just to ship the vehicle away."

On-site maintenance tends to be less expensive, he said. When shipped to a logistics base for repairs, an LAV is almost completely disassembled, repaired and put back together. On-site repairs do not require such disassembly; instead, maintenance is focused on where the problem is.

"Basically, they just replaced that particular plate on the vehicle," said Lee. The crack was caused by a weakening of ballistic steel, which is the vehicle's armor. Lee, from Wausau, Wisc., said this type of steel is brittle, and temperature differences can cause it to expand and contract.

"Once there is a crack, moisture gets in, and the crack gets bigger," he said.

The contact team, made up of Steve Langevin, Tom Pitard and Pete Dimapasoc, arrived at Camp Lejeune last week, and have completed replacing the damaged plate, but ran into a new problem May 21.

"We found a new crack about three feet away from the original one," said Langevin. "It's about two inches long, so we'll be here for a little bit longer."

This type of damage happens occasionally, but usually can be fixed within the battalion.

"Our maintenance facility can fix cracks up to 12 inches long," said Lee. "Larger ones do not happen that often."


LAV Driver Bushed

A vehicle commander watched his LAV drift toward the shoulder of the paved road. Startled, he keyed the vehicle's intercom system and ordered the driver, "Pay attention and straighten it out." The driver didn't respond. Then, the commander yelled, "What are you doing?"

The driver, a lance corporal, glanced back at his commander and quickly turned his eyes back to the road but not soon enough. They were heading straight for a telephone pole. The lance corporal slammed the accelerator pedal, swerved, and missed the pole. However, they weren't out of the woods yet. The driver struggled to keep the LAV under control as it bounced over the rough terrain. They drove through tree branches and thick bushes, which cracked the windshield. Four hundred feet later, the driver finally regained control and stopped the LAV.

Despite being shaken up, the crew wasn't injured. The LAV, however, sustained $14,924 in damage to its suspension and had to be towed back.

After the incident, the vehicle commander asked the driver what caused him to drift off the road. The driver stated that he dozed off because he had not slept the night before-talk about a wake-up call. Now compare this to the Army's thousands of M113, many of which are 4 decades old "bouncing over rough terrain", yet because their weight is evenly spread over a larger area and does not take bumps and jolts as hard as rubber tired armored cars, and are made of non-rusting aluminum alloy--very thick---1.5 inches or more---they are essentially in pristine, superb condition while the LAVs break.



"Similarly, we have been forced to plan a SLEP for our versatile Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) at a cost of $180 million through FY05. Since we commenced an "Inspect, Repair Only as Necessary" (IROAN) program on the LAV in FY95, we have incurred a 25 percent rise in the cost per LAV and a 46 percent increase in the number of vehicles requiring the repairs. With only modest investments currently possible in R&D, a replacement for the LAV is not yet on the horizon".

Which do you think is the tougher, stronger vehicle?

So why don't we upgrade the winning M113 to its fullest capabilities and throw away the LAVs before they make us go broke in constant repairs?

Is the LAV-type armored car SAFE? Ground Warrior Summer 99 - Dead Man's Curve


by Lt Paul Berthelotte

The marine corps' light armored vehicle wasn't designed for high-speed turns on hardball pavement. Unfortunately, three marines found out that "light" is a relative term and that an LAV smashes through guard rails with ease-in this case, a guard rail at the edge of a 400 foot cliff. The mishap left two marines dead, one with serious multiple injuries, and one totaled LAV-25.

It was a clear, sunny Friday. After a successful live-fire field exercise, the LAR element began the retrograde back to the motor pool. The vehicles would travel on different types of terrain, including a paved road well known for its steep and winding sections.

The column consisted of five LAVs when they started out, spaced so the vehicles in front and behind were within sight of each other. The first three miles of road was packed dirt and gravel. Because the vehicles kicked up a lot of dust, the driver's spread out so they no longer were in sight of one another. When the vehicles arrived at the paved section, the drivers increased their speed to catch up with the vehicles in front of them.

The paved section of road has a speed limit of 25 mph. This section is very steep and winding downgrade, varying from two to eight degrees. One of the speed-limit signs was clearly visible to the drivers two miles before the fatal mishap.

Without stopping to switch to a lower gear, the driver of the second LAV continued along the road. He had gone only one mile on the paved section before encountering the 90-degree turn. Based upon the speed he was traveling, an estimated 51 mph, the marine had only a split second to hit the brakes. The LAV skidded 130 feet, crashed through the guardrail, and tumbled over the edge of the cliff.

The second LAV in the column disappeared so quickly that the drivers in front and behind didn't see it happen. The vehicle commander was in the lead LAV, a quarter mile ahead of the mishap LAV. He stopped the convoy and requested a radio check after the marines in his vehicle heard a loud noise. He then noticed a large cloud of dust and smoke down in the ravine ahead of them and became concerned. The road was so curved that the mishap LAV actually ended up about 200 feet ahead of the lead LAV by rolling down the mountain.

Some of the crew got out of the lead LAV and approached the mishap LAV. They found the crew members from the wrecked LAV farther up the cliff, where they had been thrown from the vehicle. Marines from the platoon's other LAVs soon arrived and gave first aid. A medevac was immediately called away.

The only marine to survive the crash had been in the gunner's position. Even though he was the vehicle commander, he switched to the gunner's position. This switch in position was because of a communications problem with the vehicle commander's normal position. The surviving marine stated, "We had only gone one mile on the asphalt portion before we started to slide. It felt as if we were on gravel." Once he realized they were in danger, he ducked inside the vehicle. He recalls nothing after that, except waking up in the hospital.

The vehicle had seemed fine on the drive out to the range. During the exercise, several marines had talked to the mishap driver, but they hadn't noticed anything unusual. The mishap driver had been seen doing pre-op vehicle checks before leaving the range Friday afternoon after the live-fire exercise.

All of the vehicles were going so fast they were leaving skidmarks at each curve. It's amazing that all five vehicles did not end up at the bottom of the ravine.

There are several unique characteristics in the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) that create special limitations:

Driving during an administrative movement, the vehicle commander and the gunner stand on their seats, up through the open hatches. In this position, they can see their surroundings and help the driver maneuver the LAV. The extra set of eyes is essential, as the driver's view is extremely limited. However, standing on the seats prohibits them from wearing their seatbelts. The driver needs to be aware of this and drive his vehicle slowly and carefully.

In this case, the driver should have been wearing his seatbelt, but that precaution wouldn't have kept the LAV from speeding, skidding and smashing through the guardrail.


The brakes on the LAV are controlled by a hydraulic system that uses compressed air as a booster. The amount of pressure depends on how far down you push the pedal. The brakes on the wrecked LAV worked well enough to produce skidmarks.

LAVs also have a Jacob's engine-brake that slows the vehicle by causing the engine to work as an air compressor-absorbing energy, rather than producing it. This brake is automatically activated when you release the accelerator.

Examination of the wrecked LAV revealed that the control lever for the 4/8-wheel drive was in the 4-wheel drive position. The gear-range-selector lever was in the 2-5 gear range. According to the LAR-battalion safety officer, these settings were appropriate for normal highway driving, but given the steep grade of the road, the LAV should have been operated in a lower gear.


The driver of the LAV had qualified the year previously, but had misplaced his original license. A new license was issued six months later with no restrictions. Although the procedures had been followed in certifying the driver for an LAV, these discrepancies were noted by the investigators:

-Neither license had been signed.

-The block for the LAV licensing-course road test did not have the date of the examination, the driver's signature, or the examiner's name printed. The examiner's signature also was in the wrong place.

Nothing shows that the marine didn't get enough training. But, obviously, key precautions were lacking. With proper supervision-one of the steps in operational risk management-lives and training dollars would have been saved. A thorough brief before the retrograde would have highlighted hazards and identified the necessary controls. Ultimately, two marines still would be alive, and you would not be reading this story.


LAV Licensing:

Marines can become licensed to drive LAVs by attending the LAV operator's course or by getting on-the-job training (OJT) at their LAR Battalion and applying for a license.

Marines traditionally attend the LAV operator's course at an MOS school after recruit training. Then they are assigned to a LAR battalion. When school-trained drivers are not available within the battalion, marines assigned as scouts are nominated to become drivers. The marine driving the wrecked LAV became qualified in this manner.

Investigators compared training records obtained from the LAR Battalion to the course of instruction offered by the LAV operator's course. While they were not identical, no areas of instruction seemed to be missing.

When was the last time your training officer made a similar assessment?

Ocean-Going M113 Gavins: the shocker.

1. In 1983, the Mc could have rejected buying LAV-1 rubber-tired death traps and obtained 10.5 ton M113A2s from the Army or the manufacturer at a very low cost to create its own "Cavalry" type force that can fight as well as gain reconnaissance.

The M113s could swim ashore a short distance from their landing craft like LSTs, LCUs, LCACs as several world armies do: Israel, Italy, Brazil and Australia (see photos above from East Timor). By being aluminum alloy armor they do not rust like steel. This is how LAV-1s get ashore since they are not surf-zone swim capable, the difference is that the light tracked M113s would not get stuck in the loose sand like the LAV-1s often do.

And by being lighter than the 14-ton LAV-1s, the Mc could have also sling-loaded M113s ashore by CH-53D/E helicopters, as well as by C-130 fixed-wing aircraft from shore bases.

2. Then, using the monies saved from not buying new armored cars that are steel and rust from getting wet with salt water and are now falling apart, they could have upgraded their M113s to "A3" standards with RPG-resistant applique' on the outside, and a superior weapons turret, 25mm autocannon, TOW/Hellfire ATGMs, 81-120mm mortars, even a 90mm assault gun etc. Certainly a force more formidable than the wimpy LAV armored cars they have now.

3. Then with just a little R&D money a kit could have been developed to make the M113 surf-zone capable via a new nose section and waterjets...so it could swim itself to shore from 4-5 miles out, easing the need/workload of LCAC/LCU landing craft while still remaining HELICOPTER TRANSPORTABLE.

Italian Surf-Zone Capable M113 Kit

An Italian M113A2 conversion by the Italian company ARIS, developed as a cheap alternative for the more expensive amphibious AFV's like the LVTP-7 (AAV-7) or AAAV. Besides the floatation kit and water jet propulsion system the M113 is unchanged and it can still transport the normal 11 men. 2 prototypes existed by July 1998 and they were used for trials & demonstrations.

In contrast, the huge, bloated 30+ ton AAAV will NEVER be helicopter transportable, and will be extremely expensive to buy and possible impossible to maintain its complicated retractable tracks to do its 30 knot swim speeds....a feature of doubtful utility if sea mines are not cleared.

However--a lighter M113A3 Amphibious Gavin could be FLOWN OVER THE SEA MINES by both Army and Mc helicopters. THAT is "Over-The-Horizon" assault.

So the M113A3 AmphiGavin should replace LAVs, AAV-7s and AAAVs in the marine corps, the latter program cancelled.


E-mail received:

"Its funny that while the Russian Army moves away from its wheeled vehicles (the BTR series), learning lessons from the brutal combat in Chechnya, the U.S. Army is moving towards them.
Below is a picture of the MT-LB6MB, a dedicated APC variant of the MT-LB, acknowledged as the Soviet/Russian equivalent of the M113 APC, which your site gives well deserved praise to.
The MT-LB is usually referred to as a 'tracked multipurpose armored vehicle' and has probably been used for more roles than any other vehicle in the Russian army inventory, including artillery prime mover, command vehicle, armored ambulance, transporter-erector-launcher for ATGMs and SAMs, armored recovery vehicle, combat engineer vehicle, repair vehicle, chemical/ radiological reconnaissance vehicle and battlefield surveillance radar platform. It has also been used as a self-propelled mortar (mountng the 82mm Vasilyek automatic mortar) and as a purely ad hoc air defense and fire support vehicle with the ZU-23 AA gun. Last, but not least, it has been used as an APC, and can carry 11 men. In Chechnya Russian BTR-80 equipped Motorized Rifle units have often exchanged their BTRs for MT-LBs and the recently the Russian Army has been so impressed with the performance of the MT-LB that the construction of a dedicated APC variant with improved armament and armor has gone ahead. Its impressive performance obviously comes (like the M113) from its excellent cross-country performance (due to its very low-ground pressure, lower than the ground pressure of the M113 even) robustness, ease of maintenance etc.
Like the M113, the MT-LB is an 'old' vehicle, being introduced in the late 1960's I believe. In 1995 however the vehicle was modernized with a new engine and improved steering by Muromsk Diesel Locomotive Works. The vehicles (approximately 5000 in the CIS total) were stripped down then overhauled and at the same time the steering system was replaced by a new hydrodynamic steering mechanism, which improved the ride of the vehicle and also made it easier to handle.
I could not find a larger picture of the MT-LB6MB, I apologize, but this vehicle has had the single PKT 7.62x54R machine gun removed and replaced with a drop-in turret called the Modular Weapon Station, which is mounted on the roof near the rear of the vehicle. This turret was first seen on the new BTR-80A and is equipped with the 2A42 30mm autocannon first seen on the BMP-2, a PKTM coaxial machine gun, and six 81mm smoke grenade launchers. The turret also has a much improved day sight.
The MT-LB6MB has a 290hp engine (more powerful than the engine on the M113A3 even). Like the M113, in its original form the MT-LB weighs a little over 11 mt. The addition of the MWS and the strengthening of the armor probably has increases the weight of the MT-LB6MB by an extra mt or so (the BTR-80A weighs 14.6 tons compared to the 13.6 tons of the original BTR-80).
Russian infantry preferred to ride in a tracked MT-LB with a 7.62mm machine gun rather than a wheeled, supposedly better protected BTR-80 APC with a 14.5mm heavy machine gun. While the BTR-80 choked on the debris strewn streets of Grozny and rocky roads up in the mountains the tracked MT-LB didn't break a sweat. Now that the same superb tracked APC has been equipped with the firepower of an infantry fighting vehicle and has had its armor improved, its ridiculous that the U.S. Army is ignoring their own excellent M113A3 and instead going for the wheeled LAV-III deathtrap option.
While I was writing this email I thought I'd tell you about the latest Russian BMD development. The BMD-3M has been identified. The main difference between the BMD-3 and BMD-3M is that it is fitted with a new turret based on the BMP-3 design. The Russian Airborne now has not only the 30mm autocannon at their disposal but the 100mm main gun of the BMP-3M for direct-fire, shock action. I have also attached a picture.
P.S. There is also an MT-LB6MA version with the same features of the 6MB except instead of the MWS there is a BTR-80 style turret with the 14.5mm heavy machine gun, coaxial PKT machine gun, etc."
Clarification #1
"You were saying you were after the video for this incident. It's available at the Chechen rebel website (kavkaz.org) on the page:
There are two columns of clips on this page, the one in question is linked to 'Ch1' under the uppermost 'Attack of the Mujahideen' [holy warriors] caption in the rightmost column.
Its not a pretty sight for a wheeled, road-bound APC and crew. Anyway, just thought you might want the source for the pic you posted.
Hi there. Just some info and my opinion...
I was looking through your site and came across the page http://www.geocities.com/lavdanger/, showing at the bottom a picture of a destroyed BTR series wheeled APC in Chechnya. A source for the entire picture series of this incident can be found at:
It depicts a remote-detonated landmine ambush of the APC and its patrol contingent. If you do a bit of digging, you can get some idea of the depth of problems the Russians are facing in Chechnya - convoys under the protection of BTR APCs and BMP IFVs being ambushed and harassed by rebels equipped with Shmel flamethrowers, RPGs, passive and remotely-activated landmines and heavy fire from 12.7mm DShk machine guns. Video footage shows this up all too clearly. In coordinated assaults, the lead and rear vehicles are destroyed or disabled (as in any classic column ambush) and the rest picked apart piece-meal, with crews abandoning their vehicles for cover and being pinned down by machine gun and sniper fire or simply destroyed in-situ. Such was the case in the failed assault on Minutka Square, Grozny, during the Russian invasion in the mid-90's. Other times the rebels stage hit and run attacks, planting bombs under the road or in cars and detonating them as the target drives over or close by. These are facts of modern urban warfare and will be increasingly so due to expanding urbanisation. One of the biggest problems facing Russian crews in this environment is the lack of protection present on BTR and BMP series vehicles, which, although they have evolved in the areas of mobility and armament, have not been afforded much in the way of greater survivability to enemy fire. Their armor has been and still is weak, giving the crew little opportunity to fight back before being destroyed or forced to abandon the vehicle. Such is this recognised that a new IFV, the BTR-T - also seen referred to as the BTR-4 - was developed. See www.rbs.ru/vttv/99/firms/oztm/e-btrt.htm. The BTR-T retains similar armament to the BMP-2 (30mm auto-cannon, ATGMs) but it's structure is that of the (now outdated) T-55 tank. Some of the surplus T-55s in the Russian army have been converted for this new purpose, incorporating a new low profile turret for the 30mm cannon. This new IFV was strongly influenced by the woeful experiences of existing Russian IFVs in the Chechen conflict and is purpose designed for survivability and fighting in urban environments. Chechnya is a typical example of a new modern battlefield which cannot be overlooked when planning major strategic changes within the composition of a fighting force. In terms of survivability, based on the Chechen experience and that of the similar Soviet experience in Afghanistan, LAV would appear to be a concept of limited value for motorized infantry on today's battlefield.
Thank God for the M1 and M2, let's hope we see them well into the next 20 years".
We wrote David and he sent in Clarification #2
"Dear 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne),
Thanks for responding, its an interesting and worthwile discussion. A couple of comments on this, embedded in your text".
1st TSG (A): "Before digressing into your excellent observations, let's reflect on what you are saying.
You are talking about ground main supply routes".
David: "In the Chechen conflict Russian IFVs have seen a number of roles: recon, patrol, convoy escort, as part of combined assault formations including T-72s and T-80s (eg. Minutka Square). I do realise the Russians failed dismally in some instances by sending in their armor with few or no dismounts, providing relatively easy targets for Chechen anti-tank teams. This doesn't help when combined with thin-skinned APCs. The main point here, which recurs time and time again in the Chechen experience, is ambush - which I was trying to illustrate through the example of ground supply routes. In ambush the defender often doesn't get the opportunity to use his manoverability or firepower to advantage when survivability is low, as has been shown for Russian BMP, BTR and BMDs. The Russian tack on the next generation of IFVs seems to be increased survivability, and this is not a coincidence, it is based on learning the hard lessons in real conflict. They also seem to be favoring the tracked option. Wheeled or tracked however, survivability is becoming an important consideration in the face of a changing battlefield where the advantages in a ground conflict are increasingly with the defender - who employs simple but highly effective hand-held anti-armor weapons and guerrilla tactics in an urban environment. I'll say something on your comments in regards to an air deployable force in a moment..."
At least one senior enlistedman in the U.S. Army has his head screwed on right, who realizes that in modern combat we needed heavier armored protection not LESS armor protection in LAV-III heavier armored cars, which are actually MEDIUM armored vehicles not light one, and due to the 28% space/weight inefficiency of a wheeled design has pathetically thin and impotent armor. As a comparison, the M4 Sherman tank, LT Belton Cooper's "Deathtraps" had 4 inches of armor protection on metal tracks. The LAV-III/IAV rolls on air-filled rubber tires and has on top a large box with a mere 1/2 inch of thin metal. SFC Ira Partridge writes in the March-April 2001 issue of U.S. Army ARMOR magazine that the rest of the world's armies are going to heavier armored vehicles, to include tracked M113A3s with several layers:
Deployable versus Survivable
1st TSG (A) Staff: "If you are going to have to go down them, you had better be heavily armored because surprise and mechanical advantage will favor the ambushers."
David: "Agree completely."
1st TSG (A) Staff: "PROTECTION
So your viewpoint is primarily on firepower versus protection".
David: "There are a gamut of considerations to be made in this discussion, mobility and deployability being two additional ones that you've highlighted. My original Email focuses primarily on survivability".
1st TSG (A) Staff: "OK, then LAV rubber tires and its thin armored body fail miserably".
David: "In the circumstances I've described, LAV is a deathtrap".

FOCUS: LAV-IIIs are 14mm THICK not 14.5mm protected
As readers may know, the LAV-III is only protective against 7.62mm BALL ammunition (metal jacket, lead core bullets) not Armor-Piercing bullets, though the standard U.S./NATO M855 and M856 5.56mm SS109 62-grain green-tipped bullets fired through M16A2/M4 carbines and M249 light machine guns have a steel core in "case" you didn't know.
I'd like to see what standard U.S./NATO 5.56mm ammo would do to a LAV-III! Regardless, look at what specialty Armor-Piercing (AP) ammo would do to a LAV-III:
1. The LAV-III/IA's body is only (1/2 inch) 14mm THIN
When you see a LAV-III with "frankenstein" type bolts and no panels on the outside of its UPPER PART hull area (lower parts completely uncovered), this means NO APPLIQUE' ARMOR HAS BEEN FITTED. Even if you see panels under the bolts they might be FAKE fiberboard sheeting like the LAV-III/IAV that was on display recently at the Fort Benning Infantry Conference. The soviets used to lie to their troops and fit wooden blocks to the outside of their tanks and call them "reactive armor" ie: "reactive" to the troop concerns by providing a placebo. The Stryker deathtrap is truly a "placebo-on-wheels": a false image of an Army that LOOKS LIKE its becoming lighter and more air transportable when its actually not.
This means its walls are only about 1/2 an inch thick steel.
A .50 caliber heavy machine gun bullet is ITSELF 1/2 an inch thick, traveling at 2,000+ feet per second it will easily go through a LAV like swiss cheese.
It gets worse.
"The 5.56 AP round penetrates 12mm armor plate of 300 HB at 100 m. The 7.62 AP round penetrates 15mm armor plate at 300m"
A 5.56mm Armor-Piercing (AP) round fired through a M16 assault rifle from 100 meters away will almost go through a LAV-III's skin with only 2mm of metal stopping it. What do you think 5.56mm AP will do to a LAV-III from say 30 meters away in a close range road ambush? This is what fire will do to its body and bodies inside the hull, we all know the air-filled rubber tires will be shredded and if caught on fire will burn down to their rims.
A 7.62mm AP round fired from a sniper rifle or medium machine gun at 300 meters (!) will penetrate the LAV-III. What kind of damage do you think 7.62mm AP will do at even closer ranges?
Thus, the U.S. Army are lying and/or being lied to.
At press conferences the Army said the LAV-III comes protective against 14.5mm (.50 caliber) heavy machine gun fire and is also at the same time C-130 transportable. This is a lie.
Armor protection at the hull for LAVs, which includes M113s and the Canadian series, is usually rated in two areas:
a. Defeat of "projectiles", such as bullets, sometimes called ogival projectiles, and
b. Defeat of artillery fragments, sometimes called blunt projectiles.
Since the M113's original design specs included such a requirement, we should not omit them. Defeat of artillery frags is important!
In regard to #a., Defeat of 'projectiles,' above,
The LAV-I is designed primarily to defeat the "7.62mm x 39mm" Ball cartridge projectiles (aka: M1943 Soviet Short) fired typically by the "AK-47" weapon. This cartridge is NOT as powerful as the longer round fired by the Russian WW2 rifles and MGs (7.62mm x 54R), which cartridge is comparable in performance to current NATO 7.62mm x 51mm and WW2 U.S. .30 Cal. rifle and MG ammo (7.62mm x 82mm). The relevant protection specs from the original USMC LAV-I procurement spec, and 4 extracted pages can be found here.
M113 armor defeats the full-power Russian 7.62mm x 54R AP round.
The difference between defeating a relatively low-powered "AK-47" Ball projectile and high-powered AP projectile is not a trivial one!
In regard to #b, defeating artillery fragments, aluminum alloy armor is superior to steel armor on a weight-per-sq-ft basis. "Back spall" can be a serious problem when armor is perforated, AND HIGH HARD STEEL ARMOR IS ESPECIALLY PRONE TO BACK SPALL.
Recent tests have shown the vulnerability of the LAV-III during ballistic tests, and back spall. Hardly surprising! Does the sun rise in the east? Is the Pope a Catholic? Do fish swim?
We can only wonder what Shinseki and his minions were thinking when they concocted the misbegotten LAV-III/IAV procurement.
2. LAV-III/IAV underbody still vulnerable
Look where the ceramic tiles are placed on the LAV-III (the "frankenstein bolts"). None are placed on the under half sides where the air-filled rubber tires are. They will not "be there" to stop 14.5mm HMG and all the smaller bullets being shot in that direction to deflate and "mobility kill" the LAV-III/IAV.
3. 8 x air-filled rubber tires not protected by ANY ARMOR
After the tires are punctured to immobilze the LAV-III/IAV, a molotov cocktail firebomb or grenade can be thrown to burn up all of the rubber tires as took place in Somalia ("Blackhawk Down!").
The LAV-III/IAV is NOT 14.5mm protected, only where bullets strike the ceramic tiles on the upper body; to say otherwise is to be a liar.
4. IAV/MAV was supposed to be RPG-protected' requirement conveniently dropped because AV-III cannot even be made bullet-resistant
Now look at RPG protection---an original requirement for the "MAV" now called the "IAV". An RPG will go straight through a LAV-III ceramic tiles or not right into the troop compartment to kill everyone inside. At least an as-is 10.5 ton M113A3 Gavin has metal road wheels that if hit, will pre-detonate a RPG. The 19-24 ton LAV-III is too large and overweight to accept applique armor with spacing to pre-detonate RPG shaped charge warheads to still fit into a C-130 or fly inter-continental and tactical distances. The LAV-III's thin 1/2 inch steel skin cannot accept recoil forces of explosive reactive armor (ERA) tiles to deflect RPG and ATGM shaped charges.
In contrast, a M113A3 can accept spaced applique' armor and ERA (its skin is 1.5 inches thick) while still fitting inside a C-130 and is light enough in weight to still be under 16 tons so the Hercules can fly it long distances and land on short, dirt runways. The M113A3 Gavin can do this because it has extra power and weight-carrying capability since its 28% more space/weight efficient than a bloated LAV-III armored car, rolls on weight spreading and compact tracked propulsion.
The LAV-III cannot meet IAV requirements even by concerted Army lying and cheating and lowering standards to help the striken Striker. The army's current leaders want a cheap wheeled vehicle and in combat you get what you pay for!
In fact, its Deja Vu, all over again!
The French failed in the first Indo-China War 1945-1954 because they used WWII generation STEEL WHEELED ARMORED VEHICLES that could not go off-roads, be amphibious and armor protected at the same time. They used road-bound rubber-tired armored cars extensively and were ambushed extensively, too.
The revolution in mounted maneuver came because FMC and General Gavin realized that you need to use aluminum alloy to construct armored vehicles that could be light enough, buoyant and armor-protected to rumble all over Vietnam at will, off-road.
Gunshields and brow armor were added to protect Soldiers manning machine guns and to protect against land mines.
What should have happened next:
1. Up-engine the M113
2. Put fuel tanks outside
3. Add applique' armor to defeat RPGs
4. Autocannon
Only #s 1 and 2 have been done by the U.S. Army (M113A3), other smarter armies have done all 4 things to make the best infantry combat vehicles in the world. Consider the Swiss Army's upgraded M113A3 below: applique' armor, autocannon turret...we could have these things on our M113A3s but we are squandering all our money away buying inferior Canadian-made LAV-III/IAVs. In fact the Army's specification that the IAV be 14.5mm Heavy machine Gun protected is a convenient mis-direction since to hide the favored LAV-III/IAV armored car's weakness since only another vehicle can lift this heavy weapon when the real threat is from man-portable RPGs. Requiring that the IFV be 14.75MM proof is a big task, especially considering that the mission developed for their deployment is more likely to encounter RPGs than 14.5mms. It's a heck of a lot easier to manpack an RPG/RB40 tube and a dozen rockets than it is to haul around a 200 pound 14.5mm HMG with 1200 rounds of ammo. AND what's the target payoff with the Heavy MG? They might get to engage a target while they get maneuvered around behind by grunts ~ who may still have some individual comabt skills. They'll lose their very expensive weapons system, and probably some skilled Soldiers in the bargain.
RPGs are too easy to use, way too cheap to make and ship, and shoot and leave behind. Remember, the 14.5mm HMG has to be assembled and even cleaned occasionally. Remember headspace and timing? Plus the ammo links will corrode after it is unboxed, and the crew has to be present when deploying the weapon. Heck, one disposable tube, one rocket, and one fanatical 13 year old (or younger) gunner, and you're in business.
The LAV-III/IAV will NEVER have its rubber tires protected from small-arms fire, and its huge, boxy body is too thin and brittle to accept explosive reactive armor recoil forces--thus the LAV-III/IAV will never be RPG-protected, so to deceive the American public it talks about 14.5mm HMG protection and glosses over RPGs while never brings up the point that the 8 x air-filled rubber tires are not protected at all. There are no ceramic armor tile under the body and sides of the LAV-III behind where the 8 rubber tires are. In contrast, 14.5mm HMG and RPG-protected M113A3 Gavins are in COMBAT TODAY in the Middle East with the IDF, killing real terrorists while the LAV-III/IAV IBCTs flounder in the tree-hugger Pacific Northwest where the previous ill-conceived, rubber-tired 9th High Technology Testbed Division was aborted in the 1980s. However, with a little clear thinking and humility, the Army could use light tracked armored fighting vehicles and have the world's finest C-130 transportable 3D maneuver strike force and this time be a success.
EUROPE and PACIFIC NORTHWEST: Tracks smothered, playing with wheels; 1980.
The Army again playing emotional favorites had a chance to fully upgrade M113s in the early '80s but chose instead to start over with the M2/M3 Bradley which is an aluminum alloy box twice as thick as a M113 with a 2-man turret with autocannon/ATGM. However, when they did this, they lost cross-country and amphibious and C-130 air-mobility. They ruined the 9-man infantry squad making it just 6 men with two wannabe tankers leading from the turret; and made infantry into "security guards for M1 tanks". Its armored infantry, not mechanized infantry that can lightfight on foot. Maybe OK for Germany fighting the Russians but not OK most other places in the world. In the process we have lost a generation of Army officers and NCOs who do not know how to boldly maneuver cross-country that are stuck to roads and "mobility corridors" that are determined by lowest common denominator IPD staff process of what WHEELED vehicles can do. Is it a wonder that we stick to roads to not offend the "eco-nazis" and keep our posts pretty while we fail to surprise and encircle the enemy?
The never-ending Iranian hostage crisis highlighted the strategic immobility of 25-70 ton M1/M2 tank-equipped forces already in place in Europe and the Army thought a unit composed of rubber-tired dune buggies with computers could rapidly deploy by aircraft and somehow stay dispersed and use pleas for firepower from someone else to survive on the middle east desert battlefield, even though the recent 1973 Yom Kippur War proved that nothing less than tracked armor to provide decisive maneuver has any chance of surviving an enemy surveillance strike complex. Called the "9th High Technology Testbed Division", the "9ID" for short was full of the big blue arrow map movements backed by make-believe fantasies of stand-off firepower that imbue the current rubber-tired armored car IBCT construct. After Army Chiefs of Staff were switched, the new unit---a bunch of rubber tired HMMWV trucks with heavy machine guns was proclaimed "ready" and then disbanded as soon as no one was looking since we refused to send armored HMMWV scouts ahead during Desert Storm let alone have an entire division driving around in essentially civilian SUVs. What's the difference between a thinly armored 3-ton HMMWV 4-rubber-tired truck with a machine gun on top and a thin skinned 8-rubber tired LAV-III/IAV armored car with a machine gun on top albeit with a computer screen inside? Neither are small-arms fire or RPG protected, neither can swim across lakes/rivers much less from the ocean. The 20-24 ton LAV-III/IAV is not C-130 nor Army helicopter transportable, is a much bigger target and has 11 men-that-can-be-incinerated-at-one-time when hit by enemy fires. And the HMMWV costs $50,000 and the LAV-III/IAV costs $3,000,000 each.
PANAMA 1989: Light tracks VICTORIOUS, but then forgotten?
The solution is, again what it always has been---to create a global full-spectrum force---build around an ALL-TERRAIN LIGHT TRACKED ARMORED FIGHTING VEHICLE, that can be made RPG-proof, swims, is airland and airdrop capable from C-130s, flies by Army helicopters, the mighty M113 Gavin, the greatest armored fighting vehicle of all time, ever, period.
And when the President of the United States ordered decisive U.S. Army maneuver forces to take down Manuel Noriega and his army of thugs, it was the M113 Gavin being rapidly airlanded several-at-a-time from USAF cargo jets with some M551 Sheridan light tanks being parachute airdropped that punched their way into the city center, taking out the enemy's center of gravity, the Commandancia headquarters building of the PDF. Rubber-tired vehicles could not move unless the way was cleared for them of abandoned cars and battle debris by tracked armored vehicles as documented in the official U.S. Army CALL newsletter from that time.
After the Army Airland battle success in Panama, Several U.S. Army officers and enlistedmen like Cavalry veteran Mike Robel (1989), Infantrymen Mike Sparks (1995), Martin Stanton (1998) and tankers Stan Crist (1997) and Vietnam combat vet Ralph Zumbro (1996) proposed easily enacted plans to transform the U.S. Army to have light tracked armored units that are rapidly air-deployable using the fantastic M113A3 Gavin light tracked AFV long before it suddenly became an "urgent change" after the Army was embarrassed in combat in Somalia without any armored vehicles and taking too long deploying the then-favored M1/M2 heavy armored vehicles to Kosovo in 1999.
In fact, Lieutenant General Carmen Cavezza, Former Commanding General,7th Infantry Division in the DEPARTMENT OF THE ARMY, XVIII AIRBORNE CORPS, FORT BRAGG, NORTH CAROLINA and U.S. ARMY CENTER OF MILITARY HISTORY WASHINGTON, D. C., JOINT TASK FORCE SOUTH IN OPERATION JUST CAUSE, Oral History Interview, JCIT 097Z, 30 April 1992 at Building 2025, Fort Lewis, Washington when describing the Invasion of Panama (led by light infantry backed by tracked armored vehicles) stated that armored mobility should be a situation-dependant option:
"I think the light division is structured the way it should be.
I don't think they need to heavy it up.
If we find that, based on METT-T, we need better transportation, then we can plug in from the corps level a truck company or whatever. If you ever give a light division organic vehicles, even the wheeled vehicles like the LAV, we're going to lose what light infantry is all about".
However, years later, while the Army throws billions down the drain trying to re-engineer a bloated wheeled 20-24 ton LAV-III/IAV armored car to make it fit into a C-130 and pretend it can survive in combat, U.S. Army Europe did the same thing the Army planners did to win in Panama, use available light tracked armored vehicles and "plugged them into" a Light/Heavy mix to "transform" itself into rapid-deployable capabilities by creating the combat-proven M113A3 Gavin-based Immediate Ready Force-Medium on alert to fly away on a few hours notice from Ramstein AFB in Germany. Thus, the U.S. Army has no excuse for not having had a C-130 air-transportable light tracked armored unit for the last 4 decades, and especially the last decade of the 20th century. Additionally, the current Army leadership has no excuse for making the LAV-III/IAV blunder, soon to be the wheeled Future Combat System (FCS) blunder. The Army should cancel the LAV-III/IAV fiasco and upgrade its M113 Gavins like its own wise combat commanders have done as well as other armies,
except add to upgrade options numbers 1-4;
5. Infared camouflage
Band-tracks if we are in less violent settings, steel-reinforced rubber "band tracks" can be fitted to M113A3/IAVs to travel at 50+ mph on roads with 3.5 mpg fuel economy (same as LAV-III), low vibration and "gentleness" to peacekeep on a "shoe string" budget since 50% of an Army Division is M113-based so no new spare parts have to be bought or mechanics trained as new, un-necessary fatally-flawed LAV-III armored cars would cost. This should appease the Army's cheapskate bean counters who do not know the value of Soldier human life.
Javelin Fire/Forget ATGM
8. Hybrid-Electric drive for SOF/Cavalry/RSTA missions
9. Digital C4I for "situational awareness". 10.
Mine-resistant metal tracks as a combat mission option
Now move ahead to the pivotal year of 1999.
General Shinseki doesn't want to do anything except #9 slapped onto a STEEL construction, rubber-tired armored car---THE SAME KIND OF VEHICLES THAT THE FRENCH WERE ANNIHILATED IN THE FIRST INDO-CHINA WAR!
Before becoming Army Chief of Staff, General Shinseki participated with the RAND Arroyo Center and his wheeled transformation is actually "borrowed" from researchers John Gordon and Peter Wilson's Aeromotorization report pdf version which has the fatal flaw of completely ignoring the 17,000 M113 Gavin tracked "LAVs" the Army owns to be the basis of a C-130 air-transportable "medium" weight force. However, Peter Wilson is a civilian, and Gordon a retired Army ARTILLERY officer so its easy to see how they ignored the light tracked M113 and concocted an air strike and artillery-centric firepower view of the battlefield derived from outside media sources like CNN laser-guided bomb footage. What's troubling is the assumption that amidst all these "precision" fire effects the air-filled rubber tires of the LAVs---actually medium-weight but lightly armored vehicles would somehow stay intact and allow the "Aeromotorized" force to avoid combat--the same myth early WWII mechanized cavalry tried and paid for in lives in 1942-44. Avante garde' is an attitude that assumes for there to be progress whatever was done in the past was faulty and something new looking is automatically better, its an attitude of disrespect to the intellect, toil and blood of what men of the past did and fails to accept the possibility that what they did could be so excellent that its enduring and timeless---like the M2 Browning .50 caliber machine gun, B-52 bomber, C-130 cargo plane and the M113 light tracked armored personnel carrier which was designed with an absolute best physical mobility requirement to stay mobile on the nuclear battlefield. If the future, non-nuclear battlefield is going to be a fraction as lethal as the RMA/firepower pundits say its going to be (almost equivalent to a nuclear battlefield), then the basic design requirement of the light tracked M113 still stands and is actually what the future requires not an armored car rolling on air-filled tires for at best easy-terrain recon but practically is viable only in road peacekeeping where people are rarely shooting at you and certainly not infantry carrying for combat.
Another irony is that Wilson/Gordon propose a 14-ton LAV-1 that flies at a rate of 4-6 vehicles per C-17 to deliver unit mass quickly---the LAV-3/IAV chosen by General Shinseki is a bloated 20-24 ton armored car that is too heavy to fly by a C-130 an can only fly 2 vehicles at a time in the C-17----the same number of more capable M2 Bradleys that can fly in a C-17. In contrast, 5 x M113A3 Gavins can fly in a single C-17, dramatically getting combat power into action fast. Thus supplying LAV-III/IAVs to Army Light Divisions are making them heavier and harder to deploy---General Shinseki is actually heavying up the Army and making it less air-deployable while emptying its bank account and cancelling vital upgrades to stay technologically advanced over possible nation-state foes. General Shinseki's choice of buying expensive, less-capable LAV-III armored cars instead of upgrading superior light racked M113s as "Interim" Armored Vehicles is actually dumbing the Army down and making it less responsive to world crisises.
What is it about senior officer ego that it cannot accept good ideas from within its ranks and has to go outside the Army to get its "transformation vision"? Are ideas published in Army journals by junior officers and enlistedman threatening? How? These writers/reformers are not General Officers on the "short list" to be the next Chief of Staff. Its disgusting that the Army's leaders go to places like RAND for ideas and ignores the practical, do-able and sound ideas of its own men. Going to outsiders who are clueless about basic realities like the Army having 17,000 x M113 Gavin light tracked "LAVs" already on hand is not "transformation", its an abomination. Other Army CSAs have when they come to power tried their "pet visions" on the rest of the Army without input from the rest of the Army and any real testing and as soon as they left office their "pets" were "put to sleep". General Taylor's Pentomic Division in the 50s. General Clarke's MOMAR I. General Shy Meyer's 9th HTTB Division. General Reimers post-AGS cancellation "Strike Force". General Shinseki's "IBCT" concept unsound by using overweight, rubber-tired armored cars will be next. So the question is, why don't we stop the top-down non-sense, listen to our troops, create an experimental force using their inputs and then after actual field testing, not BS computer simulations twisted to please-the-boss, determine the BEST force structure for a C-130 air-transportable Interim Brigade Combat Team and then transform the Army to it?
How will General Shinseki be remembered?
There still is time for General Shinseki to fix the IBCT by being a LEADER, a MAN, a true visionary and admitting the LAV-III armored car as IAV is a mistake and cancelling further purchases. If he does this, and upgrades M113 Gavins, buys some M8 Buford AGS light tanks, a remarkable thing will happen to the IBCTs, they will actually work. Their almost unlimited potential for air, sea and land maneuver will energize the entire Army and men will flock to serve in the IBCTs instead of running away as they do now from the wheeled IBCTs. Its not too late. But if he doesn't act soon, he will go down as a leader with good ideas like Army-wide berets and C-130 air-transportable IBCTs but who wouldn't listen to sound inputs from his own Soldiers to insure the beret color chosen was not already in use by someone else and that the armored vehicle chosen for the new units is actually C-130 air-transportable and a viable combat platform. Its not too late to redeem the situation even if it has to happen after General Shinseki departs, though it would be nice, just once for a senior Army officer to act like a LEADER of men who listens to his men and can face reality---not a politician and make a mid-course correction to better our Army.
We're not going to pretend here, the best 3D IBCT force structure will have LIGHT TRACKS---a M113A3 Gavin and M8 Buford AGS force with some M973A2 armored SUSVs in the recon element that can fly ahead easily by helicopter. However, the Army has yet to fully exploit the air/ground fire & maneuver capabilities of light tracked AFVs...the 11th ACR came the closest. Maybe when all the other BS pet options and sexy avante garde' "favorites" have failed, the Army will turn to what they should have used all along, and admit to the greatness of enduring past designs instead of trying to destroy them. Fortunately, the light tracks are so sturdy they will stand ready along with the smart, tough, reality-connected and ready to do-what-it-takes-to-win Soldiers to employ them for victory if and when good leadership takes the helm of the U.S. Army.
However, since the current Army clique's artillery/air strike-centric "Bombard & Occupy" (BO) avante garde' "new way of fighting wars" is nothing more than WWI French methodical battle, its fitting that the platforms they have chosen are just as road-bound as the French were in Indo-China and so easy to plot their positions on a map. Using unpredictable MANEUVER cross-country requires you to trust subordinates to use initiative and empowering them with ROBUST, TRACKED armored vehicles, things the heavy-handed, top-down bureaucratic General of today cannot tolerate. He wants to "mouse-click firepower" thousands of miles away in a safe command post just as his bloodstained French teachers in WWI used a pointer to direct pins on a map from a posh villa or farmhouse as millions of their men died in mud-filled trenches. Well, MEN ARE NOT PUSH-PINS OR COMPUTER ICONS. You can lie and BS your way through a press conference, but REALITY CANNOT BE MOUSE-CLICKED WITHOUT PHYSICAL, MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE. If you try to lie to the enemy, it will be men dead and mutilated along roads not map symbols and "sound bites". If you do BO, the enemy escapes like the Republican Guard did in Desert Storm in 1991, the Serbian Army in Kosovo in 1999 and the Taliban and Al Queda terrorists did in Afghanistan (2001-2). Is this victory?
Media pundits like Aaron Brown of CNN who fashionably think that "we are in a new kind of war using small SF teams to target so we don't need ground troops" sets the stage for dangerously wrong lessons learned like America can now afford to lose two Army combat divisions in the next round of budget cuts, because deep-down inside, liberals want to emasculate our military whenever given an opportunity so we cannot do ground maneuver or achieve VICTORY. They SAY they want the terrorists "brought to justice" but not if anyone gets their feelings hurt (political correctness). Bombard & Occupy mouse-clicked firepower offers them the illusion of victory while maintaining political correctness. The enemy even gets what he wants because he gets away to strike again.
Terrorist leaders Osama Bin Laden/Mullah Omar escaped our firepower (Hammer) using C3D2 (Camouflage, Cover, Concealment, Deception, Deceit) because we did not have MANEUVER = U.S. Army 3D-mobile ground forces along the Afghan/Pakistani border to block their escape routes (anvil). We hoped the Afghan resistance with their own agenda to free their country would do all our ground combat dirty work, but instead they "cut deals" to let the bad guys go home as long as they gave up the fight AGAINST THEM. And even if the resistance was totally willing U.S. proxies, they were in the NORTH primarily---not the south and east to block the enemy's escape. This is where U.S. air-inserted forces should have been employed for decisive MANEUVER as per FM 3-0 Operations.
U.S. Army needs air-transportable, tracked, all-terrain ARMORED mobile ground 3D forces that can carry enough supplies/weaponry to move into and stay in blocking positions to deny enemy escape (anvil) to work in concert with 2D ground forces like the Northern Alliance and our airstrikes (hammer).
Northern Alliance/Afghan government forces use tracked armored vehicles to be either "hammers" or "anvils" for their operations; U.S. Army has a similar capability that is C-130 and helicopter AIR-TRANSPORTABLE; via M113A3 Gavins and M973 SUSV-type vehicles in Germany and Alaska but CSA General Shinseki refuses to use them in Afghanistan because tracked vehicles are not his "favorites" [consider USAF refusal initially to send low-flying ugly-looking A-10s to provide accurate Close Air Support to Afghanistan---the AF hates the A-10 but loves its heavy bombers and sexy, fast fighters dropping expensive guided bombs from 15,000 feet; they just happen to drop them on our own SF targeting/advising men, too]. M113A3 Gavins or M973 SUSVs (BV-206s) stealing the media limelight during better-conceived maneuver operations like Operation Anaconda would show the world that the LAV-III/IAV armored car purchase is not needed. Even if the IBCTs were ready with LAV-III/IAVs for Afghanistan, they would not have been viable options to fly into Afghan broken-down, cratered airfields with only short sections of usable runway because they are 19 plus tons and thus, way over the C-130's maximum 16-ton payload capacity to land on short, rough assault landing zones. Go ask the Canadians why the haven't flown their bloated LAV-III armored cars by C-130s into Afghanistan yet? The forces being deployed to Afghanistan are being determinded by service politics ("favorites") not what WORKS BEST TO ACHIEVE VICTORY. When offered 4 x M8 AGS Army-certified C-130 air-transportable light tanks for 105mm gun fire support for a M113A3 infantry-carrier force for Afghanistan, Army senior leaders were not interested--tracked armored vehicles are not "politically correct" right now. See the Army's rejecto-gram to a U.S. Senator: click here. So rather than give media attention to its light tracked armored fighting vehicles, the Army would rather have its men walk around unprotected on foot in the world's most landmine and unexploded ordnance littered area in the world. Almost every Afghan male is heavily armed with automatic weapons, RPGs and even heavier weapons, yet the U.S. Army Soldier in Afghanistan has nothing more to protect him than his thin BDU shirt. If the Afghans weary of our presence, our men could become their next targets as they try to feed, house and protect them--from themselves.
Rather than taking 200 or so M113A2s out of war stocks and getting the IBCTs combat-ready in 2000 while their M113A4/IAVs are upgraded at the factory, or even sending M113A3 Gavins from Germany, our men fight in Afghanistan without ANY armored vehicles while the "IBCTs" at Fort Lewis PLAY with borrowed armored cars leased at $1 million each from our "friends" the Canadians.

If you look carefully you will see that these pictures are either from Ft. Lewis where there are borrowed Canadian LAV-IIIs with 25mm turrets or from the Ft. Knox PPD.
We think they are from Ft. Lewis because there is a Soldier wearing a black beret--black berets were not being worn Army-wide when the Ft. Knox PPD was underway in 2000 and the Canadian LAV-IIIs has props/rudders because fuel tanks are inside their death traps so they thought they could swim the monster across the muddy pond.
Revelations that the LAV-III is an immobile piece of junk are starting to come forward thanks to the word getting out that the vehicle is a lemon and a deathtrap.
The mighty tracked M113A3 Gavin could easily ford/swim across that tiny mud puddle.
A Canadian Army Soldier wrote in, we removed his name/unit to protect his identity. He is an honest professional.
He writes:
"Good Day:
First I must commend you on a well thought out site. I am a Cpl in the Canadian Army XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX. Although I am currently XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX, I did my "time" in a real unit.
Coincidentally I am qualified on what we call a 'Bison': the predecessor to the infamous LAV-III. ALthough excellent on roads and firm soil, its performance rapidly degrades when fully loaded on soft soil. And from what I've seen its the same with the before mentioned LAV-III. I have thoroughly read your articles denouncing the LAV as a 'flop' and must agree.
However my concern is that you are portraying the CAF in a poor light. Like most of your Soldiers the troops in our Army are highly motivated individuals. I hope that the POOR decisions of our GENERALS/POLITICIANS is not reflective of ourselves. After all we have to suffer with these "tincans" just as you do. Otherwise EXCELLENT work on your site, keep it up. I have sent the link to my colleagues back in the "real" Army.


Is the wheeled armored car with motorized infantry "transformation" or a step backwards to WWI style bombard & occupy? Doesn't this painting of a scene from 1917 look strangely familiar?
Pittsburg Post-Gazette National Security reporter
Army's new wheeled armored vehicle criticized
DEEP KHAKI: LAV's remote weapon system conks out after 48 rounds! Aussie LAVs sent home in disgrace after East Timor
HEAVY METAL: M113A3s are better vehicles than bloated LAV-IIIs: why do you think U.S. Army is so afraid of comparison testing?
a. The LAV-III/IAV's air-filled rubber tires are not protective of ANY kind of fires, the Army should know this
b. The Army may have gotten confused with the LAV-III being 14mm THICK in its construction and it being 14.5mm heavy machine gun protective.
c. The LAV-III/IAV is a HUGE target compared to a more compact tracked vehicle. If you can be seen you can be hit. If you can be hit, you can be killed! Compare the M113A3 on the left to the bloated LAV-III on the right in the picture above...which vehicle would YOU want to be in if under enemy fire?
d. The LAV-III/IAV without applique' armor is too heavy for C-130 transport. In this configuration its only 7.62mm BALL protected at its body, not its rubber tires.
e. Adding applique' armor to the LAV-III to attempt to make it 14.5mm/.50 caliber HMG protected at its body will make it even HEAVIER. Even if the applique' works, the LAV-III/IAV cannot be both heavy machine gun protected, C-130 transportable, and combat-ready upon landing at the same time.
f. One of the "urban legends" being foisted by primarily Canadian LAV-III liars is that antitank mines do not pose a threat because a road-bound LAV-III ran over a small anti-personnel mine (not a surprise) and didn't get totally destroyed. ANY Army vehicle can run over an AP mine designed to blow a foot off via a few ounces of explosives and not be completely destroyed. But here is proof from the Canadians themselves: a web page describing how they are desperately trying to add a huge piece of underbody armor to LAV-IIIs to protectt hem from landmines. If the LAV-III is mine protected as the Canadian liars proclaim, why are the trying so hard to develop underbody mine armor? The LAV cannot afford any extra weight--knowing this it must be an urgent requirement because the truth is that the LAV IS POORLY PROTECTED AGAINST LANDMINES. The following is straight from the Canadian web site just in case the page suddenly "vanishes":
e. LAV Mine Blast Protection Integration. A requirement exists to protect the LAV III Pioneer against effects of a 7.5 kg TNT blast mine. The basic LAV III hull incorporates no special protection against this sort of threat and therefore some form of add-on protection (mine blast kit) is required. PMO LAV requires a system that will be ready for the production phase of the Pioneer variant scheduled for 2002/2003. Should a practical solution exist, the rest of the LAV III fleet as well as the BISON and AVGP fleets will benefit greatly. As no LAV III hull was available at this time, two COUGAR AVGPs were provided to DREV to conduct testing and evaluation of prototype mine blast protection kits that will be provided by industry. More trials/testing will be conducted in 2001 and 2002. Trial Aim: To assess the integration of two prototype add-on blast mine protection kits installed on two surplus wheeled light armoured vehicles (AVGP Cougar) and their effect on the vehicles' mobility. Trial Conduct: One prototype system was provided by each IBD/Dew engineering and General Motors Defense (GMD). The trial was conducted at DREV with measurements of suspension and hull clearances on the prototype vehicle loaded to max curb weight plus the add-on systems. Weights were recorded and assessments of maintainability and future integration into LAV III were made.
Fig 1: Prototype Mine Blast Protection Kit.
Sponsor - DPD 2-3 PMO LAV
g. Since the "vanilla" LAV-III infantry carrier combat loaded is 19 tons and too heavy for C-130s to fly them anywhere, the situation is only going to get worse as the Army's "IAV" digital electronics and mission packages are added making them into 20-24 ton vehicles.
MTMC-TEA report states from the official TACOM web site:
Vehicle Design:
"From a transportability engineering perspective, the design of future combat vehicles needs to take the operational realities of the C-130 into consideration. Where possible, serious consideration needs to be given to the C-130's peacetime assault landing weight of 130,000 pounds. Because of the stresses experienced by the airframe at weights above 130,000 pounds, counting on the Air Force to grant a waiver to the maximum assault landing weight during wartime could be risky. A maximum vehicle weight of 29,000 pounds would allow an empty aircraft to recover to an airfield about 250 nautical miles away. A vehicle weight of 32,000 pounds would allow an empty aircraft to recover to an airfield about 100 nautical miles away. If one considers maximum transportation flexibility to be of paramount importance, the maximum C-130 air transport weight of future vehicles should be in the 29,000- to 32,000-pound range. These weights ideally would include the crew, 3/4-tank of fuel, and full ammunition, armor, and equipment. The C-130's mission profile requirements would need to be established by the Army, in coordination with the Air Force, before a maximum weight requirement could be determined."
U.S. Army miscalculation: LAV-III/IAV specs too heavy for C-130H's 16-ton limit
IBCT Tables of Organization and Equipment
g. ALL of the LAV-III/IAV variants specifications exceed the C-130H's 16-ton limit as set forth by MTMC-TEA:

Official TACOM IBCT LAV-III/IAV Specifications grossly under-estimate LAV-III/IAV weights
Direct quotation from document above (in case the Army's current armored car mafia suddenly decides to hide this data because its embarrassing). In fact, LAV-III/IAVs at 20-24 tons exceed the Army's own incorrect weight limits!

Defense News
March 4-10, 2002
Pg. 6
Most New Armored Vehicles Exceed U.S. Army's Medium-Weight Needs
By Frank Tiboni, Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
The majority of the U.S. Army's new armored vehicles, including mobile gun variants, are too heavy to fly in a C-130 transport plane, a key requirement of the service's new $4 billion medium-weight force.
"Eight of the 10 IAV [Stryker Interim Armored Vehicles configurations] exceed the load limits for the C-130; much of the support equipment is overweight/oversize as well," according to a Feb. 22 Army document obtained by Defense News.
C-130 portability is essential to the Army's medium-weight force, the bridge in the service's 11-year transformation program announced by Gen. Eric Shinseki, Army chief of staff, in October 1999. Transformation to a lighter, more rapidly deployable force hinges on the ability of the Army's new medium-weight force to deploy one brigade of about 366 IAVs on C-130s anywhere in the world in four days, Army officials have said repeatedly.
Weight Limit 38,000
An official in the Army's Brigade Combat Team program office confirmed that some of the vehicles currently exceed the 38,000-pound weight limit to fly on a C-130, with the mobile gun exceeding the maximum by 3,000 pounds, the official said.
"We are working with the contractor to have them go back and look at some design aspects with the vehicle to reduce weight," the official told Defense News Feb. 28. The mobile gun system had weighed 45,000 pounds until an aggressive weight reduction program began in January.
The Brigade Combat Team program office also is working with the Army's Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC), Fort Monroe, Va., to define the equipment Soldiers will carry on or need in the vehicles, the Army official said. The Army official said he did not know when the process to reduce the Stryker IAVs' weight would be complete.
Col. David Ogg, Brigade Combat Team project manager, Tank-automotive and Armaments Command, Warren, Mich., offered this written answer Feb. 21 to Defense News questions about the vehicles' weight: "All [IAVs] are capable of meeting KPPs [key performance parameters]."
Ogg also said his office, TRADOC and the IAV manufacturer have "in place an aggressive weight management team that, as required, is reviewing and pursuing weight reduction actions."
The Stryker IAV program's four requirements are: C-130 transportability; carry a nine-man infantry or engineer squad and a crew of two; communications interoperability among the 10 vehicles; and that the 105mm cannon be able to destroy bunkers.
The Stryker IAV comes in two variants: the mobile gun system and the infantry carrier vehicle, which has eight configurations, including command, reconnaissance, and nuclear, biological and chemical detection vehicles.
Mark Roualet, vice president of wheeled vehicle systems, General Dynamics Land Systems, one of the companies manufacturing the Stryker IAV, confirmed that some of the vehicles do not meet the Air Force's 38,000-pound weight limit for transport on a C-130. He was not sure how many vehicles were too heavy.
General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights, Mich., teamed with General Motors Defence, London, Ontario, to form GM GDLS Limited Liability Co., a joint venture that won a November 2000 contract to develop and build 2,131 Stryker IAVs.
The combat weight of the Stryker IAV on the C-130 cannot exceed 38,000 pounds, according to company documents.
"All the vehicles will be able to fly on a C-130" when weight-reduction efforts are completed, Roualet said.
The primary transport aircraft for the interim brigade combat teams is the C-130, but C-5s and C-17s also can be used, the documents said. One fully combat loaded Stryker IAV is supposed to fit on a C-130, two on a C-17 and four on a C-5.
GM GDLS is working with the Brigade Combat Team program office and TRADOC, which is developing the soldiers' requirements for the vehicles, to define what combat capability the Stryker IAVs should possess when they roll on and off a C-130, Roualet said.
The man who presided over Pentagon acquisition when the IAV program was created said, "being able to come off a C-130 combat-ready is a firm requirement." Jacques Gansler, now a public affairs professor at the University of Maryland, told Defense News March 1 that the Army may be able to reduce the Stryker IAVs' weight by further defining whether the vehicle is non-combat loaded or fully combat loaded for transport on the C-130. But it must be able to roll off a C-130 ready to fight.
Some of the Strykers, such as the fire support and medical evacuation Stryker IAVs, do meet the C-130 transportability weight requirement, Roualet said. The company needs a clearer idea for other vehicles, such as the mobile gun system and infantry carrier vehicle, as to how much ammunition, fuel and other items will be carried in or with the vehicles when they are transported, he said.
The Army plans to field the first of six medium-weight force brigades, known as interim brigade combat teams, in January 2003, with the first brigade ready for combat by May 2003.
The first interim brigade combat team will contain three substitute vehicles, because the mobile gun system and support systems for the nuclear, biological and chemical reconnaissance vehicle, and the fire support vehicle, will not be ready by May 2003.
The service will not field an interim brigade combat team supported by all configurations of the Stryker IAV until 2005. The Army has funded three brigades to date: two at Fort Lewis, Wash., and a third in the 2003 budget at Forts Wainwright and Richardson, Alaska.


Combat Weight

Reconfigure Weight (GVW Reductions)

C-130 Transport Weight

Restow Weigh (Axle Load Reductions)

Restoration Time



182 lb


3,716 lb

20 min



182 lb


1,820 lb

15 min



1145 lb


3,984 lb

50 min



182 lb


963 lb

15 min



182 lb


1,553 lb

15 min



182 lb


3,618 lb

25 min



182 lb


640 lb

15 min



182 lb


3,798 lb

40 min



182 lb


1,553 lb

20 min



3300 lb


640 lb

100 min

(Combat Weight) - (Reconfigure Weight) = (C-130 Transport Weight) <38,000 lbs>

(C-130 Transport Weight) - (Restow Weight) = (Vehicle Weight for Axle Load Reductions)

TEST. During PVT the ICV vehicle may be checked for the transportability and deployment by C-130 aircraft. Weight. The ICV shall not exceed 13,000 pounds maximum axle weight, 100 psi tire pressure for wheeled vehicles, or 6000 lbs. per liner foot tread contact pressure for tracked vehicles, on the treadways of C-130 aircraft. The ICV combat capable deployment weight must not exceed 38,000 pounds gross vehicle weight to allow C-130 transport of 1,000 nautical miles without requiring a USAF waiver for maximum aircraft weight on fixed runways.

Remember, the actual "IAV" doesn't exist yet...a LAV-III crammed with all the crap the micro-managing Army wants hasn't been put together yet....ITS GOING TO BE EVEN HEAVIER THAN THE LAV-III....so much for an "off-the-shelf" purchase....too bad they didn't "micro-manage" the details of air transportability, huh? The Army IAV requirements themselves state the C-130 must be able to fly an IAV for 1,000 miles. Anything over 16 tons and this is not possible.
h. The basic TACOM assumption that LAV-III/IAVs can be up to 19 tons and still be C-130H transportable (to reverse-engineer the desired LAV-III result to please CSA General Shinseki) is wrong. Actual C-130 load limit is 16 tons. Game over. The Army screwed up from the get-go. To meet the Chief's goal of deploying a Brigade Combat Team with armored vehicles within 96 hours its vehicles have to be 16 tons or less to exploit the USAF's large fleet of C-130 turboprop STOL aircraft---the LAV-III/IAV is actually a bloated MEDIUM armored vehicle not a light one; but this extra weight is not virtuous capability its just dead weight due to the inevitable inefficiency of its armored car design and steel construction. A LIGHT tracked armored vehicle can have better mobility, armament and protection than a MEDIUM wheeled LAV-III/IAV armored car has.
i. Spending 10 minutes or more reconfiguring a LAV-III/IAV is not "combat ready" upon landing = remember common sense? Combat-ready means you can return enemy fire and maneuver IMMEDIATELY upon landing. Anything short of this can be fatal to the ground vehicle, the delivery aircraft and the men inside.
Other IAV variant-specific problems: a comedy of errors or horrors?
ICV (Infantry Carrier Vehicle) : cannot swim since Army is buying variants without props and rudders, only 200 ready rounds of ammo for the remote gun system [CANCELLED; too much weight], like all variants too large a target, road-bound, thinly armored. The actual IAV-ICV at 20 tons without the remote weapon system is so overweight that even ACAV type gunshields to protect the VC who now has to manually fire the .50 cal or Mk-19 are too much weight---we are making the same mistake we learned 38 years ago at the Battle of Ap Bac. If we went with the lighter, but more mobile and more protected M113A3 Gavin we could have gunshields and full turrets for heavier autocannon/ATGM weaponry.
RV: (Reconnaissance Vehicle): TOO LARGE for stealthy recon! SILHOUETTE is as large as a 70-ton M1 heavy defensive tank! Too restricted to roads, cannot be helicopter lifted into forward positions or behind enemy lines
MC (Mortar Carrier): CANNOT FIRE MORTARS FROM VEHICLE!, Soldiers must dismount to fire mortars, slow, exposes them to enemy fires...what if urban battlefield is paved? How will mortar baseplate be settled? What if mortar baseplate is mired into rural mud and counter-mortar fire is inbound? Will baseplate be left in ground? Existing M113A3-based M1064A3 120mm mortars are fired mounted, the IAV-MC is a step backwards.
CV (Command Variant): internal configuration not known, cannot be heli-lifted to displace CPs like the Brits did in the Falklands war with tracked BV-202 type vehicles
FSV (Fire Support Vehicle): Since LAV-III/IAV cannot mount 155mm howitzer; unarmored FMTV 5-ton trucks will tow M198 or M777 155mm howitzers, same problems as having to dismount mortars except compounded. FSV "Striker" will merely laser target designate for others while hoping itself doesn't become a target. Lacks off-road mobility and small size to covertly gain line-of-sight to laze targets.
ESV (Engineer Support Vehicle): [CANCELLED] Cannot swim across lakes and rivers to secure far side for Combat Engineers to bridge!, Cannot push dozer blade, Grizzly dozer blade will have to be scaled down and fitted to a M113A3 Engineer Squad Vehicle (ESV), cannot rumble over wire and barricaded cars like tracked vehicles can (see picture at bottom of this page)
MEV (Medical Evacuation Vehicle): Cannot dart into enemy fire swept areas to recover wounded without itself becoming a casualty by enemy fire or the terrain---or both
ATGM (Anti-Tank Guided Missile): To help pay for the not-needed LAV-III/IAVs, HQDA cancelled the "fire & forget" Follow-On To TOW (FOTT) missile and 18 other vital programs were cut, then denounced with that avante garde' curse of "legacy" and other excuses. FOTT missiles with infared seeker would be needed by the IAV-ATGM variant, as well as all the other TOW units in the Army to survive and win the fight against enemy armored vehicles, low-flying helicopters and point targets. The Army talks a good game about using "advance technology" but when it comes time to field it, they postpone for a later date (never).
NBC RV (Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Reconnaissance Vehicle): The Army already has the perfected M93 Fox NBC recon 6x6 armored car that WORKS, why do we have to start over and try to create a NBC recon system from scratch?
MGS (Mobile Gun System): Too heavy to fly by C-130 at all; cannot fit inside, GDLS is redesigning the entire vehicle!, only 12 ready 105mm rounds, cannot shoot gun sideways
In contrast, every one of the above vehicles has been fielded as a variant of the M113 Gavin...except the 105mm gun version which would best be taken care of by the Army type-classified M8 Buford Armored Gun System. The so-called "legacy" M113A3 tracked AFV kicks the avante garde' bullshit LAV-III/IAV wheeled armored car in the ass by 4 decades of COMBAT SUCCESS; the LAV-III/IAV's only "track" record is a LEGACY OF FAILURE.
2. The following official TACOM IBCT link lists all the loose gear a given LAV-III/IAV is to have:
But notice:
a. NO WEIGHTS are listed!
b. The number of personnel (7) doesn't coincide with a 9-man infantry squad, plus 2 crew
Rucksacks, individuals and their weapons are not listed
d. The digital C4I comms weights are not listed
e. Applique' armor weights not listed
f. Remote Weapon Station weights not listed
Thus, if the Army lumps on applique' armor to protect just the hull--not the rubber tires----2-7 tons according to reports----the LAV-III will be 20-24 tons heavy and the C-130 will not be able take-off and fly it anywhere except back to the runway where it started from! No country in the world slaps applique' armor onto their armored cars; their ground pressures and lack of off-road mobility are bad enough as it is. The LAV-III/IAV is too heavy for C-130H transport without all the gear the Army wants to lay on it.
Army continues to lie: hull applique' armor can't stop 14.5mm HMG much less RPGs; air-filled rubber tires unprotected; MGS version at 45, 168 pounds too heavy for a C-130 to even take off from the ground! Watch the ensuing "tap dance" begin! Instead of putting the LAV-III/IAV on a "diet", why don't we act like rational men, admit the LAV-III/IAV is a mistake before it gets our men killed, cancel the bloated deathrap, give the ones we are stuck with to worthy MP Brigades for peacekeeping operations and upgrade more capable at less weight, M113A3 Gavins to be our IAVs? We can do this.
February 28, 2002
(U) MOBILE GUN SYSTEM (MGS) WEIGHT REDUCTION PLAN (U). As part of our Risk Management program, the Project Manager Brigade Combat Team (PM BCT) and the Interim Armored Vehicle (IAV) Joint Venture (JV) contractor have initiated a plan to reduce the weight of the Mobile Gun System (MGS). Currently the combat weight of the MGS is 45,165 lbs. At this weight, the user is required to remove 7,165 pounds of equipment from the MGS prior to C-130 transport. At the PM's joint quarterly Program Review, the JV committed to developing and implementing a plan to reduce the vehicle weight through redesign and manufacturing techniques. This reduction of vehicle weight will reduce the impact to the MGS Soldier. The goal of this effort is to reduce the combat weight of the MGS to 43,700 pounds in development (July 2002) and 40,250 pounds in production (June 2003). Both these weights will allow the vehicle to meets its transportability weigh requirement, the latter greatly reducing the need to remove Soldier items. The funding required to support this weight reduction effort is being reviewed by the PM's vehicle Integrated Product Team (IPT) and PM BCT. PM BCT has made initial coordination with the Army Staff and OSD on funding requirements. Impact to the Army: Will require movement of FY03 IAV WTCV funding to RDTE during Congressional marking period.
COL David Ogg/PM
BCT/(810) 753-2000
APPROVED BY: LTG John Caldwell
This Week in Defense & Aerospace - March 22, 2002 ====================================================================
Defense Daily Network's (http://www.aviationtoday.com) weekly e- letter reports:
CHANGING HATCHES. The Mobile Gun System (MGS) version of the Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle by General Dynamics and Canada's General Motors Defense is 3,000 pounds overweight, says Army Vice Chief of Staff Gen. John Keane. The service is doing tests and changing hatches on the system to "get the weight down," he says. MGS is armed with a M68 105mm gun and is intended for bunker-busting and anti- personnel missions.
Note that the need to destroy other tanks in meeting engagements--the thing that killed the wheeled 9th High Technology Test Bed Division at Fort Lewis in the 1980s is not mentioned because the MGS can't fire full-power 105mm gun ammo which the U.S. has thousands in storage!!!
An amusing but unfortunately true accounting of the efforts to jury-rig a bad decision of supposed off-the-shelf equipment to meet a suspect requirement.
Another IAV "off-the-shelf" program failure.
A contractor writes:
"Our program was scheduled to start test at Aberdeen in January. The BCT Remote weapon station (RWS) was also due to start. We soon learned that Delco (The RWS integrater of Norwegian weapon station) was issued a show-cause letter with 2-3 weeks to respond. We hear that the response was inadequate so the Army issued a Stop-work order for the RWS. In later March the stop-work order was closed out and RWS was due to start firing tests at Aberdeen again. It's now the end of April and RWS still has not fired a single round at test. We hear that they have big problems with servo system and ballistics. Thermal sensor also became a big issue with Delco claiming they met spec and Army saying no. Latest firing hold-up is blamed on firing solenoid for 50 caliber M2. They elected to create a newly desiged solenoid with a company that doesn't build solenoids. They have failed and are trying to find a solution".
The IAV, an allegedly "holistic" system-of-systems based on one single platform type, includes two HUMMWV types, FMTV trucks, one German wheeled vehicle, a viewgraph gun system, a mortar transportation device, and the world's only (non-functional) wheeled bulldozer. Selected to take maximum advantage of this non-existant single-platform "commonality', the Army plans to transport/deploy them on the C-130 aircraft so they can drive off the plane firing anywhere in the world with the minimum number of sorties.
The IAV is supposed to drive on-drive off the C-130, but can't because it does not fit because its actually a LAV-III not designed to fly inside a C-130.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM. You can make the hole in the plane taller, or you can make the IAV shorter. Screwing around with the structure of the C-130 was frowned upon by the Air Force, so the only other choice is to make the IAV shorter. So, the IAV went back to the LAV II tires, which are shorter and narrower, but allow the IAV to drive right on the C-130. It worked!
Actually, they can drive right onto the mock-up of a C-130, but would (because of the now narrower tires) exert too much concentration of pressure on the floor of the C-130 and the LAV is already pushing the limits on weight.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO SOLVE THIS. One can build up the superstructure of the C-130 (opposed by those damn AF guys again), or lay down shoring on the floor to spread out the load and eliminate the concentration of pressure where the tires hit the floor. It worked!
Actually, the added thickness of the shoring on the floor caused the IAV to start hitting the roof again not to mention increasing the gross weight, and everything went back to square one. Now, however, the issue is concentration of pressure, not the roof height, because if the Army could just get rid of the shoring they wouldn't have a problem.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO SOLVE THIS. One could strengthen the structure of the C-130, or reduce the stress concentration by reducing the stress, or weight of the IAV.
(At this point, MTMC and the AF are getting tired). Obviously, the weight had to be reduced.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO SOLVE THIS. One could disassemble the IAV for transport and spread the weight around the plane so that the stress concentrations are within the loading envelope of the C-130, or one could simply remove things normally carried by the vehicle. The first approach doesn't work because the combat is supposed to commence upon landing, not after the four hours it takes to reassemble the vehicle. The second approach works, but causes another problem: where do you put the stuff you just took out of the IAV so it could deploy on the C-130?
A different problem, but one that can be solved. In fact, as you might have guessed.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO SOLVE THIS. One can let each IAV haul around a trailer filled with the goodies removed from the IAV to make it lighter, or get rid of the stuff. We are talking mission-essential equipment here, so getting rid of it is not the answer. That leaves the trailer option.
But the fact is, the IAV cannot pull aboard the C-130 with a trailer attached because it is too long for the C-130.
THERE ARE TWO WAYS TO SOLVE THIS. Let's discard the third way, which is making the C-130 longer. The Air Force left the room a couple hours ago anyway. One could simply fly the trailers on another C-130, but that doesn't minimize the number of sorties required nor does it make it easy to come off the bird firing as promised. The other way is to change the requirements. The plan now will allow the IAV to get off the plane, drive to an assembly area get topped off with fuel, ammunition, water, and rations though this approach doesn't explain how the supplies get to the assembly area first.
1. The Army will NOT meet its LAV-III-based IAV/ MGS weight reduction goals, and
2. Consequently, the Army's new vehicles are not now, and will NEVER be, C-130 deployable.
The Army will deny that, and we'll not know the truth until some independent group gets the hardware and the data.
The Reasons Why the Army will NOT meet its IAV weight reduction goals:
a. The LAV-III/IAV is still in development, contrary to the Army's claim that it bought an "off-the-shelf" system, and weight ALWAYS increases during development. Proposal engineers tend to be optimistic, they are not perfect, and some things/ problems/ issues can't be predicted, calculated, or programmed too closely.
b. The IAV engineers are starting with an existing vehicle that needs to be RE-designed to remove weight, and engineers don't make anything any heavier than it has to be in the first place. So they must redesign to remove weight of the existing components and subsystems; AND they must simultaneously design NEW components and subsystems so as to try to deploy the damn thing in a C-130 - which it was never intended to do in the first place. [That in spite of GM claims that it was.]
Back to Reason Why #1:
The most experienced person that we know in regard to system design of LAVs (the M113, for example, is an LAV, while the LAV-III is actually a MAV) told me that his company routinely found that the weight "as delivered" tended to be about 10% to 15% over the original proposal weight. He further explained that it wasn't due so much to miscalculations as it was mainly due to two things:
c. The "I forgots," the things that both his company (an experienced one) and the government forgot to include in the scope of work. (Remember that there are many thousands of items in a system level scope of work.) and
d. Mandatory changes required by the government: Everything from a disaster (sample: perhaps a different engine or transmission than originally bid) to an accumulation of other things; i.e. an increase in road speed, or an increase in the amount of fuel to be carried, maybe additional ballistic protection, an extra radio, etc.
Weights: Readers may have noticed that we have tended to avoid the specifics of IAV weight (and cost).
That's because there is no LAV-III/IAV weight or cost released by the Army in which we would have any confidence, so why get involved in it beyond the basic price is now $3 million per vehicle?
However, circumstances force us to do so today:
Let's start with these weights* based careful perusal of whatever story the Army has last issued, provided the data wasn't too well hidden from us taxpayers:
Current IAV weight: *39,725 lbs.
Current MGS weight: *45,165 lbs.
Max allowable weight for C-130: **38,000 lbs.
The Army needs to take 7,165 lbs out of the 39,725 lbs MGS. That's a 19% reduction in weight for a vehicle still in development, and that's only if you accept the IAV Project's political number of 38,000 lbs weight limit for the C-130. Don't believe a 19% reduction. The weight will more likely increase by the time they get that external gun turret and gun to halfway work. And it will still block the view of either the gunner or commander, depending on where they need to look.
Even for the turretless IAV (some new "weapon"!), 1,725 lbs taken out of the GVW is about a 5% reduction. The best we can predict there is that they may be able to keep the weight from increasing too much.
Of course, if you believe the 36,500 lbs upper weight limit, then they need a weight reduction of 39,725 <->36,500, or 3,225 lbs. 3,225 / 39,725 = 8% reduction needed.
But, if you only believe the lower limit of 32,000 lb weight limit for the C-130, then ..Oh, what difference does it make?! The things can't fly by C-130s. We'll find out the hard way like the Canadians are now, that the LAV-III/IAV is an overweight lemon that can't fly by C-130 to places like Afghanistan.
Whatever weights we have can't be trusted anyway: the only thing we can be sure of is that the weight will increase as development proceeds. And we'll be told the opposite.
Each day that this disaster continues, more and more money is poured down the drain.
DOD officials need to get hold of this program before the public's already debased confidence in the gov't is eroded any further. The debased confidence is justified.
* Only if you believe what the Army says. Regardless, the weight will increase.
** This number is also a fable: The "correct" weight limit depends on which MTMC/TEA document you use:
We use 32,000 lbs because that's the number available before the sh__ hit the fan in late January, 2001 and the Army pulled down its C-130 MTMC-TEA transport web pages (you must have a password to view the pages with exact aircraft load limit data); but there is a post-Jan 2001 weight limit of 36,500 lbs in a later document. Even this later document allows ~ 1,500 lbs LESS than the upper limit that the Army is using. Our 32,000 lbs limit is supported by MTMC/TEA documents obtained before the cover-up.
The only Army agency that has even attempted to be truthful with the public is MTMC/TEA, and it got them in trouble with the LAV-III armored car mafia who forced them to password block their web pages.
Nevertheless, the jury-rigged, stripped-down LAV-III takes 4 hours to load in a C-130 even with narrower tires; still an unsafe and too heavy load.
LAV-III quasi-"IAV" fails C-130 loading tests at Selfridge AFB!...Army cover-up underway to prevent Congressionally-mandated physical testing against M113A3s
What do you think the LAV-III will be like with all this IAV weight added to it as its rubber tires are even more heavily loaded and still unprotected? With the same anemic 350 horsepower engine?
March 1, 2002
The Project Manager Brigade Combat Team's (PM BCT) 14.5mm armor risk mitigation plan is paying dividends as new armor coupon testing with a High Density Ceramic design are meeting requirements. Plans are to conduct additional testing in March 2002 to optimize and validate the design, and begin production. This testing is necessary as this armor may add up to 235 pounds to vehicle weight. The PM's mitigation plan to avoid delays in test, fielding, and production is threefold: Production Verification Testing - April 2002 - install previously tested and approved 14.5mm armor panels and surrogate 7.62mm AP armor panels as a temporary measure to meet the minimum ballistic protection of 7.62mm AP and supports safety release testing; Live Fire Testing - May 2002 - install and execute test plans with complete vehicle sets of previous and new 14.5mm armor sets; Fielded vehicles - June 2002 - install previously tested 14.5mm armor and surrogate 7.62mm AP armor. A retrofit plan is being developed by the PM/Joint Venture Office (JVO) team to remove the 7.62mm AP armor and install complete 14.5mm armor sets as soon as possible. Contractual modifications to withhold payment from the contractor for 14.5mm armor delays are underway. Compensation will be based on new production schedule, delivery, and retrofit plans for the complete 14.5mm armor set. Impact to the Army: Initial vehicles will require field retrofit of 14.5mm armor.
COL David Ogg/PM BCT/(810)753-2000 Oggd@tacom.army.mil APPROVED BY: LTG John Caldwell

Defense News
April 1-7, 2002
Pg. 1
U.S. Army: Armored Vehicle Too Vulnerable To Gunfire By Frank Tiboni, Washington
The armor on the U.S. Army's new wheeled armored personnel carrier cannot stop heavy machine gun fire - and the solution threatens to add 235 pounds to the already overweight vehicles.
The Stryker Interim Armored Vehicle (IAV) program, already more than 3,000 pounds over its maximum weight, faces potential program delays if the new armor does not stand up.
A March 1 Army internal document, signed by Col. David Ogg, Stryker IAV program manager in Warren, Mich., and obtained by Defense News, outlines the armor problems and their effect on the program schedule. The document was approved by Lt. Gen. John Caldwell, military deputy to the Army assistant secretary for acquisition, logistics and technology - the service's top military acquisition official.
The Army document also says the service is withholding payment from Stryker manufacturer GM GDLS Defense Group, Sterling Heights, Mich., until the armor problem is solved.
"Contractual modifications to withhold payment from the contractor for 14.5mm armor delays are underway. Compensation will be based on new production schedule, delivery, and retrofit plans for the complete 14.5mm armor set," the document says.
The Stryker IAV's half-inch-thick steel body and add-on armor are supposed to stop 14.5mm and 7.62mm armor-piercing munitions.
Army officials declined to discuss the armor or its limitations. But a retired Army general familiar with armored forces said the problems are obvious.
"The previous skin [armor] is not thick enough to stand up against infantry weapons," he said. The Army document said the service is testing a newer, denser ceramic armor that will be ready by May.
"The Project Manager Brigade Combat Team's 14.5mm risk mitigation plan is paying dividends as new armor coupon testing with a High Density Ceramic design are meeting requirements," according to the document. "Plans are to conduct additional testing in March 2002 to optimize and validate the design, and begin production."
An industry official close to the Stryker IAV program said the improved armor will be made by Bethlehem Lukens Plate, Bethlehem, Pa., and will protect against 14.5mm heavy machine gun ammunition.
The retired Army general said the added weight of the new armor may present just as serious a challenge.
"I don't know how the 'High Density Ceramic' plates will do," he said. "As a wheeled vehicle, there are limits as to how much weight can be added before the vehicle begins to sink in soft ground."
An Army spokesman said the armor problems will not delay plans to equip a combat-ready brigade with the new vehicles by May 2003.
"The armor acquisition program is on track and is being managed to ensure survivability of the vehicle - thus ensuring the best quality protection for our soldiers," Eric Emerton, spokesman for the Army's Brigade Combat Team office, which is managing the Stryker IAV program in Warren, Mich., said March 28.
The Stryker IAV is the key move the Army's transformation to a lighter-weight force, and the centerpiece of Gen. Eric Shinseki's interim brigade combat teams, ordered by Gen. Eric Shinseki, Army chief of staff. These light, rapidly deployable forces are able to deploy within four days anywhere in the world aboard C-130 transport planes.
GM GDLS is developing the Stryker IAVs under a $61.7 million research, development, test and evaluation contract it received in November 2000. GM GDLS is a joint venture of General Motors Defense, London, Ontario, Canada, and General Dynamics Land Systems, Sterling Heights. The Strykers were modeled after the Light Armored Vehicle-3, manufactured by General Motors Defense for the Canadian Army.
Emerton declined further comment on the Army document, which lays out a three-month plan to get the newer, denser ceramic armor on the Stryker IAVs and to not delay the program.
The first batch of 366 Strykers started rolling off the assembly lines the week of March 11. These vehicles will have to be refitted with new armor in the field, the document said.
Strykers Already Overweight
The Stryker's heavier new armor pushes the vehicle's weight even further beyond Army requirements.
Eight of the 10 Stryker configurations weigh more than 38,000 pounds, the Army's top limit, the document says.
The weight limit - the maximum a C-130 airlifter can move - is key to the Army's plans for the vehicle.
The service is feeling "a lot of pressure" to meet the C-130 requirement, Gen. Eric Shinseki, Army chief of staff, said March 1 at the Association of the United States Army's 2002 Winter Symposium in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. The Army's Brigade Combat Team office, its Training and Doctrine Command and Stryker contractor GM GDLS have installed "an aggressive weight management team that, as required, is reviewing and pursuing weight reduction actions," Ogg has said.
"All the vehicles will be able to fly on a C-130" when weight-reduction efforts are completed, Mark Roualet, General Dynamics Land Systems' vice president of wheeled vehicle systems has said.
3. In contrast to the continued lies about the LAV-III, the "vanilla" M113 aluminum alloy armor is much lighter than LAV-III steel and can be thus thicker without weight penalty.
Compared to the LAV-III's measly 14mm thick steel (little more than 0.5 of an inch), the M113A3 has rolled 5083/5086 H32 aluminum armor that varies from 1.5 to 1.75 inches (38.1mm to 44.45mm thick), not to mention spall liners inside the hull. We have not even talked about adding applique' armor to it yet---the applique' armor the M113A3 can carry because its NOT overweight and has extra reserve power WILL stop 14.5mm heavy machine gun bullets, in fact it can be types that defend against 30mm autocannon kinetic energy projectiles as well as RPGs.
So the M113A3 as-is has armor that is 3 times thicker and is thus much stronger and lighter than the LAV-III's thin steel.
We can work with this and get a far greater level of protection against RPGs, 30mm autocannon and ATGMs using M113A3 Gavins! If you want to be in a thin-walled, air-filled rubber-tired LAV-III in a a shooting war, then the fitting nickname for the LAV-III would be the "Custer" as in being surrounded by enemies and annihilated as he was at the battle of Little Big Horn because he refused to use common sense. Custer thought he could ride his way out of any trouble, in the same kind of hubris the rubber-tired fanatics think will save them from "Indians with RPGs and ATGMS".
But here is the key point: the weight/space efficiency of the up-engined M113A3's construction gives it lots of reserve power pushing loads over very low ground pressures (8.63 PSI) such that YOU CAN ATTACH APPLIQUE' ARMOR ONTO IT WITHOUT EITHER MOBILITY OR C-130 TRANSPORTABILITY LOSS (the bolts you see on the outside of M113A3 Gavins).
The level of protection using titanium applique' is RPGs and 30mm autocannon, with Explosive Reactive Armor (ERA)---which the thin-walled LAV-III cannot accept due to the counter-recoil firing stresses---defeats Anti-Tank Guided Missiles (ATGMs). In fact, the applique' armor can be tank main gun protected in key locations:
Notice how the original Army IBCT vehicle specifications were for RPG protection, and current Army officials have conveniently backed away from this requirement publicly because their favored LAV-III deathtraps can't even be made protective against bullets much less RPGs.
The Army's IAV requirements documents states RPGs are a threat; click here:
"14) MAV must provide integral frontal, side and rear protection from 7.62mm AP at (Classified) meters.
(15) MAV must be able to accept scaleable add-on armor (active or passive) capable of defeating 14.5mm AP at (Classified) meters and hand-held HEAT up to and including RPG 7. During the process of protecting the vehicle, the scalable armor must not endanger personnel or equipment in close proximity to the vehicle. Minimum safe zone must be (Classified) meters away from the vehicle. Armor must be capable of mounting by the crew, without special tools, within two hours.
(16) MAV must provide overhead crew protection against 152mm HE airburst at (Classified) meters.
Rationale: Armed with its networked information capability, the IBCT selects when and where to go on the battlefield, providing advanced warning and standoff from the threat. These capabilities provide the protection levels required for each system when the decision is made to engage in the close fight. Because of the proximity of small arms engagements, (Classified) meters is needed for all around small arms protection. RPGs and 14.5mm heavy machine guns are proliferated throughout the world and are expected to be among the "weapons of choice" for opposing forces. In close-in terrain, during the assault, dismounted infantry and situational understanding will provide standoff. The IBCTs scale able protection requirement provides the platforms the ability to support add-on armor packages capable of defeating hand-held weapons and eliminating "cheap kills." Vulnerability to enemy artillery fire has been convincingly demonstrated in simulation-based wargaming. To provide overhead protection during movement and while supporting dismounted assaults, (Classified) meters of overhead standoff is necessary".
Its documented in the book, Warrior: mechanised combat vehicle 1987-1994 by Christopher Foss, Peter Sarson on page 21 that 25-ton class TRACKED Warrior AFVs were fitted with CHOBHAM armor plates---the same armor used in the construction of the M1 Abrams and Challenger heavy tanks. However instead of weighing the entire vehicle down by embedding CHOBHAM into its structure you use it over key areas you need to protect.
Page 22 describes how a Warrior AFV was hit in the CHOBHAM plate by a Challenger 120mm tank round and all that happened was a small dent!
Amazing what you can do with a TRACKED armored vehicle with reserve power and low ground pressure...you can't do this with a rubber-tired armored car like a MW-Lav-3(IAV)!!! (Medium Weight but lightly armored vehicle III being lusted for by the U.S. Army as its "Interim Armored Vehicle"). Topping this off, its metal tracks with rubber pads are impervious to small-arms fire, enable it to go cross-country at will, pivot turn and rumble over obstacles like barricaded cars.
4. Since the C-17 can only fly 2 x LAV-III/IAVs at a time, and can fly 2 x M2/M3 BFVs or 4 x stretched MTVL M58s or 5 x M113A3 Gavins with the latter vehicles fitted with applique' armor rolling combat-ready off the rear ramp, what is the point of wasting BILLIONS on buying LAV-III/IAV armored cars when the U.S. Army already has superior combat vehicles?
National Defense Magazine states:
"The latest briefing from the Army showed only two fully combat-loaded LAVs fitting on a C-17."
I asked a TRANSCOM Army officer; "What is HQDA doing about this?"
He replied:
"I'm not sure, it really ought to be tested combat loaded. Incidentially I hope we learn one of the lessons of Afghanistan, it is much easier (and of course quicker) to move something by C-130 (roughly 457 in inventory) than to have to use a C-17 (50) in inventory."
Let's return to our exchange with the Australian Soldier...

M: "Yes, we have medium-weight M2s and heavy-weight M1s that would be the force vehicles for a 2D (actually "1D") fight up contested MSRs.
But please do not lose the concept of a light tracked AFV that can be FLOWN BY AIRCRAFT into positions completely independant of MSRs, then fights cross-country--the M1 and M2s can't do this; under 17 ton M113A3/M8 AGSs can. This would be your "3D force" that compliments your "2D M1/M2 force".
D: "The ubiquitous M113.
I'm Australian and I saw for myself the M113 being loaded onto a Herc for deployment to East Timor. Your site has listed the numerous comparisons between the M113 and LAV - I found the direct comparisons interesting. Better protection, lower profile, simpler drive train, better x-country mobility, potential to modernise, etc. On the basis of the arguments presented the M113 (a modernised derivative thereof) would be the logical option. It is also the more survivable option. It can be air-dropped fitted with a certain level of applique' armor to increase this".
M: "To defeat a non-linear enemy, you must be able to project forces throughout the depth of the battlefield by MANEUVER not just fire".
D: "Yes, and a modernised derivative of the M113 would seem to be the most effective option; in terms of deployability, mobility, cost, survivability and platform versatility. So why the LAV I ask myself? Perhaps someone is getting kickbacks from the defence contracts it generates, who knows..."
M: "Current ruling U.S. Army generals think firepower to bombard only requires rubber-tired armored cars to occupy. Such a unit based on 19-24 ton LAV-IIIs can neither fly by aircraft (3D) nor maneuver boldly across country (2D) nor punch-through a contested MSR (1D)".
D: "Perhaps people might pay more attention to what it takes to survive in a zone where the opposing force employs guerilla tactics. Chechnya and Somalia are good examples where thin-skinned armored vehicles have failed dismally, especially those running on rubber tires. In the same situation (which becomes increasingly likely over the next few decades) the LAV deathtrap will likely fail also. From my point of view, LAV is best employed in a recon, forward observation role similar to the Russian BRDM-2 - out of the direct line-of-fire. Bring it into a hot zone and it becomes RPG gun-meat. Perhaps paint a big white "UN" sign on half the fleet and assign to peacekeeping duties in the Balkans?? A modernised M113 accomplishes all of the operational goals of the LAV and more. There is a role for the LAV, but the evidence would suggest that it's not in a contested or 'occupied' zone".
A Canadian military expert writes:
"Good to see you are still pushing for a realistic, ready fighting force. I guess the real danger is that the 'leadership' will see the marine deployment and their LAVs and think--'hey, that's the way to go' without:
1. Considering the role of the hundreds of ancient [Northern Alliance] T-55s;
2. Understanding the Afghan conditions--that the Taliban were an amatuer army and there was an indegenious helpful population;
3. Properly considering the conditions under which airpower made a difference--the JDAM is GREAT, but airpower's effectiveness will decline against an enemy that has some air defenses...no loitering B-52s.
4. These DONT apply in Iraq, Iran, Syria, Lybia, and CHINA.
Before Sept 11th, I took my son to a car show north of Toronto and the Canadian Forces were there with a LAV (Coyote) and some LAV like APC. Of course my 3 year old loved climbing around on them. So I started talking to the guys, who seemed nice, and then asked the basic questions:
1. So what if you run up against a T-55? There are 10,000 of them at least spread across the world's shitholes...
2. So what if you turn a corner and they're five guys primed with RPG-7s?
3. How are the Russians finding the LAV-types in Chechnya? Are they impressed?
4. Can you turn on a dime--like on a moutain pass or in a very built up area?
5. Can your 25mm gun kill a T-64? At what range?
6. So if I had, say, 4 x M1A2s, and you had 25 of these things, who'd win?
7. Would LAVs had made the difference in Somalia?
8. Would LAVs have enabled success in Rwanda?
I didn't want to be a total jerk--it wasn't my intent. I simply wanted to get the point across that the LAV has its place; but, that its 'advantage' the guy harped on about evaporates the moment one arrives in theatre. Once the fight is joined, no one gives a shit how you got there. They just care if you can stomach a 30mm round, an RPG, a HEAT, an AT-4/5/6, etc., and a what range you can effectively engage.
Cheers and keep it up!

A DoD insider writes:
"There's a rule of info war that says the hard over guys create more space for the rest of us.
Further, the IAV needs a 500 hp engine to carry the add-on armor and a heavier drive shaft. Since the 350 hp engine on the current LAVs is common with the 350 hp on the Family of Modern Trucks, this means the cost of the 350s for the Trucks will go up as the volume declines. And the 500s for the IAV will cost more than necessary. Since the IAV is underfunded in the FYDP by more than $1 billion, the IAV Army will go on stealing from the real Army.
Army needs the "heavy" stuff to mop up whatever fist fight the IAV's get into. But the real Army is underfunded in the FYDP by $14 billion.
If C-130 can't take off or land at full load on dirt runways, that means the IAV is restricted to paved Air Bases far from the front lines. But since the Army has to winch the IAVs off the C-130 and install the armor, there's no way the IAV could be deployed forward anyway. So that's one of the reasons the U.S. is building a big base in Kyrgystan.
IAV's can be flown in on C-17s [2-at-a-time, no faster than Bradleys] and nobody will know it.
Then trucked or motored to the Afghan AOR, where they will off load outside of town and roll into Kabul with flashbulbs popping.
The immaculate conception.
Since the Army can't slip out of the C-130 (Key Performance Parameter) KPP, they will go on lying about the IAV capabilities and go on spending zillions trying to push 10 lbs of IAV into a 5 lb bag.
And then the real war [MTW] comes.
You know any good a oriental languages?
FCS will probably be using the LAV-3 as a "mother ship" ["LAV-4"] for the [Army Research Laboratory] ARL creepy-peepies because the CSA is spending so much money on the IAV there won't be much left to do a real FCS.
FCS award is set for Spring.
Smart money says it goes to [Lockheed-Martin Team] LMT, where Shinseki's old company commander, Del Shofner, is waiting to give CSA a job in two years while CSA waits for one of the two 77-yr old Democratic Senators from Hawaii to depart this veil of tears.
And so it goes..."

A retired Colonel writes:

"The LAV IBCT is going to be Groupment Mobile Cent writ large, especially when the enemy realizes that if aircraft are killed on the ground, the LAV force has no protection from ambush and can't break out cross-country or through buildings/walls. LAVs might be good in a limited police role along the US-Mexican border to grab illegals, but not where someone has access to RPGs and heavy MGs.
The non-deployability by C-130 means only major airfields will be used, and they will be under interdiction by people with cheap, mobile/portable fire and forget weapons, like 122mm rockets aimed by eyeball and a simple quadrant, with firing data provided by a TI hand-held programmable calculator operated by someone with a cell phone miles away. A timer set to a car battery with the rockets linked in series, aimed for an unloading spot at the airfield, will cost the USAF a big lifter. Once that happens, no more big lifters will venture in, and things will have to come overland, subject to ambush and mines.
The bad guys will be going for 'Vietnam syndrome effects' on a populace that doesn't understand millitary tactics, strategies or realities. The media will be just as uninformed, but will have access to air time and column inches, which will contribute to the ignorance and misinformation. When LAVs are shown burning on a road, and dead soldiers in and around them, any Administration will have a real public relations debacle on thier hands. When you only have one way to move, expect trouble on that route.


LAV-III/IAV "Striker" strikes out

"Stryker" brochure: no mention of vehicle weights or C-130 transportability: Army must be on "Plan B"; LAV-III/IAVs fly by C-17 two-at-a-time--the same number as more-capable, RPG-armor protected Bradleys that can fly in a C-17

In order to "spin" a thin box on wheels with a mere 1/2 inch of metal (M4 Sherman tanks in WWII had 4" of armor and they were flaming coffins) the Army has named the LAV-III/IAV rubber-tired deathtrap the "Stryker" after two junior enlisted Medal Of Honor (MOH) winners with the same last name. If you scroll up on this web page, you'll see the Army's current leaders were going to name the fire support variant the "Striker", but I guess some ambitious "yes-man" (or woman) that thought he/she could be clever realized while reading through lists of Medal Of Honor recipients to find a low-ranking hero to please the masses, that there were two MOH winners with the same last name as the IAV-FSV variant that "the boss" liked so much, except SPELLED DIFFERENTLY. Sort of like the speechwriter who came up with the "Axis of Evil" for President Bush. VOILA! the LAV-III/IAV deathtrap is named so if someone criticizes it, you are attacking the American flag, the dead heroes, their families yadda yadda yadda. Public relations "coup" or disaster? Wait until you hear the rest of the story! Its clearly an obvious attempt to manipulate the rank-and-file Army Soldiers to embrace this flaming coffin by abusing the good memory of two real heroes who deserve a decent vehicle named after them, not something that's going to create more flag-draped coffins. The irony is that one of the Strykers threw himself on a land mine! This is exactly what the wheeled LAV-III/IAV is going to do as its restricted to roads because of its high ground pressure--run over landmines, often! Its also the kind of blind obedience senior generals want by instituting a top-down, digitally equipped armored car; there will be total micro-managment and zero ability for junior leaders to take initiative because they are saddled with a heavy, but thin armored box on flimsy air-filled rubber tires that cannot move or fight.

U.S. Army in armored wheel chairs?

Like senior citizens at a nursing home....clicking on buttons asking for an air strike here or there....unable to do much on their own or move away from the safety of the nursing home (FLOT) and its road net (hallways).....

However, it appears the staffers didn't do enough internet research on the name "Striker"...like their Army generals they work for, they must be completely out-of-touch with popular culture (not to mention physical reality) because they did not realize that "Striker" is also the name of the washed-up airline pilot, "Ted Striker" in the "Airplane!" comedy movies....a man with a "drinking problem" (he splashes his drink over his face and misses his mouth, see photo above) who must try to land the out-of-control airplane...."Striker" is the perfect name for the LAV-III/IAV deathtrap not the two MOH heroes with the last name "Stryker".

--Or maybe naming the LAV-III/IAV the "Stryker" when it can be so easily viewed as the "Striker" since its a comical mis-mash of push-button "Pentagon Wars" bombard & occupy fantasies is the ultimate SABOTAGE by some smart Army Soldiers who want this deathtrap cancelled and our men's lives saved?

One thing is for sure...make certain you always spell it "Striker" when referring to the LAV-III/IAV deathtrap.

It would even be funny except that our men are going to die horribly in it unless we can stop it.


Unless you are a paid hack of the current Army leaders like Dan Goure' of Lexington Institute a civilian with no military qualifications to justify his ignorant and lying statements, the truth about the LAV-III deathtrap has caused a growing number of HEROES to come forward and call a deathtrap a deathtrap and not be bullied by the ruling Army wheeled armored car "mafia".

It looks like more and more people with "stones" to toss into the LAV-III "Glass house" are going on record...

The following is an interesting Letter to the Editor to Defense News from an Army TACOM program manager that refutes Goure's assertions about the LAV and M113. All the more reason that the SecDef should pause to gain more information on the demonstrated performance of the actual LAV-III/IAV before he acts to provide a certification to Congress that cannot be justified -- a fact that the Democrat staffers who wrote the legislation are well aware of.

"People, Reference Daniel Goure article in the INSIDE VIEW, DOUBLE JEOPARDY FOR IAV. I've always respected your paper for not being biased and telling the truth. But this article has bent the truth so bad it is ludicrous. I don't know who this spin doctor is but he is way off base. Everything he says about the M113 VS the LAV III is way off base. That is why there should be a comparison run off in real time between the M113 and the Lav III. Sure there is a place for wheeled vehicles.

In the marine corps!

If everyone knew the real story the Army could save it's self a lot of money. I invite Mr. Goure to face the facts and visit me at TACOM to gather the real facts.

As for DOUBLE JEOPARDY I accept the facts.

The STRYKER, according to Mr. Goure's first paragraph, should be cancelled because it already has a cost creep from 4 billion and change to over 7 billion and change and still growing. So it already exceeds expected costs.

And 8 out of 10 STRYKER variants can't meet the C-130 transportation performance criteria. So print this in your INSIDE VIEW as a counter point to Mr. Goure article. If you dare!!

Jeff Hoezee
PM M113
(586) 574-6437



"Hand salute!"

We salute YOU, Jeff Hoezee!



Click here to start the Chechan ambush of an armored car slides!

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Author: 1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)

Email: itsg@hotmail.com

Home Page: www.combatreform.org

See important links on the impending LAV-III/IAV wheeled armored car disaster:

Make-believe "IAV" LAV-III fails C-130 loading tests at Selfridge AFB, Army begins cover-up

Army studies admit wheeled IBCTs cannot survive in combat

Don Loughlin's "Goodbye Armor!, hello peacekeepers" in Defense Daily News

G2mil.com's "Shinseki's LAV scam"

Fort Knox's Paul Hornack's Wheels vs. Tracks, U.S. Army ARMOR magazine, '98

The perils of peace: LAV-IIIs will not cut it

Wheeled Boo-Boo

Tankless Army?

Tracked M113A3 Gavins already in use by USAEUR as C-130 air-deliverable force

Tracked M113A3s proven in combat---should be IBCT vehicles TODAY not LAV-IIIs

Band-tracks just as easy on roads as rubber tires

Wheels versus Tracks 101: drivetrain comparison

Bill Fisher's Wheel versus Track Question

C-17s can only transport 2 x LAV-III/IAVs at a time: same number of more capable M2/M3s!

MTMC-TEA Report on C-130 Transportability: LAV-IIIs are a NO-GO

LAV-III/ICV versus the mighty M113A3 Gavin data sheet

Official IBCT Tables of Organization and Equipment

Only tracked vehicles can rumble over barricaded cars and obstacles in urban combat! Tracks are more combat capability pound-for-pound than heavier, fragile rubber-tired armored cars! Here is a car crushed by a tracked M113 Gavin at a U.S. show and in combat in Panama in 1989...LAV-type rubber-tired armored cars cannot even drive over much less crush cars!

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