Road bound, RPG too large for even recon with SUV tires, why do we want this?50% of an Armored/Mechanized infantry Division is M113A3, and is ALREADY 'MEDIUM', why not finish the job and make them 100% M113A3 Gavins?
Months ago at AUSA, Gen Shinseki with Secretary of the Army Caldera by his side said the Army will be an all-wheeled vehicle force by 2010. We will become in essence a BRDM armored car motorized Army. Or was it just a signal that the days of the 70-ton "land dinosaur" are over? Analyze the Shinseki/Caldera Press Conference below.....

The 90% support vehicle Air Lift "footprint" Gen Shinseki refers to are the trailers and trucks needed to MOVE and REPAIR and FUEL the HEAVY tracked vehicle force!!!! It is not needed for LIGHT tracks!!!! Don't throw out Light tracks with the Heavy Tracked vehicle bathwater! Are they aware the M113A3 Gavin has all the attributes they lust for in a LAV????? M113A3s don't guzzle fuel, break down constantly or need transporter trailers/trucks. And they are not road-bound RPG-kill like wheeled armored cars!!!

Reading his comments you get the feeling if wheels don't work out we fall back to the screwed up HEAVY TRACKED status quo...Wheels or nothing?????


For God's sake, M113A3!!!!!

Official U.S. Army vision web site

More compact M113A4 tracked vehicle by humongous LAV-III wheeled death trap
U.S. Army graphic showing superiority of tracks to wheels
Armored cars, tires flat and burning from combat in Grenada against U.S. forces

Today we have the disaster of rubber tires shredding on take-off and causing an engine fire causing a Concorde airliner to crash and burn, killing over 118 people...SUV trucks with Firestone tires delaminating and falling apart causing hundreds of traffic deaths...AND THE ARMY WANTS TO PUT ITSELF ON SUV WHEELS??????? What are Army leaders thinking when they see the daily carnage on the local news? Or are they living in an ivory tower out of touch with the real world? SUVs have "run flat" tires...and this doesn't stop accidents and deaths in PEACETIME--what makes us think they will survive on armored cars in COMBAT against bullets, shrapnel, explosions, molotov cocktails, broken glass, rubble, wire???? What happened to the many enemy armored cars we toasted/roasted in Grenada, Panama and Desert Storm? (See photo above). Do we need a sign from God Almighty here? Haven't we already gotten it?

When Malaysian armored cars were used in Somalia (JFQ, Letters to Editor the Defense Attache from Malaysia reports that 2 wheeled APCs destroyed and 6 of his men were wounded in action (WIA) and 1 killed in action (KIA) from the rescue of TF Ranger...why do we want to employ such thinly armored cars in a combat role?

Consider combat experiences in Korea:

"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.5 ACPs and the two Soldiers in the back had M-14s.

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

Tracked vehicles are 28% more space and weight efficient than wheeled armored cars and with a lower ground pressure and more power available can receive applique armor without loss of mobility--resulting in a far greater protected vehicle. Take a look! Both carry the same number of men! Which vehicle would YOU want to be in going into COMBAT? The large as a barn wheeled death trap or the compact, heavily armored and TRACKED vehicle that can go anywhere? The key indicator of off-road mobility is ground pressure. The 11-ton tracked M113A3 has a ground pressure of 8.63 PSI. Yet the so-called "easier on roads" LAV-III 16.3 ton armored car has 5 times the ground pressure. Does anyone do their homework at HQDA?

Assuming the following tire sizes, tire pressures, and GVW of 16.3 tons, here are the associated ground pressures (approximate):

Tire Size Tire Pressure/Ground Pressure

Michelin 11.00Rx16 42 psi to 45.2
Michelin 11.00Rx16 24 psi to 37.4
Michelin 12.50Rx20 30 psi to 26.3
Michelin 12.50Rx20 15 psi to 19.0

Lower tire pressures are for off road conditions to provide better traction. High tire pressures are for on road use at higher speeds.


In fact, the wheeled armored cars the Army is "borrowing" at Fort Lewis, Washington are already getting stuck trying to be driven off-road. The reality does not match the hype. A 1st tSG (A) member writes in:

Recap of what Emery said:

"We will be limited by wheels. I talked to a marine who was a driver on an LAV and it was clear to me that he "loved" the vehicle, but had never taken it over serious terrain that someone else hadn't pioneered first. It's just not allowed for environmental and safety reasons and interestingly enough the Germans have the same standard courses that they use to train drivers on. It's pretty easy to stay out of trouble that way and give your drivers a false sense of security. I've never been real hot on tests conducted at Knox for this same reason. It's all known by the Track commander if not the Driver.

I've been saying for a long time that this is all a smoke screen for peace-keeping forces. Wheels will lose any serious competition to the 113 and I can't help but think that Army and its peace-keeping posse know it.

Ask them how an LAV, Fuchs or Pandur wheeled armored car would perform in Vietnam? Now that would be a test. We know how the tracked 113 performs and by the way so does the Army. This whole thing could have been penned by Shakespeare as a farce.

NATO Mobility study proves wheeled armored cars inferior to TRACKED AFVs in cross-country mobility

The problem with Soldiers is they have a high turnover rate so we repeat the same mistakes over and over. When a young Soldier tells me he thinks something is great, I always ask in comparison to what? This usually gets me a blank look. We're in deep trouble!"

In fact, here is an anecdote from a VIETNAM COMBAT veteran:

"Thanks for calling my attention to the article on the destruction of the French GM 100 in the Jan-Feb 2001 issue of Armor magazine. This is exactly the isue I was talking about. The ambushes I have experienced were much smaller but the results were the same. The cross-country mobility of the M3 half tracks used by the French is at least as good as that of the LAV, but they didn't dare get off the roads. The convoy speed was reduced to that of the walking Soldier. If GM 100 had been equipped with the LAV instead of the vehicles that they had, the outcome would not have changed at all.

In 1966 and 1967, I have had very good success using the M113 in elephant grass and light jungle, but not the V100 or M8 armored cars or even the M3 half-tracks. If we had been the lead unit of GM 100 and had M113's, we would not have been on the road. We would have stayed mounted and driven through the elephant grass in a line formation. If we uncovered an ambush, we would immediately assault the enemy, using our mortars, artillery, and /or air to seal the battlefield and block escape routes. At close range, we found that our tracks were as effective, and more feared than our machine guns. Any enemy that we wern't able to "put under the tracks" would be taken care of by the following reserve platoon. I suspect that the outcome of the battle would have much different if the French had this capability.

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.

In discussing your book the reviewer seems to have the misconception that all vehicles claiming 7.62mm protection are equal. The lower portion of the LAV provides protection against the 7.62mm short of the AK-47. Both the U.S. and the Soviet 5.56mm cartridges will go right through it as will the increasingly lethal 7.62mm NATO ball ammunition, the 7.62mm NATO Armor Piercing (AP), and the Soviet 7.62mm AP machine gun ammunition. The M113 has much greater protection, but I am not able to say what it is in a unclassified message. There is a similar difference in the 14.5mm protection because the LAV protection is at a greater range.

With regard to land mines, a anti-tank mine will likely disable both a LAV and a M113. In fact we found that it usually disabled a M48 series tank and would probably disable the current M1A2 tank. A small anti -personnel mine will blow out the tire of a LAV. In contrast, we used M113's to clear anti-personnel mines by deliberately driving over them. Their detonation would occasionally break the oil sight glass in one of the road wheels or damage the rubber track shroud. I am glad to report that both the sight glass and the rubber track shroud have been deleted from the current M113A3 vehicles."

A lot of the current leadership misjudging the desirability of wheeled armored cars comes from the make-believe of the National Training Center (NTC) at Fort Irwin, California firm-soil desert. NTC doesn't simulate artillery, bullets debris shredding your tires, so wheels look good, too.

Many have mistaken the Russians rolling into Pristina, Kosovo unopposed by their allies the Serbs as "proof-positive" that wheeled armored cars are a good thing to have:

Russian marines apply lessons of Chechnya to combat training', Krasnaya Zvezda', 25 Nov 00 BBC Monitoring Service - United Kingdom; Nov 30, 2000

Head of the Russian navy's Coastal Troops Lt-Gen Pavel Shilov has outlined the Russian marines' experience in Chechnya and the lessons they have learnt from the campaign. Shilov told the 'Krasnaya Zvezda' newspaper that the experience of fighting in Chechnya had emphasized the importance of training, as well as the need for specialist equipment and new combat tactics.

"We ran into the fact that it does not hold up to such conditions. Particularly the wheels of the armoured transporters. For example, the [armoured personnel carrier] BTR-70 will not run in the mountains, and we are undertaking measures to re-equip the brigades with MT-LB's [multipurpose tracked vehicles]. It would be good to get [infantry fighting vehicles] BMP-3's, but we should not count on this."

Going to wheels is another step towards a lazy Army/mc that doesn't want to fight (posturing), which requires cross-country travel, but wants to stay comfortable on roads and only occasionally get off the vehicle and walk to do peacekeeping by seperating the combatants. By staying on roads we surrender to the pressures of the "enviro-weenies" and further emasculate ourselves to the on-going societal pressures not to train and warfight. Wheels versus Tracks the study that General Shinseki refers to in his press conference

Read this and weep.


The SSI "Aeromotorization" report in HTML web-page format

The Army will listen to Rand civilian think-tankers who FAILED TO DO THEIR HOMEWORK AND OVERLOOKED LIGHT TRACKED AFVS (HELLO 11-ton M113A3, anyone?) and pay no attention to her own Soldiers who have real world practical knowledge and publish BETTER ideas in her service journals! The heavy hand of RAND, a creation of the Air Force to justify stand-off strategic bombing can be seen behind the Aeromotorization non-sense---they see war as high explosives landing on the enemy--One of the author's was a Field artllery type who was involved in the Army's airstrike mentality without airplanes, neither understand ground maneuver or controlling presence on the ground. Wheeled armored cars are to them just means to digitally pass on information for their artillery means to strike at the enemy and win battles just by firepower? All a form of POSTURING not real warfighting. They have offered a vision of disaster for America's Army which since then has been amended, but many leaders still want vulnerable, immobile armored cars.

Read this and cheer! Heroes do live among us. Read former Armor officer and defense engineer Don Loughlin's brilliant expose of the armored car lie:

Tracks better for Army BCTs than wheeled armored cars despite what flawed "SSI Aeromotorization" report says

The SSI report is seriously flawed, and its high time the Army stop gushing over civilians assuming their thinking is "that great" and start empowering and listening to her own Soldiers who KNOW BETTER. What has the Army done to encourage "out-of-the-box" thinking in her own Soldiers? Are not the newly published "Army values" a push for honorless conformity to corruption?

Consider the recent ABC-TV news report from the Fort Knox demonstrations of off the shelf AFV systems:

"Pondering a lighter Army" news clip from ABC-TV



All three networks were there Thurs / Fri: David Martin (CBS), Jack McWethy (ABC), and Jim Micklaziewski. All planned major stories on Saturday. We've never seen an Army PAO apparatus so pumped up. MG Dubik couldn't get enough camera time.

No helos except to ferry out Generals and Congressmen for their 15 minutes of observation before leaving as wise and educated men. Anyone think of using Army helicopters to transport AFVs???

Some parts of the Fort Knox PPD are very good / Other parts are sad. Examples:

1. Out of 35 vehicles, less than a dozen (Army refuses to divulge exactly or to identify which ones) attempted C-130 load-up.

LAV made it in basic APC config but the folks at GDLS say they had to equip it with the tiniest little tires to do it (visualize your car running on four temporary spares).

2. Only 4 vehicles will swim this week. Off-road course was changed to eliminate swamp (wheeled armored car cheating; ehhh "safety").

3. 50 % slope was cancelled after one of the wheeled AFVs flipped ("safety" or was it to prevent embarassment?).

4. In urban combat, the two car obstacle was eliminated (LAV cheating, ehhh "safety" that's right) so that they didn't have to climb it OR push it aside. They were told to drive around it.

5. Manufacturers were given the option of crossing either 15 inch or 24 inch walls...(Let me see, which one is going to be easier for my armored car?)


1. A Pandur 6-wheeled APC getting stuck climbing an embankment

2. An M8 Ridgway Armored Gun System looking pretty good hitting a target with its 105mm gun

3. Terrain however flat and open which will artificially make wheeled armored cars look good

4. No helicopter involvement whatsoever

In the Jan-Feb 1995 cover issue of Armor magazine I went into great detail how M113A3 Gavins LIGHT TRACKED AFVS could and should be our rapid deployment contingency force! And they are Army CH-47D/F helicopter transportable! I guess they don't read things like this at Courtney Massengale land.

Shame on these Aerowheel weenies! One had even served in the 82d Airborne!, his "Light-itis" bias and inexperience with TRACKED vehicles showing through: "Death from a truck"?? The latest word is the Army Transformation folks after the candidate vehicles were tested at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland is that "wheels and Tracks are equal". More lies. See Army Times story at the bottom of this web page!

We have to fight this wheeled stupidity with all our might or else we are headed for road-bound, road-kill disaster in the next war. We have to attack this study. We need AIRMECH, not aero-motor or more accurately described: "aerowheels".

Here is the problem...

Logic leading to "cookie cutter" wheeled armored car panacea lust

If Gen Shinseki wants a cookie-cutter "panacea" (solution to everything), removing his caveat "if the technology is there" and words about how the Medium Brigades will be "hybrid" composed of several vehicle types, and running with wheels all the way, this is what you get:

1. Some WARFIGHTING and peacekeeping improvements (USAF transportability, C4 ISR called-in firepower etc.) However, this could be applied to ANY vehicle.
2. Heavy units to become Medium
3. Light units to become Medium
4. Medium units will have a FAMILY of wheeled armored cars to allegedly solve every problem

In WARFIGHTING, wheeled armored cars are road bound except in firm soil arid areas, vulnerable to enemy fire and the dirty battlefield. 14-20 ton armored cars cannot fly by Army helicopters. An all-wheeled Army BDE would be a road bound, 2 dimensional force at best. In closed terrain a 1 and a half dimensional force stuck to roads. The U.S. Army has EXTENSIVE Mechanized cavalry experience with wheeled armored cars in WWII, and the inevitable truth is wheeled armored cars suck. especially when they do not have 2 driver, 2-directional capabilities.

Read this and get educated!


Those that decive themselves that a "C4 ISR security blanket" is going to make up for a loss of 50 tons of armor or better yet light tracked x-country mobility which is ignorance of PHYSICAL MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE are smoking the crack(pot) pipe of the Tofflers. They seem to think C4 ISR is going to solve 90% of your problems and you can get buy with 10% mechanical advantage which is ridiculous, dangerous and must be stopped. We need the BEST MECHANICAL ADVANTAGE (mobility/firepower) POSSIBLE the Tofflers be damned if they denigrate it to "2d Wave", "Industrial age" technology AND the BEST C4 ISR possible. A 70% mechanical advantage (physical mobility, firepower, protection) and 30% C4 ISR (mental) means. Newer isn't better if its arrogant Tofflerian-biased-towards-computers avante gardism that ignores the PHYSICAL WORLD we still live in. And that world is getting closed in with its urbanized terrain and the rougher the terrain the more you need TRACKS not soft rubber, vulnerable WHEELS.

We combine-arms in war to account for strengths/weaknesses to come up with a stronger whole, why not vehicle types? The current Medium wheeled cookie-cutter mindset can't see this. It wants the 14-20 ton wheeled armored car (LAV-III) as the panacea to everything, and it can't fit the bill. You could say, "it'll be OK for peacekeeping." But look at the assumptions above!! We are not planning on using wheeled armored car Medium Brigades just for peacekeeping!

In contrast, the TRACKED M113A4 (MTVL), solution can get 4 vehicles in a C-17 (5 x M113A3s) vice just 2 LAV-IIIs or for any wheeled 9-man squad carrying variant. The MTVL can carry more than 9 men in the back, no need to remove canteens just to fit. When you can only put 8 or 9 Soldiers in a LAV-III what does that do with your load plan? What happens when you need to carry a medic or an FO? Now instead of 4 vehicles for your platoon, you need five and you need to wait for the second C-17 to land to have your whole team together. For the tactical deployment in C-130, we think it probable that the LAV-III must squat or remove external armament and sights to get on the aircraft. There is a delay to reconfigure for combat upon arrival in AOR.

We know that the LAV III with 14.5mm ceramic and the RPG armor solution bringing the vehicle to nearly 43,000 lbs, significantly exceeds the vehicle's design weight including the design weight of the tires. This exceeds the C-130's absolute weight limit of 42,000 pounds, exceeds the C-130 STOL rough field limit of 32,000 pounds and leaves no payload for the men! In fact, the LAV-III at 37, 618 pounds without applique armor is still too heavy for C-130s to land them at forward landing strips! The Army's official Transport Engineering office is saying this! The Army blew it on the IAV decision.

Bottom line: cancel LAV-III purchase, use upgraded lighter, smaller tracked M113A3/4s infantry carriers and M8 AGS light tanks that CAN fly by C-130s to base IBCTs on.

Its good to see someone with some INTEGRITY and moral courage to tell the truth even if it flies in the face of superior ranking officer wishful thinking. Now if it can translate into meaningful actions (the LAV-III cancelled) then the TEA folks will have my vote as America's heroes.

Read the MTMC TEA Study that proves LAV-IIIs are NOT C-130 transportable

No. 053-2001 April 27, 2001


Army transformation: Military Traffic Management Command (MTMC) TEA study rethinks C-130 cargo hauling ability

Phone calls and e-mail are flowing into Joe Cassidy's desk these days. Cassidy has already participated in four separate Pentagon briefings - three with three-star generals!

Cassidy's new prominence is a result of his work reviewing the capability of one of the U.S. Air Force's most venerable airplanes - the C-130 Hercules.

In a just completed study, Cassidy says the C-130 aircraft can carry less cargo and can fly shorter distances than many Army planners previously assumed.

"A lot of people think you can land on a dirt road in Kosovo," said Cassidy. "You can't."

In fact, he said, such a landing would require a rudimentary airstrip six-tenths of a mile long and five interstate highway lanes wide. Cassidy serves as Transportability Team Leader, in the agency's Deployability Engineering Branch.

In an era of transformation, with Gen. Eric K. Shinseki, Army Chief of Staff, seeking to move a lighter Army force quicker - the study is forcing some rethinking.

With almost 500 aircraft, the C-130 has been the Air Force's primary tactical cargo aircraft since 1956. Many Army planners and developers do not realize some of the aircraft's limitations.

These characteristics, well known to the Air Force, include:

* No air-refueling capability.
* A minimum of 3,000 feet of landing space required for assault landings.
* Reduced cargo capacity during assault landings.
* Safety aisles in cargo loads which reduce total capacity.

The briefing to Army leaders began in February.

"I was impressed by the attention senior Army leaders provided to our briefing," said Cassidy. "In each briefing, we would be told to pass the briefing on to others."

The additional briefings stimulated even more phone calls and e-mails to Cassidy.

"The computer is going crazy," said Cassidy. "The only ones not surprised are the Airborne community - they work with the C-130s all the time."

What is next for Cassidy?

"We're doing a follow-up study on the Air Force's strategic airlift plane - the C-17 Globemaster III."

The C-130 report is available on the agency Web at


look under "What's New."

Lt. Col. Tom Harvey, Chief, MTMC Headquarters Command Operating Center,praised the report.

"I think there is a real good understanding of the C-130 in the Airborne community," said Harvey. "They use the aircraft all the time.

"In the rest of the Army, we do not consider the tactical loads of the aircraft, unless it involves a move or our particular unit." Cassidy agrees with that assessment.

"The only ones not surprised are the Airborne community."

11 May 2001
Airlift of army vehicle queried
SCOTT GOURLEY Jane's Defense Weekly Correspondent, California

A recently-released study outlining the lift capabilities of the Lockheed Martin C-130 transport aircraft has raised questions about the U.S. Army's ability to deploy by air its Interim Armored Vehicles (IAVs) as easily as claimed.

The report, by Military Traffic Management Command Transportation Engineering Agency (MTMC-TEA), raises possible unforeseen problems of the service's ability to reach its goal of transporting a brigades worth of IAVs anywhere in the world within 96 hours by air. Acknowledging the report as "a surprise to some", MTMCTEA officials said the findings were briefed to the Army leadership in February. "It's our experience that there have been some folks that, for lack of a better term, kind of had 'blinders' on," explained John Newman, an MTMCTEA mobility engineer.

Emphasising that "paramount in the requirements for both the IAV and the Future Combat System (FCS) is the requirement for C-130 transport," the paper lays out C-130E/H characteristics that should be considered by future army vehicle designers. For example, the report states that the C-130E/H can fly a 38,000 lb (17 tonnes) payload 1,000nm (the IAV requirement) before requiring a 1,500m long x 24m wide "improved" landing airfield. The C-130 would then require refuelling at that field before takeoff. The study did not analyse the enhanced-lift capabilities of the C-130J-130 variant because the aircraft is only expected to comprise a small portion of the fleet. Representatives from the Army's Brigade Combat Team Project Manager's Office (BCT PMO) said, "the C-130 limitations were on the table and were part of the best value determination made by the Army's source selection evaluation board". As an example, they identify "fly-away weights" for the IAV Infantry Carrier Vehicle (ICV), Mortar Vehicle and Mobile Gun System (MGS) as 37,618 lb, 37,984 lb and 38,000 lb, respectively. The fly-away weight packages are based on reducing fuel, ammunition, a small number of selected armour panels and other air-load mission planning requirements for mortar and MGS variants that have curb weights estimated at 39,129 lb and 41,300 lb respectively. The MTMCTEA study, however, warns Army planners against this process, stating that "the additional C-130s required [by partial disassembly of vehicles] may stress the Defense Transportation System (DTS) beyond its capabilities." Moreover, although the fly-away weights bring the IAV variants within the maximum cargo envelopes, the C-130 study cautions that "designing equipment to the maximum range-payload capability of the aircraft will increase the risk that the equipment won't be capable of transport for the required distance some percentage of the time." Newman also said that the study clarifies the C-130E/Fs lack of air-refuelling capabilities.

Referring to the eight-wheeled IAV, Newman said further problems could be caused by the "cresting angle" while loading a C-130 where one vehicle axle temporarily lifts, causing the remaining axle loads to exceed air force maximum treadway limits. He said that solutions could include additional shoring or changing the angle of the ramp.

A PMO spokesman denied that any IAV loading problems exist, pointing to the vehicle's height management system and stating, "The PM office is confident that we meet the axle load limits/restrictions for the IAV to successfully load on a C-130 without modifications to the C-130 ramping."

The new C-130 study also raises issues for the Army's FCS design process. Acknowledging that FCS requirements allow notional systems to weigh up to 40,000 lb, the study urges that the vehicle design be based on aircraft operational limitations rather than maximum capabilities.

(Source: General Motors Defense/General Dynamics Land Systems)

Clearly, the Army IBCT IAV planners blew it by trying to reverse-engineer the wheeled LAV-III that senior Army officials have always wanted using the maximum and not realistic operational C-130 payload capability. Maybe some time in the future a C-130 transportable wheeled vehicle sized to carry a 9-man infantry squad can be developed to carry this HMG/RPG protective weight but it is certainly not the LAV-III that is at Ft. Lewis today. Considering that the vehicles at Ft. Lewis do not have ANY add-on armor installed and they are getting stuck in the gravel, an additional 6,000+ pounds of add-on armor is going to make it even worse. That Army FCS planners are making a 20 ton vehicle 4 tons too heavy for c-130s is yet another absurdity. This is yet another example of the top-down, blind-obedience U.S. military culture that does NOT THINK and value Soldier input to create smart leaders who know the technotactical details of their profession BEYOND their narrow branch parochialisms, reaching decision-making positions and have a built-in safeguard against follies like the LAV-III by a robust self-correction capability.

In stark contrast, the more space/weight efficient TRACKED M113A3 in use by the IRF in USAEUR or the M113A4 MTVL can be given HMG/RPG resistant applique armor that is already Army-type classified. One type already available is called a P900 armor kit# 57K0467 to protect our Soldiers on point for America without affecting Air-Mech 3-D transportability nor 2-D mobility on the ground. And the M113 can fly by Army CH-47D/F helicopters for TACTICAL mobility over mines, ambushes, obstacles, unexploded ordnance like the RAF Chinooks did when they flew British Army Scimitar 8-ton tracked AFVs to be the first NATO troopsd in Kosovo in 1999!

PROOF THAT M113s can fly by U.S. Army CH-47D/Fs

The following are the published weights of a M113A3:

Air Drop weight (partial fuel, no crew) 22, 128 lbs
Net Weight (full fuel (95 g), BII, ammo, no crew) 23, 880 lbs
Combat weight (net wt +13 troops w/e) 27, 180 lbs
Max weight (for reliability testing) 32, 000 lbs
T130 metal/rubber track used in above weights(both sides) 2, 908 lbs
Band-track (both sides) 1, 186 lbs

Weight savings -1 722 lbs

Other possible weight reductions:

Internal fuel cell instead of external -1, 000 lbs
eliminate trim vane - 164 lbs
eliminate track skirts - 84 lbs
eliminate bilge pumps - 31 lbs
eliminate cmdr's seat and platform - 224 lbs
eliminate cal M2 .50 ground mount - 50 lbs
eliminate cal M2 .50 spare barrel - 27 lbs
eliminate spare bolt for M2 cal .50 -6 lbs
reduce cal .50 ammo from 19 100rd boxes@36 to 10 boxes- 324 lb

Total of listed weight savings -3,632 lb *

* Some listed items can be eliminated for air transport only, and brought along

Note: Current band track requires different sprockets and different idler wheels. These components were not included in above listing because their weights are comparable.

I don't want to put fuel inside the vehicle nor give up the .50 cal ammo. Removing them from the "diet" list....

We still shave 2,308 pounds from the M113A3...remove that from its 22,128 airdrop weight (half fuel, .50 cal ammo/M2 HMG) and you get 19, 820 pounds or 10 tons. .50 call ammo/HMG is in the airdrop rigging specifications for the M113 go check the TM if you doubt this.


You carry LW M113A3s by the CH-47D/F.

The Troops with rucksacks/weapons arrive by another Chinook or Blackhawk, throw their rucks inside, open top troop hatch, face weapons outboard and drive-off. TC stand can be quickly installed or he can stand on something else (like ammo crates).

Point is that the RAF CH-47s fly 8-ton Scimitars, certainly the U.S. Army Aviators can fly 10-ton LW M113A3 Gavins by CH-47D/Fs if they are not closed-minded against it (that might be THE problem: some aviators want to stay in "ash/trash" mission "comfort zone" so they can continue to be marginalized by the rest of the Army until Army Aviation is just a behind-the-FLOT support service until completely disbanded so we can be a 2D Army once again).


That all-wheeled BDE in WARFIGHTING is going to be severely handicapped and no amount of C4 ISR wizardry and cries for help; CAS, supporting arms, PGM are going to save it if it it rumbles down the road into a close-range massed RPG ambush and/or enemy tanks in a meeting engagements. How will its wheels hold up with bursting artillery landing all around it? LAV-infantry carriers, killed. LAV-AT, killed. LAV-AG, killed. LAV-RSTA, killed. All versions from the same "cookie cutter" easily killed because they have mobility equal or inferior to what the enemy has.

If the LAV wheeled armored car is so great, why DOES THE Mc Advanced Amphibious Assault Vehicle (AAAV) have TRACKS?

An all LAV wheeled force will become burned out wrecks littering the roads like we had in the Battle of the Bulge in WWII with our trucks/jeeps. For example:


"General Rose directed operations from a jeep (or known in WWII as a "peep"), at the cutting edge of the Spearhead. He travelled with the forward elements of his command, up with the tankers and the blitz doughs.

...General Rose went up front and that's where he was on the dark evening of 30 March 1945 when he and two others rounded a bend in the road and ran into a German tank. The young German tank commander (excited), ordered the 3 men to surrender. Looking at General Rose's pistol, he excitedly began to bark out orders and pointing to the General's weapon. General Rose moved his right hand so that he could drop his weapon to the earth but then the German tank commander shot him in the head. The others escaped unharmed and told the story of General Rose's murder."

Did we see the materials and money strapped Germans in WWII go to Army-wide all wheeled armored car forces? They had some of the finest 8x8 armored cars of all time, the Panzerspahwagan Sd Kfz 231 and 234/2 Puma yet they restricted them specialized units to do road recon in Europe and general recon in the desert.


The German Army in WWII fielded the fabulous Panzerspahwagan Sd Kfz 231 and 234/2 8x8 armored cars. However, if these were not primarily road bound except in the desert, then why did they have 2 Drivers and were able to run in either direction in an instant?

The point is that an armored car has to move forward to TURN, a tracked AFV can pivot steer/turn in place. Since a wheeled armored car is road boad in closed terrain, it would make sense than to instead of trying to Y turn (turn and back up, turn and back up, turn and back up) like Austin Powers in the middle of a firefight, to make it be ambidextrous so to speak and go either direction with 2 drivers. If this wasn't true, then why did the Germans go to the time/expense of 6 forward and 6 reverse gears in the middle of a shooting war to have this arrangement?

If it were not true, then why did the post-war German Recon vehicle, the..

Spahpanzer LUCHS


...still employ the 2 driver, 2 direction capability?

Don't you think after 6 years of total war they knew something of what they were doing?


If wheeled armored cars were so great, why didn't the Germans go "all wheeled" in the 1960s when they clearly had/have the world's best armored cars? Instead they fielded the superb Marder tracked IFV.

When they were upgrading their Airborne, they could have saved weight/size and gone to wheels, but didn't. Or could they? Maybe you don't save weight/size when you ARMOR A WHEELED VEHICLE compared to a tracked one. Look at the wheels versus tracks U.S. Army study above.

Again, they fielded the "Mini-M113" like Wiesel tracked AFV that fits inside CH-53G helicopters and is easily airdropped from fixed wing C-160 type aircraft...

Did anyone bother to ask the GERMANS about wheeled armored cars?

But, no! We are Americans!

Does the McLAV have 2 drivers and instant change of direction capability?


That's right! A conventional armored car like the McLAV, LAV-III, Pandur if it gets ambushed with no-go terrain on the left and right shoulder of the road would have to slow Y turn or back up in slow reverse to drive out of the ambush, or simply stay in place and get toasted by RPGs. It would be trapped. Just like BTRs have been for decades!

Will Central Tire Inflation Systems (CTIS) and "run flats" make wheeled armored cars go x-country to such a degree that they are all terrain capable to get out of this ambush situation? Will this make them impervious to enemy fire?


Look what happened to run flats in Somalia. They didn't run at all after their rubber wheels were burned off to their rims. How many burned out Russian BTRs must we see in Grozny?

Has the Mc LAV been in and survived extensive combat?


Borrowed LAV-25 in 82d Airborne service in Iraq: got stuck often. Along MSR Virginia near Objective White, 1 March '91.

The LAVs hit in the Gulf war were literally vaporized along with 11 men. Don't hear much about that these days. We were told to get every ounce of pyro and ammo out of the LAV body (huge fuel tank, there) and strap it to the outside rear, leaving only ready 25mm ammo in the turret. What does that tell you about that vehicle's survivability? Fortunately the Mc only does low-risk max PR missions these days.

Has the Mc LAVs received applique armor?


It would kill what little mobility the armored car has.

Has the so-called biggest supporter of wheeled armored cars in the U.S., the Mc gone or even wants to go "all wheels"?


Where are the wheels on the new AAAV?

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."

Are we going to have the entire U.S. Army only able to peacekeep and warfight in the open, firm soil arid desert areas? When a closed terrain fight comes up, what are we going to do, say "We can't do this"???? Sounds like a built-in excuse to do nothing ala the Mc. All talk, no action.

OPTION 1: Only workable Panacea: Light tracked AFVs

If you want a Medium vehicle "panacea", only light tracks fits the bill of working in ALL TERRAINS, in ALL SITUATIONS. This is why the M113 Gavin is the greatest selling AFV of all time, bar none. You want one vehicle to do it all, the M113A3/4 is capable of fulfilling ALL Medium BDE missions;

*Infantry carrier
*Assault Gun
*Recon Surveillance Target Acquisition (RSTA)

To make the RSTA fly by Army helicopters you go with a "Mini-M113" which frankly is what the German Wiesel 1/2 is. Even a UH-60L Blackhawk can carry the 3 ton Wiesel.

Only the M113A3/4 family is of zero/low cost such that Army money can be spent on SPECIALIZED MISSION VEHICLES FOR MOUT, without whom we will not be able to prevail without heavy casualties:

*Battering ram
*Boom ladder/assault capsule
*High-angle fire assault demolition gun
*fire fighting pumper

If on the other hand you have made "a deal with the devil" and promised the Canadians, Mc Commandant various things to get wheeled armored cars on loan (54 from Canadian Army) you have to limit the roles of wheeled armored cars and MIX tracked and wheeled AFVs or else you court disaster...and you waste precious Army funds on "reinventing the wheel", literally and gaining no capabilities we don't have already with existing tracked and wheeled armored cars!

OPTION 2: Limit wheeled armored cars within the Medium BDE: wheeled/tracked synergism

The support wheeled trucks (HMMWVS, FMTVs) of the BDE are going to need a Main Supply Route (MSR) to travel along. They are unfortunately road bound in closed terrains. These convoys need protection, wheeled armored cars can do this. Ahead of these wheeled convoys, wheeled armored cars can recon ahead and report back if there is trouble ahead, running away to survive. We did this in Vietnam. (I know we aren't supposed to talk about Vietnam, anymore)

So far, so good.

The tracked AFVs upon hearing the trouble can then go OFF ROAD and hit the enemy ambush in the flanks/rear or even be heli-lifted into a strike position. Did this in Vietnam, except the AirMECH! capability would be new.

If the medium BDE slams into enemy armor it needs Assault gun versions with a tank killing gun, a 90mm-105mm gun that the wheeled armored car has a real hard time carrying even if it can. The Assault Gun has to fire support in MOUT and the close fight. This gun has to be on a light tracked AFV.

But the main fighting force itself is LIGHT TRACKED and capable of full 2-D x-country movement, and at least the RSTA parts 3-D by flying over any obstacles/enemies by Army helicopters.

At least the 101st Air Assault Division should be entirely equipped with the Wiesel 2 family of light tracked AFVs to do 3-D AirMECHSTRIKE! maneuver using its helicopter fleet.


So if you MUST HAVE wheeled armored cars, they must be in a force that is primarily composed of light tracked AFVs to carry the infantry, the assault gun and the RSTA.

A M113A3/4 for infantry, M8 Ridgway Assault Gun, LAV for road work and Wiesel 1/2 RSTA force for the medium BDEs that airland by USAF could work.

A M113A3/4 for infantry, M8 Ridgway Assault gun and Wiesel 1/2 RSTA force could work.

A M113A3/4 for infantry, AT, Assault gun variants, and Wiesel 1/2s for RSTA could work.

A Wiesel 2 AFVs for infantry, AT, Assault gun, RSTA for the 101st Air assault Division for AirMECHSTRIKE! could work.


OPTION 3: Limited the number of wheeled Medium BDEs within the U.S. Army

You go "all wheels" in the Medium BDE and reserve it just for peacekeeping and arid firm soil conflicts, this would be ok except:

How many BDEs like this?

Will this be enough to shoulder long-term assignments like Bosnias/Kosovos?

You obviously cannot turn the entire the Army into this type force. You'd end up having to keep the Lights and Heavies and this is something Gen Shinseki doesn't seem to want. So the Light/Heavy "feast/famine" is still not solved.

If the "emperor" is all-wheeled armored car Medium units, he surely is "without clothes". Is there anyone who can reach Gen Shinseki and tell him "the wheeled armored car emperor is without clothes"????

A 1st TSG (A) member writes in:

"I will make some points however about the technology they are waiting for. First off the Diesel Electric engine is one of those things I've been waiting for since the early seventies. All the major auto makers except BMW have either canceled all work on electric's or reduced it to insignificance. It's kind of like the Corp of Engineers report stating that theoretically, Wheels can have just as good cross country mobility as wheels.

So far it hasn't worked out that way in real life.

Each time we (and the Russians) have a head-to-head competition, tracks are the overwhelming winners. I am not confident that we will ever see the electric power system we can rely on, though I have heard United Defense has a hybrid diesel-electric drive M113A3 with giant single piece band tracks that actually does work and is incredibly silent, but I guess the only thing you will never hear is someone from RAND mentioning it.

What can a wheeled vehicle do that a vehicle with band-tracks can't do BETTER? The answer is nothing. Consider a band-track a giant steel-reinforced tire stretched around road wheels but without the drawbacks of needing air to hold its shape or only a small area in contact with the ground. Its the best of both worlds. General Shinseki said we would "go where the answers are", the answers are found in tracks not wheels.

Description of Band-Track Technology

Band track is an emerging alternative for the segmented metal track that is typically used on tracked combat vehicles. Band-track provides a lightweight, continuous alternative that smoothly travels around suspension elements with minimal vibration input to the hub and the ground. Band track is constructed of high-performance rubber molded around polymer fibers and/or steel cables that give the track the required tensile strength. The rubber is molded in such a way that the ground contact pads, roadwheel running surface, internally reinforced center guides and sprocket drive lugs are integral. This track offers significant improvements to vehicle performance as well as Soldier comfort and effectiveness. The photograph below shows an M113 fitted with band track.

Benefits of Band-Track Technology

Following are recorded benefits relative to T130 steel track based on M113 testing by TACOM/TARDEC at Yuma Proving Ground, and by United Defense at Pelham Range, Fort McClellan in Alabama.

Weight - Reduced by approximately 50% of standard T130 steel track

Cost - 10% less than T130 steel track

Durability -4000+ miles

Noise - Reduced by 6 dB (A), interior and exterior (reduction to level comparable to heavy truck)

Vibration Reduced by 30%

Maintenance - Minimal to negligible. There is no periodic replacement of pads, no tightening of pin fasteners, no blocks to replace. Road damage - Negligible - No metallic components to contact road.

Roadwheel life - Improved - Continuous running surface/non-metallic guides

Low mass and inertia - Improved acceleration, improved braking

IR/EM signature - Reduced

Rolling Resistance - 17% - 35% less than T130 on hard surface

Aggressiveness - Comparable to steel track; better in mud, snow, and ice

Current Disadvantages of Band Track Technology

There are currently some disadvantages relative to existing steel track, which United Defense/SII are working to mitigate.

Field installation is somewhat more difficult (currently, two Soldiers can change track in about an hour and one half).

More susceptible to mine damage (mine resistance has not been yet incorporated into the design -this will occur over the next year).

There is a repair limp-home kit, but further development is necessary.

Technology Development Status

United Defense's partner, Soucy International Incorporated (SII) located in Drummondville, Quebec, has a long tradition of manufacturing band tracks for snowmobiles, recreational vehicles, agricultural machinery, snow blowers and other types of equipment. In the late 80's, work on the development of band tracks for military vehicles led Soucy to produce tracks for the SISU (Finland) articulated vehicle that led to a 3X-4X increase in life over the track it replaced. In the early 60's, work was performed for the MOD UK and Alvis to develop a track for the Spartan vehicle. In the same period, work was also initiated with TACOM (U.S. Army Tank Automotive Command) and I.S.T.C. (Industry, Science, Technology Canada) to develop 15-inch band track for the M113 Family of Vehicles. These development programs have shown that band track has the potential to replace steel tracks in light and medium weight military vehicles.

Soucy is also currently under contract with TACOM to develop a band track for demonstration on a 50,000-pound Bradley Fighting Vehicle. This track is nominally 18 inches wide and may find application in the Future Scout Combat System (FSCS). The first sets are currently undergoing development testing at Yuma Proving Ground.

In 1999, Soucy and United Defense entered a partnership to bring band track into maturity for combat vehicles. The overwhelming majority of the testing and development effort has been aimed at the M113 family of vehicles, which is the nearest-term opportunity for actual fielding. Given sufficient funding ($2-3M) and accelerated government acceptance testing, we feel the track could be ready for implementation Qn the M113 in two years.

IS THE LAV really NEW? Why not get "Leap Ahead" technology M113A3/4s, applique armor resistant to RPGs, infared camouflage, silent band-tracks, hybrid-electric drive instead at a fraction of the cost od obsolete armored cars?

Following are some of the critical dates applicable to the LAV. The reader will have to decide for himself how old or "new" is the LAV design.

1972--MOWAG in Switzerland completed the first of their Piranha family of 4X4,6X6, and 8X8 armored cars for the domestic and export market.

1974-- GM of Canada started building the MOWAG Piranha 6X6 under license.

Feb 1977--Canada ordered 350 Piranha 6X6 from GM Canada.

1979--First Canadian production vehicles completed.

Sept 1981-- GM Canada awarded contract to supply USMC 4 prototype LAV 8X8 for competative testing.

Sept 1982--usmc announced GM Canada won LAV competition.

1983--First production LAV's delivered to usmc.

1987--Last production LAV delivered to usmc

1996--First "Piranaha III" built in Canada.

The LAV still does not have some of the upgrades required or desired for the IAV such as FBCB2 digital integration, a fully functioning 105mm MGS variant, completed mine plow and mine roller kits, etc. While a M113A4 MTVL with mine plow installed for Canada already exists!. The MTVL furnished for the Ft Knox demonstration had all of these features. So much for the immediacy for fielding the IBCT by chosing LAV-III armored cars not-ready for prime time!

In reply to the Combat Developer's comments that deleting M1s will only reduce your Logistics, 70 to 80%. I consider that pretty damn good. Although I see his point, supplying a tank with log isn't a problem if you can't get it where you need it and it's unsuitable for the terrain once it arrives (late as usual and one of these days too late to matter). As of today, our M1s in Kosovo are having a great deal of trouble being anything more than stationary checkpoints. In this situation we would be much better off with a towed AT gun (make it shoot 120mm) and a squad of infantry. If you arrive to a fight with three AGSs, you will be much better off than delivering zero M1s.

In WWII we built the Sherman tank because we could get it where we needed it and support it once we got it there. Although we could have made a HEAVY tank like the German Tiger in numbers that would have dwarfed the German production, we would have had problems getting it over the oceans and operating it on the variety of terrain we fought in. That hasn't changed.

Another fatal flaw in the wheeled bandwagon is that wheeled armored cars DO NOT FIT inside Army CH-47D let along UH-60 helicopters...small LIGHT TRACKED 3-ton Wiesel 2s and half-ton wheeled ATVs can. A 14-ton armored car cannot even be sling-loaded under a CH-47D let alone a UH-60! The RANDsters are only thinking about fitting max armored cars inside huge USAF fixed-wing aircraft and reducing the number of sorties needed to move a so-called "Medium" force from CONUS to the conflict area. This is a start for AIRBORNEmotor (if you airdrop) or "aero-motor" but clearly not Air AssaultMECHSTRIKE that can be conducted at the operational/tactical level of war as an Army After Next (AAN) desired capability. The stated aim of the "Aero-motor" authors was to get AAN-like capabilities NOW, they have missed by advocating wheeled armored cars instead of more compact LIGHT TRACKED vehicles which CAN fit inside existing Army helicopters to get AAN maneuver warfare capabilities.

Take a peek below at how the Germans in WWII squeezed in an AIR-MECH-STRIKE package into the JU-52 which was decisive in the battle of Crete. Will we learn or repeat the mistakes of history?

JU-52s could only drop one stick at a time via its single jump door, today's Paratroopers can jump both doors at the same time and get more mass on the Drop Zone Note the diving exit and small jump door

AIR: JU-52 tri-motor aircraft airdrop (left jump door, bomb-bay, wing shackles) or airland the German Fallschirmjaegers and their equipment (right cargo door)

Right side loading door which Kettenrad motorcycle half-tracks and 75mm recoilless rifles could be loaded/off-loaded

MECH: Kettenrad SDKFZ2 motorcycle half-tracks delivered by JU-52s towed Paratroopers and recoilless rifles across the island

LG 40 75mm or 7.5cm Recoilless Rifle: Victor at Crete

STRIKE: LG 40 75mm Recoilless Rifle: the decisive ground weapon at Crete

Subject: Press Conference Secretary of the Army Louis Caldera and Chief of Staff of the Army General Eric K. Shinseki

About half way through this release is a comment by Secretary Caldera stating that a Medium BDE will be stood up in the ARNG.

For your interest, a little more insight to the near future following the Chief's vision remarks.

Text Version

For Immediate Release
Ann. # 99-096, October 12, 1999
Association of the United States Army Washington, D.C.

QUESTION: Thank you. I have an aviation constituency, and I was curious if you could give us a bit more detail on the aviation elements of your vision of the Army, and in particular, I was interested in your C4/ISR package. For instance, might we see more investment? Might you be re-interested in Joint Stars? Might we see Comanche earlier, more? Can you give us any details?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, I'd just respond at this point by saying what you had today was "vision." The implementation elements of what was described today will go on. It's underway now, and it will go on for the next couple of weeks, where we come out with a bit more detail on exactly how that implementation is going to go; lots of decisions to be made; some tough ones. But we're going to deal with it. Now, specifically, on your C-4 ISR question, the challenge to us is, as I indicated, any time you deploy a force, lots goes with it. And the question is whether or not, with our capabilities to reach back in intel and comms, whether we can begin to shave down that deployment package.

QUESTION: But might you rethink your decision on Joint Stars?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: We'll see. Everything is on the table.

QUESTION: General, my question to you, following your speech, if we understand what you said correctly, and you're going to phase out tracked vehicles in favor of wheeled vehicles, I have a two-part question. How long do you think that will take? And, two, if you're going to have tracked vehicles similar to what the marines -- I mean wheeled vehicles - similar to what the marine corps has, and if you're going to light, lean and mean, why does the United States need the marine corps?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, let me answer the first question first. We have had several studies between track and wheeled capabilities over time. And I think the ones that I'm familiar with, which are 15, maybe 20, years old, talk about at a certain weight, you have to transition from wheeled to tracked vehicles, only because you need that to go mobile across country. In the last 20 years, wheeled technology in this country has come a long way, driven primarily by our off-time recreational interests. We also understand there is great capability, technology-wise, to lessen the weight of our vehicles, and we can bring these two together. The question about moving to wheels and away from tracks is worth asking and pursuing.

QUESTION: How long will it take?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: A good question. I don't know. Our responsibility now is to ask the question to engender the interest in our science and technology communities. And we're hoping that we are going to get the kind of response that will answer that question much sooner, rather than later. General Jim Jones (Commandant, U.S. marines) and I have sat down and collaborated, as we worked, the Secretary and I, on this vision; shared it with him, took him through our analysis and philosophy. We have both agreed that neither of us have been on a battlefield so crowded that you couldn't have more capability there. And we worked this together.

QUESTION: Two questions on the time line that you talked about getting divisions to the field, divisions and brigades. You said 96 per brigade, division, and 120 -- 96 hours in a division and 120 hours. What's the current benchmark? How long does it take to get that stuff out there right now?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: We know that we can move heavy brigades, and we've done it, to areas in which we have an interest in putting heavy brigades on the ground, and 96 hours, I think that's been advertised. But that takes a significant amount of pre-deployment planning and rehearsal. What we are after here is the capability to put that combat-capable brigade anywhere in the world in 96 hours. And that is a stretch from our current capabilities.

QUESTION: And if you could address sort of this question on a larger basis. As you go through and list all the things that you want to do with the Army, where you want to take it, what does that say about your current capabilities? What are the weaknesses that you identified when you were building your vision that you wanted to change?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Current weaknesses?


GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, our primary responsibility is to be able to meet our described major theater war responsibilities. And for that, we are well-organized, well-equipped. It is the rest of that spectrum of operations that I described, short of warfighting, that challenges us to get those same capable brigades there on a time line that we would like. I think if we can achieve what I've described, we will provide significant deterrent capability to the country that it doesn't currently have for those operations that are short of war, if I could describe that.

QUESTION: I wonder if you can get specific here; you're basically calling for a transformation in the entire Army here. Can you give us a ballpark on how long you think this will take? Will this be five years, 10 years? And also, can you give us a sense, a ballpark, of how much money this is going to cost?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: No good answers on the money right now, because it's driven by what answers we get back in technology. I can tell you that when we started this, the initial indications were responses in technology would be out beyond 2010. We have asked for that to be moved closer in, so that technology will help us answer the final questions on the objective force. Now, this is for the end state force with new technologies. In the interim, we are prepared to invest in currently available equipment, many of which you see on the floor here at AUSA as you walk around. We're looking at a host of things in order to give us this capability in the interim here to be able to deploy capable forces into areas that we now are challenged to get heavy forces into.

QUESTION: When do you think you'll have the first? Everyone is using the term "medium-weight division." When do you think you'll have that one completed?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, we're going to go to the first brigades -- as I indicated, Fort Lewis is where we're looking -- and we have a heavy and a light brigade there. And then we'll see how many of these brigade packages we will invest in. But, then again, that point in time where you say you stop investing in current equipment and begin to shift your investments into technology is driven by the responses we hope to see in the next several years.

SECRETARY CALDERA: Let me amplify on that answer. Clearly, the ability to move faster has some resource constraints tied to it, because you've got to stand up new units, the brigades that you're transforming. You need to invest in the science and technology of procuring the equipment platforms that you're going to outfit that unit with. At the same time, you need to maintain your readiness of your warfighting units. And we need to continue to recapitalize our equipment. All of the efforts that we're making in digitization and in upgrading our current platforms by introducing new technology, as you upgrade the spares and introduce new drive trains, new electronics and digitization system into it, we clearly can go faster in the transformation if we have additional resources, top line relief for the Army. And we think that this is a vision that we will be doing the work of the nation and that we ought to have the investment of the nation to help us move this transformation along as quickly as possible. As we replace platforms, we have to ensure that the platforms we replace our current equipment with have the ability to be effective in the warfight, the survivability, the lethality, so that you are not replacing a platform with a platform of lesser capabilities. It may be easier to get it to the fight because it is lighter, but it still has to have, in conjunction with the other platforms and the way that you find as a combined arms team, survivability and the ability to be effective on the battlefield.

QUESTION: I've just got a couple of things, specific questions. In terms of responsiveness, you mentioned achieving strategic responsiveness through forward deployment of forces and forward position capabilities. Can you tell us where you're thinking of deploying forces? You mentioned that at Fort Lewis you're going to be experimenting with prototypes. Could you identify the prototypes you're going to be using at Fort Lewis? And, lastly, what, if any money, are you requesting in the '01 budget for this initiative?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: As I said, many of the prototypes you see here on the floor are the off-the-shelf equipment we're dealing with. And I'm not sure that they're all here. What we're looking at right now is what will best meet this interim requirement that will allow us to put together a brigade-sized, maybe two brigade-sized, packages, and then use it as a way of defining what the follow-on operational and organizational adjustments should be. But we intend to stand it up, organize it, equip it, train it, pick it up and lift it and use it, as opposed to study it. As to where we intend to deploy to, good question. But it's our ability to provide a reaction capability right now that we lack with just our pure heavy and our pure light forces. But we intend to use it, in other words.

QUESTION: Two questions. What happens to your predecessor strike force concept? Is that out of the window or do we continue with that? And, secondly, what are the manpower implications of your pledge to 100 percent man the division? The figure of 40,000 that we talked about, is that accurate as being the extra manpower you think you need?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Forty thousand additional?

QUESTION: Additional.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Let me answer the first question first. I think you will find that many of the descriptors that went along with strike force is inherent in what we're addressing here. And the fact that it's going into Fort Lewis merely means that what we're going to do is go for capability here rather than study a concept. And so as time goes here with the stand up of this first unit and our ability to organize it and project it, I think many of the concepts you would have seen in the strike force will be incorporated. In terms of manpower, the commitment to manning our combat formations is to squeeze our organization and get soldiers back into foxholes, into turrets and into cabs, and then we'll see what the impact is to the rest of the Army and we'll decide whether or not this is a structure that needs to be resourced. And then it may drive the question you asked about additional end strength. I think that's where you were going. I don't know the answer to that yet. If that structure... we're willing to give it up, we may have a different answer.

SECRETARY CALDERA: It will clearly put some pressure on restructuring the institutional Army to put more of the forces in the teeth and not the tail and not the institutional non-TO&E portion of the Army. And I would just add to what General Shinseki was saying. As we stand up these early units, those will not only be active duty units, but also we will begin to stand up the prototype-type brigade in the Reserve components, as well, and the National Guard.

QUESTION: General Shinseki, I hear you talking a lot about standing up brigades. Do you envision at some point having a medium-weight division?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: I think the objective force-- again, it's what can the technologies give back to us. If we get the answers which we think we will get, we will transform the entire Army. And so you will see the movement away from just purely the brigade-focused into the larger unit organizations.

QUESTION: And what impact do you think that will have for the current structure and balance between light and heavy divisions?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: I alluded to that in the speech. I said, if these technologies provide the capabilities we're looking for. And that's why I've been deliberate in not talking about weight, as opposed to light and heavy and medium weight, because that becomes a measurement that's less meaningful for us. It is the capability we're looking for. If technology provides the answers we think are going to come in, then what we have traditionally described as light and heavy will begin to merge. And I think you will see that the entire transformation will go towards capabilities that give those divisional formations lethality that the heavy forces have and the agility of the light forces.

QUESTION: In your speech, you referred to some pretty significant reduction of tonnages in some of these vehicles.


QUESTION: And a lot of that would be predicated on technologies that aren't available today. Because it sounds like you're putting a lot of -- investing a lot in the hopes of the S&T base coming through in a big way for you here, how would you characterize the risks of achieving what you laid out today?

SECRETARY CALDERA: Well, first of all, we're committed to this change. Because we think it's the right change for the Army to add the capabilities that the nation needs. In the changing world in which we live in today, we've got to be able to get to the fight faster with that kind of capability. So we're committed to driving this change, regardless of the resources and the time constraints, and doing it as quickly as you can do it without accepting undue risks. There are ways to increase survivability while lowering the weight to your weapons platforms, to your tanks, that are not entirely dependent on science and technology which may or may not be available today or on the horizon, including the survivability that you give to a platform because you are not expecting to take a direct hit. So therefore you don't have to have the same level of armament, because the other platforms are working together in a way that they increase survivability because you or someone else is contributing to your increased survivability. So it is not entirely dependent on deriving new technologies that aren't there today.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: And, again, as I indicated, 90 percent of our lift requirements are in the logistics footprint area and 10 percent in the specific platform. So at the time we're going after technologies that will help us get smaller, lighter platforms, we're also going after the 90 percent logistics footprint, which I think, in the long run, will be the bigger payoff, in terms of lift savings.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. First, funding. How do you plan to achieve the funding for the new acquisition programs, for the new prototype testing? Do you plan to do re-prioritization away from heavier-weight vehicle modernization, towards these light? Or do you plan to simply ask for more money? Secondly, why the shift from Fort Polk to Fort Lewis? Does this mean that the plans for the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment at Fort Polk for strike force orientation are over, or what? Thank you.

SECRETARY CALDERA: Let me say, with respect to resources, clearly we have to help ourselves as much as possible. That is, doing all the things that we can to be a more efficient organization, so that we can generate internal savings. And that includes a whole range of things, including base closure, etcetera, that we'll continue to press for; because we need to be able to redirect those dollars into our higher-priority items. The vision clearly has implications for both force structure and for modernization priorities. Those are some of the programmatic specifics that we'll get into and roll out a little bit more here in the coming weeks, so that that is still being worked through in terms of the assessments that need to be done about specific programs. And you will be hearing more about that.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: To your question about Fort Polk, the decision to go to Lewis was to pick a site where you had the capability to do essentially heavy and a light transformation. You also have a great deployment airfield there at McChord. So if you're going to pick this up and demonstrate that you have gained something in terms of strategic responsiveness, that's helpful. Fort Polk was considered and is still a consideration; and the 2d ACR's involvement in this follow-on unit is still very much part of the consideration.

QUESTION: General Shinseki, how did the Kosovo experience influence your decision making on some of these changes?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Kosovo in particular?

QUESTION: And/or Bosnia, but more specifically Kosovo.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: I would say, some influence, but not, in and of itself, just the only fact we considered. We have long thought about how to transform the Army to meet what was obviously, as early as right after the Cold War, what was obviously a changing strategic environment. And over this last seven or eight years, it's really been the Army that's been doing a lot of the heavy lifting in these missions that are short of the warfight, but, nonetheless, are just as intense and energetic. And so we have looked for the opportunity to go after capability we didn't have. Kosovo helped answer some questions. And so that's the reason, in about 90 days, that we're trying to put together a vision that gets a good azimuth that we can pursue.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. If you are phasing out tracked vehicles anyway, is there any reason to continue funding for things like M1A1 upgrades and Crusader?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Well, when we get the answer that we can put it on wheeled vehicles, we will. The intent here is driven by the fact, in this country, I think we have had significant advances in wheeled technology and not in track technology. And we think that, given the descriptors that I gave with low-observable, long-range acquisition, where you now can design vehicles that don't have to take the first premise as being, if hit, will it survive? So if you can take that out of the equation, you can now begin to lower the weight of the platforms you design.

MR. CALDERA: And many of the investments in the M1A1 upgrades, of course, are recapitalization, replacing aging equipment and upgrading the equipment by the manner in which you're recapitalizing and introducing more technology and more capability into it. Those M1A1's are still critical to the warfight that the CINC's are responsible for today. And so it is important that we continue with those recapitalization programs.

QUESTION: Can you be perhaps a little more specific on the pace of the initial operation? Are you going to convert both brigades at Fort Lewis? Does one go before the other? And when do you expect them to actually be operational?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Good question, Steve. We went there because much of this is driven by how soon we can get, quote, off-the-shelf equipment. I sometimes think the term is a bit misleading. It's not as though you walk into a shop, you know, and you pull things off. Off-the-shelf means literally the ability, because there is a production capability, the ability to acquire. The answers to that are now being sorted out with some of the owners of the equipment you see here, trying to find out how soon we can have this. We intend to try to get the first pieces of a brigade package starting to move to Lewis this year. Now, if we are successful in doing that, then I think the interest would be to go to the heavy brigade, because they have a platform-oriented background. They've maneuvered on vehicles, they've fired precision gunnery. It would be a swap-out of equipment -- crews onto a new piece of equipment. If it takes any longer than that, it may be a tossup between which way you go. We may have enough time to get the light brigade prepared to accept new pieces of equipment, as well.

QUESTION: This calendar year?


QUESTION: General, you mentioned talks with General Jim Jones. Anything about more interoperability with the marine corps sharing programs, what kind of -- I guess where would you want to see that going?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Yes, this was a collaborative effort in terms of that I shared with him, what the Secretary and I saw as the vision which way it was headed, shared with him the vision a little while ago, showed him some of the tough decisions we were having to deal with. And there is interest on both of our parts in the ability to lift equipment and project it onto land. And so we do have those discussions going. We have both also agreed that sometime next spring we will try to organize an Army/Marine warfighter kind of seminar, where his commanders and our commanders come together, and we start this business of closer collaboration.

QUESTION: Yes, sir. I'd like to know where the digitized Army and Force 21 fits in this new vision specifically are, the lessons learned down at Hood, and maybe some of the systems and gear that are going to be transferred to what you're doing at Fort Lewis?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Yes, absolutely. We still stay with digitization lessons that we have learned through the Hood experiment. To the degree that that capability is available on the interim platforms we're looking at, which is right now not highly likely. But to the degree that we can get it, we will continue to have Force 21 capabilities part of this new O&O (concept) as we develop it, organization and operational study.

QUESTION: Two questions if I may. Deputy Secretary Hamre, in a speech that we saw about six weeks, was somewhat critical of the Army, clearly presaging something like this. So did you work in conjunction with -- I mean, did they offer inputs? Did you seek sign-off from them? What was your collaboration with them? And the second part is, you've talked mainly about platforms. And it almost sounds as if the vision is simply to replace heavy vehicles with lighter vehicles. Do you foresee organizational changes that would follow that, that brigades will -- do you foresee that they will become smaller or different types of structural changes, or what?

SECRETARY CALDERA: Well, let me say, first of all, that yes, we have both clearly, obviously, have responsibilities as part of a joint team to work with the other services and under the auspices of the Office of the Secretary of Defense. We have walked through this, both with Secretary Cohen and with Secretary Hamre as well. The implications are certainly far more than just platforms. They are organizational. And they're also people skills. And that was another element of General Shinseki's remarks today, that we are working on producing leaders for change, not just leaders who are doctrinally capable and competent leaders for warfighting, but leaders also for all of the kinds of missions that we are asked to be able to do today across that full spectrum, and who will have the capability to continue to deal with an evolving global situation in which the array of threats that you face goes across that entire spectrum, including the homeland defense-type issues and use of weapons of mass destruction.

QUESTION: Jerry Gilmore, Army News Service, gentlemen. I was wondering if, you are familiar of course with the land warrior program, would you be willing to put this in with that package, or that two-brigade package, to see how that is, field it automatically? Because that's pretty much far along now I understand.

GENERAL SHINSEKI: As you know, we had some difficulty with the schedule it was on. It was delayed a bit, and it is back now and totally on track. I haven't seen the latest of it. But, as it pans out, this will be part of our efforts to bring the Force 21 capabilities into the force, irrespective of what we're doing here. If it fits, we'll certainly be interested in putting it into a place like Lewis.

QUESTION: General, the medium force, could you just address, have you all had any ideas so far for organic-- The new medium force, have you all discussed or do you have details about what its aviation component would look like, as far attack and lift helicopters organic to the unit?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: We are taking an existing brigade and transforming it into a capability for rapid deployment. Right now, neither one of those units has an attack capability. We historically task organize, and you can certainly ask whether we would do that. If the situation requires the attachment of attack assets, we would do that. But, right now, this is looking at that brigade as it currently exists.

QUESTION: General, I'd like to ask you a little bit about how this is going to be commanded and controlled, and how it will change the Army's existing quick response forces. If you are positioning it at I Corps headquarters and you want to stand it up immediately, is it going to become an I Corps asset? And, if so, does I Corps become your first quick response unit within the next year or two? And what implications does that have for the 18th Airborne Corps, which now has that mission now?

GENERAL SHINSEKI: Good question. Actually, we'll have to see. I don't know if you're familiar with I Corps, but its capabilities in terms of command and control don't come anywhere close to the 18th Airborne Corps' capability. 18th Corps will still be our quick response warfighting organization. And whatever capabilities that we are able to introduce here in terms of command and control -- well, C-4 ISR -- will help us understand what else we could do with 18th Corps. But this is for those missions short of war, where we would have to provide perhaps a brigade package. We would also want to send it with a command and control capability. That's a good question. We are going to have to wrestle that piece as we stand up this first unit.

MODERATOR: Thank you all very much. [End of transcription.]

A Brigade commander writes:

"Fear not--there's not enough $$$$ on God's green earth to give us a LAV-only Army by 2010.

He just said that to shake up the tread-heads who were wedded to Abrams, Crusader, and these other behemoths.

Your rationale is sound and is being considered. Watch what happens. I hear the AGS will soon make a big comeback.

Anyway, it is good to hear some new ideas out there. The post-Cold War drift had gone far enough. At least we're debating weapons and tactics, not PowerPoint formats."


The 1st TSG (A) has been pounding away on the Light AFV/Air deployability issue for the last 7 years. We agree with most of everything here except the idea of tracks being heavy and bad, and wheels are the only things that are "Light" and good. There are LIGHT TRACKS that can be used and are actually the BEST choice as we go into detail here.

And soon we will have the group-think lemming effect of Courtney Massengale types who can't wait to become born-again wheeled armored car believers. I am all over this issue, as a young marine LT I advocated an LAV Assault Gun that was never bought. Today they Mcboast about fighting a "3 block war" when they can't get past the first BLOCK when pinned down by enemy fire. Now we are set to fight "wheels versus tracks" yet again when the focus should be a BIG GUN ON AN AIR-DROPABLE light AFV for the 82d Airborne Division, so we can fight an enemy 300 miles inland that is slaughtering civilians and not play around with ports/beaches, by AIRBORNE force deployment. The wheeled LAV is a tremendous mistake we can avoid if we are smart.

Big mistake.

What are the Army institutional forces driving these changes?

Factor #1 Lazy lust reaction to years of heavy tracked vehicle maintenance

The Ft Knox AWWG LAV-wheeled vehicle crowd has gotten their wish---a lazy man's looks-like-a-tank with no-track-maintenance required "toy" to ride around in. Like your own personal car, except thinly armored and with mediocre weapons. And like your POV, requires roads to go where it needs to. Armored cars failed miserably in WWI, and today with more wheels, more power you still have the basic limitations that wheels have, they will get stuck and after several incidents of this, you will end up by experience road bound. The whole point of a "tank" or track laying vehicle is COMBAT, where you have torn up terrain, debris, broken glass, water, swamps, mud and you rumble over it by metal tracks. The HMMWV as is, no armor is not as mobile as a light M113A3 tracked AFV which at 11 tons is LIGHTER THAN THE 14-ton WHEELED DDGM "LAV".

Reality#1: wheeled armored cars cannot advance in face of enemy fire

Works fine until an explosion sets your tires on fire ala Mogadishu and Battle of the Bulge. Run flats will not help if you are burned down to the rims. An armored car that weighs down the wheels to such a degree that x-country travel is not possible most of the time, we will become road bound and road kill to mines/ambushes and soon PGMs.


Reality #2: wheeled armored cars are road bound

The only way a wheeled vehicle can go x-country is by either all-wheel torque (4x4 jeeps) or high RPM floatation (dune buggies/ATVs) but this is killed when you put an armored box and a turret on the wheels. Wheeled armored cars are going to give the good concept of a light TRACKED AFV that is terrain agile a bad name! Armored cars are not terrain agile, which is VITAL to their survivability since they do not have medium/heavy armor to withstand RPGs/ATGMS/tank main guns.

Factor#2 Must look different, new and sexy

The REAL LAV is with us and has been staring us in the face for decades: the tracked M113A3 Gavin. But "Its old". The wheeled armored car looks DIFFERENT, the Army's senior leaders want it to look like they are doing something different. Image over substance. We can't look like we were wrong with the AGS. Which we were. The people involved here need to think deeper. The M113 is DIFFERENT technology not older and somehow "inferior" to DDGM armored cars or BFVs which are also 30 year old technology. See things for what they are! A tracked armored box that is all-terrain agile for closed jungles like in Vietnam versus a long rectangular box with wheels that is road bound designed for people who are cash-strapped and not expecting to be in heavy firefights with the enemy. Again we are being hyper paranoid about anything that reminds us about Vietnam, where even the old under-powered M113A1s were the most mobile ground vehicles of the war and performed awesomely.


I emailed XXXXXXX of ADPA months ago and got nowhere on this, his obvious lust for the LAV-III showing. I incidentally advised DDGM in 1990 to get the fuel tank out of the LAV. At least the Army LAVs will not be flaming coffin death traps like the Mc LAVs are. Its like if they bought the M8 AGS they would have to admit the Army was wrong in 1997! WELL TOO DAMN BAD! GEN REIMER IS GONE! HE SCREWED UP. WE ALL MAKE MISTAKES. HE'S GONE. Now lets correct the mistake ASAP. Gen Reimer did reconstitute the 7th and 24th Divisions using NG E-BDEs so I salute him for that.


Factor#3 THANK GOD. What we buy must be proven in tests

Fortunately the Army is cautious and there will be a test "rodeo" at APG of 4 candidate vehicles, 2 tracked, 2 wheeled. If the tests are not rigged or the results ignored because WE MUST HAVE A WHEELED LAV, the tracked LAV (M113A3) should triumph. This is our only salvation.

A noted tactician and military reformer writes:


My biggest fear is that nothing will happen. The tests will be held and the tracked winner will be crowned. I've seen this at least two other times in the last twenty-five years and somehow status quo always prevails.

I know what they are thinking; we can cut fuel and maintenance costs(which are killing us) and use the savings for training and infrastructure upgrades (I saw that rational used for wheeled vehicles in an article in Armor when I was in Germany). As your recent article on the BFV in the NG pointed out, our present vehicles are manpower intensive and very expensive to maintain. The result is an Army that is can't do any real training and is declining in readiness. If we could field a wheeled vehicle that can have close to the same mobility as tracked vehicles, we would be in good shape. It would be a solution to our inability to deploy our heavy Divisions and give mobility to our LIDs. But I'm sure that anybody who has been on active duty for the last fifty years knows all about the tracked versus wheeled debate and all have heard the arguments I just made.

The problem comes when we have bad terrain. In war all terrain is bad, now or later, but it's going to be bad. Roads are easy targets for air attacks or light infantry ambushes. Armies that are road bound have very little terrain to use and are quite easy to find and attack. WWI and WWII proved that horse drawn artillery and other equipment can't maneuver over bad terrain. The horse by itself is pretty good but put it in a harness and make it pull some serious weight and it's over. Horses can't even turn around on muddy roads without calling a time out. Although not as bad as horses, the same thing applies to wheeled vehicles.

Time and again the German Army had to do without Artillery because of the bad Russian roads. The road bound German Army was constantly encircled by the Russians who had much greater cross country mobility. Tracks have much greater cross-country mobility than wheels and the Russians had most of the Tracked vehicles. I would also like to point out that our Army in the Korean war was road bound and this allowed a third world army with nothing other than there feet to kick our asses.

What I'm rambling on about is mobility and maneuverability. They are not the same and if we go to wheels we will enhance our mobility but hurt our maneuverability. We will have much greater ability to move our vehicles around the world if they are Wheeled, but we will be road bound and easy to fix and finish. How many countries in the world have the Good road system it takes to support a large, wheel mobile army. When the it rains and snows give me a track any day.

What we need is a light tracked vehicle that has some armor like the 113. Russian defense industries produce all kinds of them and would accomplish everything we need at a 1/3 the cost (or less). If we decide to build a whole new wheeled vehicle it will not happen by 3010. What we need is a platform that can stay around for twenty years and be upgraded through it's life. It ain't that hard to figure out.




P.S. This is just an excuse to keep the HMMWV around forever."

If the wheeled LAV turns out to be the turkey it is, we need to have ENTHUSIASM (forgotten Army value) IN PLACE for LIGHT tracked AFVs so the whole idea of a medium weight fighting unit doesn't get tossed out with the wheeled vehicle "bathwater". That vehicle is the M113A3 Gavin and the Wiesel 2 for the 101st Air Assault Division.

Wiesels now for airMECHanized capabilities


Factor#4 Money....where will the money come from to buy the wheeled armored cars?

Another blessing in disguise. We don't need to be wasting precious money on automotive platforms when we HAVE BETTER AUTOMOTIVE PLATFORMS: the M113A3 Gavin TRACKED AFV, the Army already has 4,000 of these. Add applique armor, put ACAV gunshields on them. Make some assault ladder and firefighting variants. Put weapons system turrets on others:


90-105mm gun turrets
Javelin ATGMs
90-105mm fixed assault gun mountings
120mm gun mortar turrets
106mm Recoilless rifle mounts/turrets
25mm chain gun auto-stabilized turrets

Or simply do it right and buy the M8 Ridgway Armored Gun System like we were supposed to in 1997 and have the M113A3 Gavins act as infantry carriers.

If we don't have the money, no problem---invest it into weaponry for the M113A3 Gavins. Don't reinvent the wheel/track when we already have the vehicle.

I pray to God Almighty that we do not become an armored car, road bound Army, and that we fully utilize the tracked M113A3 Gavin AFVs we have BEFORE massive casualties in war reveal our folly. War takes effort. And the M113A3 is frankly the one of the easiest vehicles to maintain, I dare so no harder than the wheeled armored car because its so light. So the point is moot. We just have people who are dead set against the M113A3, facts be damned. This has to be changed before we are damned. Below is the first report on this situation.

We are at a critical time of opportunity..here are the major points. These are the "centers of gravity" that color the issue. The M113A3 is the "tracks" and the LAV-type armored car is the "wheels". Gen Shinseki has realized we have to digitize a LIGHTER type force with LIGHTER vehicles so we can get to the battlefield, or else its "game over, dude" by default. However, he is wrong about wheels being able to move x-country or that its either LIGHT WHEELS or HEAVY TRACKS. He seems to have forgotten about LIGHT TRACKS. The LIGHT TRACKED vehicle that fits 5 per C-17 as per the "Medium" definition has been here all along the: M113A3. And its already "bought and paid-for".

Digitize and upgrade this!

There is your "Medium" Strike force that airdrops with the 82d Airborne to boot.

Tracks versus Wheels?
Old versus New or "Apples" and "Oranges"?
Light versus heavy?
Turret versus cupola?
Air transportable easy versus hard?
Maintenance -X factors

Wild cards Applique armor
Technotactical tricks


Tracks versus Wheels?

1. M113A3 is tracked; it can keep moving in the face of enemy fire...bullets deflate armored car tires, if they have run flats they must limp home, tracks allow M113A3 to continue mission..if explosions cause a fire, the armored car rims grind into the ground, making it a mobility kill and not far from being a catastrophic Total kill

2. M113A3 tracks can rumble over debris, trenches, obstacles that would destroy the armored car's tires. The Canadian Army had Indian protesters barricade a reservation using junked cadillac cars. When they tried to have a LAV-type armored car rumble over the top, it got stuck. A M113 had to be sent in to rumble over the barricade. Armored cars did not work in WWI and resulted in the track laying tank being created in the first place. The M113A3 is the ultimate expression of tracked mobility in the form of a Light Armored Personnel Carrier

3. The world is urbanizing---the urban battlefield is hostile to wheeled vehicle movement..its too easy to focus firepower onto armored car wheels and they will be burned down to the rim. Battlespace is compressed and mobility corridors narrow--all concentrating firepower effects on top of ground rubble against the vulnerable soft rubber tires of the armored car. The HMMWVs burning at the rims in Somalia and BTRs in Grozny, Chechnya as burned-out hulks prove the horror of the armored car as a general purpose fighting vehicle.

4. Wheeled armored cars get easily stuck in adverse terrain/weather conditions due to inherent inertia due to a low amount of propulsion means in gripping direct contact with the ground; a light unarmored vehicle with high RPM and large tires can "float" over the terrain, a high torque vehicle with all-wheel drive can grip over more terrain than the dune buggy/FAV but at a slower speed: HMMWV, Land rovers, jeeps etc. These approaches are denied when you work around a heavy armored box with a turret on top. The armored car smothers the high-RPM as an approach. You are only left with high torque and lots of wheels. You can have 10 wheels in drive as some armored cars have, but the fact remains only a small amount of the tire is in contact with the ground to pull the body over the ground compared to the entire length of the track pulling the body of the M113A3 over the ground. In soft, very wet, muddy terrain, wheeled armored cars are going to get stuck. The tires will spin and not grip, armored car stuck. Even with snow chains, the tires will slip in deep snow whereas the tracked M113A3 will keep on going. The M113A3's tracks are in more contact with the ground than the portion of the armored car's tires.

5. The amount of "no go" terrain for a wheeled armored car is greater than a tracked M113A3, thus they end up being road-bound, while the tracked M113A3 can be aggressively driven x-country to avoid predictable enemy observation, ambushes, mines, air attacks, PGM/artillery strikes, the M113A3 can exploit closed terrains to approach the enemy and surprise him with on-board weaponry and full dismount infantry squads. If wheels on the LAV were so great, then why is the over-vaunted marine corps AAAV ship-to-shore equipped with tracks and not wheels? Because wheels would get stuck in the soft sand and that vehicle would get incinerated WWII battle of Tarawa-style by enemy fire.

6. A Light tracked AFV like the M113A3 can operationally position itself around the battlefield without need of trucks/trailers that heavy tracked AFVs need. The Light tracked AFV can use roads without destroying them by virtue of their light overall weight/ground pressure. Most Bridges can be crossed without damage by the 11 ton M113A3.

7. Light tracked AFVs like the M113A3 can swim across bodies of water like the better armored cars can.

8. Intimidation effect/value: a wheeled armored car does not intimidate anyone, a tracked AFV like the M113A3 is considered a "tank" and fear is half the victory won. The LAV will find itself challenged and weaknesses found will be exploited, resulting in burning LAVs and burned up Americans inside.

9. While armored cars with V-shaped hulls can deflect mine blasts and keep moving by sacrificing the wheels lost in the blast, tracked AFVs can achieve the same effect by pushing in front of them mine rollers/plows to pre-detonate mines without ANY vehicle damage, I doubt if wheeled armored cars can even push plows or rollers.

10. Neutral steering---tracks can steer/turn in place, wheeled armored cars must roll/move forward for momentum to turn around. Pivot steering can get your nose with weapons/armor facing the enemy without running into mines..

11. The wheeled LAV on roads and hard flat surfaces go 60 mph and the M113A3 45 mph...However, I think the M113A3 can have its suspension upgraded to enable it to go 60 mph, too.

Old versus New? Or Apples and Oranges?

1. The M113A3 and the LAV armored car represent the same 1980s technology, people are confusing the AGE OF THE VEHICLE itself as in how many years its been in service with the AGE OF THE DESIGNS. The 8x8 wheeled armored car DESIGN has existed as long as the tracked M113A3 has existed---look at the German SPAHPANZER Luchs. The U.S. military bought DDGM LAV armored cars in the 1980s, and by vehicle age they will be "newer" compared to M113A1s--2s built in the 1960s. This has nothing to do with the DESIGN of the vehicles. Many Army leader's are prejudiced against the M113A3 when they really only have direct personal experience with the worn-out A1/A2 models which as a design were under-powered. The A3 models fixes the power, gets the fuel tank out of the interior, has spall liners and applique armor provisions. It is faster than a BFV. It zips around the battlefield. Remanufactured in 1987, these vehicles are just as "NEW" as the DDGM LAVs in terms of service life left.

2. The myth that "anything from Vietnam = bad, anything of today is better" drives the thinking of many people. Not everything we did in Vietnam was bad. The M113A1 ACAV gunshield equipped units were THE most ground mobile units of the war, able to operate away from the roads and defeat the enemy in the jungle time and time again. The battles Tan Son Nhut airbase, Saigon, capital of South Vietnam, and the siege of Khe Sanh were won by M113 units, even in under-powered form. Without the M113 U.S. casualties would have been twice what they were and we could have had our own "Dien Bien Phu", a military humiliation defeat on the battlefield instead of a forfeit by domestic support for the war collapsing.

Light versus heavy?

1. Extremely HEAVY tracked vehicles like the M2 Bradley and M1 Abrams give tracked vehicles a bad name/impression because they are not as closed terrain agile as Light tracked vehicles like the M113A3 The M2 BFV is DIFFERENT from the M113A3, NOT A CHRONOLOGICAL IMPROVEMENT OVER IT.

After Vietnam, we psychologically had to do something different than jungle fight, re-equipping for the open-terrain European continent to fight off the Russian tank armies, allowed us to do what we were last successful at--fight a German-WWII style foe. The HEAVY tracked vehicles fielded were designed to ALREADY BE IN PLACE IN EUROPE IN LARGE numbers and didn't have to sacrifice armor or firepower to be air-deployable en masse. With this given, the designers created a super-tank and a super-APC, actually a tank that can carry its own security guards with no limits in weight because combat enginerers would be in place to build bridges across rivers, keep roads functioning etc.

The weight pressing down on these vehicles on their tracks like the armored car's body and turret negate much of the mobility tracks can offer, resulting in them having to be transported in wheeled trailers/trucks. In contrast, the M113s in Europe could always go anywhere without need of truck/trailers because they are not so heavy that their track mobility agility is lost in just having to move its own mass.

The M113 is a LIGHT tracked AFV designed for DIFFERENT MISSIONS: "Mechanized infantry" in a C-130 Air-droppable, helicopter-liftable, swimming, all-terrain x-country AGILE armored vehicle in CLOSED TERRAIN. The M113A3 can be "stuffed" 5 per C-17 and 3 per C-17 for Low-Velocity AirDrop (LVAD).

M2 BFV is a HEAVY tracked AFV designed for "Armored infantry" designed to hold the gains made by tanks...its a C-5/C-17 airlandable in small numbers, non-swimming fire support tank for OPEN TERRAIN warfare.

Yes, the Army made a mistake when it tried to replace the M113 with the BFV. Apples do not replace oranges.

2. Another lie: "tracks are heavy, wheels are light"...when the M113A3 at 11 tons is LIGHTER than the DDGM LAV at 14 tons....even though the M113A3 is lighter its better armored protected because its fuel tanks are external, it has spall liners, applique' armor, ACAV gunshields, can have ANY turreted weapon system the wheeled armored cars can have in a lower silhouette/weight package. A corrollary lie is that we have enough airlift for 22,000 pound 2.5/5 ton trucks, but we don't have enough airlift for 22,000 pound M113A3 tracked, armored vehicles. Whicjh is heavier? 22,000 pounds of enemy killing armored x-country vehicle or 22,000 pounds of road bound soft skin road kill for enemy RPGs? This is bullshit and stupidity. Its stupid people not realizing that 2.5 and 5 ton" refers to the CARGO CAPACITY of the truck, NOT ITS WEIGHT. Like the armored car, which is essentially an armored body truck, 2.5 and 5 ton trucks are very high off the ground and have to be pains-takenly dismantled to fit inside aircraft and be airdropped. The M113A3 is easier to rig for airdrop. No dismantling, strap to platform with honeycomb under it, attach extraction and descent parachutes, bingo. Compare the LVAD procedures. Armored cars with the air being let out etc etc will be a worse nightmare because they don't have a cab that can be dismantled.

Turret versus cupola?

1. The M113A3 as a tracked AFV is more compact with a lower silhouette than a LAV wheeled armored car. Silhouette is the number #1 give-away on the battlefield visually. Armored cars need wheel travel clearance, giving them a huge height, and making them easy targets difficult to maneuver hull-down from the enemy. M113A3s can hide easily in the folds of terrain with its low silhouette.

Turrets add mobility-killing weight to the armored car it can ill afford since it has low ground contact to propulsion means, as well as unwanted height.

Air transportable easy versus hard or impossible?

1. The high height of wheeled armored cars makes them unable to easily be airdropped by C-130 aircraft and cannot fit inside Army helicopters. The M113A3 is easily air-dropable from all USAF C-130/141/17/5 transports for the forced-entry mission of the 82d Airborne division, 1-501st PIR, and 1-508th SETAF and could easily fit inside a future Army rotorcraft. Both M113A3s and armored cars can be externally sling-loaded under capable helicopters but not perform cross-FLOT operations this way. The future rotorcraft interior would have to be very large to fit armored cars with turrets, driving the program costs to astronomical figures resulting in program cancellation and/or a reduced number of aircraft obtained and no AIRMECHANIZED capability gained for the Army as a whole. We will prive ourselves out of business. Smaller Wiesel-type tracked AFVs can fit inside Army CH-47D helicopters for an interim AIRMECHANIZED capability for the 101st Air assault division.

As said before, Like the armored car, which is essentially an armored body truck, 2.5 and 5 ton trucks are very high off the ground and have to be pains-takenly dismantled to fit inside aircraft and be airdropped. The M113A3 is easier to rig for airdrop. No dismantling, strap to platform with honeycomb under it, attach extraction and descent parachutes, bingo. Compare the LVAD procedures. Armored cars with the air being let out etc etc will be a worse nightmare because they don't have a cab that can be dismantled.

2. The tracked M113A3 has the space to fit turrets and still carry a full compliment of infantry and not become a mini-version of the BFV hobson's choice because its propulsion system is more compact than wheels.. You can have BOTH with the M113A3. The infantry in the backl of the M113A3 can fight with their heads out behind ACAV gunshields, the DDGM LAV's men are exposed.

Maintenance - X factors?

The lust for wheeled LAVs is a knee jerk negative reaction to the failings of HEAVY not Light tracked vehicles.

The entire Army full of late Baby-boomers and Gen-X/yers has a bad taste in its mouth from its toils (1-800-WAA! Beats being dead in a cemetary) keeping the heavy tracked AFVs running and transported to points a and b. Its a pain in the ass. Not having the Vietnam old model M113 combat or upgraded M113A3 LIGHT TRACKED experiences (Vets retired, RIFed, 197th BDE with M113s in Gulf war switched over to BFVs and into 3d ID, NG units in hurry to keep up with active duty "Joneses" turning quality Mech-infantry M113A3 units for low-grade Armored infantry in BFVs) which are easy to maintain, can go anywhere to counter their lust for an easier way of life without track maintenance, the allure of a wheeled armored car hidden with erotic terms like "Light Armored Vehicle" offer us a Siren's song in war. We are about ready to throw the LIGHT TRACKED AFV "baby" out with the HEAVY tracked stinking bathwater in favor of a "cheap, sexy-looking barbie doll" that looks like a tank but can't operate like a tank in the face of enemy opposition.

We are letting our Gen-X/Y laziness get the better of us here. War is an extreme activitry, you can't liesurely go into it. You get what you pay for. You cut corners on wheels, you will pay for it in blood in a shooting war where the tires get hit. If its a peacekeeping operation, you might be able to get by if noone calls your "bluff".

The M113A3 is frankly maintenance free, its funny how in Army CALL you read of Combat engineers complaining about them being hard to maintain (they want BFVs so they can become mini-tankers, too) when the same vehicles in OPFOR BMP-3 disguise is touted as more mobile and maintainable than any other vehicle in the Army....Again, the differance between old vehicles as in service life and VEHICLE DESIGN.

The Lift "footprint" Gen Shinseki refers to are the trailers and trucks needed to move the HEAVY tracked vehicle force!!!! It is not needed for LIGHT tracks!!!! Don't throw out Light tracks with the Heavy Tracked vehicle bathwater!

Wild cards

Applique armor

LAV-lusters will say they could put applique' armor and side skirts...HEY! that was my idea as Mc 2LT in 1989...more armor, more weight on the over-taxed wheels, less x-country mobility...Side skirts that fold up for mud compaction avoidance, down for battle to protect the tires, my idea..again WEIGHT. The armored car is unsound for x-country mobility..weight is killing its very life blood.

In contrast, tracked M113A3s can be armored up like the IDF has done to a higher level of protection without mobility loss. We could easily have RPG and 30mm protection on a M113A3 using titanium applique' armor that would kill the LAV armored car's mobility to the same as the M113A3's on roads. In fact, the stress and overloading on the armored car of the extra weight will result in break downs as the Heavy armored HMMWVs are experiencing.

Technotactical tricks

Certainly, ACAV gunshields could be designed for LAVs, but they are not ready now off-the-shelf like the M113A3's are. Gen Shinseki wants the Air-transportable Medium Brigade up and running NOW. We could develop some sort of semi-solid kevlar tire that doesn't need air or cannot burn up in a fire. We can and we should get these for our wheeled trucks, anyway. But wheels are wheels. They simply do not grip the ground like track layers.


The irony of this all is that our light forces mobility solution has been staring in our faces for 4 decades now. The 82d Airborne division could have been airdropping M113s and doing the OMG-thing decades before the Russian Airborne did with its 8 ton BMD family of AFVs. The Chinook could have been designed to lift the M113 internally. Frankly, we simply have not gotten our heads together and put together the best forces possible. We can no longer afford to design forces in isolation of other branches and services. We must think BIG PICTURE.

We do not need to be wasting precious money on yet ANOTHER ARMORED CAR when we already have the 6x6 FOX NBC recon car, the 4x4 ASV-150, the 6x6 Padur for who knows whom!, the 8x8 DDGM LAV, and the 4x4 Armored HMMWVs!!! Thats 5 types of armored cars already in service!!! The U.S. Aarmy needs something in-between light armored cars on wheels and heavy tracks, THIS IS LIGHT TRACKED AFVs!!!! And the beauty of it is we ALREADY HAVE 4,000 M113A3s IN OUR POSESSION...which means MONEY CAN BE SPENT ON WEAPONRY AND ATTACHMENTS FOR THE M113A3 FAMILY, not "reinventing the wheel" literally.

Our money needs to be spent on things that will give us capabilities we don't have now; think Gen Percy Hobart's "funnies" from D-Day Normandy beach in WWII:

*90-105mm assault gun to replace what was lost when M551 Sheridan light tanks were retired and not replaced with the M8 Ridgway Armored Gun system as promised, we still need the M8 Ridgway AGS, too

*Assault ladder/boom capsule for delivering a fireteam to upper stories in MOUT

*Firefighting variant to put out fires in MOUT to avoid tragedies like Waco, SLA shoot out in LA, Operation MOVE in Philadelphia, Panama city, Cholon

*Battering ram variant

*Airborne Infantry carrier with ACAV gunshields, Javelin firing pedestals for shoot n scoot anti-armor capability...ASP-30 30mm autocannons...applique armor with space underneath as outside rucksack, ammunition, folding all-terrain bikes/carts, equipment stowage..infantry inside with Javelin fire/forget ATGms...

Conclusion: Tracks combat proven, armored cars disastrous

The combat history of the M113A3 is incredible, time after time it has saved the day on many a far flung battlefield the current generation which neither reads with comprehension (see the M113s leading the Aussies into East Timor from C-130s? or the Balkans patrolled by M113s as the M2/M1s sit parked by the road...) but the thin-skinned, wheeled LAV armored car is a different story. It only looks good as long as it doesn't get hit with fire, like the two Mc LAVs were literrally incinerated in the Gulf war with 11 men inside. All that was left were some axles. When a track" gets hit, it will usually absorb the damage and give the men inside a fighting chance to escape. Tracks don't become mobility kills from just small arms fire. Against a fighting foe, road bound wheeled armored cars litter the roads from Bastogne to Pusan and have kept our cemetaries full. Today's proponents say the wheeled armored car's 60 mph on roads versus the track's 45 mph will mean the differance between being hit by enemy fire or not being hit, when its the QUALITY OF MOBILITY that is the issue here. Tracked AFVs can boldly operate off roads and armored cars however good they are with multiple wheels, powerful engines etc AND NOT BE ON THAT ROAD TO BE ROAD KILL FOR THE ENEMY'S AMBUSHES. Yes, the Light wheeled armored car force can get to the battlefield faster by AIR than HEAVY tracked AFVs, but WHAT WILL IT DO WHEN ITS THERE? DIE IN PLACE WHEN THE ROADS ARE BLOCKED BY MINES AND OBSTACLES LIKE JUNKED CARS?

Its time we realize the diamonds we seek are in our own backyard---the M113A3 GAVIN AIRBORNE ARMORED FIGHTING VEHICLE----is the answer all along. Its time we respect this machine, THE GREATEST ARMORED VEHICLE OF ALL TIME, BAR NONE by naming it after one of the greatest Army Generals of all time--General James M. Gavin who proposed its creation in 1947 in his classic book, Airborne Warfare and his article "Cavalry, and we ain't talking horses" a few years later. Then when we start calling these vehicles "Gavins" and not the derogatory "PC" or "carrier" that we will see it as the war winning asset we need for today and the future.


Mike Sparks
1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)

4 YEARS??????????????? to get the Medium strike force in place?

This is total nonsense. Find out where all the M113A3 Gavins are that the North Carolina and other state National Guards turned in for BFVs, put them on trailers and drive them to Fort Polk, LA and outfit them with applique' armor and ACAV gunshields for the 2d ACR, and there is your "interim" Strike Force NOW. Put them on jump status to support the 82d Airborne Division NOW. Let's stop the National Guard from converting over completely to BFVs, and retain some M113A3 battalions on the east/west coast that can rapidly deploy/reinforce the active forces. Light division have 22,000 pound FMTV 2.5/5 ton trucks NOW. Which weighs more, 22,000 pound unarmored road-kill trucks or 22,000 pound M113A3s?

Next assign some of the XVIII Airborne Corps' 3d Infantry's M1064A3 120mm mortar M113A3 variants to jump status NOW to fire support for the 82d Airborne Division.

WHO is getting the Pandur 6x6 armored car and WHY? Now we have 4 armored cars in the U.S. military? The FOX NBC recon vehicle, the Army Security Vehicle (ASV-150), the LAV, and now the Pandur? Its 5 if you count the armored HMMWV. Where is all these whinings about "its too hard logistically to support another type of vehicle" that were used to kill the AGS in 1997?

Let's not waste 4 years making our minds up! Whatever we finally select make sure it AIR DROPS from a C-130 and that it is placed on forced-entry status for the 82d Airborne, I think the M8 Ridgway light tank is best. Together with the M113A3 and M1064A3 Gavins which are already bought and paid-for, you have a para-drop capable medium Strike force NOW with AIRBORNEmechanized warfare capabilities. One with tracks that will not get stuck in No-Go terrain or get their tires shredded by broken glass, rubble and burned off to the rims by fire.

And the 101st Air Assault Division should get an ultra-light AFV like the United Defense/Mak Wiesel 2 that fits INSIDE CH-47D helicopters or can be underslung a UH-60 Blackhawk to give it AIR ASSAULT mechanized capabilities.


Mike Sparks
1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)


Inside the Army; 4 October, 1999

According to sources familiar with Shinseki's concept . . .


As part of his new strategy to build medium-weight divisions into the Army force structure, Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki intends to stand up a complete, brigade-size Strike Force as soon as possible, service sources say. The Strike Force concept was first raised under Shinseki's predecessor, Gen. Dennis Reimer. Originally intended to be a complete fighting force unto itself, Reimer trimmed the idea down to a rapidly deployable headquarters that would call upon individual battalions already in existence to form its fighting element (Inside the Army, Nov. 16, 1998, p1).

Sources say that Shinseki will soon announce a return to the initial design of a wholly separate, medium-weight force, using the new organization as a springboard to build entire medium-weight divisions. According to Army officials, the reborn Strike Force will be about the size of a brigade, with three combat battalions, one support battalion, possibly a cavalry-type fourth fighting element, and extra components in order to make the force independent and self-sufficient for a certain period of time.

A source contrasts this set-up with the 82nd Airborne Division, which is self-sustaining for only 72 hours and is characterized as a two-mile-per-hour force. The Strike Force will take fewer than 100 airlift sorties to deploy, including its logistics tail, and should be in theater in less than a week's time, ready to engage when it enters, says a source. To meet these requirements, the service is looking at several faster, medium-weight vehicles, including the Pandur, the canceled Armored Gun System, the marine LAV and others (see related story).

Whichever platform is chosen must be C-130 deployable, which means several will fit into larger C-17 or C-5 airlifters. Among the Army's goals is to max out the "cube," or physical space inside the aircraft, before reaching its weight restriction, said one official. According to service officials, Shinseki wants to establish the medium-weight force during his tenure as chief, which if tradition holds should last four years. That leads one source to predict that the Strike Force will stand up within a year. This tight time frame will affect the choice of light armored vehicle to be fielded to the new element. For example, the Armored Gun System production line is cold and would require much effort to restart, he pointed out; this makes it a less likely candidate for the medium-weight force, the source contends.

"The Army will look around at something being made and bleed into that production line quickly," possibly altering a platform's basic design with different armaments more suited to the Strike Force mission, he stated. The Strike Force is just a prelude to a full-sized, medium-weight division, sources say. According to one source, Shinseki plans to ask for a 12,000-man increase in end strength to complete the new division. Officials state there will be more than one medium-weight division, and possibly as many as three in the near term. These will likely be phased in over time.

One source adds that a blueprint under discussion calls for no more standard heavy divisions by 2012. The heavy element is becoming technologically irrelevant while "lighter and faster" is moving into the spotlight, especially given the types of terrain (like the Balkans) in which the United States expects to be engaged, he stated.

"The purpose of heavy forces is because you like armor around you. But the technology for pure armor plate is being overcome by the technology for penetrating that armor plate," the source said. "If I'm going too fast for you to hit me though, I don't have to worry about how much armor I have." --

Erin Q. Winograd

LAV, Pandur, M113 variant also possibilities


As part of a review of future force structure, Army leaders are exploring whether the Armored Gun System would be a viable candidate to fill the service's near-term need for a lightweight combat vehicle, officials told Inside the Army.

In addition to restarting the AGS program, which was terminated three years ago by then-Army Chief of Staff Gen. Dennis Reimer, the service is also studying several other vehicles that are already fielded. These include the Light Armored Vehicle (LAV) used by the marine corps, the Pandur lightweight vehicles produced for the Kuwait National Guard, and a variant of the M113 armored personnel carrier, sources said.

The Army is looking at such vehicles as potential fire support platforms for light forces that deploy before heavy armor. Lt. Gen. Paul Kern, the service's top uniformed acquisition official, said at a combat vehicles conference last month the service was "looking very seriously around the world at what's there" in lighter vehicles. Kern said a near-term solution would possibly "plug that hole" until a more advanced Future Combat Vehicle is fielded (ITA, Sept. 27, p1).

The idea is just one of the many under scrutiny as Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki drafts his new strategy and modernization plan for the Army, Kern said. The last time the Army talked seriously about a lightweight vehicle was when it was developing AGS, which was intended as a replacement for the aging M551 Sheridan. AGS was proposed in the 1980s and featured a 105-millimeter cannon, ammunition autoloader and options for varying layers of armor protection. Like the lightweight vehicles the Army envisions at present, the tracked AGS was to fit aboard a C-130 and be lethal and survivable.

But after spending at least $200 million on its development, the service killed the program in January 1996 (ITA, Jan. 26, 1996, Special Report). Eliminating the AGS, which was developed by United Defense LP, freed more than $1 billion over the service's program objective memorandum to fund other cash-strapped programs. While the program was canceled, the requirement for a rapidly deployable vehicle with enough firepower to hold off opposing forces until the Army's Abrams tanks arrive remains.

The Army leadership has requested information on AGS from the ground combat and support systems program executive office, which formerly oversaw the program at Picatinny Arsenal, NJ, and Detroit Arsenal, MI, said PEO Maj. Gen. John Michitsch in an interview with ITA last week. Michitsch said there is no indication AGS is favored over the other systems under consideration.

"We're looking very broad brush, very top-level right now. Because I for one have not seen a requirements document that says this is what we want this system to do," Michitsch said.

"At the very, very macro level, the Army, they're saying, 'give us some data, tell us what's out there, give us some timelines and we'll try to make an informed decision.'"

Still, Michitsch acknowledged the AGS might be a good fit.

"It gives you the deployability. . . . It's got to be C-130-compatible and certainly you get that with the AGS,"

Michitsch said, adding "but you also get that with the other vehicles [that are being studied]. "It does give the first-to-fight guys, the light guys, a much greater capability than they have right now. Now they have very, very little, unless you're going to fly in the M1s to support them, or the Bradleys.

"It gives them a much greater initial warfighting capability until you can get the heavy forces in there," Michitsch added.

If the AGS requirements are outdated, there may be advancements that can now be applied to it. Anthony Sebasto of the Tank-Automotive and Armaments Command's Armor Research, Development and Engineering Center said at last month's combat vehicles conference that capabilities like digitization and precision-guided weapons may make a lightweight vehicle more relevant than it was just a few years ago.

"Back in the day when Armored Gun System was around, those technologies just weren't there. We didn't have digitization," Sebasto said. "Many of those techonologies that are here today . . . [make] these systems dramatically different." [Editor: BS. AGS was "around" just 2 years ago. Quit making excuses! HQDA made a mistake cancelling AGS]

The other vehicles identified share some attributes with AGS. The LAV features light-armor protection and a 25-mm gun. The marine corps chose the platform over some of its M1A1 tanks for operations in Yugoslavia because of the LAV's mobility and flexibility in diverse terrain, sister publication Inside the Navy reported in May.

The Army is looking specifically at the LAV-3, a version under production for Canada.

The Pandur is a C-130-deployable 6X6 vehicle. It features advanced armor and a quick-change power pack, and comes in variants that include 25-mm or 30-mm fighting vehicles, 90-mm fire support, Hellfire missiles, and other capabilities, states a contractor news release.

The Army entered a contract to purchase its first Pandurs in March. The service may order up to 50 vehicles for training and logistics support and testing, the release states. Pandur is being developed by AV Technology, which is a General Dynamics company, and Steyr-Daimler-Puch Spezialfahrzeug AG.

The M113 and its variants weigh about 12 tons. It is considered mobile and survivable, and is undergoing upgrades. The system is also targeted for the application of reactive armor tiles.

Several other lightweight vehicles were also said by sources to be under study by the Army. Michitsch said if the Army proceeds with procuring a vehicle, it is likely a competition will be held to select one. He estimated it could take four years before any vehicle could be fielded.

For AGS, the PEO provided information on three options for fielding the system: produce it as it was at the time the program was terminated; develop and insert new technologies; or field AGS as it is while developing additional technologies for future production and retrofitting. It was not known last week the cost implications of restarting the line. AGS did not enter production beyond the building of six prototypes.

Michitsch said he expects whatever Shinseki decides, he will want action sooner rather than later.

"My sensing is the chief wants to make a change on his reign," Michitsch said. "He may not see it in the field on his reign but he can certainly get it started."

Service officials are looking for Shinseki to discuss his plans in greater detail at the Association of the United States Army's annual conference later this month. -- Kim Burger

Defense Week
Sept. 20, 1999
Pg. 1

Army May Accelerate Fielding Of Medium Force

By Ron Laurenzo
In a move that would help yank the Army into the 21st century, the service may accelerate development of rapid-reaction forces that would be light enough to fly almost anywhere in the world and strong enough to defeat well-armed foes, sources said. In accord with a study ordered by new Chief of Staff Gen. Eric Shinseki to redefine the land service's strategic vision, some Army insiders believe the Army may announce a change in the focus of the service's Strike Force concept-its plan for a future medium force-next month.

"Shinseki is determined to get off the experiment bandwagon and do something for real, such as creating two or more medium-weight divisions from existing resources or as additional force structure," said a source, who asked not to be named. Shinseki would buy the equipment to build such a force as soon as possible, the source predicted, noting that the new chief would also focus on raising the top line of the Army's budget. Such a decision would reverse the Army's current plan of forming just a rapidly-deployable headquarters that would blend units from across the Army to deploy for specific missions. Instead, the focus would be on forming a fully equipped medium-weight force as soon as possible. That would significantly boost Army efforts to forge forces that are strategically effective in the post-Cold War world, where fast responses to a wide variety of threats-Haiti and Somalia to Kosovo and East Timor-are becoming the norm. Many observers see the new chief as a quiet man of action, intent on shaking up the Army and quickly shaping it into a force that will retain its lethal edge on future battlefields. With Shinseki at the helm, they are expecting real changes in a service seen as struggling against its conservative nature to adapt faster to the daunting readiness and modernization challenges posed by threats ranging from peacekeeping scuffles to a full-blown war in Korea.

"If Gen. Shinseki doesn't stand up and announce that we are building some medium-weight forces immediately, then he has either struck out or bunted at best," said a source on the Army staff. What the service needs is action, not more experiments and studies on how to field a medium-weight force, the Army source said, emphasizing that the service is unnecessarily complicating the task.

"This is our job, this is our profession," the source said. "We know how to do this, and this is not that hard." In the late Cold War, the Army's priority on bringing home soldiers alive led it to either wrap them in heavy armor or make them so light they could dig into the ground at a moment's notice.

"I think the Army is about ready to launch on a new azimuth in the middle there," the source said. "I know there a lot of people pushing it." Immediately after becoming chief of staff in June, Shinseki declared the Army must make its heavy forces more deployable and give lighter forces staying power. The Strike Force idea, unveiled last November, has been criticized for being oriented more toward studies at the Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) and less toward getting quick, effective results. Under the former chief, Gen. Dennis Reimer, the Army had decided it would concentrate first on setting up a Strike Force headquarters and leave for the future setting up permanent, fully staffed forces. In February, Reimer announced the headquarters would be ready by early 2000. Shinseki's strategic revision has put Strike Force experimentation on hold, and Army sources said new assignments to the force's staff at Fort Polk, La., have been frozen pending a major statement to be made in October at the annual Association of the United States Army convention. Spokesmen at TRADOC referred questions about Strike Force staffing to Army headquarters in the Pentagon. Officials confirmed that staff assignments to the Strike Force headquarters had been frozen, but emphasized the Army is not killing Strike Force.

"The Strike Force is in the midst of a structured developmental process in which we make adjustments as we move forward with the program," said an Army spokesman. "The results of the ongoing detailed analysis, and the chief of staff's strategic vision, will determine future implementation schedules." A medium force could take various shapes, and land-warfare experts believe it could be equipped out of the Army's current inventory. Despite some experimenting with the 9th Motorized Infantry Division in the 1980s, the Army has not had medium forces since World War II.

In a paper prepared last year for the Army War College's Strategic Studies Institute, John Gordon and Peter Wilson define medium as having vehicles light enough that four to 12 fit on a single C-5 or C-17 flight. A brigade-sized medium task force, around 5,000 troops, could deploy on 100 C-5 or C-17 sorties. By comparison, either of those aircraft can lift only a single Abrams main battle tank at a time.

A medium force-referred to by Gordon and Wilson as "aero-motor"-would have much greater firepower and mobility than light infantry-defined as guys whose transportation is their feet. There is a wide variety of vehicles, from humvees to armored personnel carriers that weigh under 20 tons, suitable for such a force. Some of the vehicles offer protection from machine-gun fire and shrapnel. Others rely on speed for protection or make it easy for their occupants to jump out and take cover. This force would be able to operate in an environment contaminated by nuclear, chemical or biological weapons. It would pack a serious punch with its towed 155mm artillery, high mobility artillery rockets (HIMARs)-a lighter version of the formidable Multiple Launch Rocket System-its own attack helicopters and digital links to other assets, including Air Force and Navy firepower.

"If we have to go toe-to-toe with enemy tanks, that's when we call in the attack helicopters, that's when we call in the United States Air Force," the Army staff source said. While lacking the pure shock value of a force of 70-ton Abrams tanks racing forward with their 120mm cannons blazing, a medium unit would still pack a wallop. Other weapons already in the force, like the highly lethal, man-portable Javelin antitank missile would probably make enemy tankers think twice before getting too close.

"If I've got a motorized force that has a bunch of Javelins in it ... you throw in HIMARS and Apaches and all this other stuff, and the other guy is going to be in a world of hurt," the source said.

Col. Schenk is in charge of the new Army BCT vehicle selection process. He is already "tap-dancing" with performance data to obscure the issues so come September 4th they can crown a wheeled armored car as the "winner". This relativity equating wheels/tracks are equal is the result of tracks actually out-performing wheels and is a rear guard action to maneuver the Army into position where they can still justify themselves selecting a wheeled armored car. I bet the decision delay is so they can have more time to "spin" stories so they can declare their favored armored car type the "winner".

Army Times
Published: 07-24-00
Category: THIS WEEK
Page: 14

Wheels Vs. Tracks: No Difference Found By Sean D. Naylor

In their search to pick a vehicle for the Army's new medium-weight brigades, evaluators found "no discernible difference" in the performance of wheeled and tracked systems.

The Army is evaluating vehicles in a competition to equip five to eight medium-weight interim brigades with an interim armored vehicle (IAV) as part of the service's "transformation" to a lighter, more mobile force.

The issue of whether the brigades should be equipped with wheeled or tracked vehicles has become highly contentious, both inside and outside the Army. But according to Col. (P) Donald Schenk, the program manager in charge of equipping the interim brigade combat teams, long-term maintenance costs and a contractor's ability to meet the Army's demanding schedule may have as much influence over the decision as performance in the field.

Speaking at a July 10 Pentagon press conference, Schenk said evaluations at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., are 99 percent completed, and there had not been "huge differences in performance" between the wheeled candidates and those with tracks.

"We have not seen huge differences in performance between a wheeled vehicle or a tracked vehicle," Schenk said. "Each has its own merits."

Schenk said the Army was evaluating the vehicles in five areas: schedule, performance, supportability, price/cost, and management. Schedule and performance areas were the most important, he said.

The IAV competition may yield two winners. The Army will equip its interim brigades with 10 variants of the armored vehicle. At least nine of those, including the mortar carrier and ambulance, will be on one of the four chassis being tested at Aberdeen. But Army officials may choose to buy the mobile gun system separately, Schenk said.

All the vehicles in the competition have enough room to accommodate at least the required 11 Soldiers, Schenk said.

To gauge each vehicle's mobility, Schenk said the Army had organized "a very, very detailed evaluation" using all of Aberdeen's test facilities. "We looked at cross-country mobility, mobility across urban rubble, mobility through representative obstacles that we would experience in city terrain, [and] we looked at endurance," he said. "We did not notice any marked difference in performance on a wheeled or tracked basis."

In addition, "you don't get any advantage on weight whether it's wheel or track," Schenk noted.

While the performance evaluation is almost complete, Schenk said he and his team still have a lot of work to do studying the life cycle costs of the different vehicles. It is here that a difference may emerge, he said.

"You may receive an advantage [between wheels and tracks] in life cycle costs. That evaluation is still ongoing."

Schenk told reporters after the press conference that he planned to announce the winner of the competition by Labor Day, which falls on Sept. 4.

The Army is establishing the first two medium-weight brigades at Fort Lewis, Wash. The first of these brigades will be operational by the end of 2001, said Maj. Gen. James Dubik, deputy commanding general for transformation at Training and Doctrine Command.

Dubik cited the 1989 invasion of Panama and the 1994 intervention in Haiti as operations that the medium-weight brigades could have conducted as the sole component of a joint task force.

The service has enough money programmed to field a total of six such brigades. "We are still working with the Department of Defense to see if that's the right solution," said Maj. Gen. Robert St. Onge, the outgoing director of strategy, plans and policy in the office of Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans Lt. Gen. Larry Ellis.

The Army has already canceled some weapons procurement programs and sharply reduced the number of Crusader howitzers it plans to buy in order to fund the transformation. But Army budget experts say more cuts are coming.


An 82d Airborne Paratrooper writes:

"No need to preach to the choir on that. You converted me already. I am a simple guy, tell me that my wheels will get busted or caught on fire, or shot out by 30mm from a mile away...I am sold...hehe.


An 101st Air Assault Division Infantry Company commander writes:

"Another factor in the M113's favor is its usefulness in a logistics role, especially in a MOUT situation. LTC Les Grau wrote a great piece on Russian logistics in Chechnya in the most recent marine corps Gazette. One of the factors that continued to emerge was the need to have your CSS assets under armor both to get the beans and bullets in and to extricate the wounded. You can't bring in dust-off in MOUT. The Russians tried to and paid for it. I saw it at JRTC at Shugart-Gordon. My BDE would have lost its entire Air Ambulance element had it been a real city fight.

Heavy forces still use it as a maintenance track, 1SG vehicle, and ambulance. If it works for them it should work for the light/medium forces."

A noted tactician and military reformer writes:

"Are you saying that they want to get rid of ALL tracked vehicles? That sounds too insane even for the DoD. As you know, the main reason for using tracks is to distribute a vehicle's weight over a larger area. Something as heavy as heavy as an MBT, engineering vehicle or SP gun would need LOTS and LOTS of wheels just to avoid sinking into the ground."

An Army intelligence officer writes:

"This is nuts! Do we enjoy having artillery that is outranged by everything out there? Do we really want to go nose to nose with a wheeled toy tank versus an older, but effective T-80? It's nice to get there in a hurry, but then you need combat power! By the way, I don't see the logistics side of this thing. It looks to me as if we aren't carrying that much ammo and far less reload capability. If you want to see part of the problem with going light, look in the October MARINE CORPS GAZETTE on urban log in Grozny."

An Army Infantry LTC writes:

"Great Mike, we need to 'invoke' the spirit of Gen Gavin, Galvin's mentor I believe. Thanks, we've primed the pump. Gen Galvin was an enlisted Soldier and Guardsman, and you could further relate that with him.

I'll follow on with the ATV Dragoons, but the APC is a good place to start, since we could 'invoke' the name for an M113A4, call it the GAVIN, and digitize it, ACAV it, and make it the medium force AFV we desperately need. I vividly remember hauling one to Grafenwoehr, sitting with it in a C-130."

A noted weapons system analyst writes:

History Repeats: We lack historical perspective!

"The wheel versus track debate is over. It's been over for many years but like the frontal assault, whenever immediate solutions are necessary, wheels are always the first option. I consider the whole debate very close to the 60mm versus 81mm mortar debate. In peace time the 60mm works much better, in war we always use the 81mm. Wheels take up more space and can't be airlifted as easily as tracks, they are less survivable (in real wars) and will always have more terrain limitations than tracks.

The idea of making even a ten wheel vehicle that will be as reliable as a track is ridiculous. It's only advantage will be road speed (interstate speed if you like). The number of parts will increase with each driven wheel, which translates into more maintenance and more chance for a breakdown. The added weight of a multi-wheeled vehicle makes it's weight comparable to tracked vehicles. As a matter of fact, if any of the wheeled PCs currently in production have the same armaments and protection (armor) as any of the tracked PCs, they are much heavier. I'm listing some of the weights and crew-dismount numbers below. I've listed the best of the wheeled PCs (in my opinion) and the typical tracked PCs.

BTR-80 (wheeled) 25,000 lbs. Crew 2+8 dismounts

Good vehicle, very reliable and has protection from up to 12.7mm MG in the front slope. The rest of the vehicle is penetrated by just about anything. In Chechnya this thing was a death trap. All the pictures of the 93-94 fighting in that country showed the dismounts staying in the vehicle (barbecue anyone). In the latest round of fighting everyone rides outside.

LAV-25 (wheeled) 28,200 lbs. Crew 3+4 dismounts

This is the Marine's idea of a PC. Another death trap. It can be penetrated by 12.7 mm MG anywhere and 7.62 will penetrate if in most places. Although it had some transmission problems early on, it's supposed to be reliable now. This is one of those military marvels which will always look good on the History Channel but will be quietly retired during a war.

BMP-2/3 (Tracked) 31,000 lbs. Crew 3+7 dismounts

Another Russian, good idea. They are being used extensively in the latest Chechnya mess. Has good armor protection from everything up to 20mm cannon and will withstand hits from RPGs in the front. It usually carries a 30 mm cannon and ATGM. The BMP-3 has a 100mm main gun in addition to this and water jet propulsion to swim from landing craft to shore and cross rivers/lakes.

Great cross country mobility and very simple.

M113A3 Gavin (tracked) 23,750 lbs. Crew 2+11 dismounts

Mike's already beat this drum enough, but let me make a few points about the '113. The number of options is unlimited and the reliability is the best in the American inventory. We have used this vehicle for everything already and that's makes every other option more expensive. This is cheap and smart. I've never seen a vehicle so easy to take care of as the '113. If someone had problems with it they were not trying. The ones we had in my unit were taken care of by one man (me) and were simpler than most cars. The protection is great in the '113A3. It will stop anything up to a 30mm and RPG.

M113 Gavin ACAV leading a M551 Sheridan through the jungles and rice paddies of Vietnam--low ground pressure by light tracked tanks!

In Vietnam the '113 was capable of going anywhere. The M551 was forced to follow the '113. The '114 was sent home because it couldn't climb the dike walls in rice paddies. No vehicle could go as many places as the '113 in that war. That's why it was used for everything.

If you look at the weight, protection and armaments of the vehicles I've listed it's clear that there is only one choice.

That's the '113A3. Too bad, because it really isn't my favorite. I would choose the BMP mixed with the BMD. But I realize that's not reality. Only the '113 is in the inventory, can be configured with off-the-shelf fixes and be maintained very easily."

An Infantry officer writes:

"Damn right Mike, the 11ACR ACAV is the right way to go, it worked in Nam, and call it the GAVIN, M113A4, digitized, enhanced, etc. If we can give names to M1 and M2, doesn't the lowly M113 deserve something??

FYI, I recall the day when I was at Fort Hood, young 1LT XXXXX was asked to be on XM1 project or become an assistant S3 for 2/1CAV, I took the latter and learned about OPERATIONS rather than counting tank rounds down range.

Now I'm dealing with the 70-ton creatures again, spawned in 1981.

Revamping the APC would be a no-brainer, cost-effective winner, and the CSA could really shine on that. He should KNOW about ACAV, being a NAM armor guy."

Let's press hard on this, because a GAVIN APC (some project officer might even get a medal!) would be an ideal 'attention' getter for Air Mech Strike doctrine, ATVs, etc. We need to take the lead and get General Gavin recognition.

It's about time for the Airborne/Air Assault community to be recognized, Abrams and Bradley were WWII heavy dudes, how about the Ridgway's, Taylor and Gavin's????"

An Army Major at HQDA writes:

"Agree with some part of what you are saying but much is your opinion and will not comment on it. Read a book by Mike Doubler "Closing With the Enemy". Good book about WWII tactics (concepts are still valid). It is not a book full of fluff.

Point: adaptive (doctrine) and flexible employment of all assets available is the way to win. Each situation must be approached with careful thought and preparation.

What single U.S. weapon did the Germans lodge a complaint about being use in urban warfare as inhuman? Hint it was never developed with even the remote idea of being used as an urban warfare system. Also, the weapon was used in its combat self defense or secondary role. What wins is Soldiers that think and do and leaders that support them. Read and enjoy!

Interesting Web site.

My reply:

Dear Sir,

I'd have to say ADA guns used in urban combat....problem is today ADA Branch is dead set against helping the ground war. You should see the troubles we have trying to get ADA Branch to move along with the ground forces and not drain away ground combat power trying to defend them in static positions:


Here is another of my ideas for adaptive TTP:


However, FORCE STRUCTURE has to be fixed! There is a limit to the miracles you can improvise without having to use up your manpower/valor.

NOW is the time to fix our force structure and squeeze out every ounce of power and flexibility from it. As brilliant as you can be you will not be able to move 70 ton tanks by helicopters.



A staff officer writes:

"Oh and by the way if you do deploy a force by air can you support it? Most of the lift requirement is not the teeth but the tail.

You have some interesting ideas. Many points that you make have been considered. Other statements are understandable but there is some information that you have not considered perhaps it is not available to you.

The most important thing that you have over looked is what is the evolving doctrine that requires this change. The M-1 and BFV can stand toe-to-toe with any force in the world and win and win big. So why change? What is the new mission if not standing toe-to-toe?

Work calls."

An infantry LTC writes:

"Read Major XXXXXXX's comments(I think I know him from XXXXXXXX, if he's the same XXXXXXXXX XXXXXXXXXXX I knew, and he's ARMOR, sorry Mike if it is him), and he doesn't get it.

Yes, toe-to-toe in desert or European battlefield, Fulda Gap, we can win maybe (what about dedicated leadership too, not just high-tek toy, 70-ton behemoths), but we're in both symetrical and ASYMETRICAL warfare - the enemy will attack AWAY from our strengths. What about MOOTW, MOUT, WMD, Raid/NBC units - M1/M2 have there place, but we're in new paradigm. I thought they reflected on this in CGSC where all good Majors go to school - I wonder, since Major XXXXX must have graduated CGSC.

Tracks and wheels both have there place, neither is a total solution, and it is far too simplistic to place complete trust in one or the other.

Having heavy, light AND medium forces provides us flexiblity and versatility. I'd love to debate these guys in person, us 'Citizen-Soldiers' understand the big picture, but the BELTWAY BUGGERS can't acknowledge us innovative Americans. What are they thinking back there - We Are the People, citizen-soldiers, and that was what made our Army great. Citizen-Soldiers is also book by Stephen Ambrose, covers from about 10 Jun 44 to VE Day in ETO."

A Defense Analyst writes:

"This just leapt out at me. It's the problem with his beliefs.

'Point: adaptive (doctrine) and flexible employment of all assets available is the way to win. Each situation must be approached with careful thought and preparation.'

The problem here is the infinite time and resources paradigm. It isn't just him, it's our whole staff and GOM at work. We can not will the M1 and the M2 to magically cross the waters and appear in our ranks. They have to be transported, where needed. We can not preposition our equipment in every part of the world. We don't have that much equipment. We will have to move quickly into places that we did not foresee war in. Even if we do plan correctly our enemies are not fools. Didn't you tell me that you have been to Diego Garcia. What would it take to knock that over?

He should ask himself how much time and thought we could give to an invasion of Taiwan, Kosovo or Lithuania. Not much, say I. He is really talking about attrition warfare. Take your time, mobilize and gear up our industry. I know he doesn't see it that way. He believes that careful thought will cover all situations. It won't. The fact is your enemies are smart enough to do what you don't expect and make the road to response, difficult and dangerous. Patton was appalled by the talk and think and plan attitude of SHAEF, it killed many Soldiers. Maybe you could send him the John Boyd piece on OODA Loops. I guarantee that it wouldn't take the Chinese long to get inside his decision cycle.

I don't support lightly, heavy or medium forces, I support deployable forces. You can only dance if you can get to the ball and the ball only lasts so long. If you are going to decide to go, you better do it before it's over. That may require some hasty decisions."

A war futurist writes:


I can't make anymore relevant comment than what you have already written. I will be interested to see what his reply is. I suspect he won't. And as for standing toe-to-toe, what happens when we fight the Chinese who have 3 times as many AT systems (number of units is a state secret) as we have. As I've said in the past, I doubt we would have been successful in Europe. DS was a fantasy win.

P.S. Many of the same things Maj. XXXXX said about our strengths now were also said in early 1950. All the congressional debates of the late forties had to do with our supposed world beating superiority. We had no equal, so why change?"

A 1st TSG (A) member writes:

"I keep thinking of Patton's saying, [I honestly know the ground and the subject so well, I have no need for long discussions]. More than likely the speed of events will dictate that you go on so called, 'instinct', or you will lose! My instincts tell me that the heavy forces are wrong. Those instincts are not pulled out of my ass, they come from years of study of the same old problems.

I wish he would get a little more specific about your opinions. Maybe some of the things on your web site are opinions, but they seem rather well documented."

A DA civilian writes:

"I read with interest your discussion of the M-113 "Gavin" AFV. There might be a better option available in a current production vehicle. There is an M-113 variant called the Egyptian Infantry Fighting Vehicle, which uses a more powerful engine, and mounts a turret similar to the one on the Bradley, with 25mm gun and dual TOW launcher. This should still be airdroppable, and would be more versatile than the ACAV styled vehicle with the .50 cal and the 106mm RR. The company that makes the M-113 has a web site, and a description of the various upgrades available. Several of these off-the-shelf AFV's would be valuable to our Airborne forces. Perhaps with a new administration, which may view our warriors with something other than contempt, some necessary reforms will be possible.

Anyway , check out the web site at http://www.m113.com, and look at what's out there. I DO thoroughly approve of naming a future Airborne specific AFV after General Gavin, though.

Keep the faith,"

An Army Combat Developer writes:

"You are close, but you missed the bullseye.

The problem is that nobody has calculated actual consumption of support and logistics. Instead, they simply lament the high fuel consumption of a few tanks. Even if you get rid of the Abrams, you still need some 70-80% of the logistics you needed before. You are still feeding and maintaining 15,000-20,000 Soldiers, and you are fueling their trucks and generators, and providing showers and baths and laundry, and all of the trucks and infrastructure that is involved in that. You are still providing ammo, and it has grown exponentially. TOWs, Dragons, Javelins, 40mm GMG, all are bulky and heavy. 155mm and MLRS artillery are still needed, as are mines and demolitions and bridging. Then there is the aviation brigade, which eats fuel and ammo (tonnage) faster than any tank brigade. And since all of this stuff is now "light," it must displace more often, which burns still more fuel. Don't forget our doctrine that says we will occupy these huge battlespaces. Then add in the silly twaddle about resupplying units by air, and even worse, with "just in time" delivery from CONUS, and your consumption of fuel and resources goes up still more. The "medium-weight" force will be consuming more than the current "heavy-weight" one we have today."

Yes, we can trim a lot of this down through more austere operations (forget about delivering goody-packages and video-messages from home and providing players in troop areas like we did in Desert Shield), but that applies across-the-board regardless of heavy, medium, or light. But to fix the problem, we have to address the problem, not just latch on to the convenient "quick fix" of attacking the 300 or so tanks in a division while ignoring the thousands of other vehicles and hundreds of aircraft".

A National Guard officer writes:

"I believe a digitized, overpressure NBC system 'M113A4' Gavin would be relevant to country and especially urban situations, and many Guard units still have the ol' APC. Good for MOUT, MOOTW and medium forces as put out by new CSA"

A Combat Engineer writes:

"I am in the Guard and I drive a M113 Gavin for an engineer unit. I read up on all the upgrades for the 113 and wonder why the hell the Army doesn't commit to it. Why push for Bradleys when a 113 can do it for less. Look at the Danes and their 113's equipped with dozer blades and small cranes. We should have that! Have the .50 cal's with turrets so the gunner doesn't get killed. Better yet, adopt the Singapore design where a 40mm and a .50 cal are mounted side-to-side. A couple of gunports, just like the Italian Army and its 113's are modified would let the Soldier get a peek outdoors before stepping out would be nice. I like the 113, but it needs to be modernized not replaced. There are countless other items that you have accurately suggested on your site that need to be addressed. Another idea which I read in an Armor magazine took the Israeli idea of taking the turrets off M48 and M60 tanks and using the hulls as a heavy APC for engineers. I have had to tow a MICLIC to the firing range and let me tell you, that damn trailer is heavy. A heavy APC like the M60 could tow 5 MICLIC's without batting an eye and in safety.