Friday, May 01, 2015

Strategic Mobility and Lethality and Survivability--Oh My!

We want our European Stryker infantry carriers to have more firepower:

In brief, the 2nd Cavalry wants some 81 of its eight-wheel-drive Stryker infantry carrier vehicles fitted with 30 millimeter automatic cannon. 30 mm is more than twice the caliber of the 12.7 mm machineguns those Strykers currently mount. It’s actually a bigger weapon than the notoriously destructive 25 mm chaingun on the much heavier M2 Bradley infantry carrier.

This effort pre-dates Russia's Ukraine aggression, however, reflecting the reality that the Stryker is not built for combat against mechanized enemies.

My worries go back to the beginning, as that post notes.

A real reaction to Russia's Ukraine adventure and the need to reassure our eastern-most NATO allies about Russia would add anti-tank missiles as well as a 30mm auto-cannon to the Stryker.

Since the 105mm version of the Stryker isn't working out as hoped, anti-tank missiles become even more important if these units are to survive high-intensity combat.

Hell, add a company of M-1 tanks to each Stryker brigade.

Which should be an obvious option. Perhaps it isn't because delusion still stalks the halls of the Pentagon:

With the national strategy emphasizing crisis response and “expeditionary” forces, the Army is increasingly looking for armored vehicles light enough to rapidly deploy by air — but still heavily armed enough to fight on arrival.

Light enough to fly and lethal enough to kill tanks? And survivable enough, too, I assume.

Once again, let me explain the facts: the wonder tank will not be built. You can find my 2002 article on this issue, "Equipping the Objective Force," in Military Review.

I thought that our experience in the Iraq War disabused us of the notion that heavy armor is obsolete. But here we go again.

But then again, before the Iraq War, I thought the Persian Gulf War (Desert Storm) taught us the lesson of heavy armor's value even as we first pursued the wonder tank:

The single-minded focus on speed in deployment logically led to criticism of our heavy divisions and the determination to replace heavy armor as the core of our war winning forces. Decisive battlefield victory in Desert Storm appeared to give us the luxury of discounting heavy armor. The heavy forces that smashed their way into southern Iraq are now judged dinosaurs unable to reach a theater in time to do any good. Task Force Hawk's lengthy deployment confirmed this lesson and reinforced the trend to lighten the Army. Surely, the theory goes, our vehicles can be lighter and still deliver victory if we compensate with other advances. This lesson assumes overwhelming victory as a constant in the equation and holds that the only thing left to do is speed up the process to get a better result. Victory is not a given. The lighter forces that result will need to replicate VII Corps' clenched fist driving into the Republican Guards with smaller fingers poking the enemy individually as they arrive. We believe technology will allow this to work. We shall see.

The Army site, Stand-To!, even linked to it in the March 20, 2006, issue.

It's deja vu, all over again. Hell, in regard to our heavy forces I wish we prepared for the last war at this point.