Sunday, July 02, 2017

What's the Point?

The Army wants light tanks for infantry brigades:

The U.S. Army’s plan to procure effective Mobile Protected Firepower for infantry brigade combat teams will enter a high-speed track in 2018 as it skips the technology development phase in favor of commercial off-the-shelf options, according to the Program Executive Office for Ground Combat Vehicles. ...

The requirement for MPF to provide infantry brigade combat teams a protected, long-range, cyber resilient, precision, direct-fire capability for early or forcible entry operations was first laid out in the Army’s combat vehicle modernization strategy released in October 2015.
Why bother? Why not attach tank companies or tank-mechanized teams to the infantry brigades? (Dare I hope for a battalion or task force?) We have a lot of Abrams tanks with very few in the actual force pool of units. Use them.

Do we forget what we might face?

Seriously, if I was an infantryman who wanted direct protected fire support for any role let alone an early entry mission, I'd want the Abrams main battle tank in front of me.

Sure, wheeled Stryker infantry might have benefited from wheeled protected firepower to match their speed and quietness during the Iraq War COIN phase, but that period is over. Now we worry about the Russians in Europe. And even the Strykers there are to be up-gunned. And that isn't enough.

The only reason to have light tanks now is to airdrop or airlift them. It is a niche capability that shouldn't suck up resources.

On the bright side, as I noted in the older post and as the new article says, off-the-shelf vehicles would be the way to go given the small numbers needed.

But I still think that infantry units should just use tanks that we already have.