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R&D Solution    

     Thanks for bashing the R&D crowd.  Take LANDWARRIOR II and OICW.  They talk the talk but don't walk the walk, you know?  "Treat the infantryman as a weapons system..."  If that meant anything at all, it meant moving all those programs to Fort Benning and creating a PM-INFANTRY (Program Manager) at Brigadier General O-7.   Body armor, gas masks, chemical suits, laser protective visor, weapons, LAND WARRIOR II, all of it.

    If I were Commandant and Infantry Branch Chief, I'd put PM-Infantry at a desk in the corner of my office where I could see him at all times.  And I'd make him come to work wearing all that ill-fitting and conflicting gear:
      "Uncomfortable in your helmet, mask, laser visor, armor, chem suit, LANDWARRIOR II, OICW and LBE today, Gin'ral?  I said before, feel free to produce something more ergonomic for yourself and 45,000 other soldiers...  Now if you don't mind some advice from your rater, I suggest looking into integrating that helmet, mask and laser visor for starters.  You could also lose some weight and save this great Army money by consolidating the OICW and Land Warrior batteries into one unit. " 
    "Say what?  I think you're right Gin'ral.  There is redundant weight and duplication of function in the OICW and LW electronics.  I'm sorry, would you please repeat that, Gin'ral?  Your gas mask muffles your voice, suh.  Yes suh, I'm with you on that one too.  There's absolutely no reason the armor vest and LBE can't be integrated into a single entity for a better fit.   Now, did that engineer call back yet about those lighter ballistic plate inserts?  You remember I'm expecting you to have upper arm and leg armor ready in 18 months with no increase in total weight.
    .....Gin'ral, puh-lease stop cursing all those fine folks at Natick, Picatinny and that previous Fort Monroe colonel running Land Warrior.    It's unseemly in an officer of your rank.  Not a one of them had the benefit of your combined perspective...  The laser visor, helmet, chemical protection, armor, OICW  and LBE people, every last one of them did the very best job they could on their individual projects."
    I would have fun.

                                                           Mark Gallmeier


There are great government scientists 

     Needless to say, I am offended.  While you raise valid points in the editorial, those points are lost in the sweeping derogatory comments you make about the R&D community, especially in the government and corporate labs.  The notion that government labs attract only those that are concerned about job security is patently false and offensive.  Every single research project that I am involved with has to map out a clear 'transition' path and in some cases receive endorsements from PMA's  in order to go forward.  Much of what I work on is novel technology that advances the state of the art AND can be immediately applied to Navy programs.  An example of a program here at China Lake is the DAMASK program, a resounding leap forward in PGM's using COTS technology.

     However the sticking point is the bureaucracy, and not the researchers.  Do not lump the hard working scientists and engineers who work for the government into the same pot as the' R&D racketeers' who waste taxpayer funds.

Alan J Van Nevel, PhD
Research Physicist
Naval Air Warfare Center, Weapons Division
China Lake CA

Ed. China Lake is well known as one of America's top research facilities, possibly because few top level bureaucrats visit them in the remote desert to tell them how do things.


LW155 howitzer design is impossible

      I think they are trying to put 5 kilos into a 2 kilo bag with the LW 155.  Unless there is a way to DRAMATICALLY (like 70% or better) reduce recoil forces, it won't work.  The physics doesn't allow it.  If you have a much longer path of recoil, plus a half-barrel length of additional muzzle brakes, it might be feasible.  But the recoil path length is limited to where the first muzzle brake flange starts.  And to add weight in the recoil system or the barrel means more stress on the frame, which is what I think cracked on the test gun.  

     Something has to absorb recoil; distance, mass, friction, hydraulics, springs, or machinery must be used, or the weapon becomes unusable due to a violent collision with reality.   The concept is the same whether firing a .22 or a .50 cal rifle, or a howitzer. The only possible solution I see is using RAP/BB rounds with a lower powder charge, to get what you have now for range.  Now you have added cost per round, another weapons system in the inventory with all its spare parts AND the need to develop both computer programs and manual means to calculate the date to fire the new projectiles accurately.  All this is a real boondoggle and a waste of money just to stay in place.

     Go with a 105mm RO L-7 3x6 howitzer battalion as direct support of the BCT, a  6 launcher HIMARS battery and an AMOS twin 120mm mortar battery with 12 gun vehicles.  Put a rack with 3 17-tube 70mm rocket pods on each AMOS turret roof for rapid area suppression missions.  The 70mm rockets are short range surge firepower, the AMOS mortars are additional indirect/direct fires for the supported unit, HIMARS is the long-range/high value target/counterfire asset and a 6-gun 155mm SP battery is general support for the BCT.  Unless you can mount turreted 105mm or 155mm howitzers on an MLRS  XM1108 launcher chassis and use M113A3s as the basic BCT vehicle, the limits of a wheeled BCT are going to become obvious rapidly.  It will start to resemble Groupment Mobile 100 on Highway 19, even with air cover.  You have to absorb energy somewhere, or go with something smaller.

The famous maxim of Og the Cave Man holds true (translated from the Late Northern Neanderhal): "No matter how much loco weed you eat, big rock not gonna move by waving arms."  One must take into account reality every now and then.

Note:  The magic numbers on LW155 howitzer range are to match the Soviet guns which can reach that far.  Guns reach further than howitzers of the same bore diameter, due to longer barrels.  The Soviets outranged NATO by several kilometers per light, medium or heavy gun caliber, which would have made the counterfire fight rather dicey.

                                                                Larry Altersitz

Body Armor and Utility Blouse

      As a Marine who has deployed to hot climates, I can attest that body armor worn over the utility blouse is hot.  The Generals don't let us shed the blouse and just wear the vest over a T-shirt because it looks too casual on TV.   What occurred to me EVERY DAY is why the utility blouse?  We always have to wear body armor in combat zones, so why have four useless pockets on a light jacket underneath?  Just add some durable denim sleeves to the body armor vest and leave the utility blouse back in garrison.

                                                      Hank Malanowski

HV-22 Canceled

     Editor update on February V-22 story.  The Navy has canceled plans to buy 48 HV-22s as part of the Marine Corps' planned buy of 348 MV-22s.  Apparently, Navy leaders learned of a near 1999 crash during shipboard testing when a V-22 almost flipped over.  The tests revealed that the V-22 tilt-rotor must approach and depart ships on a straight heading because if one rotor is over the deck while the other is off the side, it immediately wants to flip over.  The Navy plans to buy more new MH-60S Knighthawks (formerly the CH-60).  The recent movie "A Perfect Storm" demonstrates the toughness and stability of the H-60 design; the V-22 is a "fair weather" bird.