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M113 Upgrades is all the Army needs
Mike Sparks came up with one really good point (always listen to NCO's). If Shinseki wants medium brigades then reviving and PIPing the M113 is the way to go (e.g. upgrade to A3s). I was a Mech PL in Korea in 81-83. Got some good photos of M113's on really rough terrain if you want them. Now if you want to make a 'Medium" force more deployable, then give each platoon just two M113's and two HMMWV trucks. That would cut down on maintenance and logistics overhead, give each infantry platoon two solid bases for fire support, and also two vehicles to handle self resupply from distances of 15-30km. It would also be self-mobile.
I don't see it listed anymore but in 1981 we had M113 ring mounted pintles for the DRAGONS. It made it REALLY stable (no gunner induced oscillation) and increased accuracy and range since the rocket side thrusters weren't burned up by the gunner constantly making corrections from his previous jerks.
I also did a tour in the 101st from 1983-1986. Don't be fooled. That organization is as heavy to move and sustain as any other "heavy division". It's essentially an armored division whose tanks fly instead of rolling on tracks.
But mostly ALL this stuff is obsolescing and there's been brain death in new ideas. Infantry body armor is already here and it's getting harder by the day. The bureaucracy is behind the power curve as always. They aren't even considering how to attack through that stuff. Below 14.7mm the current .300 Winchester Magnum sniper rifle based on the 700 BDL is the only dependable penetrator and that's already real marginal.
Land Warrior showed that brain death, too. They had no underlying strategic/tactical vision. What they had were TOEs left by giants like Generals E.C. "Shy" Meyer and Don Starry, a changed world situation and rapidly evolving outside technology. So they basically threw jello at a wall to see what stuck. Nothing did. I paper trailed LW's saga from 91-98. Now I disagreed with its focus, but that's irrelevant. Here's worst thing I observed: it took Congressional rejection BEFORE these idiots wrote an email to DARPA to tell them lightweight battery/power supply technology is now in the critical path. Even within their own conception and goals that's unbelievable incompetence.
New Ground Combat Weapons
I'm in the Air National Guard now, and I like your personal gear improvements. On to the point. I think that the Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) now used by the Navy would be an excellent upgrade over Stingers on the Avenger. The RAM uses the fuselage and warhead of the Sidewinder paired with the seeker of the Stinger, and they are tube-launched. The Navy uses them for missile defense on some of their ships. The Navy website has more details on them - http://www.chinfo.navy.mil/navpalib/factfile/missiles/wep-ram.html
Additionally, combined with the right radar back-up, they would probably work well for battlefield defense against missiles.
I would also like to add a couple of other suggestions. First, for the M113A3 Gavins, why not use the Upgunned Weapons System (UWS) that the Marines use on their AAV-7's? They mount a M2 .50 cal, and a Mk19 AGL in a small turret. The maker, Cadillac Gage, has already trial fitted them to an M113, and they can do the upgrades. I put in this suggestion to the Air Force Force Protection Battle Lab at Lackland AFB, but I haven't heard anything back. Second, in terms of a grenade launcher, why not go with a smaller 30mm grenade launcher attached to a rifle. The round from the M789 HEDP used by the Apache could be mated to a High/Low pressure cartridge as used in the 40mm round, plus the usual assortment of smoke, illumination, etc., rounds could be made in 30mm. This round would be smaller and lighter, allowing a soldier to carry more of them, and the launcher should be light enough and small enough to mount on all rifles in a squad, which would greatly increase the amount of firepower in a squad.
Lastly, for an upgrade to TOW, what about the ADATS missile? It is a bit longer than the TOW, and heavier (about 70 pounds), but it has a range of 10km and has a speed of Mach 3+. It uses an electro-optical/ IR target acquisition system and a laser ranger-finder and laser guidance system. I don't think that it would be too difficult to add the laser guidance system to Bradleys, and possibly dedicated anti-tank vehicles, and use the thermal imager and a laser ranger finder. One other possibility, for the airborne, would be using an M113A3 chassis and configure it similar to the way that the Canadians use it now, but remove the radar and perhaps cut down to four missiles to save weight. It would give them one hell of an anti-armour capability, as well as a limited anti-air capability (without the radar), and the speed and range of the missile would give them a great standoff capability. The Canadian Forces website has info on it - http://www.army.dnd.ca/equip/veh/ADATS_E.HTML , another one is http://www.global-defence.com/99/1998/Missiles/adats.htm .
Thanks and keep up the good work.
G2mil is Unique
As a new member of G2mil, I must say that I disagree with some of the ideas in the G2mil magazine and the Library, but I like most of what I see. Its refreshing to read independent ideas on weaponry, there's nothing like this in print or even the Internet. All we get is defense contractor sales talk or bureaucratic jargon from military insiders. We used to have professional journals to discuss this stuff, but they have all been bought off or put on a leash. I expect G2mil will do well and catch hell as soon as its discovered inside the beltway.
Urgent Need for Multi-year 747 buy
Your ideas about using the 747 as a common Large Aircraft replacement for the many current refuelers, hospital planes, AWACS, and transporters is good, too, especially the multi-year buy.
The one real problem area I see with loading and unloading cargo. We've used commercial air freighters since the late 1970s. I had experience with them when I was in the 101st Airborne. The KC-11 air refueler has a secondary capability to carry pallets and small vehicles. Here's the problem. C-130s, C-141s, C5's and C-17s are all drive on - drive off. Except for cargo pallets which need forklifts to move to the airplane's back ramp, no special loading equipment is required.
Freighter 747s are designed to move between terminals with specialized handling equipment. This eliminates the need for expensive modifications to the 747 in civilian service. Without this airport based handling equipment (even using portable analogs) the loading/unloading process becomes a real bottleneck.
The real chance was missed in the late 1980s. I was at FORSCOM at Atlanta at that time, and Dobbins AFB in Marietta GA was just up the road. Half of us lived near there. Dobbins is where the C-5 was and the C-130 is made. Lockheed engineers said the Air Force ordered the C-5B tooling DESTROYED to guarantee the C-17 would be bought. They should have just bought more C-5Bs.