Home » Ground » Army: GCV Needs to Be Big and Tracked

Army: GCV Needs to Be Big and Tracked

by Matt Cox on February 21, 2013

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Army requirements officials are not backing away from the service’s plan to field a tracked Ground Combat Vehicle that could weigh more than an Abrams M1 tank.

While a final weight hasn’t been decided upon, Army officials maintain that the GCV will likely have to be considerably heavier than the Bradley Fighting Vehicle it’s replacing to protect the nine-man squad and crew from the powerful blast effects of enemy improvised explosive devices.

“It’s fairly easy for us to make a thicker underbelly plate or add a V-shaped hull to make the vehicle survivable, but what that does not address is the accelerated forces that come with that blast,” Col. Rocky Kmiecik, director of the Mounted Requirements Division at the Army’s Maneuver Center of Excellence, said at the Association of the U.S. Army’s Winter Symposium. “Right now the best way to protect the soldier is by having adequate space inside.”

Kmiecik said the extra space allows for specialized features such as floating floors for blast deflection and extra headroom above the soldier.

Last fall, the Congressional Budget Office, projected that the GCV could weigh as much as 84 tons, making it heavier than an M1 Abrams and twice as heavy as the current Bradley.

Army officials maintain that the CBO’s estimate is on the high end of the scale, but were not shying away from talking about weight at AUSA.

“The question comes up with the Ground Combat Vehicle ‘My God it’s 20 tons more than the Bradley. How does that affect deployability?’ – It doesn’t because it takes the same amount of planes the same amount of times to deploy Bradleys as it does Ground Combat Vehicles,” Kmiecik said. “If you are moving tanks to a place those planes are going to be able to support the Ground Combat Vehicle.”

Kmiecik also talked about need for the GCV to be tracked instead of wheeled to meet the Army’s cross-country mobility requirements.

“Really to maintain the mobility across country … you need 20 pounds per square inch or less,” he said, describing how the surface pressure is distributed. “The best wheeled vehicles are easily double that; your tracked vehicles, most of them are under that, anywhere from 15 to 18 pounds per square inch.”

The GCV also has a requirement for a main gun that’s larger than the Bradley’s 25mm cannon.

“There’s a requirement for a larger-than 25mm, most likely a 30mm gun or above weapon that’s based not only on our ability to reach out and engage enemy armor … but that caliber of ammunition also allows you to go to an airburst round,” Kmiecik said. “It allows you to have that precision firepower to engage a small dismounted threat with minimal collateral damage and a minimal use of rounds.”

Currently, analysis of alternatives for the GCV is expected to be sent to the Defense Department for review in late March, Kmiecik said. The proposed GCV requirements document, which is still under review by the Army Requirements Oversight Council, is scheduled to go to the Joint Staff for review next month.

Right now, it’s still unclear how the pending budget cuts under sequestration will affect the GCV program. The Army issued a memorandum Jan. 16 announcing the addition of a six-month extension of the program’s technology development phase and subtracting two of the proposed three engineering and manufacturing development contracts. Army leaders don’t plan to make a Milestone C decision for the program until 2019.

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{ 143 comments… read them below or add one }

Lance February 21, 2013 at 5:18 pm

More Bullcrap from the Generals and APC makers who made GCV program. Making it bigger than a M-1 makes it a easy target and much slower than a M-1 so infantry cant keep up. Makes it impossible to airlift a C-5 can only hold 2 M-1s so unless you want to wast millions and carry 1 at a time it wont be moveable.

More crap from the Generals who helped make the DoDs fiscal crisis in the first place.


Roy Smith February 21, 2013 at 5:38 pm
majr0d February 21, 2013 at 6:44 pm

Roy, haven't heard that this is going to be turbine powered. Where did you see that?


Greg February 21, 2013 at 9:55 pm

The engine statement is not completely true. The Abrams is turbine powered. The two GCV entrants are powered by different engines from the same manufacturer, but both being Diesel. Roy still has it partially right, because GD has been working on an R&D project to replace the turbine with a diesel engine, which would be the same engine as their GCV.


majr0d February 21, 2013 at 11:03 pm

I knew the Army has been kicking around a diesel powerpack for the M1 since around '05. Thanks for the tidbit.

Roy Smith February 22, 2013 at 3:59 am

majr0d February 21, 2013 at 6:43 pm

Lance – The GCV is not bigger or slower. Read slower so you understand more…


Lance February 22, 2013 at 1:09 am

Strange since its heavier it be slower weight matters. Dont matter there no need to replace the M-2 no Russian or Chinese APC is better some BMP is a older design and is lightly armored to a M-2.

Same as the failing ICC there nothing really radically better than the current weapon (M-2) that can find the need to replace it.


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 1:14 am

Lance – Engines come in different sizes (facepalm)


bigdaddy February 23, 2013 at 5:19 am

@Majr0d, Bigger engines mean even more weight you're wrong, slap your face. Huge vehicles limit were they can go and they need a lot of fuel. Have you ever been in an amored vehcile? Have you ever been at war? You don't know what you're talking about. If you have you have you should know better.

Tom February 22, 2013 at 9:45 am

Not necessarily. Not that I'm arguing in favor of this thing. Seems it's for a threat we aren't necessarily facing. But… the restriction of 2 M1 Abrams isn't weight, but space. Same with Bradley's. The C5 could hold the same number of GCVs. The problem is, where could it go? Weight and size reduces the ability to cross bridges and maneuver in smaller streets in urban areas. So, what mission is it to fill? That's my question.


zak February 22, 2013 at 11:45 am

Congress made the fiscal crisis with some help from a series of fiscally irresponsible presidents.


jack dawson February 27, 2013 at 11:06 pm

maybe it's not meant to leave the country?


Roy Smith February 21, 2013 at 5:28 pm

I remember hearing that the reason(according to Rumsfeld) that the Crusader Howitzer was cancelled was because it was too big to be able to deploy in a pinch. You have the CV90,the ASCOD,& the German Puma IFV’s that can replace the Bradley if that is the plan. Also if you want a “heavy” IFV,you can get the Namer. Seriously,how hard is it to put a bigger gun on a Bradley? The GCV seems like a big joke to me.


Will February 21, 2013 at 6:20 pm

Agreed. The GCV program as it is now is a product of the same old bad attitudes. Spend on R&D as if there was unlimited money available. Make the troops wait for the best possible new gear, never mind what might happen between now & when the new gear arrives – if ever. The way the program is going, the Bradley is going to be around as long as the OH-58.


majr0d February 21, 2013 at 7:05 pm

Roy – None of those vehicles carry a nine man squad which is a critical lesson we relearned over the last decade.

Not necessarily against a foreign vehicle except that it must be produced here. It makes security and economic sense.

The Crusader was big but your understanding for its cancellation is incomplete. The vehicle was also deemed expensive for the biggest advantage being the elimination of one crew member. SP artillery systems consist of two vehicles including the resupply vehicle (two 40T vehicles). Heavy? Yes in the context of a Bosnia deployment which was the focus at that time. This is the problem of planning to fight the next war like the last one. Then there was the impact of FCS which promised a 19T vehicle (half the weight of the Crusader) that was in development at the time.


itamar February 22, 2013 at 7:37 am

the namer does carry 9 man squad.
8+3 means that you have driver gunner and commandor which is also squad leader.


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I was refering to the CV90, ASCOD and Puma. Will put the Namer in a different sentence and so I addressed it as part of the follow on sentence. yes the namer carries a nine man squad. It's also 60T without reactive armor. You're basically talking the GCV's heaviest weight issues without the lethality.


Kristian 375 February 22, 2013 at 3:20 pm

The Israelis came up with their requirements for the Namer based on their analyst of their requirements (IE. survivability for the crew and mobility being the top concern). They decided that heavy armor protection and actice protection were worth the weight penalty. They, of course, have interior lines and do not have to worry about strategic mobility. Still, the battlefield requirements of the Israelis and ours are not a lot different and the combination of low tech IED and high tech antiarmor systems they face is one that we will probably face as well. I am not surprised that the Israelis came up with heavy vehicle and that the GCV is projected to be so big.

PolicyWonk February 21, 2013 at 7:35 pm

At a time when the DoD is trying to shrink the logistics footprint, the army thinks building a GCV that weighs *more* than an M1A2 is a good idea? Shouldn't the infantry be able to cross the *same* bridges than an M1A2 can?

Methinks someone needs to go back to the drawing board, and get back to the real world.


sakitla February 21, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Is the vehicle pictured an artist rendition of the GCV or CV90? An airbust capable gun, the 40mm CTAI?


Greg February 21, 2013 at 10:01 pm

Looks like a CV90. Definitely not a GCV.


William_C1 February 22, 2013 at 1:11 am

That's either a CV9030 or CV9035. Armed with either the 30mm Mk.44 Bushmaster II or 35mm Bushmaster III chain gun. I think air-burst ammunition exists for both.


Per Samuelsson February 25, 2013 at 2:26 am

Can confirm that it's a CV90 equipped with an ATK Bush III 35/50 mm gun. Picture was taken by the Army during the AoA at Ft Bliss/WSMR in May.


riceball February 27, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Should have known that wasn't a GCV, the turret is far too clean to be GCV at least when compared the drawing of BAE's version floating around.


mpower6428 February 21, 2013 at 8:10 pm

" an APC heavier then the M1 Tank"…!?! me thinks the Army brass are giving the budgiteers a sacrificial lamb so they can keep the systems they already got promises (or money) too lobby for.

if you're gonna be corrupt… you might as well be slick too.

i hope im wrong.


tee February 21, 2013 at 8:25 pm

Just Up-grade the Bradley with the New 40mm CTA Remote turret with 2 Javelin or Spike LR missiles on it, then they would have room inside for their nine man squad and have a much more powerful weapon to defeat modern AFV's, which would cost whole lot less than a complete redesigned vehicle.


@E_L_P February 21, 2013 at 8:42 pm

In a Pacific pivot, an APC that can't swim small rivers / lakes (like an M-113) is useless.

Be interesting also to see all the bridges it won't be able to go over. Also, a heavier APC means that the aircraft carrying it…burn more fuel.

Then too, think of all those high quality roads that are not available in the Pacific. This vehicle will ruin those too.

With modern anti-tank weapons, best not to make an APC so expensive you can't afford to loose some of them.

This program, (like the LCS and F-35 and Stryker) has stupid written all over it.


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 1:33 am

You might consider we didn't use one armored division in all of WWII in the Pacific.

Then there's the thought just because we pivot to the Pacific the next war doesn't happen somewhere else…


Godzilla February 22, 2013 at 7:11 am

They did use amphibious vehicles in WWII (e.g. the DUKW) and on larger islands like the Philippines they used medium tanks like the Sherman.
On the Korean peninsula tank warfare happened quite often lot.


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

The DUKW isn't an armored vehicle. Shermans are not infantry carriers.

We aren't talking about amphibious vehicles which in this age is largely a Marine capability.

Korea did feature a handful of armored engagements (initial invasion, breakout of Pusan), they did not feature mechanized infantry which is what the GCV's role .


blight_ February 22, 2013 at 3:00 pm

There was also limited tank combat in Vietnam; which I found out to my shock years ago when I looked into the matter (in response to Mr. M113, Mike Sparks)

Godzilla February 24, 2013 at 11:26 am

If the war is on Korea, or China, or the Philipines the tanks are going to be useful.

If the war is in Indochina, e.g. Vietnam, you are going to want lightweight tracked vehicles with low ground pressure and possibly limited floatation capability (e.g. being able to swim with the tracks).

Which is why I think a 20 ton IFV and light tank is going to be most useful with that scenario. Particularly if you can optionally apply more 10 tons of modular armor on top for higher survivability in the Korean and Chinese scenarios. As the war continues you ship more MBTs to those threaters.

The GCV is useless in Indochina or in the Pacific in general. If you want a comparison look at the tanks of the Japanese or the vehicles of Singapore. The Type 10 is a 44 tons MBT and the Bionix AFV is 23 tons with a small size so it can fit on the small roads of the region and travel over bridges rather than collapse them.

The M113 and UH-1 were designed after experiences on Korea where the rough and wooded terrain under difficult winter conditions (you know the same winter conditions that bogged down Hitler's Panzers during WWII) made it obvious you needed more manuevarability to fly over wood areas for medevac and that you needed vehicles with lower ground pressure and better armor to carry infantry and supplies without bogging down.

Tad February 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

I get GCV, LCS and F-35 programs being stupid. Why do you say Stryker?


blight_ February 22, 2013 at 3:01 pm

If you look at its day zero ambitions and the struggles required to get a vehicle out the door, you would agree that the Stryker couldn't meet its own ambitious roadmap.


Max February 21, 2013 at 9:33 pm

It's about time the Army finally shook off the insane Rumsfeldian idea of "lighter, faster, etc". No major war is ever a surprise anymore. There is plenty of time to move any armor that is needed to any battlefield in the world without any trouble. The same old question still remains: why get their faster only to get killed faster? I say kudos and congratulations to the Army. Not only that, but any major firepower that is needed on any battlefield can be provided by airpower, Navy or Air Force. You always need boots on the ground to take and hold territory, and you also need heavy armor like this one to back them up that can withstand an IED. But speed in getting to the battlefield is an idea that sounds good, but makes little sense anymore. Airpower gets their far faster than a bunch of tanks anyhow.


majr0d February 21, 2013 at 11:10 pm

You know we keep saying the next one won't be a surprise and get it wrong every time.

There's a lesson there…

There's also the fact that airpower is not 24/7 or not weather dependent. Don't believe everything the airpower enthusiast sell. Air power can't supress, there's limited payload on an airplane and we haven't fought anyone with a lick of air defense. I've had "experts" try and make the case for the supremacy of aviation airpower. They could never answer how they could provide smoke to obscure friendly movement or put a continual wall of steel between my troops and the enemy IF they were able to fly and get to me in time.


Warfighter February 22, 2013 at 10:08 am

Or forget that the conflict in South Ossetia a short while ago seemed to catch many by surprise. It can still happen.


BajaWarrior February 24, 2013 at 4:49 am

So are you trying to make the case that you don't need support from air power?


majr0d February 24, 2013 at 2:26 pm

No not saying we don't need airpower. Don't even know how you got that from what I said.

Did you understand my comment was in response to Max saying all major firepower on the battlefield can be supplied by the air?


P.J. Busche February 22, 2013 at 3:36 pm

Max, your logic is beaurocratic, and devoid of common sense. Have you ever even served in the military?


Big-Dean February 22, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Sorry to disagree with ya Max, but we've been lucky with our last couple of conflicts

-Gulf war I-we had 9 months to build up and we had friendly and protected ports nearby and our transport ships were UNCONTESTED i.e. they weren't under any threat
-Gulf war II-pretty much the same

now the next war we will NOT have:
-friendly ports
-9 months to prep
-lots of shipping capacity (we're down a lot in transports etc and you can be darn sure that the 'bad guys" will be looking to sink them)

No my friend, the next war will be very sudden and very massive. We will not have much warning and we will have to fight with what's in theater. It will be a come-as-you-are war.


Chris February 21, 2013 at 9:46 pm

This is starting to remind me of the Germans in WWII….Bigger, Bigger, Bigger…..Now, add this to the list to include a tank for the Airborne……..Before I retired I was at FT Polk. The 2 ID was there testing the Stryker. I pulled a young EM aside and I asked him point blank, "How is it?" …. His reply, "Sir, it is a POS." ……..So what will we name this new vehicle, how about, "General Bubble Butt."………..Those Generals are getting too much sun in Lauderdale.


Warfighter February 22, 2013 at 10:16 am

I can't speak for the Stryker, but the LAV III helped keep my boys and I alive and kick butt in some serious fighting a few years back. The only things the bad guys hated more were the A10s.

Are they perfect? No. But they can certainly handle their own.


IdiotKidWhoReadsAlot February 22, 2013 at 11:25 am

From what I understand, the only advantages to the Stryker are that its new, and its better armored. On the other hand, it has far more moving parts to wear down and break, and it is heavier as well (not by much though). This seems to be a wonderful example of how the Army has begun to implement new tech with more moving parts, despite our current war being in a DESERT.


IdiotKidWho Reads February 22, 2013 at 11:27 am

Apparently Idiot Kid Who Reads Alot needs to be spaced out more…


zak February 22, 2013 at 11:50 am

The bigger, bigger, bigger attitude wasn't a key problem for the Germans in WW II as much as trying to take on 1/2 the world. The Tiger I and Tiger II were vastly superior to the Sherman but they couldn't produce enough of them.


Will Leach February 22, 2013 at 3:56 pm
tmb2 February 22, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Not only were there an order of magnitude more Shermans, but they could travel at twice the speed of a Tiger. German engine technology didn't develop fast enough to keep up with the heavier tanks. Every new Panzer was slower than its predecessor.


zak February 25, 2013 at 8:57 am

and nobody in their right mind wanted to go in a Sherman to take on Tigers. The fact we produced so many more Shermans is what allowed us to win vs Tigers and Panthers, not the added speed. ! on 1 the tigers would win every time. So your point is pointless.


tmb2 February 25, 2013 at 11:27 pm

And we defeated those Tigers by swarming them and driving around them to shoot them in the rear. After those battles, the Shermans used their speed to capture massive swaths of French countryside. As the war dragged on, the Panzers were great at destroying other tanks, but were becoming less effective at supporting maneuver warfare.

blight_ February 22, 2013 at 3:34 pm

"Now, add this to the list to include a tank for the Airborne"

So you're suggesting the Sheridan and the M8 were bad ideas?


Roland February 21, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Ever tauught of making it robotic with it's own mind?


elgatoso February 22, 2013 at 1:05 pm



lane pratley February 21, 2013 at 10:54 pm

With 9 passengers, you could carry 18 troops w/ 2 vehicles where an m3 requires 3.

So, in some ways a smaller foot print?


blight_ February 22, 2013 at 3:37 pm

Depends on mass. If you can transport more people using less vehicles, then the cost of extending two vehicles is often less than the cost of trying to carry another vehicle and overhead just to carry the same number of troops.


majr0d February 21, 2013 at 11:18 pm

Weight isn't an unimportant issue but the Army hasn't stated that it's going to outweigh the M1 though everyone seems to have bought the highly speculative and much repeated writing of most defense journnalists to take it as fact. Anyone ever remember a piece of equipment that didn't enter the inventory where journalists had created a false impression that it was junk. Saw it forst hand with the HMMWV, Abrams and Bradley.

I'd prefer a lighter solution but I've come to accept we are so handicapped by an expectation that war can be waged with few casualties that we have created a strategic weakness that impacts us from the highest levels of decision making to the acquisition world to our warfighting doctrine.


Paralus February 22, 2013 at 12:52 am

The Bradley was junk when it first entered service. Too tall, inferior armor protection, absurd gun ports. It took many more expensive updates to bring it to the state it currently is. And it is still IED bait


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 1:24 am

You don't know what you are talking about.

Did it get shorter while in service? The armor was increased as threats increased. It always had superior protection/lethality compared to every contemporary IFV. Firing ports? Not it's best feature but no worse than any other vehicle that featired them at the time (e.g. BMP, Marder).

BTW, every vehicle is "IED bait". IEDs aren't limited in size.


Warfighter February 22, 2013 at 10:24 am

"BTW, every vehicle is "IED bait". IEDs aren't limited in size."

Unfortunately so very true.

Best countermeasures involve not being where an IED is in the first place. I know someone is going to jump on this as a 'don't go to war' statement, but that is not the choice if the soldier. The politicians make that decision. What I do mean is that more mobility and a better, more rapid and timely detection system, whether aboard the vehicle, as part of another team element, or external asset, or even a solid IED network defeat strategy, mitigates the need for heavy underbelly armour and vertical displacement, both of which increase vulnerability in the face of conventional threats.


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Unrealistic. It's impossible to detect every IED let alone do it with any speed to maintain mobility. Every IED isn't made of artillery shells buried in the road.

tmb2 February 22, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Short of not going to war, the best counter-IED tactic is to find it before it's put in the ground. When our HUMINT networks got better in Iraq, we started locating more and more caches containing the materials for hundreds of IEDs at a time rather than running into them on the roads.

Warfighter February 22, 2013 at 10:19 am

Indeed. Heavier vehicles also tend to come with much more significant maintenance bills, without mentioning the tail to support the materiel needed to keep them in action. Many knock on effects to this sort of decision.


CraigPv2d February 22, 2013 at 11:09 am

I'm sure that the cost of casualties is becoming a factor in equipment design. Too many casualties can erode public support which is more devastating than tactical losses. Look how the Navy is reducing manpower needs in it's new designs to reduce life cycle costs, because the crews are more expensive than the hardware. I see many more drones on the horizon.


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 2:35 pm

"Casualties" (or survivability in armored vehicle design) has always been an issue. Today it has become the most important criteria in designing combat vehicles. It takes relatively few casualties to tweak the publics opinion especially with a media that attempts to undermine any military operation.

Just imagine the media's glee and the public's horror after a D-day type casualty count.

The Navy has other issues. They haven't had a real battle in decades and the LCS is not survivable. You will see an entirely different approach to shipbuilding the first time the LCS sees a real battle.

Drones are coming but AI is far away.


blight_ February 22, 2013 at 2:57 pm

Call me weird, but if you put D-Day into perspective the only beach that really bled was Omaha. If anything, it would mean the people who thought Hobart's Funnies had no place with American forces would get sacked, but we've been through the casualty averse grinder: with AVF people whine more, but it doesn't hit close to home.

Survivability is certainly worth designing for, since an army would run out of manpower if all of its vehicles were destroyed by day one. And it's training manpower that takes longer than devising industrial means of building more AFV's and aircraft.

If anything, one could argue the Abrams is a little too good at shrugging off missiles and tank rounds. It's the kind of invulnerable-to-threats-and-low-casualties vehicle that would be designed today.

tanker19E February 22, 2013 at 12:50 am

Ever see the movie the Pentagon Wars?

[after redesigning the Bradley to carry a gun turret]

Col. Robert Laurel Smith: That's one hell of a cannon.
Jones: That's the problem.
Col. Robert Laurel Smith: What is?
Jones: You go out on the battlefield with this pecker sticking out of your turret, and the enemy's going to unload on you with everything they got. Might as well put a big red bullseye on the side.
Col. Robert Laurel Smith: But it's a troop carrier, not a tank.
Jones: Do you want me to put a sign on it in fifty languages, "I am a troop carrier, not a tank, please don't shoot at me"?


William_C1 February 22, 2013 at 1:18 am

Well if the enemy has the ammunition, they will gladly fire whatever they have at an APC too.


Warfighter February 22, 2013 at 10:26 am

Yep. No gun wouldn't stop me from trying to brew it up before it had a chance to dismount its passengers in close combat with me.


IdiotKidWho Reads February 22, 2013 at 11:31 am

If the enemy sees a large metal box moving on the battlefield, they're probably gonna shoot at it no matter whether or not it has a Ma Deuce or a 25mm Bushmaster stuck on it.


commoncents February 22, 2013 at 8:41 am

This thing is going to be the sequal to that movie!


ajspades February 22, 2013 at 1:52 am

If it is heavier than an Abrams, then it will not be as easy to deploy. As previously mentioned, the C-5 is weight limited to two Abrams, the C-17 to a single Abrams. Therefore, to move the same amount of GCV as tanks, or even Bradleys and M117, it will take more flights, meaning more gas, more money, etc.


john giangreco February 22, 2013 at 7:57 am

With all the geniuses in this country, and our boundless resources why haven't we come up with a solution on how to make lightweight dependable armour???


Warfighter February 22, 2013 at 10:29 am

It's physics, my friend. Armour is already far superior to what it was 50 years ago. The reality is that it will always be easier to come up with a weapon to defeat armour than a protection against it. The amount of energy modern weapons can apply to a target is phenomenal.


IdiotKidWho Reads February 22, 2013 at 11:32 am

What Warfighter said. And newer, more effective armor is expensive as all get out.


tmb2 February 22, 2013 at 7:53 pm

You have to have a minimum level of weight to keep a vehicle from flipping over from the blast wave. It doesn't matter if the armor is so bad a** that nothing penetrates the hull and it only weighs 10 tons. If an artillery shell explodes underneath a 10 ton vehicle, that vehicle is going for a ride. Its the same concept behind people getting ribs broken while getting shot with a bullet proof vest. Yes it stopped the bullet, but there's only so much it can do to the energy being generated.


PBB February 22, 2013 at 8:19 am

Actually, if they used a high strength flexible shield polymer and reduced the weight to 2 tons. The IED blast would push the vehicle up, the gas would dissipate sideways, and the polymer would prevent shards from cutting through. Then vehicle would drop and you still would be operational. Yes, the troops would need gel pak seat cushions. With reduced weight, you could drive 100mph over the ieds reducing the accuracy of the enemy because you are moving not crawling.


matt February 22, 2013 at 11:00 am

Sounds like a middle school pipe dream….


IdiotKidWho Reads February 22, 2013 at 11:33 am

As long as someone has the money and the dream, its gonna get tested


blight_ February 22, 2013 at 3:35 pm

800 million dollars later…


crackedlenses February 22, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Which will have to come from China, as no "rich" person will have 800 million worth speaking of if the "tax the rich" crowd has their way.

tmb2 February 22, 2013 at 7:54 pm

And all the passengers have to be dragged out on stretchers and body bags because the blast wave tossed the vehicle in the air, dropped it on its head, and they broke every bone in their bodies…


USMC-FO February 22, 2013 at 8:24 am

Ridiculous! Preparing to fight the last war and not the next one. Lighter, faster and more adaptable mobility is better….but why expect the Army to look forward when it's easier to look back and figure that 100 tons of beast will cover your butt.


Kathleen February 22, 2013 at 8:26 am

Yeah, that is why everyone thinks that Panther and Tiger (both variants) tanks were so bad in World War 2, because they were lighter and faster……………whereas our tankers were scared to death of meeting them in combat. Germans attacked in the Battle of the Bulge and succeeded in knocking out Shermans at 3 – 1 ratio even with us in the defense.


IdiotKidWho Reads February 22, 2013 at 11:37 am

Precisely. Larger and heavier has it's uses; particularly against a largely static enemy, unlike a constantly mobile enemy such as those we face today. And I would like to point out that the Panther and Tiger were plagued with mechanical problems due to sabotage by the prisoner labor used to build them. One man, years after the war, went on record saying that it was not uncommon for a worker to break a tooth off of a drive gear and glue it back on, or for them to shove cigarette butts in gas lines.


zak February 22, 2013 at 11:56 am

Who thought the Panthers and Tigers were bad? Every account I've read is that allied tankers did not want to go up against them.

And the Tiger II was a completely new tank, not a variant.


Blake February 22, 2013 at 12:18 pm

Yes and the Germans lost the war because the Panthers and Tigers were so mechanically complicated that they could not be maintained and repaired. Sure, when one actually showed up you had to call the field artillery or tactical air, but we still beat them. And for that matter, they were so heavy that they has limited tactical mobility. Other than that the long barrel 75 mm and 88 mm were great guns.


Navbm7 February 22, 2013 at 12:24 pm

You're argument is flawed; The Panther MK V was a very reliable tank, the Tiger I was not. These tanks were feared because they mounted very powerful guns and in the case of the Tiger also heavy armor. The only way a Sherman could knock out a Tiger was at close range into the rear of the Tiger. The 75mm high velocity gun on the Panther and the 88mm gun on the Tiger could engage at much longer ranges than the 76mm low velocity gun of the Sherman.
On the Russian front, the German's found out that the slow moving Tiger could be easily out-flanked by the much faster T-34, so they developed the tactic of using the Tiger in ambush. This tactic was also used to great effect in the bocage area of France.


blight_ February 22, 2013 at 3:33 pm

They probably could've achieved what they did at Ardennes using the exact same equipment they used to hit the French in 1940. And perhaps a Panzer II would have better fuel economy to penetrately deeply into American lines, instead of achieving limited breakthroughs and halting to steal American supplies.

That said, I suspect the 3-1 ratio was earned in the bocage which favored the defense anyways. Short of re-doing the operational research done by others…


Scott February 22, 2013 at 9:09 am

go on youtube and see what happens to tanks, APC's in modern urban combat in Syria,,, this is a wrong move Army


matt February 22, 2013 at 11:03 am

Take note of the model of those tanks in Syria. Obsolete is one word that comes to mind. It would be a fools argument to say that they are comparative to a vehicle built from the ground up in the United States in modern times.


Scott February 22, 2013 at 11:35 am

granted, still tanks, APC's ect are not built for urban warfare, Iraq M1A1's taken out of the battle by IED or RPG's in '04, '05', '06 thise were not obsolete machines


zak February 22, 2013 at 11:58 am

Garbage, we lost very few M1A1's. No piece of equipment is invulnerable and losses are a part of war.


IdiotKidWho Reads February 22, 2013 at 11:40 am

Steel armor vs. Chobham with offset slats/spaced armor. Plain, unaugmented steel rolled homogeneous armor is far easier to penetrate than Chobham armor, let alone when there is slats, offset plates, or explosive reactive armor augmenting the Chobham.


sooperfly February 22, 2013 at 9:37 am

You can't protect every soldier from every weapon the enemy might use. Do the best you can in a design that provides the best compromise between crew safety and the tactical utility of the vehicle and its weapons. Speed and detection technology might be the answer instead of weight and size. We need smaller more agile vehicles. AND stay off the road and you probably won't hit an IED anyway.


retired11B1SG February 22, 2013 at 9:53 am

Hmm Bigger is better? I would rather have had a Jeep in Iraq then the POS softside HMMWV we had hung around our neck. Didn't see a lot of General on Route Irish in softsides, just uparmored Suburbans with Blackwater hanging all over them.

Like the Stryker, its an industrial military complex POS that is going to waste billions and be a motorpool queen shoved down our throats.

Is it just me or does the MRAP look like the South African Defence Force Buffelo? Guess not, we needed to spend a butt load of money to develop out own idea.


RET SGM February 22, 2013 at 10:41 am

How do you get it over a bridge? Weight class makes it very impractical. Most common sense thing is have something survivable and fast. Dont counteract an IED because they can just use larger explosives. Nothing is more effective and also dangerous as boots on the ground when your doing insurgency operations. We want to protect our soldiers but some of this stuff is just totally impractical.


172ndSBCT2006 February 22, 2013 at 12:35 pm

STRYKER saved my life 4 times over…the perfect vehicle for MOUT…which statistically speaking is where the vast majority of conflicts will be hashed out.


tmb2 February 22, 2013 at 7:57 pm

Where do you get Strykers being motorpool queens?


SGT B February 22, 2013 at 12:40 pm

We might as well make a Tiger APC with an 88MM gun to hold 20 soldiers, oh! and 6 M2 machine guns!


JEFF February 22, 2013 at 1:28 pm

I think the Germans made something like that, called the Maus.


SGT B February 22, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Yah it was big and slow and 11 inches of armor!


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 5:57 pm

You guys are confusing the issue. The Maus was a tank and didn't carry any infantry. You might know the difference but folks will pick up on your hperbole and run with it.


51yanks February 22, 2013 at 12:59 pm

One of my favorite Pentagon axioms that I picked up during my Army career was:
"Any similarity between what the troops actually need and what they get from the Puzzle Palace is a minor miracle cloaked in a happy coincidence".


howard February 22, 2013 at 2:28 pm

remnds me of those old coastal defense guns
people just go around them or jdam them
best to make longer range artillery and missles for the
infantry to shoot at what's coming over the next hill
and at what's coming from over the radar


P.J. Bushe February 22, 2013 at 3:29 pm

An 84-ton tracked fighting vehicle armed with a "massive" 30mm cannon?!!! You've got to be kidding me! That is about as senseless as recreating one of the Navy's New Jersey-class battleships (58,000 tons each) and arming it with nothing but 3-inch and smaller guns. And what is going to propel this vehicle?… a 1.6 liter turbo-diesel? Somebody has their brains in the wrong place, or doesn't have enough brains to be designing these insanely overweight & under-gunned vehicles.


bigdaddy February 23, 2013 at 5:22 am

The F35 of armor, go ahead and waste billions on something that will never work like the Sgt. York. Instead of getting the gear that works off the self to the soldiers that need it now not in in 10 years and eating up the budget like the F35 has. So far the F35 has ruined the marines ability to use funds for the equipment they need now. This type of weapon system will do the same for the army, it's useless. We need to upgrade the vehicles we have now not make some ridiculous mess of a waste of money.


John Beckman February 26, 2013 at 9:06 am

The Marines need their version of the F-35 because the present aircraft that this F-35 version is to take the place of is the latest Harrier Aircraft, which is also the only VTOL aircraft, other than this particular F-35 version the Marines need! The present Harrier aircraft has continued to kill pilots at a rapid rate, since its coming into the Marines inventory, compared to any other present Marine aircraft. If I am correct, its the F-35B that is the VTOL aircraft version that is going to the Marines. However, I do agree that Lockheed has continued to "UP" the pricing of this F-35B aircraft simply because of "Greed"…it is too bad that Lockheed has lost its "Vision" in producing aircraft for our proud military services that are not super costly and are proudly "Made in the USA" as great aircraft that work like they are supposed to work!


Craig Stolburg February 23, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Why the Army is trying to reinvent the wheel when we alraedy had type classified the the M8 Buford Armored Gun system during the miserable presidency of Bill Clinton and he decided to take the funding for it and squander it on fighting in Bosnia. The system mounted an M86 105 MM rifled gun system that was originally slated for the M1 Abrams before they up graded it to 120 mm. Additionally it had 3 levels of armor protection which could be added depending on the theater of operation threats, making it air transportable. I should know it's capabilities as I was one of the planners for designing and fielding this system.


Ryan March 28, 2013 at 9:28 am

Not exactly, the Army decided they'd rather keep their force up by 20,000 troops than invest in a vehicle that would keep the Army relevant in expeditionary warfare.


BlackOwl18E February 24, 2013 at 1:20 pm

I take back what I said earlier. Let's just keep the Abrams and Bradley for a little while longer.


crackedlenses February 26, 2013 at 2:27 am

Whatever we have now cannot be possibly worse than what these wonderful geniuses are coming up with…..


BlackOwl18E February 26, 2013 at 7:53 am



John Beckman February 26, 2013 at 8:52 am

Abrams yes…Bradley no!


blight_ February 26, 2013 at 9:38 am

Like it or not, if America has to fight tomorrow it will be the Abrams Bradley team that fights and dies. Since we don't have infinite money reserves to simply throw away thousands of Bradleys overnight and replace them in a few weeks, it behooves us to invest cost-effectively in prototype technologies until the foundations of Next Gen IFV are not only technologically feasible, but industrially feasible for mass production, and rugged enough to survive the battlefield. Until then, we should invest in upgrading the Bradley, and use the lessons we learn in keeping Bradley up to date (and the costs of R&D invested) to apply to the next IFV.

The Patton line of tanks persisted for many generations, building on incremental improvement until the paradigm changed and required the invincible land mastodon we call the Abrams.


BlackOwl18E February 26, 2013 at 11:58 am

I agree completely. I also have no idea what the US Army is thinking treating the Abrams as obsolete. Even since the Cold War ended there is still nothing that can touch the Abrams and when we sent the tanks to Iraq they still proved to be very flexible in combat and provided a great fear factor to the enemy throughout the entire war. They even took IEDs like well… like a tank.


MrVonBraun February 26, 2013 at 12:58 am

NASA's budget gets more cuts for research…. and where does that money go? BIGGER TANKS ! MORE GUNS! MORE BOMBS! Hell yeah America… what's next? the American equivalent to nazi's Tiger II and an American Ratte? HELL YUH FUR FREEDOM!


John Beckman February 26, 2013 at 8:49 am

Up-grade the Bradley? No way! The Bradley is more of a "Death Trap" than a great fighting vehicle. With not enough space inside, no protection against bomb blasts from underneath, and a true death trap when falling into tank pits! (My close friend lost a good friend as everyone "piled" on top of him when the officer in charge ordered the Bradley Tank to continue ahead in the dark and it fell into a tank pit during the beginning of Desert Storm. (By the way, that Officer in charge got a medal while nobody else received no medals, including the dead soldier! ) Also, the Bradley has a "worthless" 25 mm. gun…any gun on the TGV (Tracked Ground Vehicle) should be at least a 40 mm. or preferably higher caliber gun, in order to be of value for not only protection of its crew but, for devastation against ground targets!


tiger February 26, 2013 at 12:33 pm

Just what is the mission? Transport infantry off road with more protection than a truck? To be a light tank That carries troops & not enough gun to fight a tank? The APC role is a easy one. The USMC's AAV-7 & the Russian BMP do that job well. Then you have the Stryker. Again a existing vehicle & what is the mission? I do not see the need to buy yet another armored vehicle after the MRAP mess. All I see is something trying to be a tank & does it badly. Yet is a APC looking for a fight it does not win?


Zspoiler March 6, 2013 at 11:39 pm

Are they stupid or what? Bigger isn`t alway better.


Brandon March 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Personaly, i believe they are far from finding a good replacement for the current GVC becuase they have yet to find a sutible replace after multipule failed attempts


Brandon March 25, 2013 at 1:37 pm

GCV sorry


fgweighj; July 5, 2013 at 4:05 am

What if they have used better, stronger yet lighter materials and specialised composites that make it near indestructable, and the extra weight means its just that awesome.


Mike August 8, 2013 at 4:51 am

The German Tiger's may have blasted Sherman's in WW2. The Tigers weighed in at 60 tonnes and the Sherman's weighed in at 30 tonnes. The Tigers had a 88mm gun compared to the Sherman's 75mm gun and the 88 was way better…..But, the Germans had only 2000 Tigers and the Allies had 50,000 Sherman's. The moral of the story is the more tanks you have the better…….so an over priced GCV sounds like a loser to me….


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Lance February 22, 2013 at 1:41 pm

Disagree the same engine in a M-1 well a GCV will be alot taller and wider hence way too BIG. Overall the main opposition is that the M-2 does not need replacing at all its fine better than any BMP or Chinese APC knock off in the world. This whole program is pork by some "everything must be new" dimwit General. The Bradley is getting updated so it will have everything electronically a GCV will have SO NO point in spending BILLIONS! on a failed GCV!


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 2:26 pm

Lance you are ignorance on parade. What's the width of the GCV? (it hasn't been selected yet)

Have you ever seen an M1 tank's engine or a Bradley engine? I've seen both and had them replaced.

You can speculate about vehicles but unless you know what you are talking about you should caveat your comments. Someone may think you know what you are talking about considering your experience replacing targets at a range in Camp Lejune.


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 5:54 pm

Kris – Good summary of the Israeli approach.

I think the verdict is still out with the GCV though not that we shouldn't be concerned.


majr0d February 22, 2013 at 6:11 pm

blight – You aren't weird but you aren't getting my point. We suffered over 2000 KIA on Omaha alone, the equivalent of 12 years of combat in Aghanistan. Imagine how the media and the American public would respond to those kinds of casualties. It is a strategic weakness.

Post WWII we have traditionally weighted survivability with other criteria. Post 911 it has become the most important criteria.

The M1 is a great example. It possesses excellent survivability and has a 30 year history of being equally if not more lethal than any tank on the battlefield. Smart engineering separated it's ammo from the crew in an area where blast went away from the crew (a first) among other approchaes like fuel storage as low as possible.

IFV's have a fundamentally different mission than tanks but we have let one criteria wag the dog.


tmb2 February 22, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Blight, I think he means if we tried to pull off another D-Day in today's environment. I remember during my first deployment to Iraq, insurgents staged a full scale assault on Ramadi with the intention of taking it over (mid 2004). The Marines fought street to street for 12 hours and killed well over 100 insurgents. The Marines saved the city from being taken over. The media report the next day simply said "12 Marines dead in Anbar province."


Big-Dean February 22, 2013 at 9:50 pm

yep, we're pretty much shooting ourselves in the foot on all fronts


Anonymous February 23, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I bet 40 years ago people thought the same about the F-16, F-18, F-117, Bradley and any other modern equipment. Nothing will be perfect out of the gate, it will need continual enhancements after release, but to bury your head in the sand because you think something won't succeed is the best recipe for defeat in future conflicts.

The article already states the logistics will be the same, the only difference is weight which means more fuel but in all likely hood it will be these vehicles clearing those fuel routes and likely won't be us transporting the fuel anyways (just look at Afghanistan/Iraq where IEDs are the biggest problem).


tmb2 February 23, 2013 at 7:13 pm

Bigdaddy, the M1 engine weighs 2750 pounds. That's 1/60th of the total weight of the vehicle, but it produces 1500hp and can still move the tank at 45mph for 250 miles on a tank of fuel. An M998's engine is 1/10th of the vehicle weight and drives it 55mph for 300 miles. The weight of the engine has little impact on the performance of the vehicle. The performance of the engine is what matters.


Godzilla February 24, 2013 at 11:07 am

That was due to the terrain. The vehicle needs to have low ground pressure on marshes and bogs probably some limited floatation capability. Also since Vietnam was heavily forested tanks would be mostly limited to roads where they could be ambushed, etc. AFAIK most tanks were used on improvised pillboxes.

It was mostly air cavalry or M113's with M2 machine guns or jeeps with recoiless rifles outside the bush, etc. There was other limited use of direct fire weapons like the M50 Ontos which was lightweight enough (10-20 tons) to operate on the scenario.


majr0d February 24, 2013 at 2:19 pm

You might want to look at how Europe influenced armor and helicopter design. Korea was largely a sideshow that did not see extensive armored combat or use unlike Europe.

I've been to Korea. It is not "tank country" which is why the Infantry units there feature a unique mixture and are the only US units in the world that have light and mech infantry in the same formations.

Should we be drawn into a very unlikely war in the Pacific why do you thing battle is going to be fixated on the road networks. Historically there are tons of examples against it. There will be vehicles involved. They will be very limited. They do not justify the development of a family of light vehicles not suitable for use anywhere else in the world. Are you familiar with where all the MRAPS we built are and what the plan is for their use?


Godzilla February 24, 2013 at 4:17 pm

I know a battle is not going to be restricted to the road networks which is why I keep mentioning tracked vehicles. However a vehicle needs to have good road travel performance as well to reduce travel time when roads are available. In the case of marshy terrain like Indochina or even the South of China itself the vehicle needs to have low ground pressure which means lighter vehicles with wider tracks. The same applies to places with difficult winter conditions like Korea with snow, mud, and thin ice.

There were tank battles in the WWII Pacific theater it is just that most of them were fought by someone else e.g. Khalkhin Gol.

I do not think these light vehicles will be limited in use. The Norwegians for example have used the CV90 in Afghanistan, which is probably the worst place to use such a vehicle, and faired reasonably well.

Read Sun Tzu's Art of War and controlling China proper is all about chariots. The history of Iran is based around cavalry units as well. Both those places are to a large degree prime tank battlegrounds. Tank battlegrounds are not limited to Europe. You just need to look at the map showing the historical extents of the Mongol Empire to figure that out.

Back when the strategy was to simultaneously invade Iraq and North Korea the US administration proposed the FCS. I think FCS was a bit on the light side but essentially the CV90 and the ASCOD are aimed at the same objectives and achieve them at reasonable weight levels.

The MRAP in comparison is a lot more limited in the types of scenarios it can be used. Mostly peacekeeping and anti-insurgency where the enemy has no armor forces of its own.

MRAP should be mothballed for when their use is required again. I hope they won't all be left in Afghanistan.


majr0d February 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm

“In the case of marshy terrain like Indochina or even the South of China” I can forsee no conditions that would see American vehicles in China. You can read Sun Tzu until your eyes bleed. Vizzini in the Princess Bride, MacArthur & Gates said it best "never get involved in a land war in Asia"

Khalkhin Gol was in Mongolia/Manchuria. Again, I do not forsee any situations which would see US vehicles in China and especially on the Russia/China border. If so the Russians have plenty. Please list any other significant armor vs. armor battles of the Pacific.

Korea’s snow, mud and ice aren’t unique (e.g. they exist in Europe) . Its mountainous terrain is unique. How much US armor do you find in Afghanistan? The Norwegians aren’t in the mountains

“Back when the strategy was to simultaneously invade Iraq and North Korea” When was this even suggested let alone considered a strategy? Evidence?

My mentioning MRAPs was to point out what happens to very specialized vehicles…


Warfighter February 25, 2013 at 7:13 am

And that is defeating the network I mention above. Far more effective than piling tons of additionnal armour on a vehicle.


blight_ February 26, 2013 at 9:49 am

I'm sure German tankers in 1940 were afraid to meet Charon B bis tanks head on. They would've eaten Pz1, Pz2 alive. Like a good cavalry force, they went for the guts and if necessary to fight in the field, outflanked their opponents as required. Genghis Khan would've approved.


blight_ February 26, 2013 at 9:54 am

It points to the lack of American "investment" in Iraq, such that the only metric worth looking at is the principal that we paid in blood every day.


Godzilla March 10, 2013 at 5:47 am

“Back when the strategy was to simultaneously invade Iraq and North Korea” When was this even suggested let alone considered a strategy? Evidence?

I guess you did not read the PNAC report "Project for a New American Century" detailing a global strategy for the US in the XXIst century. It was widely distributed before Bush was elected and Paul Wolfowitz was one of the people behind it.


hafoc01 September 20, 2013 at 10:14 am

+1 for the Princess Bride reference.


Godzilla March 10, 2013 at 5:50 am


The name of the report is "Rebuilding America's Defenses" BTW.


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