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Old 11-05-2012   #21
Firn
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Thanks for your long and detailed reply, it makes it difficult to come up with a proper answer.

I see the issue mostly from a economic and logistics point of view. There have been over the years quite a number of successfull families of military vehicles, some of them in the combat role. In general the variants of the same family share a good part of the chassis, the power train etc. while differing only when the specific requirements of the specific variant demand it. So far so easy. The key benefit is that the whole is more then just the sum of the variants. It is also a sort of benefit which is difficult to integrate in a trial of a specific vehicle/platform so that sometimes the individual winner is worse for the whole then the second or third-best. Nothing new there, of course.

What I personally find interesting is the fact that historically the heavier combat vehicles like MBTs , SPGs and (heavy) APCs seem to have remained rather isolated members with little share in common. Yes, there are many specialized vehicles bases on MBTs but seemingly hardly one with considerable volume.

---

Anyway from a technological point the hybrid system of the GCV does sound interesting, it sounds like a parallel one.
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Old 12-21-2012   #22
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Default GCV project needs major changes

On the M1 Abrams thread I commented that the GCV project
Quote:
... will require at least two major changes. One, the proposed scale of issue will have to be reduced and directed to companys (rather than battalions) of assault infantry and combat engineers. Two, the large turret and armament will have to be supplanted by something smaller and less heavy that is still able to deliver intense prophylactic fire. Hence the definitive vehicle will be smaller and probably less weighty.
That comment was unsupported so here is an expansion. Most of following quotes are from http://www.cbo.gov/sites/default/fil...t_Vehicles.pdf

Quote:
The GCV is supposed to operate across the full range of potential conflict types while providing unprecedented levels of protection for the full squad of soldiers it will carry. To achieve the Army’s goals, the GCV would weigh from 64 to 84 tons, making it the biggest and heaviest infantry fighting vehicle that the Army has ever fielded—as big as the M1 Abrams tank and twice as heavy as the Bradley, the Army’s current infantry fighting vehicle.
Quote:
The Army intends to replace about 40 percent of the Bradleys in its heavy combat brigades with Ground Combat Vehicles (GCVs). The GCV will carry a full squad of infantry soldiers and provide very high levels of protection from all angles against a wide range of weapons. The Army plans to buy a total of 1,874 vehicles.
By implication the other 60% of Bradleys in each HBCT (24 Army and 9 Guard) will be M3 cavalry fighting vehicles plus mortar, engineer and CS variants. There are also Abrams and Bradleys – mostly M3 CFVs – in the 6 (Army) Armoured Battalion Combat Teams and 3 (Army) Cavalry Battalion Combat teams. Elsewhere, armour on issue to the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (19 Army and 20 Guard) will mainly consist of MRAVs plus HMWWVs and other GS and all terrain vehicles with applique protection. However,
Quote:
An inventory of 2,635 M113A3Es and M113A5Es will be kept up to combat standards at all times and can supply up to 12 Infantry Brigade Combat Teams with mechanized transportation and cavalry.
https://sites.google.com/site/usarmy...de-combat-team
Reading these and other references it seems that the GCV is intended to initially succeed the Bradley M2 infantry fighting vehicle, and that a variant will later succeed the M3 cavalry fighting vehicle. A GCV that weighs as much as an M1 Abrams MBT will be similarly restricted by terrain and whatever road/track and bridge infrastructure exists in an operational zone. Similar trafficability also means that the GCV is likely to be - almost invariably - deployed together with the Abrams as a composite force.

Such a force would be less deployable and less wieldy than a Bradley and Abrams mechanized or cavalry force, especially in regard to logistic support. A vital attribute of infantry is the capability to go early and operate anywhere, sometimes with at most medium or light armoured vehicles and sometimes with none at all. So for armoured infantry carriers one puzzle is to determine a balance between heavy and medium and/or lightweight vehicles.

Currently the US Army has the mediumweight Bradley M2 and M3 carriers plus the M113A3 and A5 carriers that are approaching obsolescence. If the numbers of those carriers on issue were graphed against combat weight the result would resemble a trough or the upper part of a barbell with peaks at 30 to 35 tonnes, and 15 to 18 tonnes.

Army planning is for the M113 to be succeeded by up to 3,800 AMPV carriers and variants. The AMPV will probably be heavier than the M113. But its unladen weight might still be less than 20 tonnes to enable ready transport in C-130 size aircraft. Some sources, however, suggest that the prime AMPV candidates include a turretless Bradley and a tracked Stryker each weighing at least 30 tonnes. So the future distribution of Army infantry - and cavalry - carriers could resemble a wider trough or longer barbell with one peak at 60 to 80 tonnes and the other at about 20 or about 30 tonnes.

Contrastingly the USMC plans to update from its AAV and LAV infantry carriers by procuring about 600 tracked ACVs and about 600 of a similarly weighted 8x8 MPC. The resultant kettle-type weight distribution or dumbbell-type tracked/wheeled distribution could be satisfactory for an ‘over the beach’ component and also for scouting. However, a somewhat heavier and better protected tracked infantry carrier would be useful to accompany Marine MBTs in any subsequent manoeuvre operations.

My presumption is that a wide trough/long barbell of GCV and AMPV vehicles would prove awkward to use and inadequate for purpose. It is more likely that the eventual distribution of the US Army’s tracked infantry-carrying armoured vehicles will have three peaks with the medium-weight Bradley and later its successor in the middle between the GCV and M113 or AMPV. In that context some companies in the HBCTs and more companies in Armoured Battalion Combat Teams and in the Cavalry Battalion Combat Teams would preferably continue to be equipped with mediumweight carriers rather than requip with GCVs.

Secondly
Quote:
Notable requirements in Band A include a primary weapon equal in capability to the current 25 millimeter cannon on the Bradley fighting vehicle, ...
Quote:
To reduce costs, the Army has allowed the vehicle designers to omit some capabilities in the GCV that are included in the Bradley. For example, the Bradley has a long-range antitank missile launcher and associated long-range sensors mounted on the turret. Those components contribute about $1.3 million, or 35 percent, of the overall Bradley manufacturing cost of $3.9 million. The Army expects to save some money by omitting the missile launcher on the GCV, ......
A turret-mounted cannon at least equivalent to the 25mm Bushmaster is too large for prophylaptic fire. Also a cannon of less than 35 or 40mm would be unable to defeat many static targets and contemporary armoured vehicles. Compounded by lack of a LATGW it seems that the GCV is intended to have a neither-nor armament.The nature of an appropriate armament can be refined by considering two scenarios at the extremes of military operations.

One: infantry and armour movement and combat within an intensely contested locality. Any need for large calibre close support firepower will be provided almost certainly by MBTs rather than heavy assault guns that are traverse limited. Much of the smaller calibre prophylaptic fire is likely to be delivered by the GCVs that are co-operatively moving and supporting infantry within that locality. Cannon ammunition is much more bulky than ammunition for MGs. Also single - or multiple - cannon of say 50 down to 30mm calibre can be effectively employed and better kept in action when installed as the principal armament of a specialised weapon platform or cannon-equipped tank rather than as the secondary armament of an infantry carrier. Considerations of masking, multi-targeting, intensity, duration, damage and malfunction, and hazard posed to dismounted infantry indicate that a GCV could be usefully armed with (at least) two independently trainable small calibre weapon stations equipped with MGs of 7.62mm to 12.7mm calibre.

The armament officially proposed for the GCV includes a turret-mounted cannon and co-axial MG plus a shielded MG at the commander’s hatch. However, an alternate GCV would dispense with the turreted cannon. It would instead have its trainable weapons limited to single or multiple MGs - possibly complemented by a 40mm AGL - mounted in separate mini-turrets or RCWS. An ATGW container/launcher might be fitted on an as-needed basis to one or other RCWS to allow for instances when fire from a MBT was not available or allowable.

Two: a robust forward presence during anti-guerilla, peacekeeping and peacemaking operations. The heavily protected GCV is well suited to function as a deployable observation and sentry post and as a bullet magnet. In addition to protecting sentries and sensors it could be armed to provide deliberate small calibre fire to nullify snipers, dominate personnel movement and secure roads and pathways in built-up areas and rural zones. That would involve several crew-members operating an all-aspect sensor package and at least two separated weapon mounts - mini-turrets or RCWS. In this second role, the RCWS would not have to be stabilised. That would improve the prospects for development of a RCWS with an articulated boom supporting a sensor and MG pod operable in extended and compact modes.

Some commentators argue that scenarios can be chosen with bias to favour a particular viewpoint. That is a valid criticism. But scenarios are similar to gaming and can assist in evaluating a concept. The current concept for the GCV seems to be simply aimed at delivering a bulked-up ‘ Bradley on steroids ‘with an underpowered cannon. My underlying viewpoint - or bias - is that such a heavyweight infantry-carrying vehicle would be better employed in a deliberate close combat role rather than for manoeuvre. Hence, a GCV would preferably be armed with MGs in order to complement vehicles such as Abrams and Breacher during assault and spearhead operations, and to function as an anti-guerilla sentry.

If the GCV is intended to serve as a general-purpose infantry carrier then it should be specified and developed as such. Depending on the requirement for a manned or unmanned turret, the result would be a mediumweight AIFV along the lines of the BAE/Haaglunds CV90 or the KMW/RmLS Puma. But that would be a successor for the Bradley IFV. The heavy force would still be without its required super well-protected infantry carrier.
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Old 12-21-2012   #23
Fuchs
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The GCV is quite unimportant anyway. I'm sure it's going to be cancelled as well. The U.S. military hasn't brought a development program for a new tracked AFV to successful conclusion in three decades and every new program just exhibits the "why".

They should set up standards for interfaces, maintenance, data communication, reliability, quickness of repairs first and then go shop for what the industries offer.
Instead they're some corporations with horribly inflated development contracts - and the industries are guaranteed a profit margin by merely developing something which isn't going to be produced.


Besides, the entire concept of mating autocannon combat vehicle and APC tasks is deeply flawed. The concept of a Schützenpanzer / IFV hasn't been valid since hand-held AT weapons' practical range exceeded the practical range of moving mounted infantry (less than 100 m) in the 50's.
Ever since, the IFV perception moved towards autocannon partner to MBTs and neglected the dismount strength.

Last edited by Fuchs; 12-21-2012 at 10:47 AM. Reason: ü
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