Army of none: The Ground Combat Vehicle restart

In yet another twist in the soap opera world of Army modernization, the Ground Combat Vehicle Program was canceled and restarted.

“The Army has canceled the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) solicitation because the service decided, after an internal and external review, that the current Requests for Proposal (RFP) do not accurately reflect Army requirements and a changing acquisition strategy, sources tell us.

A contract for the new vehicle was very close to being awarded, we’re told. A restart of the GCV competition is expected fairly soon, a new RFP may be out within 60 days, and the Army intends to stay within the original seven year timeline to field a new vehicle.”
Army Abruptly Cancels Ground Combat Vehicle Competition (Updated): Greg Grant, Defensetech.org

The Army Times asks if the lessons from the disastrous FCS program were learned.

The Future Combat Systems were a family of immature tech pused onto the active duty force in a time of war. Developed in the 90’s, most of the big systems failed. The robots and sensors have succeed. This program was supposed to be a smarter version of FCS. Even then the vehicles ballooned to 70 tons. Each service lards up new combat vehicles with fancy gadgets. Only later do they find out that the fancy widgets fold up and die in the real world.

The less said about the DIVAD the better.

Why the rush? Most of our tanks and APC’s are at their peak. Unlike aircraft or ships, most tracked and wheeled vehicles can go for decades before they need to be replaced. It has been tech like ABS and subtle changed in design that caused most 5 ton and deuce and a halves to drive to the sunset.

What is really needed is better network and commo gear. A new tank would be nice, but really we have the Stryke and MRAP’s. They suck in some ways (not heavy enough for a head on with a real army) but are more moble than 60-70 ton Abrams tanks.

The Army needs more air and sea lift. All the magical 40-50 ton “combat vehicles” do no good if they are stuck stateside. The brass put the combat cart before the logistical horse.

Maybe a new combat vehicle will win the next war. But the M1 will survive. Unless there is some new anti-armor warhead out there, our M1’s are good enough for the current economic downturn. If some radical new power plant, armor or weapon comes along, by all means make a new vehicle.

Till then the Army should invest more in personnel, logistics and networks.

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