WASHINGTON (Army News Service) — The first armored multipurpose vehicle, or AMPV, is scheduled to be handed over to the Army Thursday for testing.
The AMPV demonstrator will roll out of the BAE Systems plant in York, Pennsylvania, to begin a 52-month engineering and manufacturing development phase for the vehicle. At least 29 of the vehicles will be manufactured for this phase of the procurement process, officials said.
If the low-rate production option for the AMPV is approved, procurement officials said several hundred of the vehicles will be manufactured for testing over the next four years.
The AMPV will replace the armored brigade combat team’s M113 family of vehicles. The AMPV addresses the M113’s shortcomings in survivability and force protection, and size, weight, power, and cooling, known as SWAP-C, officials said. It is also designed to incorporate future technologies and the Army’s network.
The AMPV has a brand new hull, but it maintains some of the Bradley legacy design, allowing for some compatibility efficiencies, according to Maj. Gen. David G. Bassett, program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems. In fact, about 60 to 70 percent of the parts are common with existing ground combat vehicles, Bassett said during a press conference in October.
The AMPV also has space inside to allow for the addition of new systems in the future, and it comes with an improved power train. The hull is stronger from a force protection perspective, too, he said.
Meanwhile, many Bradleys are still in service, “so we’re building new capabilities in an incremental way over time,” he added.
“I’d love to have replacement programs today for Abrams and Bradleys,” Bassett said. “We could get those plans [for replacements], but it just doesn’t fit into this portfolio and budget requirement. Instead we’re looking at, do you want to do an ECP-3 [engineering change proposal] on a Bradley or do you want to bridge to a new platform? We’re making informed decisions.”
UPDATING CURRENT COMBAT PLATFORMS
The M-109 Paladin, the M1 Abrams tank and the M-2 Bradley have been around for decades, but their capabilities today are nothing like they were when they originally rolled out of the factory.
The vehicles have been updated periodically with various upgrades as new technologies evolved, making them far more capable than their original design, noted Bassett, who is the program executive officer for Ground Combat Systems.
“At the end of the day, a combat vehicle is about a box,” he said. “[Inside, are the latest] mobility system, lethality system, communications system and some other things. If you can take all those and put them on an existing vehicle, then maybe you don’t have to build a whole new vehicle from scratch, along with the risks associated with that kind of development.”
The box concept does have its limitations, though, he added. For instance, the size of the power train on a Bradley is constrained by the size of the engine cavity, which means that simply plopping in a larger one isn’t possible. But still, even if the hull has to be replaced, some elements of the existing vehicle could be retained.
With its brand new hull and many Bradley legacy designs, the AMPV, is “a great example of that [versatility],” he pointed out.
Besides using existing platforms in ways that designers never anticipated, Bassett said, the Army has been saving money in other ways.
“Across the board, the way we’re affording all the things we’re affording is by producing things at really low rates, which gives us an operational flexibility to ramp up when dollars are available,” he said, adding “that [strategy] creates fairly slow modernization across our formation.”
For instance, production rates on the Stryker for the engineering change proposal could be as low as one brigade every three years, “because you’re just not getting at the level of resources to create an efficient production rate,” he explained.
As to the modernization rates of Abrams and Bradleys, they will certainly be lower than one brigade a year, he said. “Those are all symptoms of that budget environment.”
A new suite of mobile protected firepower (MPF) vehicles is also being conceptualized. The MPF is meant to fill the need among infantry brigade combat teams for something like a light tank, Bassett said. The Abrams is too heavy to be air dropped and, once it’s on the ground, it can’t maneuver in constricted areas like narrow mountain roads or alleyways.
In August, when industry representatives were invited to the Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning, Georgia, the technical requirements for the MPF were purposely kept to a minimum, he said, because “we’re trying to be open-minded.”
For instance, a maximum weight of 32 tons was one requirement, which would allow it to be air dropped, he said.
Also among the requirements: the cannon must be capable of destroying a minimum number of targets and must provide a certain level of protection. The cannon could be 57-millimeter, 105-millimeter or 120-millimeter — a cost-saving measure; those cannons are already in the Army’s inventory, he explained.
Like a tank, the new vehicle should be tracked so that it can scale over rubble from destroyed buildings and other obstructions like burned-out cars, said Col. Jim Schirmer, project manager for armored fighting vehicles.
Of course, the MPF vehicle would need certain levels of mobility, protection and firepower, he said, but the advantages of the tradeoffs between such capabilities must be considered. For example, a light vehicle that offers greater mobility would also have less protection and firepower than an Abrams.
The MPF suite of vehicles will include ground mobility vehicles, light reconnaissance vehicles as well as the tracked vehicle just described, Schirmer said.
As to the timeline, the Army is initiating prototyping to develop the MPF while pursuing short-term, non-developmental alternatives, Bassett said.
The Army is preparing now to issue an “analysis of alternatives” for the MPF in early 2017. A competitive request for proposal may also be released next year.
“We’re not willing to go through a lengthy bottom-up design process,” Bassett said. “We’re willing to give you time on your own to get a design ready to compete, and then we’ll evaluate that fairly rapidly in the engineering, manufacturing, development phase, not unlike what the Marine Corps did.”
He added, “We can learn a lot from the Marine Corps and programs like JLTV [Joint Light Tactical Vehicle], where we benefited greatly from the competition of more than one vendor.”
(ARNEWS Editor Gary Sheftick contributed to this article. You can follow them on Twitter: @vergunARNEWS and sheftickARNEWS.)
DEFENSE HEALTH HEADQUARTERS, FALLS CHURCH, Va.– Lt. Gen. Nadja West, Surgeon General of the Army, defined Army military treatment facilities as “health readiness platforms” to get soldiers ready for the battle of the future.
She delivered her remarks on Dec.1 during the plenary session of the Association of Military Surgeons of the United States annual meeting, which was held from 28 Nov. to 2 Dec. in Washington, D.C.
Army Medicine’s need to be a health readiness platform is apparent when considering the future roles of military medicine. Army Medicine will need to be positioned to support future battles. And the future battle is likely to be a “multi-domain battle.”
The multi-domain battle will be comprised of land, air, maritime, space, and cyberspace domains; these domains will be affected by technology as potential combatants innovate and adapt.
The multi-domain battle requires outmaneuvering adversaries physically and cognitively in cross-domain operations. At every step of the way, Army Medicine has to be prepared to help create responsive and resilient service personnel.
The future fight will be interconnected in a way it never has before, said West.
We need to understand the future fight in order to understand how to position Army Medicine, she added. We must do everything we can to ensure our fighting forces can operate at the extreme edge of the physical and cognitive domains.
The Army must be prepared to fight as part of a Joint Force, across multiple domains, to gain the advantage. The Army adapts, evolves, and innovates to keep a combat edge by thinking about future conflict, collaborative learning, analyzing capability gaps, and implementing solutions.
Army Medicine will adapt as well, filling a role no other healthcare provider can.
It’s critical that we get right care for service members at the point of injury. But that first requires getting it right in our MTFs; otherwise, we may not be able to get it right on the battlefield, West said.
Army MTFs contribute a special value as health readiness platforms.
Even before the medic assists a soldier on the battlefield or a physician sees an Army family member in a healthcare clinic, Army Medicine has been performing research to develop cutting edge healthcare products and vaccines, ensuring safe food and water supplies, and developing a wide-spectrum of healthcare for the entire Army family.
We must continue to hone our medical skills to ensure a rapidly responsive, broad spectrum of medical capabilities–well-trained and well-equipped personnel to deploy while concurrently supporting our soldiers, families, and Soldier for Life retirees at home, she said.
Army MTFs have a special advantage because of their proximity to our soldier population; their location prevents loss of valuable training hours–even training days.
Army Medicine training such as graduate medical education and leader development programs, West said, are critical to maintaining a medically ready force. Clinical skills are important, but leadership skills to lead teams in uncertain environments are also important.
The nature of the large beneficiary population currently found in Army MTFs is a critical and necessary part of ensuring appropriate case complexity so that medical skills are regularly practiced and kept sharp.
Army Medicine is also a key partner in interagency collaboration that is required, for example, to handle the Ebola crisis; partners include both international and domestic agencies. We need to be able to rely on international and civilian partners to ensure that services on the ground have the capabilities to fully support our uniformed personnel. “We can’t go it alone,” West said.
There is much we don’t know regarding what will be required in the future, said West. “We are one team with one purpose” — to get soldiers ready for the battle, she said.
What is it?
Army Doctrine Publication (ADP) 3-0, Operations, is one of the Army’s capstone publications and presents the fundamental principles and overarching doctrinal guidance for conducting operations. Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 3-0 augments ADP 3-0, providing detailed information on the fundamentals of operations. The Army recently published these revised manuals to support a common framework for organizing and conducting Army operations as part of a joint force. The central idea of operations is that Army forces must be ready to operate across the range of military operations and across multiple domains.
What is the Army doing?
The revised ADP and ADRP 3-0, which can be found at the Army Publishing Directorate, describe the Army’s focus to conduct prompt and sustained land combat to achieve the joint force commander’s objectives. The Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate (CADD), a part of the Combined Arms Center and Army Training and Doctrine Command, manages the Army doctrine program and led the effort to update these manuals. These revisions not only reflect on the past but also look to the future. They build on the idea that success requires fully integrating Army operations with the efforts of unified action partners.
What continued efforts are planned for the future?
The Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate is coordinating with the doctrine development community plus the Army’s joint service partners in creating a completely new version of Field Manual (FM) 3-0, Operations. Current plans call for FM 3-0 to be published in fall of 2017. Workshops will focus on incorporating those aspects of the current operational environment that impact Army operations and multi-domain battle, with an emphasis on threats posed by peer and near-peer competitors. Doctrine developers from across the Army will ensure the revised FM 3-0 aligns with the revised editions of ADP/ADRP 3-0.
Why is this important to the Army?
U.S. forces are increasingly contested across all areas; matched or overmatched in ground force capabilities; and confronted over an expanded battlefield. Army forces remain the preeminent fighting force in the land domain. The revised ADP and ADRP 3-0 discuss how Army forces conduct decisive action to seize, retain, and exploit the initiative and consolidate gains to prevent conflict, shape the operational environment, and win the nation’s wars as part of a unified action.
- U.S. Army Combined Arms Center
- The Combined Arms Doctrine Directorate (CADD)
- U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC)
- Army Doctrine Publication 3-0, Operations
- Army Doctrine Reference Publication (ADRP) 3-0, Operations
Search for the following documents under “Publication Text Search” at the Army Publishing Directorate:
- ADRP1: The Army Profession
- ADP1: The Army
ARLINGTON, Va. (Army News Service) — One tactic the Army is now considering as part of its drive to achieve windows of domain superiority in future battles is the strategic deployment of artillery along coastlines to sink enemy warships.
With such windows of superiority, created from a mixed use of land, air, sea, cyber and space domains, U.S. military units would maneuver freely to penetrate and defeat enemy strongholds.
“If the Army can provide capability to the maritime domain, that really starts to change the equation there,” Gen. David Perkins, commander of Army Training and Doctrine Command, said at an Association of the U.S. Army breakfast discussion Wednesday.
This spring, U.S. Pacific Command aims to conduct a multi-domain battle exercise to test maritime missions using Army assets. U.S. Europe Command also will hold a multi-domain exercise on that continent sometime next year, according to the general.
“We’re starting to put together these multi-domain battle exercises in the real domain to replicate some of these capabilities,” he said.
In October, Army leaders officially announced a shift to the multi-domain battle concept, a shift that is meant to keep the service ahead of potential adversaries around the world. To guide the concept, TRADOC planners have pinpointed eight capabilities for the Army to concentrate on.
Along with cross-domain fires, the capability areas to lead the Army into the future include combat vehicles, expeditionary mission command, advanced protection, cyber electromagnetic, future vertical lift, robotics/autonomous systems, and Soldier team performance and overmatch.
With autonomous systems Perkins said, one example of achieving domain superiority would be the ability to perform breach operations without risking the safety of Soldiers.
“I want the ability to conduct an autonomous breach with robots, [and] never have a manned system in there probing for mines,” he said, adding that U.S. forces could also employ an electromagnetic field to prevent enemies from interfering with the robots.
Army leaders also are looking for ways to diminish emerging anti-access/anti-denial capabilities, like long-range fires and precision munitions. That way, Soldiers would face fewer difficulties moving around contested territory.
Once inside a contested area, the U.S. military’s superior ability to move quickly could allow it to land a knockout punch against an enemy.
“When the U.S. military maneuvers, that’s a very difficult dilemma to deal with,” Perkins said. “Our people are better trained. We can jab much better.”
But overreliance on such capabilities can also present protection and sustainment challenges when those capabilities disappear. If communications go offline, for example, well-trained leaders will be needed to keep operations on the right path.
“When and if they lose communications, they’ll still understand the commander’s intent and can operate for periods of non-connectivity,” Perkins said. “[They] have to be very comfortable not having continuous communications, yet [they must also have] a continuous understanding of the battlefield.”
(Follow Sean Kimmons on Twitter: @KimmonsARNEWS)
FORT BLISS, Texas – In 2011, the Brigade Modernization Command began the Network Integration Evaluation, or NIE, based on guidance from the Army, to integrate tests on networks for brigade-level units and below primarily focused on mission command system of systems and other emerging network capabilities.
“The idea was fairly simple, how can we get down to at least one set of networks within the brigade combat teams,” said Douglas L. Fletcher, BMC chief of staff. “As you can imagine, if everyone is different, think about how much that costs and most importantly, can you talk to one another.”
Conducting NIEs two times a year created an opportunity for event-driven operational testing as opposed to schedule-driven testing. For example, if a system was not ready to enter operational testing at one NIE event, it would have the opportunity to enter testing in a subsequent NIE event. So far, 11 NIEs have been conducted at Fort Bliss, Texas and White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico
“Almost two years ago, TRADOC [U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command] determined that for us to look forward into the future, we needed to extend our vision in the Army of where do we want to be,” Fletcher said. “This is called Force 2025 and Beyond. So we went on to try new things in terms of how we want to fight, how we are organized and what are the capabilities we want as an Army and that idea became to be the Army Warfighting Assessment.”
AWA 17.1 is the Chief of Staff of the Army’s annual capstone exercise that will focus on the refinement and improvement of concepts and capabilities in an operationally relevant and demanding scenario, beyond the constraints of the NIE’s formal testing environment.
The AWAs enable the Army to increase the pace of innovation through early engagement with industry, government, other services and multinational partners.
More than 5,000 personnel have been participating in this year’s exercise, including elements from I Corps and 1st Armored Division, along with joint participation from Marine Corps, Air Force and Special Operations units, as well as five multinational partners from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Italy, and the United Kingdom.
“This is an important exercise that soldiers should be excited to be a part of, not just for the training aspect, but for the fact that they’re informing the future army leaders on what the army will use and how the joint force will fight in the future and that in itself is exciting,” said Col. Keith R. Jarolimek, BMC, Chief of Operations.
Jarolimek emphasized how the AWA is helping to shape the battlefield of the future, as the Army keeps current with ever-changing technologies and warfighting challenges.
The evolution of the AWA is to maintain readiness in an operationally realistic and rigorous exercise, enabling Soldier-led assessments of concepts and capabilities for future force development and while AWA will not replace NIE, the Army will continue to do NIEs only once a year instead of two.
Pictured above: U.S. Army Soldiers assigned to 1st Battalion, 6th Infantry Regiment, provide security during the Army Warfighter Assessment (AWA) 17.1 exercise at Ft. Bliss, Texas, Oct. 23, 2016. The soldiers conducted training to assess concepts and capabilities in a realistic, multi-domain battlefield during AWA 17.1. (Photo Credit: U.S. Army photo by Pfc. Alexander Holmes, 55th Combat Camera)