"Future Combat" Fattens Up

One of the big ideas behind the Army's massive modernization effort, Future Combat Systems, was to make American troops more mobile able to get around the world in a matter of days or weeks, instead of the months that are needed now.nlosc.jpgThe first step: slim down the service's cannon and armored vehicles. Today, it takes a gargantuan C-17 or C-5 transport plane to lug a single, 32-ton Paladin 155 mm howitzer. Army planners wanted the Paladin's next-gen replacement to weigh in at 19 tons or less so one could fit inside a much smaller C-130 transport plane, instead.But now, that's not going to happen, Inside Defense reports. The site has gotten a hold of a draft Army press release which announces that Future Combat System's Manned Ground Vehicles (MGVs) will weigh 24 tons, not 19.The Army insists that the MGVs will still be able to be carried in a C-130, to "provide a wider range of crossable bridges; improve tactical mobility, enable the reduction of the logistics footprint; and facilitate greater strategic deployability." But it doesn't look like the vehicle will be "ready to fight when it lands," explains Inside Defense editor Dan Dupont. A bunch of material including armor, perhaps will have to be added, first.The add-on process will only take 30 minutes, the Army insists. But given that the Army was promising 19-ton MGVs not too long ago, I'd take that claim with about 5 tons of salt."If it's 25 tons today," Army Training and Doctrine Command chief Lt. Gen Kevin Byrnes told Defense News in February, "I guarantee it will be 30 tons next year, because when there's no sizing constraint, we will have more good ideas and it will cause that thing to grow."

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