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Army Determines Precision Indirect Fires Not All That Important in Current Wars

Defense Tech was at a question and answer with the Army’s top buyer, Lt. Gen. Robert Lennox, deputy chief of staff for programs, a couple of weeks back, when he said something that stuck out as counterintuitive. Speaking of Iraq and Afghanistan, he said: “The amount of expenditure of precision indirect fire weapons has not been through the roof, it’s been less than we expected… We were surprised to find that there wasn’t more precision being fired.”

Surprised me too, what with all the talk of the importance of precision indirect fires in urban areas and in irregular fights amongst the people. Non-precision indirect fire rounds have been doing just fine, Lennox said, within the overall need for indirect fires. In other words, close is close enough.

In a late night announcement on the Pentagon web site, we find out that DOD not only approved the Army’s cancellation of the Non-Line-of-Sight Launch System (NLOS-LS), but the Army is also reducing the buys of both the Excalibur 155mm precision round and the Accelerated Precision Mortar Initiative (120mm) rounds, following an examination of “the balance of high-end precision munitions and lower-end near precision munitions.”

Lennox told us his shop has been doing a cost benefit analysis of existing and future weapons, Capability Portfolio Reviews, to determine what value they bring to soldiers in today’s fights; weapons systems that are redundant, outdated or unnecessary will be curtailed.

-- Greg Grant

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