Army seeks to replace combat vehicles, but it won't be easy
A new double-V hull Stryker Combat Vehicle recently issued to 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, idles at the Daman District Center in Kandahar province.
After more than a decade of war, the Army wants to replace combat vehicles worn out from millions of miles in rugged terrain in Iraq and Afghanistan or blown up by roadside bombs. However, budget and political concerns likely will force the service to repair older vehicles instead, USA Today reported.
The Army wants vehicles whose armor can protect troops yet are maneuverable enough for the urban warfare that is increasingly common. That combination will be expensive, and right now politicians and the Defense Department are trying to find ways to save money, not spend it.
Compunding the problem, USA Today said, is that the Army hasn't had much luck in fielding new vehicles in recent years:
"The Army spent $18 billion to develop a Ground Combat Vehicle for its Future Combat System, only to scrap it in 2009 because it couldn't protect from improvised explosive devices (IEDs). Another project, the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle (JLTV) meant to replace the workhorse Humvee, has been on the drawing board for more than a dozen years and still is not in production."
A newer Ground Combat Vehicle, scheduled to be fielded by 2017 at a cost of $10 million per vehicle, has been delayed due to contracting issues, saving the Army $1.3 billion.
Repairing existing vehicles and retrofitting them with protective armor might prove a more practical alternative. Strykers with V-shaped hulls that protect against improvised explosive devices have performed well in Afghanistan, Lt. Gen. William Phillips said
Philiips told USA Today the Army has learned from past failed weapons systems and will be able to field affordable vehicles relatively quickly.
Source: USA Today