Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Ultra Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV)? The Army tried it in the 1980's!

Something about the Army's solicitation for the Ultra Light Combat Vehicle has been bothering me.  It reminded me of something they had done before but I couldn't put my finger on it.

Then I checked an old book that I had an Army Heraldry and ran across the passage on the 9th Infantry Division (Mechanized).

Remember the Navy SEALs running around in Dune Buggies?

Remember Army Rangers upgunning humvees and using them for gun trucks?

The 9th ID did it before all of them.  Check this out from Wikipedia....
Following the Vietnam War the division was stationed at Fort Lewis Washington until its inactivation in 1992. Beginning in the mid-1980s the division served as the high-technology test-bed for the army. This led to the division testing the concept of "motorized infantry", designed to fill the gap between light infantry and heavy mechanized forces. The idea was to create lighter, mobile units capable of rapid deployment with far less aircraft than a heavier mechanized unit. Motorized infantry doctrine concentrated on effectiveness in desert warfare.[citation needed]
By 1989 the division had fielded two complete brigades of motorized infantry in battalions designated as "Light Attack," "Light Combined Arms" and "Heavy Combined Arms". Motorized battalions traveled in the new Humvee and generally fought as traditional light infantry once engaged. Attack battalions utilized the Fast Attack Vehicles (later re-designated the Desert Patrol Vehicle), first developed at Fort Lewis. Essentially a Volkswagen- engined dune buggy mounted with either a 40mm Mk 19 grenade launcheror .50 caliber M2 Browning machine gun, the FAV was designed to provide highly mobile firepower that could attack the flanks of heavier mechanized units. Some variants also mounted TOW missiles. All of these weapons systems were attached to the FAV by a mount designed to break away if the vehicle rolled over, which they were prone to do. The FAVs were problematic at best and were eventually replaced by various versions of the HMMWV
Nothing is new.

This "concept" of making certain Army units expeditionary by giving them ultra light vehicles has been done before.

Unlike what the Marine Corps and Army are doing today however, the old skool guys actually tested the concept before rubber stamping it and declaring it a war winner.

So when you keep track of this latest effort remember this...its been done before. 


  1. Here's a starter list of what's available, but they probably don't cost enough. Good videos.

  2. they have essentially asked for a stripped down Toyota Tacoma/Hi-Lux or maybe a Pinzgauer

    I don't get it myself. What about the Pacific makes them think that an Ultra Light Combat vehicle is needed?

    1. it makes me sick to see the US Army do this to itself. they are a proud organization that is a vital part of our defense.

      instead of tying themselves up in knots trying to reform and redesign stuff that doesn't need redesign they need to just make the case of why they're essential.

      then they need to kick the USAF in the ass and tell them to get them proper transports so that they can get men and material to theater in a decent time and then tell MSC they're going to be repositioning a Stryker Brigade prepositioned ship somewhere in the Pacific so they can have gear close to the next hotspot. after that they need to kick the USMC out of Africa and the middle east and get their units over there.

      they won't do it but if i was service chief that's exactly what i would be telling Hagel everyday and meeting with Senators behind his back to get done.

    2. General Odierno has been trying to make a case of why a million-man army (active, reserve and guard) is essential. His latest:

      Odierno cited potential risks from Kim Jong Un, the young North Korean leader who last year tested a nuclear bomb and threatened to attack U.S. allies in the region, the civil war in Syria, and sectarian divides surfacing in Iraq and other countries in the Middle East.

    3. Rep. Randy Forbes touched on this issue in a recent letter to SecDef Hagel.

      The letter urges the Pentagon to break out of what Forbes perceives to be an unjustified budget equality among the services. "It is hard to believe that despite our shifting global commitments from deterring a crisis in places like Iraq and North Korea in the 1990s, to counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan during the 2000s, and now to a more air and maritime focus along the littorals of the Indo-Pacific, our defense investments have somehow remained remarkably similar across the services," Forbes wrote.

    4. There was already a simple and tough solution:

  3. The "new" ULCV is supposed to also carry a squad, and have a roll cage. Which if you slap a roll cage on an M1097 in troop carrier configuration, you have.

    But seriously, anyone else remember that the M2, Mk19, and TOW missile system used to be mounted on Jeeps? That may not be as fast as a dune buggy, but it carried more men and bullets.

  4. Whatch this, is pretty cool. Peruvian army built a lot of this light vehicles to be spread all over the desertic border with Chile.

  5. Megaforce redux

  6. "they need to kick the USAF in the ass and tell them to get them proper transports so that they can get men and material to theater in a decent time"
    Just curious; can you specify what you see wrong with the current transport fleet?

  7. The issue is mobility for the Army’s infantry brigades. Today, their transport options are MRAPs, Humvees, and cargo trucks. The former are very good for fighting urban insurgencies, but all options largely restrict the infantry to 'road marches’. This desired ULCV would be air-droppable, air-portable, and an excellent hill-climber—vertical mobility modes that light infantry crave. - See more at:


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