Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Modest Proposal. Put a large caliber cannon on a MRAP!

Infantry Fire Support.

The enemy soon learned that their infantry weapons outranged our own and would engage us at max distance.  It pushed the rebirth of the Sniper in the countersniper role, Designated Marksman Concept and led to the development of new weapons like the US Army's Punisher Weapon System.

It did one other thing.  It got the military to rush tanks to Afghanistan.

But the problem remains.  How do you provide timely Direct Fires when the infrastructure and logistics don't support the widespread use of 60 plus ton vehicles?

You at least experiment with the idea of placing low recoil, large caliber cannons on MRAPs.

It might be a non-starter for several reasons but we have several big vehicles to choose from and one might be suitable. If the Cougar (in the pic above is too small) then the BUFFALO MRAP(pictured below) should be able to handle a low recoil gun in the 90 to 105mm range.

The US military is praying to all that's holy that the age of the IED is over.  I don't believe it is.  Troops in the Pacific are facing the IED threat in jungles from the Philippines to Malaysia.

Putting a cannon on an MRAP might not be so far fetched after all...especially if you're going to get fire support to troops when they need it.


  1. Replies
    1. not yet but its coming. bet on it. but why should that surprise? you have countries that are running 65 ton tanks there. an MRAP will be a no brainer.

    2. My forebears got caught out thinking jungle was unpenetrable, google Singapore fall of.

      I don't see why smaller vehicles like the German Wiesel or BV206 couldn't be used in the jungle, whatever is meant by that time. Further you only have to look at forestry vehicles or the DARPA Boston Dynmaics Big Dog. Your MRAPs (with or without cannon) would be restricted to better routes, but still a valuable asset.

      Using vehicles isn't a work around for high fitness levels. But it is a waste of a resource if men spend time training only to use that health and stamina to lug loads whether that load is water or a crew served weapon. The West's edge is in technology we should use it.

  2. Ha!

    If you built right it could easily take the recoil of a 75mm pack howitzer fired on a low charge. However, it will never happen because current idea is to just to put the TOWs on the MRAPs. I have seen plenty of MATVs with TOWS on them. The downside is cost and lack of ability to supress the enemy or engage multiple targets.

    However all the joint chiefs have certified that we will no longer be building a military that is "sized, trained and equipped" for large scale stability or counter insurgency operations. Who knew that Donald Rumsfeld was proven to the smartest defence secretary of all time?

    1. you're getting where i'm coming from. a low velocity gun to actually take care of fire support. we have enough anti-tank missiles from the LAW, to the SMAW to the Javelin to take care of armored vehicles (maybe not the SMAW but you get where i'm at.).

      that's the missing ingredient. we're using missiles on stuff that is a cannons job and we're doing it because we dont' have direct fire support.

    2. The only reason I keep pushing for WWII level tech is because we are fighting a Boer War level enemy. If I was gearing up to fight the Chinese on mainland China I would only be talking about TOWS, JAGMs, and saying that we need the JSF in production right now. But we are not.

      Instead we are wishing away the low intensity fight and hoping that we have 15 years to get our armor in order before we have to fight anything approaching a peer competitor.

  3. The portuguese army came up whit this 50 years ago in our colonial war( Guerra do Ultramar)...
    And this...
    You can see armed trucks in the middle of the jungle and they worked...
    Of course our MRAPs where simple Berliet and Unimogs with lots and lots of sand bags :)
    But they worked...and so did the armour in the jungle...wheeled vehicles like the Chaimite where very usefull...

  4. High velocity gun actually needed to penetrate armor, and HE shell power of 90-mm howitzer is lower than for example of back loaded 120-mm mortar which is more compact, mortar shells in turn also weight less, and capable to fling shell on the roof of a building or to machine gun nest on high ground. During late urban battles in Germany in 1944-45 on some russian tanks in the field were installed mortars for such purposes.

    Modern(relatively) concept included russian NONA type cannon-mortar capable of firing any type of 120-mm mortar shell, sophisticated artillery shells, and guided anti-tank missiles. Were deployed in afghanistan, chechnya etc. -- in russian, in english sources information is very scarce. Its lightweight amphibious system of NONA family, created to support airborne troops capable to be airdropped. And photo was taken in artillery museum in my city i should go to visit it.

  5. Does it need to be a cannon?
    How about a machine loaded 81mm mortar?
    Or a 40mm grenade machine fed launcher maybe?
    If you insist on a cannon, why not the 40mm case telescoped?

    1. In a jungle you will need a cannon(flechettes and all that)...bunker busting,vehicles, will need a cannon...

    2. 81mm and 40mm are indirect fire suppression weapons used against an "area". We are talking about direct fire or if you prefer aimed fire against a designated target.

    3. Wouldn't 106mm RR or LW25mm Bushmaster cannon be a better choice.

  6. not a armor type, but we should note that the US has a LOT of excess MRAPs. And since Sol has pointed at wheeled AGS before, I think he is on to something here?

    1. thanks. i think the rush to get rid of MRAPs is more wishful thinking than sound strategic planning.

  7. By 1939 the direct fire infantry gun was out of favor in just about every army in the world with notable exceptions of Germany and Japan. In the German army 150mm and 75mm infantry guns were used at regimental and/or battalion level. They weighed about 900lbs and 4,000lbs respectively. Both of these were very short barreled weapons (L11).

    When there is little to no threat of enemy AFV's the infantry gun is a perfectly viable weapon but I doubt it is ever brought back. A long barreled high velocity gun is dual purpose and sexy. That said some designs that look high velocity aren't and for anti armor typically only fire HEAT rounds. For an MRAP a true infantry gun would be perfectly viable if the mission was actually infantry support.


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