Saturday, October 28, 2017

Rocket artillery that can fit inside an MV-22?

via The Drive.
After demonstrating its ability to fire artillery rockets from decks of U.S. Navy ships, the U.S. Marine Corps now says it is interested in a similar, but super-compact mobile weapon system small enough to fit inside its MV-22B Osprey tilt-rotors or its future CH-53K King Stallion heavy lift helicopters. Such a vehicle would greatly increase the capabilities of Marine expeditionary elements, but even the service itself acknowledges it might just not be physically possible.

U.S. Marine Corps Major General David Coffman, presently serving as the U.S. Navy’s director for expeditionary warfare, explained the basic requirements to on the sidelines of the National Defense Industry Association’s (NDIA) annual Expeditionary Warfare Conference, which ended on Oct. 26, 2017. The officer described a weapon that would have a “competitive” range and capability compared to the M142 High Mobility Artillery Rocket System, or HIMARS, and its GPS-guided 227mm rockets, but on a vehicle smaller than a High Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicle (HMMWV), or Humvee, all of which could fit within the main cabin of an MV-22 or CH-53K.
Story here. 

My heart is sinking.

I love reading about old concepts in the Marine Corps because leadership was so dynamic, so bold, so willing to try and if it didn't work they were quick to abandon it without regret, remorse or embarrassment.

Flash back to the 1950's.  The US military was in the middle of the atomic scare (civilians too).  After seeing the tremendous power of the atom bomb over Japanese cities, the common belief was that future battlegrounds would see the wide spread use of atomic weapons. 

The US Army developed Pentomic Divisions to deal with the threat.  The USAF was born and inaugurated the Strategic Air Command and put bombers on 24/7 alert while putting several different types into service.  The Navy was having to revalidate aircraft carriers and sought aircraft that could deliver weapons from the sea....and the USMC sought to use helicopters to deliver Marines from ship to shore because it was thought that closing to the beach would be impossible in this new age.

Vertical envelopment was born and the Marine Corps fully embraced heliborne forces.

So how did we decide to keep battlefield mobility if we were being deployed by helicopter?  We needed unique vehicles that could be delivered by them! This birthed the Mighty Mite Jeep you see in the vid above.

My issue with the move toward various iterations of Internally Carried Vehicles for the MV-22?

We're repeating the mistakes of those that came before.  The Drive speculates on what could work to meet the Marine Corps requirements or rather "ask fors" and they seem to be pretty neat vehicles but not delivering what the Marine Corps says they need.

The systems they describe from Fletcher are pretty darn interesting (above).  So is the rig that Lockheed Martin displayed a couple of years ago (below).

My issue isn't with the "want".  It's with the "what are we doing" part of this story.

I have yet to understand or to hear a rationale for how these lightweight forces are suppose to be survivable on a modern battlefield with even the weapon systems that are being proposed.

The thinking in my mind is unclear.  The desired endstate wishful thinking.

Rocket artillery that can fit inside an MV-22?  Sorry but that's batshit crazy on the surface.  I guess to sum this up (because I know I'm once again all over the place) is that the Marine Corps is trying so hard to be innovative that its becoming silly season.

How many of you guys remember this?  via Popular Science.
The proposal, part of the Corps's push toward greater speed and flexibility, is called Small Unit Space Transport and Insertion, or Sustain. Using a suborbital transport-that is, a vehicle that flies into space to achieve high travel speeds but doesn't actually enter orbit-the Corps will be able, in effect, to instantaneously deliver Marine squads anywhere on Earth. The effort is led by Roosevelt Lafontant, a former Marine lieutenant colonel now employed by the Schafer Corporation, a military-technology consulting firm working with the Marines. Insertion from space, Lafontant explains, makes it possible for the Marines-typically the first military branch called on for emergency missions-to avoid all the usual complications that can delay or end key missions. No waiting for permission from an allied nation, no dangerous rendezvous in the desert, no slow helicopter flights over mountainous terrain. Instead, Marines could someday have an unmatched element of surprise, allowing them to do everything from reinforce Special Forces to rescue hostages thousands of miles away.
"Sustain is simply an ability to move Marines very rapidly from one place to another," says Marine colonel Jack Wassink, director of the Corps's Space Integration Branch in Arlington, Virginia, where the program is based. "Space lends itself to that role."
Story here. 

My refrain is that we don't have time for wishful thinking.  America's enemies are gunning up, working out, getting harder everyday while our planners are in fantasyland trying to come up with an easy way to do the hard thing.

There are no easy ways.

Neller himself has said that the future battlefield will be beyond chaotic and bloody beyond belief.  I agree.  If we're right then its time to do the hard work of prepping physically, mentally and morally to face our fate.

The time to dream is over.  It's time to get to work...and that means putting away foolish ideas and getting the gear we need now...not hoped for some time in 2030.

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