Sunday, August 19, 2018

A New Way to Wage a Ground War: The Heavy Infantry Fighting Vehicle

via National Interest.
But what’s driving these trends for these heavier and heavier IFVs? The tactical mobility and speed advantages that originally characterized the IFV no longer apply to these new vehicles, as they lumber along at the same speed as tanks and aren’t amphibious.

One possible reason is an arms versus armor race with IFVs. IFVs are often expected to fight other IFVs, so the weight of the armor on them has gone up as the caliber of IFV weapons has increased. The current M2A3 Bradley is protected against the BMP-2’s thirty millimeter cannon on the frontal arc, while the original M2 Bradley was only protected against a BTR’s 14.5mm heavy machine gun.

Another possible reason is a shift towards COIN. In COIN mitigating casualties is more important than speed or tactical mobility, so there’s a high incentive to armor up existing platforms. While IFVs were originally designed to fight infantry from outside of the range of shoulder launched AT weapons like the RPG, COIN can push them into those tight engagements with infantry so armor is  becoming more important. The overall downsizing of militaries also makes it cheaper to procure such heavy (and expensive) IFVs, as most militaries no longer need to field multiple divisions worth of them.
Story here. 

Tons of my blog posts are disjointed, hard to read etc...So when I say that about someone else's writing then you know its pretty jacked up.

This article is pretty jacked up.

But ignore that and muddle thru it all.

What's my take?

They got it wrong.  First they appear to classify the upgraded Bradley in the heavy IFV category.  I disagree.  Its Medium Tank sized, but doesn't qualify as a heavy IFV.

In my way of thinking there are only two heavy IFVs.  The Israeli Namer and the Russian T-15.  Full stop.  There are no others.

I posted the excerpt above because I wanted to highlight one thing.  Their conclusion is wrong too.

This evolution has nothing to do with counterinsurgency warfare.  It has EVERYTHING to do with urban combat.  RPGs can be defeated with a variety of systems.  That threat alone didn't push the heavy IFV to the forefront.  Additionally the IED threat is better dealt with by other vehicles.

So why the heavy IFV?

For Russia it was Grozny and for the Israelis the Gaza Strip fighting.

Heavy IFVs are essential if you're gonna fight in tight, built up areas...instead of by passing these graveyards for divisions, military planners are thinking about heading straight in because that's where the "human" capital resides.

It's batshit crazy but there you have it.

So what happens when you fight in narrow streets with tall buildings on all sides, with sewers underneath the street...essentially facing a 3d fight?

You've taken maneuver off the table.

You've limited your own firepower (depending on the elevation of your guns).

You have no speed.

So you're left with armor to make up for the deficits that you chose to saddle yourself with for fighting in a stupid location.

As far as the "arms race" we're seeing in armor?  Again it was to be expected but I don't believe has any influence on the "heavy IFV" becoming a thing.

Anti-tank missiles are everywhere and heavy anti-tank missiles are carried by vehicles that were once considered utility but are now called full on combat capable.

One last thing.

Spare me with the idiocy of calling modern tanks the new mediums.  They're Main Battle Tanks because planners did away with Lights and Mediums!  Everyone operating a so called MBT is in essence operating a heavy!  Over 60 tons?  You're in the heavy class.  Deal with the reality boys!

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