Saturday, March 23, 2019

Marines to continue upgrading the M1A1 Abrams

via Marine Corps Times.
While the Corps buys modification kits for its Abrams tanks, the Army has had a new version for two years and eyes another upgrade by 2025.

The Marine Corps will continue to upgrade its Abrams tanks and is pushing ahead on a bridging system to replace the legacy M60 tank, a Vietnam-era tank used to unfold bridges that can support the Abrams as it crosses gaps in the battlefield.

Recently released budget request documents show that the Corps is asking for about the same amount of money to continue the Abrams upgrades in 2020 but will double then nearly triple that amount to keep upgrading the Abrams through 2024.

The M1A1 Abrams upgrade program includes modifications kits and money for support vehicles and devices. Those include the Assault Bridging Modernization Program that replaces the M60 and launching system of the Armored Vehicle Launching Bridge, used extensively in the 2003 Iraq invasion.

The kit also improves the Improved Recovery Vehicle, or the M88A2 Hercules, that can haul tanks off the battlefield for maintenance or recover them from ditches, canals or other hazards it might encounter.

Don't know if I can get real worked up about the Marine Corps decision on the upgrade path of the M1A1.

The Marines aren't in the massed tank fighting business and if we face that kind of opposition then we'll do like we did in Desert Storm, borrow a tank brigade and flex them into our force.

In other words it's about roles and missions and the Army has this covered.

What I am interested in and HQMC is moving on is to make the tank we have more lethal and better protected.  We're getting the Trophy APS for this system, and other upgrades so again we're covered.

What has me a bit twisted is the move that the US Army is making with regard to a Light Tank and/or the possibility of making the ACV a mobile gun system.

My thinking?

I'd like to see something that land with the assault echelon but with enough to give dispersed units the kind of firepower they need.

We've been stuck floating a Tank Platoon for a variety of reason, one of which is the weight of the vehicle and it's cube aboard ship.  An ACV mobile gun or a few of the US Army's light tanks could allow us to carry a bit more firepower while our ships are deployed....and remember those MEU's will be the first ashore when the balloon goes up.

The question becomes does a hard hitting vehicle with a glass jaw make sense on the modern battlefield for rapid deployment forces?

I think it does.

Tanks would remain (at least in my planning) but we'll also have Amphibious Assault Battalions with a platoon of ACV-MGS to handle duties on float.

Why go for the heavier solution...the ACV-MGS instead of the Light Tank? Because if you're on the assault you don't need to get stopped by water obstacles.

At the end of the day it doesn't matter.  HQMC knows the plan.  They know the budget.  They know what is and isn't possible.  This is one time I'll kick back, shut the fuck up and chill the fuck out.

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