Thursday, September 26, 2019

USMC Advanced, High-Technology Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle Demonstrator ... a chance to make LAR born again hard!

via Business Wire.
-Science Applications International Corp. (NYSE: SAIC) won a contract valued at $20.5 million, if all options are exercised, to deliver an advanced, high-technology Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle technology demonstrator for the Office of Naval Research and the U.S. Marine Corps.

“This state-of-the-art ground vehicle development program leverages our strengths and aligns well with our current strategy,” said Jim Scanlon, executive vice president and general manager of SAIC’s Defense Systems Group. “As a technology integrator with expertise and capabilities in leveraging open architecture and advanced technologies, SAIC is ready to deliver the best options for the Marine Corps’ requirements on this new reconnaissance combat vehicle.”

SAIC’s advanced technology demonstrator will be designed to push the envelope in terms of combat capabilities. SAIC’s “at the edge” variant will “fight for information” by balancing competing capability demands to sense, shoot, move and communicate while remaining transportable as part of the Naval expeditionary force. Some of the capabilities will include self-healing, cyber-secure power and information distribution architectures; an integrated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle capability; and modular electronics packages to enable plug and play, multi-mission options including integration with robotics and artificial intelligence.

The ARV advanced technology demonstrator will also have robust cross-country and water mobility. It will have both passive and active force protection and a drive-by-wire capability. The SAIC demonstrator will also deliver direct fires, both kinetic and non-kinetic (e.g., electronic and/or cyber) fires. In short, it will show the full spectrum of possible, 5th generation/21st-Century warfighting survivability and capability. The vehicle is to be delivered in October 2020.
Equip the Marine, don't man the equipment.

This is a golden opportunity for the Marine Corps to make LAR born again hard!

What do I mean?

With a properly equipped vehicle, they can do more than "fight for information".  If they are able to SLIGHTLY push the tech envelope, get around the idea of a "compact" rig and decide that capability trumps size constraints (while gaining modularity) then we can get an awesome and unique capability within the US ground force stable.

What do I propose?

First dump the idea of a lightweight vehicle.  I'm talking about toting Scouts, Geeks, Sensors, UAVs and UGVs...add in a mast and its obvious that a lightweight vehicle is out the window.

In short.  We need to base this vehicle on the ACV.

You need probably two Geeks in each vehicle.  One each to control the UAVs and UGVs respectively.  Of course that sensor mast is gonna be a huge addition to the job that we're looking to get done so a decision needs to be made on if that's part of the Vehicle Commander's job or if you want an additional Geek whose sole purpose is to use it to designate targets, relay info back to whoever etc...

We're gonna need a proper turret on this beast.  Preferably something that can kill anything smaller than a tank with its main gun (and proper ammo) and a couple of anti-tank missiles ready to go when the steel beast from the south side of hell rolls up.

Built in APS will be desirable as will the ability to identify and destroy targets at long range without use of the mast that I previously mentioned.

In my mind the T2000 by EOS fits the bill but I'll leave that particular to HQMC.

Last but not least the guys on the ground.  I believe they're rolling with 3 man Scout Teams.  We need to bump that up to 6 per vehicle, maybe 7 in a pinch so that a couple of vehicles will bring us up to the new Expeditionary Infantry Squad standard.  That way they can be an effective force against enemy infantry, work in concert with their vehicles and even act independently if their rides are needed elsewhere in an emergency.

Long story short?

We need a bigger vehicle than the LAV-A2.

Uniquely equipping an ACV to fulfill the ARV role will standardize our ground fleet and neck down the different vehicles that we have in the Corps AND will provide savings in maintenance/supply.

It'll also allow LAR to (as I said earlier) be born again hard.  In addition to fighting for information, flanking our offensive/defensive formations, it'll also be able to swim ashore if needed.  It will be able to shape the battlefield due to its upgraded firepower.

It should be able to operate not only at the forward edge of the battlefield, but in a fast moving operation a bit beyond.

In keeping with changing USMC concepts of operations imagine this.  You have a small island nation that has for some reason descended into chaos (let's say economic instability).  US citizens are trapped in hotels while on vacation but rampant violence is reported in the streets.

We have the 11th MEU on float but they're a couple of days away.  Luckily we have a Recon Team, along with an LAR Platoon onboard an Austal LCS modified into an Amphibious Support Ship just a few hours away.

The USS Solomon Stud Ship steams at high speed toward the island nation and launches its CH-53K at distance so that they can begin sorting our people stuck there, securing the location and providing intel on what's going on.

Due to the limited aviation assets carried it will be impossible to conduct a total evacuation by air, but luckily we have that LAR platoon ready to swim ashore and bring our citizens home.

The rest I'll leave to your imagination but we are talking about the USMC so the force is scalable to whatever threat we're facing.

My point is simple. 

We have the rig we need.  We should add to it to build what we need instead of striving for a new, cramped and all too soon antiquated vehicle.

The LAV-A2 (LAV-25) has served us well.  It's form factor is limiting. The ACV has a bright future, has been tested and deemed suitable and will easily fulfill this role.

We can add to our capabilities by subtracting the different number of vehicles in our inventory.  The ACV can do this job if we add what it needs to get the work done.

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