Long-Range Recon Air-Mech-Strike Group: covering force for the XVIII Airborne Corps

"Where was the cavalry? ...and I don't mean horses. I mean helicopters and light aircraft, to lift Soldiers armed with automatic weapons and hand-carried light anti-tank weapons, and also lightweight reconnaissance vehicles, mounting anti-tank weapons the equal or better than the Russian T34s...If ever in the history of our armed forces there was a need for the cavalry arm--airlifted in light planes, helicopters and assault-type aircraft--this was it... Only by exploiting to the utmost the great potential of flight can we combine complete dispersion in the defense with the facility of rapidly massing for the counter-attack which today's and tomorrow's Army must possess"

---Lieutenant General James M. Gavin from his Harper's magazine article, "Cavalry and I don't mean horses"


East Bank of the Suez, the morning of October 8, 1973

The Egyptian Army has crossed the Suez Canal in a surprise invasion using Soviet-style rapid water-crossing techniques and equipment. The breakthrough battle we fear will take place on the plains of Europe against Soviet offensive tanks is a reality in the hands of the massed Arab armies rolling unhindered across the unforgiving sands of the Sinai peninsula under a impenetrable surface-to-air (SAM) missile "umbrella". Facing them is our best western tanks operated by the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) in a showdown that will decide the fate of the middle east. IDF fighter-bombers launch into the SAM umbrella and are shot down without any prior air defense suppression-air strikes are unable to stop the ground invasion. Armor units foray into the mass of the Egyptian 2nd and 3rd Armies without a covering force to detect and target Anti-tank Guided Missile (ATGM) and Rocket Propelled Grenade (RPG) "Hunter/Killer" teams and dozens of M48 Patton and Centurion tanks are lost as entire units are annihilated. The Arabs are 1 hour's drive away from the capital of Israel and the destruction of the tiny nation. It's a dark day for Israel with national survival hanging in the balance.

Then a miracle happens.

The Egyptians pause to consolidate their positions. The IDF realizes its mistake and creates a covering force of mobile infantry in M113A1 "Zelda" tracked armored fighting vehicles to move ahead and clear out Egyptian anti-armor teams, as self-propelled artillery is brought forward to bring enemy air defense units under indirect fire-a combined arms team is created to defeat an asymmetric combined-arms enemy strategem in a matter of hours. This covering force led, by General Arial "Arick" Sharon (now Prime Minister of Israel) boldly finds a gap between the two armies and crosses the Suez with a large force to encircle the southernmost 3rd Army, the move that wins the war for Israel. The Soviet Airborne is put on alert to jump in to rescue their client, the Egyptians from annihilation and so is the American 82nd Airborne Division at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. After a tense series of negotiations an all-out nuclear war between the superpowers is avoided.

It was a very near-run thing.

After the war, the U.S. Army rushed experts to study the battlefield and to draw conclusions---it was decided that we must have a very heavy defensive/breakthrough tank and armored personnel carrier to withstand the onslaught of a similar Soviet-style breakthrough battle. This led to the creation of the ultra-heavy M1 Abrams tank and M2 Bradley force is placed in Europe to defend the ground as the IDF does in the desert, because both lack the territory to trade for time. Its realized that in the next war there will be no "pausex" to "get our act together". The side that strikes first, wins the first battles, and wins the war. The side with lasting ground maneuver trumps all the enemy's options as increasingly more terrain is lost to conduct operations and maintain a countering ground maneuvering combining of arms. The heavy M1/M2 force was unchallenged and the Cold War confrontation in Europe ended.

In the post-Cold war era, sub-national hatreds have emerged resulting in civil wars where the U.S. has had to intervene. The U.S. Army had the greatest, combat-proven light mechanized Cavalry force in the world in the 11th ACR with M113 Gavin ACAVs and M551 Sheridan light tanks at the end of the Vietnam War, but instead of building upon this line of successful mobile warfare mounts (up-engined, RPG-armor, place on parachute jump status) in a triple-capability (TRICAP) 1st Cavalry Division which would have had both an Air and Ground Cavalry, we ignored the real lessons of Yom Kippur where light tracked AFV 2D and helicopter 3D maneuver played a critical role, we "heavied up". When M1/M2 heavy forces were laboriously air-deployed to the conflict areas they were found to be too heavy for the road nets and limited to easily ambushed defiles. Unwilling to fight through ambushes and accept casualties, U.S. policy makers opted to eliminate ground maneuver as a warfighting option. Without ground-gaining combined-arms effects to verify targets not decoys are hit, and place enemy air defenses at risk by ground organic fire/maneuver, air strikes are ineffective at higher altitudes as the Yom Kippur war proved and more recently the aftermath of the Kosovo air campaign when the Serbian Army marched back unscathed to Belgrade. The objective of Dominating Maneuver (DM) as defined in U.S. Joint Warfighting doctrine is to gain a positional advantage in time and space that places the opposing force at such a disadvantage that he is compelled to surrender or be destroyed---exactly what the IDF air/ground maneuver forces were able to accomplish in 1973 after reorganization. Its success depends on the ability to project military power rapidly using air, land and sea power from all points on the globe to converge near simultaneously as joint forces that act in concert to paralyze and defeat the enemy. Current Army heavy forces are hard-pressed to do this, so the transformation effort was undertaken to allegedly lighten up the Army's force structure with a quasi anti-cavalry rolling on rubber tires and pleading for firepower bombardment instead of decisive MANEUVER.

Since America has a global responsibility to fight freedom's enemies far from her shores it has long had the 82nd Airborne and 101st Air Assault Divisions in a high state of readiness to rush in and stabilize a friendly nation being over-run by an enemy, and enable dominating maneuver to end the conflict; but like the IDF reaction forces in the first desperate hours of October 1973, we have to ask, where is their covering force?

Where is the Light Armored Cavalry?

Today's battlefield has become even more lethal than the surprise weapons the IDF Armor Corps ran into during the first few hours of the 1973 "Yom Kippur" war, due to the proliferation of sensors and increasingly accurate guided missiles and precision-aimed guns. The Russians term this combining of all available arms, a "Surveillance-Strike-Complex" (SSC) indicating a situationally-aware force that sees most of the battlefield and can strike anywhere on it in myriad of ways. The side that strikes first and established an effective SSC will land the first blows, which there simply may be NO TIME FOR THE VICTIM TO RECOVER. While it is possible to airlift 70-ton M1 and 33-ton M2s 1 and 2 at a time in USAF fixed-wing aircraft to bolster the forced-entry Paratroopers of the 82nd Airborne, the TIME it will take to build up a covering force using these heavy vehicles will be enormous and if the "All Americans" are landing in the enemy's established SSC, they will be exposed to murderous fire that could close down the airhead to receive the airlanding M1/M2s. Even if not hindered by enemy SSC weapons effects, heavy M1/M2s cannot be rapidly deployed by airdrop to achieve dominant maneuver from multiple directions into unexpected places with current airlift. Though the U.S. has the most cargo aircraft of any nation on earth, the M1/M2 families of armored vehicles were sized for maximum armor protection and an expectation that they would already be in place to ward-off a Yom Kippur type Soviet armored breakthrough in Europe not to be efficiently air-transported, let alone parachute airdropped or heli-transported. As part of America's XVIII Airborne Contingency Corps, the 82nd Airborne has a light covering force unit, the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment based at Fort Polk, Louisiana but has had to make-do with its inadequate thinly-armored HMMWV 4x4 trucks with limited off-road mobility and nil water crossing capabilites. In an increasingly urbanized SSC battlefield, swept by sensors and fire, the HMMWV running on air-filled rubber tires is simply too vulnerable to not be "mobility killed" by artillery, mortars, missile effects and common infantry rifles, machine guns, automatic grenade launchers not to mention the sharp objects of a dirty battlefield after pummeled by enemy fire (rubble, glass, wire etc.). The HMMWV-equipped 2nd ACR wouldn't be able to operate forward of the main body of the XVIII Airborne Corps against a capably equipped enemy without becoming decisively engaged (must fight to survive) and could not lead the way across a body of water like Sharon's Paratroopers were able to do in Yom Kippur to effect decisive operational maneuver that wins wars. A noted Army combat-experienced officer writes:

"On scouts, stealth is survival only to a point. That's fine if 2 Brigades are trying to establish contact across 1,000 miles of desert. But things change when they close to 25, 10, 5 or 2 Km. Scout organization has to be able to adapt from passive surveillance to fighting for tactical intelligence when necessary. That is why the current Hmmwv setup in armor and infantry units is ludicrous. They need a mix of wheel/track/armored gun- with integrated fire support. Building recon elements in maneuver brigades separate from Colts in Divarty and ADA recon in the ADA Battalion is one of the dumber things we have done. Once again branch primacy in TRADOC has taken us to a stovepipe serving solution that is deliberately handicaps the commanders efforts to integrate combined arms for combat effects."

In fact, in the last major theater war (MTW) the U.S. engaged in, "Desert Storm", the HMMWV recon elements were deemed too vulnerable even in the desert and not even sent forward of the Forward Line Of Troops (FLOT). The tracked, heavy M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle variant of the M2 Bradley Fighting Vehicle was used in their place because it was available after 6 months of time to sea-deploy due to a fatal strategic blunder of the enemy not to attack before U.S. heavy forces could fully deploy. In the next conflict, we will have to fight with what we take with us in the first hours of battle.

The HMMWV truck is a failure as a recon vehicle

One of the dirty secrets not widely known in the U.S. Army is that the rubber-tired HMMWV 4x4 truck is a miserable failure as a combat and reconnaissance vehicle. The Army as an institution has a long record of understanding rubber-tired reconnaissance vehicles are fatally vulnerable IF we research these sources, Gulf War combat veteran Colonel Douglas MacGregor writes;

"pick up a copy of Dave Johnson's 'Fast Tanks and Heavy Bombers.' Then, refer to MG Ernest Harmon's report to Marshall on his experience during the North Africa and Sicily campaigns. Specific reference to the jeeps is made insofar as you could trace the movement of the U.S. Cavalry and Recon formations by the American dead and the destroyed jeeps left on the battlefield. He points to the superior equipment of similar German formations. JRTC (like NTC) creates too much artificiality. The illusion that a few people on the ground will be decisive in any terrain is dangerous. For instance, at NTC the effects of air burst artillery and mortar fire on volcanic rock is ignored and little men with rifles are allowed to run through the rocks as though they would survive such an experience. Today's automatic weapons are extraordinarily lethal. Having been under automatic fire in a dismounted mode, I gained tremendous respect for the killing power of such weapons even in the hands of the incompetent. Finding ways to position dismounted infantry to survive is critical. Dismounted infantry is simply too easy to kill with aid of today's targeting, acquisition and stand-off attack technology. We will not learn that at the training centers."

LTC H.R. McMasters, who fought at the epic battle of 73 Easting with then Major MacGregor notes:

"I am also in contact with a veteran of the 1st Recon Troop (1ID) who received a battlefield commission just before he was gravely wounded. He recalls the futility of light reconnaissance forward and recalls being employed exclusively on the flanks of the Division immediately following the initial, costly actions in North Africa. Look as well at the actions following the landings at Normandy. Divisions did not employ their organic recon troops forward because it was futile. They were not capable of defeating enemy light formations or recon formations and therefore could not develop the situation. In addition to Harmon's observations, here are some extracts from COL G.A. Taylor's 'Observations on an Infantry Regiment in Combat.' He commanded 16th Infantry RCT in the 1st Infantry Division during WWII. The report is from 24 September 1943. Original is in the Army War College library.

He cites need for 'reconnaissance with armored support.' He goes on:

'The tactical operation of an infantry regiment is severely handicapped because it lacks any armored reconnaissance unit. There are reconnaissance units that could be made available (he is referring to Armored Recon Groups such as the 2d and 4th Cavalry) but they are not used. As as matter of fact, I have as of yet to see a good reconnaissance unit in combat. There was a considerable lack of information on the enemy to the front; the enemy employed tanks as artillery and placed them in strategic locations so as to eliminate any transportation available to the infantry. Something similar to a reconnaissance troop should be available to each infantry combat team, and should contain some vehicles as heavy as a light tank. More and better reconnaissance is an necessity."


Since WWII's failed experiences with rubber-tired recon vehicles, enemy fires have only increased in severity. In 1993 Somalia, enemy fires deflated HMMWV and 5-ton capacity truck tires, explosions set their rubber burning and several vehicles were destroyed and two dozen men killed. To try to compensate for this, we added armor to the HMMWV bottom and body, though not solving the rubber tire's vulnerability. We couldn't afford to up-armor the entire U.S. Army HMMWV fleet, so when the time came to cross the FLOT into Iraq to fight Desert Storm in 1991, HMMWV scouts were re-equipped at the last minute with M3 Cavalry Fighting Vehicle versions of the tracked Bradley armored fighting vehicle which are much more protected and mobile in the face of enemy fires. A combat experienced officer writes about HMMWV reconnaissance in general:

"Scouts have to take risks which will cause them to be engaged by various enemy systems. They do not attack but always have and always will be required to fight. rate of information acquisition is a function of speed which is a function of the ability to survive chance contact. Scouts need the capability to survive the scrape and disengage.

Options like the 40mm on Hmmwvs are attractive because they give scouts a capability to bump into enemy recon and armored recon and survive the report. But you still have to get past the enemy recon and gain contact with a main body. If you do that with reconnaissance elements you win. If you do it with main body elements you might win. I like the former solution. In a fast-moving MTC or attack you are not likely to have perfect intelligence to tell you when to hand off from recon to lead maneuver elements. You may get surprised. In Hmmwvs, you will have 6 dead scouts for every such surprise unless they are backed up with immediate lethality. 3 or 7 minute indirect fire is not immediate. Neither is 14 seconds of anti-armor missile flight. Contact is a 'bang bang, your dead' kind of game. The trick to winning is to phase your handoffs so you always outclass the enemy element presented. That requires constant, aggressive reconnaissance.

Stealth is the most important mode to provide survivability to scouts. But short of invisibility, it is not enough. Yes, they also will be required to infiltrate and cover deep targets for you. LRRPS approach is fine for a slow-moving or shallow battlefield. How about a 400 mile movement to contact where a mobile foe is constantly repositioning to multiple prepared defenses? Scouts with all stealth are simply too narrow a capability. And the eye-in-the-sky will never be omniscient. NTC experience is misleading because you can do "area coverage" of the "box" and the battle stays in there. What if you used all of California? You have a different problem. And every movement risks a kill. faster the movement the higher the risk. A broad array of capabilities and smooth, dynamic transitions are better than pure stealth."

Even when HMMWVs are up-armored the result was a very heavy ground pressure (15 PSI+) HMMWV vehicle unable to go off-road cross-country such that in 1999, when 3 scouts of the 1st infantry Division were ambushed by Serbs near the border, they had bullets deflect from their armored body but were unable to get away cross-country and were captured. When trying to go up steep, snow-covered slopes in the Balkans, the HMMWVs simply got stuck and had to be pulled up into position by light tracked M113A3 Gavin and M973A1 Ridgway SUSV vehicles.

Colonel Charles Lehner (Retired) in the May-June 1996 U.S. Army ARMOR magazine; "TF Eagle's Armor and Cavalry Operations in Bosnia":

"The Russian BMD-2 and the Swedish BV-206S, weighing less than 8 tons each, are able to negotiate the narrow roads and small bridges and have better cross-country mobility....Based on what I saw in Bosnia, I am more convinced than ever that wheeled scout vehicles, such as HMMWVs, be replaced with light tracked vehicles in the scout platoons of the maneuver battalions. The same is true for the HMMWVs of the Division MI, air defense, and signal battalions. As mentioned above, this same conclusion has been reached by the 2d Infantry Division in Korea, which also must operate in mountainous terrain. HMMWVs sometimes can't get to where they need to be--on high ground to perform their missions. Most would agree that having to tow HMMWVs to mountain-tops to do their job is unacceptable.

With a high ground pressure, and a large 7 foot, 1 inch width, 3-5 ton HMMWVs simply cannot go boldly off road through tree lined and vegetated areas to be much of a reconnaissance vehicle. The HMMWV cannot swim across lakes/rivers. HMMWVs are not easily helicopter transported inside CH-47D/F Chinook helicopters. The reason is simple, THE HMMWV WAS NOT DESIGNED TO BE A RECONNAISSANCE VEHICLE, IT'S A 5/4 TON TRANSPORT TRUCK.

Knowing all of this, what good would a reconnaissance unit be if its unable to go where it needs to and if it gets hit by enemy fire, is destroyed such that no reconnaissance is gained for the main body? Peacetime training exercises fail to accurately represent HMMWV rubber tire vulnerability through MILES emitters on the tires nor aggressive Observer/Controller "god-gunning" to replicate weapons effects onto their soft rubber. The poor mobility of the HMMWV in closed terrain like Fort Polk's JRTC where they are restricted to roads/trails is well documented in books like Colonel Dan Bolger's "The Battle for Hunger Hill" and the author's own experiences. Last year, in the final attack on Shughart-Gordon MOUT site, no engineer reconnaissance was done for the M1/M2 heavy force due to survivability concerns and several M1/M2s were stuck and taken out of the fight by mud and a downed power line.

Wheeled Armored Cars are not the answer for future Cavalry Vehicle requirements

The situation has not improved by the Army's selection of the thinly-armored LAV-III 8x8 car rolling on the same vulnerable, air-filled rubber tires the HMMWV and your family SUV uses. In wet, vegetated terrain the LAV-III armored car with high 40 PSI ground pressures will be restricted to roads where enemy mines, RPGs and ambushes will be waiting. The top-attack ATGM has placed ALL AFVs at risk, and roads winding through deep mountain defiles and paths that cut through jungles are excellent firing positions to shoot them and RPGs at the roofs of AFVs where their armor is thinnest. The LAV-III will be particularly vulnerable to this by its road restrictions. The LAV-III cannot swim because rudders and props were removed to get its fuel tanks outside the vehicle to deter troop incineration if hit by fires exceeding the vehicles baseline machine gun protection level. By riding on top of large rubber tires, needed suspension travel and complicated drive drains makes the LAV-III sits too high to parachute airdrop from plentiful USAF C-130 aircraft. 18.8 ton combat-loaded LAV-IIIs by being 28% less weight/space efficient than more compact tracked AFVs and thus are overweight for the C-130's 16-ton short field landing limits. LAV-IIIs would have to be airlanded by scarce large C-17 turbofan jets in a hostile Assault Zone swept by the fires of the enemy's SSC which may not be possible due to dirt/sand ingesting into its engines. Equipping the 2nd ACR with the LAV-III armored car would not get a covering force of any significant improvements over current armored HMMWVs which can be digitized with the same C4I communications means to plead for supporting arms relief from unceasing enemy SSC fires. Both forces if hit by enemy fires will be pinned down and destroyed, a reality not simulated at Fort Irwin's National Training Center because rubber tire vulnerability is not simulated by MILES laser receivers on the tires, so the rubber tired vehicles get a free ride running around the desert without realistic mobility degradation from fires.

There are big differences between the LAV-III and light tracked AFVs like the M113A3/4 Gavin's armor. First of all, the LAV-III cannot accept reactive armor due to its thin steel structure. Its just an empty boast by GDLS. The M113A3/4, on the other hand, can employ type classified reactive armor tiles because of its aluminum and composite hull. Also, there are active protection systems in final development for the M113A3/4, that are not available for LAV-III. Level III armor also available for AGS. These systems do allow an M113A3 or A4 MTVL to be protected against far more than an RPG-7; whereas it is not clear where the LAV-III gets that required protection. The other issue no one wants to address, is the inadequate power-to-weight ratios of the LAV-III when they are driven up-armored. Wonder why the Army never tested this during their competition? The M113A4 MTVL and M8 AGS, on the other hand have plenty of horsepower for this weight.

The Russians stung by experiences in Chechnya are going away from wheels to TRACKS

Wars and local conflicts of the past decade demonstrated that overhead platforms, including remotely piloted vehicles or unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), are inadequate for continuous reconnaissance of enemy assets. This is caused by several factors, primarily, by the dependence of an aerial platform and its sensors on weather conditions, camouflage and active air defense countermeasures, as well as problems related to time delays, data interpretation, target identification, including the disclosure of civil population in specified areas. Also, high target mobility and concealment measures significantly reduce the probability of target destruction if the time between target detection and engagement is long. A Russian writes:

"Its funny that while the Russian Army moves away from its wheeled vehicles (the BTR series), learning lessons from the brutal combat in Chechnya, the US Army is moving towards them. Below is a picture of the MT-LB6MB, a dedicated APC variant of the MT-LB, acknowledged as the Soviet/Russian equivalent of the M113 Gavin APC, which your site gives well deserved praise to.

The MT-LB is usually referred to as a tracked multipurpose armored vehicle and has probably been used for more roles than any other vehicle in the Russian army inventory, including artillery prime mover, command vehicle, armored ambulance, transporter-erector-launcher for ATGMs and SAMs, armored recovery vehicle, combat engineer vehicle, repair vehicle, chemical/ radiological reconnaissance vehicle and battlefield surveillance radar platform. It has also been used as a self-propelled mortar (mountng the 82mm Vasilyek automatic mortar) and as a purely ad hoc air defense and fire support vehicle with the ZU-23 AA gun. Last, but not least, it has been used as an APC, and can carry 11 men. In Chechnya Russian BTR-80 equipped Motorized Rifle units have often exchanged their BTRs for MT-LBs and the recently the Russian Army has been so impressed with the performance of the MT-LB that the construction of a dedicated APC variant with improved armament and armor has gone ahead. Its impressive performance obviously comes (like the M113) from its excellent cross-country performance (due to its very low ground pressure, lower than the ground pressure of the M113 even) robustness, ease of maintenance etc.

Like the M113, the MT-LB is an 'old' vehicle, being introduced in the late 1960's I believe. In 1995 however the vehicle was modernized with a new engine and improved steering by Muromsk Diesel Locomotive Works. The vehicles (approximately 5000 in the CIS total) were stripped down then overhauled and at the same time the steering system was replaced by a new hydrodynamic steering mechanism, which improved the ride of the vehicle and also made it easier to handle.

I could not find a larger picture of the MT-LB6MB, I apologize, but this vehicle has had the single PKT 7.62x54R machine gun removed and replaced with a drop-in turret called the Modular Weapon Station, which is mounted on the roof near the rear of the vehicle. This turret was first seen on the new BTR-80A and is equipped with the 2A42 30mm autocannon first seen on the BMP-2, a PKTM coaxial machine gun, and six 81mm smoke grenade launchers. The turret also has a much improved day sight.

The MT-LB6MB has a 290hp engine (more powerful than the engine on the M113A3 even). Like the M113, in its original form the MT-LB weighs a little over 11 mt. The addition of the MWS and the strengthening of the armor probably has increases the weight of the MT-LB6MB by an extra mt or so (the BTR-80A weighs 14.6 tons compared to the 13.6 tons of the original BTR-80).

Russian infantry preferred to ride in a tracked MT-LB with a 7.62mm machine gun rather than a wheeled, supposedly better protected BTR-80 APC with a 14.5mm heavy machine gun. While the BTR-80 choked on the debris strewn streets of Grozny and rocky roads up in the mountains the tracked MT-LB didn't break a sweat. Now that the same superb tracked APC has been equipped with the firepower of an infantry fighting vehicle and has had its armor improved, its ridiculous that the U.S. Army is ignoring their own excellent M113A3 and instead going for the wheeled LAV-III deathtrap option.

While I was writing this email I thought I'd tell you about the latest Russian BMD development. The BMD-3M has been identified. The main difference between the BMD-3 and BMD-3M is that it is fitted with a new turret based on the BMP-3 design. The Russian airborne now has not only the 30mm autocannon at their disposal but the 100mm main gun of the BMP-3 for direct fire, shock action. I have also attached a picture.



P.S. There is also an MT-LB6MA version with the same features of the 6MB except instead of the MWS there is a BTR-80 style turret with the 14.5mm heavy machine gun, coaxial PKT machine gun, etc.

Stand-off information collection inadequate; ground truth requires ground reconnaissance

After months of air targeting and bombing, only 13 Serb tanks were destroyed and the Army unscathed as it marched home. Combining dispersion, excellent camouflage and sophisticated decoys together, the Serb Army evaded NATO destruction from the air. New age Tofflerian visions of push-button war with no Americans on the ground to verify targets and not civilians are hit is an invitation for military and political disaster. Foreign experts believe that these problems can be resolved by developing highly mobile automated ground reconnaissance vehicles like the Russian 2T automated tracked recon vehicle and our own Future Scout and Cavalry System (FSCS) that has been under development with Great Britain since 1996 but cancelled because they are not wheeled and there is no Cavalry Branch with the clout to resist an Army Chief bent on an unwise course. Used for tactical purposes, these high-speed, maneuverable and stealthy vehicles are supposed to be equipped with data collection, processing and transition systems. They will have advanced armament and crew protection. The vehicles developed to these principles will make it possible to review old tactics of using main battle tanks as an armored force designed to break through enemy defenses, and develop a new complimentary approach under which light tanks equipped with high-accuracy targeting systems and, if necessary, high-precision weapon systems will operate in automated battlefield conditions. These vehicles could become indispensable in low-and high-intensity conflicts, patrol missions in front-line zones and raids in the enemy deep rear. However, closer examination reveals these capabilities can be created by upgrading existing vehicle types (ie: M113 Gavins, M8 AGS and M973s).

Why 2D and 3D optimization?

However one-size-fits-all in a 20-ton vehicle design cannot create the 2D and 3D optimization required to conduct decisive ground maneuver that requires a holding "anvil" force in the "red zone" and a "hammer" force that can move to a "blue zone" position to exploit this effect to collapse the enemy. It will be too heavy to fly by 16-ton limited C-130s (LAV-III is 19 tons combat loaded) and too light to survive enemy fires. We still need 2D "battleships" (heavily armored platforms; some with guns) that can hold the enemy in the face of his fires and 3D "cavalry" vehicles that can exploit the holding effect to gain dominant results through bold maneuver.

Analogy analysis

a). After WWII the USN simply changed its armored "battleships" from guns to aircraft decks

b). Other USN missile combatants wrongly have no guns capable of massed shore fire support to support ground forces and are incapable of taking many missile hits nor are "stealthy" to avoid being hit = the worse of all possible situations. Emulating the non-stealthy, vulnerable to close-range attack cruiser on land would be a mistake.

Analogy applied

a). Sea warfare is not land warfare; unless you go under the water, the sea does NOT offer natural concealment nor cover. On land you have vegetation, folds in the terrain, buildings etc. etc. so threats can appear suddenly far closer than at a safe stand-off Closest naval analogy would be submarine catching surface ships unawares and firing, though still not close enough because sensors could detect the sub if the conditions are right. Hidden land targets are far more hidden.

b). Iconoclasm for avante garde': top-attack missiles are not the only threats a land force has to overcome; close-in attacks require a 2D-axis-of-advance gaining vehicle that can take a main gun hit and all types of infantry weapons from ALL ANGLES to:

* Survive surprise direct line-of-sight meeting engagements

* Prevail in MOUT

* Defile fights

* Heavy mines from below

* Seize control of main supply routes (roads)

* Prevail in open-area combats

20 tons will not do for all missions. In fact 20 tons is too heavy for the 3D capable force; it should be under 16 tons so a C-130 can fly it into the "blue zone" of the battlefield. The current FCS at 20 tons "cookie-cutter" (too heavy for C-130s) to replace ALL Army vehicles, even if tracked is fatally flawed. Land forces do not have the option to think they will continuously encounter/detect the enemy at a safe, convenient stand-off as being on the water enables/handicaps you. "C4I situational awareness" is a fatal crutch that should be avoided since EMP and radio frequency weapons can short-circuit digitized components and render a network of vehicles helpless without any working communications or even their propulsion and weaponry operable. We should embrace the fact that land forces have more cover/concealment instead of longing to be handicapped like the Navy/AF are in the open and have to rely on just measures and countermeasures gadgets to survive.

Better Analysis

a). There are 2 ways to optimize vehicles for land combat, 2D "red zone" and 3D "blue zone".

b). 2D is the maximum effort we can achieve at protection, firepower at a mobility that is still functional across the earth. I say over 50 tons even on tracks is the limit because I want to be able to go cross-country in soft soils. Obviously 40 tons is better than 50 and so on for mobility at ever increasing limits in terms of protection. I also caveat that whatever the 2D tank is, it needs to fly at least 2 at a time in a C-5A/B so it can to to the fight across the oceans from the air because sealift will be interdicted against a smart enemy with mines, Surveillance Strike Complexes (SSCs).

2D optimized forces are capable of gaining maneuver along routes that we must take to open MSRs, gain openings in enemy lines and act as a battering ram in MOUT. The low-tech unguided fires encountered in MOUT cannot be countered by high-tech gadgets designed to counter high-tech guided weapons in the open, or "red zone" areas. Think close-range multiple RPG hits and demolitions attacks. 20-tons is not going to be as good as what 30/40/50 tons could achieve in the way of protection. 2D "red zone" forces should have a big gun to point/shoot/kill enemy tanks and blast buildings/bunkers decisively for infantry, more expensive guided missiles alone will not suffice. Cost issues are also a consideration, even a LOSAT, if its so expensive that none can be shot in training, then they are almost worthless. Firepower has to be affordable enough so Soldiers can train on them BEFORE battle takes place to arrive at effective TTPs.

c). 3D optimized forces are the maximum armor/firepower we can have at different yardsticks of aircraft delivery to fly over the earth to then maneuver from an unexpected and vulnerable to the enemy location, the "blue zone". They automatically, if made at the C-130 yardstick and under, possess excellent cross-country mobility if on tracks. These are the forces that you should use to;

* force an entry in the face of enemy fires

* make first contact with the enemy to act as a covering force

* encircle a city

* cut-off retreating enemies

* lead the way into a city only if no other options will work (2D forces not available, are too big to fit due to rubble etc.)

* Fight heavy 2D AFV enemies only if the 3D force is the "only game in town" (not by choice but due to a handicapped force structure that tries to make medium a "cookie-cutter" for everything)

Make the 2nd ACR an effective covering force by forced-entry capable tracked AFVs

The U.S. Army's XVIII Airborne Corps cannot chose where it must fight, it must go where America sends it, and as a peace-loving nation its highly likely the enemy has landed the first blows and has established his SSC in place like the Egyptians had during the first dark days of the Yom Kippur War. An important reorganizational goal is the capability to land where the enemy is weakest via ideal situational awareness coupled with a ground mobility organic to the 82nd Airborne through lightweight armored vehicles to expand the number of places to land other than directly onto the objective, on "offset insertion" capability as many futurists have proposed. But even "lightly defended" may still mean a fight which will require protected mobility/firepower to win the initial foothold. Without the foothold---there is no follow-on forces and follow-on operations-think Dien Bien Phu and Khe Sanh and a grim struggle to survive while encircled. To turn the tide in adverse situations and to prevail, the Airborne must have a fully protected, tracked combined arms team---an Long-Range Reconnaissance Air-Mech-Strike Group (LR-AMSG) ---that can parachute in along with the assault echelons and after helping secure the drop zone from local resistance, fans out to place the enemy's farthest SSC extensions at risk and under fire/observation, a Surveillance Strike Maneuver Capability (SSMC). This covering force must be tracked-not wheeled---in order to go through fire effects and over devastated terrains without stoppage from flat, shredded and burned off tires and operate off roads with bold cross-country maneuvers through vegetation that will mask them from enemy SSC observation and top-attack fires. This includes expedient lake and river crossings to exploit the situation for terrain positional advantage without halting to wait for laborous bridging to come forward and likely losing the initiative or to to be bottlenecked by having to fight to take bridges as the Allies were at Arnhem in 1944 due to their non-amphibious vehicles. The covering force as another line of defense, must be stealthy via silenced band tracks, hybrid-electric drives and infared camouflage coverings and off-road training areas in myriad terrain/vegetation conditions to perfect driving and route selection skills. Once in dominant positions, the LR-AMSG can establish a recon & security line or FLOT that can keep the assault landing/drop zones out of enemy artillery range; securing the airhead for a rapid build-up of combat power. Then, as combat power surges by airlanding, the covering force can make first contact with the enemy, disrupting him to move and be detected by observation and hit by fires of our own, in-place operational SSC.

The curse of no money or a blessing?

The $3 million dollar purchase price and unsuitability of the baseline "vanilla" LAV-III armored car for all-terrain covering force operations eliminates it with the HMMWV as a re-equipping solution for the 2nd ACR. Waiting for the "Tracer" Future Scout Combat System (FSCS) to be fielded (cancelled) using unproven technologies places the units of the XVIII Airborne Corps at extreme risk without a covering force for years, even decades at a time while the word-wide threat increases at a daily rate. The U.S. Army must have an INTERIM capability today, using existing or non-developmental items "as-is" to create an 2nd Advanced Armored Cavalry Regiment (LR-AMSG) optimized to perform the covering force mission and be capable of Airborne and Air Assault movements ahead of the forces it must support.

The good news is that the greatest x-country capable, amphibious tracked armored fighting Cavalry vehicle of all time is still in the U.S. Army inventory in large numbers that can be upgraded like the Israelis realized---to transport a terrain agile covering force---the 11-ton M113A3 "Gavin". General James M. Gavin created the Armored Airborne Multi-Purpose Vehicle Family (AAM/PVF) which became the M113 to be non-linear battlefield mobility means that could be airdrop-able, amphibious and able to move off-road over the lethal nuclear battlefield. In fact, when M1s/M2s were found to be too heavy for the marshy areas of northern Iraq in Desert Storm, the 197th Brigade in M113A2s was sent ahead to be the covering force of the 24th "Victory" Division which lived up to its name by making the deepest penetrations into Iraq of any of the coalition forces. Not having to stop and continually refuel like the M1/M2s, the M113A2s over-ran Iraqi air bases and troop concentrations catching the enemy off-balance and shaping the battlefield for the main body to engage on favorable terms.

One way to look at this mix of vehicle types is by their maneuver capabilities---light tracked AFVs are optimized for 3D movement in fixed and rotary aircraft and maximum ground mobility, and heavier tracked AFVs are optimized for the maximum firepower/protection possible while still able to move 2D. The 3D force is optimized for early air delivery and maneuver to positions of advantage while the 2D force is best at holding the enemy by fire without being harmed via heavy protection or finishing him off if encircled and cut off by the 3D force. The best pattern of force structure for the U.S. Army of the future is a 2D/3D mix to maximize the two main paths of ground maneuver and create a synergy between the two.

We propose the 2nd ACR be reorganized into the U.S. Army's first LR-AMSG unit with 2D and 3D maneuver capable organizations in order to be flexible enough to be the covering force for any of the XVIII Airborne Corps' units. To do this, the 2nd AACR must use AFVs that are significantly more mobile than the vehicles they are to support, which means they must be able to fly by readily available USAF C-130s, Army helicopters and move boldly cross-country. The following specialized Cavalry formations are called by their specific vehicle type namesake to do honor to great U.S. Army Cavalry/Armor leaders of the past to inspire us to greatness today instead of yet another bland adjective or acronym.


The 2nd AACR (LR-AMSG) would be commanded by a Brigadier General. His staff would include his Deputy Commander who would be from the U.S. Air Force to injure joint inter-operability. The 2nd AACR would be configured to plug into the Regional warfighting CINC's Joint Land Force Component commander (JLFCC) or Task Force (TF) command structure as-is.

Joint Regimental Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence (C4I)

Regimental Staff

Digital Geospatial Information Platoon

Joint Airborne Air Assault Pathfinder Platoon (JAAPP)

Military Intelligence "reach-back" Company

Joint-operable Signal Company

Combat Ground Mobility Battalion

Pioneer Assault Company

Expeditionary airfield construction company

Sustainment Battalion

Heavy Drop Parachute Rigger Detachment

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical/smokescreen Warfare Company (M93 Fox, M58 Wolfs)

Aeromedical Flight Company

3D "Blue Zone" Forces

1st, 2nd and 3rd Armored Cavalry Squadrons

Gavin Cavalry Scout Troops: "The hunters"

Replacing the current ineffective HMMWV trucks would be upgraded M113A3 Gavin Cavalry Scout Vehicles (G-CSVs) with "Leap Ahead" technologies:



The Gavin Cavalry Scout Troops would be on parachute jump status to deploy within 18 hours with the 82nd Airborne to provide a Battalion-sized covering force from Fort Polk, Louisiana. The Gavin CavScout Troop would continually train at the co-located Joint Readiness Training Center (JRTC) to hone complex terrain covering force skills to a high level, encapsulating lessons learned to drive the S&T program for the Tracer FSCS program and other AACRs to be stood up for the Army until the objective force is fielded. Once in the Drop Zone, the Gavin CavScout Troop could be maneuvered boldly by its own 2D propulsion with great degrees of stealth to catch the enemy by surprise or remain undetected as we shape the battlefield to our designs.

Once organic 4th Air Cavalry Squadron CH-47D/F Chinook/SpeedHook helicopters are in the area of operation, they can be used to transport Gavin Scout Teams and their G-CSVs in short extended or projected FLOT movements to bypass problem areas and get into named areas of interest for intelligence gathering and positional security.

We name the "leap ahead" M113A3/4 after Army Airborne General James M. Gavin who lead the way in creation of Army 3D Airborne and Air Assault forces by his forceful advocacy in writing, leadership-by-example in combat actions and tenure as Army's Chief of Research and development in the 1950s. His famous quote is at the top of this document.

Buford Cavalry Assault Vehicle Weapons Company: "the killers"

The U.S. Army has learned the hard way in combat, that CavScouts must be protected by armored firepower when, not if stealth is lost. In WWII, the most effective combination was the armored scout carrier/light tank and we are replicating the wisdom of this robust, able-to-break enemy contact force structure by a scout APC/tank combination using "leap ahead" stealth technologies. Most of these are add-ons that can be done by the troops themselves.



The M8 B-CavAssault Vehicles provide shoot-on-the-move tank killing firepower to prevail/break contact in surprise meeting engagements if they cannot be avoided. They provide the full 105mm family of rounds to render fire support against enemy hard, point targets like bunkers, buildings, walls to facilitate recon and security forces as the dual escort vehicles for 2 x G-CavScout Vehicles. The M8 B-CAVs can fly by USAF C-130s and CH-53E/X helicopters of the Navy/Mc.

We name the M8 after Union Army Cavalry General John Buford who seized the high ground at Gettysburg and defended it with firepower to insure we would fight our opponents on superior ground. This one action set the stage, shaping the battle for a decisive Union victory that insured a favorable outcome for the war and preservation of our nation's union.

Each Squadron's Weapons company has a 120mm Mortar Troop using the M1064A3 Gavin Cavalry Mortar Vehicle (G-CMV) to provide immediate smoke, long-range area and precision indirect fires for the G-CSV Scout Teams in contact with the enemy.


CavScout Vehicles = upgraded M113A3 Gavins

CavAssault Vehicles = M8 Buford Armored Gun Systems

CavMort Vehicles = M1064A3 Gavin 120mm mortar carriers

Kinnard 4th Air Cavalry Squadron: "the flyers"

Missing from today's institutional memory is the great synergy that existed between the Air and Ground Cavalry units of the Vietnam war.

UH-60N SpeedHawk Troop

The Piasecki Vectored Thrust Ducted Propeller (VTDP) and wings system would be added to UH-60s to facilitate 200 mph and 2,000 mile range self-deployment capabilities and increase combat capability/survivability, creating a "SpeedHawk". UH-60L Blackhawks (before upgrades) and SpeedHawks after Phase II would operate as either armed gun/rocket/missile ships and as foot scout and Ridgway CavRecon Vehicle transports.

CH-47D/F/G SpeedHook Squadron

The Chinook Squadron facilitates air-mech movement of any Gavin equipped troop and/or Ridgways in the RSTA Squadron. They can bulk resupply units bypassing roads and obstacles to enhance, sustain deep recon and security operations. High-altitude stand-off precision parachutes like GPADS-L and GPADS-M can be attached to supply loads by the Regiment's Riggers roll off the rear ramp of Chinooks to effect offset delivery away from enemy air defenses and maintain stealth for the unit being sustained.

To gain self-deployability for the CH-47 Fleet would be even be cheaper than a UH-60 "Ring-Tail" modification because it would not involve any flight control modifications and some of the flight test data from the Boeing 347 project may be applicable. The Army Plans to replace the engines in the CH-47F model anyway, so why not adapt a turbine/turbofan to also propel it forward to create lift over wings and unload the rotors for higher speeds and longer-ranges? The wings and tail cone should be straight-forward. This concept would solve one of the chief complaints of a compound aircraft and that is the extra complexity associated with additional engines and or propeller systems and modified flight control systems. This would involve no increase in moving parts, assuming the gearbox transferring power from shafts to fan is about as complex as the one on their now. Pilot training would be minimal and maintenance would be very similar to current aircraft. A high-bypass turbofan would do wonders at reducing the heat exhaust of the turbo shafts by mixing the exhaust wit lots of cool air thus reducing the vulnerability of heat-seeking missiles. The extra 80+ mph or so would also reduce air defense exposure times and increase sortie rates up to 50% which would speed up aerial logistics and finally the extra range would allow the TSB to be placed farther away from the enemy.

For the Army, the CH-47G SpeedHook configuration would offer reasonable self-deployability that meets General Shinseki's 96 hour timeline. It would also add fuel (range) without drag penalty like the MH-47 king size tanks do without any benefit.

Kenney Army Prepositioned Set-6 (APS-6)

While not directly a part of the 2nd AACR, the Army must insure it has a strategic mobility force to get itself to the fight in light of the reduced amounts of airlift available (Only 70 C-17s available after 8 years of production, 138 x C-141Bs being retired, old C-5As needing to be re-winged in order to stay operational). Reorganizing around more air transportable vehicles that can fly by plentiful C-130s and cargo 747s is the first step, getting more dedicated airlift is the next. The quickest and most cost-effective way is to convert unused passenger 747s into nose-loading cargo 747 "Liberty Birds" (about $15 million each) to transport the 2d AACR's Gavins, Bufords and Ridgway 3D AFVs in a pre-loaded ready-to fly aircraft force or Army Prepositioned Set-6 "APS-6". The Army would lease the 50 x cargo 747 APS-6 through USTRANSCOM to insure a regiment set of 3D AFVs are always in a fly-away condition. The APS-6 set stationed in the low-humidity southwest desert of the U.S. can also deploy with its 8,000+ mile range to deliver a Regiment vehicle set for units other than the 2nd AACR that need them. Once at the 747-capable Intermediate Support Base (ISB) out of most enemy SSC missile ranges, the 2nd AACR can meet up with its APS-6 3D vehicles and travel overland to the battlefield or be shuttled in by C-130s and CH-47D/F/Gs, UH-60L/Ns. Each cargo 747 would have a Boeing On Board Loader (BOBL) with roll-on/roll-off ramps to speed off-loading to enable the 747 to be emptied and completely refueled under 2 hours. With most airport maximum-on-ground (MOG) rates at four 747s, thus the entire 50 cargo 747 APS-6 could off-load in 24 hours after arrival to easily meet the Army's 96 hour deadline.

The Army should obtain the transfer of 25 x C-5As too old for daily use to the APS-6 to carry the 4th Air Cavalry Squadron's helicopters until they can be upgraded to self-deploy. Another retiring C-141Bs should be obtained and a Squadron set of Gavin CavScout Vehicles rigged for low-velocity parachute drop also manned by USAFR crews to insure AFVs are available for forced entry and covering force operations. These sets by airland and airdrop would be Army strategic assets to be employed by any Army unit if the Joint warfighting CINCs request them.

We name the APS-6 after U.S. Army General George C. Kenney who pioneered the use of commercial aircraft like the DC-3 (C-47) and DC-4 (C-54) to airdrop and airland Army maneuver forces to decisive effect to defeat the Japanese in the SouthWest Pacific in World War II.

6th Recon Surveillance Target Acquisition (RSTA) Squadron

The 6th RSTA Squadron would operate the long-range sensors, UAVs and UCAVS directly reporting to the intel processing units in the 2nd AACR for verification and insight for the Command Group to give intelligent orders to the ground and air cavalry squadrons.

M973A2 Ridgway Cavalry Reconnaissance Vehicle (BV-206S) RSTA Troop: "the searchers"

We name the extreme all-terrain, amphibious M973A2 the "Ridgway" after General Matthew B. Ridgway who stressed that combat forces should stay off roads and fight the enemy from unexpected directions with maximum firepower. He turned an Army dispirited by the mass invasion of enemy troops into an implacable wall that preserved the freedom that exists to this day in South Korea. General Ridgway remarked after taking command in Korea: "The primary purpose of an Army - to be ready to fight effectively at all times - seemed to have been forgotten.... The leadership I found in many instances was sadly lacking and I said so out loud. The unwillingness of the Army to forgo certain creature comforts, its timidity about getting off the scanty roads, its reluctance to move without radio and telephone contact, and its lack of imagination in dealing with a foe whom they soon outmatched in firepower and dominated in the air and on the surrounding seas - these were not the fault of the Soldier, but of the policymakers at the top." The 2nd AACR will follow General Ridgway's example and always reconnoiter and fight from unexpected directions.

M973A2s with a ground pressure of just 1.8 PSI are THE most mobile AFVs in the world. In the Balkans, it was found that M973A1 unarmored SUSVs were the only vehicles that could make it there and back. The uniquely mountainous and snow-covered steep terrain found in Korea have been best traversed by very wide tracked armored fighting vehicles like the Swedish BV-206S family. To conduct reconnaissance the proper way, off-roads to see/report on the enemy first; a UH-60 Blackhawk transportable tracked AFV should be fielded; Colonel Charles Lehner (Retired) in the May-June 1996 U.S. Army ARMOR magazine; "TF Eagle's Armor and Cavalry Operations in Bosnia" said:

"The Russian BMD-2 and the Swedish BV-206S, weighing less than 8 tons each, are able to negotiate the narrow roads and small bridges and have better cross-country mobility.Based on what I saw in Bosnia, I am more convinced than ever that wheeled scout vehicles, such as HMMWVs, be replaced with light tracked vehicles in the scout platoons of the maneuver battalions. The same is true for the HMMWVs of the Division MI, air defense, and signal battalions. As mentioned above, this same conclusion has been reached by the 2nd Infantry Division in Korea, which also must operate in mountainous terrain. HMMWVs sometimes can't get to where they need to be--on high ground to perform their missions. Most would agree that having to tow HMMWVs to mountain-tops to do their job is unacceptable. As illustrated in my article in ARMOR's July-August 1994 issue, an articulated vehicle such as the BV-206S is the right way to go for a future scout vehicle"


CavRecon Vehicles = Ridgway M973A2 Cavalry Recon Vehicles

Unmanned/Manned (U/MCAV) Troop

The U.S. Army right now is trying to launch a micro-helicopter from the Future Combat System (FCS) network of wheeled armored cars to provide overhead surveillance and possibly an attack capability akin to Speed Racer's mechanical bird. However, the A160 Hummingbird helicopter UAV while an advanced technology design is nowhere near large enough to carry a significant ordnance payload to attack/destroy targets and would be at best a nuisance. The "soda straw" narrowness of view of UAVs in general works against the A160 Unmanned Combat Armed Rotorcraft or "UCAR" being effective at CAS. CAS is often a "cat and mouse" game where it takes the active involvement of a man in the aircraft to exploit the opportunity of the enemy revealing his presence or our ground troops directing him to strike at a fleeting target. We need a man in the cockpit to have this kind of agility.

A light fixed-wing manned attack aircraft that can take-off from extremely short dirt runways is much better than an unmanned rotorcraft for a number of reasons. Consider a prop or even jet-driven fixed-wing UCAV like the Predator UAV armed with Hellfire ATGMs except it would have as an option the ability to have the on-scene observation and guile of a human pilot, an "Unmanned/Manned Combat Air Vehicle" (U/MCAV).

The dirty secret of why helicopters are not in every American's garage along with the family ground car is that after a certain amount of hours EVERY HELICOPTER'S ENGINES, TRANSMISSIONS AND ROTOR SYSTEM HAS TO BE TAKEN APART AND PUT BACK TOGETHER OR ELSE ONE DAY YOU WILL BE FLYING AND IT WILL FALL APART AND KILL YOU. The helicopter must have organized depot level maintenance and even small size cannot prevent this. Robinson Helicopter masks this by building into purchase agreements that after the set number of hours, your R-22 will be turned back to them and rebuilt. For helicopters to fly they have to be constantly rebuilt. This is the dirty secret of the helicopter. Only 30% of a third world country's helicopters are in flying condition at any given time! While the U.S. Army has deep pockets there are not bottomless.

If on the other hand, we used an automobile piston engine to propel a fixed-wing attack U/MCAV we could fly them for years at a time with operator PMCS without having to constantly rebuild them, saving millions of dollars. We would gain twice the forward air speed (150-200 mph) possible high-altitude flight profiles but would lose hovering and V/TOL. But I dare say that extreme SHORT take-off and landing (ESTOL) from a dirt strip (500 feet or less) that could be cleared out by a M113A3 Gavin with a dozer blade is "good enough" for Army Air Cavalry operations because the fuel and armaments will need to come by wheeled trucks and this means some kind of roads, and roads can = airstrips for ESTOL aircraft. Another way to view this is that the U/MCAV would be a smaller, lighter version of what the OV-1 "Mohawk" CAS/recon aircraft was, flying out of O-1 "Bird Dog" artillery spotter plane short fields. Another way of looking at this is if the USAF O-2 and OV-10 Forward Air Controllers (FACs) had modern lightweight armaments--they could be attack aircraft in themselves in addition to directing fires from others. Since the retirement of FAC aircraft in the U.S. military, U.S. ground forces have not had good CAS as they once had, and the UAV has failed to live up to expectations and be as good as---let alone better---than human eyes with binoculars and sensors looking for targets actively and directly from aircraft. If done right, U/MCAVs could carry multiple rocket pods to create a modern ARA capability that we have not had since Vietnam.

Phil West of England has an excellent web page describing U/MCAV options where countermeasures to enemy Air Defense Artillery weapons are fitted to affordable STOL CAS aircraft:

The Buzzard CAS aircraft

In the Airpower Journal - Spring 1991 edition, "The Role of TACTICAL AIR POWER IN LOW-INTENSITY CONFLICT", Captain Vance C. Bateman, USAF outlines how affordable fixed-wing CAS aircraft could and should be a part of the USAF force structure and proposes several aircraft to include the Piper PA-48 Enforcer (photos here), the Sadler Piranha, A-22 and an armed crop duster. The Piranha uses a 30mm linked-feed version of the M230 autocannon used on the AH-64A Apache, AH-64 DAP and AH-6 Little Bird helicopters. I like how the Piranha can be TOWED by ground vehicle trucks until its time to be flown. However, CPT Bateman downplays the enemy ADA threat by saying these aircraft would not be used if these threats are present. This is naive to think we can pick and chose where and when we will fight, so we disagree and insist that countermeasures are included on the U/MCAV and that it be viewed as a full-spectrum of war CAS asset in conjunction with U.S. Army CAVALRY ground maneuver. These aircraft should belong to the Army not the AF.

It will be significantly easier to train enlisted pilots to fly fixed-wing U/MCAVs as years of civilian flight training using Cessna 150-type aircraft proves. Flying a helicopter with each hand on a control lever is more difficult and requires more hand/eye coordination than a fixed-wing aircraft. In fact, Soldiers who earn their private pilot's license would be recognized and encouraged to transition to the U/MCAV and earn their U.S. Army flight wings.

Basic Flight Details for the SAAB Supporter CAS Aircraft

The next benefit of a fixed-wing attack U/MCAV is that they can fly with greater weapon loads for longer periods of time since they require less power to remain aloft and thus burn less fuel because their props only need to keep the aircraft moving forward for air flowing over fixed wings while helicopters with rotary wings must keep their entire wing area spinning to create their own lift. The Saab Supporter with an extra fuel tank in the back can fly for 800 kilometers (600 miles)! This is 4 times the range and endurance of current helicopters! The prop driving engine of an U/MCAV could be easily silenced so it wouldn't announce its presence to the enemy to react and fire at as current as-is helicopters do. An U/MCAV could loiter overhead and nearby Army Ground M113A3 Gavin ACAV troops providing the Maneuver Air Support (MAS) concept that Charles "Chuck" Meyer has documented is needed to insure air recon and immediate strikes are available for ground troops even beneath overcast cloud conditions.

Charles Meyers writes:

> "Its important to recall that my concept (Maneuver Air Support) evolved from scores of interviews with ground combat veterans and pilots who had significant air support experience and led to my definition of air support for smalll forces engaged, or who want engagement or are trying to avoid it. Solution is the Continuous Overhead presence (COP) of a Joint Air Attack Team composed of a Spectre and a number of fixed-wing ASPs (Agile/Survivable/Potent) flown by trained/experienced pilots who have had extensive practice WITH the ground combat element they are supporting (unit cohesion).

The path to this includes insistence of Army (especially light armor and infantry) folks who understand and will demand it".

While the ideal U/MCAV would be the Burt Rutan's ARES "Mudfighter" turbofan or ducted-fan jet with 25mm Gatling cannon shooting the same shells as the M113A3 ACAVs and BFVs shoot, we might get faster progress by using in-production and available in wide numbers, combat-proven SAAB Supporter CAS aircraft with auto engines that can burn common JP-8 fuel. The Argentine Pucara turboprop COIN/CAS aircraft was greatly feared by the British in the 1982 Falklands War and they went to great lengths to destroy them on the ground with raids like the Pebble island attack. Pucaras are fighting Tamil Tiger terrorists in Sri Lanka and available for purchase by the U.S. Army to form a more effective Air Cavalry for MAS. The smaller, less expensive Saab Supporter CAS aircraft also has a good combat history. Whatever "ASP" selected it should be towable by its own landing gear or on a trailer by a HMMWV or FMTV truck until needed for air operations. We must not create yet another force of fragile aircraft that we have to work around from airbase to airbase. The U/MCAV force must be able to move at the same time the ground maneuver forces of the 2nd AACR move.

Studies have shown that ground maneuver units in contact with the enemy need an abiding overwatching presence of an aircraft for observation and immediate destructive/suppressive fires without having to pull back from the enemy and wait for fighter-bombers to fly from the rear.

This means a fuel-efficient, fxed-wing aircraft that can be manned or unmanned combat air vehicle (U/MCAV) that can observe and deliver ordnance beneath the overcast. Veteran pilot, Charles Myers of Aerocounsel has articulated how an "ASP" ducted turboprop or turbofan type aircraft could be operated from forward areas like Army UAVs operate now to keep a continuous air presence over Army AACR units.

Once targets are generally located, killer U/MCAV Taifuns can fly to them and on order dive into verified high-value, point targets to destroy them or provide continuous "eyes on" for engagement by other units. Or in concert with ground maneuver cav units, U/MCAV "ASPS" or "Killer Bees" flown by Army pilots will fire ordnance at area targets, return to their forward arming, refueling point (FAARP) and return for a continuous air presence.

Hunter UAVs would be the first system fielded in the squadron, with some equipped to do radar-jamming to SEAD for 3D air-mech movements of the 2nd AACR's squadrons.

McAuliffe T-MLRS Artillery Batteries

Much of the hope for the alleged "Revolution in Military Affairs" (RMA) is to be able to target the enemy from a safe stand-off and kill him with precision munitions. This is clearly, firepower-attrition warfare executed by a nation with a severely limited budget shooting expensive munitions, so there will always be more targets than expensive munitions to hit them and an asymmetric enemy will use decoys and civilians to absorb these fires until we are depleted. Warfare is about defeating the will and aims of your enemy (victory), not prolonged operations (increasingly costly) however brilliantly executed. It is only through ground maneuver thoroughly robbing the enemy of control of the land and its resources that victory and a change in the mind of the enemy's will take place. Firepower short of nuclear annihilation (all of the enemy is dead) is not thorough enough to effect lasting control of the ground---only ground maneuver can secure this thoroughly if vigorously applied.

Recognizing the need for decisive Army ground maneuver to win the nation's wars and combat sub-national enemies, the AACR force structure enables decisive maneuver by covering and shaping the battlefield to our designs and can disrupt and collapse the enemy's combined arms effect SSCs to free the main body to strike at the enemy's center of cohesion and subdue/destroy it for the clear victory. Without a covering force to direct and verify what our fires are hitting, its increasingly evident that our expensive munitions will be destroying increasingly sophisticated decoys and not real targets. The 2nd AACR realizes that quantity of munitions via affordable expense is vital and uses the low-cost, off-the-shelf 120mm mortar and 120mm main gun munitions as the means to hit the enemy available to 2nd AACR Squadrons. Additionally, each Ground Cavalry Squadron has a battery of Trailer Multiple Launch Rocket Systems (T-MLRS) to render saturation fires. When 2D/3D maneuver compels the enemy to surrender or move and be devastated by precision fires the result is reached quickly to collapse the enemy's system of warfare instead of striving for annihilation. The AACR is a force that can make its own favorable situations not just hope to become aware of where such conditions might exist. Its entirely possible that there is no easy answer to the battlefield problem and to make the situation fit our goals. A force stuck in a minefield with a computer screen with a minefield icon is still stuck in a minefield, it's the PHYSICAL means to do something about it via maneuver that is what brings victory in reality. What good is situational awareness if you cannot exploit it? Providing TMLRS at the Ground Cavalry Squadron level insures that commanders can exploit opportunities for success if they present themselves as well as extricate themselves from trouble.

Named after Airborne Field Artillery officer and later 101st Airborne Division Commanding General Anthony C. McAuliffe, who personally led the "Screaming Eagles" in combat jumps in WWII, and told the Germans surrounding him at Bastogne, "Nuts" in defiance.

Crusader Lightweight Self-Propelled 155mm Howitzer Battery

At regiment level with the 6th RSTA Squadron would be a battery of SP Crusader long-range 155mm howitzers to render precision and indirect fires not possible by rockets.

HIMARS 227mm MLRS rocket and ATACMS missile Battery

At Regiment level with the 6th RSTA Squadron, the HIMARS battery would have long-range ATACMS missile capability to destroy high-value targets on order of the Regimental Commanding General.

Fire Direction and Counter-Battery Center

One of the few success stories coming from the TF Hawk experience in Albania was the ability of Army Q37 radars to detect Serb mortar and artillery positions for targeting.


2D "Red Zone" Forces

Knowing the design of the M1/M2 family is based on a European defensive situation, it clear that both vehicles are not optimized for air transport but maximum firepower and protection. However in the post-Cold War its increasingly necessary for the Army to power project from CONUS using USAF aircraft. 3D interim forces based on existing Army tracked AFVs with leap-ahead technologies will provide forced-entry covering force for the XVIII Airborne Corps. If the under 20-ton FCS is fielded, it can perform this role using air transportability, essentially being a "FCS-3D". But after these multiple Divisions deploy they will need a 2D holding force, primarily the former 24th Infantry Division (Mechanized) reflagged as the 3rd Infantry Division at Forts Stewart and Benning, Georgia. The covering force for a 2D axis of advance holding force differs from a 3D covering force in that it has to clear ahead a path that the 2D force vehicle types (M1/M2s) can negotiate and cannot avoid enemy contact by route deviation without abrogating responsibility to run interference for the 2D main body.

This demands that the 2D covering force be able to survive a main gun tank hit from a surprise meeting engagement and prevail by fire to protect the main body, while at the same time being significantly more mobile than its peers is a difficult challenge but not impossible since the Russians and our NATO allies are already well on the way to a solution, which in essence is a "FCS-2D". The Russian T-95 is a turretless tank with 130-152mm main gun that has its entire crew in a pod in the tank hull, resulting in significant weight reduction for 2-for-1 aircraft transportability and drastically improved x-country mobility without loss of any armor protection. In fact, the T-95's smaller size makes it a smaller target to hit and allows thick armor to be placed on its roof to protect againt top-attack munitions. If T-95s are purchased by the Red Chinese from the Russians, they will have an offensive, rapidly deployable by IL-76 jet transport tank with greater cross-country agility, protection and firepower than our weight/space inefficient 70-ton M1s. If we do not field a "FCS-2D" counterpart to be our robust covering force, our 2D main body could be ambushed by T-95s from positions of terrain advantage gained by bold, x-country movement under vegetation and through complex terrain to avoid our digital targeting means. In this close fight, our armored-car based IBCTs would be annihilated and even our M1/M2 forces hard-pressed to prevail if they are restricted by their weight to roads/defiles.

The good news is that we have over 5,000 x M1 tanks and a superb weapons industrial base which if tasked could rapidly create/perfect a pedestal gun turret with modularity to adapt as the situation fits by PLS flat racks or M88 cranes to rapidly upgrade to stay ahead of enemy tank developments without remanufacture. Eliminating the wasted empty volume of the 30-ton turret for elbow room for the loader and commander leaves a 40-ton chassis that can survive a main gun hit and keep fighting to build on. A 50-ton FCS-2D with all the crew in the hull using fly-by-wire controls and helmet displays to fight heads out or buttoned up means only two men are needed to operate the vehicle while the other two rest. The crew is completely separated from all ammo for survivability. The Tank Commander can have an elevated perch to command the tank (refer to the German Marder turret) while gaining a revolutionary 70+ degree elevation capability to engage mountainous and urban vertical targets with the pedestal gun system. A covering force tank operating in enemy territory has to be self-sufficient to dispatch the threat immediately---the pedestal gun gives the FCS-2D a robust anti-aircraft and indirect fire capability to survive and fight even in the "red zone" of tank-on-tank combat. If called on, the FCS-2D can defend from hull-down defensive positions with just its gun system showing while pointing at a 10 degree or more depression. The under 50-ton FCS-2D gets to the fight by airlanding at twice the speed of its 70-ton cousin, 2 per C-5 or 1 per C-17 with one to two 3D AACR vehicles (Gavins, Bufords, Ridgways). Current parachute airdrop technology limit is 30 tons, its conceivable that 50 ton airdrop systems can be created and perfected.

Abrams Cavalry Gun Vehicle Troop

M1A1s would be immediately fielded "as-is" to stand up the 2nd AACR. Removal of the turrets and recovering with roll bars would create a few "FCS-2D" surrogate vehicles would yield valuable insights into the level of terrain agility that could be gained by exploiting the JRTC Fort Polk closed terrains and home station OPFOR for force-on-force combat simulations. When the FCS-2D upgrade is perfected, the Abrams Cavalry Gun Vehicle Squadron would change-over to the lighter, more capable format and train rapidly to gain combat readiness. This force would become expert at C-5/C-17 rapid STOL airland deployments and long-range operations in front of the main 2D body of the XVIII Airborne Corps using its own LOGPAC trailers and other innovative means to stay supplied. Possible features for the FCS-2D include:


CavGun Vehicle = M1A3 Abrams Cavalry Gun Vehicle

Bradley Cavalry Security Vehicle Troop


CavSecurity Vehicle = Bradley M2A4 Cavalry Security Vehicle



1. Clinton-era peacekeeping is out, Clinton in no longer President of U.S.

2. Bush-era reluctant peacekeeping and stand-off firepower pseudo-WARFIGHTING against terrorists is in

President Bush wants National Missile Defense (NMD) and stand-off firepower to be National Security Strategy (NSS) of U.S., not ground maneuver due to zero-casualty politics and Tofflerian precision weaponry hubris. From 1981-1993 we enjoyed a renaissance in ground maneuver--victories in Grenada, Panama, Iraq, all lead by ground forces with low casualties. The "honeymoon" ended Ocober 3, 1993 when Rangers went in half-cocked into Mogadishu without light tracked AFVs and got hurt. The Vietnam ground combat "monkey" went right back onto our backs again. Now we will need another drubbing like Korea to wake us up, though this time it might be too late. America's Army needs an effective light tracked AFV Cavalry even though it doesn't have a Cavalry Branch to support such a force structure for the long term.

As predicted, the Rumsfeld Defense Review is likely to result in significant reductions in the number of ground forces on the order of perhaps two divisions. Unfortunately, reports suggest that the forces cut are likely to be heavy, which will be a huge error. Eliminating an additional 33% of our heavy brigades on top of the Tankless, trackless Army transformation would be short-sighted indeed. It appears that the defense reviewers have come to wrong-headed conclusions in many areas questioning the usefulness of maintaining a sizable Army, when every military strategist/historian knows that it is impossible to win a major regional contingency without ground forces. Kosovo was not a victory. Thousands of sorties resulted in only 14 Yugoslav tanks destroyed. They withdrew with their Army intact, came to a compromise peace settlement negotiated by their Russian allies, then watched as the NATO "imperialist aggressors" repudiated the terms of that peace settlement.

3. Bush's DoD will gut U.S. Army to pay for NMD by at least 2 Divisions, inviting asymmetric to-stand-off firepower, ground aggression by regional belligerents. U.S. Army must be READY NOW.

Nobody who values humanity wants to fight wars, but we must accept the reality that there are those that are willing to fight to pursue their ends and if we chose to not be able to resist these men with our own men in combat we will ourselves be their next victims. We cannot survive hoping that we can "send a machine and not a man" to do our fighting, the side with cleverly constructed machines AND clever humans will defeat the side with disinterested humans and just machines.

4. Transforming an entire Brigade to expensive $3 million each LAV-III rubber tired armored cars for road-bound peacekeeping at pace of $4 Billion every 2 years is neither affordable nor relevent to nation's NSS needs, Army ground maneuver will not be able to arrive fast by air in sufficient quantities to participate, much less be decisive. Details:



5. Entire U.S. Army must be transformed within MONTHS or it will cease to be a relevant "player" as Bush administration disengages as fast as it can from overseas peacekeeping commitments. We can begin immediately with the 2d ACR using the AACR LR-AMSG design.

6. Ground maneuver forces are vital to NSS of U.S. as only they can control the ground to put enemies at risk of destruction, change governments, protect friends and terminate conflicts in unambiguous terms favorable to U.S. An air-delivered, decisive ground maneuver capability that can win with low casualties via tracked armored protection and cross-country mobility must be immediately created. Details:



7. Possessing too many too-heavy 2D Forces, the Army should reorganize to 2D/3D. Had we been smart and had a more optimized Army with 2D/3D capable forces in Desert Storm, 2D forces with 50 ton tanks that can survive main gun hits and diesel engines via unmanned turrets that can pursue without having to stop constantly to refuel and 3D forces that could have flown ahead and blocked the Iraqi Army from escaping the result would have been complete destruction of the Iraqi Army as a regional threat. The reason why the M1 and M2 are so heavy is because they are DEFENSIVE tanks designed for only 24 hours of combat against massed Russian armor hordes at Fulda Gap. Think Yom Kippur. There is no tomorrow. There is no resupply, you win with your hand right then and there or you lose. This is why ammo and fuel resupply is not a worry with the M1/M2. They will live or die with what's onboard. Thiese defensive tanks were not designed for offensive warfare--invading another country and/or pursuing an enemy. If the Russians fled after being beaten----we wouldn't go after them.

8. Defeat the "Death Spiral" by upgrading existing equipment

a). We will NEVER be able to afford to fully replace all our Cold War era M1/M2s in an age where Americans think ground warfare is obsolete (they don't know what maneuver is, they just think its just another way to blow things up but from the ground)

b). Even if we had unlimited funds, the way we build weapons they will cost so much that we will only be able to buy a handful and NOT achieve force replacement Knowing now what we want (2D/3D optimization) is there a way to achieve this in the current death spiral budgetary and zero-casualty/stand-off firepower political environment? The answer is YES. If we squeezed out the inefficiencies of the M1/M2 to lighten them up (turrets), we can achieve the 2D force we need while getting them better able to rapidly deploy, move off roads and not burn up so much log. If we use primarily existing upgraded M113s for the 3D force backed by some M8 AGS light tanks for fire support and M973A2 armored SUSVs for recon/101st Air Assaults we can achieve the 3D force. We also realize that resources are short. If we have only one move to make, that move would be as outlined in our Air-Mech-Strike book to reorganize and create 3D forces and leave the M1/M2s "as is".

c.) If the Army is gutted to pay for National Missile Defense and other precision firepower fantasies, maybe this will be enough of a wake-up call to change the transformation from Clinton administration peacekeeping on LAV-III wheels, to Bush administration be-ready-for-COMBAT capabilities using upgraded light tracks like the M113 upgraded to be "stealthy" (band tracks, applique armor, FLIR camouflage coverings) and the purchase of some M8 AGS light tank? Then, 1 Battalion in each Brigade can be 3D maneuver capable as we propose in our Air-Mech-Strike book. If we separated the dismounting infantry from their BFV crews to insure a light infantry skills focus, we would have defacto transformed 2/3ds off our Army to air-deployability regardless of what Rumsfield/Marshall want to do. By leasing 50 cargo 747s converted from unused passenger 747s, we can put Brigade M113A3/4-M8 AGS sets inside in a fly-away condition and not be dependant on the charity of the USAF to get ground maneuver forces to a fight after they first try to bomb the enemy into submission. The remaining Brigade 1/3--the Armor Battalion in 44 x M1s would need just 44 x C-5A/B or C-17 sorties to get them to the fight. We have got our Army to the "ball game" on the cheap. 2/3ds of the Army transformed now beats none of the Army transformed with just 1 brigade on SUV tires for out-of-vogue peacekeeping. Then, when the missile and air strike firepower approaches fail, we will be ready when our Nation calls to pull victory from the jaws of defeat. U.S. Army has too many forces based around 2D M1/M2 AFVs and essentially none based on 3D capable armored fighting vehicles though thousands of 11-ton M113A3s are available. Rather than costly and time-consuming replacement of all of these vehicles with a new one-size-fits-all vehicle, keep the 2D force AFVs that are ok "as is" and reorganize so that they have 3D capable AFVs working alongside them.


1st Tactical Studies Group (Airborne)



PHASE I: Existing Equipment

Joint Regimental Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence (C4I)

Regimental Staff

Digital Geospatial Information Platoon

Joint Airborne Air Assault Pathfinder Platoon (JAAPP)

Military Intelligence "reach-back" Company

Joint-operable Signal Company

Combat Ground Mobility Battalion

Pioneer Assault Company

Expeditionary airfield construction company

Sustainment Battalion

Heavy Drop Parachute Rigger Detachment

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical/smokescreen Warfare Company (M93 Fox, M58 Wolfs)

Aeromedical Flight Company

1st Ground Cavalry Squadron (3D airdrop/airland)

2d Ground Cavalry Squadron (3D airdrop/airland)

3d Ground Cavalry Squadron (3D airdrop/airland)

4th Air Cavalry Squadron (3D airland)

5th Ground Cavalry Squadron (2D airland)

6th Strike Squadron (3D airland)

1st Ground Cavalry Squadron

Headquarters Headquarters Troop

1st Artillery Battery (TMARS)

Air Defense Artillery Battery (HMMWV Avengers)

A Troop (M113A3 Gavins)

B Troop (M113A3 Gavins)

C Troop (M113A3 Gavins)

D Company (M1064A3 120mm mortars & M8 Buford AGS light tanks)


42 x M113A3 Gavins

6 x M1064A3 120mm mortars

14 x M8 Bufords


48 x M113 types

14 x M8 types



62 x C-130s airdrop

23 x C-17s airdrop

38 x C-141Bs airdrop APS-6 option


62 x C-130s airland

14 x C-17s airland

11 x cargo B-747s airland (APS-6 or CRAF)

2nd Ground Cavalry Squadron

Headquarters Headquarters Troop

2d Artillery Battery (TMARS)

Air Defense Artillery Battery (HMMWV Avengers)

E Troop (M113A3 Gavins)

F Troop (M113A3 Gavins)

G Troop (M113A3 Gavins)

H Company (M1064A3 120mm mortars & M8 Buford AGS light tanks)


3rd Ground Cavalry Squadron

Headquarters Headquarters Troop

3rd Artillery Battery (TMARS)

Air Defense Artillery Battery (HMMWV Avengers)

I Troop (M113A3 Gavins)

J Troop (M113A3 Gavins)

K Troop (M113A3 Gavins)

M Company (M1064A3 120mm mortars & M8 Buford AGS light tanks)


4th Air Cavalry Squadron


The 4th Air Cav Squadron is part of the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment and is located at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Our unit mission is to deploy on order a Regimental Aviation Squadron (RAS) to conduct reconnaissance, screen and air-mechanized movement anywhere in the world; prepared to fight on arrival. On order, conduct joint armed reconnaissance in support of operation Prime Chance The 4th Squadron is an Air Cavalry Squadron consisting of;

Headquarters and Headquarters Troop

4 x OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior Troops (N, O, P, Q)

R Troop UH-60 ESSS armed capable with SkyTroop Platoon for CSAR

S Troop CH-47D/F Heavy lift

Maintenance Troop

Headquarters & Headquarters Troop "WORKHORSE" bldg. 4209 on Ft. Polk.

Provides the field trains (combat service support) to the Squadron. We supply the Squadron with all Classes of Supply, exp: food, clothing, fuel, barrier materials, ammunition, comfort gear, major components, medical supplies, building materials, and locally manufactured goods. The information on this page will explain to all why they call us WORKHORSE. In a typical day WORKHORSE troopers provide fuel and ammunition to the aircraft & vehicles; maintain vehicles & ground support equipement; prepare & serve all meals (hot, cold, warm and no left overs); provide medical care to the wounded & sick; operate and maintain all communications equipment (radios, antennas, telephones, wires, computers, and LAN); we provide ministry services with our own Chaplain; we take care of all personnel actions and finance; we gather and analyze intelligence data; we manage training, plans, current and future operations; we provide all logistics support and transportation; and lastly but certainly far from least ---

III/V Platoon

The class III/V Platoon consists of three POL squad's (77F) and one ammunition squad (55B). III/V is the lifeline of the Squadron fleet, both ground and air, providing all fuel, petroleum products, and ammunition for daily and combat operations. III/V maintains combat power by establishing Forward Arming Refuel Points (FARPs) to sustain combat power throughout the area of operations. Mission equipment for III/V includes Fuel HEMMIT's, Cargo HEMMITs, 5-ton trucks, 6k forklifts, HMMWVs, TPUs and Blivets. III/V has the capability to self deploy by vehicle, air assault sling FARPs, or conduct "Wethawk" and "Fathawk" operations with squadron internal assets allowing the Squadron to retain the freedom to maneuver across the battlefield during its Air Cavalry operations in support of the Regiment.

S-4 Section

Provides and coordinates for all logistical operations for the Task Force. Duties include requisitioning all supplies, coordinating and planning all transportation movements, tracking vehicle convoys, the unit budget, and the units property book for accuracy and accountability.

Motorpool Section

The Motor Pool has overcome countless obstacles in the last 3 years. There tireless efforts have produced a reliable and combat ready ground fleet that can rapidly deploy, perform, and return with little concerns.

Communication Section

Consists of Communication Security (COMSEC), Information System Security, Automation, and Shop Maintenance. The Communication section provides rapid and reliable communication throughout the Squadron. Their mission not only requires ground communication, but air communication as well. The 4th Squadron Communication Section plans and provides technical guidance on all aspects of tactical and commercial communication systems and automation equipment to include employment, maintenance, and logistics support. Ensures that 4th Squadron has reliable communication systems to conduct stability operations IAW with 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment standards; and if necessary, fight and win.

Medical Section

Flight Surgeon, Flight PA, Medical Section NCOIC

The medical section of 4th Squadron provides a wide range of medical support for its active duty Soldiers. Support takes on a variety of roles including:

*Providing daily medical care for active duty and family members

*Teaching and reviewing combat life saving techniques

*On-site medical presence at a variety of squadron events (ranges, roadmarches, FOX swims)

*Conducting general and aviation related physical exams

*Counseling on preventive medicine issues

*Conducting surveys regarding Soldier readiness for deployment

*Inspecting and maintaining medical equipment and supplies

Rapidly deploy to a designated area of operations and occupy a tactical assembly area; conduct reconnaissance, security, and attack helicopter operations anywhere in the world; prepared to fight on arrival and win.

N Troop

"Nomads", formerly the world famous "Night Thugs" of Operation Prime Chance.

An armed reconnaissance air cavalry troop with the focus of being the eyes and ears of the 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment. As a combined arms team, Nomad conducts reconnaissance and security operations day or night, anytime, and anywhere in the world. This is accomplished with seven armed OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior reconnaissance helicopters flown and maintained by some of the best and most dedicated soldiers in the Army. Troop training includes working closely with the Regimental Ground Cavalry assets to include air defense units, field artillery, and ground cavalry scouts. This ensures we stay highly trained and ready to deploy worldwide and win upon arrival. Currently we have just returned from California where we conducted a highly successful gunnery. During the gunnery we worked as teams engaging targets with our weapons of choice: the .50 cal Machine Gun, and the 2.75 inch rockets. Never being enough, we are preparing for further combined arms gunnery late this winter. These exercises will include the .50 cal and rockets again, but also the deadly hellfire missile and fire support from Regimental artillery assets that will further enhance the combined arms mission. As Task Force 118, the 4/17th Cavalry, and now as the 4/2d Cavalry, Nomad Troop has literally deployed from the high seas of the middle east and the Caribbean to the high deserts of California, from sea level aboard numerous naval vessels to high altitude aboard the premiere lift assets of the United States Airlift Command. By all manner and means, high and low, wet or dry, Nomad Troop's Area of Operations includes everything under the sun.

O Troop

Rapidly deploy to a designated area of operations and occupy a tactical assembly area; conduct reconnaissance, security, and attack helicopter operations anywhere in the world; prepared to fight on arrival and win. The Outlaws provide reconnaissance, target acquisition, and attack helicopter capability to the world renowned 2d Armored Cavalry Regiment (Light). Their weapon of choice is the armed OH-58D Kiowa Warrior. The Air Cavalry Troop in a Light Regimental Aviation Squadron consists of three platoons. They are named 1st, 2nd, and HQ. The 1st and 2nd platoon have 8 x OH-58D Kiowa Warriors each and are responsible for maintaining them and conducting missions in support of the Squadron and Regiment. The HQ platoon supports the line platoons with food, water, mail and anything else the members of the unit might need to perform their mission. The Outlaws have operated throughout the United States as well as in the Middle East, the Caribbean and Europe. While patrolling the waters of the Persian Gulf the Outlaw attacks on Iranian boats were swift and lethal. In response, the Iranians labeled these skilled Aviators "Black Death."

5th Ground Cavalry Squadron (airland)

Headquarters Headquarters Troop

4th Artillery Battery (HIMARS)

Air Defense Artillery Battery (BFV Linebackers)

T Troop (M2A4-Pedestals)

U Troop (M2A4-Pedestals)

V Troop (M2A4-Pedestals)

W Company (M1064A3 120mm mortars & M1A3-Pedestal main battle tanks)


42 x M2A4-Pedestals

6 x M1064A3 120mm mortars

14 x M1A3-Pedestals


23 x C-17s airland

6th Strike RSTA Squadron

X UCAV Troop (Atlas-Taifun)

Y AMV Troop (Ridgway M973A2 SUSVs)

5th Artillery Battery (HIMARS)

1st Counter-Battery Battery (Q37 QuickFire)



Operational Forced-Entry Phase I Concept:

One 3D Ground Cavalry Squadron parachute airdrops in with 82nd Airborne DRB =

23 x C-17 sorties or

62 x C-130 sorties or

APS-6's 38 x C-141Bs

Two 3D Ground Cavalry Squadrons can airdrop or airland with follow-on echelons as situation dictates.

4th Air Cavalry Squadron flies by APS-6 C-5As

The 5th Ground Cavalry Squadron (2D) airlands by C-5Bs or returning C-17s

The 6th Strike Squadron airlands by returning APAF C-5As and returning C-17s.



Phase II: Upgrades to existing equipment

Joint Regimental Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence (C4I)

Regimental Staff

Digital Geospatial Information Platoon

Joint Airborne Air Assault Pathfinder Platoon (JAAPP)

Military Intelligence "reach-back" Company

Joint-operable Signal Company

Combat Ground Mobility Battalion

Pioneer Assault Company

Expeditionary airfield construction company

Sustainment Battalion

Heavy Drop Parachute Rigger Detachment

Nuclear, Biological, Chemical/smokescreen Warfare Company (M93 Fox, M58 Wolfs)

Aeromedical Flight Company

1st Ground Cavalry Squadron

Headquarters Headquarters Troop

1st Artillery Battery (TMARS)

Air Defense Artillery Battery (HMMWV Avengers)

A Troop (M113A4 Gavins)

B Troop (M113A4 Gavins)

C Troop (M113A4 Gavins)

D Weapons Company (M1064A4 120mm mortars & M8 Buford AGS light tanks)


42 x M113A4 Gavins

6 x M1064A4 120mm mortars

14 x M8 Bufords


48 x M113A4 types

14 x M8 types


62 x C-130s airdrop

23 x C-17s airdrop

38 x C-141Bs airdrop APS-6 option


62 x C-130s airland

14 x C-17s airland

11 x cargo B-747s airland (APS-6 or CRAF)

2nd Ground Cavalry Squadron

Headquarters Headquarters Troop

2d Artillery Battery (TMARS)

Air Defense Artillery Battery (HMMWV Avengers)

E Troop (M113A4 Gavins)

F Troop (M113A4 Gavins)

G Troop (M113A4 Gavins)

H Weapons Company (M1064A4 120mm mortars & M8 Buford AGS light tanks)


3rd Ground Cavalry Squadron

Headquarters Headquarters Troop

3d Artillery Battery (TMARS)

Air Defense Artillery Battery (HMMWV Avengers)

I Troop (M113A4 Gavins)

J Troop (M113A4 Gavins)

K Troop (M113A4 Gavins)

M Weapons Company (M1064A4 120mm mortars & M8 Buford AGS light tanks)


4th Air Cavalry Squadron

Headquarters and Headquarters Troop

N Troop OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior

O Troop OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior

P Troop OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior

Q Troop OH-58D(I) Kiowa Warrior

R Troop UH-60N SpeedHawk ESSS armed capable Air Troop with SkyTroop Platoon for CSAR

S Troop CH-47G SpeedHook

Maintenance Troop

5th Ground Cavalry Squadron (airland)

Headquarters Headquarters Troop

4th Artillery Battery (HIMARS)

Air Defense Artillery Battery (BFV Linebackers)

T Troop (M2A4-Pedestals)

U Troop (M2A4-Pedestals)

V Troop (M2A4-Pedestals)

W Weapons Company (M1064A4 120mm mortars & M1A3-Pedestal main battle tanks)


42 x M2A4-Pedestals

6 x M1064A4 120mm mortars

14 x M1A3-Pedestals


23 x C-17s airland

6th Strike RSTA Squadron

X U/MCAV Troop (Taifuns and Killer Bees)

Y AMV Troop (M973A2s)

5th Artillery Battery (HIMARS)

1st Counter-Battery Battery (Q37 QuickFire)


2md AACR Phase II

Operational Forced-Entry Concept:

One 3D Ground Cavalry Squadron parachute airdrops in with 82nd Airborne DRB =

23 x C-17 sorties or

62 x C-130 sorties or

APS-6's 38 x C-141Bs

Two 3D Ground Cavalry Squadrons can airdrop or airland with follow-on echelons as situation dictates.

4th Air Cavalry Squadron flies itself to the battlefield.

The 5th Ground Cavalry Squadron (2D) airlands by C-5Bs or returning C-17s

The 6th Strike Squadron airlands by returning APAF C-5As and returning C-17s.




AFV Ground Pressures and power-to-weight ratios

As you can see the M113A3 has HALF the ground pressure of a 70-ton M1 tank with roughly same power-to-weight ratio. You can see why the M1s get stuck at JRTC and LAV-IIIs will be even worse! Actual speeds are dependant on suspension, the terrain and other factors etc.

7-ton BV-206S Ridgway (M973A2): 1.8 PSI, 21.45 HP/Ton


8-ton Scimitar: 5.12 PSI, 23.54 HP/Ton


11-ton M113A3 Gavin: 8.63 PSI, 20.4 HP/Ton


12-ton M113A4 Gavin MTVL: 9.0 PSI, 20 HP/Ton


UDLP Brochure

17-to 25-ton ton M8 Buford Armored Gun System: 10.0 PSI, 29.1 HP/Ton

UDLP Brochure

17-ton M41 Walker Bulldog: 10.8 PSI


33-ton M2A2 Bradley PSI: 10.2 PSI, 22.04 HP/Ton


70-ton M1A2 Abrams: 15.4 PSI with 21.6 HP/ton


19-ton LAV-III: 40.0 PSI

Paul Hornback, FT Knox Engineer

Notice the following Russian future tracked tanks designs from the superb magazine, Military Parade are to do physical, DECISIVE MANEUVER not American-style mental mouse-clicking of someone elses's stand-off firepower bombardment via LAV-III/IAV or FCS armored car "cash cows" and lots of expensive but throw-away UAV/UGV gadgets.


Oleg Brilev D.Sc. (Technology), Professor, State Prize Winner

We continue to publish articles on tanks of the near future (See Military Parade issues # 3 and # 4, 1997). This article briefly describes the tank's features, including its mobility, controllability and reliability. Some possible layout versions are also highlighted.

Improved mobility is the key feature of the tank that enhances its combat efficiency. In the first quarter of the 21st century one can anticipate only a minor increase in specific horsepower, of up to 35-40 hp/t (1,750 - 2,000 hp for a 50-ton tank), because it cannot be increased any further when tanks move either in march columns or in combat formations on the battlefield. Average speeds of tanks moving in march columns can reach 35-40 km/h. It is anticipated that fuel endurance will remain unchanged, namely about 350-400 km, depending on road and terrain conditions. Tanks will perform long-range marches covering 1,500-2,000 km while making 350-400 km day's marches.

Layout variant

Multi-fuel diesel and gas-turbine engines will continue to compete with each other. Multi-fuel diesel engines have not yet exhausted their capabilities; more than that, merely by applying the adiabatic principle, minimal heat emission into the atmosphere can radically increase their power and efficiency in addition to considerable design advantages due to the incorporation of a more compact cooling system. However, it will take time to adopt engine designs that will be able to operate at high temperatures. Gas-turbine engines have so far been unable to produce to a considerable extent the expected advantages, which include a higher power-to-volume ratio, easy start in cold weather, long service life, and the opportunity to simplify transmission design. However, despite theoretical and design preconditions that appear promising, their main drawback has yet not been eliminated. This involves high fuel consumption compared with a diesel engine (30-40 percent higher). It should be noted here that, even if it were given preference in the long run, the gas-turbine engine would not create a revolution in ground transportation as it did in aviation. In the transmission's improvements there is a clear tendency to use an interlocking hydrodynamic transmission coupled with a planetary gearbox in the main power cascade and hydrostatic gearbox incorporated in the steering mechanism. Meanwhile, the high efficiency factor is achieved by the improvement of the hydrodynamic transmission and its use only during movement on rugged terrain.

The electromechanical transmission can not operate, at least for the time being, on a par with a hydromechanical transmission because of a low efficiency factor. In the future, electromechanical transmissions may be installed in tanks with new layouts, where the layout "flexibility" of a transmission will play a key role.

The tank running gear will evidently feature a hydropneumatic suspension. It will enable the operator to not only change the tank's clearance and running trim, but also increase speed and smoothness of the movement over the terrain by changing the suspension characteristics according to the road and ground conditions. Such "adaptive" suspension will be of great value to tanks because in battlefield operations they move on cross-country terrain. Later on, such innovations may be incorporated to form a hull stabilization system which will enhance accuracy when firing on the move.

The adjustable automation of operating modes of the engine-transmission-running gear system will drastically simplify the tank's movement control, increase average speed, ensure stability during curvilinear movement and at high speed, and help maintain the preset speed or distanse to the tank ahead.

The number of controls will be minimal: a steering wheel, throttle pedal and foot brake pedal. This will allow the driver to concentrate his attention on the road, terrain, battlefield and therefore prolong his fitness for work.

The commander's steering system override will become a standard feature on tanks.


Tank crews rarely use the full extent of combat capabilities incorporated in a tank design while operating on the battlefield. Capabilities of tank sub-units can be significantly enhanced by automation of all operations performed by tank crews inside their vehicles and control operations within a tank sub-unit, provision of tank crews and subunit commanders with requisite information and care for their comfort.

Three-shaft gas-turbine engine (diagram)

An onboard computer should provide for automatic fire, movement and tank protection control. The crew-members should be provided with information in a visual form presenting the combat situation at hand, tank capabilities and its present position. The tank commander should be able to visually orientate himself on the terrain without protruding himself from a hatch. All routine control operations should be excluded. The crew-members will perform a minimum of the required actions that stem from the logic of combat tasks.

The unit commander should at all times be aware of the situation and state of his tanks, and obtain ample information about the enemy deployed on the frontage and in depth. A helicopter or drone can be used for this purpose. Thus, the unit commander will be able to act in advance of a situation, quickly make decisions, quickly transfer the appropriate control commands and personally perform tank fire control, if the need arises. The complexity and dynamic nature of combat actions and poor visibility necessitate the installation in tanks of an IFF system.

All this will enhance the efficiency of tank subunits. These units will become more mobile and less vulnerable close combat firing systems that will "see" the battlefield, quickly and rationally respond to the changing situation.

The automation of the tank also provides an opportunity to create tank-robots that could be used in the foreseeable future for resolving special tasks, including disclosure of a hostile fire system, demolition of vital hostile installations, operation on the terrain with a high degree of radiation, etc.


Confused and rapidly changing battlefield situation and prolonged periods of severe combat actions urgently require tanks to become self-sufficient in terms of fuel, ammunition load and conditions of the crew's habitat. However, the tank must not be converted into a "depot" of ammunition and fuel. The tanks should be supplied from an advanced logistical unit that will have armored vehicles intended to carry ammunition, fuel and foods and load the supplies via mechanical means into tanks. It is necessary to provide proper ergonomic conditions for the crew. Tanks should be self-sufficient to operate efficiently on the battlefield during twenty-four hours of extensive combat actions or three days of combat actions with short respites.


Sophistication of design of future tanks by cramming them with electronics, automatics, hydraulics, etc., and striving after ever more compact arrangement of their main units and mechanisms, on the one hand, and severe conditions of their combat use, on the other hand, make the problem of their reliability rather acute.

I believe that this problem can be resolved successfully, provided the tank building industry will reach the expected level. Meticulous development of a tank's design, use of new materials and technologies, state-of-the-art methods of calculation and tests will ensure fairly high basic reliability indices: failure rate of 0.6-0.7 per 1,000 km and a total mileage of 16,000-18,000 km. This will allow tank crews to undergo combat training during peacetime, their participation in 2 to 3 deep combat operations and maintenance of combat readiness on the level of 0.9-0.95 during their execution.

Prevention of failures and effective troubleshooting will be ensured by an automated, information-diagnostic system alongside the incorporation of a modular design principle.


A genuine leap forward to enhance the tanks's efficiency and survivability can be made by introducing a principally new layout, because the conventional configuration with a gun mounted in the rotating turret arranged in the center, accommodating the commander and gunner, driving compartment arranged in the front of the hull, and engine-transmission compartment in the rear is no longer efficient. The use of the automatic, electronic and remote control systems allow a three-man crew to be accommodated in the front part of the hull in a special armored module outfitted with comfortable automobile seats and an air conditioning system. It is tempting to arrange the power plant in the lower front part of the hull, in front of the habitable compartment, which will provide additional protection for the crew. Similar configuration of a 50-ton tank will radically enhance protection of the tank and its crew, increase ammunition load and fuel distance, create excellent ergonomic conditions, and allow for the mount of a gun of more than 125mm caliber.

Transmission (variant)

Two gas-turbine engines coupled with electric transmission generators can be arranged in the hull's above-track space, thereby allowing the inner space to be utilized more rationally. Other layouts can also be used.

The combination of modular layouts with the high degree of unification will provide for the prompt conversion of the production facilities to manufacture infantry combat vehicles instead of tanks on the tank's chassis.

The new layout, without a high ballistic gun and even without a turret, can become a reality only when the reliable jamming immune guided reactive weapons with more compact ammunition produced at reasonable cost are created to effectively encounter various targets. Projectiles will be fired through the roof of the combat compartment.

This will reduce the overall weight by 12-15 tons which can be used to enhance the vehicle's protection.

The tank's weight is unlikely to exceed 60-65 tons due to the dimension and weight restraints for the transportation of equipment by rail and on trailers.

Automation of the crew's operations will reduce its number to two men. However, proceeding from functional considerations it is expedient to retain the three-man crew to allow one of them to focus his attention on the battlefield, enemy and cooperating tanks, orientated on the terrain and maintain communication with superior commanders.

Thus, analyzing probable trends in the development of tanks and their armament in the first quarter of the 21st century and taking into consideration the feasibility of advent of fundamentally new means of armed struggle, it is possible to assume the following:

The concept of the tank as a mass-produced, ground-based tactical weapon operating on the first-line that is equally effective both in the offensive and defensive operations will remain basically intact. This weapon will constitute the core of the combat power of general purpose forces which will continue to exist while there is a need for the armed forces in general.

The system of armament intended for armored vehicles will be further improved. Other combat vehicles featuring the same level of protection as tanks will cooperate with them while operating in the first echelon. To carry out mobile operations, mobile echelon combat vehicles (amphibious and air-transportable) will be used.

As regards the appearance of the tank, it may be drastically changed against a background of extensive science and technology progress. Most changes will occur in its layout, provision with required data on the battlefield, automation of fire control, movement and combat activity, reliable detection of small-size targets even in adverse weather conditions and use of new methods to enhance protection and create good ergonomic conditions for the crew.

Articulated Tracked Armored Vehicles (ATAVs).

Issue 30. November - December 1998


Vladimir Kovalev, Vladimir Batenin, Mikhail Starostin

We continue to publish materials about the tanks of the future (see Military Parade issues #3/97, #4/97 and #2/98). In this article, the representatives of the Russian Armor Academy propose an uncommon approach to designing a tank that would serve in the 21st century. Their proposals are based on investigations conducted to this effect and on patents for relevant inventions.

One of the goals of Russia's military and technical policy is to develop and manufacture highly effective tanks capable of operating in any combat environment, in different climatic and geographical conditions, and in all types of military operations, including local conflicts.

In Russia and abroad, all of the existing tank types were designed on the "crew and systems in one hull" principle. Each tank was designed as an entity combining all combat (firepower, mobility and armor protection) and maintenance capabilities. Later tanks were equipped with more sophisticated systems, caliber of their guns became larger and their armor protection, engine power and transmission output increased. But the tank's overall dimensions remained unchanged. All this reduced the intertank space thus affecting the crew's comfort and its working efficiency and made it impossible to boost combat effectiveness as a whole.

Investigations show that the combat potentialities of a modern tank are realized by not more than 70 percent and that further upgrades to enhance its overall effectiveness are practically useless, i.e. the traditional approaches used currently to devise tanks do not allow designers to materially improve their performance characteristics.

The combat effectiveness of tanks can be considerably improved if the following requirements are fulfilled.

First, while designing new tanks one should remember that in action the tanks are normally employed within subunits that are assigned missions differing to some extent from those assigned to a single tank. Generally, missions assigned to army units are to defeat (annihilate) enemy manpower, armament and equipment, and capture (occupy) a certain area.

Second, a "system-centered" approach should be used, whose main purpose is to take the most advantage of the systems employed in the tank rather than focus on the enhancement of technical capabilities of new vehicles and creation of comfortable conditions for the crew.

Third, while developing armored tracked vehicles for tomorrow's uses, one should take into account that tank units are likely to perform missions independently, away from the main forces. Moreover, the requirement of standardization of various-purpose vehicles and their components should be met. Consequently, support and auxiliary vehicles are to be designed simultaneously with armored tracked vehicles. Also a family of various-purpose vehicles can be developed from the basic vehicle.

The above-mentioned requirements could be met through developing new types of articulated tracked armored vehicles (ATAVs).

A configuration, consisting of a central section and two transport/recovery sections connected to the central section is proposed. The sections can be uncoupled from one another and used separately.

The main advantages of this configuration are:

- the main combat properties of the tank (maneuverability and firepower) can be used separately on the battlefield by employing the combat and two transport/recovery sections independently of one another. This can boost the tank's efficiency due to the purposeful and separate designing of each section. Using the above sections in such a way, units on the battlefield may change their tactics to achieve higher effectiveness and make the tactics more suitable to the type of combat actions and to the operational environment. This can be exemplified by operations in Bosnia, where all tanks were normally used as self-propelled guns while artillery systems were mainly employed from fixed emplacements;

- combination of standard transport/recovery sections with central sections outfitted with different war-fighting, support, and auxiliary equipment provides for the development of a family of such articulated vehicles as infantry combat vehicles, armored recovery vehicles, reconnaissance vehicles, supply vehicles, medical evacuation vehicles, etc. The need for such vehicles stems from the fact that a great number of wheeled transport vehicles have to provide tank units with various supplies, including fuel and ammunition, as well as to repair and recover damaged tanks. However, the cross-country ability of wheeled vehicles is much lower than that of tanks;

- compared with traditional tanks, there is a greater vacant armor-protected space inside the central section of the articulated vehicle obtained because of the absence of a track assembly. The requisite facilities needed to support the crew for a protracted period of time, including sleeping places, can be arranged there. Thus, the standard requirements for ergonomics can be implemented in the design of the vehicles.

The combat tracked armored articulated vehicle consists of a combat section and two transport/recovery sections. The combat section is hinge-mounted between the transport/recovery sections. The hinges allow the transport/recovery sections to turn relative to the combat section in the vertical and horizontal planes and provide for their automatic articulation and disengagement. The hydraulic jacks located in the combat section lift or lower the latter to engage/disengage it with/from the transport/recovery sections.

The combat section turret accommodates armament and crew. The transport/recovery sections accommodate engines, transmission, and drivers' seats to independently use the transport/recovery sections.

The proposed configuration features certain advantages over the traditional design making it possible to enhance some of the combat and service characteristics of the new tank.

Greater firepower can be achieved by:

- varying the location height of observation and sighting devices by means of the combat section hydraulic jacks when the section is used independently;

- installing armaments in the transport/recovery sections when these sections are used independently;

- stabilizing the entire combat section.

The prototype's mobility is increased due to:

- a "pull-and-push" principle behind its straightforward motion;

- the vehicle's ability to move forward and back at the same speed without turning around;

- the vehicle's increased cross-country ability owing to a greater ground clearance (the height of the transport/recovery sections is increased since it doesn't produce any restraints on the total height of the vehicle);

- the vehicle's ability to change the direction of movement by two methods: the "like-a-tank" method, where the speed of one track differs from the other, and by the "like-a-wheeled-vehicle" method where either each of the two transport/ recovery sections turns independently of the other or both turn simultaneously relative to the combat section.

Better protection is provided by:

- two armored transport/recovery sections located in front of and behind the combat section;

- possibility of varying significantly the degree of armor protection from section to section (reasonable increase in the thickness of armor of the combat section at the expense of its reasonable reduction on both transport/recovery sections);

- possibility of reducing the vehicle's clearance.

Use of the armored articulated vehicles enhances the fighting efficiency of tank units due to their high maintainability. For example, one combat-ready vehicle can be assembled of the good sections of two disabled vehicles. Moreover, shipment of articulated vehicles by air is easy since each section can be carried and air-dropped separately.

Thus, the proposed configuration of the armored tracked vehicle would boost practically all of its basic performance characteristics, help the crew to perform to the best of their ability, and allow designers to develop a family of combat, support and auxiliary vehicles that would encourage commanders of all levels to develop basically new methods of employment of army tank units. We can say, in conclusion, that on the basis of the proposed tracked armored articulated vehicle, new-generation armored vehicles can be developed.

U.S. Army Military Review magazine accepting this article for publication