What’s after HMMWV?

Here’s a program that doesn’t seem to be a boondoggle: the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle outperforms its predecessor in the performance measures proven vital in combat: protection and mobility. And the troops seem to like it, if these interviews which appear to have taken place at the annual Association of the US Army (AUSA) show are anything to judge by.

Thanks to Our Traveling Reporter, who is traveling (as usual) and wrangling with the Dreaded French Language (which is something new), for the link.

The biggest beef we have with any of these spam cans is that you lose situational awareness while you’re in there. The Army is working on technology to get you a visual picture of your surroundings, an enhanced visual picture (drawing from everybody’s sensors so you can see through obstacles and observe things not in your line of sight), but you lose the three-dimensional and time-domain grasp of sound, smell and sensation. There’s a reason that tank commanders always risk their necks up and out of their hatches until the lead pollution, DU defilement, and VT-fuzed HE precipitation is about to get thick.

Of course, the GIs are perfectly happy. They would like it to fly. 

Maybe by century’s end?

65 thoughts on “What’s after HMMWV?

  1. Alan Ward

    Looks pretty ugly……so a perfect HMMWV replacement.
    Still waiting for Heinlein’s infantry armour suit so you don’t wheels!

  2. Blackshoe

    Looks like one of the MRAPs (RG33 maybe?).

    Probably not a coincidence, since IEDs are something that will be on the battlefield for a long, long time.

    1. Martin S

      Will forever puzzle me. IEDs are an old and well known tactic, be it Nelson Mandela in SA, mugabe in Rhodesia, IRA in Nigeria, VC In Vietnam or any other insurgency in the last 60 years, they all used IEDs. How did the collective western militaries not learn the lessons?

      1. Kirk

        That would be due to an issue the psychologists would call “denial”, were it evinced by an individual instead of multiple institutions.

        Most of the people running Western military forces want to believe they’re going to be George S. Patton, or Erwin Rommel, both of whom you might remember were pretty much utter dunderheads when it came to the prosaic issues of logistics and rear-area security. You can see this demonstrated here in this very thread, where multiple parties publicly fantasize that they’ll somehow be able to influence the fundamental nature of the wars we find ourselves fighting, and utterly ignoring the fact that you get the war your enemy offers, no the one you want to fight.

        This essential inability to comprehend the real world, or prioritize on the things required to survive in it over the unimportant bullshit they wrap their heads around in lieu of actually preparing or training for reality’s conditions is one reason I think the Western world has pretty much reached that point in its lifecycle where the whole sorry edifice comes crashing down around our ears. Whether it is the choice to focus more on the trivialities of what dress uniform to procure for .01% of the Army to wear to work, and how best to dress the troops up for playing tin-soldiers with, the inability to grasp that our small arms suite has “issues” dealing with conditions obtaining in many of our theaters of conflict, or this one, most of these people are utterly clueless.

        It is nice to see, however, that someone else has had the same questions occur to them that occurred to me about the time I started studying this shit on active duty back in the 1980s.

        1. 11B-Mailclerk

          The question that occurs to me is: why a rather competent foe like the Wehrmacht and its associates failed to screw up the logistics of Patton, yet much less organized foes today seem to do so with skill and gusto.

          1. Kirk

            The problem for the Germans was that they were operating on hostile territory. Emulating the Soviet partisans was pretty much a non-starter everywhere for them, and they had a certain disdain for what they called “franc-tireurs” anyway. The Germans had about as much hope of getting a pro-German partisan movement going on French, Belgian, or Dutch territory as they did of getting to the moon by putting their heads between their legs and farting hard.

            However, one thing that isn’t covered very well is the sheer amount of theft and other problems we had moving across Northern France and in Italy. I’d have to go digging for it again, but the numbers were positively insane, in the aggregate–Something like 10-15% of everything meant for the front-line troops just up and vanished into the French and Italian countryside. Organized crime, black markets, you name it. There was a memoir I found buried in a library once, written by a former WWII CID guy, and he detailed the amount of crap that he’d had to investigate. GIs were getting wealthy selling shit off, the locals were stealing us blind, and vital supplies were just vanishing from the hurriedly established depots we scattered.

            As well, you have to go looking around for a lot of things–The Battle of the Bulge, for example: It’s a little-known fact, but Pieper damn near got himself fully resupplied out of our fuel depots, to the tune of getting enough fuel to get his armor to Antwerp and beyond. He barely missed stumbling across a massive, unguarded fuel dump out in the middle of the Ardennes, and we hadn’t bothered to secure the damn thing or effectively plan for its destruction to keep it out of his hands.

            The ineptitude with which we’ve been doing this stuff goes back a hell of a long ways. Culturally, in the US Army, I think it speaks to the incredible dichotomy we’ve allowed to grow up between the service/support types, and the combat types in the ranks. The support guys are convinced it’s not their job to fight; the combat types are convinced it is someone else’s job to get them their shit, and safeguard it.

          2. Aesop

            None of which will be solved by spending $50B on a truck, which is why trying to throw the kitchen sink into the argument isn’t sending any chips flying.

            And when your own guys are getting rich off of selling supplies, you’ve identified the problem, and underlined why a vehicle isn’t the answer to that either.

            And much like the internet, we don’t have to show up to every conflict to which we’re invited.
            More to the point, if in the future we’re going to declare victory someplace, it’d probably be a good idea to make sure to notify the enemy that we’ve won.
            And no one has yet demonstrated that we can bootstrap nations from amidst tribes of illiterate troglodytes, which begs the question of why we’d ever try.

            The main thing the JLTV solves is some troops dying on mined roads from explosive devices. (Why we’re on those roads is an open question in the first place.)
            At $400K per copy.

            How those troops will fare once the same IED that didn’t kill them mobility kills their JLTV remains to be seen.
            (BTW, the vaunted JLTV armor? A bolt-on kit. Of which the Army’s only planning on buying one kit per three vehicles, so two thirds of them will be minimally protected against anything heavier than small arms, in perpetuity. By program design intent. But they’ll all still cost $400K@. Buy stock in Oshkosh. That’s genius right there. Except for the folks who’ll be riding around in the 36,000 naked versions of the thing. Half-assed, half-witted, and full-priced: this hits the .mil procurement targets for the last 50 years right down the middle of the fairway. This thing is turning into the entire script for the near-certainty upcoming Pentagon Wars II: More, Bigger, Costlier!, and it’s writing itself.)

            It doesn’t do a lot of anything else, and at that exorbitant price, it would be cheaper to keep the boys and girls home, and just send iron bombs.
            For every JLTV we buy, we could send two B-52 loads full of Mk 82 500 lb bombs.

  3. Raoul Duke

    To be fair to the humble Humvee, it was never intended to be an armored fighting vehicle. More and more crap was loaded on it as the wars continued, resulting in wear, breakage, and limited mobility. The JLTV will be an improvement in that respect, since they started with stronger drivetrain and suspension parts.

  4. Aesop

    1) Cost
    2) Size/bulk
    3) Complexity

    The Hummer was supposed to replace the Jeep, not the M113.
    At a certain point, they’re so damn heavy you can’t airlift enough of them, the bridges and roads of Trashcanistan won’t support them, and they cost so damn much that Hadji, Pedro, Wang, or whoever can ( and will) defeat you by trading $500K-$1M gold-plated monster trucks for $10 RPG rounds all the livelong day, and laugh while you break the bank at home, even if you never lose a troop to hostile fire, because you ran out of money for gas, bullets, beans, and band-aids, and had to call the whole show off due to lack of budget.

    I’m pretty sure we’ve passed the point where the better plan would be to roll out product-improved Jeeps, at 5% or less of the cost of one of those war wagons, to spend the savings on ordnance when you find the enemy, and gas to train on and get you there, and back.

    I’m even reasonably sure that you could probably make a decent argument to bring back horse-mounted dragoons, not least of which because they don’t show up on JSTAR tracking screens, and in a pinch, the troops can eat their mounts.

    Would I like one of those as a personal SUV? Hell yeah.
    Do we really want to make something too heavy to pick up with anything less than a Shithook, too light to withstand AFV/IFV cannon fire and still vulnerable to RPGs, and too heavy to travel on 3rd world infrastructure?
    Not so sure that’s the way to go.

    (Full disclosure: I was certain that the Corps had lost their marbles when they gave us overweight M198 howitzers, when what they should have done is doubled the number of artillery batteries, given them Light Guns in 105mm, assigned jeeps or Hummers as prime movers instead of 5-ton trucks, and deployed split battery platoons in direct support right behind the infantry, like Stonewall Jackson and Lee. E.g., let’s play Blackhawk Down, and see how long tire barricades stand up to HE, WP, and beehive AP rounds in direct fire. And as a bonus, you can get them anywhere with a Huey or Blackhawk, and fit a helluva lot more of them in a single C-whatever. And for the price of one F-35 Thunderjug, I could equip a regiment of same, and put more steel on target 24/7/365 in a day than the Thunderjug could in a year. And with five times the service life. YMMV.)

    Now, if someone wants to put a remoted minigun on the JLTV, or a turret with either a 25-30mm chain gun, and/or a 90-105mm direct support gun, and use the back for ammo to feed the pig, and make them infantry’s ass-kicking Baby Huey tagalong cousin, we can talk. Two or three such, and you’ve got an AC-130 than can do drive-ups, and stay on station all damn day.

    Give it optical/IR/thermal capabilities to boot, and pass a few of them along to the Cavalry scouts.

    Then picture an enemy column in their own rear, or a support echelon unit, bumped by the Cav out doing what they do, and such an encounter becomes Highway To Hell every time they find one.

    1. Kirk

      The days when we could send an unarmored jeep to do the job are gone. Nowadays, about all an unarmored vehicle is good for is running around inside the secured base areas we establish, and that’s about it.

      The days of yore when we could haphazardly run around in so-called “rear areas”, and do so safely? They actually went away with Korea; we just didn’t notice. All those truck columns that got whacked by the Norks and the Red Chinese when we tried retreating? Handwriting on the wall; you want logistics support, these days, you’re going to have to fight for it. Period.

      I was a part of the 9th ID when it was still a thing–That concept was great, but what it really amounted to was a Kamikaze death trap for any and all concerned, because without something like the Stryker, the concept was never going to be effective against any but the most inept and poorly equipped third-world armies–The Soviets would have eaten us alive before lunch, and that’s just using their artillery.

      The future of war is up-armored everything, if it’s going to be out in the fight, which is everywhere outside the base camps and staging areas.

      1. Aesop

        If that’s so (and I don’t think it is), then you need a $#!^-ton of Bradleys and Strykers, and you’re going to have to pay the price, in every sense.
        Trying to do that job with something that’s neither fish nor fowl leaves you in the same place you were with Hummers.
        As a jeep, the JLTV is too much, and as an APC/IFV, it’s far too little.

        1. Kirk

          Aesop, what you’re missing is the point of these vehicles: It’s not to replace the Bradley or the Stryker as combat vehicle; instead, it’s to up-armor all the little nit-noid rear area requirements like the commanders running around, and all the other stuff.

          The fantasy that we could run our admin assets in the rear in soft-skin vehicles was over and done with starting back in WWII, and it was only our willful ignorance of fact and experience that led us taking soft-skins into Korea, Vietnam, and everywhere else.

          Probably 90% of the road traffic is not combat vehicles; it’s admin/logistics crap, and these things are mandatory for everyone out there, these days. We will never see another conflict where we have clearly delineated lines and areas of combat, because few people are going to be stupid enough to engage Western combat troops so long as they can find some poorly-equipped rear echelon types to prey upon.

          If you’ve noticed a trend line in warfare since WWII, it is that one. The combat troops are becoming almost irrelevancies, because they’re never engaged by choice, only misadventure. The enemy pulls a classic Russian ju-jitsu move on us, and allows us to penetrate and take ground, while they concentrate on attrition of our support troops. Look at Iraq; how many of our combat troops were bumbling around, looking for contacts that never came to fruition, while the loggies were getting contacts every night, and blowing through them?

          You want my take on the future of war? That’s it; every soldier is going to have to be prepared to take action when the opportunity comes, because the dichotomy between combat and support is dead. We just haven’t learned that lesson, or internalized the implications of it.

          One of which is that every vehicle in the fleet that is going to be doing more than be-bopping around the FOB needs to be armored and protected against IED attacks. Another is that each and every soldier in uniform that is in theater needs to be trained and equipped to the same standards as the infantry, so that when the enemy engages them, they have what it takes in terms of arms and aggression to take the fight to the enemy, run them to ground, and defeat them. Every single contact needs to be treated as a gift from God, and dealt with accordingly: The enemy shoots at you? He dies. That simple–And, ideally, they should prefer to engage our combat troops, because when they poke the support units, they get the sink dropped on them without finesse or grace.

          1. Keith

            I would say that once the front stabilized around Pusan and after the CCF was stopped Korea became like W W II but in the initial North Korean attack and the CCF counter attack you are exactly right. You are also right that no other state is, without a radical realignment of relative power going to engage the USA in formal combat.

            Keep your powder dry and your faith in God.

          2. Aesop

            And what you’re missing is that the JLTV is not an admin/logistics vehicle.
            It’s a troop transporter, for a bare four guys, and nothing more.
            You want to make a prime mover into a SAfrican MRAP for those purposes, go ahead on.

            As for the rest, I have my doubts.
            The lesson should be that when there is no secured rear area, you’re in a conflict you shouldn’t be playing at in the first place, and probably de facto doing it wrong.
            (E.g., If we’re going to look at history, there were mined roads in VN, but we seem to have done just fine with a safe rear area in Korea. And Grenada. And Panama. And Kuwait. So, which ones were a win, and which one was a loss?
            QED.)
            Not “Let’s armor up every swinging Richard to kill anything that moves.”

            But good luck with “Every soldier an infantryman.”
            It’s catchy, but at least 17% of the troops haven’t got a hope in hell of ever getting there, so you’re starting out with a doctrine that 1/5th of your Army is expendable by design from the get-go. And an equal amount sacrificial either because of the first part and co-located, or to go rescue them when they step in it over their heads.
            That’s a pretty serious gimme for the enemy, to spot them an automatic 20-40% shot at victory in every engagement.

            When the male PRT becomes the service-wide enlistment standard, you’ll know they’re serious about that type of warfighting. (cf.: When pigs fly.)

            I predict combat robots will enter front-line service first.
            Which paves the way for Emperor Palpatine.

            Either way, the very idea of the JTLV service-wide is fairly asinine, except to enrich defense contractors.
            In small numbers, there might be a place for it.
            Otherwise, it’s just trying to re-fight the last war.

            But it looks like a super-swell prepper bug-out vehicle, or tourist limo for third world adventure camping.
            Cue the teaser reels for Jurassic Park VI, Expendables 4, and Fast & Furious 35: World Tour.

          3. Kirk

            Both Aesop and Keith need to go and actually read up on the full history of the Korean War, and pay attention to what the vast majority of the ROK Army was actually doing, which was keeping a lid on the rear areas. The only reason we got to concentrate on fighting at the “front lines” when things were stabilized is that there were huge numbers of ROK troops out in the countryside running down the North Korean stay-behinds and the sponsored guerrilla elements supported by the Chinese and North Koreans.

            As usual, though, that set of unfortunate facts are ignored by most of the histories.

            Not to mention the fact that the only reason we didn’t have the same problems the French did during the 1950s in Vietnam were that we had a shit-ton more helicopters available, and the interdiction of our supply routes in the countryside wasn’t as effective as it would have been without that. If it not for the helicopter, we’d have suffered a lot more events like the French loss of G.M. 100. Not a lot of people paid attention to the problem, but the actual facts were that we damn near lost militarily in Vietnam due to a loss of control over rear-area communications. Without the helicopter, we’d have seen a lot of events like G.M. 100 happen to our troops, but thanks to our superior aviation logistics and firepower, we prevented that.

            We could have done the same damn thing with properly prepared armored vehicles, meant to support rear-area operations, but with the idiots we had running things, the idea was never really considered. The Rhodesians and South Africans both managed to wrest control of their rear area operations away from the enemy, but that took doing what we finally got around to doing in 2005–Providing the troops with the proper equipment in the first damn place.

            You guys both have nice sentiments, but you are fully delusional in thinking that we can somehow pick and chose where, when, and who we’re going to be fighting. The politicians hand us the wars; they set the ROE, and we have to do our best to win with the conditions we’re granted. Fantasizing that there will ever be a “clean war”, with clearly delineated battle lines and “zones of conflict” is pure wishful thinking; we must prepare to fight the fight they get us into, and that means that the state-of-being where there are “secure rear areas” likely won’t ever exist again. And, I would argue, that state never truly existed in the first fucking place–Even in the West during WWII, you had the odd little problems where French and Italian bandits were mugging our troops in the rear, and problems with rear-area security. If nothing else, you have to secure your logistics against things like the locals doing what they did in Iraq, which was jump on moving trucks and grab shit to haul off. Just like they did in Somalia, and every-bloody-where-else we’ve fought in the last few centuries.

            No, I’d say that you guys are just a tad out of touch with reality, as it was historically, and currently. This problem is not going away, and putting everyone into soft-skin vehicles and saying we won’t get into fights where they’ll need anything else is just flatly fucking nuts. With the proliferation of small arms and AT weapons like we have in the Third World, I’d say that everyone, everywhere, needs to be ready to fight. Period.

          4. Aesop

            Kirk, you’re taking a very selective view of war, and trying to extrapolate everything in the future from it.
            A couple of misbegotten conflicts do not portend the entire future of warfare from some arbitrary point in the recent past unto the end of time. (Unless you co-postulate that we’ll continue to do it half-funded, half-brained, and half-assed, a not impossible chance.)
            The counter-examples over time are legion.
            When you define the problem incorrectly, the solutions never work either.

            The unit cost (for FY2015) per JLTV is right around $400,000@.
            The street price of one round for an RPG-7 in Syria is $100@.
            So for the cost of $5,500,000 ( the price of 11 of the 55,000+ JLTVs planned for eventual acquisition) a given enemy can wipe out $30B of US defense spending.
            (What happens to the 220,000 troops inside afterwards is a cat’s breakfast).
            And you still won’t be able to drive to the store for groceries in contested territory.

            Either you own a road, or you don’t.
            If you don’t, a tank or APC/IFV is indicated.
            If you do, a bicycle will suffice. (Ask the British commander of Singapore in February 1942.)
            Anyone waging war any other way is doing it wrong.
            That’s not the past talking, it’s eternity.

            So, hey, how much Army tooth can you afford when you buy log-tail trucks for 20X the price of Hummers?
            I’m spitballing that number comes in around the 5% mark.

            I could be wrong, but I thought 300 was supposed to be a movie title, and not the battlefield TOE of an entire brigade in the Big Red One.

          5. Kirk

            Aesop, you’re demonstrating a delusional approach to “war as she is actually fought”, to paraphrase the author of that useful little Portuguese guide to the English language.

            It simply doesn’t matter what you think; whether or not you want to engage in these nasty little conflicts or not, they’re going to come to you. And, whatever you want to believe, every fucking war we get into is going to look like this, because that’s where fools like you are exposing a strategic/operational flank. You think “Oh, well, these things are hard… We simply won’t do them…”.

            Which, darling man, is precisely why we get more of them: The enemy identifies fools like yourself who are wedded to the “decisive battle” school of thought, and sees that you have a weakness they can exploit, which they then do.

            The point that if we had gone into Iraq properly prepared to fight the IED campaign, odds are pretty good that the initial failures in that strategy would have encouraged the enemy to look elsewhere for a means and method to attack us escapes you. Had we been prepared to cope with the IED and do the difficult work of suppressing the fight that shifted into the rear areas of the battlefield, that entire strategic flank would not have been “offered to the enemy” for them to attempt to exploit.

            People like you frustrate me, because instead of dealing with reality, you simply shift which way your blinders are pointed, and ignore everything saying you’re wrong. As I point out elsewhere along this thread, that approach does not work out in the real world, and the decisions you make based on your fantastic idea that you can simply refuse to fight the battles presented to you is both a disservice to the nation and to your subordinates. These low-grade conflicts are going to happen; decisive battle is actually a hell of a lot rarer than you would think from the way that sort of thing gets played up in history, and the Fabian tactic is actually a lot more prevalent and successful than the fantacists imagine.

            Your attitude reminds me of Hannibal, who won every battle he fought against the Romans, until the last one. He constantly sought the decisive battle, and achieved them on multiple occasions, yet never addressed the fundamental problems the Romans presented him. In the end, this fantasy life of his led to the utter destruction of Carthage, the city-state he was sworn to defend.

            There isn’t a good track record for your way of thinking, down through history. Whether it was the British in India, or any of the other forces down the years that dissolved under the acid of semi-passive resistance demonstrated by things like the early campaign in Iraq, the corrosive long-term effects of this sort of thing are telling. You only get “decisive battle” when your enemy choses to cooperate and offer it up; if they don’t, then they dissolve into the countryside, and your options become either genocide, withdrawal, or actually taking the time to winkle the bastards out of their strategic bastions. The Brits did that in Malaysia; they didn’t do that elsewhere.

            Of course, it all depends on what you want out of the military–If you want to be Mr. Dramatic Hero, and only engage other Dramatic Heroes, that’s fine. Just remember that the rats in the woodwork will still be there, and will still be nibbling you to death until you finally deign to address the infestation. Which, instead of doing early on by some judicious trapping and the acquisition of a cat or two, might well require burning the building down and starting over.

          6. Aesop

            No, no, no, and no.
            They’re not “hard” wars. Most wars are hard; easy ones are the anomaly.
            They’re Stupid.
            Quick illustration, total number of wars where we’ve successfully implanted democracy on people who can’t read and write is…?
            Anyone? Beuller? Ferris Beuller…?

            We get into wars like this because stupid people, many of them with stars on, think because they have a hammer, all their problems are nails.
            And famously, because one benighted jackass thought that “if you break it, you bought it” with regard to failed nation-states.

            So please, instead of descending into more ad hominems out of frustration because you’re losing the argument on the merits, show the class where in von Clauswitz, Sun Tzu, or anyf***ingwhere else that maxim exists.
            (The correct answer is, if you break it, you let the offenders know you’ll keep breaking it until they stop acting like the world’s own jackasses, and next time, you’ll be using napalm on villages to drive the point well and truly home.)

            I know it’s a shocker, but for about 5900 of 6000 years of recorded history, soldiers actually walked into battle. Blitzkrieg is certainly a thing, but our opponents in neither Iraq nor Afghanistan possessed anything more heavily armored than a Toyota technical, which, last I looked, was defeatable with the issue battle rifle most days.

            So the issue becomes one of why you’re putting your troops into vehicles at all, and helpfully driving them in predictable paths in front of IEDs. You tried to put the cart before the horse there, but as the leading casualty-producer in Vietnam was booby traps, you might have noted that was why TPTB made it a helicopter war: when you’re in a Huey at 5000′, you aren’t stepping into punji pits, or driving over repurposed shells and rockets (before some staff weenie had the wit to coin the acronym IED as a thing). You could look this up.
            The fact that once troops got out of the birds, the people there still didn’t give two shits about our plans for them was the overriding flaw in the first place, one that even 10,000 helicopters couldn’t overcome. (Ponder Iraq and A-stan, and let me know when you spot the similarity. I’ll wait.)

            But the larger issue, one which still hasn’t “taken”, is that if you don’t have the troops to keep every swinging Hadji from going out and about at night and planting them, you’re doing it wrong, and probably shouldn’t have stuck around after you accomplished the actual military missions available.

            And if he’s willing to risk it anyways, the only military application that’s going to work is either Dresden, or re-creating the SWAsian version of the Gulag Archipelago, and the secret police apparatus to feed it such that we’d have made Saddam look like a candidate for Dictator Of The Year by contrast.

            Personally, I vote for Dresden; it worked in Germany, it worked in Japan, it even worked in our own South from 1863 forwards.
            Also in Iraq, we overlooked the obvious solution, curing the ills that befell them in the first place after 1918: breaking them into three pieces, Kurdish, Sunni, and Shia, thus permanently weakening them from ever becoming a regional power with the commensurate problems, and giving them each two new problems of their own, the better to stop focusing on us. (Bonus, Kurdistan pisses off Iran, Russia, and Turkey, which is a geopolitical hat trick of notable worth, while simultaneously getting us a friendly and rather reliable ally in a region where we currently have nada. Before the US State Department became an active opponent of American national interests, diplomats called this sort of solution “elegant”.) It also has the historical precedent of Julius Caesar and the conquest of Gaul, even at the minor cost of showing Churchill for a bit of a youthful buffoon.

            That’s not “too hard”, it’s simply something our chickenshit leaders haven’t the stomach for, and they, apparently like you, forget that you can’t be out “nation building” until you first level the foundation by first leveling the cities on which you’d build said nation. That’s a lack of wit, a lack of will, a lack of sufficient resources, and a lack of ordnance, nothing more nor less.
            As noted previously, when you misstate the problem, you always get the solution wrong.

            At any rate, none of this is going to be solved by a truck that costs 100X the price of a jeep. That only accomplishes two things: it ensures the transfer of over $50B to the people who build such trucks, and it assists in delivering the troops from point A to Point B at 1 MPG, at which point, they’ll then proceed to fail at the exact same mission set as before, because building nations isn’t anywhere in the military’s realm of objectives, going back a helpful 6000 out of 6000 years of recorded human history. (E.g., what will those trucks do to stop green-on-blue incidents? Are you going to have the troops stay in the trucks perpetually 24/7/365, or what, exactly…?)

            The military, at root, and by design, is a silverback gorilla with two sledge hammers, set loose on our enemies. As it should be, and ever will be.
            Tying one of those hands behind its back and giving it lace gloves doesn’t change it’s design or skillset, no matter in what it rides to battle, or however fervently one may wish it were otherwise.

            You can nonetheless cheer the idea of armoring everything green that moves. But you can’t ignore the consequences, in opportunity cost for things you couldn’t afford, in lack of both strategic and tactical mobility, in vulnerabilities to something as mundane as muddy roads, in being tied entirely to (largely non-existant in most of the world) hardtop roadbeds – which makes the enemy’s ambush problem set infinitely smaller and easier, and you’re using 21st century technology to adopt a vehicle already functionally obsolete ever since the design of the bazooka was settled on in 1942. (We only have actual manual demonstrations and illustrations of building unmanned vehicle ambushes with bazooka rounds that’d chew up JLTVs all the livelong day, BTW, and they date back to the 1950s. You knew that, right?) And when you up-armor for that threat, you’ve got a vehicle that costs 1000x what a jeep did, and we currently call it the Stryker.

            Which means you either spend $500B instead of $50B, or you limit your conflicts to where seven brigades can do the job. Or you stop trying to prevent all casualties at all times, you walk your troops into battle, you bring enough to do the job, and you go and kill the m*****f*****s until there aren’t any more of them left to kill, anywhere handy between HQ and the horizon. And then you GTFO.

            There is no third option, and even if there were, it would not be “go and buy an exorbitantly priced but really butch truck.”
            Even if it solves one (of three hundred) problems from the last two wars.
            If troops are too precious for combat, don’t send them.
            Not “bundle them in a truck that costs more than a house, and is bound to narrow vulnerable hardtop routes.”
            (Historical note: armored Conestoga wagons might have saved some American pioneer settlers’ lives in the late 19th C., but the correct answer was to burn the Indians out and round them up. With nothing armored more sturdily than a wool shirt, and a McClellan saddle on a blanket pad. QED.)
            And we didn’t lose in Iraq and A-stan because we didn’t have armored trucks, or because we did have soft-skinned Hum-Vs. We lost because we sent the military to create something in a decade which over six millennia have failed to accomplish: produce civilized, peaceful, and freedom-loving people.
            Show me the Army field manual for doing that, and we can talk about military tools that will help in the mission of pulling actual rabbits out of a hat.
            Sorry if that leaves some butthurt, really I am, but the facts of the equation are cruel, and do nothing but underline the utter waste of hundreds of billions of dollars of national treasure, and the blood of over 5000 troops.

            Call your dad’s generation, and ask the ones who went about how Vietnam feels.
            At least no one calls you “baby burner” most days, this time around.

    2. Seans

      A 10 RPG round that takes out a 30,000 dollar humvee jeep, is probably also going to take out the 4 to 5 guys in it. At 400 grand per soldier just for the insurance alone. Not to even mention the cost in training, and the body count and it’s effect on the mission. A MRAP might be down for the count, but it saves money in the long run. People are fucking expensive.

      1. Kirk

        That’s the basic fucking lesson to be learned from the Rhodesian and South African experiences that led to the entire MRAP category of vehicle in the first place.

        It’s a travesty that our military didn’t develop those things first, but, hell… It was Vietnam, a sideshow, and draftees lives are cheap as fuck. So, we went out clearing roads in sandbagged five-ton trucks, backing down the roads to proof them, with young men carrying mine detectors walking in front.

        If I had access to a time machine, I swear to God, I would go back to that period, walk into Fort Belvoir, and just slap the ever-loving shit out of every single field-grade Engineer officer involved in that bullshit. Most technologically-advanced army in the free world, my ass–We got shown the way by a bunch of Limey expats working under sanctions in railway shops. Fucking criminal incompetence.

        And, to add insult to injury? We didn’t start buying those damn things until 2004-5ish. What. The. Actual. Fuck…

      2. Aesop

        If that’s the bottom line, then troops should never have been there in the first place.
        If the ultimate aim is to avoid all casualties, best to stay home, and develop robot weapons.
        Or just nuke the site from orbit; it’s the only way to be sure.

        1. Kirk

          It’d be really, really nice if the politicians would let us do that. They won’t, however.

          I heard similar sentiments from the folks running the Engineer School, RE: humanitarian demining. The theory was, and it was a cute one, that if we “…don’t have that capability, they won’t be able to give us the mission…”. Suuuuure… That’ll work.

          Literally the week after I got my final ass-chewing for trying to set up cross-border training with the Canadian Army up at Kelowna, which they were willing to pay all the costs for, I had guys from 1st SF walk into my office and ask what I knew about doing humanitarian demining, ‘cos, see, the President just handed them the mission… And, they were off to Cambodia with limited to no background in the matter. Thanks, in no small part, to our hide-bound and reactionary bureaucracy, who basically were just echoing your words, here.

          You don’t get to fight the kind of war you want; you fight the war the politicians get you into. If you don’t prepare for that reality, you’re going to get a lot of people killed unnecessarily–See “Iraq, early phases of IED campaign, 2003-5”.

      3. Brad

        People are expensive. Which is why an unmanned robotic unarmored truck is a more cost effective choice for future logistics transport.

        Of course when the cargo is people, then you have to use an expensive vehicle for safer transport. The problem I see with these new heavily armored trucks is they are getting so expensive it might be a better option to use air transport instead.

        From what I understand the JLTV is so expensive that the Army can’t afford to replace most of the current vehicle fleet that in theory JLTV should completely replace.

        1. Hognose Post author

          The last Jeeps (M151) bought cost about $3,300 each, and the first HMMWVs cost exactly 10x as much, and can’t go many places a 151 can.

          1. Aesop

            The JLTV unit cost is $400K@, so more than 10X what they’re nominally replacing.

            For far less than that, we could teach the grunts to fly, and give them each rough-field SuperCubs with tundra tires, armed with napalm, cluster bombs, rockets, and miniguns, if not Heinlein’s jetpacks, powered armor, and mini-nukes.

            Or go all Redneck Wet Dream, and give every grunt extant a personal Polaris ATV with an M240 or Mk19, and a trailerfull of logistics, improve cross-country mobility by orders of magnitude, remove the IED problem outright by avoiding roads, and make the targeting problem orders of magnitude more complex for Notional Enemy when confronted by the Big Green Horde, the mother of all biker gangs.
            Genghis Khan, eat your heart out.

          2. Aesop

            For $4B (@1984 prices) or say $8B currently, give or take, we could buy every soldier in the Army (that’d be 1,281,900) a brand new M151 jeep. Then spend another $660M-$1.2B and issue one to every Marine (all 186,000 or so) in the Corps. As if they were supply items, like canteens or helmets. For another $1.2-2.4B, we could do the same thing with the 342,000 soldiers in the entire US ARNG (342,000 of them), and all 40,000 or so Marine Corps reservists.

            And still have over $41,000,000,000 dollars left over just from the JLTV program afterwards, for things like gasoline, spare parts, weapons, ammunition, plus new helicopters, tanks, planes, and amphibious shipping – all things we’re currently a little short on.

            So I’m throwing the boondoggle flag at this point.

            For reference, the entire annual VA budget is $78B. So you could buy the entire military cadillac-tier Blue Cross policies with some of the excess funds, and close the VA for good.

            The excess personnel cut from the VA (that would be all of them) could be shunted into TSA, and then fired again when we close that down.
            (Or turned into the Government Health Care Agency, where everyone not privately insured after the repeal of ObamaCare – mandatorily including every senator, congressmen, federal judge, and every federal employee forever – would be required to get their healthcare unless they paid for it out of their own pocket. You’d need the TSA folks to provide security when congressmen and welfare queens were waiting in the same waiting rooms in D.C., but televising that on pay-per-view would probably make it a net budget surplus item in perpetuity.)

            Those savings would fund the border wall, until we recouped them from 50% taxes on remittances to Mexico.

            If anyone has the phone number for the OMB Director, tell ’em I’m available for consults.

          3. Kirk

            The M151 was an utter POS, and a fucking death trap. There, I said it: Between it, the Gamma Goat, and the GOER, it was a member of the “trifecta of terror” for mechanics and operator.

            Before I finished my second year in the Army, three of my fellows from OSUT were dead. Two were killed in rollover accidents involving the M151, which did not have either a roll cage, or any real ability to handle changes of direction at highway speed. Both those guys died on highway off-ramps; one in Germany, one here in the US. One was a driver, and might have been a co-conspirator in his own death by misadventure; the other was a passenger, being hauled back to a dental appointment, or some such BS.

            The M151 was not what the HMMWV replaced, anyway–What the HMMWV was a replacement for, mostly, was the old Dodge weapons carrier and the M751. By the stage of the game where we were replacing the M151, the role it filled was mostly gone, due to that niche being eroded away by heavier and heavier weapons. As well, the ubiquity of the jeep was an example of the fantastic thinking that Paul Fussell was talking about–That whole class of vehicle was something we never should have bought in the numbers we did, or put it into all the places we chose to. It was simply too damn light, and always was. As a niche vehicle for the airborne, or in select admin settings? It was fine; for what we tried to shoe-horn that poor little thing into, which was as a prime mover for things like TOW teams and recoilless rifle sections? It was insane–You couldn’t haul the ammo or the manpower around with it.

            The jeep class was a poor solution to the problem it was thrust into answering. The majority of the roles it was asked to fill should have been filled with something bigger, but we didn’t have the money to address that fact until later on, when the HMMWV program got going. And, even then, the nice people at TAACOM, who meant well, misread the situation of the world, and actually listened to the idiots who blue-skyed the hell out of the whole thing. The HMMWV program really should have been two separate lines of vehicles–something like what the French did with their Panhard VBL or the MOWAG Eagle, and then a soft-skin admin/log vehicle. The fact we didn’t design in armor capability, and put in an air-cooled engine in the first place? Utter stupidity; the HMMWV never should have been a front-line combat vehicle in the first place–It’s the only one I know of that can be disabled by a .22 long rifle bullet. I can only imagine how it would have held up, with that near-horizontal radiator, under significant artillery fire. There are so many areas on that vehicle that were just… Wrong, for a something intended to go in harm’s way.

          4. Aesop

            Good points.
            I shall immediately cable Generals Marshall, Eisenhower, MacArthur, Bradley, and Patton c/o the War Department, and let them know what a clusterf**k idea that silly Jeep thing is.

            They should have gone with Mk IV tanks tactical transport vehicles, a proven combat design with much better protection than a miserable jeep, and coincidentally, almost the exact same size as our current iteration IFVs.
            Helpfully, Ike and Patton have direct experience with the Mk IVs, so they’ll see this as the obvious better vehicle choice if we’re ever going to defeat those pesky Nazis.


            Zombie General Patton responded to my cable.
            Response follows:
            “INSUFFICIENT RESERVES OF RUSTED OUT MK IV HULKS AVAILABLE FOR CONVERSION TO TROOP TRANSPORTS.
            USING JEEPS I HAVE ALREADY CONQUERED MOROCCO, ALGERIA, TUNISIA, SICILY, NORMANDY, BELGIUM, LUXEMBOURG, GERMANY, AUSTRIA, AND PARTS OF CZECHOSLOVAKIA.
            SHALL I GIVE THOSE COUNTRIES BACK?
            SIGNED PATTON”

          5. Kirk

            You seem to be arguing both points, and talking out your ass, here.

            Anyone advocating for the amazing superiority of the jeep needs to go read Paul Fussell’s opening chapter in Wartime: Understanding and Behavior in WWII.

            The jeep was never a successful combat vehicle, period. It was, at best, a logistics aid and nothing more. All the pre-war fantasy about speed and maneuverability trumping armor? Fantasy, at best; same with the delusional bullshit behind 9th ID. Putting troops out there onto a battlefield where they’re going to encounter Soviet-scale artillery and forward observers is sheer human waste–And, that fact should have been acknowledged from the get-go: The HMMWV should have been effectively armored to be able to withstand at least 122mm rocket fragments, and yet we persisted in putting people in them, and expecting them to go wandering out around the battlefield.

            If it ain’t armored, it’s gonna die. Period. Proofing the logistics support column up against artillery fire is something we should have been doing as far back as WWII.

    3. archy

      Horses? Given time and a few non-castrated males in the supply chain, they can even provide their own long-term replacements. No big bucks for the defence contractors there!

      I’ve got no idea how many horseborne mounted infantry can be stuffed into the maw of a Shithook, but the WWI figure of 40/8, 40 men or 8 horses comes to mind. And weight is not the only CH47 limitation; the SAS Mobility Troopies have hung onto their armed Land Rovers because they’re narrow enough to be transported via Shithook.

  5. Jake Bell

    When we went from the open HMMWV’s we deployed with, no armor, no doors and a canvas roof, to the “protected” ones, most without A/C, it was amazing to watch the soldiers remove the doors and go back to hanging out the side. It wasn’t the heat, it was the loss of situational awareness and the inability to see behind you or really next to you. Netting for doors would have been better to stop items tossed in, but a quick elbow worked, except for the driver. I think I would have rather had a high HP jeep than any HMMWV, at least I could get out fast.

  6. redc1c4

    we could always bring back the FAST-Vs, now known as the Desert Patrol Vehicle or DPV…

    it’s always a trade off in AFVs: speed/mobility vs. protection-armerment/weight

    link in nick

    1. Kirk

      FAV for recon or SOCOM operations? Acceptable tradeoff. Using that platform for routine operations where you absolutely know you’re going to make contacts and encounter IEDs? Suicidal.

      Frankly, the idea was bad back when 9th ID was experimenting with them–Those things were great, running around Yakima Firing Center, but the idea of taking them to war in a theater where there were such things as actual enemy artillery? LOL… The idea reeks of 1970s fantasy. I swear to God, I think a lot of the crap that the guys running 9th ID came up with came straight out of that cheesy-ass movie Megaforce. And, would have been just about as workable… I’m honestly surprised we didn’t have Hydra 70 rocket pods for the damn motorcycles, for example.

      1. Aesop

        Every war, and particularly the next one, isn’t going to be Iraq or A-stan.
        Just as they never were before.

        That’s why gearing up as though we were only going back to those conflicts is a mistake.

        1. Kirk

          [facepalm]

          Look, Aesop… I respect your acumen and background, but… Jeez, man: The key issue here is not that we’re preparing for the last war, but that we are actually ignoring the lessons of that last war, and preparing for the one we fought only in our imaginations.

          That’s the damn problem, right there: The rear-area battle has been hand-waved away since WWII, and we’ve just completely ignored all the issues surrounding the whole problem. Instead, our higher command and mid-grade leadership keep acting as if there’s gonna be another WWI, and that all these “unsporting” enemies are going to let us build up our forces and support them in the manner to which we’ve become accustomed.

          It ain’t happening. The actual lessons of the earlier phases of Iraq should have been extrapolated from what happened on the Eastern Front in WWII to the Germans, and from what the Soviets had their proxies do to us in Korea and Vietnam. Also, see Rhodesia, South Africa, Angola, and about anywhere else they got their proxy on against our interests.

          The root problem is that our leadership is almost willfully blind to this shit, to a degree I find mind-boggling–Go look at the fucking facts on the ground out in our units: Are there any permanent, on-establishment PSD elements being made a part of the MTOE? Anywhere? No, so far as I know, there is not–The current plan is that that real-world requirement isn’t a part of “real war”, and that we’re going to just pull more guys off the line from our already stripped-to-the-bone units, and have them fill in on that now-mandatory tasking.

          US military? I’d like to introduce you to Reality; I’m sure you’ll love dealing with her, because she’s a complete bitch. Especially when you are functionally delusional about what you’re dealing with.

          1. Aesop

            As noted above, when you haven’t got a rear area, you’re someplace you never should have ventured. If you need armored trucks to go to town or pick up groceries from the sea-/air-port, you’ve clearly skipped the subjugation/pacification phase of ground combat war.

            The lesson of Iraq/A-stan is only that the rear area there was Saudi, or Diego Garcia. If not Norfolk VA.
            When you’re at war with the entire country, either go to war on the entire country, or GTFO. Germany/Japan 1944-46 is the illustrative exemplar set you’re looking for.
            (Because not everyone is as pig-headed and bloody-minded as the British in occupying Ireland for the last 600 years. And as both Yorktown, and the two decades after WWII proved, even they have their limits on that sort of thing.)

            Generals too stupid to note that obvious fact aren’t going to suddenly get smarter with the addition of a butched up gun truck.

            But the butched-up gun truck division of Giant Defense Leech will most assuredly get richer, and sure as God made little green apples, once you buy 20K of the damned things, some sonofabitch is going to start itching to use them, only next time in Iran, or Yemen, or Syria.

            If not in Peoria and Tucson.

            Send in the clowns.

            We don’t need up-armored F-450s, we need generals and admirals who grasp WTF a military is for, and who’ll put their stars on the table in defense of the concept vs. the next silly sumbitch behind the Resolute desk.

            At that point, the toys become a tertiary concern, at most.

          2. Kirk

            Aesop, I think you’re completely wrong about your ideas that complete subjugation even being possible.

            For one thing, even in Western Germany during the Cold War, that wasn’t happening–We were always going to have problems with the Soviets doing their “Deep Battle” thing, and sending in Spetsnatz to mug our logistics assets. Not to mention, all the things like the Rot Armee Faction, and other supporting elements from among their sympathizers in the populace.

            The idea that there will be some “safe and secure harbor” where our own rifles ain’t covering down is the problem; if you go looking at the history of the rear areas in WWII, there were always problems even in Italy and France, what with organized crime and other things going on in the rear. The fact is, we’ve always had this problem, and with the exception of WWI, it’s just been something ignored in the histories. The amount of sheer wastage in the Services of Supply during WWII that were given up to the various French and Italian black markets is stunning, when you go back and look at the numbers.

            As well, no matter what, the enemy always has a vote; as we saw in Iraq, the strategy where they confront us directly on the battlefield is a non-starter, for them. Thus, they pursue the classic Russian strategy of withdrawal (either spatially, or by not engaging us in the first place) and then engage us on the strategic flanks we offer. Either way, just like with recon, we have to prepare to fight our logistics through. Period.

            It’s either that, or we just don’t bother to fight. This is the reality–By your way of thinking, the only two options are either a genocide, or capitulation. And, I don’t think the public or the politicians are going to let us do either one, so best get ready to cope with reality.

            Too many in America’s military take the attitude that there is some kind of choice involved, here. There isn’t, really–We either deal with things as they are, or we’re going to keep losing these fights the politicians and public get us into.

          3. Aesop

            We either deal with things as they are, or we’re going to keep losing these fights the politicians and public get us into.

            You’re beginning to grasp the problem:
            It isn’t that we need a wunderwaggen, it’s that we need to stop playing ground war military games to solve non-military geopolitical problems.
            If you’re bound and determined to hold a ground war, the US west of the Mississippi from 1865-1900 was the proper way to conduct counter-insurgency.
            And if that looks insufficient, Dresden and Hiroshima are the next examples to select from. Neither of which had an IED problem, from then to date.

            Stop sending troops in to die needlessly, worthlessly, for half-assed missions that cannot ever be accomplished. When you’re banging your head against a stone wall, the solution is not a sturdier and spiffier helmet; it’s to stop doing that.

            Asking for the Magic Helmet, even as a contingency, is just guaranteeing that some guy down the road will send you back into the wall, head first.

          4. Kirk

            “Asking for the Magic Helmet, even as a contingency, is just guaranteeing that some guy down the road will send you back into the wall, head first.”

            And, bang, there goes a significant amount of respect for your position.

            You are, without realizing it, reiterating exactly what I was told by the bright lights at the Engineer School, when we started asking them why we weren’t looking into armored route clearance vehicles from South Africa, waaaaaaay back in the 1990s. The schoolhouse position was, as I have mentioned, that if we didn’t have the capability, we wouldn’t be asked to do the mission. Literally–That’s what I heard directly from 35th Engineer Brigade staff members, the majority of whom form the DA civilian cadre at the Engineer Center. Instead of looking at the world’s conflicts, paying attention to the implications, and then actively seeking to do something to prepare for it, they stuck their heads in the sand. Same thing with the humanitarian demining mission–A blind man could see that the Clinton administration was going to get us into that shit, and we’d better know how to do it. The Engineer School? Oh, no; we want nothing to do with that shit, it’s not our lane, if we don’t know how to do it, we can’t be asked to do it…

            Surprise, surprise, surprise–The Clintons did what I knew they would, and the people who wound up taking that job were in SOCOM, instead of the line units. Another brick in the wall for the Engineer branch’s irrelevancing (if that isn’t a word, we need one to describe that…) of itself, for any real battlefield purpose.

            And, the mentality is spread thickly throughout the US military–For other examples, see the Navy’s insistence that mines at sea are no big deal, and we need neither the capability to lay them or the ability to lift them…

            At some point, the American public is going to demand we tell them what we did with the trillions of dollars lavished on defense, and about all we’re going to have to show them for it will be a passel of Abrams tanks that are generations out of date, a handful of F35s that can’t do forward air support, and a couple of LCS platforms that can really only serve as target hulks for the Chinese.

            I think the current set of idiots we have running things are going to be in for a rude awakening when that finally happens. I hope they like the feel of hemp rope, around the neck…

          5. Aesop

            I see.
            You want the JLTVs for armored route clearance.
            Go ahead on then.

            But IIRC, armored route clearance is currently done by an M1 Abrams, with either a chain flail, or an updated Rome Plow. Right?

            But if you just want a few dozen of those $400K trucks to haul a few CEs around in, sure, go on ahead.

            Because if the CEs do their jobs, we don’t need the other 50,000 JLTVs for every grunt in the Army, do we?

            Thanks for saving us $50B we didn’t need to spend.

            Now, once the grunts get from A to B, tell me how they’re going to nation build?
            Or were they supposed to do that only from inside the trucks?
            Just curious how that works, exactly.

  7. Keith

    Since the days of old when weapons were rock’s and shield’s were made of sticks it’s been a trade off between mobility/protection/firepower. The modern classic comparison of that would be the 30 ton M4 to the 45 ton Panther. One of the decisions behind excepting the M4 was the need to ship it overseas to world wide battlefields. The German’s only had to worry about rail transport. Also there was a doctrinal difference. The M4 was designed while the TD doctrine was in force so it was intended to fight anything but armor. The Panther was in reaction to the T-34 in large part and was intended to score tank kills at ranges 1K meters plus.

    Keep your powder dry and your faith in God.

    1. Seans

      You should look up Nicolas Moran. He dispels a lot of the bad info about the Sherman and American Armor in general in WW2. Including the myth that the M4 wasn’t meant to fight tanks.

      1. Keith

        I watched what he had to say. I was not saying any of the bad things about the M4. I was just illustrating the reality of the trade offs and how doctrine can effect them.

        Keep your powder dry and your faith in God.

  8. Pete

    Well, we have the M-RAZR and DAGGOR now, and hopefully those new Toyota Hi-Lux based assault trucks (which are actually 24V, thank god). Those are Sling-loadable, Air-Droppable, Osprey/Chinook internal loadable, etc. Those are the light weight initial wave / assault / SF / special purpose /etc vehicles your looking for. They replace the overweight and too slow humvee based GMVs and Holy 1990’s, Batman 9th ID dune buggys that nobody uses any more. They are fast, they are light, they are well thought out, they provide awesome situational awareness, they are easy to mount and dismount from, and, of course, they are fucking death traps. In a combined arms fight, you are driving a damn technical. Thats dumb. That’s where this JLTV thing fits in. Is it to replace Strykers and Brads? Fuck no, but you can tow the shit out of regular trailers and set up TOC’s/nodes/firing points/support areas/etc and haul supplies with one of these. And you can operate BFT and commo systems in relative security. Can it take a direct hit from, well, much of anything? No not really, but when indirect is hitting in the general area, the occupants are in relative security. No they certainly cant take a fucking 105 to the windshield, but that 105 hitting 30 yds away ain’t gonna fry the dude working the JCR screen in the truck. Fuck, same goes for the poor bastard hauling the MRE garbage back to the fucking BSA. Tooth to tail and all that shit. Is someone gonna mount a mini-gun on this and call it a GMV? Of course, but where this thing shines is as the vehicle of the tail elements, not the tooth elements. Yes, the South African design based MRAPS are prob a bit more secure, but a fucking 15 foot tall, 25 ton Buffalo ain’t exactly easy to parallel park.

    So these are great for what they are, and they’re much needed.

    But, shit, I’d argue that with the advent of all these DAGGOR/M-RAZR and JLTV programs we’re neglecting another aspect of mobility which is totally unsexy, but very needed. The gap created by the loss of the M274 when the humvee came in was eventually filled by the M-GATOR, but those are in serious neglect and turn in stages now. M-RAZORS and DAGGOR’s can’t do the same type of unsexy but necessary stuff. Like, not even close. I’d say that not only do we need these JLTV’s in addition to the M-RAZR and DAGGORs, but that we need another small utility vehicle to replace the M-GATOR’s. I know it’s completely unsexy and boring, but a small, dump-bed M-GATOR type vehicle is needed too. And shit, make it hybrid electrical – that would be quiet and awesome.

  9. HORSE GUNNER

    COMMENTS RE: VEHICLES: Throughout the 1970s/1980s, in the elite, legendary 82d Airborne Division (“America’s Guard of Honor”), there was NO canvas whatsoever on any Jeep (“Truck, Utility, 1/4 Ton, M151A2) at anytime, anywhere. This included an EDRE to Fort Greely, AK, in January! Napoleon said: “Fortresses are the Tombs of Armies”, and this applies to vehicles, too. Troops must be able to see, shoot, and mount/dismount rapidly.
    COMMENTS RE: HMMWV REPLACEMENT. My basic requirements are as follows:
    **FUEL: DIESEL
    **TRANSMISSION: MANUAL
    **CARGO CAPACITY: 1 1/4 (1.25) Tons, similar to M561 “Gamma Goat”
    Sufficient Cargo Capacity to carry Squad/Howitzer Section and about 1 Ton of ammunition, etc.
    Must be able to mount TOW, etc, if used as Weapons Carrier
    **TOWING CAPACITY: M102 or M119 105mm Howitzer (about 3,000 pounds)
    **BASIC CONFIGURATIONS:
    A. Basic
    B. Command/Commo/Command Post
    C. Weapons Carrier (e.g., TOW, etc.)
    D. Medical/Ambulance/Evacuation
    E. Vehicle Recovery/With Winch
    F. Workshop (Motor Maintenance)
    G. Tanker (MOGAS, Diesel, Water, etc.)
    **AIR MOBILITY
    A. Slingload beneath UH-60 Blackhawk
    B. Internal within CH-47 Chinook
    C. Heavy Drop (i.e., on Palet with Parachute) from C-130 and C-17

  10. 11B-Mailclerk

    1) Sun Tzu should be mandatory reading at all levels of US Military instruction.

    2) Our advantages can rather badly warp our thinking. Stuff is cheap, people are expensive. We are fighting folks that have that the other way around. “Throw more stuff! it will save lives!” Not necessarily. What we choose to do is far, far more important than what we choose to use.

    3) War is a really sick form of Economics. Cost/benefit, opportunity cost, Supply/demand. it is all there. Drive the other guy’s costs up to where he wont pay it, or goes broke. But, big big but

    You absolutely -must- understand the reality of what -both- sides value and in what they trade at war.

    Back to Sun Tzu – understand -both- them and us and you can win. Miss either one and maybe win or not. Understand neither and lose for sure.

    Figure out what they -abhor- to expend, and give them a huge bill on it every time they make contact. Make fighting so fucking unbeleiveable painfully expensive that no leader in the enemy society will tolerate anyone on their side even giving us a sidelong fart.

    Or walk away, as failing to do the above is essentially making -us- pay all the big bills. Thus -losing-.

    4) If everyone can and will fight, every contact has at least -some- cost to the enemy. Grunts moving supplies is effectively an ongoing movement to contact. (Or hunting over bait?) By -not- training the rear/gear folks at least to basic infantry standards, have we not in fact made them human sacrifices to random chance?

    OK. I was just an E-4, but why the hell did we have “admin kills” for HQ/Loggie elements, instead of -fighting- ? What the -fuck- did that teach us except to roll the fuck over an die? If there was one thing that pissed me off in my little contribution to things military, was seeing good people in effect trained to fucking roll over and die on enemy bayonets and tank treads.

    If -this- then-skinny geek can handle Infantry OSUT, there is absolutely -no- fucking excuse for -anyone- in Army uniform to be considered excused from, you know, the -basic fucking job- of the Army. Anyone who cant ruck the fuck up to that low level should find something else to do, elsewhere. And training folks to assume failure in combat is fucking -evil-.

    Rant mode off.

    Wow. I am surprised at how pissed this stuff still gets me. Hopefully something in all that makes sense, somewhere. Just needed to say it somewhere I might get -intelligent- feedback, not just prideful scorn.

    We should not be worrying about how much unpleasantness we are costing the enemy. We should be asking ourselves why our actions do not yet have them begging for terms, and hopefully begging for mercy.

    1. james n

      Never mind Sun Tzu, Kirk and Aesop should be required reading at all levels of US Military Instruction.

  11. SMGCaver

    It’d be nice to see comments from the E-7 and below community rather than a bunch of AUSA convention attendees that won’t bad mouth anything in hearing range of their raters.

  12. robroysimmons

    Place like Stan IMO best to invest in Danner and a company that can build a small easy to use resupp drone that can tote a few hundred pounds at a time.

  13. Dyspeptic Gunsmith

    OK, so…. for transporting infantry in armored style and with speed and mobility, wasn’t that supposed to be the job of the Stryker? What happened to that?

    1. Aesop

      Nothing.
      But there are only 5000 or so Strykers, and they cost $5M@, about 10X what the JLTV costs, 100X what a new M113 costs, and 1000X what an M151 jeep cost.
      And of which the Army wants 50,000.
      Oh, and they’re about 9′ tall and wide, and weigh 18 tons.
      So you can’t airlift them easily, or in numbers, and they’re too heavy for a lot of terrain and infrastructure.
      Kind of like the JLTV.

      Let me know when you spot the trend.

      1. Pete

        Like esop is suggesting, It’s all a compromise and always has been. Strykers and Brads are supposed to carry troops in frontline roles, MRAP’s help with the IED threat at the cost of sillouhette That stryker might be 9′ tall, but a Buffalo is 15′ tall ( !!! ). Admittedly I know little about the mech world, coming from an Airborne/light infantry background, but I can tell you that while MRAP’s serve a valuable role, they are not very awesome for hauling basic crap for short distances. Strykers and Brads work for strapping the infantryman’s ruck on the side and going wherever, but when you gotta haul a bunch of dumb but necessary shit in a payload/package that constantly changes and/or needs to be frequently loaded/unloaded (ie. tables & chairs, little tents, big tents, stupid tents, camo nets, projector screens, chow, chow garbage, coffee, ammo to a range, ammo to or from a toc/asp/aha, 5 gallon cans of fuel and/or water, small generators with associated cabling, Cables & distro boxes for big generators, lights, toc/tac packages, BFT kits, small commo packages, antenna kits, DZ marking kits, class IV, tools, spare/replacement wheels/tires or vehicle parts, laptops, 200lb server boxes, field desks, sand bags, god damn copy paper, printers, vent tubes, a fucking air conditioner, those portable checkpoint lights in a box pelican cases, anything else in a Pelican case, etc, etc, etc ad friggin nauseum.), you don’t want an 8′ high MTV truck bed and you sure as hell don’t want a 30 ton MRAP, you want something in the size range of Hi-Lux to Humvee and maybe you want a nice simple single axle humvee trailer. You can drive that through the woods, you can drive that through the mud, you can drive that down a fire break or a shitty little goat trail. Leaders can use the BFT and BFT type packages in one to track and manage the fight while staying mobile. This type of vehicle provides solid SAF, frag and overpressure protection while staying relatively low, easy to mount/dismount, and easy to load/unload. Can it take a direct hit from a red air CAS bird? fuck no, but neither can a fucking Stryker. Can it take a 400lb IED? Fuck no, but now we role back into utility. You simply can’t drive everywhere and do all the random back end bullshit that needs to get done if you expect SPC Snuffledick and PFC Puffycheeks to load up the the fucking Landkreuzer P. 1500 just go grab hot chow & a box of 5590’s for the BN toc from the God Damned BSA. We need a replacement for the uparmored humvees that is capable of getting out of its own fucking way and has a usable interior. The problem with the existing uparmored humvees isn’t really their armor level (although, yes they could use a V hull), its how compromised the design has become by adding all that armor to it. It doesn’t need to be a damn tank, it just needs to protect against SAF and ineffective indirect fires (yes I meant to say IN effective). And it needs to do that without needing two fucking ground guides every time it gets off the damn Autobahn. And I say this as a current member of the E7 and below community, not an AUSA attendees “that won’t bad mouth anything in hearing range of their raters.”

        1. Pete

          I’ll also say I really liked the early idea that never panned out with the JLTV where they were supposed to have a hybrid diesel electric drivetrain where the diesel engine could be used as a stand alone generator and the vehicles could move limited distances on quiet electric only drive. Combined with a good CTIS (remote tire inflation/deflation) system, and seats that actually reclined back (because lets face it, we all sleep in these damn things), this would have been a hell of a vehicle.

          1. Aesop

            The JLTV runs a slightly modified Duramax V-8, with a guesswork nominal 300hp.
            And at about 5mpg.

            One of the few bright spots of a $400K vehicle, is one that uses a Detroit-standard off-the-shelf engine package with a fully mature production/maintenance/repair base.

            The idea that we can only move troops in a vehicle that costs as much as the median house price in Portland/Seattle/Denver, weighs more than a 155mm towed howitzer, and that before it existed, our entire form of warfare was glaringly ineffective, is ridiculous.

            For further reference, for the price of 4 JLTVs, one could buy a brand new GE diesel train locomotive.

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