Tag Archives: war

Why America Needs An Army with Tanks

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Leaders from the U.S. Army Armor School, Fort Benning, GA, explain why armored vehicles are anything but obsolete.

By BG Leopoldo Quintas and CPT Nicholas Simpson, U.S. Army Armor School

Recently, critics have argued that the tank is a relic of the Cold War era made obsolete by advanced aircraft and unmanned systems. This argument ignores the unique and necessary capabilities provided by mobile protected firepower. Even in a fiscally constrained environment, the main battle tank continues to play a critical role in maintaining peace and winning conflicts. As an integral member of the combined arms team, the tank serves as a component of the Army’s ability to gain, sustain, and exploit control over land, resources, and people. The tank’s enduring qualities of mobility, protection, and firepower provide versatility and tactical agility in both combined arms maneuver and wide area security environments.

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Equipping to Achieve the Decisive Edge

BG Paul Ostrowski, Program Executive Officer, PEO Soldier

In January, Armor & Mobility spoke with the head of the Army’s soldier equipment acquisition office, PEO Soldier, about his office’s priorities now and going forward.

BG Ostrowski was interviewed by A&M Editor Kevin Hunter.

A&M: Please speak to your role as Program Executive Officer-Soldier and describe your office’s mission.  

BG Ostrowski: PEO Soldier is ultimately responsible for the acquisition of many of the equipment items worn or carried by the dismounted soldier. We develop, acquire, field, and sustain the best equipment available as quickly as possible so our soldiers can remain protected, lethal, and situationally aware on the battlefield. We are always looking for new innovative technologies to give our troops the decisive edge.

We collaborate with our joint partners to efficiently get the best equipment in the hands of warfighters. The Advanced and Enhanced Combat Helmets, Nett Warrior, M4A1 Carbine, M320 Grenade Launcher, Enhanced Vision Goggle, M110, Pelvic Protection System, helmet sensors, M240B, Thermal Weapons Sights, and Joint Effects Targeting System represent just a small number of the numerous joint program efforts we have established and maintained.

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The Institutional Advantage: Building an Energy-informed Military

Asst Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Sharon Burke

Asst Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Sharon Burke

We interviewed Assistant Secretary of Defense for Operational Energy Plans and Programs Sharon Burke in October 2013. Clearly passionate about the subject and deeply engaged in making energy a priority in planning, Ms. Burke discussed a wide range of problems and solutions that the Pentagon is addressing to make sure the lessons learned from the past 13 years are applied to future operations.

DoD PEP: Please describe your office’s background and basic functions.

Ms. Burke: Operational energy is the energy used to move, train, and sustain military forces. This comes out to about three-quarters of the energy the Department uses in any given year. Last year, this cost about $16 billion. One-quarter is facilities, or installation, energy used to heat, cool, and light buildings. This is not an inconsequential bill for us; we’re a big business, and it’s a variable cost, so we manage using a variety of methods. In this space, we must also comply with laws, executive orders, regulations, and so forth, whereas operational energy is generally exempt from these regulations because it is so closely tied to military operations.
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The A-10’s Swan Song?

Should the USAF replace the long-serving Warthog with the F-35?

By George Jagels

An A-10 Thunderbolt in Afghanistan. Beloved by troops and acknowledged as highly capable, the Warthog might leave the arsenal in the next 15 years. (USAF)

An A-10 Thunderbolt in Afghanistan. Beloved by troops and acknowledged as highly capable, the Warthog might leave the arsenal in the next 15 years. (USAF)

Aerospace is one of the few areas where beauty and utility often coexist, but there are exceptions. The Air Force’s main ground attack aircraft, the A-10 Thunderbolt, serves as one: The aesthetically unpleasing “Warthog” flies low, slow, and does the humble work of close air support and tank killing. I do not mean to imply this work is not heroic, as recent reports[1] highlighted two Warthogs rescuing 60 soldiers in Afghanistan through use of their devastating 30mm cannon and conventional bombs. A-10 pilots are also credited with destroying 4,000 Iraqi vehicles in 1991[2]. To use a DoD watchword, this is a “proven” platform. So why does the Air Force want to retire a third of its Warthog fleet (and eventually all 349) without a similar replacement?

The USAF has actually been trying to do this since the late eighties. A variant of the F-16, called the A-16, was tested to replace the A-10, but Congress squashed the effort in November 1990[3] (right around the time the Thunderbolt scored a major success in the Persian Gulf). Since then, the Warthog has flown thousands of sorties and undergone upgrades to lengthen its life by decades. The plane can loiter for long periods and sustain absurdly extensive damage without crashing[4]. In 2006, a British Army major vented after a botched air support operation by Harriers in Afghanistan, “I would take an A-10 over [a] Eurofighter any day.”[5] At a cost of around $13 million (in 1998 dollars) per plane[6], it seems to be an ideal aircraft in budget-constrained times. Current plans do indeed call for many upgraded A-10s to stay in service until 2028.[7]
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