Army to test and shoot weapons on the new Mobile Protected Firepower prototypes

File photo (BAE Systems)

The Army plans to fire guns, rockets and cannons on prototypes of the new Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle to prepare for the fast-tracked platform for large mechanized warfare, service officials explained.

The attacks, expected to include Rpgs, crew-served weapons, small arms fire and various types of guns and country-missiles, are intended to fully and accurately replicate combat as part of the future soldier’s “lethality tests” of the new MPF platform, Brig. Gen. Ross Coffman, Director, NGCV Cross-Functional Team, told reporters.

“We take these vehicles and shoot at them to see what can be absolutely the protection of our military,” Coffman said. “The soldier user test will perform the most likely missions that an IBCT will have in the large-scale battles. This includes the use of mechanized war vehicles in the close-in-battle”.

A part of these evaluations, which are move-to-contact missions, assault exercises, on average, fire on static and moving targets, and mobility tests on harsh, uneven terrain. Army developers will also look at the extension of the anticipated mission requirements for the MPF, to counter-air attacks on enemy drones and helicopters, Coffman added.

“MPF has a large cannon that would be effective against rotary-wing. That would be beneficial – we’re going to look at,” Coffman said on the Warrior Maven.

The prototype of the Mobile Protected Firepower vehicles will soon be arriving by the Army of the Rapid Prototyping deal with BAE Systems and General Dynamics Land Systems. Each supplier provides a 12 prototype vehicles for testing and development, an important step in the direction of a 2022 “down-select” to a supplier and the possible construction of 504 vehicles.

The MPF is accelerated to the war, in part to meet an urgent need for mobile firepower to support fast-moving light infantry. Army reviews find that Infantry Brigade Combat Teams (IBCTs) the lack of maneuverable firepower needed to destroy fortified enemy positions, bunkers, light armored vehicles and heavy machine gun positions.

A Congressional Research Report from October of last year, reached a similar conclusion, explaining that the current infantry lacks the necessary attack and mobility.

“The IBCT lacks the ability to decisively close with and destroy the enemy under limited terrain, such as mountains, littorals, jungles, underground areas, and urban areas,” the CRS report states.

The Army of the accelerated route plans for the MPF required a dual-pronged acquisition approach for the service, which wants to both use be made of the best available weapons and technologies of today, but also for the manufacture of a vehicle to be successful in the war of 20 years on the road. During the test-and development assessments are designed for the thoroughly, the Army is planning to prepare the platform for the war on a massively accelerated time frame, intended to circumvent some of the more lengthy and bureaucratic obstacles known to the objections of the traditional acquisition process.

For example, as a way to make use of readily available technology and the bypass of certain long acquisition milestones, the program will not have a formal Preliminary Design Review and Critical Design Review

“One of our biggest challenges is to keep upgrading of our current platforms for everything we can go to war with today at the same time making sure we have the right investments in our future – so we are ready for the battle after the next,” Maj. Gen. Brian Cummings, Program Executive Officer, Ground Combat Systems, told Warrior Maven in an interview.

Designed to maximize the employability, the vehicles are configured such that two trips on Air Force C-17 aircraft; however, in contrast to the MPFs air-droppable Russian counterpart of the vehicle of the AMERICAN Army wants to ensure a higher level of protection for the soldiers.

“We decided the vehicle on the ground and then help instead of the run of the first seizure of an airport,” Cummings.

The Russian 2S25 Strut “light tank” in service since 2005, is described as an amphibious tank destroyer designed to combine tank-like firepower with the combat agility, just as the US Army in the MPF. However, the support is only 18 tons, and the US MPF is expected to reach weights as high as 30 tons. This Army of developers to explain it, gives the vehicle an improved mix of protection, armored firefight ability and unprecedented mobility for a vehicle of its type.

A M1A2 Abrams tank can usually be pushed to the speed just above 40 mph – even on wheels Strykers, Humvees and other combat vehicles can easily travel faster than 60 mph. Therefore, is engineering a vehicle that is not slowing down in a time-sensitive infantry attack is of great importance for the MPF developers.

“The MPF to keep up with the infantry. We have a lot of tracked and wheeled vehicle studies, and that is what led us to identify when a tracked vehicle,” Dopp said.

Lighter, air-droppable vehicles, while on an attack by a wider range of methods, are not suitable enough for the combat missions are expected for the MPF, service developers explained.

“It must withstand a certain threshold of enemy fire and also move about the grounds that we would expect light infantry to move in some really bad places,” said David Dopp, Mobile Protected Firepower program manager.

Stressing the importance of a rapid deployment and the merits of lighter weight, but still very deadly fast armored vehicles, a recent essay of West Point “Modern War Institute” writes that Russia for the fast delivery of armored vehicles brings benefits in certain respects.

“Russian troops enjoy a marked mobility advantage by combining expert railway operations, geographical proximity and lighter and consume less fuel platforms, allowing rapid delivery of massive combat power, ready for high-intensity conflict on what amounts to a moment’s notice,” the Modern War Institute paper, with the title “Light, Mobile and Many: Rethinking the Future of the Harness.”

At the same time, rapid deployment and the speed of the manoeuvre is not, according to many U.S. weapons developers, at odds with a high degree of continuity. Scalable armor, long-range sensors, Active Protection Systems, and precision and heavy firepower are all factors focused on the tune of what seems to be a contradiction. Maybe with this challenge in mind, specifically for authorised Russian threat on the European continent, the U.S. Army in Europe conducted a cross-continent quick mobility convoy exercise for a number of years ago. The Dragoon drive, as it was called, included fast-moving Stryker brigades, the US-nato interoperability exercises in Eastern Europe and a number of the control of the preparations. The reason for this, many claimed, was to deter Russia by demonstrating cross-continent mobility, combat readiness and rapid deployability.

These factors describe the broader context in which the MPF is intended to work, by balancing on the seemingly uncertain threshold between heavy mechanized firepower and quick combat vehicles to support advancing infantry.

The vision for the MPF is aligned with concepts drawn up by The Modern War Institute essay, which argues that the heavily armed, faster, lighter vehicles can take center-stage when it comes to modern threats and strategy for the future.

“As the smaller, more distributed platforms, with more sister platforms for each vehicle on the flanks, is better able to survive on the battlefield of tomorrow than the massive Abrams of today, again the solution is simple,” The Modern War Institute proposes in her essay.

War planners repeatedly emphasize that the future war will be split up, driven by long-range sensors, unmanned systems and precision weapons, and with a much further range.

“We are prepared to close and destroy the enemy in some of the worst places on earth, where people are trying to kill them,” Coffman added.

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