Apocalypse Now?

Schmaybe. In any event, Ebola’s not allowed to fly one.

28 Responses to “Apocalypse Now?”

  1. Crusader says:

    Maybe for the poor Marines who have to ride/die in them. And for all us taxpayers, due to the money spent that could have produced replacements that would already be in service.

  2. Mr. Bingley says:

    That’s got to be the most expensive photograph ever.

  3. Tainted Bill says:

    Nah…a squadron of B-2s or a Carrier Battle Group is probably more expensive.

  4. Mr. Bingley says:

    Ah, you’re probably right; and at least the Carrier works for more than a few flights.

  5. Cullen says:

    But they’re so cool looking. Before all the systems failures, they did some testing at Fort Huachuca. I got to take one of the first photos of a fully operational Osprey. It was neat stuff.

  6. It was neat stuff.
    As long as you weren’t standing under it…

  7. Cullen says:

    I was. Again, it was before all the safety concerns.

  8. Crusader says:

    Yeah, but Bill, B-2s and CBGs have given us results in service so far, unlike this boondoggle.

  9. Cullen says:

    Don’t get me wrong — I don’t doubt the wariness of the Osprey’s usefulness. I just think it looks cool.
    There had to be some pretty hefty politics behind getting this thing in service. But I don’t know what kind of redesigns the thing has gone through since the crashes, etc.
    What I don’t get is what need does this aircraft fulfill? Is it meant as a replacement for something or is it adding an entirely new capability?

  10. Is it meant as a replacement for something
    The CH-46.

  11. major dad says:

    Since I was involved with this thing; It is a replacement for the venerable CH-46. The capabilities it will bring in a nutshell are far superior range and speed. Yes there were loads of politics in getting this thing fielded i.e. getting the sub-contracters spread across every state in the union so if it got cancelled (I should say try to be cancelled) there would be screaming from all sides and the Marines are the best lobbiests by far on the Hill. The mods included upgrades to the software and the repositioning of hydraulic lines in the engine nacelles. I’m not sold on it.

  12. Cullen says:

    Well, I sincerely hope for the best.
    As for the best lobbyists … AUSA rocks pretty solid. 😉

  13. The Real JeffS says:

    Yeah, I heard about the Osprey through CPL Tim….little positive was said. Very little.
    Cullen, I see your AUSA, and raise you the NGAUS.

  14. Dave J says:

    “…a fully operational Osprey.”
    From what I understand, isn’t that practically an oxymoron?

  15. Cullen says:

    Come on. Look at what the Army’s doing (*cough* Striker *cough*) and the money that’s being thrown at it and tell me they don’t lobby solid.

  16. The Real JeffS says:

    True, Cullen. The Army does lobby solid. But how about all them Guard bases that didn’t get closed? And I can think of multiple units in the Guard that weren’t deactivated several years ago…..but were realigned suddenly.
    Not that I’m trumpeting the NGAUS, Cullen. I merely point out that AUSA has a solid competitor in Congress.

  17. major dad says:

    The Army lobbies solid? Hmmm, I recall a self-propelled howitzer and a scout/recon helo that are in the discarded bin. They did do well with the Stryker though. Why I can’t figure. Anyone know why they wanted those things?

  18. The Real JeffS says:

    Yep, I do, Major Dad. Originally, the Stryker was supposed to be an supplement to the Bradley, for use with motorized infantry, since wheeled vehicles tend to be more roadable than tracked vehicles (i.e., they move faster and further, without recourse to heavy equipment transports, plus they have a lower bridging requirement).
    However, the Army arrived in Afghanistan with Gators and LPCs. The Marines arrived with LAVs, flown in. The Army’s response can be described as pure jealousy. The Bradley wasn’t air transportable, and the M113 ain’t no where near the LAV in capability. So the Army had no armor. Although the need for armor in Afghanistan was virtually non-existant, and the logistics base severely limited, the armor warriors were extremely distressed.
    I think that the Stryker was on the drawing board pre-9/11, but the development was accelerated afterwards. Clearly, the Army learned its lesson with the Crusader, and offered the Stryker as an air transportable intra-theater end item, on a C130. Seriously.
    Unfortunately, during the accelerated development, someone took the dimensions of the unarmored Stryker, and applied it to the cargo capacity of the C130. It fit, although the top dimensions were a tad tight.
    Then the armor plates were added on, and suddenly all that space went away. USAF escape rules require an egress at least 24″ in diameter. There was virtually none with the armor kit. Bye bye went the air transportability on a C130. Not sure about a C17.
    I hear good things from the folks in Iraq about the Stryker, however.

  19. Cullen says:

    I don’t know if Stryker:The Vehicle was on the boards before 9-11, but Stryker:The Interim Brigade certainly was. We were doing stories about the Interim Army Bridages (precursor of Stryker), the military intelligence angle and research into it all back in ’99. It was 2000 when they announced we were all going to the floppy black hat.
    The need for a quick-combat vehicle was definitely on the table. If that vehicle was Stryker back then, who knows?
    I agree with Jeff. The Styker, vehicle and brigade, was born out of jealousy of the Corps’ expeditionary ability.

  20. major dad says:

    I always admired the Army’s ability to flatten things with armor but what does the Stryker carry right now, one .50 cal? At least the LAV has that nasty 25mm cannon. I just don’t think it’s what the Army needs. It needs to be lethal.

  21. The Real JeffS says:

    I agree, Major Dad. The Stryker bears a striking (heh heh heh!) resemblance to the old Soviet BTR60, which was little more than an armored transport, and was armed similarly. At least the Bradley has a 30MM chain gun as a standard feature. But it’s not air transportable in anything other than a C5A. The only real improvement with the Stryker is that we have motorized infantry brigades, which are more mobile (in some regards) than mechanized infantry. A 25MM or 30MM gun on a Stryker would be a nice back up.
    Cullen is probably right about when the Stryker vehicle was developed; I don’t recall hearing about the Stryker vehicle pre-9/11, although the interim brigade was under discussion.
    But Cullen is right about the interim brigade concept, as the Army was trying to get more mobility, in spite of the Crusader fiasco. The interim brigade was supposed to help make that happen.
    The fact is, the Army has been (and still is) dealing with the tanker legacy. After 50+ years of preparing to fight decisive tank battles across Europe, we have a lot of dinosaurs in the system, longing for the good old days of preparing for massed armor in the attack around the Bayreuth Communications Complex or Fulda Gap.
    Seriously. I recall at least one tanker complaining (in my presence) that we didn’t use tanks in Afghanistan (hello, ever hear what happened to the Soviets at the hands of the muhajideen?). Tanks seem to be some sort of phallic symbol. I guess decent infantry fighting vehicles just aren’t as much fun.

  22. Cullen says:

    Jeff. You know what it’s like. The Infantry hates Armor. Armor hates Infantry. Artillery hates them both. And Air Defense Artillery hates life.
    Truth be told, we’ll always need Armor. Esp. if we start talking another land war on the other side of Asia. But the ability to get an effective, deadly fighting force into theater quickly is the goal. I just always thought that was the Marine Corps and special operations forces.
    The Stryker Brigade is a great idea in augmentation or in lieu of Cavalry operations. But to fight non-MOUT battles, against a possibly equal enemy, we need armor.
    But Afghanistan … naw. Mechanized Infantry is all that is really needed there.

  23. The Real JeffS says:

    The Army keeps on trying to muscle in on Marine missions. This is a mistake, since the Marines are a specialized force in most ways, focused on rapid insertion anywhere in the world. The Army is a more “generic” military, with a wider variety of skills, and should follow after the Marines in most cases. So any jealousy is a mistake.
    But, hey, they didn’t ask me!
    As for Afghanistan…..actually, light infantry is needed there. The roads aren’t there, and most of the action is in the mountains. Mechanized infantry would be limited to the flat lands, what little there is. As the Soviets learned, to their sorrow.

  24. Cullen says:

    But Mech. Infantry is made up of light units too! Is my point, anywho. 10th Mountain is the perfect unit for the mission. Mech. for the flat areas and regular light forces for the hills along the borders.
    And I totally agree with you comments about muscling in on Marine territory. It makes no sense. What’s going to happen when we can’t fight a sustained land war because we handicapped our largest fighting force?

  25. major dad says:

    Right on gents, the Marines want no part of the Army mission. We open the door you guys go in and smash everything. And as far as the Army changing it’s focus two words;Korea,China but hey “never fight a land war in Asia”.

  26. Cullen says:

    China is exactly why I think we need to keep armor at strength and updated.
    And Korea is a mistake we didn’t finish because we didn’t listen to MacArthur.

  27. The Real JeffS says:

    Oh, we certainly need armor, Cullen. No question about that. Especially with China.
    The problem is that some of the Army leadership thinks tanks are the solution for all problems. It’s like using a hammer — not all problems are nails.
    SOC was the bastard child of the military for a long time. Gawrsh, who needs people who can sneak in, gather intelligence, cut throats, and get out, without being seen?
    We do. As sad experience has taught us. The same holds for other branches.
    Unfortunately, empire building exists within the military, so the treadheads, grunts, engineers, gun bunnies, rotorheads, etc, all compete for the same R&D/production funds.

  28. Cullen says:

    Excellent point, Jeff.
    It’s just that when Shinseki took over the whole Force XXI concept, with that whole “Every soldier’s going to be more like special ops” mentality, I think things started to get derailed.
    I agree completely that we need a balanced, more generic Army.

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