Last year, the US Army once again began to move on the topic of replacing the same BMP "Bradley". This is the third attempt in the last 20 years, and no wonder, in general, since these BMPs have been in service with the US Army and the National Guard since 1981.
That is almost 40 years old.
It is clear that upgrades, modifications, and everything else can extend the life of a combat vehicle for a long time. You don’t have to go anywhere for examples, just remember the BMP-1 (in service since 1966) and the T-72 (since 1973), and everything falls into place. Armored vehicles in general can live a very long time ... There would be a desire.
The American army has a desire to change something. But there is definitely no certainty about what to change and how.
On the one hand, obsolete equipment must be changed. Any sane person would agree with this. Maybe not for something epoch-making, and God forbid, "having no analogues in the world", but simply for a new one.
And now, the third attempt. OMFV.
And again, the Stop command was given from Washington.
Not so long ago, many specialized media in the United States discussed everything related to this. The army canceled the previously announced competition for the new BMP and announced a review of its project requirements.
What is the reason for such a sharp turn?
It turned out that the matter was not at all in an overly complex design from the technical side and not even in the eternal compromise of armor and mobility. Everyone is silent about the combat component, it is known that the Bradley destroyed more armored vehicles in two Iraq wars than the Abrams.
The matter turned out to be in some nuances of the East European infrastructure.
But one should not even start with European problems, but what OMFV project was all about.
The first attempt was the Future Combat Systems (FCS) program.
It began in 2003 and was canceled in 2009. At its core, this program was not just a replacement program for the old BMP. It provided for the development of a whole line of new models of military equipment, and the equipment of the brigades was to include various types of robotic ground equipment and drones. All this required the creation of wireless high-speed combat control networks.
At the implementation stage at that time, most of these systems and technological solutions did not meet the established requirements. The FCS program was created with a reserve for the future, when all the innovations can be pulled to the required technical and technological level.
The second attempt is the Combat Vehicle Ground (CVG) program.
It was worked out from 2009 to 2014. The essence of this rearmament program was to develop a single combat platform. The main objective was to deliver the infantry squad to the front line and its support.
At its core, the new platform was supposed to be able to conduct the battle in the same ranks with the Abrams MBT.
The main reason for criticizing the CVG program was a serious increase in the mass and size of prototypes (up to 70-80 tons). This circumstance completely excluded or significantly limited the possibility of rapid operational deployment (including by military transport aviation) The abandonment of the program led to the next modernization of Abrams and Bradley.
The third attempt is just the OMFV program.
It was assumed that four firms would fight for the contract, General Dynamics Land System (GLDS), Rheinmetall & Raytheon (R&R), BAE Systems and Hanwha.
However, at the very beginning of October 2019, the British BAE Systems and the South Korean Hanwha voluntarily refused to participate in the competition.
Under the terms of the tender, only two organizations should participate in the final selection, which automatically became GDLS and R&R.
Basic requirements for a new car from the US Army:
- the weight of the new machine should not exceed the weight of the latest M2 Bradley modifications;
- in the transport aircraft S-17 should be placed two cars;
- a set of additional dynamic protection;
- modular active protection MAPS;
- Thermal sensors of the third generation FLIR;
- 50 mm automatic gun (in perspective).
The army wanted the OMFV to weigh no more than the heaviest armored versions of the Bradley, that is, about 45 tons. Logically, useful for the transfer using the Air Force. Alas, it did not work out, at least not yet.
But here there was a conflict between weight and protection against the ever-increasing calibers of armored vehicles of a potential enemy. It is clear who we are talking about when we talk about the actions of the American army in Europe. Not about Iran.
It became clear that something had to be done with the mass of infantry fighting vehicles. On the other hand, the US Army never deployed more or less large operations with the help of transport aircraft. Never. Just because it needed just a gigantic amount of aircraft, and the United States at all times operated to deliver equipment in large quantities by sea.
Yes, in all operations since World War II, the U.S. Army deployed military equipment by sea. It is cheaper and the quantities are quite appropriate. Something urgently could be thrown by air, nothing more.
In addition, do not forget that the bulk of military equipment is stored in warehouses at military bases around the world. Where the equipment is also delivered by sea. But the American brigades have everything they need in their warehouses, and even not far from potential conflict zones.
There is also a certain limiting factor for technology, but in reality fleet and warehouses is the volume.
And in the end, there is only one factor. The one that was discussed at the very beginning. East European geographical factor.
When the US Army fights (or pretends to be fighting) in the deserts of Iraq or the mountains of Afghanistan, there are their own requirements for technology. But when it comes to Europe ...
Europe differs from Iraq and Afghanistan (many other places in the world) by the presence of two unpleasant factors.
These are rivers and Russians. In any order.
If we talk about rivers first (let’s leave the most tasteless for later), then this is the Danube, Elba, Rhine, Vistula, Tisza, Prut ... And just a huge number of small rivers, rivers and streams, which are still an obstacle to technology.
And here either bridges or pontoons, ferries and so on arise. That is, again the weight.
What does this mean militarily? Well, this has been discussed so many times when it comes to tanks. “Abrams”, “Challenger”, “Leopard” ... They all stepped over 60 tons and far from everywhere they can confidently drive.
The lighter Bradley is able to drive infantry to the line of contact with the enemy, rush it, and perhaps even provide support to the infantry for some time. Till Tanks do not crawl.
But here is the second factor. Russians. No, they are, of course, almost knights, and perhaps even wait for the tanks to approach, but hardly in order to arrange a classic battle. Most likely, just to not beat the flies at retail, but to arrange a wholesale massacre.
And yes, it dawned on the Americans. What is the point of spending time and money developing a new BMP if it cannot be applied at the most promising theater of operations?
Of course, there are bridges that will not collapse under the weight of tanks and infantry fighting vehicles. There are ferries. There are engineering parts that will lead ferries.
Everything rests on the capabilities of a potential adversary. That is us.
That's why the American army has such a difficult dilemma: either to build a heavy infantry fighting vehicle that can withstand fire, but will not pass everywhere, forgetting about efficiency, or think again.
Apparently, they will think.
Nothing, the Bradley will still fight.
Based on materials: https://breakingdefense.com/2020/02/omfv-the-armys-polish-bridge-problem/.