Avengers modified for ground combat

Avengers ‘gun up’ for Iraq duty

Via Argghhh!:

An Army unit preparing to deploy knew its Avenger air defense vehicles weren’t built for ground combat in Iraq, so the Soldiers asked for help.

The Cruise Missile Defense Systems Project Office and prime contractor Boeing delivered.

A six-man team went to Kuwait and modified eight Avenger vehicles for the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment’s Air Defense Artillery Battery which had deployed from Fort Carson, Colo.

Should be a real axe-kicker:

An M3P 50-caliber machine gun is mounted on an Avenger vehicle, but normally Soldiers can’t fire it toward the vehicle’s front at an elevation less than 10 degrees. The team members changed that for the unit.

“We removed the right missile pod and we moved the M3P gun system up to the missile pod’s position,” Lockwood said. “This now allows 360 degrees firing at any angle or elevation. We also increased the magazine capacity from 250 rounds to 600 rounds.


Modifying the unit’s Avenger air defense vehicles “greatly enhances their capability at defeating ground targets in their current role,” he said. “Compared to other Humvee-mounted machine guns, our system is gyro-stabilized with a man in the rotating turret which makes it much more adept at engaging targets while on the move.”

Now even these convoy escorts have motion-stabilized weapons, something the RWS-equipped Strykers lack.

And the Avenger’s gunner’s station has the targeting gear (including a HUD) that should make things tough for insurgents.

I’m taking it to mean that the left missile pod has been left as-is, leaving four Stinger missiles available in the unlikely event of an air attack. Seems like a reasonable compromise to me.

I wonder if the left Stinger pod could be modified to fire AT4-type missiles? Seems like that fancy targeting and sensor suite could be useful for more than a .50 cal.


  1. True Bram – but as Rummy stated, ‘You dance with Army ya brung witcha.’ Not that the point couldn’t be taken further. I like Murdoc’s thoughts on the AT4 or something similar.

  2. Murdoc’s thought about the AT4 has some merrit, but a better concept would be the ground launch variant of the Hellfire. In a convoy environment the Avenger would be devistating because the targeting FLIR & range finding data can be exported. The left pod was retained because the targeting system is bore sighted through the left pod. You can’t field mod the left pod. You would need to do some system redesign at the factory.

  3. John, I agree with you and Rummy to a point. After 2 years of this stuff, our leadership should be making some adjustments. Sending a tall, square, Humvee with ground to air weapons to Iraq seems senseless (unless we plan to deal with Syria or Iran shortly). I hope the brass has the sense to keep these things out of the larger towns and cities. A ground launched Hellfire type missile would be cool. The Army would probably view it as redundant with the TOW vehicles we already have. At some point the ‘Army we brung’ excuse has to expire – look at our Army in 1941 versus 1944. In ’41 and early ’42 we were fighting in the Pacific with ’03 Springfields, Brewster Buffalo fighters, and horse cavalry. By the end of 1944, we were using Pershing tanks, P-51’s, M-1 Garands, etc–