In a comment, Airborne Combat Engineer notes:
The 82nd Commander has asked Rummy to release the M8 AGS prototypes, which are still in a warehouse in PA, even though they were supposed to have been cleared to go to the 82nd back in March. We’ll see what Rummy says.
So I googled and came up with the link above which includes:
Hayes repeated a year-old request that the Army assign four Armored Gun Systems, or AGS, to the 82nd Airborne soon to deployed from Fort Bragg to Iraq.
The gun system, which was created in 1996 as a prototype, was never purchased by the Army. At the time, it was marketed as a lightweight combat vehicle with a 105 mm cannon that could easily be airlifted into battle. The Army decided to terminate the vehicle because of budget constraints. It is now designing a newer model for future use.
In the meantime, Hayes argues the Army should use the AGS to meet the 82nd Airborne’s needs.
“It makes simply makes no sense to allow an armored gun system that has been type classified and tested to collect dust when soldiers are dying in the streets of Iraq,” Hayes said. “I simply cannot understand why we are not equipping our soldiers and marines on the front lines with every weapon in our arsenal.”
I’ve heard rumblings in the past that the reason the AGS wasn’t fielded immediately last spring was to not show up the troubled Stryker Mobile Gun System. The MGS begins regular production soon, though in low numbers.
Also, I don’t know what they mean by “designing a newer model for future use”. Is there an AGS Mk II program out there? A serious one?
You can’t just dust off some prototypes and field them, I realize. There’s training of crew and support staff. Acquisition of equipment and spare parts. Actual integration of the vehicles and attendant personnel into existing units. The list goes on and on.
But I really think this vehicle would make a difference. And if a Mk II program really is under way, the real-world experience gained in the field would be invaluable. If these things work as advertised, they would save American lives and they would assist in the completion of the mission.
Put them in the field.
For what it’s worth, I’m hoping that the AGS performs well. I’m hoping that the Stryker MGS meets expectations. I’m hoping that the new AGS program (if it exists) proves fruitful.
I’ve got no money or reputation riding on any of these projects. I simply want what’s best for our troops and our nation. I think that’s what sets me apart from the decision makers — No vested personal interest in one program over another.
I think there’s a place in our Army for both wheeled and tracked mobile guns. Just like I think there’s a place for both wheeled and tracked personnel carriers. In my humble opinion, there’s even a place for armored Humvee-mounted cavalry units, though the 2nd ACR is going to transition to the Stryker. I’d be happy to see both Stryker-based and M113-based mechanized infantry in the field where they are needed.
Rummy says we go to war “with the Army you have”. Well, we have four proto-type M8 Armored Gun Systems. The Airborne would probably benefit greatly from them. Roll them out. Send them in.