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.