2.6 Billion less for armor upgrades

Army Slashes Abrams, Bradley Funding

This should concern just about everyone, shouldn’t it?

The Army is looking to streamline by 2013 its fleet of Abrams tanks down to two types: the M1A2 System Enhancement Program (SEP) for the active force and the M1A1 Abrams Integrated Management (AIM) program for the National Guard.

That schedule may be reconsidered, industry officials said, in the wake of the recent cuts, which include: $588 million to produce 120 M1A2 SEP tanks for two enhanced brigade combat teams; $504 million for 210 M1A1AIM tanks for three brigade combat teams in the National Guard; and $155 million for the Tank Urban Survivability Kit that was to be purchased this year and fielded to units in Iraq next year.

The Bradley M2A3 program took a $1 billion hit, which will delay fielding the most advanced versions of the armored personnel carriers to three heavy brigade combat teams in the 1st Armed Division that are being transformed into modular units. The A3 variant of the Bradley has increased protection and is more survivable than older versions of the vehicle.

A key experimental Army unit that was slated to receive the A3 Bradleys will not receive them, according to Pentagon documents.

Bradley production costs may rise as much as 50 percent due to the cuts, according to the Army. M88A2 and M113 programs were also cut back.

I thought I wrote recently about the AIM program, but it was in a Linkzookery entry that never saw the light of day. Here it is: Knox’s aging tank fleet getting overhaul.

These sorts of programs are, in effect, cheap(er) and quick(er) “transformation”, and being modifications to existing and proven systems, much more likely to have an immediate impact on things. While the big-ticket programs for future weapons systems should not be ignored, to prioritize them over things that will save lives and win battles today is unwise, to say the least.

How much of the FCS budget got slashed?

Comments

  1. This may or may not be an issue. 1) There are lot in congress not too happy with the FCS program and have been hinting at some heavy armor mandates. 2) Budget game – The Army cuts popular and needed programs in order to ‘save’ its pet projects. Congress then goes in and ‘restores’ the funding or the army pays for the upgrades out of the supplimental budgets.

  2. I vote #2 James, I think the last time Rumsfield played this game it was with vet benefits or something that was obviously not going to be voted down by Congress. Politics it’s a dirty game. On the FCS I hope it ends up like the new Humvee’s built for heavy Armour but you can pull the plates off and on easily in field to go light air mobile speed emphasis or bulk up with plates for heavy slugfesting gorilla style. Not to mention the bonus of on off Armour plate can mean new improved plates can be added and the old replaced as tech moves on. Sorry cant remembers were I saw the write up at.