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SATSOP: Selective Application of Technology to Suit One's Own Theories

This is the often deceitful practice that many in the defense community and those associated with it use to suit their purposes. Instead of allowing their theories/projects to stand on their own merit, they skew the number in their favor by applying technology to their theories/projects to give them an advantage. They often if not always fail to mention that if the same technology is applied equally to other projects, their advantage becomes harder to recognize if it doesn't vanish completely.

There are many examples, such as the F-22 Raptor. Lockeed Martin places thrust vectoring nozzles on the YF-22 to inhances in maneuverability over the YF-23. They don's say that (1) the thrust vector nozzles degrade the stealth and greatly increase the infrared signiture of the aircraft when viewed from the rear and (2) the thrust nozzles only operate only move two dimensionally, up and down, meaning this addition will not help the Raptor in all maneuvers.

The second example is that of United Defense's NLOS-C. It is to be the self-propelled 155mm howitzer to provide the FCS (Future Combat System) with fire support. It will have a range of 40km, about the same as Germany's PzH 2000 155mm/52cal SP Howitzer and weigh less then half as much. Sounds great, but what's the catch. The catch is this is using the XM982 'Excalibur' Advanced Guided Muntion, orginally slated for the cancelled XM2001 Crusader. The current 'Concept Demonstrator' that has been built by UD uses a light tracked chassis with a modified M777 Howitzer on it. This weapon, that is currently being purchased by the US Army and USMC, has the same balistic qualities of the M109A6 Paladin and M198 155mm Howitzers. On their website, United Defense admit that the NLOS-C will fire the same rounds and general performance will be same as the Concept Demonstrator. The only thing that will be different will be the chassis (which I have asked if it belongs to the M8 or TRACER), new muntion handling system and the barrel cooling system from the Crusader. Some M109A6 Paladins are being modified to fire the Excaliber round, along with the modular charge system that is set to propel it, giving the Paladin the same range as the NLOS-C. There is a proposal to give the Paladin a 52 caliber barrel (ie 52 times the length of the bore diameter, this case being 155mm). Without using the Excaliber round this would give the Paladin a range of 40km, the same as the PzH 2000, and with the XM982 Excaliber round, considerably great then that of the future NLOS-C. So when it boils down to it the NLOS-C will not give the US Army a great leap in ability, or even a minor one over current systems when the same technology is applied to them.

UD's Concept Demonstartor

The last example I will talk about right now is something I just learned about, Barrett's 6.8mm conversion plan for the M16/M4 series of infantry weapons. While indeed 6.8mm is a larger caliber then the standard NATO 5.56mm round, it's call to greatly inhanced performance lies with the advanced propel uses in the round. You have to ask yourself, how much of a performance increase would the 5.56mm gain without the a gain in size or weight with using this new propellent? Supporters of the 6.8mm round claim that it would only mean a loss of two rounds per magazine, meaning you would only be able to put about 25 rounds instead of the usual 28 rounds in the standard '30 round' magazine. Anyone that has handed and M16 will know what I'm talking about here.


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updated: 08/15/06

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