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  • Army Kills Comanche...

    By ROBERT BURNS, AP Military Writer



    WASHINGTON - The Army has decided to cancel its Comanche helicopter program, a multi-billion project to build a new-generation chopper for armed reconnaissance missions, officials said Monday.


    AP Photo
    Related LinksRAH-66 Comanche (Boeing)

    The contractors for Comanche are Boeing Co. and Sikorsky Aircraft Corp.



    With about $8 billion already invested in the program, and the production line not yet started, the cancellation is one of the largest in the history of the Army. It follows the Pentagon (news - web sites)'s decision in 2002 to cancel the Crusader artillery program against the wishes of Army leaders.



    Pentagon officials said a public announcement was planned for Monday afternoon.



    Loren Thompson, who follows aviation and other defense issues for the Lexington Institute think tank, said he believes the Army under new chief of staff Gen. Peter Schoomaker favors ending the Comanche program, even though the service had been counting on it to provide a new reconnaissance capability.



    "The Bush administration has now killed the two biggest Army weapons programs it inherited from the Clinton administration," Thompson said, referring to the Crusader and Comanche.



    Earlier this year the White House budget office asked the Pentagon to provide independent reviews of the Comanche and another expensive aviation program, the Air Force's F/A-22 Raptor fighter.



    Although killing the Comanche project would save tens of billion in future costs, the cancellation decision is expected to require the Army to pay at least $2 billion in contract termination fees.



    The Comanche program was started in 1983 and had survived many reviews. Initial production was scheduled to begin in 2006.



    Well, there's a vehicle I have to delete from the Raging Tiger inventory!




  • #2
    This is a really big deal. The aviation was already reorganizing divisions in preparation for receipt of this aircraft. A lot of OH-58D drivers were preparing to receive pink slips over the fielding.

    I guess the silver lining is that the artillery isn't the only branch that gets screwed.
    PATRICK E. PROCTOR
    ProSIM Company
    http://www.prosimco.com/writing

    Comment


    • #3
      coming soon : your new, Unmanned Army.

      "Yew can yewse it from yer loungeroom!"

      "Look Ma! Ah invaded dem pesky Frogs!"

      God Save America, cos sure as hell the politicians won't.

      CPT Pat: ona side note, did you hear anything about CAESAR being picked up by the UA Army in lieu of Crusader? The Aussie army is having deep long looks at it.
      Now listening too;
      - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

      Comment


      • #4
        No I have not. We, tentatively, have the first UA's coming here in May and June (though the schedule changes daily). They will be coming with direct support field artillery battalions of only two batteries of paladin howitzers (versus the current task organization of three firing batteries). The verdict is still out on whether they will have 6 or 8 guns per battery (the current batteries have 6 guns).

        I must confess I have never heard of the Caesar. The Army seems completely consumed right now with finding a howitzer to replace the M198 for the Stryker BDE's. The Lightweight 155 (the XM-something that the marines want) seemed the early favorite, but it appears there are some technical issues with the howitzer.

        I say give them two battalions of M119 105 howitzers. You make up for the smaller caliber with more guns, and you can take that howitzer anyplace in anything (from UH-60 to CH-47 to air drop out of a C-130). And there are more people in 2 105 BN's with 18 guns each than 1 M198 battalion with 12 guns (the current count for an SBCT), so if you have to start going to door-to-door stability operations, you have more bodies (and HMMWV's) to do it with.

        But, then, nobody asked me.
        PATRICK E. PROCTOR
        ProSIM Company
        http://www.prosimco.com/writing

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by Pat Proctor
          No I have not. We, tentatively, have the first UA's coming here in May and June (though the schedule changes daily). They will be coming with direct support field artillery battalions of only two batteries of paladin howitzers (versus the current task organization of three firing batteries). The verdict is still out on whether they will have 6 or 8 guns per battery (the current batteries have 6 guns).

          I must confess I have never heard of the Caesar. The Army seems completely consumed right now with finding a howitzer to replace the M198 for the Stryker BDE's. The Lightweight 155 (the XM-something that the marines want) seemed the early favorite, but it appears there are some technical issues with the howitzer.

          I say give them two battalions of M119 105 howitzers. You make up for the smaller caliber with more guns, and you can take that howitzer anyplace in anything (from UH-60 to CH-47 to air drop out of a C-130). And there are more people in 2 105 BN's with 18 guns each than 1 M198 battalion with 12 guns (the current count for an SBCT), so if you have to start going to door-to-door stability operations, you have more bodies (and HMMWV's) to do it with.

          But, then, nobody asked me.
          CAESAR is a french truck mounted howitzer system - light enough to move by air, fast enough not to get shot...so the theory goes.

          AFAIK, 12 were delivered for testing and comparison purposes to the Marines, and some slipped through to the Army Iwas told. Atm it's got some froggy gun on it, but Denel and GD have both put in applications for their guns to be compaitble with the hoist and harness.

          XM-777 is the one you're thinking of, thought I hadn't heard of any tech issues.

          speaking of smaller calibre, have you heard anything about the new 62-caibre barrels the brits are mounting on their old Hamels? It's soemthing Aust. has been lobbying for, but with the purchase of the Abrams (should have gone the ex-German Leo 2s, they would hae chucked the PzH2000s in for free, giving us a nice SPH) we seem to e following more and more in the US mold, somethign I think is wrong given our vastly different mission statements.

          with regards to stability ops, I'm surprised the US hasn't got something like the Bushmaster or Pinzgauer (armoured truck/APC) mineproof, armoured up to 14.5mm, airconditioned comfort with bucket seats for your ten troop section - seriously though, the Bushmaster is the Aussie Armyss new Infantry Mobility Vehicle, and it appears several other nations are following the same ideas.
          Now listening too;
          - Russell Robertson, ruining whatever credibility my football team once had.

          Comment


          • #6
            I think that is what most circles THINK we are getting in the Stryker. I am afraid they will be disappointed with the survivability of the platform in Iraq.
            PATRICK E. PROCTOR
            ProSIM Company
            http://www.prosimco.com/writing

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Ivan Rapkinov
              CAESAR is a french truck mounted howitzer system ...
              You just answered your own question.

              I doubt very seriously if the US Government is going to purchase any French equipment, unless it kills hundreds with one round AND does dishes.

              I am dead serious here. You may think that the flap over the lack of French support before, during, and after combat ops has passed, but it hasn't. This administration will never even consider it unless a great many things change in the French mindset and their snobbish treatment of anyone NOT from France.

              Comment


              • #8
                This administration will never even consider it unless a great many things change in the French mindset and their snobbish treatment of anyone NOT from France.
                Har! You could replace "French" and "France" with "American" and "America" in the above sentence and it would ring just as true to almost every other nation in the world.

                But seriously, Ivan and anybody else, if you're interested in the "state of the art" in weapons procurement, visit Janes.com and sign up for their free newsletters. They'll send you headlines every week on every arms-related subject imaginable right down to when some African dictator decides to replace his personal sidearm. Of course, you'll need a hideously expensive subscription to read any real detail, but you'll still be way ahead of the conventional media just knowing the headline.

                --- Kevin

                Comment


                • #9
                  Rumsfeld seems intent on killing every Army R&D program that he wasn't personally involved in setting up. Crusader has now been killed, Commanche just got the axe, and believe it or not, Rumsfeld is no fan of the Stryker.

                  Rumsfeld had a very confrontational relationship with General Shinseki, the father (for lack of a better term) of the whole Stryker concept. Shinseki really pushed hard to transform the Army and "go light." I thought it was a mistake then and I am now even more convinced of that based on my experiences in Iraqi Freedom. All the commanders on the ground in Iraq are looking for ways to add armor to weapons systems, not remove it. They are requesting all sorts of add-on systems for HWMMV's, HEMMITT's, FMTV's, and just about everything else that roles.

                  Only the civilians in Washington and the light fighter mafia in the Pentagon see things differently. You would think that Rumsfeld would have been Shinseki's biggest fan, but the two hated each other. Rumsfeld wants to "work smarter" and "do more with less." That's a catchy phrase for cutting Army endstrength and giving the money to the Air Force.

                  The Army always suffers in these inter-servie fights because of what it is. The Army doesn't have any invisible, billion dollar super jets like the Air Force. It doesn't have Nimitz-class carriers with billions of dollars of support assets. It doesn't have the mystique and pretty uniforms of the Marines. The Army is just a big, ugly attack dog. it's not very glamorous and it tends to break a lot of stuff when it's used. The Air Force may be a scalpal, but the Army is a sledgehammer. That's what it is supposed to be, but Rumsfeld and his hand-picked senior leadership are trying to recreate the Army in the image of the special ops or Marines. A big mistake.

                  The unmanned concept is also way overblown. No matter how advanced the UAV's get (and I have worked with Predator), you can't replace the value of having a human on-site to view the situation with his own eyes and make a decision. The most dangerous weapon on the battlefield is a well trained soldier, not a piece of technology.

                  Did the Army want Commanche? Yes. Did the Army need Commanche? Yes. Why was it cancelled? To ensure the Air Force and Navy get their favorite programs. I wouldn't be surprised to see the Marines lose their V-22 before long.

                  Despite the fact that the vast majority of personnel involved in Iraqi freedom are soldiers (not airmen, marines, or sailors) and that the majority of the casualties come from the Army, the service is still treated as a bastard child by Rumsfeld and his deputies. They view it as a necessary evil and a thorn in their side. Remember, Rumsfeld was a Navy jet pilot and so was President Bush. Rumsfeld views the Defense Department through the lens of an aviator -- a fast mover aviator, not a helicopter pilot. Fast mover pilots view attack helicopters in the same way they view a Bradley or HWMMV. They don't consider it "real" aviation at all.
                  It it were not for the conflict in Iraq, the Army would have already been cut by 10-30%.
                  Editor-in-Chief
                  GameSquad.com

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Har! You could replace "French" and "France" with "American" and "America" in the above sentence and it would ring just as true to almost every other nation in the world.
                    Bingo.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by kbluck
                      Har! You could replace "French" and "France" with "American" and "America" in the above sentence and it would ring just as true to almost every other nation in the world.
                      We don't kill people,...our weapons do!

                      Originally posted by kbluck
                      But seriously, Ivan and anybody else, if you're interested in the "state of the art" in weapons procurement, visit Janes.com and sign up for their free newsletters. They'll send you headlines every week on every arms-related subject imaginable right down to when some African dictator decides to replace his personal sidearm. Of course, you'll need a hideously expensive subscription to read any real detail, but you'll still be way ahead of the conventional media just knowing the headline.

                      --- Kevin
                      Sure am glad I have access to all of that,...and absolutely free!!

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Sure am glad I have access to all of that,...and absolutely free!!
                        Yeah, it would almost make living in Kansas tolerable.



                        --- Kevin

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by kbluck
                          Yeah, it would almost make living in Kansas tolerable.



                          --- Kevin
                          Actually, Kansas is quite tolerable, and is even preferrable to my home state of California, which, unlike Kansas, would gleefully tax Hell out of my military retirement pay!

                          By the way, something I forgot to mention about the cancellation of the Comanche program. I feel terrible that some highly-skilled, over-paid workers will soon be out of business, but guess what?! That is where much of the $2 Billion cancellation cost is going,...sweet little Golden Parachutes.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            But seriously, folks...

                            I can't say that I'm devastated to see Comanche go into the toilet. The fact that a 20+ year old development project still hasn't seen the light of day points to a deeply troubled program, in all likelihood, and I'm glad that for once they're not throwing good money after bad.

                            Same with Crusader. Don't get me wrong, its a nice howitzer, assuming it works as advertised. But, truth be told, it's still pretty much a traditional gun. True, it has an improved fire rate, improved ammo handling, improved range, etc. But is it $12 billion+ better than Paladin? I don't think so. I think the Army is approaching the limits of what you can do with traditional, powder-based tube artillery. If you're going to be spending billions, go for a radical improvement in capability by developing a completely new technology --- liquid binary propellant, for example, or electromagnetic propulsion. Don't waste it trying to squeeze the last 5% out of already well-optimized legacy technology.

                            If anything is going to be salvaged from the Crusader program, I would save the XM2002/XM2003 tracked and wheeled supply modules and adapt them to Paladin. Paladin already can fire ammo faster than it can be supplied. Right now, the best available supply solution to a sustained action is to establish forward dumps, which sort of defeats the much-touted "mobility" advantages offered by new information technology. Automating the supply chain would be relatively cheap way to substantially improve the real-world, sustainable performance of the system we already have. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, amateurs talk tactics while professionals talk logistics. It's hard to get typically amateur Congresscritters excited about what amounts to robotic forklifts.

                            For that matter, lest I be accused of provincialism, I don't think Grizzly is the best expenditure of limited engineer procurement dollars. If you're going to spend billions on a breaching solution, give us something robotic and/or standoff. If you're just going to field a better plow, just make the plow by itself and stick it on an existing surplus early M1 chassis. Let's convert a few of those leftover M2s going to the Guard into a real sapper carrier while we're at it; pop off the turret and stick a blade on the front, and Bob's your uncle.

                            --- Kevin

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by kbluck
                              But seriously, folks...

                              I can't say that I'm devastated to see Comanche go into the toilet. The fact that a 20+ year old development project still hasn't seen the light of day points to a deeply troubled program, in all likelihood, and I'm glad that for once they're not throwing good money after bad.

                              Same with Crusader. Don't get me wrong, its a nice howitzer, assuming it works as advertised. But, truth be told, it's still pretty much a traditional gun. True, it has an improved fire rate, improved ammo handling, improved range, etc. But is it $12 billion+ better than Paladin? I don't think so. I think the Army is approaching the limits of what you can do with traditional, powder-based tube artillery. If you're going to be spending billions, go for a radical improvement in capability by developing a completely new technology --- liquid binary propellant, for example, or electromagnetic propulsion. Don't waste it trying to squeeze the last 5% out of already well-optimized legacy technology.

                              If anything is going to be salvaged from the Crusader program, I would save the XM2002/XM2003 tracked and wheeled supply modules and adapt them to Paladin. Paladin already can fire ammo faster than it can be supplied. Right now, the best available supply solution to a sustained action is to establish forward dumps, which sort of defeats the much-touted "mobility" advantages offered by new information technology. Automating the supply chain would be relatively cheap way to substantially improve the real-world, sustainable performance of the system we already have. Unfortunately, as the saying goes, amateurs talk tactics while professionals talk logistics. It's hard to get typically amateur Congresscritters excited about what amounts to robotic forklifts.

                              For that matter, lest I be accused of provincialism, I don't think Grizzly is the best expenditure of limited engineer procurement dollars. If you're going to spend billions on a breaching solution, give us something robotic and/or standoff. If you're just going to field a better plow, just make the plow by itself and stick it on an existing surplus early M1 chassis. Let's convert a few of those leftover M2s going to the Guard into a real sapper carrier while we're at it; pop off the turret and stick a blade on the front, and Bob's your uncle.

                              --- Kevin
                              Bah! My Grizzly will kick your M1 Plow's butt! You provincial so-and-so!

                              Actually, I agree on the Comanche and Crusader - they are both programs that were essentially dead long before the Bush administration took power.

                              Comment

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