U.S. Army to Congress: No New Tanks, Please | What is General Dynamics 's Angle ?

Discussion in 'Land Forces' started by Singh, Mar 8, 2012.

  1. Singh

    Singh Phat Cat Administrator

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    Wow, this is a first. US Army is asking the Congress to not give them new tanks. Congress wants to keep General Dynamics lines open ?

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    U.S. Army officials are once again on Capitol Hill trying to convince lawmakers that they do not need new M1 Abrams tanks.

    Not only does the Army not need new tanks, it doesn’t need to upgrade the ones it has for another few years, Gen. Ray Odierno, chief of staff of the Army, told lawmakers during a March 7 hearing of the House Appropriations defense subcommittee.

    It is one of the most modernized platforms in the Army and has an average age of two-and-a-half-years old, Army Secretary John McHugh said.

    The Army plans to finish out its Abrams buy in 2014 and then not begin upgrading its current fleet until 2017.

    The Army tried to make the same argument last year, but Congress did not agree. In the 2012 defense appropriations bill, it provided an additional $255 million to buy 42 more tanks. The money was intended to keep the General Dynamics Land Systems’ production line open in Lima, Ohio.

    Rep. Norm Dicks, D-Wash., said that last year there was broad support on the committee to keep the Abrams production line open.

    “Can you tell me how the Army sees this now?” he asked McHugh and Odierno.

    McHugh said he just approved the execution of the 2012 Abrams funds. That money will buy between 42 and 44 tanks, which is fewer than needed to keep the production line going.

    “In order to sustain the Abrams line at Lima, you have to produce at least 70 tanks a year. So, while the money provided is substantial, it will not fill the production gaps,” McHugh said.

    Army analysis found that it would cost $600 million to $800 million to close and later reopen the production line versus the nearly $3 billion it would take to keep it up and running during that same time, McHugh said.

    Not only does the Army not need the extra tanks now, it likely will have even less use for them once it completes a force mix study currently underway, Odierno said.

    That study is determining how many infantry, Stryker and heavy brigades the Army will need in the future. The study could recommend further reductions in brigade combat teams — beyond the eight brigades the Army already plans to cut.

    “As we go through this force structure review, we actually might reduce the requirement for heavy capabilities and that’s something that we have to make sure we take a look at,” Odierno said.

    As for the other types of brigades, Odierno said, “I’ll tell you that right now the Stryker brigades are really not under consideration, because they’re found to be a very flexible capability that we want to sustain.”

    Rep. Ander Crenshaw, R-Fla., asked whether the Army should keep production lines open by buying the National Guard and Reserve more M1A2 System Enhancement Program (SEP) tanks, a more advanced variant than the M1A1 model.

    Odierno said it could be beneficial for everyone to have a SEP tank, but added that the M1A1 is a “very good tank.”

    The M1A1 is not as technically complex, which can make it easier to operate and requires less training, a plus for the Guard and Reserve, who have less time to train, Odierno said.

    “Again, we’re in the process of reducing force structure. My guess is we will reduce some of our heavy requirements, so there will be tanks moving from the active to the reserve component probably. We have to continue to do that analysis before we make the determination of whether we need more SEP tanks.”

    Dicks asked if the Army’s analysis considered the industrial base implications and the knowledge and skills that could be lost by closing down that factory for three years.

    “We are concerned about those high-end jobs,” McHugh said, adding that the Army is working to fill in some of those production gaps with foreign military sales.

    Odierno said several countries are considering buying new Abrams tanks, including Saudi Arabia, Egypt and “a few others.”

    U.S.-Egyptian co-production of the M1A1 Abrams tank began in 1988. Some of the tank’s components are manufactured at an Egyptian facility, while the remaining parts are produced in the U.S. and then shipped to Egypt for final assembly.

    Last July, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of a potential sale to Egypt of 1,200 tanks for $1.3 billion.

    Saudi Arabia already has a large fleet of Abrams tanks.

    Sales to both countries have come under increased scrutiny because of events related to the Arab Spring.

    Members of Congress have expressed concerns about selling more tanks to Egypt while that country’s government is still in transition.

    Last February, Saudi Arabia, along with the United Arab Emirates, led an armored intervention into neighboring Bahrain to help its government end growing popular unrest.

    The German government faced widespread criticism last July when news broke that it planned to sell Saudi Arabia 200 German-made Leopard tanks, with critics citing Saudi Arabia’s actions to suppress protests in Bahrain.



    U.S. Army to Congress: No New Tanks, Please | Defense News | defensenews.com
     
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  3. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    If US Army says that they do not need new tanks, then situation must be really good.

    I made few months ago a small research from different sources about how many tanks in what variants US Armed Forces have, so it seems I need to repeat myself.

    US Army have currently all it's heavy brigades equipped with the most high end variant, the M1A2SEP, there is currently ~1,500+ of these tanks in all Army active heavy brigades.

    ARNG have around ~800-1,000+ M1A1SA tanks in inventory + some units are armed with M1A2SEP tanks (probably something around ~100 to ~200 tanks).

    Reserve stocks have still around ~4,000+ M1A1 tanks, allmost all of them with heavy armor package if not all are allready with heavy armor package.

    Stocks also have around ~1,000-2,000+ old M1 tanks, waiting to be modernized in to M1A2SEP variant or specialized vehicles like the M104 or ABV (many of them were allredy converted in to these specialized vehicles).

    USMC have around ~400-410 M1A1 tanks with heavy armor package in their stocks, currently there are 174 in active service (3 tank battalions, each with 58 tanks).

    So we have in US Armed Forces inventory ~7,400-9,110+ tanks, so avarage quantity will be something ~8,000-8,725+ tanks in inventory.

    It is really great situation compared to other states on our planet. China only recently will reach level of ~1,000 modern 3rd generation MBT's. Russia have approx ~400-500 T-90 tanks, most of them in T-90A variant (the original T-90's are mostly out of service due to wear and tear) + approx ~800 T-80U's and unknown numbers of hybrid T-80UE-1 (T-80UD turret on T-80BV hull) + unknown numbers (probably ~1,000+) of T-72B in various subvariants Oh and there are also unknown numbers of T-80BV in active service. In stocks are mostly tanks in older variants or tanks that without repairs are not good to service in active fleet.

    India have 128 Arjun Mk1 + preparation for production of the same number of Mk2 variant + allmost ~1,000+ T-90 tanks, T-72M1 tanks are outdated allready and should not be considered as potent fighting force against modern MBT's.

    Europe... well it is a military dwarf, and here reductions are just insane.

    Other countries, well they can have many tanks but most of them if not all of them are outdated and not a potent fighting force.

    So IMHO even if opinion about (in fact stopping not closing) line from 2014 to 2017 is not a very good decision, it is also clear that in tank fleet USA is still superior to any of it's foes not only in pure numbers but also in many cases also superior in technology level of these tanks.

    We should also remember that Joint Systems Manufacturing Center where M1 tanks production line is placed, is not only manufacturing tanks, but also Strykers (and there is discussion about upgrading whole fleet of these vehicles in to DVH variant (Double V Hull)). Also some MRAP's are manufactured there. And factory can actually manufacture any type of wheeled and tracked AFV's.

    And there is also Anniston Army Depot, it is mainly intended as repair facility for AFV's but in fact it is real manufacturing center that can produce tanks or other AFV's.

    And hey, there is plenty of possibilities what US Army really want to do. Stop production line till 2017, and then not order upgraded M1 tanks but a completely new tank? Possible, also GDLS is a contender in GCV program, if they will win, they still will be manufacturing heavy tracked AFV's, and who knows how GCV program will end, I said it year ago and I will repeat, GCV program can expand from new IFV development in to pan armed forces R&D program to develop a completely new AFV's for US Army, ARNG and USMC.

    Think about that.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2012
    W.G.Ewald likes this.
  4. militarysta

    militarysta Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Well about Russia.

    When we consider modern (or quite modern..) tanks Russia have:

    1.130x T-90 (Ob.188) - it's rather Ob.184 (T-72B) on sterioids whit new-old Irtysh FCS not "new tank"
    2.210x T-90A (Ob.188A1/A2) - new turret, new FCS etc. Quite good tanks.
    3.220x T-72BA (now about 100 in service) but no more then 100 whit new Sosna-U FCS
    4.350-400x T-80U
    All: ~910 modern tanks, rest (1500-2000 tanks) is well in not wery good healt and not modern. In fact they are junk.
     
  5. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    So it seems that numbers of T-80U tanks decreased recently. BTW from around ~700 T-80UD's, some of them are allready scrapped, but turrets will be repaired and put on modernized T-80BV hull's. These hybrids the T-80UE-1 will enhance Russian ground forces tank fleet. However nobody knows how many of them will be made.
     
  6. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    If one requires hardware, it has to be based on the Threat Analysis.
     
  7. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    You mean US for example? Well I can understand US Army, they have quantity and quality superiority (or comparable quality) in Main Battle Tanks fleet over any adversary, so Generals now want to focuse money spending on modernizing other important elements of armed forces, like IFV's, APC's, SPH's and other types of important weapon systems and equipment.
     
  8. militarysta

    militarysta Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Yes, it's key here. IMHO no more then 200 tanks - cheapper T-72BA will be in only ~200 tanks, and only about 60 whit new FCS Sosna-U, so I don't suspect mirracle here.
     
  9. Damian

    Damian Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    Hopefully Alexei Khlopotov will write something about this on his blog in future.
     

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