M1128 Mobile Gun System

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M1128 Mobile Gun System
MobileGS.jpg
Mobile Gun System, firing its 105 mm cannon
Type Assault gun
Place of origin  United States
Specifications
Weight 18.77 tonnes (20.69 short tons; 18.47 long tons)
Length 6.95 m (22.92 ft)
Width 2.72 m (8.97 ft)
Height >2.64 m (>8.72 ft)
Crew 3

Armor 14.5 mm resistant[1]
Main
armament
M68A2 105 mm cannon
Secondary
armament
M2 .50 caliber machine gun; M240C coaxial machine gun; 2, M6 smoke grenade launchers
Engine Caterpillar 3126 turbo diesel
260 kW (350 hp)
Suspension 8×8 wheeled

The M1128 Mobile Gun System is an eight-wheeled armored fighting vehicle mounting a 105 mm tank gun, based on the Canadian LAV III light-armored vehicle manufactured by General Dynamics Canada. It is in service with the United States[2] and was also being considered for adoption by several other countries, including Canada.

Design[edit]

Firepower[edit]

The MGS' remote weapon-station has a small silhouette, is stabilized and autoloading. The remote weapon-station mounts a 105 mm M68A2 rifled cannon. The vehicle is primarily outfitted to support infantry combat operations. While it could take on some of the roles of tanks, it is not designed to engage in combat with tanks. The MGS can store 18 rounds of main gun ammunition in the turret. It has a rate of fire of six rounds per minute.[3]

Mobility[edit]

Because the Mobile Gun System uses a similar chassis as other MOWAG Piranha derivatives, it would have the same mobility, and could be rescued or salvaged by a Piranha-derived recovery vehicle. It has a top speed of about 62 mph.

Crew amenities[edit]

Because the vehicle was designed without air conditioning, crews are given individual cooling vests that circulate cooled water from outside the vehicle to the garment. Vehicle computers still overheat regularly.[3]

The large remote weapon station and relatively smaller hatch can make emergency exits difficult.[3] Because of General Dynamic's choice to incorporate a remote weapon-station into the MGS instead of a true turret it is very possible for the crew of a MGS to encounter an auto-loader stoppage in the heat of battle and not be able to repair it without disembarking from the vehicle and standing atop it to access the auto-loader.

Distribution[edit]

Nine Mobile Gun Systems were allocated to a battalion.[3] There were 27 Mobile Gun Systems per Stryker Brigade, but the Army is cutting the number per brigade to 10.[4] The Army bought 142 Mobile Gun Systems total.[5]

History[edit]

Following the end of the Cold War some theorists believed that the existing suite of U.S. armored vehicles, designed largely to fight Soviet mechanized forces in Europe, were not well suited to the lower-intensity missions U.S. armed forces would be tasked with. This led to the development of a new armored fighting vehicle designed for lower-intensity combat, rather than large-scale battle. However in actual service vehicles derived from the LAV III and its predecessor the MOWAG Piranha have been found to be vulnerable to weapons such as the RPG-7, requiring the improvisation of slat armor to defeat anti-tank rockets.

Canada had liquidated about half of its park of Leopard 1s in the early 2000s, with the intention of replacing them with the airmobile Mobile Gun System. The decision was reversed. In fall of 2006 a squadron of Leopards were sent to Afghanistan, and as of the summer of 2007 Canada is in the process of acquiring 100 surplus Leopard 2 main battle tanks for quick deployment.[6]

Full-rate production has been indefinitely deferred.[7]

Ultra Light Combat Vehicle[edit]

In September 2013, Army leaders revealed that they were looking to procure a mobile airborne protected firepower platform for forced-entry style missions that would be able to contend with future heavily armed adversaries. The role had previously been filled by the M551 Sheridan Armored Reconnaissance Airborne Assault Vehicle, which was removed from service in July 1997. During operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, air assault forces like the 82nd Airborne Division relied on fire support from strike fighters, which risked civilian casualties and was not effective at destroying concealed or covered positions. The Army will spend 24 months narrowing down up to 140 non-developmental platforms to 10 vehicles. The plan is to provide the XVIII Airborne Corps with a light tank which can be flown by C-130 cargo planes and airdropped into a combat zone. The vehicle must have a base armor package capable of defending against 14.5 mm ammunition, be able to bolt on additional armor packages after follow-on forces arrive, and be able to drive off road. Both tracked and wheeled vehicles are being considered, and no specific caliber gun has been chosen. After a light tank is selected, they will buy some for testing and give them to the XVIII Airborne Corps for trials. The Airborne Corps will be equipped with a flotilla of vehicles in a distribution plan called 4-14-44: 4 per platoon; 14 per company; 44 per battalion. Unlike the previous Future Combat Systems program, which sought to create light transportable vehicles for the entire service and was cancelled in 2009 from cost overruns and other factors, the light tank effort is meant specifically to support the airborne mission with armored capabilities. One of the vehicles being considered a light tank candidate is the Stryker Mobile Gun System. Army officials say it would need additional blast protection and new suspension for more effective off-road mobility, and General Dynamics claims it can make those modifications if the Army releases final requirements.[4][8]

On 22 January 2014, the Army issued a notice to industry for a commercial-off-the-shelf air-droppable Ultra Light Combat Vehicle (ULCV). The notice came just as the Ground Combat Vehicle program had its funding drastically cut by 83 percent, leaving it too little to continue fully but enough to be kept as a study effort until budgets are increased. The GCV Infantry Fighting Vehicle is intended to replace some 2,000 M2 Bradley vehicles, which cannot carry a full squad and does not have adequate underbody protection. Protection requirements lead to weight estimates of 60-70 tons for the GCV IFV, too much for the Army's post-Afghanistan expeditionary posture. The ULCV is to be small and light enough to be air-dropped from C-130 and C-17 Globemaster transport planes, fit inside a CH-47 Chinook transport helicopter, and be under-slung from a UH-60 Blackhawk. Vendors must provide a vehicle with a "medium caliber" gun and that is able to carry a nine-man squad, the same number required of the GCV, which is equivalent to a 3,200 lb (1,500 kg) payload. The vehicle will mainly utilize superior mobility to survive in combat environments, rather than heavy armor protection packages. Range on internal fuel is 300 mi (480 km) and it must travel cross-country on trails, over rubble in urban combat zones, and on high-altitude ridges and summits. The mobile protected firepower requirement the proposed vehicle would fill is not currently approved, and the effort is not to create an alternative to the GCV; it is to recognize vehicle protection and mobility shortfalls for special infantry forces like the 82nd Airborne, and is currently just for demonstrating potential capabilities. Potential vendors include General Dynamics, which could offer a version of the Stryker; it has been experimentally air-dropped and is being tested with a 30 mm cannon. BAE developed the M8 Armored Gun System in the 1990s, which was ended in favor of supporting the Stryker and the ill-fated FCS program. Interested industry members had until February 21 to respond to the sources sought notice.[9][10]

Heavy armored vehicles are still suitable in Heavy Brigade Combat Teams that need to survive high-speed avenues of approach like roads that are more likely to be targeted. To avoid this, the ULCV is planned to travel across country on trails 75 percent of the time. The ULCV effort is not meant to compete against the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle program to replace the Humvee light vehicle. Its purpose is to increase the mobility of Infantry Brigade Combat Teams, which is restricted to the speed a soldier can travel on foot, leaving them vulnerable. Dismounts can be carried by Blackhawk helicopters, so the ULCV has to weigh about 4,500 lb (2,000 kg) to be transported with them sling-loaded under a Blackhawk. Some proposed vehicles are similar to open all-terrain vehicles without an enclosed cab. It is unknown how many vehicles the Army would buy, but it will not be standard for every infantry battalion and will not fully motorize IBCTs.[11]

From 9–13 June 2014, the Army will hold a Platform Performance Demonstration (ULCV-PPD) at Fort Bragg for interested ULCV vendors to demonstrate their vehicles' ability to be utilized by infantry squads. Because the effort is not at the acquisition phase, all activities and materials will be provided at no cost to the government. The PPD will have vehicles demonstrate a range of threshold requirements including being driven onto and out of a CH-47 with a full 9-man squad and their equipment on board, ability to operate on various forms of terrain, be rigged and de-rigged by two soldiers within two minutes for sling-load operations, and others. Threshold requirements identify the maximum curb weight of the vehicle at 4,500 lb with a range of 250 mi (400 km).[12]

Gallery[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Army Fact File – Stryker". Retrieved 2008-04-16. 
  2. ^ Soldiers train on Stryker gun system
  3. ^ a b c d Matthew Cox (4 February 2008). "Mobile Gun System brings the heat in Iraq". Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved 28 August 2011. 
  4. ^ a b Army Looks to Mount 30mm Cannons on Strykers - Military.com, 20 September 2013
  5. ^ Uparmored Bradley Could Be Tough Enough For AMPV: Testers - Breakingdefense.com, 29 January 2014
  6. ^ Capt Brian Corbett (19 September 2007). "Canada’s new main battle tank – Leopard 2". The Maple Leaf. Retrieved 10 December 2009. [dead link]
  7. ^ Brannen, Kate. "AUSA: U.S. Army Plans Post-War Management of Stryker Fleet." Defense News. February 23, 2012.
  8. ^ U.S. Army in the Market for ‘Light’ Tanks - Nationaldefensemagazine.org, 7 October 2013
  9. ^ Army Seeks Information On Air-Droppable Ultra Light Combat Vehicle - Insidedefense.com, 24 January 2014
  10. ^ Army Looks to Build Air-Droppable Armored Vehicle - Military.com, 28 January 2014
  11. ^ Army Considers Trading Armor for Speed - Military.com, 12 February 2014
  12. ^ "Show up or shut up time" for Ultra Light Combat Vehicle creators - Military1.com, 16 April 2014

External links[edit]