6 treats for the US Army on its 242nd birthday
The United States Army celebrates 242 years of defending the America against all enemies.
So, what can you get an Army that already has a $240 billion annual budget? Obviously, it will need to be one heck of an awesome gift basket.
Here's what we'd put in:
1. A new 7.62mm battle rifle
The Army is deciding it may go back to the 7.62x51mm NATO standard round.
Whether the new battle rifle is based on the M110 Semi-Automatic Sniper System, the new M110A1 Compact Semi-Automatic Sniper System, the M14EBR, or some other contender, the Army will want the reach and hitting power of this cartridge in the hands of more grunts.
Every rifleman a designated marksman?
2. A new scout helicopter
The Army has retired the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior, but there has been no replacement. The hot-rod that was the RAH-66 Comanche got chopped in 2004. The ARH-70 Arapahoe was killed in 2008. Then, the planned OH-58F Block II got the axe in 2014 thanks to sequestration.
Look, the Apache is not a bad helicopter, but the Kiowa worked well as a scout bird. UAVs are nice, but sometimes, you need a manned scout to do the job.
3. More Dragoons
The Stryker got a firepower upgrade last year in the form of a 30mm Bushmaster II chain gun. These Strykers got a new designation (M1296) and a new name (Dragoon). However, there are a lot of places the grunts could use that extra firepower.
4. Speed up the lighter Carl Gustav
Yes, the Army invoked Army Regulation 600.9 on the M3 Multi-Role Anti-Armor Anti-Personnel Weapon System.
After Carl (Gustav) lost the weight, it came back with some new features that will make it far more user-friendly. The system is now a permanent part of infantry platoons, and gives them a weapon capable of firing anti-armor, illumination, smoke, anti-building, and anti-personnel rounds.
But let's get those systems there faster, please.
5. Bring back the W48 and merge it with the Excalibur GPS tech
ISIS has used chemical weapons a lot during its reign of terror. The United States once had the W48 round — a shell that delivers the equivalent of 72 tons of TNT (.072 kilotons).
Merging it with the Excalibur GPS guidance system would certainly have given our guys a nice option for a…decisive response to such an attack.
That'll do some damage. (Image via Wikipedia)
6. Air-defense systems besides the M1097 Avenger
The fact that Russia is a threat again means that it is well past time to get some more air defense besides the Avenger and man-portable Stingers.
There are some off-the-shelf options that could bolster those defenses. The Bradley Linebacker might be a system to bring back, more for a 25mm gun than the missiles (it is stuck with Stingers).
So, let's get some other missile options.