Armor: January 13, 2000

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: ARMY REARRANGES BUDGET TO PAY FOR NEW MEDIUM VISION: The US Army has (under the guidance of General Shinseki) drafted a plan to pay for its new medium brigades and their hundreds of armored cars by canceling seven new programs. The Crusader artillery system, once the centerpiece of the Army's heavy armor vision of the future, has been transformed into a multi-year technology demonstration project that may never see production. The Future Scout and Cavalry system will also be delayed and may face cancellation. The Army is inviting the British into the Future Combat System program (designed to develop a new tank) in the hopes of keeping it from the chopping block, and is moving money into the program to develop it more quickly. The seven canceled programs include: the Command & Control Vehicle, The Multiple Launch Rocket System Smart Rocket, the airborne version of the Prophet Intelligence and Electronic Warfare System, the Stinger Block II missile, the Army Tactical Missile System Block IIA missile, the Grizzly Engineer Vehicle and the Wolverine Heavy Assault Bridge. The Army's restructured budget takes advantage of lower-than-expected inflation, which will bring $200 million to next year's budget and another $650 million in later years. The Army expects to spend $523 million buying or leasing Medium Armored Vehicles in FY2001, and double that the next year. Key systems needed to make lighter forces work will be accelerated. These include the Light of Sight Anti-Tank missile (LOSAT), the High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (basically one MLRS pack mounted on a truck), and the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle. Five key logistics programs including the Army Global Command & Control System will get accelerated funding. Some programs will be expanded. The Longbow Apache helicopter program has been restored to its original 700-aircraft structure. The Army plans to develop a new engine for the M1A1 Abrams tank. Production of the M88A1 Hercules tank recovery vehicle will be restarted. More money will flow into the CH-47F cargo helicopter, the UH60 BlackHawk helicopter, and the Heavy Expanded Mobility Tactical Truck Extended Service Program. --Stephen V Cole

 


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