Armor: April 14, 2002


The Army has selected Boeing to integrate the design of its Future Combat System, otherwise known as "the next tank". Only it won't be a tank at all, it will be a lightly-armored 16.5-ton vehicle with some kind of as-yet-unknown weapon able to destroy enemy tanks at 12-20 miles, using datalinks to some kind of unmanned aerial vehicle to find targets and to stay out of reach of any enemy force that is bigger and meaner than the new US Army "Objective Force" ground units. The point is that this new type of unit must be delivered anywhere in the world in a C-130 transport flying a, 1,000-mile unrefueled lift. The entire concept is somewhat terrifying to soldiers used to the 70-ton M1 Abrams. The lightly-armed FCS must rely on real-time knowledge of enemy locations and movements beyond anything
currently available, and if an enemy unit somehow pins the US force against a major obstacle (a river or mountain range) it could be destroyed in conventional light-of-sight combat.--Stephen V Cole


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