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High-Tech Arsenal Upgrades for the Army?

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By Debbie Gregory.

The M16 has been standard issue in the U.S. Army since the Vietnam War. Since then, the design has been updated and a shorter version, called the M4, entered Army service in 1997. The Army has been looking to swap out the M4/M16 rifle platform, especially given its sensitivity to dust and sand, and its tendency to malfunction when used in rugged conditions.

The M17, to be used by the Army,  Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps, is made by Sig Sauer, and was picked to improve  accuracy and ergonomics. It’s compatible with a silencer, has interchangeable grips, and standard or extended-capacity magazines.

The Army is also looking at a number of upgrades to the weapons and ammunition currently carried by its soldiers. Army researchers are evaluating new designs for bullets and casings. They are also looking at new materials for rounds and propellants.

New sighting technology on the horizon includes thermal imaging and range finders that evaluate wind, distance, and ballistics. Current programs in development include optics systems that can track targets, analyze environmental conditions, and improve firing speed.

Currently, Soldiers conduct combat operations from tanks such as the Stryker, the Bradley and the Abrams. But the Army is trying to figure out what will take Soldiers to the fight of the future.

The Maneuver Center of Excellence out of Fort Benning provisionally stood up a cross-functional team focused on the development of the Army’s Next Generation of Combat Vehicles (NGCV).

The NGCV is expected to increase overall lethality, tactical mobility, strategic deployability and protection for Soldiers. It is also expected to reduce logistical demands on the Army.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.

Army Outlines Modernization Plans

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Derrik Browne of Columbus, Ind., and U.S. Army Sgt. Jason Andrade of Bastrob, Texas, both squad leaders in Operations Company, Headquarters and Headquarters Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, provide security June 27 during a visit by Army officials to Bala Hesar, a fortress in Gardez that is home to a new Afghan quick reaction force. The force is comprised of Afghan National Army, Afghan Uniformed Police, Afghan Border Police, and Afghan National Civil Order Police members. (Photo by U.S. Army Spc. Adam L. Mathis, 17th Public Affairs Detachment)

By Debbie Gregory.

The Army is looking to the future to determine what will be necessary to support  ground warfare in the years to come.

Training and Doctrine Command (TRADOC) has refined the previously revealed “Big 8” modernization priorities to the “Big 6+1” set of initiatives, with the “+1” referring to soldier and team performance and overmatch which cuts across all other capabilities listed.

The Army has carved out solid modernization objectives and identified the resources needed to meet capabilities in the near-, mid-, and far-term, prioritizing updates to its aviation fleet, combat vehicles, cross domain fires, robotics and autonomous systems, advanced protection, and cyber and electromagnetic capabilities.

Beginning next year and through 2022, the Army will complete its aviation restructure initiative and continue to modernize the AH-64 Echo-model, the UH-60 Mike- and Victor-model Black Hawk utility helicopters and the CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopter.

In in 2017 and 2018,  the Army will test fly both a Bell Helicopter- and Lockheed Martin-developed tiltrotor helicopter and a Boeing and Sikorsky-made helicopter with coaxial rotor blades.

The Army will be taking a close look at combat vehicles, addressing shortfalls in mobility and lethality within the Infantry Brigade Combat Teams.

The service will also improve Stryker lethality for the 2nd Cavalry Regiment. Outfitting the vehicle with a 30mm cannon on 81 of the infantry carriers is being fast-tracked with plans to start fielding in 2018.

The Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle (AMPV) will replace the obsolete M113 armored personnel carriers first fielded in 1960. BAE Systems presented its first general-purpose AMPV variant to the Army at its York, PA facility.

The Army will also focus on developing next-generation power trains that will provide a 50 percent increase in power and will also work on a durable light weight track with hopes of reducing weight and cost while not losing durability.

The Army will develop a Future Fighting Vehicle to replace the Bradley Fighting Vehicle.

From 2018 to 2022, the Army will work on increasing operations at safer standoff distances for the force through robots and autonomous systems. As part of that, the service will develop Automated Ground Resupply through leader-follower robotics technology. Robots will also have the capability to conduct route clearance and counter improvised explosive devices as well as improve situational awareness.

Military Connection salutes and proudly serves veterans and service members in the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, Coast Guard, Guard and Reserve,  and their families.