The article in which Sydney Freedberg Jr pokes Sparky with a sharp stick:
BAE Gets $873M For AMPVs, Spelling The End of The ‘Aluminum Coffin’ M113
WASHINGTON: After six decades in service, the US Army is finally phasing out its M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, under-armored even in Vietnam, while trying to buy a new, sturdier workhorse for modern warfare: the Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicle.
The AMPV is basically the standard M2 Bradley, minus the gun turret removed, plus multiple automotive and protection upgrades. It’s thoroughly proven technology, not revolutionary, and there have been reports that the Army’s forthcoming 2020 budget will move some money out of AMPV to all-new Next Generation Combat Vehicles, some of which may be robotic.
On the current plan, sources tell us, BAE will begin building AMPVs next month under a $873 million contract for the first 297 machines. And that’s just part of what the Pentagon calls Low Rate Initial Production. The full LRIP phase, plus prototypes already built, could total about 460 vehicles for $1.2 billion. (That’s counting the ones in today’s announcement, which was for the exercise of two contract options totaling $575 million).
The Army wants Full Rate Production to replace almost 3,000 M113 variants in service with its armored brigades, which would bear the brunt of any future ground wars. Yes, the “aluminum coffin,” as some crews called it, was long ago replaced in frontline infantry companies and scout troops by the better armed and armored Bradley. But many M113 variants remain in service just behind the forward companies as mobile command posts, armored ambulances, weapons carriers, and general-purpose workhorses.
In Iraq, those M113 variants were deemed too vulnerable to roadside bombs and either confined to base or not deployed at all. (Even in Vietnam the main threat was not guns but mines, leading many soldiers to feel safer riding on top of the M113 rather than inside). That worked as long as the Army could use an extensive network of bases and supply routes to support relatively static counterinsurgency operations. But in a fast-moving mechanized war in Eastern Europe, the armored brigades would need support vehicles that can both keep up with M1 tanks and Bradleys over rough terrain – hence the Army’s insistence on tracks, not wheels – and stand a chance against Russian firepower.
The Army’s not just brigades, however. Further behind the line, there are over 1,900 more M113 variants in service with division and corps-level support units. All of those will to be replaced by something as they wear out.
Edited by Dark_Falcon, 19 February 2019 - 2042 PM.