Thursday, June 11, 2015

Stryker Upgunning - Send in Bradleys

On the Upgunning of Strykers

Why is it urgent?

It's been circulating around quite a lot these days on the potential Upgunning of the Styrker 8x8 wheeled armored vehicles with a more lethal weapon system than the .50cal Remote Weapon Stations.

With the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment's Europe Tour fueled with Russia's apparent aggressive policy towards Ukraine and Baltic States, this became a something like a desperate cry.

Stryker being tested with Kongsberg MCT30 30mm Remote Turret

However, Breaking Defense website has a different take on this based on their latest news article.

"Certainly, General Dynamics would like to upgun a much larger portion of the Stryker fleet, with the European vehicles as the leading wedge, and two key committees on the Hill have voted sums in the $371 million to $411 million range, which would surely buy more than 81 upgrades. (The first committee to vote on the matter added a relatively modest $80 million).

There’s also the critical wrinkle that the request from the 2nd Cav came as an Operational Needs Statement (ONS), but not an Urgent Operational Needs Statement (UONS)."

However, the question to be asked is:

Why not send M2 Bradleys??
Thanks Tony...

Bradley's Latest Version M2A3 BUSK

Bradley's Latest Version M2A3 BUSK

The Bradley A3 already has a much more lethal weapon system in the shape of a 25mm Two Man turret with advanced sights for the gunner and commander and fire-control system.

Add in the TOW ATGM missile in the mix, you've got a potent system that's ready to go.

Plus, the Bradley has got a distinctive advantage over the Stryker in terms of protection agains kinetic energy threats (30mm AP Front), RPG and IEDs.

The 2nd Cavalry is no stranger to Bradley as well. They fought with Abrams and Bradleys during the First Gulf War, notably in the famous Battle of 73 Easting. 

Besides, the Bradley is also no stranger to 30mm caliber as well. It's been demonstrated and tested integrated with a Mk44 Bushmaster cannon.

So I cannot help myself but agree on Breaking Defense, but also cannot understand why try to put a big gun on Stryker in a very short time instead of sending in the Bradley?

Monday, June 8, 2015

Blast from the Past: VZ9 AvroCar

Blast from the Past:

VZ9 AvroCar

VZ9 AvroCar

In 1952, a design team headed by J.C.M. “Jack” Frost, of Avro Aircraft, Canada, began design work on a supersonic VTOL aircraft with a circular wing. The Canadian Defense Research Board funded the effort with a $400,000 contract. 

VTOL capability was to be achieved by ducting fan air and engine exhaust to the periphery of the planform and deflecting the air flow downwards. Close to the ground, this provides a cushion effect where the lift exceeds the thrust due to increased pressure on the underside of the aircraft. 

This phenomenon was confirmed in a wind tunnel test. For transition to forward flight, the air flow would be gradually redistributed backwards. Frost was convinced that a thin, circular planform wing, or flying saucer, was the ideal shape to take advantage of both the ground cushion effect (for STOL overload capability) and supersonic flight.

Originally designed as a fighter-like aircraft capable of very high speeds and altitudes, the project was repeatedly scaled back over time and the U.S. Air Force eventually abandoned it. 

Development was then taken up by the U.S. Army for a tactical combat aircraft requirement, a sort of high-performance helicopter.

VZ9 AvroCar Cutaway

AvroCars as 'Flying Jeeps' armed with Recoilless Guns
 (Artistic Concept)

Initial performance requirements for the Avrocar were a ten minute hover capability in ground effect and 25 mile range with a 1000 lb payload. 

Work began in earnest and a $1.77 million contract was awarded for a second Avrocar in March 1959. 

The first Avrocar rolled out of the factory in May 1959. At rollout, projected performance was far in excess of the requirement, with a 225 Kt maximum speed, 10,000 ft ceiling, 130 mile range with 1,000 lb payload, and hover out of ground effect with 2,428 lb payload. 

Maximum takeoff weight with transition to forward flight out of ground effect was calculated to be 5,650 lb, maximum weight with a transition in ground effect (GETOL) was 6,970 lb.

The Avrocar was 18 feet in diameter, 3 feet thick, and had two separate cockpits. The pilot’s cab was located on the forward left side of the vehicle with the crew cab on the right. A third compartment in the rear of was provided for cargo storage. 

The Avrocar was lifted by the efflux from a five foot diameter central fan, called a turborotor. Exhaust from three Continental J-69 turbojet engines (920 lb thrust ea) was ducted to the outer rim of the turborotor which had 124 small turbine blades. 

Driven in this fashion, the turborotor took in and propelled ambient air from a central opening on top of the vehicle. This air, mixed with the turbine exhaust, was ducted to the periphery of the vehicle from which it exited through a four inch high annular nozzle. 

Each engine was connected to its own fuel and oil tank. The fuel tanks were not interconnected, although this was planned in a later version.

AvroCar with Canopies Open Showing Cockpit Interior

On June 9, 1961, the second and final USAF flight evaluation of the Avrocar was conducted at the Avro facility. During these tests, the vehicle reached a maximum speed of 20 Kts and showed the ability to traverse a ditch six feet across and 18 inches deep. Flight above the critical height was impossible. The flight test report summarized a litany of control problems. 

Avro proposed radical modifications to the vehicle to address the major problems. Frost’s team developed two new designs, one with a large vertical tail and one with a wing with tip mounted verticals. Both designs used two 2700 lb thrust GE J-85 turbojets in lieu of the three 920 lb thrust J-69’s and increased the turborotor diameter from five to six feet. 

The proposals were rejected, and the program was terminated in December 1961. 


  • Lindenbaum, L., Blake, W., "The VZ-9 “AVROCAR””

Third Round in US Army's IFV Replacement


Third round has started in US Army's ill-fated Bradley Replacement Efforts

It was FCS - Future Combat Systems first in 2002 that aims to replace M2 Bradley with a new vehicle, namely: XM1206 ICV.

XM1206 ICV
The FCS was cancelled in 2009 and XM1206 went with it.

Then in 2009, Ground Combat Vehicle, GCV - a program aiming for the replacement of Bradley starts in 2009. 

BAE Systems GCV Concept
BAE Systems GCV Concept
GCV aimed at developing an Infantry Fighting Vehicle with a high degree of protection using available technologies.

However, on February 2014, GCV gots terminated following its predecessor.

Fast forward to June 2015, enter Future Fighting Vehicle via Defense News:

From the ashes of the US Army's canceled 70-ton ground combat vehicle, the Future Fighting Vehicle (FFV) program has begun to sprout — at least concepts for it.

The Army has awarded two contracts of more than $28 million each to BAE Systems Land and Armaments and General Dynamics Land Systems to develop design concepts for the FFV. The work is due Nov. 28, 2016.

The effort is meant to inform whether the Army will produce an entirely new vehicle or a potential replacement for the BAE-manufactured Bradley fighting vehicle, (which I didnt understand  or lead to a third round of improvements for the Bradley.

The companies are to conduct trade studies, requirements analysis, and modeling and simulation, and assess technology capability and maturity to support each of three design concepts...

We will all see if really the third time is the charm...