Thursday, October 6, 2016

Army Rolls Out Plan for Mobile Protected Firepower - DoD Buzz

Army Rolls Out Plan for Mobile Protected Firepower - DoD Buzz: U.S. Army officials released new details this week about what the service wants its future Mobile Protected Firepower vehicle to provide infantry brigade combat teams.

The MPF concept emerged a few years ago when maneuver leaders started calling for a lightweight, armored platform armed with a large enough cannon to destroy hardened targets for light infantry forces.

Parachute infantry battalions can be used to seize airfields as an entry point for heavier follow-on forces. Airborne forces, however, lack the staying power of Stryker and mechanized infantry.

The 82nd Airborne Division was equipped with the M551 Sheridan Armored Reconnaissance Airborne Assault Vehicle until the mid-1990s. Developed during the Vietnam War, the Sheridan resembled a light tank and featured a 152mm main gun capable of firing standard ammunition or the MGM-51 Shillelagh antitank missile.

The Sheridan was used in the Invasion of Panama in 1989 and Operation Desert Shield/Storm in 1991, but it was considered ineffective since its lightweight, aluminum armor was thin enough to be pierced by heavy machine-gun rounds, and the vehicle was particularly vulnerable to mines.

Army officials have laid out a broad set of requirements for the MPF such as a max weight of 32 tons.

“This is going to go into all the IBCTs so … it has got to be able to go where the infantryman goes; that’s one of the reasons why the Army is interested in smaller vehicle not quite the size of an Abrams tank because a lot of these austere environments you can expect bridges that can’t support heavier armor you can expect narrow streets,” said Army Col. Jim Schirmer, who runs Project Manager Armored Fighting Vehicles.