Heavy does not even begin to describe the U.S. Army's new tank. At 84 tons, the Ground Combat Vehicle prototype weighs more than twice as much as its predecessor, the Bradley Fighting Vehicle. The Bradley is designed to carry a six-man squad (and three-man driving crew) into combat, while the GCV will carry a larger, nine-man squad. Both vehicles will provide covering fire and damage enemy tanks. But the military has built the new GCV to withstand a kind of threat that didn't exist when the Bradley was deployed in the early 1980s: improvised explosive devices.
Part of logic behind the new tank's massive size is that soldiers inside a vehicle are more likely to survive an explosion if there's adequate space for them to wear armor while seated. The extra space also helps distribute pressure from the blast and thus lessens its impact. Another reason the GCV is so huge is that it's required to carry a larger gun than the Bradley does; the new tank will hold a 30mm cannon, probably the 344-pound Mk44 Bushmaster II. Finally, the GCV's extra weight means it will need to be manufactured from the start with a more powerful engine. (By contrast, the Bradley got heavier as the Army added armor to it in Iraq, and its original engine wasn't powerful enough to support the extra weight.)
The Ground Combat Vehicle is pretty much the opposite of the original plan to replace the Bradley. A high-concept proposal called Future Combat Systems aimed to make all U.S. Army vehicles lighter. But during the long ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (in which IEDs were the top cause of fatalities), it became clear clear that heavier, not lighter, was the better vehicle design. The U.S. canceled the Future Combat Systems program, and work on the GCV began in 2009. The Pentagon is scheduled to award the first contract to manufacture GCVs in 2019.
An earlier version of this piece misstated the transport capacity of the GCV as a six-man squad, instead of the correct nine-man squad. The 84 ton weight of the GCV only refers to the prototype, and the weight may easily change in the next six years of development.
you people are all a joke!
first you complain that the F-22's and F-35's are over kill and a waist of money because wars of the future will all be guerilla warfar and insurrection when the enemy will have no chance to even target the planes at all, nevermind them needing the expensive stealth coatings.
then this come along and you say it's built for the last war.. wait i thought the next wars were going to be all guerilla and insurrection? .. you know.. were street and city fighting take place.. where paved city streets and not swamps and bogs exsist! .. where even a 100ton vehichle can function! .. outside of external dimensions, this can be as heavy as it likes. a slow guerrilla war means the US and it's allies control the docks, where this can be unloaded inside 25days which is a drop in the hat in such a conflict.
so you can't have your cake and eat it too... so what will it be all you freakin fortune telling smarty pants? is it guerilla war in the city, or open country conflict?
because it's either f-35's or GCV's .... make up your mids!! .. oh wait.. you can't tell the future, so you'll just have to build BOTH! .. you know.. to accompany all the strykers , super hornets, Marine AAV's/MPC's/ACV's, Leopard tanks, euro-copters, euro-fighters, rafale's, reapers, X-47'esc UCAV's, F-22's, modernised B-2's & Block 16 B-1B's, AH-1G/Z's, AH-64 Guardians that will already be all over the battlefield...yeeash!
the battlespace is not all 1's and 0's .. it's not JUST either all F-35's or all GCV's
Don't forget yourselves, the Bradley will coexsist initially with it's 'replacement' until such time the USA can effectively test in combat the new doctorine, just as the F-15 coexsists with the F-22 because the F-22 couldn't be tested and proven necessary. If the GCV's don't fulfill a need immediately after entering service, the bradley will be extended before being replaced entirely.. the US will never ever realy on a single solution to a problem or need.. if you need proof of that.. check the US inventory list for variants of the Bradley fighting vehicle..... there's TWELVE.
and after all of that, you haven't even gotten to the individual soldier of just the USA, never mind her allies... If ogres are like onions, I'd hate to see the naturally occuring everyday object with the shear number of layers that the US military has, because they sure as heck ain't Canada.
I still have issue fielding 84 ton APC's. Even the Namer (built off an actual MBT platform) comes in at 60 tons. I cannot imagine a threat that this needs to meet. The only advantages I see of this over the M2A3/M3A3 is the 30mm gun allows airburst vs. the current 25mm not and able to dismount a full 9 man squad vs the 7 dismounts of the M2A3. I see little value of this in a COIN fight and less value in a conventional one (as enemy armor should be eliminated with CAS, artillery, and actual tanks).
I will say, though, that after spending about 20mins. researching the GCV; I've found that PopSci flat-out misreported on this story. Seems that 84 ton is the upmost limit. Most likely, it'll be more like 60 (20 tons or so more than the Brad). Even at 60, what threat is this supposed to address? IEDs require a known route (roads/trails), while tracked vehicles are best suited for off road movement, forging their own trail.
A couple things of note:
- GCV is still in the development phase, with GDLS (Stryker, Abrams) and BAE (Bradley) still competing for the contract. This absurd weight is based on BAEs hybrid solution (huge battery being a big contributor to the weight), but not what the vehicle will actually be...assuming the program doesn't get canned like FCS
A Stryker is not approximately $4.2M, there are 10 variants with hugely differing prices. An Abrams is now around that price but only because the US has Hundreds and hundreds of excess tanks or hulls sitting around to sell. Otherwise way more money than a Stryker
Oh cool, our troops will finally have the equipment they need... Only 30 years after the war began, and 10 years after it's over. Great Job government!