Urban Fight the New Baseline – Does FCS Need A Rethink?
Maj. Gen. Roger Nadeau, who heads the US Army’s research and development command, told the U.S. Army Winter Show on February 15th that fighting in Iraq is shaping almost every Army spending decision. One of those lessons is that urban warfare is the new baseline, a point that has been by many observers over the last five years. Nadeau challenged industry to come up with new and more innovative ways of thinking: “This is nose-to-nose street fighting; if you can help me fight in this environment, then we will listen to you.” Items on the wish-list include better night-vision devices for soldiers and vehicles, sensors to allow troops to see through walls and buildings, active protection systems for vehicles that work in short-range urban environments, and even an improved bunker-busting type weapon to allow soldiers to breach walls (q.v. Britain’s recent buy).
Nadeau also asked a provocative question about the lightly-armored force being devised as part of the $120+ billion Future Combat Systems (FCS) program, one that this article about Iraq lessons and M1 Abrams tank improvements brings into sharper focus. He asked:
“If [FCS] were here in its entirety today, how would the soldier’s life in that city be better? If we can’t answer that, we’re probably going down the wrong path and we need to make some modifications.”