army future

BAE Systems image

HUNTSVILLE, ALA.: After 20 years and two costly cancelled programs, the US Army finally has a new artillery vehicle. While the ceremonial rollout isn’t till Thursday, contractor BAE Systems has already delivered the first pair of self-propelled howitzers. Oft-overlooked and blandly named, this Paladin Integrated Management program is a modest but much-needed success for the… Keep reading →

Army Secretary John McHugh

WASHINGTON: The top question on defense lawmakers’ minds right now is: “Can we trust you with the people’s money?” And no large military organization has a worse record in that respect than the US Army, with its unhappy track record of canceled programs and wasted billions dating to before 9/11. It’s such a sensitive and high-stakes question that, when I started to ask Army… Keep reading →

Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster

WASHINGTON: After two decades of procurement disasters, the Army is finally overhauling how it buys new weapons. The service is starting with a difficult test indeed: the new light armored vehicle to provide mobile protected firepower to the 82nd Airborne and other light infantry forces — a role unfilled since the temperamental M551 Sheridan retired in… Keep reading →

Afzal Rob LMCO laser fellow

CRYSTAL CITY: In three years the US military could have a prototype laser weapon blasting out 300 kilowatts of energy, a jump that could ignite a revolution in missile defense, a Lockheed Martin engineer told me today, A 300-kw laser could kill cruise missiles. For comparison, that’s 10 times the power output of the Laser Weapons System… Keep reading →

Army Patriot missile launch

ARLINGTON: Hitting a bullet with a bullet is an astounding feat. But now that US missile defenses can do it routinely, we’re realizing it’s not enough. As technology spreads around the world, more countries are getting larger numbers of more capable missiles. A cash-strapped America can’t afford to shoot down each incoming threat with a… Keep reading →

US soldiers exercising in Japan as part of "Pacific Pathways"

PENTAGON: From hunting jungle animals to communicating across the ocean, US Army soldiers learned much in the first Pacific Pathways wargames that Iraq and Afghanistan never taught them. Those exercises are part of the service’s effort to reinvent itself as it shrinks, heading from a wartime peak of 570,000 to 450,000 or below. Instead of prolonged, large-scale… Keep reading →

apache-over-afghanistan

ARLINGTON: You probably don’t plan to keep your current car for 20 years. But that’s what the US Army has to do with its helicopter fleet. With the Armed Aerial Scout (AAS) helicopter stillborn for lack of funds and the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family not entering production until the 2030s, the Army has to invest carefully… Keep reading →

The Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant concept for the Joint Multi-Role demonstrator, a predecessor to the Future Vertical Lift aircraft.

ARLINGTON: And then there were five. There were already going to be four different aircraft in the Future Vertical Lift (FVL) family, from light to medium to heavy to “ultra.” Now it’s almost certain that the medium FVL will be split into two separate versions: a smaller attack/reconnaissance aircraft and a larger troop-carrying assault craft.… Keep reading →

An M1 Abrams tank.

ARLINGTON: The US Army is trying to reinvent itself, much as it did during the Great Depression. Even if the steep cuts called sequestration return in 2016 — as is current law — the Army would rather get smaller than shortchange innovation, Chief of Staff Ray Odierno said today. The service will hold annual wargames on… Keep reading →

US Army photo

CAPITOL HILL: Where do ground forces fit in the Pentagon’s new offset strategy? The answer may be an intriguing mix of old-fashioned armored forces, mobile missile launchers, and lasers on trucks. While Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel’s remarks formally launching “offset” were frustratingly vague, we’ve heard plenty from other officials and outside thinkers about how the… Keep reading →

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