The GCV Looks Like the Troubled Child of FCS

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Yes, I know that this is a 1/24 plastic model

When the Future Combat System was canceled, it was done for cost growth, schedule slips, and concerns about a number of the technologies.

The army still feels that it needs a vehicle to succeed its Bradley, and so we now have the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV).

Well, the military has begun the source selection process.

Here’s the kicker, they are expecting it to weigh 50 tons, as versus the 30-35T of the current Bradley.

There are some improvements, most notably the ability to carry a full 9 person infantry squad, but you could do that with the Bradley if you were to retrofit a remotely operated turret, as the current turret takes up about 1/3 of the usable internal space, you could fid a full squad.

With weight comes cost, fuel consumption, and, in the long run, fewer vehicles.

What’s more, it appears that the 50 ton IFV is actually a 70 ton IFV:

Two days before industry proposals were due, Gen. Peter Chiarelli, vice chief of staff of the U.S. Army, provided new details about the Ground Combat Vehicle (GCV) program, saying the new vehicle could weigh up to 70 tons, but only if the threat environment required it.

“We’re looking at a vehicle that ranges in weight between 50 and 70 tons,” Chiarelli said May 19 at the Army’s armor conference.

What he is suggesting is that in a high threat environment, and we know now that this means IEDs, not enemy tanks, you would bolt on armor to improve the survivability of the platform.

This is complete and utter bullsh%$.

If you add 20 tons to a 50 ton vehicle, it means that you have to size the propulsion, transmission, fuel stowage, etc. to accommodate that weight, which means that your 50T vehicle is going to get even heaver.

Otherwise, the vehicle at 70T will have the mobility of a motorized wheel chair.

Just go and fit the Bradley with the CTI 40mm remotely operated turret, and use advantages in non-metallic armor to improve the survivability.

You will probably end up at around 40T, so there would need to be a bit of an upgrade to the engine and suspension, but you will still save at least half the cost.

Once again, the US Army is well into a development death spiral.


  1. Stuhlmann says:

    "With weight comes cost, fuel consumption, and, in the long run, fewer vehicles." 

    You forgot to mention the relationship between size/weight of the vehicle and its strategic mobility.  The bigger/heavier a vehicle is, the fewer you can transport per C-117/C-5.  I think the existing Bradleys are already beyond the capability of a C-130, though I may be wrong.

  2. Matthew G. Saroff says:

    You are correct.

    If you talk to the Army, the C-130 can carry about 20 tonnes, if you talk to the USAF, they say 17 tonnes, so the Bradley is too heavy for transport on the C-130.

    Even for the FCS, which was intended to be nominally C-130 transportable, you need 3 sortees to transport 2 vehicles, since they were partially disassembled for transport.

    IIRC, it was something like 600 sortees and a range of only 200 miles (assuming no air to air or refueling at the far end).

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