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Tuesday, August 30, 2005

US Army deploying up-armoured M113's to Iraq

The US Army is deploying old up-armoured M113's to Iraq because Hummers and LAV's (known as Strykers to the US Army) don't cut the mustard for certain duties:
These vehicles, both veteran warhorses, are the M113/A3 armored personnel carrier and the M577 command post carrier. Both will be tougher and safer than newly armored Humvees.

Army officials who pushed hard over the last two years for getting the M113 into duty in Iraq said it was more useful, cheaper and easier to transport than the Army's new wheeled Stryker armored vehicle, which also is in use in Iraq.
Instead of upgrading our M113's, the NZ Army purchased 125 LAV-III's for $650mil. The LAV-III's - another incompetent boondoggle bought to you by Labour.

Don't forget to read the 2001 and 2004 (related Herald article) audit reports on the LAV-III programme. The 2004 report says the numbers of LAV's purchased were basically made up by the Army and swallowed hook line and sinker by Labour's Minister of Defense, Mark Burton. And to pay for them our 60-year old combat Air Force with some of the best pilots in the world was shut down. The Skyhawks and Macchi's still haven't been sold. How many hundreds of millions were they worth?

Has anyone else noticed Labour isn't good at anything? Aside from creating new benefits of course.

Posted by Antarctic Lemur | 8/30/2005 06:18:00 PM

23 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

yes al..of course what this is, is the americans trying to atone in some way for one of the biggest cock-ups/scandals of this war....

namely the way the americans have sent their troops in under-protected..in the sense of personal body armour..but also of the humvees etc you mention...

they are horribly under-protected ..and peel open like a tin of baked beans..hence the widespread reports of soldiers in iraq welding slabs of steel onto their humvees etc..to try and protect themselves..

so al, you have highlighted yet another american cock-up..

this is the background to what you refer to as (ahem) 'don't cut the mustard in certain duties.."
yes..like when they are fired at..eh..?

oh..what's your point..? oh..we were lame/stupid enough to buy some of these tins of baked beans too....good point..

nice to know don won't be sending our soldiers into combat in them though..eh al..?

phil(whoar.co.nz)

8/30/2005 07:04:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Oh, don't be a big girls blouse Phil.

If the Greeens had got their facts right, global warming would have meant the US could have put an aircraft carrier within 20KM of any target in Iraq. At that range, even the anchor is an offensive weapon.

Instead, the place remains a desert, and the only seamen are in an Arabian Camel.

Good job they've upgraded.

8/30/2005 07:32:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Actually Phil, the Hummers were designed as support vehicles for armoured divisions in a cold war-type setting, where Abrams tanks and Bradley IFV's would be in the brunt of battle.

The Brits, Israelis, French etc learned a long time ago that heavily armoured vehicles are the only way to put troops on patrol in urban areas. The US is way behind, though catching up very fast. For example they introduced a heavily armoured bus (the Rhino) very early on, something I dont believe anyone else has done.

After the disaster of Somalia nothing was done to offer US solders armoured vehicles suitable for narrow city streets, leading to Hummers again being used in that role. The Clinton Administration is responsible for that, just as they were responsible for doing bugger all after Bin Laden declared war on the USA.

Additionally some people at the Pentagon appear to be involved in a doctrine battle between fast lightly armoured vehicles and slower heavily armoured vehicles.

8/30/2005 07:33:00 PM  
Blogger Psycho Milt said...

It is weird that they've kept patrolling in HMMVs - even dumbasses like me who've watched Black Hawk Down could have told them that was a bad plan. Slapping armour plate on the HMMVs has just led to the Iraqis using bigger bombs.

I'm not sure you're being fair to the Stryker, AL. There was an article in Stars and Stripes in which soldiers who'd been skeptical about the Stryker because it had wheels, found when using it that it's a hell of a lot more maneuverable than a "track" (M113) and at least as well armoured. And it can lose a bunch of wheels and still keep going. Of course, since that article the IEDs have been getting bigger, and Strykers would be more resistant to up-armouring than a M113 - but NZ hopefully is never going to find itself putting LAVs in this situation.

This is going to continue to be a real source of casualties for the Army. The last domestic US edition of Time magazine had a big photo of an Amtrak APC completely destroyed by an IED consisting of 3 anti-tank mines fastened together. No amount of up-armouring will protect against that.

8/30/2005 08:05:00 PM  
Blogger fm said...

Fact is, an army should have a range of options across the complete spectrum of different warfare types: urban, jungle, riverine, farmland, etc. To do less is to gamble with the lives of your troops. Not that the Aussies retained the M113, is upgrading them and introduced two new classes of wheeled armoured vehicles. The fact that the New Zealand Army was forced through budgetary pressures to choose between a relatively simple upgrade to a limited number of M113s and introducing a wheeled armoured vehicle, says it all really.

8/30/2005 08:19:00 PM  
Blogger reid said...

IMO it wasn't incompetence but rather a deliberate move to spend so much of the miniscule budget on hardware only useful in limited scenarios (peacekeeping).

Bang bangs are nasty, according to most lefties.

I wouldn't mind them practicing their childishly simplistic naivity, if only it didn't compromise our ability to defend ourselves.

8/30/2005 08:26:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i guess if it's a big girls blouse to be pissed at the unnecessary endings of young lives..whether through the actions of incompetent military masters or corrupt political masters..big girls blouse it is..

phil(whoar.co.nz)

8/30/2005 08:30:00 PM  
Blogger Murray said...

Actually as much as you have a hard on for the LAV's we have thrashed our 113's to death.

I may just drop the US a line and see if they need some more divers. It is a fun wagon to 180 in.

8/30/2005 08:54:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

PM: read the auditors report. It basically says General Shredder fudged the numbers of LAV's required, the Ministry never investigated the project properly, and Cabinet authorized funds without being perfectly clear on the reason for so many being purchased.

Also spare parts and depreciation weren't budgeted properly.

8/30/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

I have a CNN video on the US Army's internal technical report on the performance of Stryker in Iraq, but unfortunately it's sitting on my hard drive rather than on the Internet.

The report says even with the added armour (which adds 4 US tons and a couple of feet width to each Stryker, and makes it more vulnerable to rollovers), RPG attacks succeeded ~50% of the time.

8/30/2005 09:13:00 PM  
Blogger ZenTiger said...

Phil...I forgot you were so vocal trying to convince the Clinton administration on spending more money on defence...maybe medium girls blouse...

8/30/2005 09:14:00 PM  
Blogger Tane said...

My 2 cents.

The LAV is not perfect, but it is pretty good for most things on the battlefield. The key difference between our LAVs and the US Stryker is the turret. It makes them almost completely different vehicles. The 25mm AP rounds can defeat armour on old style tanks, like T54s, certainly from the side and rear. The sensor suite on them is amazing, and the thermal sights are fantastic. These new capabilities put it streets ahead of an M113, unless the M113 has a similar turret mounted (on a chassis not designed for the weight). Otherwise all it is, is an armoured taxi. The LAV is much more than that.

The LAV is very vulnerable to RPGs, no question about that. So is the M113, even with added armour. Because the enemy isn't stupid, they have added new warheads to the old RPG 7/16, with tandem charges to defeat reactive or spaced armour. Getting hit with an RPG will suck, no matter whether you're in a LAV or an M113. Expect to lose some people if that happens. Oh, and the current practice of stacking AT mines, say three mines on top of each other, with all three detonating simultaneously, will shred anything smaller than a Main Battle Tank, and will knock the stuffing out of that too. The enemy is not stupid.

The purchase of LAV by the NZDF was pretty dodgy from what little I know of it. The Army saw that it had a narrow window of opportunity to buy something, anything, and took it. The tendering process seems to have been along the lines of some brigadier reading Janes Defence Weekly, seeing a pretty photo, and writing the requirements around that. Surprise, surprise, the LAV won. And the Army then proceeded to buy as many as it could afford, regardless of need or the ability to maintain them. As a new vehicle, there were none of the usual variants on offer; no command vehicles, ambulances, mortar wagons etc. So we have 99 identical vehicles performing a whole raft of roles, and I think 6 recovery variants (thank God for that).

As I've said earlier, the LAV is not a perfect vehicle. The tendering process was not very good, and the end result is that it will take years to work them into our Army. Whether they are actually any good, will have to wait until we can find someone to shoot at us (2 years with National? Never with Labour...? Ahem, cheap shot, sorry about that)

I don't love them, but we have them and might as well make best use of them. For what it's worth, last year on Exercise Predator's Gallop in Queensland, the Kiwi LAV Coy tore the arses out of the Aussies. They can't be all bad....

8/31/2005 10:17:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Tane, our armed forces were perverted by a man caught shredding documents proving he hired a PR firm to convince Cabinet ministers to ditch the Air Force and buy 'his' Army these LAV's.

I'm astonished more people apparently don't care. Add the resale value of the Macchis and Skyhawks (I'm not sure - maybe $100 mil?) to the 30-40 extra LAV's and thats about $300 mil in blown from the already emaciated long-term Defense assets budget. Oh and lets add in the little bitty patrol boats which are floating targets in a real war.

8/31/2005 03:12:00 PM  
Blogger reid said...

Thanks Tane for some insightful info.

My 2 cents is: I knew, as an amateur, at the time of purchase, that the LAVs were vulnerable to RPG7's, the terrorist/insurgent/freedom fighter's weapon of choice (in the absence of stingers and hellfires).

If I knew that, why the golly goodness did the pro's waste their money? If it's as Tane and AL says, we need an inquiry, now. If it's not, then what actually does explain the (apparantly foolish) purchase?

We deserve to know.

8/31/2005 07:48:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As someone who was trained at a command level in using the M113 it was a capable battle taxi! but it was always intended to work with and be accompanied by tanks!
The LAV111 is actually well suited to the role our troops have been facing since Bosnia! I agree with Tane about the turret and the gun - very capable (not a tank! but way ahead of the Scorpion)
I've seen a russian assessment on the performance of US armour in Iraq and they rated the Stryker and its IED survival Vs tracks (it can still move with a couple of wheels missing)
My 6 cents worth, we should have upgraded some 113's (especially things like the 577's the Mortar Tracks and the ARV's) bought the LAV's as we can deploy them and begged or borrowed some Aussie Leopards when they upgrade to M1's
The NZ Army learnt the lesson of having no Armour once before - lets not do it again.

Ka Wha Whai Tonu Ake Ake!

8/31/2005 09:58:00 PM  
Anonymous exkiwiforces said...

Tane there were only 3 LAV Recovery Vehicles purchased by the Army and they did not purchased any other of the LAV support vehicles such as Command, Fitters, Ambulances, Mortar and Anti Armour vehicles. Funny/ weid when u look at the Orbat for Bonsia and East Timor. In Bonsia they had 20 M113A1's, 2 M125's Mortar carriers, 2 M579's Fitters Vehicles, 1 M806 Recovery Vehicles and 1 Ambulance. In East Timor there were 19 M113A1's, 2 M579's, 2 M806's and 2 Ambulances.
Get this at the moment QA Sqn are using 2/1st LAV's so they can maintain there medium recce skills, whats left of WAI/WEC Sqn are still using cutdown V8 Landrovers in medium recce role and NZ Scots lost its black hats for a green one. It gets even better the Army has place a ban on anyone taking photo's of the LAV's been pulled out of the mud by a M113's (Bad PR/image for the Army and the Labour Party)have seen a couple of pic's when i was last home some mths ago. From my extankie mates in 2 Cav and 2/14 QLD Light Horse the Oz ASLAV's are doing very well in the sandpit with there add on armour and extra kit that has been place on them.

Mo Rich Mo Dhuthaigh

9/01/2005 12:10:00 AM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

Do you think you could get us a photo?

9/01/2005 12:20:00 AM  
Anonymous exkiwiforces said...

I'll my best as at the moment things have gone a wee bit pear shape at work since last wk and have my ass handing out range shoots both day/night, kit checks etc. I'm trying to get a report off for u guys on some stuff but u lot keep stealing my thunder.
I Hear the MRV is back in the news again.

9/01/2005 12:59:00 AM  
Blogger Tane said...

Any dodgy deals concerning buying the LAVs should be investigated thoroughly, and the miscreants punished. No arguement there. I'm not saying that the LAVs should have been bought, it's a bit late for that. They're here now, they've what we've got, so we might as well get used to them.

LAVs are vulnerable to RPGs, though that vulnerability can be reduced with add-on armour and good tactics. When there's an RPG threat, troops should dismount and fight on foot. But this vulnerability is not limited to LAVs. All APCs and ICVs are vulnerable to shoulder-launched anti-tank rockets, some more than most. The Brit Warrior is very tough, but there is no way in hell we were buying that, it's too damn expensive.

As for why we don't have any command, mortar or other variants, my understanding is that we were the first in the queue to buy them, so those variants had not been developed. A big mistake, but given that there was only a small window of time to get them (before the Yanks put in an order for several thousand, and we got pushed to the back of the line), then this was maybe the best of a bad choice.

Not having fitters vehicles and the like will hurt us on operations. Having to produce some variants ourselves, or re-engineering current vehicles will cost money. No arguement there. All I can say about the LAVs is that they are very capable vehicles when used properly, and they're what we have! We need to make use of what we have, because we have sod all chance of buying anything to replace them.

9/01/2005 11:33:00 AM  
Anonymous exkiwiforces said...

Well Tane the LAV Support Vehicle Variants are based on the LAV2 and have been in service since the mid 80's. I've seen 2CAV and 2/14 use these vehicle on ex here in in OZ.
The Warrior was looked at as was other tracked AFV's along with wheeled AFV's when i was on my out but they were only looking at getting a Infantry Battalion worths and the other Infantry Battalion was going to be in a light battalion along with 2-3 cav sqns to support the infantry battlions.

9/01/2005 08:50:00 PM  
Blogger Antarctic Lemur said...

exkiwiforces: the proposal sent to, and authorized by, Cabinet justified the numbers of LAV3's by saying they'd be used to equip two full infantry battalions.

Do you know anything about the spare parts situation?

9/01/2005 09:06:00 PM  
Anonymous exkiwiforces said...

al. I've heard a few rumours when i was home this yr and have heard a few rumbles in the Ex Armoured Corps Association but i have hard info at hand to date. I believe the issue was rise in parliament by Ron Mark some time this yr or last yr.

9/01/2005 09:27:00 PM  
Anonymous exkiwiforces said...

al, I'm unable to get any photos of the LAV's being towed by the APC's as my contact has left the army and even his old unit orderley room have lost contact with him.

9/02/2005 11:30:00 AM  

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