Military Review English Edition November-December 2015 - Page 66

an application that “will replace Avenger” with a multimission launcher—not to be confused with Boeing’s multimission Avenger. Once developed and fielded, the new IFPC Inc 2-I launcher will be mount-restricted to a 10-ton utility truck, and it will have the capability to load a series of interceptors.31 Unlike the Avenger, the proposed launcher is not suited for aggressive maneuver tempo—primarily because it lacks immediate tactical employment capability, does not shoot on the move, and lacks a self-guiding missile engagement feature. Instead, like static-engagement HIMAD systems, the proposed weapon system relies solely on radar identification and intercept guidance from a fixed location. In addition, the proposed launcher does not incorporate organic ground-based defense weaponry. Therefore, it will rely on extensive force protection packages to provide security for its operations, and it will not enable air defenders to transition capabilities in support of maneuver commanders. Enhancing the Brigade Combat Team with Air Defense Assets Currently, BCTs only have air defense and airspace management cells allocated to them. These liaisons assist in planning but possess no intercept assets. To integrate nonstatic-engagement-AMD enablers effectively, maneuver commanders need organic upgraded Avenger units to incorporate into their training so units can learn and develop integrated tactics, techniques, and procedures before the next conflict. Capt. Winston Marbella masterfully articulates the importance of educating the maneuver commander on Avenger capabilities to enhance operations: On night combat patrols, the Avenger is primarily assigned in the [over-watch] or support-by-fire role. With its enhanced FLIR, it’s the best night vision available to a light infantry task force. We educate task force leaders on the incredible capability the Avenger’s M3P .50 caliber machine gun—when combined with the FLIR and Avenger’s 360-degree turret—brings to the fight. The M3P’s longer barrel gives it increased range, and soldiers can fire the M3P mounted on the Avenger platform from a remote position. With [its] advanced target acquisition system, the 60 [M3P] machine gun’s combined capabilities are superior to the infantry’s M-2 .50 caliber machine gun. Highlighting the Avenger’s capability to the task force leadership greatly enhanced our platoon’s contribution to the task force’s success.32 BCTs consist of a wide range of organic combat enablers from virtually every branch of the Army except air defense. However, the Army vision for the Force 2025 Maneuvers offers an opportunity to resolve the problem by anticipating an increase in capabilities of the future BCT, including effective counter anti-access/ area denial (A2/AD).33 The next-generation BCTs should integrate a modernized Avenger battery, configured to match the structure of each BCT—which would enable BCTs to counter A2/AD while maintaining unique combat advantages. Heavy BCTs should have a Bradley or medium tactical vehicle Avenger battery to defeat aerial threats while continuing to operate with “shock and speed.”34 Infantry BCTs should have a mine-resistant, ambush-protected, all-terrain vehicle Avenger battery to eliminate aerial threats while operating in their optimal environment: close terrain.35 Finally, Stryker BCTs should have a Stryker family of vehicles Avenger battery, to extend its intended protection and firepower to counter aerial threats while maintaining “operational and tactical mobility.”36 Integrating modernized Avenger assets would enable BCTs to defeat the aerial threat and simultaneously gain forced access into an area of operations without sacrificing momentum. In the spirit of an analysis published in 2011 by Gen. Robert Cone, then commander of the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, upgraded Avenger units would enable the “artful execution of combined arms maneuver” that “surprises the enemy by attacking from an unexpected direction and time or by employing combat power in unforeseen ways.”37 Avenger formations have proven their battle-adaptive capability to provide air defense while simultaneously supporting ground forces. Without upgraded Avengers integrated into the BCT, maneuver units will remain unnecessarily exposed to aerial attack, especially by the rapidly expanding threat of UAS technology throughout the world, under the pretense that nonstatic-engagement-AMD enablers are postured to defeat them. November-December 2015  MILITARY REVIEW