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May 08, 2007


Big D

We need APS. The question is, do we need APS *now*?

Back in 2003, I would have answered yes. We were expecting heavy resistance with RPGs and ATGMs. And surely enough, RPGs have become just about the most popular support weapon around.

However, a few other things have happened since then. For starters, a low-tech passive defense was found to be far more effective than anybody expected. Strykers--not rated to survive RPG hits--shrugged off as many as a dozen in a single fight. Now M-1s are being refitted with what critics derided as "bird cages" in key areas.

More importantly, we've attacked into so many ambushes, inflicted so many lopsided defeats on complex attacks, that we just aren't seeing very many effective RPG attacks right now. Blame it on fear, blame it on a lack of surviving gunners, whatever--the main killer is IEDs, whether the 155mm or the imported self-forging variety. RPGs can afford to wait a few years *if* we can come up with something better/cheaper/lighter by then.

There's also the small issue that Trophy does produce shrapnel, albeit less than reactive armor. If Iron Fist was ready for production, or better yet, if Iron Fist was ready and had been proven against self-forged warheads at close range (I doubt it could do that, but if it could...), then I'd say heck yeah--buy them. As it is... rather than a matter of life and death, it's more of a CBA to determine if FCS APS is actually a better value to the army than Trophy.

Sean Meade

you didn't leave me much of an email to go on, Big D, so i can't email you directly, but thanks for a great comment


I find the "we don't need it right this second" argument particularly insane. Lets go back to all the RPG deaths we've had since '03 and ask them if we need it yet. Right this second, we're taking heavier loses from IEDs. But even if our only motivation for buying a Protective technology is waiting for a pile of Bodies, it's already here.

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