Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Crusading to extinction

Well a bit more looking around on the now ex-Crusader leads to some interesting things, like the 2002 GAO report on page 21 that shows loading two Crusaders into a C-17 maybe possible but risky. That it would take five C-17s to haul two heavy [60 ton] Crusaders and its support equipment like the 2 RSVs versus four C-17s to airlift two lightweight [40 ton] Crusaders and support equipment. Since the max load for a C-17 is roughly 85 tons, there would be one C-17 needed for each heavy Crusader, hence the fifth plane. What is frigthening is the Army computer loading simulation of two Crusaders in a C-17 did not allow enough room to secure the vehicles with chains - "does not address the issue of restraining the howitzers in flight." Trust me there would be ZERO C-17 crews that would let that cargo load happen. In fact the Air Force would be telling the Army to go jump in a lake. Later on page 22 the Army states that even if two Crusaders can not be loaded on a C-17, they will still accept the Crusader. Ah here we have 'the facts dont matter' mantra. One would think the Army would have learned from the Bradley program where it was found out the only way Bradley's could be carried on MAC's workhorse the C-141 was to unbolt the side armor and take the vehicle off its tracks. Considering the C-141 entered service in the 1960s and the Bradely in the 1980s, one would think the Army would take into account the dimensions of the airlifter most likely to haul it's new AFV in an emergency. But they did not. And here they are repeating that stupidity of buying vehicles hard to airlift. Also note the maturity levels of various components, I have to wonder why the vehicle's tracks are at a lowly rating of 5 while the next generation suspension is rated a 7.

Then there is this document from 1999 and the follow-on one from 2000. Where we see listed that Crusader ran into technical difficulties over its Liquid Propellant round and they switched over to solid propellant. Or it might be political expediancy since they switched over to the gun and ammo from another Army program being developed, the XM297. If truly political then this ropes in Senators and Representatives with vested interest in the Xm297 into supporting Crusader. I note General Dynamics as prime sub-contractors for Crusader, which ropes in Vermont and Michigan. Software team is in Minnesota. Linux operating system comes from California. Electric motors from three possible states from one supplier. Right there is a significant number of Senators. From the 2000 PDF we see a company in Texas involved to join the Maryland and Virginia companies in the 1999 document. Get enough Congress-critters together and no system can be killed even when the military does not want it. So it looks like the Crusader team was playing typical Beltway Politics by spreading the government defense dole to as many states as possible to buy as many Senators and Representatives as possible.

The more I look at the 2002 GAO report, the more thankful I become this overweight anachronism from the Cold War got killed off. It was definately intended to fight the last war, the one in Europe as Third Soviet Shock Army rolled through the Fulda Gap on its way to France.


Mike's America said...

I wonder if we will find out how many of these six generals in revolt against Rummy where also objecting to other transformational elements like Crusader.

Rumsfeld hinted at that during his press briefing, but doesn't directly engage the issue (wise perhaps).

Also, found a really FUNNY post about his body language you will like.

Anna said...

By not naming names like his opponents are doing, Rumsfeld is trying to stay a class act. Plus it drives the spot-light hungering fools any extra press if he does not mention them. So expect more frothing at the mouth.

Yes! Beware the Rumsfeld action figure with Kung-Fu mad briefing skillz boy! :)