“In the next two years,” Army chief of staff Ray Odierno said today, the service could move out on four new combat vehicles and reboot its aging inventory for a new era of war. They range from a parachute-droppable light truck for Airborne soldiers to a scout car, a light tank, and a new infantry fighting vehicle to carry heavy troops into the teeth of enemy fire.
These projects are more incremental than revolutionary, more modest than ambitious, but they’re a step beyond the variants of 1980s-vintage vehicles the Army is currently procuring. They don’t attempt to transform the Army like the cancelled Future Combat System or the Reagan buildup’s famed “Big Five” — but they might just be the Feasible Four.
The biggest challenge is the IFV, sometimes also called the Future Fighting Vehicle. This machine would replace the Cold War mainstay of the armored force, the M2 Bradley, which FCS and the Ground Combat Vehicle programs both failed to do.