The greatest Science and Technology (S&T) challenge in the Mounted Forces mission is to make our most capable mounted forces lighter, more lethal, and more deployable to better react to regional conflicts in the post-Cold War era, while improving their mobility, C4I capability, and survivability.
Over the last few years, changes in the geo-political climate have shifted the threat away from our traditional Cold War adversaries. Today any country has rapid access to state-of-the-art weapon systems (e.g., precision guided munitions) and vehicles for their warfighting arsenal. In order to counter foreign capabilities, we will continue to rely on the systems purchased mostly in the 1980s and plan for upgrades to those vehicle fleets, take advantage of commercial technology advances (e.g., computers, communications, electronics), and improve the ability to sustain the fleet at lower cost. These Mounted Force S&T opportunities are focused through the Advanced Vehicle Technologies (AVT) integration program.
The need for rapid deployment of the Mounted Force to any battlefield in the world emerged as a lesson learned from Operation Desert Shield. New requirements for the force has drastically changed combat vehicle design considerations. The creation of lighter, more mobile, more supportable vehicles is now an integral part of the S&T investment strategy. But simply increasing the deployability at the expense of the capabilities of our combat systems is not acceptable. We must increase deployability while simultaneously advancing our superiority in lethality, C4I, survivability, and battlefield mobility. This is where our technology base is critical in forming a viable basis for these new, more capable, smaller, lighter fighting vehicles.
Mounted Forces require expanded capabilities to acquire and kill the array of threat targets in all weather, on the move, day/night, in cluttered environments, and at long ranges with in- creased probability of destruction out to the extent of the commander's battlespace. S&T programs must focus on warfighter needs for future systems and/or system upgrades. Investments are being made to apply technology horizontally across multiple combat and tactical systems.