News 1998 Army Science and Technology Master Plan



N. Fire Support

The artillery must be prepared to concentrate a great volume of fire wherever it is needed, at any moment, so as to dominate rapidly any part of the battlefield which might be threatened.

General Charles DeGaulle
The Army of the Future, 1941

1. Introduction

Fire support is the collective and coordinated use of indirect fire, target acquisition data, armed aircraft, and other lethal and nonlethal means against ground targets in support of maneuver force operations. The mission of fire support is to destroy, neutralize, or suppress the enemy with indirect fire and integrate all available means of fire support.

Fire support responsibilities focus on close support fires in support of engaging maneuver units, counterfire (the attack of enemy indirect fire support systems), and interdiction (the attack of enemy laterally and in depth). It includes artillery, mortars, other non–line–of–sight weapons, Army aviation, naval gun fire, close air support, and electronic countermeasures.

2. Relationship to Operational Capabilities

To achieve the required operational capabilities, the fire support S/SU/ACs will provide unique system capabilities that will enhance the commander’s ability to meet the dynamic requirements of the battlefield. Fire support capabilities include supporting the ability of early entry operations to deploy rapidly and secure the operational area; providing critical elements of the combat power required to defeat an enemy throughout the depth of the battlefield; supporting the commander’s requirement to control the rate and pace of combat activities; supporting critical aspects of the commander’s ability to effect operations against opposing forces engaged in combat actions; and providing essential capabilities in the logistics spectrum to support, rearm, and resupply fire support assets required to sustain the soldier on the battlefield (see Table III–32).

3. Modernization Strategy

The Army Modernization Plan Fire Support annex provides the direction and focus of our modernization strategy. The cornerstone for the successful implementation of this continuous modernization strategy is our science and technology programs. These programs will focus on system upgrades, new systems, and advanced concepts that will provide quality materiel to commanders that ensure their ability to "fight fire with fire."

4. Fire Support Roadmap

Table III–33 presents a summary of ACTDs, ATDs, and major TDs leading to systems development and upgrade. Modernization of the fire support operating system depends upon the development of these key systems for fire support coordination, close support, counterfire, command and control, and target acquisition, as well as munitions and rockets, and their ultimate fielding as a fire support system–of–systems.

As shown in Figure III–20, S&T efforts focus on:

Maximization of kill capability.
Advanced gun/rocket propulsion.
Automated ammunition handling.
Integrated fire control and battle management.
Signature reduction and increased protection.
Classification, tracking, and identification of ground vehicles.
Sensors (acoustic and electro–optical) and processing.
AI and computing technologies.
Increased battlefield operational mobility.

Table III–32.  Fire Support System Capabilities

System/
System Upgrade/
Advanced Concept
Function

Patterns of Operation

System/
System Upgrade
Capability

Advanced Concept
Capability

  Project the Force Protect the Force Gain Information Dominance Decisive Operations Shape the Battlespace Sustain the Force    
RANGE             Deep fire 20 to 40 km beyond FLOT

54% increase in onboard ammo (60 vs. 39 Paladin)

Decision aids

155–mm range from a lightweight system

 
System            
Crusader

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Lightweight 155–mm Towed Howitzer

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System Upgrade            
ERA Projectile—XM982

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Advanced Concept               Increased range or cargo capacity
Guided MLRS

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LETHALITY             Increased rate of fire (12–16 rounds/second)

Point target accuracy

Robotic and automated rapid ammo handling

Increased lethality area

155–mm firepower from a lightweight system

Mobile long–range capability

Reduced logistics burden

RF energy

IFF

Top attack surgical kill

Increased footprint covers moving targets

Improved response time

Increased range with self–destructive cargo

Precision guidance capability

System            
Crusader

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Lightweight 155–mm Towed Howitzer

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System Upgrade            
Multimode Airframe Technology

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ERA Projectile—XM982

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Advanced Concept            
Guided MLRS

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Precision–Guided Mortar Munition

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ACCURACY             Deep fire 20 to 40 km beyond FLOT

Onboard sensors

Onboard target acquisition

Increased sensor accuracy

Increased mobility

Munitions classification

Decision aids

Improved navigation

Point target capability at long ranges

 
System            
Crusader

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Lightweight 155–mm Towed Howitzer

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System Upgrade            
Firefinder P3I  

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Multimode Airframe Technology

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ERA Projectile—XM982

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Advanced Concept               Improved delivery accuracy

Man–portable fire control

Top attack surgical kill for U.S. infantry

GPS auto–registration or auto–self–correcting

Improved targeting

Precision guidance capability

Precision–Guided Mortar Munition

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Guided MLRS

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SURVIVABILITY             Autonomous

Real time on target meteorological data

Decision aids

155–mm range firepower and area coverage with lightweight mobility

 
System            
Crusader

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Lightweight 155–mm Towed Howitzer  

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System Upgrade             Doubles range

250% greater survivability

Smart weapon ECCM

Improved mobility

Datalink to TMD

Reduce time at firing point

Novel (nonvolatile) propellants

Improved ECCM

Rapid deployment

Route planning and self–defense AI modules

Launch to digitized battlefield

Fire and forget

Firefinder P3I  

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Advanced Concept                
Guided MLRS  

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FORCE MULTIPLIER             Based on increased accuracy

Less manpower

Commonality of spares

Affordable long–range navigation

155–mm fire power for light forces/

Smart weapons

Extended range cargo delivery

Increased lethality

 
System            
Crusader

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Lightweight 155–mm Towed Howitzer  

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System Upgrade               Extended range cargo delivery (40–70 km)

AI

IFF

RF energy

Digitized 155–mm firepower

Increased autonomous footprint

ERA Projectile—XM982

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Firefinder P3I  

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Advanced Concept                

 

 

 

Autonomous or surgical kill for infantry

Guided MLRS

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Precision–Guided Mortar Munition

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MOBILITY             Composite technology

Autonomous operation

Land, water, air movement

Onboard navigation

 
System            
Crusader

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Lightweight 155–mm Towed Howitzer

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Table III–33.  Fire Support Demonstration and System Summary

Advanced Technology Demonstration

Technology Demonstration

Precision–Guided Mortar Munition (see Close Combat Light)

Guided MLRS

Decision Aids for Advanced Artillery and Decision Aids
155–mm Automated Howitzer
Ducted Rocket Engine
Multimode Airframe
Integrated Sensors and Targeting
Auto–Registration

Advanced Concept
Technology Demonstration

 
JPSD Precision/Rapid Counter MRL

Rapid Force Projection Initiative (see Close Combat Light)

(For additional information, see Volume II, Annex NO TAG.)

 

System/System Upgrade/Advanced Concept

System

Crusader
Lightweight 155–mm Towed Howitzer

System Upgrade

Firefinder P3I
Multimode Airframe Technology
Extended Range Artillery (ERA) Projectile—XM982

Advanced Concept

Precision–Guided Mortar Munition
Guided MLRS
Advanced Decision Aids for Artillery
155–mm Automated Howitzer

a. ATDs and Other Technology Demonstrations

Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) ATD (1995–98). This ATD will demonstrate a significant improvement in the range and accuracy of the MLRS free–flight artillery rocket. Improved accuracy results in a significant reduction in the number of rockets required to defeat the target (as much as sixfold at extended ranges). Other benefits include an associated reduction in the logistics burden (transportation of rockets), reduced chances of collateral damage and fratricide, reduced mission times (resulting in increased system survivability), and increased effective range for the MLRS rocket. The ATD will design, fabricate, and flight test a low–cost guidance and control package to be housed in the nose of the rocket, thus minimizing the changes to the current rocket. A low–cost inertial measurement unit (IMU) coupled with a canard control system will be demonstrated in Phase I, followed by a GPS–aided IMU solution in Phase II. The IMU package will provide a 2 to 3 mil accuracy sufficient for some MLRS warheads with the GPS–aided package providing a 10–meter CEP accuracy for warheads that require precision accuracy. The package to be demonstrated will result in a rocket that is more cost effective and more lethal while requiring no change to crew training procedures or maintenance procedures (during the 15–year shelf life). The guidance and control package will be designed with applicability to bomblet, mine, precision guided submunition, and unitary/earth penetrator warheads. An EMD program is in the POM with an FY98 start. Supports: RFPI ACTD and Guided MLRS.

Precision Guided Mortar Munition (PGMM) ATD (1994–01). The 120–mm PGMM will demonstrate a multimission, multimode, precision munition capable of defeating high–value point targets at extended ranges (12–15 km). Its modes of operation include autonomous fire–and–forget and laser designation for a surgical strike capability. Accuracy improvement, such as GPS/inertial navigation system (INS) technologies, will be developed to further improve accuracy and effectiveness at long ranges. In FY99 demonstrations included both

Figure III-20. Roadmap - Fire Support Modernization
Figure III-20. Roadmap - Fire Support Modernization
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laser–designated and autonomous fire missions. In FY01 demonstrations included comprehensive hardware–in–loop (including GPS/INS) testing. See the section on Close Combat Light (above), for details. Supports: RFPI ACTD, 120–mm Mortars, and PGMM.

Auto–Registration TD (1996–98). This program will develop and demonstrate an auto–registration system utilizing a digital GPS P/Y code translator (in a NATO–standard fuze) and platform receiver to track artillery projectiles and automatically compute firing corrections. This will provide significant accuracy improvement, at all ranges, for all projectiles on all platforms. The demonstration will take place at Yuma Proving Ground and the Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, and will consist of a series of test firings that will compare predicted fire to autoregistration accuracy. Supports: All existing and future 155–mm munitions/platforms.

Rapid Force Projection Initiative (RFPI) ACTD (1995–00). This ACTD will demonstrate a highly lethal, survivable, and rapidly air deployable enhancement to the Early Entry Task Force. It includes an automated fire control system for selected howitzers, the EFOGM non–line–of–sight weapon system, and the IAS as a deep/shallow emplaced sensor. Further details are provided in the section on Close Combat Light (above).

155–mm Automated Howitzer (AH) TD (1994–01). This program will demonstrate an automated, digital fire control system for a 155–mm towed artillery system. The digital FCS has self–location and direction determination. The FCS performs onboard ballistic calculations that provide the system with greater responsiveness, accuracy, lethality, and survivability. The advanced fire control technology supports the RFPI ACTD and subsequent ACTD. Automation such as self–location and direction determination are expected to increase efficiency, responsiveness, and accuracy. Supports: LW Howitzer 155 Program and RFPI ACTD.

Decision Aids for Advanced Artillery and Armament Decision Aids TD (1994–00). The initial demonstrations evaluate a prototype decision–aid system for self–propelled artillery, utilizing artificial intelligence and advanced computing techniques. The system consists of two decision aid modules: reconnaissance, selection, and occupation of position (RSOP) and self–defense. It will reduce planning time required for movement to a new fire position, decrease response time to a new mission, and increase self–survivability capability. The follow–on demonstration (armament decision aids) will build upon previously developed technology and link the individual fire support platform to the digitized battlefield. This demonstration will allow individual or groups of fire support platforms to operate, as needed, outside of the traditional fire support C2 structure and fully exploit new plans, procedures, and tactics of the digital battlefield. Benefits will include improved situational awareness, synchronized movement with maneuver forces, and, ideally, fratricide avoidance. Supports: Crusader.

JPSD Precision/Rapid Counter MRL ACTD (1995–98). This ACTD will demonstrate a significantly enhanced capability for U.S. Forces Korea to neutralize the North Korean 240–mm MRL system. Because of the brief time in which this target is expected to be exposed and vulnerable to counterfire, near–continuous surveillance and near–instantaneous target acquisition will be required, as well as the employment of innovative target attack means. Smart munitions for the MLRS family of submunitions (MFOM) will be demonstrated through simulations in the ACTD to include smart munitions for increased effectiveness and coverage. Project management and funding will continue through FY98. Supports: Precision Strike.

Ducted Rocket Engine (DRE) TD (1996–98). The DRE program is a joint R&D effort with Japan to develop and demonstrate a ducted rocket engine for a medium surface–to–air missile that will significantly increase the intercept envelope against aircraft and cruise missiles when compared with surface–to–air missiles utilizing current solid rocket propulsion technology. It is the first developmental program under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense/Japan Defense Agency Systems and Technology Forum (S&TF). The component technology development and engine demonstration effort is focused on the design and testing of a minimum signature, insensitive munitions–compatible booster, having supersonic air inlets, and a solid fuel gas generator providing high–impulse, minimum signature ramburner operation. Performance data acquired from the DRE program integrated tests may provide a basis for the design of a future, operationally deployable surface–to–air or long–range surface–to–surface missile system. Supports: Future missile systems, Battle Command, Depth and Simultaneous Attack, Early Entry Lethality, and Survivability Battle Labs.

Multimode Airframe Technology (MAT) TD (1995–98). This TD will provide the battlefield commander with a long–range (40+ km) precision–guided artillery weapon that will provide light forces with surgical kill capacity against heavy armor, helicopter, and bunker targets. Further, it will provide extended–range and precision terminal homing capabilities, enhanced survivability and lethality, jam–proof datalink, and low–signature turbojet launch using GPS/IMU for navigation. Supports: RFPI ACTD and JPSD Precision/Rapid Counter MRL ACTD.

Integrated Sensors and Targeting TD (1999–02). This program will develop a leap–ahead targeting upgrade to the suite of integrated RF countermeasures (AN/ALQ–211) and suite of integrated IR countermeasures (AN/ALQ–212). Apache Longbow AH–1D aircraft will have precision geolocation and targeting of emitters on the battlefield. Using its integral variable message format (VMF) interface to onboard communications systems, Apache Longbow will be capable of providing command posts, fire support units, and ground vehicles with real–time coordinates with friend or foe classification of radar emitters on the battlefield. Supports: PM–Airborne Electronic Combat’s (AEC) EMD Technology Upgrades to the AN/ALQ–211 and ALQ–212.

Advanced Sense and Destroy Armor (SADARM) Sensor TD (1998-01). This program will demonstrate the application of a common aperature LADAR/IR transducer to enhance the current smart submunition (SADARM) sensor suite for use in gun launch environments. The enhanced sensor suite performance will greatly reduce cost per kill for the basic SADARM. Support: SADARM improvements.

Future Direct Support Weapon TD (1998-01). This program is to demonstrate the viability of a 5000–lb 155mm towed howitzer. The program consists of two major phases with the first phase to demonstrate a 6750–lb towed howitzer, then a 5700–lb howitzer in second phase. This program will leverage technologies such as electro–rheological fluid and recoil management, advanced materials and structures to reduce system weight. Support: 155mm towed howitzer for light forces.

5. Relationship to Modernization Plan Annexes

Table III–34 shows the correlation between the Fire Support S/SU/ACs and other AMP annexes.

Table III–34.  Correlation Between Fire Support S/SU/ACs and Other AMP Annexes

System/System Upgrade/Advanced Concept

Modernization Plan Annexes

  Close Combat Light* Mounted Forces* IEW Space & Missile Defense
System Crusader

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  Lightweight 155–mm Towed Howitzer

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System Upgrade Firefinder P3I

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  Multimode Airframe Technology

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  Extended–Range Artillery Projectile—XM982

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Advanced Concept Precision–Guided Mortar Munition

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  Guided MLRS

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Advanced Concept Advanced Decision Aids for Artillery  

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* See Combat Maneuver Annex.
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