Truck Stop

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Army photo / Sgt. Michael J. MacLeod,

A U.S. Army paratrooper with the 82nd Airborne Division's 1st Brigade Combat Team fires his M4 carbine at insurgents from behind an MRAP -- Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicle -- during a firefight June 30 in Ghazni Province.

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Donald Williamson
Donald Williamson

That is a CROW system and it is also aimed in the same direction the soldier is.  Please look at the vehicle closely before saying something. Our guys know what they are doing.

freefallingbomb
freefallingbomb

 I wrote 4 pages of technical and tactical arguments on why you're wrong, but “Battleland” just won't publish it. (Maybe one of “Battleland”'s censors works for the M.I.C. ?)

Here's my source:

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/Ge... (jump all Salam alaikums until page 27, “CHAPTER 4 ; ANALYSIS”)

Pity...

freefallingbomb
freefallingbomb

 Ah... thanks for the info.

And NOPE , the general already confided me in 2007 that “his guys” LITERALLY don't have the foggiest clue what they're doing in combat (I think he was talking about you), despite all the “gun-stabilization” and “F.L.I.R.” of C.R.O.W.S., and organized his objections as to why not into five main groups, laid out in 82 pages:

“CROWS is NOT an improvement over a TRADITIONALLY MANNED WEAPON [caps by me] in combat at the current time

(...)

collateral damage may increase with CROWS

(...)

Unfortunately, malfunctions in the system have caused physical injury to friendly forces

(...)

the predominant limitation associated with CROWS was decreased situational awareness. Decreased situational awareness is caused by limited exposure to external stimuli and limited gunner field of view

(...)

The author’s personal experiences indicate that armor plating on vehicles nearly silences sounds from the external environment. These sounds, which can include human voices, gunfire, and even the sound of a small IED explosion, are often indicators of enemy activity. In the Army’s M1114 vehicle, in particular, there is limited plating on the vehicle’s underbelly. A lack of plating on the underbelly amplifies the sound of the vehicle’s engine, decreasing the gunner’s ability to hear external stimuli even more.

(...)

CROWS cameras do not have the same span of perception as a human gunner. The field of view that the gunner sees on his/her station’s screen is not as wide as the typical human eye. A traditional gunner may see something out of the corner of his/her eye that would not be seen by a CROWS gunner because it was out of the camera’s range and not displayed on the screen. In summary, CROWS presents one major limitation, decreased situational awareness, which is a result of decreased stimuli and a limited range of view.

(...)

The first concern dealt with the difficulty with ammunition links getting stuck in the ammunition feed tray.

(...)

The second was the lack of adequate internal battery power. CROWS can only operate for a limited time without starting the vehicle’s engine. [Got a jerry can?]

(...)

TACOM’s SOUM announced that CROWS had a significant problem in functionality. The SOUM announced that a shortfall in software could cause CROWS to fire after power is cut to the control drives. This is a significant problem because it could result in fratricide.

(...)

Changing the manual focus function was the one aspect of CROWS that soldiers would most like to change. The gunner must manually focus the system each time CROWS moves on to a different target.

(...)

the joystick caused cramping in the gunner’s hand after prolonged use [what would Rambo say?]

(...)

In the event of an ammunition jam, the gunner must exit the vehicle through the turret to correct the jam, which negates the increased force protection CROWS provides.

(...)

The cost of one CROWS is approximately $200,000. (...) This cost reflects materiel only and does not include associated research and development costs or fielding and maintenance costs.

(...)

CROWS does not require additional personnel at the unit level, but does require additional personnel for initial fielding, training, and sustainment.

(...)

In terms of operation, CROWS requires a power supply. This is not the case with a traditional weapon. CROWS is powered by an internal battery pack, or by the vehicle’s engine.

(...)

In terms of maintenance, CROWS requires support from the personnel at the CROWS fielding and training site in Balad [, Iraq]. Most faults can not be corrected at the unit level; they require support from mobile, civilian maintenance teams from Balad. These teams require transportation to the repair site and life support once they arrive. (...) In summary, CROWS requires many unique resources in order to support forward-based fielding, training, operation, and maintenance. Although these additional resources do not pose a problem, they are not required for a traditional M2.

(...)

Each CROWS costs approximately $200,000, so there are additional economic resources required.

(...)

For example, vehicles with CROWS have less occupancy space because gunners are now inside of the vehicle and not in the turret. The seat that was once filled by an occupant is now filled by the gunner, reducing occupancy from five to four personnel.

(...)

When these units arrive, they conduct a relief-in-place (RIP) with the outgoing unit. A RIP can last anywhere from one week to one month depending on the personnel force flow into theater. The outgoing unit is responsible for training the new unit on CROWS sometime during the RIP. Unfortunately, there are a myriad of tasks that occur during a RIP and CROWS training is likely not the most important. As a result, incoming units often have to learn through hands-on experience, which is not a preferred method, particularly in a fast-paced combat environment.

(...)

A final limitation is a potential one. There may be additional training requirements when and if CROWS is no longer contractor-supported for maintenance. Soldiers will then be responsible for performing higher-level maintenance on the system, for which they will have had no formal training.

(...)

CROWS is equipment dependent for power. The M2 machine gun is not; it can operate without a power source. [Wait for the first E.M.P.]

(...)

With respect to additional materiel required for CROWS, a boresight kit is issued to crews during NET. This is only a limitation if the unit misplaces the kit or any of its components because, like repair parts, it is not available through Army supply channels. (...) these limitations do not exist for a traditional M2 machine gun.

(...)

With respect to leadership, the most significant limitation is that leaders have little to no experience, training, or familiarization with CROWS until they arrive in Iraq. In blunt terms, the system is thrown at them in a combat environment with no published standards for training and maintaining. CROWS just becomes another piece of equipment for which leaders are responsible. (...) CROWS brings increased capabilities to a combat environment, but they are useless if leaders do not implement the system in a way that maximizes these capabilities. CROWS is only as beneficial as leaders allow it to be.

(...)

In terms of education, CROWS falls short in comparison to an M2. Most Army personnel are unfamiliar with CROWS unless they have had first-hand experience, by either using or seeing the system in Iraq. Personnel in the acquisition community or those serving in high-level positions may have limited exposure and knowledge of the system, but this includes a very small population of the total Army force. (...) Education with respect to the M2 machine gun is entirely different. The M2 has existed in the Army’s equipment inventory long enough that you would be hard pressed to find a Soldier, regardless of rank, that has not received some sort of M2 exposure and familiarization during their career.

(...)

257 CROWS were fielded to units in Iraq, completing 100% of the initial operational needs statement. The personnel support package that made this possible was consistently under fifteen personnel, which is relatively small given their large training, fielding, and sustainment mission.

(...)

You currently can not implement any portion of the CROWS program without a large personnel support package, part of which must be forward deployed in the respective theater of operations. (...) The M2 does not require a personnel support package for operation, training, fielding, and sustainment. For this reason, the M2 has far less limitations than CROWS with respect to personnel. (...) CROWS training requires an entire facility for its purposes.

(...)

The CROWS operation in Iraq simply outgrew their old facility due to the increase in the number of trainees and systems fielded. Requirements will only increase further as more systems are fielded. The M2 machine gun does not require the additional facilities that CROWS does. A traditional M2 requires no additional facilities for training, fielding, and sustainment in a forward-deployed location.

(...)

Basic skills trainer not yet available.

(...)

Overall, these benefits do not make CROWS an improvement over a traditionally manned weapon in combat. (...) Analysis proved that there is currently no compelling information that proves that CROWS has significant benefits over a traditional weapon system. Evidence does not show that CROWS increases lethality or decreases collateral damage.

(...)

Although end-users like the system, the major aspects they mentioned do not necessarily make CROWS better than a traditional M2.

(...)

CROWS also requires additional resources that a traditional M2 does not. The most significant was the cost. At slightly over $200,000 per system, not including the weapon, CROWS bears a high price tag, particularly when it does not necessarily provide significant benefits and currently has notable problems in functionality. The benefits just do not outweigh the cost.

(...)

The implications of these conclusions are significant. The military is putting a very expensive system in the hands of Soldiers with little to no experience with the system, little to no doctrine to serve as reference, little to no training, and little to no qualitative information that proves its benefits. These implications do not even consider the fact that the system currently has significant problems with functionality that has caused its use to be all but terminated in Iraq. Implications on a larger scale may affect other unmanned, robotic weapon systems. If the Army is having these problems with CROWS, what other systems that are costing a lot of money will have a similar performance? The military may need to relook how it is implementing advanced technology and to what degree we are dehumanizing weaponry.

(...)

When the development and indoctrination process of such systems is so rushed that we develop training on the fly and issue a deadly weapon system without doctrine, there may be negative results.

(...)

In addition, how far is the military willing to go to dehumanize fighting? There is something to be said for having a living, breathing human fully exposed to all external stimuli behind a crew-served weapon that can potentially cause mass destruction.

(...)

When research began, the author did not expect that a SOUM would have been published that, by the time the analysis was finalized, would all but terminate CROWS operation in Iraq until major software problems were corrected. The author also did not expect to discover that this malfunction would be the cause of several incidents of fratricide in Iraq.

(...)

Second, end-users did not like CROWS as much as the author initially expected. This study only highlighted the top three positive and negative aspects noted by Soldiers, but there were certainly more than enough negatives noted to devote to additional analysis.

(...)

Qualitative analysis is desperately needed.

(...)

The most significant unanswered question to this research is arguably unanswerable. Does CROWS actually save lives? (...) The military should take a hard look at whether or not the resources put into systems like CROWS actually saves the lives of the Soldiers using them. This is a difficult task, but one the military needs to consider. If CROWS saved just one life, then it is arguable worth every cent and additional resource. However, to date there is no quantifiable or qualitative data or analysis that proves the case. To date, all we have proof of is that CROWS has significant software issues that have caused physical injury to friendly forces.

(...)

The military must expect problems to arise if it is going to field this system directly to a combat environment with no prior training, whether at home station or at the CTCs.

(...)

This study has shown that at this time, CROWS is not an improvement over a traditionally manned weapon in combat. CROWS possesses advanced technology that increase capabilities, but these capabilities do not necessarily make it an improvement over a traditional weapon system. Additionally, we must consider the significant problems CROWS software is currently causing. The primary reason CROWS was developed in the first place was to save lives, not cause fratricide. One incident of fratricide is too many.

(...)

At this time, CROWS just is not the best we can do.

http://www.dtic.mil/cgi-bin/Ge... (jump all Salam alaikums until page 27, “CHAPTER 4 ; ANALYSIS”)

So, now I must ask again: If two occupants in the picture even climbed out of the vehicle, then why don't the heroes sitting inside man the goddamned roof machine-gun? Are they waiting for yelled directions from their actively fighting comrades, did the C.R.O.W.S.' joystick cramp their hands, is the desert sunlight too strong for the F.L.I.R. infrared sights to detect anything or are they still focusing manually, rebooting the system and asking on radio for the 'a10' instructions manual?

P.S.:

What would YOU rather buy for each vehicle amp; crew: 1 x C.R.O.W.S. or 20 x M2 heavy machine-guns for exactly the same price – and without disadvantages?

freefallingbomb
freefallingbomb

If this a real ambush, not just another staged picture for the Press, then why is nobody manning the heavy machine-gun on the vehicle's rooftop? This would be my first reaction!

factstoconsider
factstoconsider

 Doesn't look to be a machine gun on the top. More like the base for a TOW missile launcher, in which case they would not use for small-arms fire.