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U.S. Response to Russia's Invasion of Ukraine

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  • TopHatter
    Ukraine to get AMRAAM weapons under $1 billion deal with RTX

    WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force has awarded a nearly $1.2 billion contract to the missiles and defense sector of RTX, until recently known as Raytheon Technologies, to produce the next lot of AIM-120 Advanced Medium Range Air-to-Air Missiles.

    Part of the firm-fixed-price deal — the largest ever awarded for AMRAAM weapons — will cover missiles for sale to multiple foreign allies and partners, including Ukraine.

    RTX will produce AMRAAM weapons, telemetry systems and spare parts in Tucson, Arizona, under the contract, as well as provide production engineering support, the Pentagon said in a statement announcing the deal. The company is expected to finish work on Lot 37 of the missiles by the end of January 2027.

    RTX said in its own statement the contract will be for the D3 and C8 versions of the AMRAAM, which have the latest F3R — which stands for form, fit, function refresh — upgrades to its software and hardware. Those AMRAAMs also have improved circuit cards and other hardware in their guidance systems.

    The Pentagon said about 39% of the value of the contract, or $449 million, will be for foreign military sales to 18 nations, including the United Kingdom, South Korea, Italy, Japan, Singapore, Saudi Arabia and Canada.

    Ukraine fires AMRAAMs from its National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile System batteries. The U.S. Army in December 2022 awarded RTX another contract worth up to $1.2 billion to deliver six NASAM batteries to Ukraine.

    While the latest contract was awarded by the U.S. Air Force, the U.S. Navy will provide more than $330 million in procurement funds and will receive some missiles from the lot. The Navy will also provide about $5 million in research and development funds.

    The Air Force plans to spend more than $351 million in procurement funds on these missiles, as well as another $10 million for research and development, plus and $3.9 million in operation and maintenance funds.

    RTX said this will mark the fifth production lot of the upgraded AMRAAMs.

    Time to hang some of those AMRAAMs on the Vipers for Ukraine

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  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by Monash View Post

    Trump and his supporters in Congress will be disappointed.
    You rang?

    GOP lawmakers target Pentagon’s plan to ramp up missile production for Ukraine
    A US House panel has decided to make significant cuts to an ambitious Pentagon proposal to ramp up missile production for Ukraine, dealing a major blow to President Joe Biden’s military spending goal laid out in his most recent budget plan.

    According to a report on Sunday, Republican members of the House Committee on Appropriations reduced more than $2.5 billion of the Pentagon spending bill that deals with missile procurement across the military services.

    “The Committee is particularly concerned the Department [of Defense] cannot provide realistic cost estimates and has proceeded with these multiyear procurement requests without a firm understanding of each program’s unit cost and production capacity,” Republican lawmakers wrote in the report.

    The GOP lawmakers went on to say that they agree with the need for “steady demand” so the defense industrial base can ramp up production, but they countered that the Pentagon “failed to show” how multiyear contracts would meet legal standards.

    Members of the committee further explained that several missile programs “are worthy of multiyear procurement consideration due to their enduring importance and steady production” as justification for permitting bulk buys of these munitions.

    The committee specifically denied multiyear procurement authority for Raytheon Technologies-manufactured Standard Missile-6 and the Advanced Medium-Range Air-to-Air Missiles because lawmakers do not believe the Pentagon has a clear understanding of unit costs and production capacity.

    As part of the $2.5 billion missile cut, the spending panel cut much of a Pentagon push for $1.9 billion to support bulk purchases. It redirected money to boost military training, maintenance and operations as well as Pentagon research and development efforts to field new technology and weapons.

    The shift in funding may set up a potential fight with other panels in the House of Representatives and Senate that side with the Pentagon’s plans. Democrats are also expected to oppose the legislation over spending differences with Republicans.

    The report, which will be made public next week, outlines the funding changes members of the committee made to Biden’s defense budget. It also explains the committee’s priorities in shaping the bill and items of interest or concern for lawmakers.

    The latest development comes as the United States has announced another military aid package for Ukraine.

    On Tuesday, the Pentagon announced a new $325 million arms package for Ukraine, saying it will include munitions for air defense systems, ammunition and vehicles.

    This comes days after the Pentagon announced that it will provide an additional $2.1 billion in weapons aid for Ukraine.

    Washington has provided about $38 billion in security assistance to Ukraine since Russia launched its special military operation in late February 2022.

    Russian officials have repeatedly announced that flooding Ukraine with weapons will only increase the destruction.

    Republican lawmakers have voiced concerns about the haphazard military shipments to Ukraine.

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  • Monash
    Originally posted by Ironduke View Post
    Looks like there's another $3.2 billion to work with in giving military aid to Ukraine, in addition to the $3 billion from May.
    Trump and his supporters in Congress will be disappointed.

    Leave a comment:

  • Ironduke
    Looks like there's another $3.2 billion to work with in giving military aid to Ukraine, in addition to the $3 billion from May.
    Pentagon says Ukraine accounting error revealed last month is much bigger than previously stated

    The Pentagon announced Tuesday that the accounting error revealed last month was significantly more than previously stated and aid provided to Ukraine was overvalued by $6.2 billion rather than $3 billion.

    The accounting error includes fiscal years 2022 and 2023 and occurred because “in a significant number of cases,” when the US transferred weaponry, military officials counted the value of replacing the weapon instead of the value of the actual weapon, deputy Pentagon press secretary Sabrina Singh explained at a news briefing.

    That process drove up the cost of each new aid package – because new weaponry costs more than old weaponry – and resulted in the false assumption that more of the funding had been used.

    “In a significant number of cases, services used replacement costs rather than net book value, thereby overestimating the value of the equipment drawn down from US stocks and provided to Ukraine,” Singh said.

    The final calculation of the accounting error is far higher than the Pentagon previously estimated in May, when it first revealed the miscalculation as $3 billion.

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    As discussed last week, the Bradley is showing higher survivability rates than other IFVs. And in this article, Dr Cooper shows a lack of understanding of combined arms warfare. By the time I got my Bradleys in 1987 we got the M2A1. It had improvements over the original Bradleys including better armored protection and an upgrade to the TOW 2 which increased the range and warhead size over the basic TOW. The Bradley was bemoaned to be a horse designed by a committee and ended up a camel. In reality it was a damn good weapons platform that proved survivable and lethal. There are numerous examples in OIF 1 of Bradleys taking multiple RPG hits and stay in the fight.

    And the model M2A2 (ODS) was built with the improvements of the Gulf War applied...laser rangefinder, AT missile active protection system, improved communications set up, spall liners to reduce casualties from armor spalling, GPS navigation and precision location and they got rid of the stupid fording kit and ridiculous Firing Port Weapons so the armor could be previously enhanced. And all of this increased weight was compensated with an improved 600 hp diesel engine.

    I am curious what exactly the tank missions he thinks the Bradley is being used for.

    But overall a pretty good article.

    Ukraine Shows The Fight To Make The Bradley IFV Safer Was Worth It (

    Ukraine Shows The Fight To Make The Bradley IFV Safer Was Worth It

    Craig Hooper
    Senior Contributor
    I evaluate national security threats and propose solutions.
    An M2A2 Bradley

    Russia has wasted no time in celebrating the first Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicle losses in Ukraine. As Russian troops start testing the new Ukrainian fleet of about 124 M2A2 ODS Bradley fighting vehicles, the vehicle’s battlefield record, thus far, suggests the vicious, 80’s-era Washington DC brawls needed to make the Bradley safer were worthwhile.

    Bradley development was a long and tempestuous slog. As a design begun in the early 1960’s, a response to the then-new Soviet BMP-1 infantry fighting vehicle, America struggled to develop a turreted, troop-carrying platform.

    The effort, gradually morphing from a simple replacement for the ubiquitous M113 armored personnel carrier into an uncomfortable compromise between a tank and armored troop “battle taxi”, the Bradley’s true battlefield role became tough to grasp.

    The result, a multi-role generalist of a platform, was pretty good. The Bradley offered some measure of utility for just about every battlefield function. But, in the eighties, U.S. defense reformists disliked this doctrinal plasticity, and wondered if the lightly armored and pricey fighting vehicle concept would become little more than an easily-targeted deathtrap.

    Those doctrinal worries led reformers to focus on enhancing Bradley survivability. By advocating for real-world-tests aimed at demonstrating how the Bradly would respond to battlefield damage, reformers assumed the troubling results would lead to expensive refits and, ultimately, the cancellation of the program. The Army, of course, had other ideas.

    The subsequent saga, detailed by Pentagon tester, a now-retired Air Force Colonel, James Burton, is described in “The Pentagon Wars: Reformers Challenge the Old Guard.”

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    Though the real-world, live-fire test results offered some disturbing insights, the program persisted. Ultimately, the tests helped drive survivability-focused design improvements into the new infantry fighting vehicle. Those enhancements paid off. Combat video from Ukraine shows Bradley fighting vehicles taking hits, with unhurt occupants exiting the vehicle, able to navigate an active battlefield in good order.

    Ukraine itself is praising Bradley survivability. Hanna Maliar, Ukraine’s Deputy Defense Minister, posted photos of a damaged Bradley, relating how, while serving in the 47th Separate Mechanized Brigade, the Bradley took a hit by a 122mm BM-21 Grad rocket, maneuvered to safety, keeping the crew safe. The hurt Bradley is now being repaired.

    Malwar enthused the “Bradley helps to save the most precious thing—the lives of servicemen.” For a country facing a far larger aggressor, anything that keeps trained soldiers in the fight is worthwhile.
    A destroyed Russian BMP Infantry Fighting Vehicle

    The Bradley Is Surviving Hits Better Than Earlier Designs

    In Ukraine, the Bradley, after being quickly fielded and thrown into Ukrainian breaching operations, is taking losses.

    Losses are expected; breaching a prepared defense line is one toughest missions an armored vehicle can confront. But it isn’t all bad. While the Bradley is getting targeted and hit, the Ukrainian fleet of M2A2 ODS infantry fighting vehicles appear to be riding out Russian fire without suffering a high rate of catastrophic, crew-killing losses.

    Of the 124 Bradley fighting vehicles sent to Ukraine, open-source equipment trackers have recorded, at the time of publication, 17 Bradley losses—assessing five as total losses, while counting the rest as damaged and/or abandoned.

    This shows that the M2A2 Bradley works. It may get hit, but it seems able to keep those aboard far safer after taking damage. The Bradley’s predecessor, the lightly-armored M113 armored personnel carrier, is suffering far higher loss rates in Ukraine. Of the 300 M113 armored personnel carriers the U.S. donated, 34 have been lost. But out of those losses, 23 were tagged as destroyed, and only 6 were assessed as damaged (the rest were captured). The closely related YPR-765 armored personnel carriers from the Netherlands, a derivation of the M113, have suffered similar loss rate as well, with 22 destroyed, 8 destroyed/abandoned and two captured.

    In short, while seventy percent of the M113s and YPR-765s that get hit end up as a total loss, only about thirty percent of the hit Bradleys are being assessed as total losses—and the Bradleys are, arguably, engaged in a far tougher fight.

    In comparison with the Russian BMP-1, a Soviet-era platform that sparked Bradley development, the Bradley is doing well. BMP-1s are seeing far, far worse survivability rates than the either the Bradley or the older M113/YPR-765 platforms. For both the Ukrainian and the Russian BMP-1 fleets, almost 90% of the BMP-1s that have taken a hit have ended up getting assessed as a total loss—and often a catastrophic one, at that.

    CV90 combat vehicles during the Aurora 23 military exercise at the Rinkaby firing range outside ..

    Infantry Fighting Vehicle Doctrine Remains A Challenge:

    The Bradley, itself a first awkward hybrid between a light tank and an armored personnel carrier, was a product of uncomfortable compromises. The result, a platform almost too useful for its own good, is tricky for even the most talented armor expert to employ without risk.

    The utility challenge is a common problem for every employer of infantry fighting vehicles. In Ukraine, infantry fighting vehicles are being pressed into tank-like roles and getting destroyed at a terrible clip. Open-source tabulators assess that Russa has lost 2403 of these platforms alone.

    But the M2A2 Bradley, with strong optics, serviceable armor protection, a 25 mm cannon and TOW anti-tank missiles, is far more than a simple armored personnel carrier. Conserving the Bradley as mere a battle taxi for infantry is something of a waste, while the alternative, pressing the smaller, lighter troop carrier in the same role as a tank, subjects these infantry fighting vehicles to an enormous amount of risk. But it is a risk that Ukraine can and must take.

    Capable of taking on less modern “Soviet-era” main battle tanks, Ukrainian commanders will face a real temptation to employ the M2A2 Bradley in tank-like roles. That is a recipe for losses, but, given the U.S. has some 6,000 Bradley IFVs in the inventory and some five contractors bidding for a Bradley replacement, the risk is far more tolerable. If trained Ukrainian crews are surviving after battlefield hits, it should be easy for the U.S. to replace Ukraine’s battlefield losses—and for the experienced crew to return to battle, all the wiser for their experiences.

    The wildcards for the Bradley are two-fold. First, Ukraine’s aptitude for testing and trialing new battlefield ideas may, in time, help the Bradley become more effective. Though Ukraine is sticking with conventional Western tactical operational doctrines right now, Ukraine will likely start experimenting and may stumble over the doctrinal ideal for this aging mini-tank. Of course, the Ukrainian Army may also decide the Bradley is a dead-end design, and start looking for alternatives.

    There are plenty. As more modern infantry fighting vehicles enter the battlefield, those new platforms may push our understanding of Infantry Fighting Vehicle doctrine forward. It is easy to forget that the Bradley is, at its heart, a very old platform, with design origins tracing back to the early 1960’s. Determining how more modern platforms, like the newly-arriving Swedish Combat Vehicle 90 (Stridsfordon 90), does on the Ukraine battlefield may do a lot to evolve the West’s future infantry fighting vehicle designs, helping to resolve the platform’s underlying doctrinal challenge of being a jack of all trades but a master of none.

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  • Officer of Engineers
    Unless WWIII is starting.

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  • DOR
    Putin: “I can destroy any building in Kyiv city centre, but I won't. Why? I will not say.”

    Joe Biden: “I can destroy any building on Red Square, but I won’t … unless …”

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    Latest aid package announced for Ukraine.

    Pentagon Announces New Ukraine Aid Package Focused on Air Defense (

    Pentagon Announces New Ukraine Aid Package Focused on Air Defense

    June 13, 2023 | By Chris Gordon

    ABOARD A U.S. MILITARY AIRCRAFT—As Ukraine begins its long-awaited counteroffensive against Russia, Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III is headed to Europe for a meeting of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group in Brussels and the Pentagon announced another batch of military aid aimed at helping Ukraine secure its skies against Russian aircraft, drones, and missile attacks.

    The package includes “key capabilities to aid Ukraine’s efforts to retake its sovereign territory and support Ukraine’s air defenders as they bravely protect Ukraine’s soldiers, civilians, and critical infrastructure, as well as artillery, anti-armor systems, and ammunition” the Department of Defense said in a statement June 13.

    The successfulness of the nascent Ukrainian counteroffensive remains unclear. But given the unpredictable and grinding nature of the war, the Pentagon added it is attempting to meet “immediate battlefield needs and longer-term security assistance requirements.”

    Among other capabilities, the new package includes additional munitions for NASAMS air defense systems, more Stinger man-portable air defense systems, additional GMLRS rockets for HIMARS launchers, and well as “tactical secure communications support equipment,” and 15 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles and 10 Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers. The package is worth up to $325 million, the Pentagon said.

    “Our primary focus right now is on ground-based air defense,” a defense official told reporters.

    On June 15 in Brussels, Austin and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley will convene with defense officials from around the world as part of the Ukraine Defense Contact Group, a monthly meeting of nearly 50 countries to coordinate aid with Kyiv.

    Milley and Austin are traveling also traveling to Germany, where they will head to Wiesbaden to meet troops supporting the Security Assistance Group-Ukraine. Austin will also attend a meeting of NATO’s defense ministers June 16 at NATO headquarters in Brussels ahead of a key summit for the alliance in Vilnius, Lithuania in July.

    The recently announced decision by Western allies to help Ukraine’s pilots train on F-16s is expected to be one of the topics discussed during the meetings. The U.S. gave its sign-off for other nations train Ukrainian pilots on the U.S.-made F-16, but it remains unclear how much direct support will come from the U.S. or if there is any possibility of America providing some of its F-16s.

    A defining aspect of the war thus far has been the largely mutually denied airspace over Ukraine, though Russia has been able to launch barrages of missile and drones attacks on Ukraine, which has led the West to focus heavily on air defense in its aid to Kyiv.

    Russia’s air force is large and more sophisticated than Ukraine’s, but Moscow has been unable to achieve air superiority for most of the conflict. Now, however, Russia appears to be trying blunt the counteroffensive using its airpower. An absence of Russian airpower, some allege, is what led to Ukrainian gains in recent days.

    “Russian sources claimed that Ukrainian forces managed to make tactical gains on June 11 due to heavy rain and fog preventing Russian Aerospace Forces (VKS) and army aviation (rotary wing aircraft) from striking Ukrainian force concentrations,” the Institute for the Study of War wrote in a June 12 update on the conflict. “Russian sources reported that Russian VKS and army aviation resumed intense airstrikes against Ukrainian forces on June 12 after the rain cleared.”

    The Pentagon said its latest announcement was part an effort to “meet Ukraine’s critical security and defense needs.”

    The full package includes:
    • Additional munitions for National Advanced Surface-to-Air Missile Systems (NASAMS)
    • Stinger anti-aircraft systems
    • Additional ammunition for High Mobility Artillery Rocket Systems (HIMARS)
    • 155mm and 105mm artillery rounds
    • 15 Bradley Infantry Fighting Vehicles
    • 10 Stryker Armored Personnel Carriers
    • Javelin anti-armor systems
    • Tube-Launched, Optically-Tracked, Wire-Guided (TOW) missiles
    • AT-4 anti-armor systems
    • Over 22 million rounds of small arms ammunition and grenades
    • Demolition munitions for obstacle clearing
    • Tactical secure communications support equipment
    • Spare parts and other field equipment

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  • Albany Rifles
    Fucking McCarthy

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  • TopHatter
    McCarthy pumps the brakes on Ukraine funding

    The prospects for Congress approving more Ukraine funding seem to be getting dim.

    Speaker Kevin McCarthy told us Monday that a supplemental spending package for Ukraine is “not going anywhere” in the House, essentially putting the brakes on any immediate plan to send more money to Kyiv — or get around new spending caps.

    McCarthy signaled any additional aid for Ukraine would have to come as part of the annual appropriations process within the Pentagon’s $886 billion in discretionary spending, as agreed to under the Fiscal Responsibility Act, the bipartisan legislation that ended the debt-limit showdown.

    McCarthy’s comments set the stage for a consequential Senate-vs.-House fight centered on Ukraine funding, an issue that has already bitterly divided the GOP.

    For now, McCarthy’s pronouncement is a blow to defense hawks in both parties, but especially in the Senate. A group of GOP senators held up the debt-limit bill last week until they got assurances from Senate leaders that the chamber would take up a separate funding bill for Ukraine and other defense needs.

    This was an effort to lay the groundwork for circumventing the debt-limit agreement’s $886 billion defense spending cap — a number many Republicans and some Democrats see as insufficient. McCarthy made clear he won’t go for that.

    “I’m not going to pre-judge what some of them [in the Senate] do, but if they think they’re writing a supplemental because they want to go around an agreement we just made, it’s not going anywhere.”

    When asked if his thinking would change if Ukraine needed a funding boost, McCarthy responded: “You first have to show, what do you need money for? We’ve got an approps process. We’re just going to work through an approps process. They’re not going to circumvent what we’re doing here.”

    Congress has already appropriated more than $110 billion following Russia’s February 2022 invasion of Ukraine, with the bulk of that going to Kyiv as economic and military aid.

    Last week, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) convened a group of fellow GOP defense hawks in Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office to plot a strategy to make up for what they see as a low defense cap. McConnell and Majority Leader Chuck Schumer then released joint statements committing to considering supplemental funding requests for both defense and non-defense needs.

    McCarthy said “the senators are not paying attention to how the system works,” adding: “We will go through the appropriations process and we will do the numbers that we just agreed to.”

    Asked for a response to McCarthy’s comments, Graham told us Monday it’s a “shame” and indicated he’s prepared to put up a fight over it. The South Carolina Republican said he’s already talking with senators from both parties about finding offsets elsewhere in the budget to boost the defense topline.

    Here’s more from Graham:

    “The speaker will never convince me that 2% below actual inflation is fully funding the Defense Department… That cannot be the position of the Republican Party without some contest here.

    “We’re playing a dangerous game with our national security. The bill [McCarthy] produced is inadequate to the threats we face. If the Republican speaker takes the position that we’re going to be tough on China…I don’t see how we do that with a declining Navy.”

    McConnell and other GOP leaders agree with Graham, who told us last week that McCarthy would have to decide “if he wants to help defeat Putin.” McConnell has called the defense cap the “worst part” of the bill, although he ultimately backed the legislation because it froze non-defense spending and prevented a first-ever debt default.

    House Foreign Affairs Committee Chair Michael McCaul (R-Texas) also signaled some disagreement with McCarthy, telling us that “there will come a time when we need to” appropriate more funds for Ukraine. McCaul said the success of Ukraine’s counteroffensive, which may be underway as soon as this week, will dictate Congress’ action. Here’s McCaul:

    “This counteroffensive is going to be absolutely a game-changer one way or the other on whether or not Congress can pass a supplemental on Ukraine. If [the Ukrainians] are winning, Americans like to bet on a winning horse. If they’re losing, it’s going to be extremely difficult [to pass a supplemental].”

    In fact, it may be difficult to pass a supplemental regardless of whether Ukraine is winning or losing. Here’s Rep. Dusty Johnson (R-S.D.), a close McCarthy ally:

    “I think there will be people who are supportive of funding Ukraine who would not be supportive of a supplemental. I don’t know how many that’ll be, but I do think that we’re in an environment where I think people are going to try to put some downward pressure on spending.

    “A supplemental that gets too big to take care of everything the defense hawks want is going to run into some roadblocks.”

    There’s bipartisan agreement in the Senate, however, when it comes to boosting the defense number. Senate Armed Services Committee Chair Jack Reed (D-R.I.) told us that he sees a Ukraine-focused supplemental package as the best way to get around the $886 billion cap, which matches President Joe Biden’s FY2024 budget request.

    But this won’t be possible unless there’s an agreement reached between Republicans in the House and Senate.

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  • TopHatter
    Originally posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    The issues with the 401st AFSB are legion and well known in Army Sustainment circles. They are habitually short staffed. They have taken to allowing short temporary assignments which allow for no continuity. Word on the street is people are going to start being voluntold they are being assigned there. Living there is under harsh conditions. You no longer stay in town but are restricted to post. And maintenance work is often done by third party nationals who are not qualified to do the maintenance.

    The remainder of the APS & depots in the US are in much better shape. But I expect a few heads to rightfully roll over this.
    I know you'd have the inside scoop

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  • Officer of Engineers
    Originally posted by Monash View Post
    Compare that to Russian storage and maintenance practices!
    We ain't much better. We've just delivered 60 LEO 2s months after promising 88. The Russians replaced more than that in less time. With T-55s perhaps but we can't even scrounge up LEO 1s or PATTONs in less time for the Ukrainians.

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    The issues with the 401st AFSB are legion and well known in Army Sustainment circles. They are habitually short staffed. They have taken to allowing short temporary assignments which allow for no continuity. Word on the street is people are going to start being voluntold they are being assigned there. Living there is under harsh conditions. You no longer stay in town but are restricted to post. And maintenance work is often done by third party nationals who are not qualified to do the maintenance.

    The remainder of the APS & depots in the US are in much better shape. But I expect a few heads to rightfully roll over this.

    Leave a comment:

  • Monash
    Hey at least the problems were identified and corrected and you can bet an urgent 'heads up' went out to every other pre-positioned stockpile around the world to make sure this never happens again. Compare that to Russian storage and maintenance practices!
    Last edited by Monash; 21 Jun 23,, 04:05.

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  • TopHatter
    Equipment for Ukraine drawn from Kuwait wasn’t combat-ready, IG says

    WASHINGTON — Equipment drawn from the U.S. Army’s Kuwait-based pre-positioned stock bound for Ukraine was not ready for combat operations, the Pentagon’s inspector general has found.

    During the inspector general’s audit of that pre-positioned stock area, the fifth of seven such locations around the world, “we identified issues that resulted in unanticipated maintenance, repairs, and extended leadtimes to ensure the readiness of the military equipment selected to support the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the May 23 report stated.

    All six of the M777 howitzers and 25 of 29 M1167 High-Mobility Multipurpose Wheeled Vehicles were not “mission ready” and required repairs before U.S. European Command could send the equipment to Ukraine.

    By January 2023, the U.S. government used its drawdown authority 30 times in total to provide $18.3 billion in equipment and ammunition to Ukraine, which is fighting a Russian invasion.

    Army pre-positioned stock, or APS, is meant to be kept at the highest level of readiness so that it can be used immediately in case of an emergency.

    The inspector general issued the report mid-audit out of concern that “issues with poor maintenance and lax oversight of the [APS] equipment could result in future delays for equipment support provided to the Ukrainian Armed Forces,” the report read. “In addition, if U.S. forces needed this equipment, they would have encountered the same challenges.”

    The 401st Army Field Support Battalion in Kuwait is responsible for overseeing contractor maintenance work, which includes issuing equipment. Army Materiel Command confirmed the contractor conducting the work at the site is Amentum headquartered in Chantilly, Virginia.

    Hazardous howitzers
    Because the battalion did not ensure the contractor was meeting its maintenance requirements for approximately 19 months on M777 howitzers, an Army Materiel Command senior representative from Kuwait issued a request for assistance, bringing in a U.S. Army Tank-automotive and Armaments Command mobile repair team from Anniston Army Depot, Alabama.

    When the team arrived at Camp Arifjan in March 2022, the contractor provided a howitzer that it said was fully mission capable. But the weapon system was not maintained according to the standard technical manual, per the mobile repair team, and “ ‘would have killed somebody [the operator],’ in its current condition,” the report stated.

    Ukrainian artillerymen fire an M777 howitzer toward Russian positions on Nov. 23, 2022.

    The team subsequently found that all six howitzers had operational issues. Four of the six howitzers had breech blocks improperly aligned with the rack gear, which prevented the breech from correctly locking. A breech not properly locked could result in an explosion that could kill the crew, the report noted.

    Additionally, all six howitzers contained reused, old hydraulic fluid, which is not allowed because the fluid degrades over time and could lead to “disastrous results and malfunctions of critical systems,” the inspector general found.

    The contractor paid the mobile repair team $114,000 for labor and travel expenses, according to the report.

    As the howitzers were being prepared to leave Kuwait for shipment to Europe on June 21, 2022, one of the howitzers experienced a brake fire, likely due to the contractor not releasing the parking brake when moving it, according to the report, which cited a specialist with the mobile repair team. The contractor claimed it was likely due to leaking brake fluid, the report noted.

    When the howitzers reached Poland for distribution to Ukraine, officials there said all six howitzers still had faults that made them non-mission capable, according to the report, including worn firing pins and issues with the firing mechanism. The repairs cost about $17,490 in labor and materials.

    Officials said they were able to avoid delays in getting the howitzers to Ukraine, but the inspector general noted in the report the inadequate maintenance on the howitzers highlights the need to consider the time it would take to maintain and repair equipment coming from the APS site in Kuwait for Ukraine.

    Tire troubles
    Prior to August 2022, the 401st declared 28 of 29 Humvees as fully mission capable, but when it received an order to pull those out for Ukraine on Aug. 24, only three of the 29 were ready, the inspector general said.

    Problems with the Humvees included dead batteries, inoperative lights, faulty gauges, damaged seat belts, broken door lock latches and fluid leaks, the report listed.

    In order to meet the deadline to ship the equipment to Europe, the contractor took parts from other Humvees in the inventory, including in one case a transmission, “potentially making that equipment non-mission capable,” the report noted.

    When the vehicles arrived in Poland, officials there reported one of the tires on a Humvee was shredded due to dry rot. When the tire was replaced with a spare, that one also failed due to dry rot, the report described.

    The officials in Poland opened up work orders to replace tires damaged with dry rot in September 2022. Additionally, the vehicles did not come with spare tires, the officials noted, causing concern they would cross the border and fail with no means to replace tires there.

    Tires were ultimately pulled from other equipment for the Humvees headed to Ukraine.

    The process delayed delivery to Ukraine and required significant labor and time, “pulling soldiers away from primary duties,” and cost $173,524 for labor and material, the report added.

    Getting back in fighting shape
    The head of Army Sustainment Command explained, in response to the report, that the service’s funding level for APS maintenance in Kuwait was 30% of the validated requirements in fiscal 2023 — about $27.8 million of the $91.3 million requirement.

    And the commander stated the contractor “is not contractually obligated or appropriately resourced to maintain [APS] equipment” at standards laid out in the technical manual the inspector general followed to make determinations regarding mission-capable readiness of the equipment.

    The inspector general disagreed that the contractor was not obligated to follow the same technical manual used by the inspector general and also noted in the report that the Army obligated nearly $1 billion from Aug. 31, 2016, through April 13, 2023, for the APS location.

    The inspector general recommended in the report that the Army’s deputy chief of staff — or G-3/5/7, which is responsible for issuing what goes into APS — “consider the level of maintenance and leadtime required before selecting Army Prepositioned Stock [in Kuwait] equipment for sourcing Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

    The commander of the 401st should also develop and implement “increased inspection procedures to not only validate that the [APS] contractor has properly corrected known maintenance deficiencies but also to conduct a thorough visual inspection of equipment and correct any deficiencies including tires damaged by dry rot, before shipping the equipment to [U.S. European Command] for transfer to the Ukrainian Armed Forces.”

    Great. Just friggin' great.

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