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Objective Force Mobility - 4-5-30

Army transformation plans call for the ability to deploy a brigade anywhere in the world in 4 days, a division in 5 days, and five divisions within 30 days.

Meeting the 4-day worldwide deployment goal of a brigade-size force would require more airlift than may be possible to allocate to these brigades; at present, it would take from 5 to 14 days, depending on brigade location and destination, and require over one- third of the Air Force's C-17 and C-5 transport aircraft fleet to deploy one Stryker brigade by air. Because airlift alone may not be sufficient, the Army is planning to use a combination of airlift and sealift to deploy the brigades. However, if sealift were used to deploy the Stryker brigades, deployment times to many global regions would be significantly longer than the 4-day goal the Army has set for itself.

Deploying a heavy armored brigade would require airlifting almost 29,000 tons of armored vehicles, equipment, and supplies and about 4,500 personnel. Deploying a Stryker brigade would require airlifting about 15,000 tons of vehicles, equipment, and supplies and about 3,900 personnel. Consequently, the amount of airlift that would be needed to deploy a Stryker brigade would be about one-half of the airlift aircraft needed to deploy a heavy armored brigade. Based on deployment planning assumptions the Army uses, about 243 C-17 strategic airlift sorties would be needed to airlift a Stryker brigade, compared to about 478 C-17 sorties needed to airlift a heavy armored brigade. Deploying an Army light infantry brigade would require airlifting about 7,300 tons of materiel and about 3,800 personnel, requiring about 141 C-17 airlift sorties.

To help achieve the envisioned rapid deployability, the Army is developing logistical support plans and concepts that will permit Stryker brigades to deploy with fewer quantities of supplies and smaller numbers of support personnel and equipment than currently exists in heavier brigade-size units.

The Shallow Draft, High Speed Sealift (SDHSS) capability; the Super Short Take Off/Landing (SSTOL) and Heavy Lift Vertical Take Off/Landing (HLVTOL) replacements for the C-130, capable of delivering mounted forces by air into austere "points" of debarkation anywhere in the battlespace; and the Theater Support Vessel (TSV), are essential to the Army's ability to move rapidly to employ ground forces without being restricted to improved fixed facilities that were a limiting factor to employment of embarked forces in the past.

Vertical maneuver of dismounted forces requires the dedication of organic and joint fires to support and protect, while other ground elements maneuver rapidly to exploit the positional advantage achieved. Vertical maneuver of mounted forces, employing SSTOL or HLVTOL aircraft, puts large areas at risk for the adversary and will often lead to rapid tactical decision, shortening durations of battle, and contributing to the more rapid disintegration of the enemy force.

To conduct maneuver from strategic distances, Future Forces organized in lighter, smaller, but more capable force packages, will exploit all available air and sea lift, both military and commercial, including advanced military lift platforms, such as austere access high speed sealift (AAHSS), super-short-takeoff-and-landing (SSTOL) aircraft, and theater watercraft, such as the joint high speed vessel (JHSV). Fielded in sufficient numbers, these advanced platforms will enable deploying forces to avoid vulnerable ports and airheads and deploy in combat-ready unit configurations to carefully selected positions of advantage in a matter of days, rather than weeks.

Extensive analysis and wargaming has shown that both current as well as many planned strategic and intra-theater air and sealift platforms do not support future warfighting concepts. Many current sealift platforms require deep-water ports to berth and off load. The availability of such ports is limited geographically to industrial nations and they are conspicuously absent in most nations south of the equator. Further, the limited number of these ports lends to many anti-access measures and jeopardizes the deployment of the joint warfighting force.

Advanced sealift capabilities that provide for brownwater and over-the-horizon sealift are critical to support efforts designed to defeat anti-access and area denial methods. High-speed, shallow draft vessels can leverage numerous ports in all areas of the world and supports the concept of multiple, parallel seaports of debarkation (SPOD) which is fundamental in overcoming anti access challenges.

Existing strategic air platforms such as the C-5 Galaxy can carry enormous loads but are dependent on world-class airports for both embarkation and debarkation. The C-17 and C-130 provide the only capability today of bypassing these major choke points from appreciable distances while maximizing load capacities. Even so, they are still constrained to at least a 3,000 foot runway and in many cases (weather, terrain, and environment dependent) may require 5,000 - 6,000 feet with sizeable loads. The C-130 is further hampered by significant payload, altitude, and range limitations and cannot be refueled in air.

These capability limitations not only severely constrain the ability to execute assured access strategies, they demand a nearby intermediate staging base to transload equipment, personnel and sustainment from inter- to intratheater lift platforms. None of the airlift platforms are suitable for air sustainment, nor can they support rapid shift of maneuver forces and sustainment across the breadth and depth of the battlespace.

To overcome the limitations of these legacy systems, larger capacity Super Short Take Off and Landing (SSTOL) and/or Heavy Lift Vertical Take Off and Landing (HLVTOL) platforms are required in substantial quantities for air movement of the Objective Force.

Shallow draft high-speed sealift and advanced, intra-theater sealift designs are required for austere seaport access.

Whether the goals encompass operational maneuver from strategic distances, use of multiple simultaneous austere points of entry, vertical maneuver and envelopment, dominant maneuver, precision engagement and focused logistics, SSTOL and HLVTOL technology solutions are needed sooner rather than later.

These kinds of platforms further provide a quality of versatility and adaptability necessary to enable Army and Joint Force Commanders to adjust movement of forces and sustainment in stride in response to the evolution of the campaign and the enemy's own actions. Funding the S&T and procurement required to bring advanced lift capabilities to the joint force is a joint challenge. The Army alone cannot develop, procure and field such systems due to both budgetary and regulatory constraints. Instead, the Army encourages joint S&T emphasis.

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Page last modified: 07-07-2011 02:43:00 ZULU