As I’ve written elsewhere, setting a story in the near future sometimes requires some attempt at clairvoyance.  Some of the weapons systems that will be used in a future war are still in development.  Some might not exist yet, but getting too crazy sci-fi could derail things, so I’ve got to strike a balance.  One of those systems that I introduce in Escalation is the M5 Powell Infantry Fighting Vehicle.  This is set up as the replacement for the M2 Bradley IFV, which has been in service since 1981.

Now, there is an M2 replacement in the works.  The Army calls it the Next Generation Combat Vehicle program, and the Request For Proposals went out in March of this year.  Right at the moment, there are three major contenders, the BAE Systems CV90 Mk IV, the Rheinmetall and Raytheon Lynx IFV, and the General Dynamics Griffin III.

It should be pointed out that this isn’t the first attempt that has been made to replace the M2.  It might amount to nothing much, just like several recent Defense acquisition programs, such as the AAAV, the Future Combat Systems program, the Ground Combat Vehicle, which was a scaled-back version of FCS, and many more.  A lot of these programs go over budget and get canceled.

But from a storytelling point of view, I had to make a decision.  Predictions in fiction are fickle things.  Eventually, you’ve just got to say, “Thumbs up, let’s do this,” and make the call for the DoD, regardless of what’s really going to happen.

So, I picked the General Dynamics Griffin III as the basis for the M5 Powell.  It does seem to be the vehicle in the running to win the NGCV contract.

The Griffin III/M5 Powell is a modular design, that can be configured multiple ways.  The Infantry Fighting Vehicle configuration that I described in Escalation is a probable “Bradley Replacement” configuration, with a 50mm cannon and a troop compartment in the rear that can carry four soldiers.

Of course, this is less than the Bradley’s 6-7 passengers, which creates some logistical problems.  So, given the costs of replacing vehicles, and the state of the Army’s budget at the beginning of the Maelstrom Rising series, I had to make another decision.

A Bradley platoon is, by TO, usually four vehicles, with three-man crews, a Platoon Leader, and three nine-man squads split between the four vehicles.  With only four dismounts per Powell, the math doesn’t add up.  So, I decided that the new mechanized infantry platoon would consist of five vehicles: two Powells for firepower and armor, and three older Strykers to carry more soldiers.

Is it what’s actually going to happen if and when the Army gets new vehicles?  No idea.  But as a storyteller, sometimes you’ve got to make decisions that make some sense and just roll with them.  Because none of us have a crystal ball to tell us what exactly is going to happen.

Particularly not when it comes to Pentagon acquisitions and unit-shuffling.

Maelstrom Rising Tech – The M5 Powell Infantry Fighting Vehicle

Peter Nealen

Peter Nealen is a former Reconnaissance Marine and veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan. He deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006, and again in 2007, with 1st Platoon, Bravo Company, 1st Recon Bn. After two years of schools and workups, including Scout/Sniper Basic and Team Leader's Courses, he deployed to Afghanistan with 4th Platoon, Force Reconnaissance Company, I MEF. Works by Peter include: The American Praetorians Series Task Force Desperate (October 2012) - ebook , paperback and audiobook Hunting in the Shadows (June 2013) - ebook and paperback Alone and Unafraid (August 2014) - ebook and paperback The Devil You Don't Know (June 2015) - ebook and paperback Lex Talionis (June 2017) - ebook and paperback The Jed Horn Series A Silver Cross and a Winchester (October 2013) - ebook and paperback Nightmares (January 2015)- ebook and paperback The Walker on the Hills (December 2015) - ebook and paperback Older and Fouler Things (September 2017) - ebook and paperback The Brannigan's Blackhearts Series/Universe Kill Yuan (Spring 2016) - ebook and paperback Fury in the Gulf (November 2017) - ebook and paperback Burmese Crossfire (January 2018) - ebook and paperback Enemy Unidentified (March 2018) - ebook and paperback Frozen Conflict (May 2018) - ebook and paperback High Desert Vengeance (August 2018) - ebook and paperback Doctors of Death (December 2018) - ebook and paperback The Unity Wars Series (P.L. Nealen) The Fall of Valdek (July 2018) - ebook and paperback The Defense of Provenia (August 2018) - ebook and paperback The Alliance Rises (September 2018) - ebook and paperback Short Stories Rock Meet Hard Place (Part I) - Baen Books Blog Non-Fiction Operation Redwings: The Rescue Story Behind Lone Survivor (December 2013) - ebook only The ISIS Solution: How Unconventional Thinking and Special Operations Can Eliminate Radical Islam (SOFREP) (November 2014) - ebook only

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