The U.S. Army’s war-fighting budget request for fiscal 2018 will include funds to accelerate deployment to Europe of its newest combat vehicle, a modern troop carrier built by BAE Systems Plc.
Responding to a request from the Army’s European commanders, the service’s Overseas Contingency Operations request will include as much as $254 million to accelerate the purchase of 65 Armored Multi-Purpose Vehicles that had been scheduled to be acquired later. That’s on top of 52 of the vehicles to be purchased in the regular base budget, including 10 to be used in live-fire testing, according to the service.
The Army’s newest vehicles, a replacement for the Vietnam War-era M113, arrives as the service expands the American presence in Europe to counter Russia after it seized Crimea and intervened in Ukraine. The Defense Department and State Department are maintaining a tough line against Russia in Eastern Europe despite questions President Donald Trump raised during last year’s campaign about lifting sanctions against Russia and perhaps recognizing its annexation of Crimea.
Under a plan announced last year, the Army has begun continuously rotating an armored brigade through Europe instead of depending on periodic deployments. That started with the Jan. 8 arrival in Germany of the the 4,000-person 3rd Brigade, 4th Infantry Division from Fort Carson in Colorado for a nine-month rotation.
The first of the new combat vehicles are expected to be deployed as part of the European Reassurance Initiative starting around October 2019, the first quarter of fiscal 2020, service spokeswoman Ashley Givens said in an email. They would be the vanguard of up to 258 of the new, better-armored, more spacious vehicles, according to a service document. The service wants to field two brigades of the vehicles to Europe over four years, Givens said. (end of excerpt)
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