Artillery: The Deadly Vision of Armored Knights



p> March 5, 2007: The U.S. Army has begin receiving M1200 Armored Knight vehicles. These are wheeled armored vehicles, similar to the Stryker, that carry the equipment needed to quickly bring in guided bombs, missiles and shells. The M1200 contains a laser designator, a laser range finder and GPS, plus radios and computers that take target position data and transmit it to distant artillery units, or bombers overhead, and get the firepower on the target within minutes. Previously, all this gear was mounted on an unarmored hummer. But the M1200 enables the vehicle to operate in an area where bullets and shells are flying about, and still get the job done. The armored vehicle used is the 4x4 LAV-150 Commando. This 11 ton vehicle mounts a machine-gun on the turret, but the real "weapons" in the turret are the laser designator and rangefinder. The laser designator enables the most precise smart bombs (that can be sent through small openings, like a window) to be used.

Nineteen M1200s are being delivered this year, 40 next year and, eventually, 107. Each one costs about $700,000, and carries a crew of three or four. Because most will see duty in Iraq, an IED jammer come as standard equipment.

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