|There seems to be some confusion about the status of the Crusader program. Currently,the contract with United Defense, is still active. No order to stop work has been received from the Army. Secretary Rumsfeld has made it clear that he wants to cancel Crusader,however,this outcome depends on congressional action.
Concerning the viability of the Crusader combat system,consider that one of the objectives of artillery is to provide fire support. Using it''s autoloading capability the Crusader is able to fire accutately up to 10 to 12 rounds per minute. It would take three or four Paladins,each with a crew of five,to achieve the same rate of fire that one Crusader accomplishes with a 3 man crew. Unlike air power Crusader is availble around the clock in any weather condition. I might add that the Crusader is designed to provide NBC protection.
The arguement that Crusader "is too heavey to get anywhere in a hurry" is specious. The Air Force C-17 can carry two Crusaders. The Air Mobility Command intends to postpone retirement of 63 C-141s,consider upgrading the C5,and take delivery,by 2008,of up to 180 C-17s. The 180 C-17s include aircraft already in service. The Air Force is also planning to replace about 160 C-130s. The point is we will have,within six years, and extraordinary amount of lift. If this isn''t enough to move a reasonable number of systems than prepositioning equipment becomes necessary. DOD currently prepositions men,planes,ships,and equipment all over the world. Nothing new with this concept.
We hear much about JDAM and other precision guided munitions. They are indeed remarkable. In the absence of the new SDB (small diameter bomb)which will not be available for a number of years, a 2000lb.JDAM becomes a very expensive weapon best suited for high-value targets. 155MM rounds fired from the Crusader are a low cost alternative to PGMs.
The Crusader is on schedule,on budget,and has met or exceeded performance goals.