WASHINGTON — Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has shown the U.S. military that its modernization priorities are properly focused, Gen. James McConville, the service’s chief of staff, told reporters during a briefing. July 7 visit to U.S. Army Europe and Africa Headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany.
McConville was joined by the new command chief, Gen. Darryl Williams, who took over the post from Gen. Chris Cavoli, who is now the commander of US European Command.
US Army forces in Europe are busy supporting and training Ukrainian troops and learning lessons from the fighting in the country, according to McConville. He said the deputy commander of Ukraine’s ground forces provided information about the war to the US military as well as other NATO nations seeking to help the country defend against the Russian invasion.
McConville emphasized that combat leadership skills are key to success in large-scale combined arms operations, in addition to logistics, training and the ability to disperse command and control on the battlefield and at each rung.
The fighting also showed the importance of long-range precision fire, he added.
For the US military, this is its number one modernization priority. The service is set to initially deploy its Precision Strike Missile (PrSM), Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) weapon system and Mid-Range Capability (MRC) missile during exercise 2023 to eliminate targets enemies of a sure impasse. distance.
“Now it’s very long-range precision shots, but it reaffirms our commitment to developing those capabilities,” McConville said.
Less than five years ago, the Army established a four-star command – Army Futures Command – which focuses on developing and fielding capabilities in six major modernization priorities: long-range sniper range, next-generation combat vehicles, future vertical lift, the Network, air and missile defense and soldier lethality.
The military is also focusing on countering unmanned aircraft systems on the battlefield, a crucial capability as flying drones continue to show how vulnerable even heavily armored tanks can be to strikes. ‘at the top.
McConville noted how artillery used in combat in Ukraine was targeted by Russian UAS, requiring counter-drone systems to protect the guns.
The need for armored fighting vehicles is also in evidence in Ukraine, reaffirming US military plans to continue next-generation fighting vehicle efforts, according to McConville.
The Army has entered the critical design and prototype phases of a competition to develop a new crew-optional combat vehicle, which is expected to be fielded by 2030. The industry took notes from the Ukraine as it begins detailed design work on possible vehicle plans.
The Ukrainian military and its Eastern European allies also want more helicopters, and the military sees long-range capabilities as well as increased lethality and deadlock as particularly vital features in a future helicopter. vertical lift, McConville said. The service is set to select a winner to build a new future long-range assault aircraft in September and is in the midst of a competitive prototyping phase for a future attack reconnaissance aircraft – both expected to be put in service in the early 2030s.
Having a robust information network is also important, McConville noted. The Army aims for a modern and resilient battlefield network as one of its top priorities. Ukraine has struggled with its communication systems.
Better air and missile defense capabilities are also vital for combat, the chief stressed. “The Ukrainians were very effective with their Stinger [man-portable air defense systems] and their [other] air defense systems,” McConville said.
Bringing all these capabilities together on the battlefield makes the difference, he added. “The notion of speed, range and convergence, the ability to locate targets on the battlefield and quickly service them with lethal means is going to be very, very important now and even more important in the future.”
Jen Judson is an award-winning reporter covering ground warfare for Defense News. She has also worked for Politico and Inside Defense. She holds a Master of Science in Journalism from Boston University and a Bachelor of Arts from Kenyon College.