From the Aviation Branch Chief
By MG Michael D. Lundy
To win in a complex world requires material and non-material solutions that enable Army Aviation to maintain technological, leadership and training overmatch against our adversaries. Army Aviation currently provides our Nation with
a unique asymmetric advantage.
To maintain that advantage, we must continue to work closely with our industry partners to develop the best solutions for the future. However, development of random niche technologies cannot drive the way ahead; instead, we must focus our limited time and resources on developing capabilities focused on closing our highest priority gaps and requirements.
To maintain our asymmetric vertical lift and attack advantage, we must focus on affordable technologies that improve the speed, range, payload, survivability and lethality of both our current and future fleets without sacrificing performance in the objective area.
We must be able to extend our operational reach, penetrate enemy air defenses, and operate in degraded visual, degraded electronic and high/hot environments while still delivering precision ordnance, cargo and personnel with the networked situational understanding to support commanders and Soldiers on the ground. To realize our full potential as a maneuver element in the Joint Air Ground Team, Army Aviation must be able to fight and win in all conditions and environments.
Open Architectures and Common Protocols
To maintain leader overmatch, we must develop technologies that reduce training time and cognitive workload. Placing the complexity “behind the faceplate” might be more expensive initially, but the downstream savings combined with the increased time available to focus on collective war fighting versus individual task proficiency will cover the cost many times over. Ensuring that we build interoperable training aids, devices, simulations and simulators (both system and non-system) that are backwards compatible with existing Army systems is another critical requirement.
We cannot afford to continue to develop and procure stand-alone, single-purpose training systems. Using common terrain databases, open architectures and common protocols to allow full interoperability is the way ahead to ensure that systems are multi-purpose and compatible for both individual and collective training in both the institutional and operational Army.
More With Less
Underpinning all of this is our ability to generate combat power. Reduced force structure, increasing operational demands and personnel caps require that we fight in a higher weight class. We must develop capabilities to better sustain and maintain our aircraft without growth to the force. In fact, we need capabilities and designs that allow us to generate more combat power with less organizational structure and personnel.
Any new system or capability that incurs added manpower (Soldier or contractor field representative) or institutional/operational training requirements is dead on arrival.
As we move forward, our already strong partnership with industry will increasingly be more important. We will continue to expand our discussions to ensure that industry understands our priorities and requirements as we balance our limited resources to ensure that we maintain overmatch against our enemies.
We owe it to our Soldiers, and the maneuver commanders we support, to provide the most important and best capabilities today to ensure we win in the complex world of tomorrow.
Above the Best!
MG Michael D. Lundy is the Army Aviation branch chief and commander of the U.S. Army Aviation Center of Excellence and Fort Rucker, AL.
Caption: The Aviation Branch Chief was among numerous key Army aviation leaders who conducted question and answer sessions in the main exhibit hall Technology Learning Center during the 2014 Aviation Mission Solutions Summit, May 5th at the Opryland Hotel, Nashville, TN. / AAPI PHOTO BY RENÉ BIDEZ