Army Futures Command Chief: Russia And China Are Eating Our Long-Range Lunch

Military Tech

The head of the Army's new four-star command for the development of next-generation weapons identified Russian and Chinese advances in weapons as motivations for some of the future weapons projects in the works, including a long-range cannon that strike targets nearly 40 miles away.


"That is a big piece of it," Gen. John M. Murray, the first head of Army Futures Command, said Monday at the Association of the United States Army conference in Washington, DC. "We did a study called 'The Next-Generation Russian Warfare Study' ... That was kind of the wake-up call in terms of the capabilities that the Russians had been developing."

"The Russians, and in many ways the Chinese as well, are able to outrange most of our systems," he explained." They are establishing stand-off capabilities. We saw that in the Ukraine. We saw the pairing of drones with artillery, using drones as spotters."

A 2015 RAND report, according to Defense News, argued that Army rocket systems were "falling behind the increasing range of similar Russian and Chinese rocket systems."

An interest in stand-off weaponry has also been seen in Russian and Chinese research into air-to-air missiles intended to eliminate vulnerable aircraft supporting the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter and enhance each countries anti-access, area-denial capabilities.

"The Russians have made some significant advances. That was a wake-up call for us to start looking at this in a more serious manner," he added, noting that the Army's focus is now in line with the National Defense Strategy, which stresses the return of great power competition.

"The gaps that [the Army Futures Command] programs are meant to address ... shift back to a focus on great power competition, against near-peer states. Those were the capabilities that we didn't walk away from but kind of mortgaged over the last 17 years to do the counterinsurgency fight," the general introduced.

A U.S. Army M109A6 Paladin deployed in support of Combined Joint Task Force -- Operation Inherent Resolve, assigned to 1st Calvary Division, fires during training operation at Camp Manion Iraq, March 10, 2017.U.S. Army/Spc. Christopher Brecht

Murray pointed to the Extended Range Cannon Artillery (ERCA) program, part of the priority long-range precision fire project, as one program that was changed based on lessons learned from Russia and China.

He explained that while the U.S. maintains a competitive edge in the quality of American artillery, Russia has a notable advantage in terms of quantity and range. But, that's changing as the Army adapts to new security challenges from peer and near-peer competitors.

"We just doubled the range of our cannon artillery last week, demonstrating that at the Yuma proving grounds," Murray told reporters, revealing that the cannon fired a shell roughly 62 kilometers.

Related: The Army Is Eyeing A Strategic Cannon With The Range Of A Tomahawk Cruise Missile »

"We know we need the range in order to maintain overmatch," Col. John Rafferty, head of the long-range precision fire cross-functional team, recently told Defense News. "We need 70 to 80 kilometers because that's the start, and then we will be able to get farther. Right now we are on a path to 70 kilometers with ERCA."

The Army isn't stopping there.

Murray, testifying before Congress in September, said that the Army is pursuing a strategic cannon that can fire on enemy positions as far as 1,000 miles away.

"We are looking very hard and starting down the path of hypersonics and also looking at what we call the Strategic Long Range Cannon, which conceivably could have a range of up to 1,000 nautical miles," around 1,150 miles, the commander explained, according to Military.com.

Read more from Business Insider

WATCH NEXT:

On Nov, 10, 2004, Army Staff Sgt. David Bellavia knew that he stood a good chance of dying as he tried to save his squad.

Bellavia survived the intense enemy fire and went on to single-handedly kill five insurgents as he cleared a three-story house in Fallujah during the iconic battle for the city. For his bravery that day, President Trump will present Bellavia with the Medal of Honor on Tuesday, making him the first living Iraq war veteran to receive the award.

In an interview with Task & Purpose, Bellavia recalled that the house where he fought insurgents was dark and filled with putrid water that flowed from broken pipes. The battle itself was an assault on his senses: The stench from the water, the darkness inside the home, and the sounds of footsteps that seemed to envelope him.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Army/Pvt. Stephen Peters)

With the Imperial Japanese Army hot on his heels, Oscar Leonard says he barely slipped away from getting caught in the grueling Bataan Death March in 1942 by jumping into a choppy bay in the dark of the night, clinging to a log and paddling to the Allied-fortified island of Corregidor.

After many weeks of fighting there and at Mindanao, he was finally captured by the Japanese and spent the next several years languishing under brutal conditions in Filipino and Japanese World War II POW camps.

Now, having just turned 100 years old, the Antioch resident has been recognized for his 42-month ordeal as a prisoner of war, thanks to the efforts of his friends at the Brentwood VFW Post #10789 and Congressman Jerry McNerney.

McNerney, Brentwood VFW Commander Steve Todd and Junior Vice Commander John Bradley helped obtain a POW award after doing research and requesting records to surprise Leonard during a birthday party last month.

Read More Show Less
(U.S. Marine Corps/Staff Sgt. Andrew Ochoa)

Editor's Note: This article by Gina Harkins originally appeared on Military.com, a leading source of news for the military and veteran community.

Hundreds of Marines will join their British counterparts at a massive urban training center this summer that will test the leathernecks' ability to fight a tech-savvy enemy in a crowded city filled with innocent civilians.

The North Carolina-based Kilo Company, 3rd Battalion, 8th Marines, will test drones, robots and other high-tech equipment at Muscatatuck Urban Training Center near Butlerville, Indiana, in August.

They'll spend weeks weaving through underground tunnels and simulating fires in a mock packed downtown city center. They'll also face off against their peers, who will be equipped with off-the-shelf drones and other gadgets the enemy is now easily able to bring to the fight.

It's the start of a four-year effort, known as Project Metropolis, that leaders say will transform the way Marines train for urban battles. The effort is being led by the Marine Corps Warfighting Laboratory, based in Quantico, Virginia. It comes after service leaders identified a troubling problem following nearly two decades of war in the Middle East: adversaries have been studying their tactics and weaknesses, and now they know how to exploit them.

Read More Show Less
(Reuters/Carlos Barria)

WASHINGTON/RIYADH (Reuters) - President Donald Trump imposed new U.S. sanctions onIran on Monday following Tehran's downing of an unmanned American drone and said the measures would target Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Trump told reporters he was signing an executive order for the sanctions amid tensions between the United States and Iran that have grown since May, when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil.

Trump also said the sanctions would have been imposed regardless of the incident over the drone. He said the supreme leaders was ultimately responsible for what Trump called "the hostile conduct of the regime."

"Sanctions imposed through the executive order ... will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader's office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support," Trump said.

Read More Show Less