Gen. Robert Abrams says that the likelihood is high that the US and allies won’t get to pick the time and place of its choosing for the next battle.
It’s likely that the next battle will take place in a megacity, said Abrams, commander of U.S. Army Forces Command.
“The chance of fighting in a megacity is going to go through the roof,” he said, pointing out that there are currently 25 megacities across the world. A megacity is defined as a city of 25 million or more inhabitants. By 2035, the number of megacities is projected to double.
Coincidentally, 2035 is also the target delivery date for what is currently the US Army’s conceptual Next Generation Combat Vehicle, or NGCV, he said.
“Recent fighting in countries throughout the Middle East validate the value of combat vehicles in urban areas, but also reveal vulnerabilities. The NGCV will address such shortfalls. Dense, urban terrain diminishes the effectiveness of fighting vehicles, which are impacted by obstacles, large civilian populations, and confined spaces, he noted. In such confined spaces, enemy dismounts are better able to isolate individual vehicles at close range, and employ anti-armour fire and IEDs of all types.”
Other capabilities of the NGCV according to the General might include:
- Reactive armor
- Active protection systems
- Artificial intelligence
- Autonomy and/or teaming
- Advanced target sensors
- Precision, extreme-range lethality
- Potential to accommodate future upgrades
“That’s an aggressive list,” Abrams said. “And, it is unlikely all of these can be built into the Next Generation Combat Vehicle in that timeline. But that’s OK. Ideally, we would be able to trade weight for protection other than armour.”