As a reference that is a few hundred short of the total number of tanks the US deployed in GW1.
OT for the thread but I've a request - can you point me to studies/papers which discuss the optimal structure of various combat arms (infantry, armor, AD, mechanized, BCT) in US Army? For example, why should a tank company have 14 tanks or why Combined Arms Battalions in Armor BCT moved from 2+2 company structure to 2+1 structure? I'm trying to understand rationale for how Table of Organization & Equipment (T0&E) is arrived at basis manpower, organic fire-power, mobility and inorganic support.
I haven't gone over the complete document but THIS
may help answer some of those force structure questions. On the earlier point obout the shrinking quantity of US armor compared to the early 1990s -
Army modularity—restructuring the force to produce a supply of directly interchangeable
units—is the product of a number of experiences and concerns.1 Modularity may be best characterized
as the Army’s institutional response to a host of factors, some stretching back to the
early 1990s, that caused the Army to move away from its traditional division-based force to a
brigade-centric design. The most salient considerations included the following:
• There was a realization (circa 1990) that the Cold War was over and that, in its absence,
the United States’ standing was no longer endangered by a revisionist power with direct
military force. In brief, there was no “peer competitor.”
• There were concerns about the Army’s enduring national security relevance after 1999’s
Operation Allied Force succeeded against Milosevic’s Serbia without recourse to ground
forces, as well as the Army’s perceived difficulty in deploying its Task Force Hawk in support
of the allied campaign there.2
• There was a subsequent desire by then–U.S. Army Chief of Staff (CSA, 1999–2003) General
Eric K. Shinseki for a responsive, mobile, midweight (that is, mobile with its own
vehicles) force that would be deployable by air to any crisis in the world within 96 hours.
• The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, increased demand for Army forces.
• The Army became engaged in extended campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq.
• The Army was required to support enduring global counterterrorism efforts.
• The Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR) and other defense guidance emphasized building
partnerships and partner capacity and the provision of security force assistance to
beleaguered friendly states around the world.
• There was a growing requirement to support civil authorities in homeland defense and
domestic disaster mitigation and response.
• The Army faced the imperative to be flexible and adaptive in providing appropriate military
capabilities to combatant commanders as the United States prosecuted its campaigns
against a variety of adversaries and antagonists
Given some if not most of these still ring true, it would be very tough for Army Generals to get a new tank through the acquisition cycle. It is far easier to push things that can complement the Navy and Air force in their Air-Sea Battle (a term no longer used for the fear of isolating the Army lobby) such as Integrated Air and Missile Defense, Long range fires, coastal defense, multi domain command and control and other closely allied programs such as future vertical lift.
The US army has also found unique missions to its traditional systems such as the current SCO project to enable Army guns to fire the hypervelocity projectile (developed for the navy Railgun program) in a counter missile defense mission. But despite of this pushing a new tank program
above upgrades to the Abrams will be mighty hard. For now they are going to be busy buying JLTV's for the next many years..