Richard L. Garwin
Philip D. Reed Senior Fellow
for Science and Technology
Council on Foreign Relations
58 East 68th Street
New York, NY 10021
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INTERNET: rgarwin at cfr.org
May 20, 2002Op-Ed Editor
(Via Email to oped at washpost.com)
The Washington Post
___ __________ ____
1150 15th Street, N.W.
Washington, DC 20071
Dear Op-Ed Editor:
Crusader and Beyond.
On May 16, the entire Defense Department leadership-- Secretary of Defense Donald H. Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, and Under Secretary Pete Aldridge-- faced a skeptical Armed Services Committee in presenting their decision to cancel the Army Crusader artillery system.
Crusader is an advance over Paladin-- the current self-propelled howitzer. The Crusader system consists of a sophisticated self-propelled gun with advanced control system, and a supply vehicle capable of transferring fuel and 48 rounds of ammunition to the howitzer in less than 12 minutes. The overall program would have had a $9 B development and procurement cost.
I concur with Secretary Rumsfeld's judgment that the Crusader program has been overtaken by other technology, and that the Army will benefit far more from applying these resources to a guided multiple-launch rocket system.
I noted also the Secretary's testimony that the military in the past has often been shortsighted in rejecting the cruise missile, GPS, and the joint direct attack munition-- JDAM-- the GPS-guided bomb first used in 1999, in the conflict in Kosovo.
I toiled over the decades to gain acceptance for all three of those programs, and several others. In my judgment, the GPS-guided rocket system surpasses Crusader in every aspect-- firepower, precision of attack, minimal staffing requirement, and flexibility, as well. It is also less vulnerable than is Crusader.
Howitzers such as Crusader are limited to a range of 30-40 km (19-25 miles), although rocket-propelled rounds can extend this range. The Army indicates that the probable error in range for Crusader would be 0.5%, so about 170 yards at 30-km range. The probable error for the GPS-guided rocket likely to be in the 5-m range, accounting for the statement that for attack on a point target, one guided projectile is worth about 50 of the unguided.
A single Crusader is to put eight rounds simultaneously "on target" (within the 170-yard by 35-yard footprint), by firing them in quick succession at different elevation angles. It is a simple matter to launch eight rockets from a range of 100 km or so-- even from different locations-- with the same requirement for simultaneous arrival.
That capability is demonstrated in modern fireworks displays, which are computer programmed and fired.
Guided rockets, with ranges from 60 km to 200 km or so, can mass fires much more readily onto a particular target than can multiple guns, or even a single Crusader. Furthermore, the same mechanism (movable fins or canards-- which allows the navigation system to guide the rocket to the target) can also be used to provide maneuvering, so that targets can be attacked not only directly, but from the side or from the back. Such capabilities already exist with JDAM.
Furthermore, Crusader is a large _system_. Development is tightly integrated, whereas for the guided rocket, there is only loose coupling between the rocket in its various versions, and the launcher and command system. So one can anticipate much more rapid evolution of the rocket system, which can be placed into effective use, while adding features later which might prove desirable and affordable.
I advocated such weapons throughout the 1970s and 1980s. In fact, the cruise missile came into the inventory because then Chief of Naval Operations Elmo R. "Bud" Zumwalt had been the liaison between my White House Naval Warfare Panel and the Pentagon before he was sent to Vietnam to head the brown-water Navy there. On assuming the position of CNO, Admiral Zumwalt wrote me, "I am up and running on CAPTOR mines and cruise missiles." And indeed he did bring the Tomahawk cruise missile into the inventory, which was also the origin of the air launched cruise missile, developed by Boeing.
Those interested in the effectiveness of our military in general, and our army in particular, should get behind the precision guided rocket system and transfer as expeditiously and economically as possible funds from the Crusader program to this quicker and more effective approach.
One problem continually bothers the army; it is that a weapon of longer range is attached at a higher level in the army structure, so that those in combat regard such longer range weapons as less responsive and less available than weapons which support only their local combat area. In principle, weapons of longer range can do everything that the shorter range weapons can do; if necessary, the longer range weapons can be firmly assigned to support specific units.
Sincerely yours,Richard L. Garwin
Philip D. Reed Senior Fellow for Science and Technology
Council on Foreign Relations