(Newsroom America) -- Army leaders are looking to modernize the force much the way it was done in the 1980s, when the service built five "legacy" systems known as the "Big Five" - systems which are still in use today, Military.com reported Thursday.
Those systems - the Abrams tank, Bradley infantry fighting vehicle, Apache helicopter, Black Hawk helicopter, and Patriot air defense system - have been upgraded a number of times since they were first designed during the military Reagan-era military build-up that was credited, in part, with ending the Cold War and leading to the collapse of the Soviet Union.
Army leaders now want to duplicate that effort as the service enters a transition phase following 11 years of war in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"Soldiers see technology outpacing their aging vehicles and weapons," Military.com reported.
Some of the systems being examined for replacement or major upgrade include the venerable Humvee, the Army's entire stock of radio systems and the Bradley.
Though the service likely won't have the blank check it was given by lawmakers during the latter years of the Cold War, the Army's acquisition chief, Heidi Shyu, thinks the service branch should think big nonetheless.
Specifically, she wants Army officials to think about how the service will look in 2042, and has ordered top Army brass to develop a 30-year modernization plan to lay out what they think soldiers will need in terms of vehicles, technology and weapons.
Army officials have said that they normally like to plan long-term, but have had to rob life-cycle upgrade and replacement accounts to fund short-term purchases linked to the wars, like MRAPs - Mine Resistant Ambush Protected - vehicles used successfully in Iraq and Afghanistan to protect troops from improvised explosive devices.
"That’s absolutely 180 degrees from what we want to do," Lt. Gen. Keith Walker, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center, told the military website.
"Organizations naturally go through periods of adaptation and innovation. Adaptation, that short-term piece usually driven by crisis, we’ve been doing that for ten years. It’s in the periods of investment, which is when you transition," he said. "hat’s when we need our [Science and Technology funding]."
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