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Testing and Fielding of the Panther Tank and Lessons for Force XXI

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Research paper

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The U.S. Army is currently developing and testing new equipment to leverage technology and become even more efficient and effective on the battlefield. When developing new equipment there is always a danger of rushing the equipment through testing and evaluation TE to have it in the field to meet a critical need. Does the U.S. Army possess the potential to rush equipment through the TE phases of development only to have it degrade combat effectiveness once it is fielded There are several historical instances of the problems that ensue when equipment is rushed into production and fielded too soon. A great example of this was the German rush to field the new Panther tank before the Battle of Kursk during World War II. The Germans were trying to develop, test, and field a major weapon system while fighting a war. It can be argued that the Panther tank was the finest tank built during World War II, but it certainly did not make its appearance on the battlefield with great distinction. The case study of the Panther tank shows the dangers the U.S. Army faces today as it tests equipment that will digitize the battlefield. The Panther clearly demonstrates three potential pitfalls of new equipment the users of the equipment did not have input into its design and development, new tactics were not formulated to capture the advantages of the new equipment, and the logistics required for fielding the new equipment were not in place. Each of these pitfalls caused significant problems for the Panther tank. Todays U.S. Army has the potential to experience the pitfalls of the Panther. As the Army moves to digitize the battlefield it will use information technologies that it hopes will produce disproportional lethality. If the Army does not pay attention to the lessons learned from the possible consequences of introducing equipment not yet fully tested to the field, it will create more problems for itself with the new technologies used in Force XXI.

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  • Humanities and History
  • Manufacturing and Industrial Engineering and Control of Production Systems
  • Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics
  • Combat Vehicles

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