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Scouts, by their very definition, should avoid combat. They head out ahead of a main force, gather intelligence, and return to base. Game over, mission accomplished. But occasionally, scouts need firepower, not only for defensive purposes but in case they run across an enemy scout or patrol that could potentially give away their position. How does the Army plan on adding firepower? Here's a hint – it involves a big cannon.

The Army recently demoed two modified vehicle prototypes fitted with 30-millimeter cannons. One, the so-called "ground mobility vehicle 1.1 prototype," according to, featured a belt-fed M230-LF cannon from an AH-64 Apache attack helicopter on its roof, and the "light armored vehicle combat reconnaissance vehicle prototype" used an integrated Kongsberg turret – it's like a tank's turret – with an MK44 chain gun. The goal is added lethality, which the Army showed off in a live-fire exercise.

According to Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster, director of the Army Capabilities Integration Center and deputy commanding general of Futures at Training and Doctrine Command, the demonstration is part of an effort to drive discussion into the need for specialty vehicles, after the cancellation of the Army's Light Reconnaissance Vehicle program last month. Instead of equipping scout units with the new vehicle, the Army will dispatch JLTVs "with potential sensor and lethality upgrades."

"We are facing threats, enemies, and adversaries who have watched us very closely in recent years and have adapted their capabilities and developed new capabilities that have resulted in our forces in the future potentially losing our ability to overmatch the enemy in close combat," Lt. Gen. McMaster said. "This is an effort to invigorate and improve the capabilities of our reconnaissance formations and, in particular though, to make sure every Army formation has that appropriate combination of mobility, protection and lethality,"

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