Mike Turner, right, participates in a media roundtable discussion with Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team Director Brig. Gen. John Rafferty in June 2020.
Mike Turner, right, participates in a media roundtable discussion with Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team Director Brig. Gen. John Rafferty in June 2020. (Photo Credit: Amy Tolson/DEVCOM AvMC Public Affairs) VIEW ORIGINAL

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. – It’s the Army’s number one priority for modernization – long range precision fires – and the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command Aviation & Missile Center’s own Mike Turner plays a critical role.

As the Fires Capability Area Lead for DEVCOM AvMC, it is Turner’s duty to understand the operational gaps and needs of the Army in long range fires and how emerging technologies can be utilized to address those gaps and needs. He brings that expertise to the Army Futures Command’s Long Range Precision Fires Cross-Functional Team, as the primary science and technology advisor from AvMC.

“LRPF is more critical than ever to the Army as well as the other services,” Turner said. “As potential near-peer adversaries have developed increasingly capable Anti-Access/Area Denial systems, our ability to maintain freedom of maneuver across the battlespace has been restricted. Our maneuver forces will be increasingly under threat from the potential adversaries. Our response has been to emphasize technologies to enable our long range fires systems to attack these A2/AD systems across the depth of the contested space. We are focused on making our long range missile systems more accurate, lethal and survivable with increasing standoff.”

AvMC leads the science and technology investment for the CFT’s strategic and operational lines of effort. That includes S&T work in hypersonics, the Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System, Army Tactical Missile System, and the Army’s new long range missile, currently under development, the Precision Strike Missile.

“The work we are doing in LRPF benefits the Warfighter by giving them the capability to attack and destroy targets from increasingly longer distance,” Turner said. “This keeps our Warfighters safer by destroying the threat systems more quickly and efficiently, and often before those adversaries can get into range to attack our forces. We are developing weapon systems that are so effective that adversaries are less likely to engage in conflict with us or our allies, and ensuring that if they do enter into conflict with us, their defeat will be swift and with minimal casualties to the U.S. and our allies.”

A graduate of the University of Alabama, where he received both a bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, Turner has been with AvMC since 1991. He has served as the Fire Support CAL for about 10 years.

“I enjoy working with our Warfighters to understand the challenges they face in executing their missions and helping to address those challenges with the technologies under development,” Turner said. “It is a pleasure to work with amazing people – both military and civilians – bringing the latest and greatest technologies to our weapon systems. I am privileged to work with amazing scientists and engineers every day. I am fortunate to be part of teams responsible for developing weapon systems that have been used in conflict to save lives of U.S. Soldiers. It has been humbling when Soldiers sought me out expressing their appreciation for our team that helped deliver game changing technologies that made the difference for them in combat.”

With nearly 30 years of experience, Turner had this advice to offer the next generation of scientists and engineers.

“There are many paths to success in AvMC,” Turner said. “My advice to the younger scientists and engineers is to focus on being a subject matter expert on some missile component or design aspect. They should then work to expand their expertise to other components or design aspects giving them a broader system level view of the weapons. As a CAL, it is also important to understand the operational concepts the Army employs in conflict, like Multi-Domain Operations. Also, they should seek a rotational or developmental assignment that exposes them to the operational challenges our Warfighters face to execute their missions.”

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The DEVCOM Aviation & Missile Center, headquartered at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama, is the Army’s research and development focal point for advanced technology in aviation and missile systems. It is part of the U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command (DEVCOM), a major subordinate command of the U.S. Army Futures Command. AvMC is responsible for delivering collaborative and innovative aviation and missile capabilities for responsive and cost-effective research, development and life cycle engineering solutions, as required by the Army’s strategic priorities and support to its Cross-Functional Teams.