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C3 Howitzer Replacement

Kirkhill

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I have said before. I am always a day late and a dollar short when it comes to being visited by the good idea fairy.

But what does that say about those that have the dollars and are regularly visited?

PS - by my estimate the 8x8 platform is an Argo. The CH47, I believe, could carry 3 vehicles fully loaded, internally. The Herc, 8 internally ready to use. The C17 could carry 24 ready to use or, if stacked as cargo three high, then 72 vehicles in a single lift.

Enough to support a battalion?

 

GR66

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I've always been a fan of the Bv-Series/Bronco vehicles for our Light forces. Air Transportable. Excellent off road mobility but still has good road movement range and speed. Enclosed unlike many of the Light and Ultra Light tactical vehicles out there (we're not always going to be operating in temperate/hot/dry environments). Has excellent payload and the ability to mount a wide variety of weapons on the rear section.

Existing 120mm mortar designs would be useful for the Reserve Artillery and I'm sure you could fairly easily mount a multi-tube UAV/Loitering Munition launch rack as well. I wonder if you could even mount a 105mm gun similar to the Hawkeye system mounted on a Humvee?
 

MilEME09

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Would depend heavily on the frame and suspension system of the vehicle to be able to take the weight and forces associated with a 105.
 

Kirkhill

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I've always been a fan of the Bv-Series/Bronco vehicles for our Light forces. Air Transportable. Excellent off road mobility but still has good road movement range and speed. Enclosed unlike many of the Light and Ultra Light tactical vehicles out there (we're not always going to be operating in temperate/hot/dry environments). Has excellent payload and the ability to mount a wide variety of weapons on the rear section.

Existing 120mm mortar designs would be useful for the Reserve Artillery and I'm sure you could fairly easily mount a multi-tube UAV/Loitering Munition launch rack as well. I wonder if you could even mount a 105mm gun similar to the Hawkeye system mounted on a Humvee?

How about if the Bv-Series/Bronco style vehicles were acquired for the Transport Platoons and the Transport Coys of the Service Battalions? As A-echelon "B" vehicles?

I would like to keep the F-echelon of the Light Infantry very light and heli-transportable. And in Canada heli-transportable means compatible with the Griffon, not the Chinook. That is why I am leaning more heavily towards Ultra Light platforms. I am not particularly bothered about operating in cold, wet environments with open vehicles. We have experience and we have existing technologies.

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And KevinB has got me rethinking the general utility of the Little Birds like the MD500, the Jet Ranger and the Squirrel. A helicopter is still the best available anti-gravity device, or ultimate ATV. And given the relative prices compared to surface vehicles, even a small helicopter moving fast multiple times can be as cost effective a people mover as a surface vehicle crawling slowly once.



Especially if augmented by UAS technologies.
 
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FJAG

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I've always been a fan of the Bv-Series/Bronco vehicles for our Light forces. Air Transportable. Excellent off road mobility but still has good road movement range and speed. Enclosed unlike many of the Light and Ultra Light tactical vehicles out there (we're not always going to be operating in temperate/hot/dry environments). Has excellent payload and the ability to mount a wide variety of weapons on the rear section.

Existing 120mm mortar designs would be useful for the Reserve Artillery and I'm sure you could fairly easily mount a multi-tube UAV/Loitering Munition launch rack as well. I wonder if you could even mount a 105mm gun similar to the Hawkeye system mounted on a Humvee?
It's actually capable of taking the crew of a 105mm howitzer and tow the gun at the same time. It has roughly the same load and tow capability of the original deuce and a half prime movers albeit not quite the same cargo space so on-board ammo is a bit limited (probably what the old Quad FAT and limber could haul for the 25 pdr). On the plus side it's a much more compact vehicle than the current gun tractor.

We used them quite well with the lighter L5 but it should handle a C3 in most terrain. Not sure I'd want to do a very long road move with it though.

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FJAG

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It's actually capable of taking the crew of a 105mm howitzer and tow the gun at the same time. It has roughly the same load and tow capability of the original deuce and a half prime movers albeit not quite the same cargo space so on-board ammo is a bit limited (probably what the old Quad FAT and limber could haul for the 25 pdr). On the plus side it's a much more compact vehicle than the current gun tractor.

We used them quite well with the lighter L5 and the Brits with the Light Gun but it should handle a C3 in most terrain. Not sure I'd want to do a very long road move with it though.
full


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Kirkhill

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Pshaw. 105mm technology. Those launchers are ancient. What can you do with a 105mm gun?

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FJAG

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Pshaw. 105mm technology. Those launchers are ancient. What can you do with a 105mm gun?
A lot - try laying a smoke screen or firing illumination or an area neutralization mission with a drone. Then there's ammo system cost and the fact that it's still pretty hard to interfere with an arty projectile once launched. It's the same with all the recommendations to give reserve artillery 120 mm mortars when we don't have enough large artillery with long range in the first place.

These systems are all complementary and not a replacement for each other. The CAF has a nasty habit of throwing out older systems with the acquisition of new ones even when the new system does not cover the same range of capabilities. I know I sound like a broken record when I refer to the disposition of the M109s in 2005 when there was a clear 10 year capability gap predicted. Yes, we were getting radars and UAVs but neither of those could deliver a projectile. We ended up going to war and had to borrow guns from the Marines on a handshake. We tend to solve problems by UAR rather than the development of coherent forward looking doctrines.

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Kirkhill

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I failed again.

The point I was trying to make is that old "launchers" have been given new leases on life by having their arsenals increased. In addition to their traditional applications, and I am really glad you led with smoke, they now have carriers that can extend the range and capabilities manifold.

And how nice it would have been to have a battery, or even a troop, on exercise, laying smoke in which to conduct the exercise.

I am not looking at the UAS as a replacement but as a complement. I am also getting used to the idea that the older shunt to larger calibers is being effectively replaced by uas precision and range - at low cost.
 

Colin Parkinson

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I take a blend of M119 and 120mm mortars for the Reserve Artillery. Add a LAV based 120mm Mortar as a Interim SPG. I buy the mortars outright. The M119, likley we could convince the US to lease us 50 or so to supplement the C3. This is all doable in our current and anticipated budgets for the near future.
 

FJAG

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I take a blend of M119 and 120mm mortars for the Reserve Artillery. Add a LAV based 120mm Mortar as a Interim SPG. I buy the mortars outright. The M119, likley we could convince the US to lease us 50 or so to supplement the C3. This is all doable in our current and anticipated budgets for the near future.
Lets crunch some numbers.

I've just counted up the number of gunners in the Res F artillery from the 2020 Gunners of Canada. There is a total of 2,124 (give or take a counting error or two) including bands in sixteen regiments and three independent batteries. Regiments vary in strength from a low of 55 to a high of 184. Independent batteries from 27 to 82. An average of 122 per regiment and 54 for the independent batteries.

So what do we do with those gunners? Well I'd say you can probably discount the numbers by 15% for bandsmen and those unfit for service (and I think I'm undercounting those) which leaves roughly 1,800.

What do we need to fill out the regular force regiments? Each regiment has 2 batteries of 4 guns each when it should have three of six guns. At roughly 35 pers for each of the six two-gun troops needed (210) and 130 pers for each of the three missing six-gun batteries (390) we need 600 reservists just to round out the three Reg F regiments - plus 30 guns and all the associated gear (lets not complicate things by wondering where the trained weapon and radio and veh mechs come from)

So that leaves 1,200. What else do we need for an army the size of Canada's? - air defence - we need air defence. That's around another 5 - 600 folks. Many of these need to come from the Reg F but every one which comes from one of the three Reg F regiments needs to be replaced by a reservist in whatever job he held somewhere else. So let's say 600 for air defence.

That leaves 600. So what else should we need? - a general support regiment? a precision rocket regiment? a few weaponized UAV batteries? more STA?

So where am I going with this rambling?

Simple - there is no room for light guns or mortars or whatever you might consider.

To properly plump out the Reg F regiments will take 30 guns and a third of the reserve force - all of these should be trained on whatever weapon system the Reg F units own. Specific Res Regts need to be trained and designated to fill those roles and be equipped to fill the equipment shortfalls that currently exist. (and yes IMHO we need an SP, either tracked or more probably wheeled for two of the brigades - which means buy appx 40 new guns and concentrate the M777 in a light brigade)

Adding an air defence role to the artillery should require a full regiment (it probably won't be because we'll probably want to make do with a battery - but it used to be a regiment and, IMHO, needs to be to properly support a three brigade army) That will eat up the second third of the reserves - many of whom will become air defence specialist and the remainder, those replacing the Reg F air defenders will, like the first third, need to specialize on whatever equipment their Reg F unit holds.

The issue is the same for the last third. They need to specialize on, be equipped with and be organized to form those general support or STA or rocket or UAV systems that are required.

Take good notice of something here. There simply aren't enough Res F gunners in the system, as it is, to fully man the weapon systems that we have and the few additional ones that that we need which are critical capability deficiencies. We do not have enough to make mortar platoons for infantry battalions or light gun batteries to support light brigades (other than whatever the Reg F might field). The Reg F artillery is critically understrength. We can hope that more modern weapon systems will be able to require less crews but I wouldn't count on it. An automated SP with a three gun crew needs a good ammo det in support to keep the beast fed.

We can continue to function with the system we have where our deployments commit no more than two gun batteries per year in six month rotations. Remember though that every one of those years ate up a large part of two entire regiments augmented by a whack of a lot of volunteer reservists all of whom went through lengthy predeployment training cycles that allowed the reservists to integrate. If, however, we are faced by a situation where we need to commit more than that and keep it sustained, or are required to deploy rapidly then our current system is sadly lacking. It makes me think of the homeowner who for years has not paid any premiums on fire insurance because - well so far - there's been no fire. With every year he gets by without a fire he becomes more and more convinced he doesn't need the policy. Canada's artillery (and its armoured corps) is a lot like that.

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FJAG

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Air defence / counter artillery, rocket and mortar defence in OOTW - airfield evacuation version:


Yes, Virginia. GBAD is important even when we're not fighting Russians in Europe.

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Colin Parkinson

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What I suggested is a bandaid to get us through the next decade and have something if the C3 Fleet is condemned in the near future. If the guns are condemned, expect to see a mass exodus from the Reserve Artillery. I would love to have each Reserve artillery unit have a battery of guns and a UAV or AD troop, preferably both. I just don't see the support or will from the CF or the politicians, nor the money to do much else.
 

KevinB

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What I suggested is a bandaid to get us through the next decade and have something if the C3 Fleet is condemned in the near future. If the guns are condemned, expect to see a mass exodus from the Reserve Artillery. I would love to have each Reserve artillery unit have a battery of guns and a UAV or AD troop, preferably both. I just don't see the support or will from the CF or the politicians, nor the money to do much else.
Why not get more M777? Give Res Reg 2 each - and 1 to separate Bty's.
The C3 doesn't seem to offer anything but using u old stock of 105mm Arty ammo.
 

MilEME09

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What I suggested is a bandaid to get us through the next decade and have something if the C3 Fleet is condemned in the near future. If the guns are condemned, expect to see a mass exodus from the Reserve Artillery. I would love to have each Reserve artillery unit have a battery of guns and a UAV or AD troop, preferably both. I just don't see the support or will from the CF or the politicians, nor the money to do much else.
Our time is running out in the C3 fleet, VOR rate aside, it was estimated we needed a replacement by 2023 in order to prevent the fleet being lost before a new howitzer comes in. That obviously isn't going to happen, I'd estimate by 2025 we won't have but a handful of serviceable C3's left. They are just too old, barrels are reaching their max ware without replacement, cradles and carriages are cracking. They were never designed to last this long.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Been kicked around here, my opinion is that it may work for some units, but it's to big for many of the units, more complex and with no local support will be hard to service. Quite a few of the Units are constrained by their buildings as to what they can get in and out of the doors, the current gun tractor can't get into my old unit and I be surprised if they could get a M777 in or out without significant modification. Not to mention the costs of getting it to the ranges are going to be more and there will be less rounds budgeted as each round costs more to fire.
 

KevinB

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Been kicked around here, my opinion is that it may work for some units, but it's to big for many of the units, more complex and with no local support will be hard to service. Quite a few of the Units are constrained by their buildings as to what they can get in and out of the doors, the current gun tractor can't get into my old unit and I be surprised if they could get a M777 in or out without significant modification. Not to mention the costs of getting it to the ranges are going to be more and there will be less rounds budgeted as each round costs more to fire.
So it sounds like some of those units are not practical to retain as Field Artillery...
 

LoboCanada

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This thread has been highly educational, one of the most on this site.

FJAGs post made me realize something. If we don't first fix recruiting and retention (aggressively in many ways) then we can't do much with our current numbers. If we don't comprehensively fix how to bring new people in and retain them keep them happy then this is all hypothetical or only good for the panicked WW3 post-pearl harbour like recruiting numbers. Currently I think we are seeing a pattern where we simply could not maintain (effective) capabilities without shedding others. And it appears we may have been doing this for quite some time.

We shouldn't have gaps in C-UAV, GBAD, SPA, the list goes on... but we do, and there aren't enough people to maintain and operate them currently anyways. It sounds like we'd be splitting hairs, and spending a fortune to have barely a few platforms operated by a tiny pool of trained people. If that's the case, then we shouldn't have that capability.

Even if we went the expensive route and shifted all RegF artillery to the Reserves and buy 37+ SPA (wheeled) or HIMARS, then our problems are just shifting things around. And I don't think the artillery establishment of our Armed Forces should be defeated by us having too many small door frames at XYZ barracks/depot. Nor should our merciless horde of infantry be defeated by a kids UAV with an IED taped to it.

For those more informed, if we filled in all the gaps (specifically in artillery/GBAD/UAV) - no matter how cheaply - how many more people would that take? How many SHORAD people would it take to effectively maintain the capability? At what level? How many more people would we have to recruit to fill the gaps left by those SHORAD people?
 

MilEME09

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Been kicked around here, my opinion is that it may work for some units, but it's to big for many of the units, more complex and with no local support will be hard to service. Quite a few of the Units are constrained by their buildings as to what they can get in and out of the doors, the current gun tractor can't get into my old unit and I be surprised if they could get a M777 in or out without significant modification. Not to mention the costs of getting it to the ranges are going to be more and there will be less rounds budgeted as each round costs more to fire.
Solution, keep the guns at the bases with arty ranges. Buy a simulator for the armoury floor to practice drills. Bases then maintain the guns for the units, and multiple units share the limited guns available. For a 777 you really only need the back end to practice the drills.
 
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