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Combat Team of tomorrow? Mechanized Infantry Company of tomorrow?

Kirkhill

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Warning: Fecal Agitation Occuring.

Why is a "system of systems" considered a detestable concept and a "Combined Arms Team" is considered time-tested dogma?  Isn't a "Combined Arms Team" a "system of systems" by definition?  Sword, Lance and Bow combined in a team equals a system of systems.

I have seen references to a theory that one reason the FOG-M/LOSAT combination has not been fielded earlier (they have both been around since the late 80's early 90's) is that the Americans didn't want to undermine the dominance of their own tank-heavy forces.  They felt that they could beat any army in the field with the system of weapons they had even if forced to fight tank-on-tank.  If they introduced the FOG-M/LOSAT combination and demonstrated that they believed that tanks could be defeated by a light force so equipped then they would lose the physical and psychological edge they enjoyed over all opponents.  Potential opponents would figure out how to produce the things cheaply and in large numbers.  The US Army would then be forced into a rapid transformation that they couldn't afford and would ultimately be destabilizing.

I will try to find links for reference - lost in the mists of time and the ether...............
 

a_majoor

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LOSAT and FOG-M are potentially as destabilizing as the introduction of the HMS Dreadnaught was to the capital fleets of the world in the early part of the last century. The biggest problems right now is there isn't a doctrine or organizational structure in place to take full advantage of the capabilities these systems can offer. If we go in too early without thinking about how they can best be used, we might end up like the British navy in WW I; armed with very impressive looking "Battlecruisers", which were fatally flawed in concept and operation.

This author looks at the idea of tanks being technologically obsolete, but once again we are left with the question of how do you replace those functions without using a tank? http://www.knox.army.mil/center/ocoa/ArmorMag/ja97/4lastmbt.pdf. The modified Bradley pictured in the article represents a "best guess" look at a quickly available LOSAT platform, and there is no reason the same vehicle couldn't carry FOG-M or even a mixed battery of missiles. Close protection would have to come from accompanying infantry, and long range target data will have to be available to the vehicle crew to use the weapons to their best effect. Using this as the baseline, and assuming we can purchase Bradley's as the US forces does a draw down, we can build the Combat Team of Tomorrow with the following:

"Kodiak" section carriers. The M-2 turret is removed and replaced by a low profile weapons mount for survivability.
"Cheetah" fire support vehicles carrying FOG-M, LOSAT or mix as the tactical situation dictates (as in illustration)
"Fox" recce and surveillance vehicles. Similar to the Kodiak, the Fox -A have a mast mounted sensor suites (surveillance, FOO/FAC/MFC vehicles), while the Fox-B carries the dismounted recce section. The mast is quick raising and lowering, and robust enough to use on the move. Think of a submarine periscope rather than the current Coyote mast.
"Kodiak mortar carrier", using the 120 mm mortar for area coverage (HE/smoke/illum). Cheetahs use the PGM's to take out point and hard targets.

A combat team would cover a lot of ground, with a Fox recce troop operating ahead, Kodiak's and Cheetahs one or two bounds back and the Mortar carriers a bound in the rear.

In principle, a new series of LAV based vehicles could also be built to take on these roles (LAV 3.5), but they would have lower cross country mobility and armour protection compared to the M-2 baseline. Given the decades of use and development in the Canadian Army, we probably could make a LAV 3.5 which addresses some of the mobility and protection issues in a wheeled platform.
 

Kirkhill

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Another way to think of the LOSAT/FOG-M/what-have-you fire support combination is to consider more as Engineer stores. Consider Claymore - emplaced one location, remotely fired.

Consider the missiles on lightweight trailers with a pair of small motors and a rechargeable battery pack.  Tow the missiles into the firing point.  Unhitch the trailer.  Move the G-Wagen and the set-up crew off the firing point.  Payout a fibre-optic link like a signal wire from the firing point to a pair of Coyotes with Mast mounted sensors via the G-Wagen.  The Coyotes could be up to 10 km from the firing points and the firing points could be kilometers apart.  Radio or Laser comms systems in parallel to the fiber optics to supply redundancy.  The only power draw while the system is waiting to be tasked is the standby power to maintain the comms link to a solenoid switch which would turn on the power pack when a fire mission is in the offing.  Gunners might have to stop by the emplacement site every now and then to recharge the battery from an APU on the G-Wagen.    If emplaced behind a conventional front-line no security might be necessary.  In a 360 battlefield it might be worth tasking a section to look after an emplacement with 2-4 trailers.

No exposed crews once the firing starts.  Low heat signatures.  Trailers cheap enough to be considered disposable if necessary but rugged enough to justify reloading and reusing if the trailers can be recovered safely.  Less manning requirements.  A real lightweight, low cost, deployable fire support capability to complement, not replace, conventional gun and mortar artillery.
 

a_majoor

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Nice idea Kirkhill, but it still has the objection of the MGS/LAV TOW/MMEV troika: this system does not fire on the move. In the defense it would be mind boggling, and if there was time to set up a deliberate assault, this would be a sneaky way to set the fire support.

If these are long range missiles, then the Artillery or Mortar Platoon could be in charge of the system, to back up the combat team as it makes its move.
 

Kirkhill

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http://www.army-technology.com/projects/polyphem/

The French version of EFOG-M uses a 130 kg missile to deliver a 20 kg warhead at speeds of approximately 600 km/h.  That means that it takes about 10 minutes for the missile to transit from launch point to target 60 KM away.  It is available in truck and ship launched variants with heli-launched variants in the works.

The system of systems, as you suggest, would be best suited to an arty tasking with the firing points being employed the way that towed arty and man-pack mortars always have - move to position, wait for fire mission, fire, relocate.  Long Range means fewer firing points necessary to cover ground, greater dispersal, less need to unmask all of your available assets at the same time.

The general concept of remote deployment of unmanned firing posts was proved by mounting 6x19 rd Hydra-70 70mm rocket pods on old M-101 howitzer mounts.  Originally evaluated by the US for their Light Infantry Divisions in the 80's and 90's.  An old Janes' Armour and Artillery will show the system under US Towed Rocket systems.

By the way, if France and Germany get their way in the EU and are allowed to sell arms to China, China will have access to Polyphem technology amongst other things.


Cheers.
 

Kirkhill

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70mm Rapid Deployment - Multiple Launch Rocket System

Manufactured by   BEI Defense Systems Company of Texas

Reported in Janes' Armour and Artillery (Year Unknown)

â Å“Description:

Up to six 19-tube replaceable launchers can be mounted on a towed M91 chemical rocket launcher chassis or a 105mm howitzer bed.   Other configurations include six 19-tube launchers on a 2 ½ -ton truck, three 19-tube launchers on a High Mobility Multi-purpose Wheeled Vehicle, a 25-rocket square array universal mount, various armoured vehicle turret mounts, two 7- or 19-tube launchers on a Fast Attack Vehicle, four 19-tube launchers on and M42 carriage or quad 12.7mm machine gun mount, and a man-portable 4-tube launcher on a tripod mount.   Launchers are reusable 7-tube M260 or 19-tube M261 lightweight aircraft pods or are specially configured for the tripod and universal mounts.  

Up to eight fire units can be controlled by cable or radio from one location.   The operator can select single, pair or four-round bursts from each launcher and he can select the total quantity to be fired and the firing rate for a salvo.   Range is 700m to over 15 km.

The crew for the larger systems is four with a typical six-pod launcher system taking 10 minutes to reload.   A single 19-round launcher can be fired in about 0.5 second in the quick fire mode and within 1.5 seconds in the slow fire mode. A full six-pod launcher takes less than seven seconds to empty in the slow mode.â ?

I never quite understood why this concept didn't go farther.   All the kit was NATO standard, in fact the HYDRA-70's and the launchers are manufactured in Canada.   It seemed to me to make a lot of sense to add one of these batteries to a 105mm unit.   However, regardless of the value of the 70mm system, the remote firing concept applied to the LOSAT/EFOGM or POLYPHEM systems would add a lot of fire support at a relatively low price in kit and gunners, not to mention gunners killed.

There's one of my pet projects.....

Cheers.
 

Kirkhill

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http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/apkws.htm

As a final point for consideration, this is a modification of the Hydra-70 missile.  Basically it is a guidance package for a standard Hydra-70 rocket that is intended to supplement Hellfire for less well armoured targets.  It is called APKWS or Advanced Precision Kill Weapons System.  The payload is 1.04 kg of  HE.
 

Acorn

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I'll need time to wrap my brain around most of this, but I think it's a mistake at this point to start considering a tankless force. It's one thing to abandon the tank because it's gone the way of the battleship, but quite another to do it soley because our government doesn't have the political will to fund such things. In this respect I think we, the Army, are often our own worst enemy. We have an attitude of "adapt and overcome" or "seek a niche role" when we should have senior people pointing out the flaws in trying to make do. Sgt Majoor pointed out the flaw in the concepts discussed so far - they provide for kick-ass infantry in the defence, but the lack of capability on the advance is obvious.

However, we still need to function in the four phases of war that have been reality for a long time. Investing (money or intellectual capital) in systems (or "systems of systems") that are functionally defensive is, to be blunt, defeatist. This is where the average civvy lacks understanding - "why do we need tanks/attack helos/submarines/whatever? They are offensive systems, and we are not an offensive country." I certainly don't need to explain the logical fallacy to this audience.

I agree with the points above that we will likely see the day (or my successors will) where the infantry soldier, with some inexpensive support elements, becomes more cost effective in all phases of war than the tank. We have not reached that point yet.

Oh, and by the way, as much as I would enjoy the discussion of Dreadnought on Naval warfare, all I can offer that that analogy is that we have yet to see the same sort of revolution in land warfare since the advent of the tank. I would point out that her construction rendered allprevious ship designs obsolete (though part of that parcel was a revolution in Naval gunnery. A discussion outside the scope of this forum, I should think.)

Acorn
 
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Tanner

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We need to introduce a 3 dimensional battlespace into the though process. All this ground mounted stuff is great, but most of it can be neutralized by a $10 mine. FA, AH, UAV provide platforms for both direct and indirect wpns systems. Example: If we integrate UAV mounted GPS and lazer targeting (as per the coyote) with a LOSAT tech we have formidable standoff Anti Armour capability for reasonable cost.
 

Kirkhill

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Right enough Tanner, you do need at least a UAV and/or even the CH-146 ERSTA capability as a minimum to what ever system you come up with.  And as Acorn and a_majoor have also pointed out there will also be a need to have an ability to rapidly move a lethal response capability around the battlespace  to cover the unexpected.  The fixed system that I suggested as an option isn't a guaranteed cure for anything. Its an option to be torn apart.

Cheers :) ;) :salute:
 

a_majoor

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While attack helo's, A-10's and even Predator UAV's have proven to be effective fire platforms, they are still aircraft which are lift and weather limited. Even the mighty A-10 doesn't carry 51 105mm high velocity rounds like the Leopard C2 could, only 11 hardpoints for various missiles or bombs and 1100 rounds of 30mm (not a lot when the gun fires at 3900 RPM).

Not that I would actually turn down A-10, Cobra or even Predator support if offered, we just need to keep the limitations in mind when thinking this through. 
 

KevinB

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Coudl we jump back to fiscal reality people.
Coulda, woulda, shoulda is fine.

But we need to do this on todays defence budget -

Sorry I'd like a better AT missle (US Javelin) and more soldier upgrades for kit and weapons.  We need to slim down our forces - leaner and meaner.  Looks at todays security atmosphere granted it is not necessarily tomorrows the fact is we dont have the money to get involved in a high intensity conlfict with the coolest neato toys.

So we must focus on something we can do: LI-SOC (Light Infantry Special Operations Capable) and do it well training and equipping our solider to excell that this. 
Maybe this means re-rolling the Armoured into CAV simlpy fighting the vehicle that the 031's use a taxis' when necessary.  Maybe the Gunners had best learn to love the mortar and become UAV SME's...

High End High Intensity tools are a waste of $ for the CF: Why?  We have no large bodied enemy to fight - and like it or not unless the Gov't ponies up a triplign or quadrupling of the Def budget we would have an effective army for that type of fighting anyway.

The Tank - fuck the Tank we are missing so many other necessary systems as well.

Learn to love your rucks boys.

 

a_majoor

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The most frustrating part of all these discussions is the assumption we have a lack of money. We (or the powers that be) have a lack of WILL. It was pointed out in another thread that the Indian Armed Forces have a similar budget, but a vastly larger and more capable force.

So much of our money is just frittered away on "new" PC's for the office, CORCAN furnature, landscaping, or absorbed in bloated establishments. We may never need to buy an ICBM regiment, but we can reallocate our resources towards the sharp end, and actually start restructuring our forces.

While an increase in defense spending to the "NATO standard" of 2% of GDP would be wonderful, lets really reprioratize what we are spending our 1.1% on.
 

KevinB

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a_majoor: true - we need the gov't and public to understand the Army is not in the welfare business.

  Still even if we did cut costs and streamlined: --> doubling our captial equiptment budget?
Still wont get us into the High End game.

And Do we want to be there?

Are we sure that trying to get a high tech mech army is wise (I am sure it is not) and not just a matter of misplaced pride?
 

Infanteer

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a_majoor said:
The most frustrating part of all these discussions is the assumption we have a lack of money. We (or the powers that be) have a lack of WILL. It was pointed out in another thread that the Indian Armed Forces have a similar budget, but a vastly larger and more capable force.

So much of our money is just frittered away on "new" PC's for the office, CORCAN furnature, landscaping, or absorbed in bloated establishments. We may never need to buy an ICBM regiment, but we can reallocate our resources towards the sharp end, and actually start restructuring our forces.

While an increase in defense spending to the "NATO standard" of 2% of GDP would be wonderful, lets really reprioratize what we are spending our 1.1% on.

Not to sound like a broken record, but I would argue, as I have many times before here, that a bloated, Cold-War (re: mobilization), highly centralized command structure is the place to start.   Any reform is useless when it is fed into the paradigmatic "hose" that justifies a huge NDHQ and a military with a rate of 1 officer for every 3 or 4 soldiers.

KevinB said:
And Do we want to be there?

Are we sure that trying to get a high tech mech army is wise (I am sure it is not) and not just a matter of misplaced pride?

Interesting conundrum Kevin.   How do we justify the "prestige" of our Army without its centerpiece 3 Mechanized Brigade Groups?   Perhaps the residual of WWII and the Cold War has deeply ingrained into our psyche the equation of military power and "currency" with large, mechanized formations bulldozing their way through the Fulda Gap.   What sort of shift in thinking should we be looking at if this is indeed a problem?

More to ponder I guess...until then, continue dismounting from LAV and lamenting the Leo.... :-\
 

pbi

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but the lack of capability on the advance is obvious.

Really? Advance under what kind of conditions, and what kind of enemy? Do we seriously envision ourselves unilaterally fighting a mechanized enemy? More like that as part of a Coalition we will engage an enemy who has some residual armour capability, but not by ourselves. And since when are AA systems confined to the defence? I was always taught that they were an important part of the advance. Cheers.
 

a_majoor

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The fighting in Falluja, and the Israeli experience in the West Bank would seem to validate the need for "shoot on the move" and high all around protection. Since we do not have this currently, and the systems coming on line do not have these capabilities either, we are back to the original point of the thread: "how do you gain lodgment without tanks?"
 

ArmyRick

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I agree with sorting out our military and wether we like or not, the liberals do not want tanks (their the bosses). so having said that it is time to say good bye to our dearly departed friend, The Main Battle Tank (1917-2007) in CF service (RIP).
Having said that we should learn and develop a new doctrine that is more suitable to our kit. Push old school combat teams out of your mind, because if we don't have the kit, lets stay out out of the business.
If a heavy weight boxer drops down to middle weight, does he stay and try and slug out with the big boys? Hopefully not. Thats us in the CF..
We are looking at Javelin for ALAWS, maybe using a good anti-armor system will help compensate for lack of MBTs? Combined with TOW Aero and Bunker buster, maybe even advancing to fire and forget TOW?
MGS? I hope it does some good for us?
MMEV? I actually have some faith that this might prove to be a vaulable idea. The US was experimenting with LOSAT and kinetic energy missiles.
Bottom line, we must move on and get on with the business of developing new doctrine.

PS Is there a wake planned for the Late Leopard C2 MBT?
 

Acorn

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Our political masters may not like tanks, but it's up to our leadership to make the point. Evidently too many in our military leadership have caved on this.

Do we want a rounded combat-capable force, or are we happy with a niche capability that may be satisfactory to our allies?

Kevin, I would agree with you if I thought there was a future in it, but I don't see it. We are not so small as to limit ourselves in such a way.

I agree with a_majoor that it is a lack of will that is the issue. Our politicians are total dunderheads militarily - they rely on our senior commanders to advise them on the details. It seems to me that defeatism has permeated the Army, in that our leaders are choosing to adapt to what the government gives, rather than to challenge the government on their decisions. Perhaps it's too much time under the Liberals, and too much time under Jean Cretien - a despicable politician of no moral fibre. If we continue to go down that road without standing up and challenging, we will wind up as a peacekeeping constabulary, whatever those of you who think gearing for a niche capability think.

To be clear: I'm not advocating the existing "cookie-cutter" mech bdes that exist today. I think an LI capability, a significant capability, is of great value. I do not think it should be our only capability though.

The money is there, the intestinal fortitude is lacking.

One final thing - as bad as the officer:ncm ratio seems to be, consider that it is Forces-wide, not an Army phenominon. The Air Force alone skews the ratio unreasonably.

Acorn
 

pbi

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Our political masters may not like tanks, but it's up to our leadership to make the point. Evidently too many in our military leadership have caved on this.

Maybe I keep missing something (I am getting on, after all....) but where did we get the idea that politicians had anything to do with the MGS decision? The last politician I can recall who even had an opinion on tanks, was Trudeau (anti-tank) but he was smartly put in line by our allies and we bought the Leo to replace the Cent. Since then, the Govt has to the best of my knowledge ponied up to not only keep the Leo fleet but upgrade it incl the new turrets. Then, they agreed to let us deploy tanks on a "peace support mission" (or whatever it was...) to Kosovo. I have yet to hear any MND or PM (other than PET) say that we need to get rid of tanks. As far as I can tell this was totally self-inflicted, which is why it is all the more unlikely that it will ever be reversed. Start thinking how we're going to make it work. Cheers.
 
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