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Offline Retired AF Guy

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Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« on: August 05, 2019, 19:11:31 »
Nice to hear that the Canadian Army is looking at reviving its Ground-based AD Capability.

Quote
Air Defence: Reacquiring a vital capability
Jun 27, 2019 | News, Procurement
By Ian Coutts

There is a classic cartoon by Bing Coughlin from the Canadian Army’s old Maple Leaf newspaper featuring Herbie, his archetypal Canadian soldier of the Second World War. In it, Herbie, cowering with his pals in a crude shelter in the midst of a fiendish bombardment, looks up and notices an astounding selection of objects hurtling overhead – a steel rail, a big pipe, a stove and, as he remarks incredulously, “Even the kitchen sink!”

There must have been times when it felt like that. And indeed, times today when it still does. A modern soldier looking up in the battlespace might see a bewildering array of objects passing overhead: Not merely fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters, but mortar shells, cruise missiles, surface-to-surface rockets and even, potentially, swarms of drones. All intent on doing him or her harm.

Hopes are the Army’s new Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) system will help to counteract all of these threats, by sometime in the middle of the next decade. In the not-so distant past, the Army could field a selection of weapons capable of engaging low-flying aircraft, ranging from shoulder-launched Javelin missiles to a radar controlled Oerlikon-Contraves GDF 35mm twin cannon, to Aerospace Oerlikon’s combined air defence anti-tank system. The last of those air defence capabilities was retired in 2012.

Canada wasn’t alone in neglecting these systems. As Major Bruno Di Ilio, the lead on the GBAD project, pointed out, “There was a big downturn on the West’s part in terms of air defence capability because we always thought we had air superiority, so we didn’t need it.”

However, said Di Ilio, experiences with mortars and surface-to-surface fire in Afghanistan, along with recent conflicts in Ukraine and elsewhere, have led to a reappraisal of air defence. As well, there is a growing awareness of the dangers posed by drones and other unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

For all these reasons, after a gap of several years, the search for a new ground air defense system was listed in Strong, Secure Engaged, the government’s June 2017 defence policy, as one of the Army’s key priorities.

When Di Ilio, himself a gunner, discusses GBAD, he talks about it as “a system of systems.” At heart, it involves four key components: A sensor system using both radar and electro-optical or infrared components – the new medium range radar will contribute part of that; an air defence management component to identify aerial threats; and a communications system.

Fourth and finally, he said, “If there is a threat, we need an effector capability to neutralize and/or defeat the threat.” This is where GBAD gets interesting. The system may depend on “hard kill” options, the so-called “kinetic” weapons like guns or missiles, or “soft kill” weapons, of which high-energy lasers or electronic jamming might be prime examples.

In fact, the system might rely on both. That’s reflective of a major shift in targets, which previously emphasized an anti-aircraft response.

“Our primary target set is the RAM [rocket, artillery, mortar] projectiles,” said Di Ilio. “The other category that fits into the primary target set is air-to-surface munitions, essentially those delivered from helicopters or fixed-wing platforms.”

Beyond that, GBAD will also prioritize UAVs, “mainly the small unmanned systems and the Class II systems, which are up to about 500 kilograms in weight.”

Dealing with such a selection of threats is a daunting task. As Di Ilio put it, “a mortar shell is very small and very difficult to take out.” But not impossible. In August 2018, as part of the options analysis phase of the GBAD project, Di Ilio and his colleagues sent out a request for information to potential suppliers outlining the project’s goals.

“We ended up receiving over 15 packages,” he said. “Some of them were just specifically focused on missile systems, some were on gun systems. All of them, though, provided a complete package of sensors, communications, command and control and the effector platforms.”

He and his colleagues are also looking at what allies have adopted or are considering. “We’re not looking at going into development to build a system that is one-of,” he said. “Whatever the UK or the US are planning on procuring, we’re very much interested. There are savings to be had if we have commonality of fleets.”

He cautioned, though, that it is still early days. “You have to consider that we are not procuring this for at least another five years. What we’re doing right now is evaluating the different systems. Some of them are operational and some are systems that are in development.”

Di Ilio said that whatever the Army acquires, it must be capable of providing air defence for a brigade, whether it is involved in peacekeeping or in a conflict zone, which means the area to be protected could vary greatly in size. The Army will also need enough systems to provide cover for two separate deployments at the same time.

The precise structure of the units operating the system hasn’t been determined but, he said added, “We’re going to have a structure based on troops and batteries similar to the organization that we have in the artillery now.”

The Army pegs the cost at between $250 million and $499 million, but that is very much an estimate. The goal is for an initial operating capability by 2025. After which, who knows, maybe they’ll even be able to shoot down that kitchen sink.

Link includes photos.

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2019, 19:48:10 »
All I can say is 'Thank Gawd.... finally....' :)
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2019, 20:09:49 »
Since we have "Vapourware, killnothing system" a set of over and unders would be a step up.

Offline DeweyB

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #3 on: September 29, 2019, 13:31:49 »
When do you think they'll be able to pull this off realistically?

Offline Thucydides

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #4 on: October 02, 2019, 20:52:52 »
Given the recent attacks on the Saudi AMOCO facility by Iranian drones or cruise missiles, it looks like one key issue is to find a system or architecture which can realistically respond to swarms of inexpensive air vehicles. Of course today the threat has expanded dramatically from "low and slow" to hypersonic boost/glide vehicles, so this is going to be a long and arduous process.
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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #5 on: October 03, 2019, 09:50:43 »
Well you have Reserve Artillery with almost no guns, select a number of them to become AD and form a battery. Buy some Manpad simulators. I get you could build a mount for the 25mm used in the LAV as a AD gun for small drones. That could be done here in Canada. Start somewhere and build the knowledge base again.

Offline Loch Sloy!

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #6 on: October 03, 2019, 13:11:27 »
Maybe we should keep the 76mm guns from the Iroquois fleet and use them as a GBAD training tool. There are some very interesting ammunition natures for this system, and  it has also previously been mounted on a tank chassis as a SPAA system (proof of concept) so its certainly possible to use it this way.

First link removed per site guidelines.
https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,99046.msg1015747.html#msg1015747


https://www.militaryfactory.com/armor/detail.asp?armor_id=951
« Last Edit: October 03, 2019, 17:39:12 by mariomike »
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Offline MilEME09

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #8 on: October 04, 2019, 00:00:10 »
Well you have Reserve Artillery with almost no guns, select a number of them to become AD and form a battery. Buy some Manpad simulators. I get you could build a mount for the 25mm used in the LAV as a AD gun for small drones. That could be done here in Canada. Start somewhere and build the knowledge base again.

Funny thing is some Reserve Arty were AD units, 20th Independent Field Battery in Lethbridge used to be 20th Air defense battery until just after I got in. While I'd support getting such a capability back to the PRes, lets make sure we have a strong Reg F element first in the AD realm.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #9 on: October 04, 2019, 00:03:46 »
Given the recent attacks on the Saudi AMOCO facility by Iranian drones or cruise missiles, it looks like one key issue is to find a system or architecture which can realistically respond to swarms of inexpensive air vehicles. Of course today the threat has expanded dramatically from "low and slow" to hypersonic boost/glide vehicles, so this is going to be a long and arduous process.

Maybe we should start with a system that could defeat a squadron of fanatical Piper Cub pilots armed with hand grenades. :)
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Offline Colin P

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #10 on: October 04, 2019, 00:51:47 »
Lot's of pictures of Reserve arty units using the US 90mm gun with radar and predictor, generally doing shoots at Albert Head as I recall. funny how we used to be able to maintain complex equipment in the Reserves.....

Offline FJAG

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #11 on: October 04, 2019, 01:27:24 »
Funny thing is some Reserve Arty were AD units, 20th Independent Field Battery in Lethbridge used to be 20th Air defense battery until just after I got in. While I'd support getting such a capability back to the PRes, lets make sure we have a strong Reg F element first in the AD realm.

There were actually a number of reserve artillery units that served in the air defence role using the Javelin missile from roughly 1992 to 2006/7 or so. Each unit was a mix of both regular and reserve soldiers. 18 AD Regt RCA in Lethbridge (previously and afterwards 20 Ind Fd Bty RCA); 1 AD Regt RCA Pembroke ON (subsequently 42 Fd Regt (Lanark and Renfrew Scottish)) and 58 AD Bty, 6 Fd Regt RCA Levis, PQ.

Prior to their formation in roughly 1980 or so (I could be out a year or two) each RCHA Regt had a Blowpipe missile (which was a Brit piece of ****) AD Bty added to it. Those were closed out when the three mixed Reg/Res Regts/Bties were formed. We did keep a Reg F 4th AD Regt for quite a while until it became 4 GS Regt.

I was long gone from the guns by the time all this started to shut down so do not know what the reasons were. I presume the change over from the RCHA bties to 1AD, 18 AD and 58AD were an attempt to save RegF PYs while maintaining the AD capability. I'm going to contact a friend of mine who was in the AD business and find out why the thing shut down in 2006. My guess again is PYs and $.

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Offline MilEME09

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #12 on: October 04, 2019, 08:44:49 »
There were actually a number of reserve artillery units that served in the air defence role using the Javelin missile from roughly 1992 to 2006/7 or so. Each unit was a mix of both regular and reserve soldiers. 18 AD Regt RCA in Lethbridge (previously and afterwards 20 Ind Fd Bty RCA); 1 AD Regt RCA Pembroke ON (subsequently 42 Fd Regt (Lanark and Renfrew Scottish)) and 58 AD Bty, 6 Fd Regt RCA Levis, PQ.

Prior to their formation in roughly 1980 or so (I could be out a year or two) each RCHA Regt had a Blowpipe missile (which was a Brit piece of ****) AD Bty added to it. Those were closed out when the three mixed Reg/Res Regts/Bties were formed. We did keep a Reg F 4th AD Regt for quite a while until it became 4 GS Regt.

I was long gone from the guns by the time all this started to shut down so do not know what the reasons were. I presume the change over from the RCHA bties to 1AD, 18 AD and 58AD were an attempt to save RegF PYs while maintaining the AD capability. I'm going to contact a friend of mine who was in the AD business and find out why the thing shut down in 2006. My guess again is PYs and $.


money I am sure, ADATS got too costly to maintain, I wouldnt be surprised if the other kit did too
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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #13 on: October 04, 2019, 12:18:05 »
I've had one response from my friend on the Javelin issue and he indicates that the missile reached the end of it's life cycle without any replacement being looked into which also leads me to the costs issue as the main culprit. I'm not even sure what "life cycle" means to a weapons based capability; it's not like the best before date on a carton of milk.

That kind of argument always infuriates me. You either have a need for a weapon system when you go to war or you don't. If you give up a system that you need without replacement or reserve contingency it's the equivalent of saying you won't go to war with what you have left or saying we'll go to war anyway and just live with the consequences or let someone else look after that issue. At least when the US downsized their SHORAD capability, they transferred much of the capability to the National Guard and put the rest of the excess Avenger systems in storage. Many of those are currently being reactivated while the US builds up a newer and better capability to replace it.

My concern with GBAD is that it's specifications are all singing and dancing. Hopefully it will look more towards a system of off-the-shelf systems that will each do a part well rather than one massively expensive system that does everything.

To get back to the reserve issue. Systems like this, which for the most part are not needed every day, should be in the reserve inventory so that the O&M costs and wear and tear on the equipment are kept reasonably low. It strikes me that whenever another headquarters expands and robs PYs from the RegF field units the first things to go are the more esoteric systems that are only needed in time of major conflict (tanks, self propelled artillery, mortars, pioneers, air defence - the list goes on and on - you know, the stuff that keeps you alive on the battlefield)

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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #14 on: October 04, 2019, 12:28:54 »
To get back to the reserve issue. Systems like this, which for the most part are not needed every day, should be in the reserve inventory so that the O&M costs and wear and tear on the equipment are kept reasonably low. It strikes me that whenever another headquarters expands and robs PYs from the RegF field units the first things to go are the more esoteric systems that are only needed in time of major conflict (tanks, self propelled artillery, mortars, pioneers, air defence - the list goes on and on - you know, the stuff that keeps you alive on the battlefield)

 :cheers:

But seriously what responsible army, since about 1939 when the Luftwaffe rolled up the Allies in Europe, has never deployed on a 'conventional' war fighting operation, or exercise, without some sort of GBAD system integral to its capability (and not just shuffled off to the Reserves)?

I assume that it should be as much of an SOP as carrying a respirator....

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #15 on: October 04, 2019, 14:13:52 »
But seriously what responsible army, since about 1939 when the Luftwaffe rolled up the Allies in Europe, has never deployed on a 'conventional' war fighting operation, or exercise, without some sort of GBAD system integral to its capability (and not just shuffled off to the Reserves)?

I assume that it should be as much of an SOP as carrying a respirator....

It should be although when I served with the Reg F from 69 to 81, we considered ourselves a "responsible army" (we had tanks and APCs and SPs and everything) but had zero AD capability until the last year or two of my service (and that was only to provide AD protection to our airfields in Europe for which NATO paid us and for which we resuscitated 40mm hard iron sights Boffins from the scrapped Bonaventure and the that POS, Blowpipe.

I don't think that it is "shuffling off" of a capability to the reserves when you take a capability that is only needed in a major combat role (like tube and rocket artillery, air defence or even large scale service support) and give it to units that have a large (but properly organized and trained) reserve component. It maintains the capability at a lesser day-to-day O&M cost that we might otherwise not find the money for using just the RegF. The key here is that the reserve force needs to be structured in a way other than the "come-when-you-feel-like-it" model that we have now. Quite frankly, considering the budget pressures we are under, I can't see Canada regaining a proper combat capability without extensive use of reserve forces. The RegF we want is financially unsustainable and it's time we recognized that.

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #16 on: October 04, 2019, 16:25:48 »
The thing is, I believe, the Canadian Army in Germany, would have been operating under an allied air-defence umbrella.  The Canadian Brigade's contribution would likely create as much confusion as anything else.  Its patch of sky would have been masked by neighbouring divisions, corps and armies.

The only reason a brigade would need its own air defence capability is if it, like an RCN warship, were operating in glorious isolation from its neighbours.  And we are assured by our politicians that that is never going to happen.
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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #17 on: October 04, 2019, 22:14:09 »
The thing is, I believe, the Canadian Army in Germany, would have been operating under an allied air-defence umbrella.  The Canadian Brigade's contribution would likely create as much confusion as anything else.  Its patch of sky would have been masked by neighbouring divisions, corps and armies.

The only reason a brigade would need its own air defence capability is if it, like an RCN warship, were operating in glorious isolation from its neighbours.  And we are assured by our politicians that that is never going to happen.

Once Canada stood up it's air defence contingents, they became part of the NATO's Integrated Air Defence system (now the Integrated Air and Missile Defence System). NATO AD resources have worked on an integrated basis for some time, however, to call it an umbrella is not quite correct. It's more like layers of systems that interlock and overarch. Low level (or short range) air defence is one of those layers and requires resources collocated within the brigade's areas of operations and sustainment. For us those were Blowpipe and later Javelin batteries which only reach out to a few thousand meters while ADATS reached out to only 10km. (the US Avenger system [based on Stinger missiles] has a slightly shorter range)

4 GS Regt RCA maintains a capability to deploy both Air Space Coordination Centres and Surveillance and Target Acquisition Control Centres for a deployed brigade (or even a division) which will integrate with NATO resources. That said, a Canadian brigade's assigned short range air defence resources (whether Canadian or allied) would not be "masked" by neighboring formations but rather be integrated, as a layer, into the whole.

As drones become an ever increasing danger, LLAD/SHORAD located within the bde's most forward areas (and highly coordinated with the brigade's manoeuvre elements) becomes even more vital.

I've discussed the issue of reserves using the Javelin with my old AD friend and was told that the 15 years of having ResF AD units was actually quite successful. After we ran out of funding Javelin replacements, there was quick consideration for devolving ADATS to the reserves but this was considered impractical because of the high cost of maintaining the ADATS systems which the army (mired in Afghanistan at the time) wasn't prepared to fund. While air space coordination and the control systems for air defence are complex, operation at the weapons detachment level (especially for a fire and forget system like Avenger/Stinger) is quite within a reservist's minimal training skill set. A perfect system for an integrated Reg/Res unit. A wheeled, fire and forget system like Avenger is also relatively light on maintenance needs compared to what was needed for a tracked system like ADATS.

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Offline GK .Dundas

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #18 on: October 04, 2019, 22:16:28 »
The thing is, I believe, the Canadian Army in Germany, would have been operating under an allied air-defence umbrella.  The Canadian Brigade's contribution would likely create as much confusion as anything else.  Its patch of sky would have been masked by neighbouring divisions, corps and armies.

The only reason a brigade would need its own air defence capability is if it, like an RCN warship, were operating in glorious isolation from its neighbours.  And we are assured by our politicians that that is never going to happen.
[/quote  Speaking of glorious isolation,I note that the Army's political masters will most likely be nowhere near that brigade if they just happen to be wrong in their wisdom.
« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 11:34:17 by GK .Dundas »
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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #19 on: October 05, 2019, 12:04:25 »
At least at the light infantry level should be MANPADs. Mech infantry battalions should have something like ADATS.

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #20 on: October 05, 2019, 12:13:29 »
Next year the UK is replacing RAPIER with SKY SABER which would be able to deal with threats on todays battlefield.

hhttps://www.army-technology.com/features/sky-sabre-inside-uks-missile-defence-system/

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #21 on: October 05, 2019, 14:22:15 »
So for GBAD,

Are we looking at an Area system or a Point Defence system?
And if a Point Defence system are we looking at a centralized training system that collocates all assets with 4 GSR for tasking out as required?
Or is the technology available to support a distributed training system with centralized control of assets with the assets tasked out as required?

Also, even if the defence system is a point defence system does the system require an area threat warning system to alert the point defence forces?
And if so, does it make sense to take out some of those incoming targets as the approach the local points?

And how much money is in the bank?
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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #22 on: October 05, 2019, 17:20:34 »
So for GBAD,

Are we looking at an Area system or a Point Defence system?
And if a Point Defence system are we looking at a centralized training system that collocates all assets with 4 GSR for tasking out as required?
Or is the technology available to support a distributed training system with centralized control of assets with the assets tasked out as required?

Also, even if the defence system is a point defence system does the system require an area threat warning system to alert the point defence forces?
And if so, does it make sense to take out some of those incoming targets as the approach the local points?

And how much money is in the bank?

Not sure one can answer those questions without being part of the project team. The project overview on the government web page is notoriously broad and general:

Quote
Objective
The GBAD system will provide tactical air defence protection to friendly forces and vital installations during expeditionary and domestic operations against the increasingly diverse air threat.

http://dgpaapp.forces.gc.ca/en/defence-capabilities-blueprint/project-details.asp?id=940

There's a bit more here starting at page 9:

https://buyandsell.gc.ca/cds/public/2018/08/23/ebcfdb62c2e7090e77b81872d0b088e5/ABES.PROD.PW__BK.B383.E26950.EBSU000.PDF

and here:

https://buyandsell.gc.ca/cds/public/2018/10/02/bbc9fbfce389c8b4369e0ecd1aa58c8f/ABES.PROD.PW__BK.B383.E26950.EBSU002.PDF

This slightly dated paper at the CF College gives a fairly good understanding of the issues in a nutshell albeit the CDS risk authorization re JIMP ops at para 24 seem a tad over-the-top:

https://www.cfc.forces.gc.ca/259/290/318/192/deneau.pdf

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« Last Edit: October 05, 2019, 17:26:57 by FJAG »
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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #23 on: October 05, 2019, 18:06:34 »
As I said stand up some Reserve AD troops, buy/lease ManPad simulators, which I believe we have some already for training the Air Force.  Invest in a 25mm gun system using as many components of the LAV gun system as possible and the RWS systems we use currently for targeting. I suspect we could lease a couple of systems like the modernized Skyguard or the Mistral missile system for a Reg Force Troop. Then you can start rebuilding the knowledge base and skill sets and incorporate the concepts into the army training and experience real ground friction as part of the learning curve as opposed to mythical units providing mythical protection.

Offline Chris Pook

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Re: Reviving Canadian GBAD Capability
« Reply #24 on: October 05, 2019, 19:15:06 »
Thanks for the links FJAG.

Some nice threads to pull on.
"Wyrd bið ful aræd"

"If change isn’t allowed to be a process, it becomes an event." - Penny Mordaunt 10/10/2019