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All Things Air Defence/AA (merged)

FJAG

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I totally agree with you. Life cycle costs and PY availability are at least just as important (one can argue they are MORE important) as the acquisition costs. If the system is absurdly expensive to operate, or needs regular costly maintenance because it is 'fragile' - those things need to be thoroughly considered before the system is acquired. And obviously, we need PYs available to operate whatever system is acquired.

If something like this was mounted on a LAV 6, I imagine the life cycle costs would be fairly low. Not a lot of moving parts, no violent explosions happening inside the system being funneled through a barrel, subsequent recoil, wear & tear, etc. Perhaps some hydraulic motors for turret rotation, and some high-tech sci-fi things that make a laser powerful enough and focused enough it is weaponized. (Which now that I write that out, are probably more expensive than I realize.)


Just some random thoughts/questions:

- In regards to PYs, is it possible to have some of the gunners/personnel in the RCA able to operate both? Do we need personnel exclusively trained on the M777, and others exclusively trained on this system if it is user-friendly enough? Depending on the deployment, PYs that are trained on the M777 could operate this kind of system if their M777s aren't deployed.
I've actually been wondering as to whether or not the TAPV might be of use for something like air defence. Such a system generally doesn't need a large crew but should be armoured. The issue for most systems is the ability to carry enough ammunition (or in the case of a laser like this, power cells)

It's not impossible to be double hatted but I think it's impractical. I go back to the 1970s when we introduced the Blowpipe and Boffin air defence systems and it was quite an effort to get people trained, especially officers and NCOs who had to deal not just with the operation of the weapon but its tactical employment doctrine. Essentially all gunners started with basic training as gun numbers and then went on to specialties. Eventually the branch split into specialties after I transferred to the legal branch and I do not know if they continued on with this. My understanding is (and I could be wrong) that we still train everyone to be a field artillery gunner/officer first and then they go on to such things as STA specialties.

Again, I've settled into the viewpoint that most senior NCO and officer appointments in the artillery these days have a level of complexity that they need to be full-timers, but that many of the weapon system operators could easily be reservists (assuming that a proper training regime is set up for them). Essentially most gunline jobs and system operator jobs, including many NCOs and junior officers there, should be reservists while there should be just enough full-timers to be able to fill quick reaction deployments and to create a sufficiently large enough base to allow for sustainable experience development for the more senior ranks.

This is why I think Force 2025 could be a very valuable tool if and only if it brought us to the realization that with PY and funding limitations the Army needs to determine, from the ground up, what is necessary to maximize its capability outputs by rebalancing its human resources and to define and acquire the equipment which is necessary to properly meet its defence missions. There was a brief time during the Afghan mission where there seemed to be a forward looking plan but that just seemed to collapse. For the artillery, the focus turned entirely to configuring batteries to support counterinsurgency type missions and IMHO it continues to be organized, equipped and trained to fight the last conflict and not the next one.

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CBH99

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I've actually been wondering as to whether or not the TAPV might be of use for something like air defence. Such a system generally doesn't need a large crew but should be armoured. The issue for most systems is the ability to carry enough ammunition (or in the case of a laser like this, power cells)

It's not impossible to be double hatted but I think it's impractical. I go back to the 1970s when we introduced the Blowpipe and Boffin air defence systems and it was quite an effort to get people trained, especially officers and NCOs who had to deal not just with the operation of the weapon but its tactical employment doctrine. Essentially all gunners started with basic training as gun numbers and then went on to specialties. Eventually the branch split into specialties after I transferred to the legal branch and I do not know if they continued on with this. My understanding is (and I could be wrong) that we still train everyone to be a field artillery gunner/officer first and then they go on to such things as STA specialties.

Again, I've settled into the viewpoint that most senior NCO and officer appointments in the artillery these days have a level of complexity that they need to be full-timers, but that many of the weapon system operators could easily be reservists (assuming that a proper training regime is set up for them). Essentially most gunline jobs and system operator jobs, including many NCOs and junior officers there, should be reservists while there should be just enough full-timers to be able to fill quick reaction deployments and to create a sufficiently large enough base to allow for sustainable experience development for the more senior ranks.

This is why I think Force 2025 could be a very valuable tool if and only if it brought us to the realization that with PY and funding limitations the Army needs to determine, from the ground up, what is necessary to maximize its capability outputs by rebalancing its human resources and to define and acquire the equipment which is necessary to properly meet its defence missions. There was a brief time during the Afghan mission where there seemed to be a forward looking plan but that just seemed to collapse. For the artillery, the focus turned entirely to configuring batteries to support counterinsurgency type missions and IMHO it continues to be organized, equipped and trained to fight the last conflict and not the next one.

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Agreed on all points. Just to add to your last point, militaries all over the world do tend to be reactionary in nature, and always seem to be preparing for their last conflict and not the next one. And we, unfortunately, with mediocre leadership at best from our MND and PM (regardless of person/party) won't be the ones to ambitiously look ahead, and mould ourselves into excelling at the next conflict.


- I agree that having anybody employed in any capacity in the artillery should start with gunline jobs. Being able to receive an urgent communication, and shortly afterwards have ordinance landing in a grid up to 60km away with deadly accuracy, gives artillery personnel a very real and constantly exercised skill when it comes to maps, grids, proficiency in locating certain grids, proper radio comms between units and HQ, etc.

^ Gunline jobs, and positions within an artillery battery, really do lay a great foundation for all kinds of skills. Again, being able to quickly load the appropriate rounds, charges, warheads, etc etc and have that ordinance land in the grid you want it to, is such a valuable foundation when it comes to so many other positions.



Counter-Point: Traditionally, artillery units fire their guns from one grid, and the rounds land in another grid a fair distance away. The main point I am making here is that regardless of distance, there are rounds landing on the other end - and because of that, making sure the right effects are being employed on the proper grid is paramount.

But in the case of solid-state lasers (and other energy weapons) we are now directly engaging a threat, with no fear that physical rounds will be landing downrange with physical consequences.
With the Blowpipe and Boffins, both systems fired physical ammunition that was going to land 'somewhere'. With energy weapons such as this, which can only be used in a 'line of sight, direct fire' capacity, we don't have those same concerns.

It does not need a large gun crew constantly grabbing a new round, applying the proper charge, readjusting the gun's elevation, confirming with downrange friendlies that our rounds and landing where they want them to, etc. Nor are we hooking it up to a gun tractor and towing it to another position.


Since we won't be deploying all of our M777s at once, and a modern laser system is more akin to a video game in regards to 'push button to track' or 'push button to change from normal vision to IR', etc - I don't know if having personnel trained on both would be a burden, nor would it take away from one system to operate another. (I could very well be wrong on this?)


For younger soldiers, systems like these are not all that different from some of the video-games being played on consoles once they get home. A quick refresher and they would be good to go. (I imagine any of us who play DCS would find DCS substantially more technical/challenging.) That the US soldiers who trialed the system recommended going to an X-Box controller I think reinforces just how user friendly some of these newer systems are.


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FJAG

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Agreed on all points. Just to add to your last point, militaries all over the world do tend to be reactionary in nature, and always seem to be preparing for their last conflict and not the next one. And we, unfortunately, with mediocre leadership at best from our MND and PM (regardless of person/party) won't be the ones to ambitiously look ahead, and mould ourselves into excelling at the next conflict.


- I agree that having anybody employed in any capacity in the artillery should start with gunline jobs. Being able to receive an urgent communication, and shortly afterwards have ordinance landing in a grid up to 60km away with deadly accuracy, gives artillery personnel a very real and constantly exercised skill when it comes to maps, grids, proficiency in locating certain grids, proper radio comms between units and HQ, etc.

^ Gunline jobs, and positions within an artillery battery, really do lay a great foundation for all kinds of skills. Again, being able to quickly load the appropriate rounds, charges, warheads, etc etc and have that ordinance land in the grid you want it to, is such a valuable foundation when it comes to so many other positions.



Counter-Point: Traditionally, artillery units fire their guns from one grid, and the rounds land in another grid a fair distance away. The main point I am making here is that regardless of distance, there are rounds landing on the other end - and because of that, making sure the right effects are being employed on the proper grid is paramount.

But in the case of solid-state lasers (and other energy weapons) we are now directly engaging a threat, with no fear that physical rounds will be landing downrange with physical consequences.
With the Blowpipe and Boffins, both systems fired physical ammunition that was going to land 'somewhere'. With energy weapons such as this, which can only be used in a 'line of sight, direct fire' capacity, we don't have those same concerns.

It does not need a large gun crew constantly grabbing a new round, applying the proper charge, readjusting the gun's elevation, confirming with downrange friendlies that our rounds and landing where they want them to, etc. Nor are we hooking it up to a gun tractor and towing it to another position.


Since we won't be deploying all of our M777s at once, and a modern laser system is more akin to a video game in regards to 'push button to track' or 'push button to change from normal vision to IR', etc - I don't know if having personnel trained on both would be a burden, nor would it take away from one system to operate another. (I could very well be wrong on this?)


For younger soldiers, systems like these are not all that different from some of the video-games being played on consoles once they get home. A quick refresher and they would be good to go. (I imagine any of us who play DCS would find DCS substantially more technical/challenging.) That the US soldiers who trialed the system recommended going to an X-Box controller I think reinforces just how user friendly some of these newer systems are.


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The single biggest problem I see with direct energy weapons is in fact it's line of sight capability because it means the platform has to be located somewhere where the target is open to it --- which means that the platform is also open to the target. That brings into play a whole new line of tactical employment amongst a force that would rather stay hidden. The problem was similar to what Blowpipe faced where detachments would move from hillock to farmhouse or whatever which let them cover their arcs. With Blowpipe the advantage was that its primary targets generally flew a little higher and were easier to acquire than much of what we could be facing now. There are times when I'm quite glad that someone else has to work out the details. Hopefully there are still enough AD gunners around to do that.

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Kirkhill

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The single biggest problem I see with direct energy weapons is in fact it's line of sight capability because it means the platform has to be located somewhere where the target is open to it --- which means that the platform is also open to the target. That brings into play a whole new line of tactical employment amongst a force that would rather stay hidden. The problem was similar to what Blowpipe faced where detachments would move from hillock to farmhouse or whatever which let them cover their arcs. With Blowpipe the advantage was that its primary targets generally flew a little higher and were easier to acquire than much of what we could be facing now. There are times when I'm quite glad that someone else has to work out the details. Hopefully there are still enough AD gunners around to do that.

🍻


Which is why any such system is not worth armouring and shouldn't be mounted on a crewed vehicle. It should be built cheaply, mounted on a pallet and delivered by a PLS truck. Like most of the rest of the artillery.

Oh... and remotely operated.
 

FJAG

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When I first saw this post, before watching it, I chuckled & thought it was some sarcastic humour.

Then I realized you aren’t wrong, and it is still sarcastic humour 😐
It is somewhat funny in both the simplicity of the gung-ho band aid solution and the "rah-rah" reporting. Although in a lot of ways it shows the same can-do attitude we take pride in amongst our own soldiers but without the accompanying cynicism.

The Indian Army actually has an Air Defence Corps of some 90,000 soldiers with a variety of antiquated and more modern (and mostly Soviet/Russian) equipment. ... and that's what bothers me about Canada ... we tend to prefer to go without any capability whatsoever rather than maintain that capability in a lower priority category (such as by passing it on to a very small core of full-timers with the reserves fleshing it out). We totally prefer to staff yet another directorate of paper pushing cubicles in Ottawa than maintain combat capabilities.

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Kirkhill

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And, courtesy of Canadian Soldiers, I found the grandfather of the Indian solution

1629659674460.png

Ca 1915
 

childs56

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Again, I've settled into the viewpoint that most senior NCO and officer appointments in the artillery these days have a level of complexity that they need to be full-timers, but that many of the weapon system operators could easily be reservists (assuming that a proper training regime is set up for them). Essentially most gunline jobs and system operator jobs, including many NCOs and junior officers there, should be reservists while there should be just enough full-timers to be able to fill quick reaction deployments and to create a sufficiently large enough base to allow for sustainable experience development for the more senior ranks.

I disagree with the view of Snr appointments need to be be Full Timers. What truly needs to be done is the full timers need to change their view point of the Reserve Force and get on with practical training as a whole.
Many Officers and Snr NCOs and NCMs in Reserve Units are in positions of Authority in their Business life. They can make many excellent decisions both for their Companies and for the Military if given the tools and guidelines to succeed.
The issues are nothing changes because nothing is driven from higher.
Units are given the same task every year with a reduced budget. Running out of money. ammo, gear and training space.

If Reserve Unit CO and his staff are fighting and figuring out how to train their unit on the basics tasks for the year with little to no assets. That time could be better spent doing table top exercises and or planning for unit level training in the training areas. When you spend a large portion of your time trying to rob paul to pay peter to get even the basic Soldier skill quals done, it takes away from their ability to train themselves at a higher level. Now add in they are doing this Part time it makes it even worse.
They have to use their field training time long weekends etc often to cover off their Training courses such as Artillery trades, FOO tech, Det 2ic etc. Which takes away from their regular training and possible advanced training process.

Put the money and process in place and things will change. Keep doing the same thing and nothing will change.

Employ your Soldier within their Capabilities, Which I think the Military fails at miserably.


 

KevinB

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I disagree with the view of Snr appointments need to be be Full Timers. What truly needs to be done is the full timers need to change their view point of the Reserve Force and get on with practical training as a whole.
Many Officers and Snr NCOs and NCMs in Reserve Units are in positions of Authority in their Business life. They can make many excellent decisions both for their Companies and for the Military if given the tools and guidelines to succeed.
The issues are nothing changes because nothing is driven from higher.
Units are given the same task every year with a reduced budget. Running out of money. ammo, gear and training space.
Sorry snarky comments coming below
If Reserve Unit CO
So an Outrageously over ranked Platoon commander
and his staff
because that Platoon needs staff...

are fighting and figuring out how to train their unit
The platoon - while burning class A days that could be used actually teaching that platoon.

on the basics tasks for the year with little to no assets. That time could be better spent doing table top exercises and or planning for unit level training in the training areas. When you spend a large portion of your time trying to rob paul to pay peter to get even the basic Soldier skill quals done, it takes away from their ability to train themselves at a higher level. Now add in they are doing this Part time it makes it even worse.
They have to use their field training time long weekends etc often to cover off their Training courses such as Artillery trades, FOO tech, Det 2ic etc. Which takes away from their regular training and possible advanced training process.

Put the money and process in place and things will change. Keep doing the same thing and nothing will change.

Employ your Soldier within their Capabilities, Which I think the Military fails at miserably.
Right now Canada should just abolish the Army Reserves.
They can't field formations that justify the ranks they have for their establishments - and need to be folded - or burned down and remade from scratch.

The fact that Res class A days are burned at a insane rate by Maj and Above - just leads to further issues.
 

FJAG

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I disagree with the view of Snr appointments need to be be Full Timers. What truly needs to be done is the full timers need to change their view point of the Reserve Force and get on with practical training as a whole.
I agree fully that full-timers need to change their view point of the Reserve Force.
Many Officers and Snr NCOs and NCMs in Reserve Units are in positions of Authority in their Business life. They can make many excellent decisions both for their Companies and for the Military if given the tools and guidelines to succeed.
While true, the ability to operate successfully as a military leader requires both the requisite training and a period of time of practicing the skills in realistic settings. Res F officers and Snr NCOs receive neither the time nor sufficient experience to get proficient at their jobs.
The issues are nothing changes because nothing is driven from higher.
Units are given the same task every year with a reduced budget. Running out of money. ammo, gear and training space.
True and lamentable but does not address the basic competency issue. Even if given the budgets, the vast majority of the officers and senior NCOs do not have the time to take the required training nor gain the required experience.
If Reserve Unit CO and his staff are fighting and figuring out how to train their unit on the basics tasks for the year with little to no assets. That time could be better spent doing table top exercises and or planning for unit level training in the training areas. When you spend a large portion of your time trying to rob paul to pay peter to get even the basic Soldier skill quals done, it takes away from their ability to train themselves at a higher level. Now add in they are doing this Part time it makes it even worse.
They have to use their field training time long weekends etc often to cover off their Training courses such as Artillery trades, FOO tech, Det 2ic etc. Which takes away from their regular training and possible advanced training process.

Put the money and process in place and things will change. Keep doing the same thing and nothing will change.

Employ your Soldier within their Capabilities, Which I think the Military fails at miserably.
Let me put it this way. With my thirteen years as a full-time artillery officer with an advanced gunnery qualification, the Army Command and Staff Course and the Combat Team Commanders Course, if you put me in the turret of an OPLAV right now I would have a basic understanding of the fundamentals but zero knowledge of how to use the equipment or act as a JTAC and do many of the other vital tasks. With all my past learning and experience I would have a very steep learning curve before I would stop being a handicap to my detachment. While fully trained and experienced for the job in the past, I doubt that I could provide effective fire support coordination support at either the battlegroup or brigade these days without some lengthy training. Most Res F officers and NCOs these days have only the most basic of training.

I can easily see a Res F junior officer who goes through a four year RESO program being able to fully perform a gun line officers function. I can even see a Res F sergeant who has taken a conversion course on the M777 perform the functions of a detachment commander but I have difficulties in seeing a Res F captain or WO and above perform all of the functions required of them because their training and experience simply isn't good enough. Even if more money was thrown their way, the vast majority of them wouldn't have the time to gain the full training and experience become good enough to do the job. That's simply the function of part-time service.

I would think that with an effort both by the system and by a very few select individuals some could devote the time to progress to become useable captains and WOs and maybe even in very special circumstances majors and MWOs but certainly not to LCol or RSM.

Our current Res F system is an anachronism to a far earlier time when senior leadership mostly revolved around personal courage, an ability to motivate people and the ability to master very simple technical and tactical issues. The Res F system needs great reform and part of that requires an understanding of what is possible and what simply is not achievable even if better resourced. Simply put there is a need to integrate Reg F and Res F personnel at the unit and above level where each can perform together with the requisite training and experience each brings to the job.

If that thins out the boys club in the officers and senior NCOs mess than so be it - it is not the role of the Res F to provide a cushy career path to Col and CWO. If the Res F's 15-18,000 members need to be reorganized from 150 some odd 100 man battalion sized units into 30 some 600 man ones then so be it. If we need to enhance our CSS capabilities at the expense of infantry then so be it. There are numerous ways to greatly enhance the capabilities of the Res F so that every member can progress to a job where his level of skill and experience could be fully used and not wasted.

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Kirkhill

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1638936137871.png1638936250712.png

Spot the difference?

Short Range
Line of Sight
Forward Edge Battle Area
Air and Ground Targets
Point Defence

...... and Mobile.
 

daftandbarmy

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I would think that with an effort both by the system and by a very few select individuals some could devote the time to progress to become useable captains and WOs and maybe even in very special circumstances majors and MWOs but certainly not to LCol or RSM.

🍻

My experience is solely with the Reserve Infantry, but I believe that we can train good dismounted Sections and Platoons withing the existing training and logistics infrastructure.

The existing technical and leadership courses, despite all the whining we do about them, are actually pretty good at turning out well trained soldiers and good junior leaders.

The problem is that the training aims change like a menopausal chameleon and, to be successful, the Reserves need a long term commitment to a 'main effort' to foster a predictable training program that won't change with each Army/ Div/ Bde Commander.

Unit COs also need a high degree of accountability for 'keeping the plot' and meeting the training goals as opposed to, you know, devoting about 2/3rds of the training plan to ceremonial events (yes, at least two of the COs I served under did that without anyone taking them to task on that).

Recently I had a discussion with a unit CO who I think is actually a good guy who's doing the right things (he should be - I trained him ;)) and he said that he only spoke to the last Bde Comd, on the phone, once over a two year period. He never saw him in person except at the occasional Bde Conference or social function.

Which means that Bde Comds also need a rocket up their asses to make sure that they get out and ensure things are happening the way they should.
 

KevinB

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My experience is solely with the Reserve Infantry, but I believe that we can train good dismounted Sections and Platoons withing the existing training and logistics infrastructure.

The existing technical and leadership courses, despite all the whining we do about them, are actually pretty good at turning out well trained soldiers and good junior leaders.

The problem is that the training aims change like a menopausal chameleon and, to be successful, the Reserves need a long term commitment to a 'main effort' to foster a predictable training program that won't change with each Army/ Div/ Bde Commander.

Unit COs also need a high degree of accountability for 'keeping the plot' and meeting the training goals as opposed to, you know, devoting about 2/3rds of the training plan to ceremonial events (yes, at least two of the COs I served under did that without anyone taking them to task on that).

Recently I had a discussion with a unit CO who I think is actually a good guy who's doing the right things (he should be - I trained him ;)) and he said that he only spoke to the last Bde Comd, on the phone, once over a two year period. He never saw him in person except at the occasional Bde Conference or social function.

Which means that Bde Comds also need a rocket up their asses to make sure that they get out and ensure things are happening the way they should.
My experiences in the Militia are years gone by, back then 30 RCA could field a full 6 Gun Bty, 2 FOO Teams a FSCC, two CP's, Recce Party and support. So it could have justified the BC Major, and with Admin Bty, HQ Bty, and Training Bty - could almost have made a case for the CO.
When it became 10/90 it have done more - but was restricted to a single field battery, these days I hear it can field 2 guns - more for saluting than in the field, as for salutes they don't need CP's and FOO parties.

A rationalization needs to occur in the reserves for them to be actually viable.
As @FJAG and you have pointed out - the viability beyond Platoon starts to drop - and yet the reserves still have Battalion or Regimental positions for ranks.
The argument the Reserves have always used for "a Mobilization" construct is such a farce these days - as there isn't anyone to train those who would join to fill them out in Mobilization.

Now I place a lot of blame for the situation on the Regular Army - but also the Res Regimental Senates etc who refuse to admit their old unit is gone - a Platoon minus with the name of a Battalion/Regiment does no one any good.

The Reg Force isn't going to make the Res viable - the Reserves need to have a come to Jesus meeting with themselves and come up with a plan to streamline and make them relevant that the Reg force will need to pay attention to - as quite frankly the Reg force is pretty thin these days and needs the Militia even if they don't want to admit it.
 

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Will never happen. Agree with you 100%. Top rank in the PRes unit should be a MWO/Maj whose purpose is doing all the Admin/Sup tasks leaving Pl Comd free to command and train.
 

Kirkhill

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Will never happen. Agree with you 100%. Top rank in the PRes unit should be a MWO/Maj whose purpose is doing all the Admin/Sup tasks leaving Pl Comd free to command and train.

Top rank in the PRes unit should be a MWO/Maj whose purpose is doing all the Admin/Sup tasks leaving Pl Comd the Capt/WO free to command and train and the Lts free to learn their trade with their Platoons
 
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