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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.

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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
 
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