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FORCE 2025: Informing the Army’s future structure

MilEME09

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While there is a hap of having no heavy IFV to truly be a heavy brigade, I doubt someone had enough fore thought that that is what the 48 x 45T ones are for.
 

Kirkhill

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The 22 72T transporters could be enough to lift a Squadron plus ARVs and AEVs in about 1.5 lifts if we grouped them together in a Tank Tn Coy. Doubtful we have that in mind though, although maybe with the coming centralization of the tanks.
Such a Coy would be a perfect reserve Svc Bn task in my mind.

I suspect that the 48T will be parcelled out across the CA for moving primary our construction equipment, dozers, excavators etc. as well as LAVs for routine administrative equipment exchanges.

Perhaps that is another argument against symmetry. The argument has been made that insufficient attention is paid to Combat Service Support and Logistics.

If the Armour and Engineer heavy equipment is dispersed and co-located with their training areas then there is little need for support vehicles to transport them. Therefore they get little opportunity to exercise and train, and, instead, sit idle.

On the other hand, if the Armour and Engineering were centralized in the Combat Support Brigade (or a single Heavy Brigade) then the support vehicles would have ample opportunity to operate/execise moving both Armour and Engineering plant.

Anywho.

Back to Force 2025-2030 options

This Army Technology article from May 4, 2021 on British anti-armour plans and developments.



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MBDA's Boxer Brimstone Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) concept. Image: MBDA. (A >20km Battle Group Asset?)



UK outlines future anti-armour requirements​

The UK’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) has unveiled the requirements for its future Battle Group Organic Anti-Armour (BGOAA) project, which aims to provide the British Army with a suite of anti-armour capabilities from around the 2030s.

BGOAA is split across four areas: a Close-In Self Defence (CISD) capability, a long-range Mounted Close Combat Overwatch (MCCO) capability akin to the Swingfire system of the past, and mounted and dismounted Close Combat Anti-Armour Weapons (CCAAW), which will form the successor to the in-service Javelin.
The project aims to deliver commonality between effectors and launchers to drive down costs while allowing a smaller, more dispersed British force to achieve overmatch against peer threats into the 2050s.
Commenting on the existing capabilities BGOAA is seeking to replace, British Army Lieutenant Colonel Mike Baxter, S01 for Light and Medium Forces, said: “These systems were designed in the 90s and 00s, typically as dismounted systems and not optimised for fire-on-the-move. One could also suggest that, during the lifetime of these systems, they have not really faced a significant armour threat.

“But armour or threats that have to be engaged by these weapons systems have been present throughout that time, and the scale and the complexity of use of those systems have probably exceeded the designers’ thoughts when they first brought those systems into use.”
Key to developing the four BGOAA project lines is developing a Ministry of Defence-owned architecture for effectors and fire control systems that would allow anti-armour systems to be rapidly upgraded to maintain their relevance.

Stopping power

Baxter said: “BGOAA takes the experience of the last few years with the aim of providing accurate, long-range engagement capabilities down to the section level against armoured and non-armoured targets, It also keeps in mind the potential for state-on-state or peer-on-peer conflict and the great power competition that seems to be making a comeback in world dynamics”.

“We still need to have lethality against armoured systems because, although not all may be top of the range vehicles, there is a prevalence and a proliferation of armour, right down to some relatively less well-developed nations.”
De-risking is currently underway on technologies to enable a new generation of seekers, systems that can defeat active protection systems, new launchers and warheads.

Dstl is also looking at critical enablers, including smaller, wider spectrum, low-cost sensors; non-line of sight capabilities; third-party handoff of targeting and fire control.
Dstl is also exploring how modular systems can allow for launchers and missiles to be diffused across platforms from trucks, the Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicle, the Ajax family of vehicles and uncrewed systems.
Dstl is working within the Weapon Systems Research Framework and with prime contractors, Lockheed Martin, MBDA and Thales, collaborating to develop potential concepts for the project’s work areas.

Mark Pickering, Dstl’s close combat guided weapons science and technology lead, said: “We often look at the conflicts we’ve fought over the last decade, and our future developments are slanted towards dealing with what the recent experience has shown us where we need the capability.
“The problem is that often means that we have the wrong equipment for the next generation of conflict. As part of the challenges, we need to look at being adaptable and being able to adapt to the changing environment around us, especially with the escalation of cyber technologies and similar.”


BGOAA aims to help the British Army meet several challenges, including keeping pace with rapidly developing technology, the proliferation of Active Protection Systems, and new imaging systems, making it harder to hide forces from adversaries.
Pickering added: “In the world of anti-armour, broadly we can say there have been incremental improvements in physical armour, but we’ve not seen any world-changing differences.
“However, what we have seen is quite a large proliferation in the integration of active protection systems [APS], and therefore future systems must be able to be highly capable against future APS.”
Other challenges facing the army are that dismounted systems can be too heavy, technology generally reserved for peer threats finding its way into the hands of traditionally sub-peer adversaries, and a need for the British Army to increase its combat mass.
BGOAA is currently in the pre-concept phase, with Dstl aiming to down-select from a pool of concepts over the next six month and generate a shortlist of ideas that would then undergo detailed analysis likely from 2022/23 onwards.

MCCO is seen as a capability akin to the Swingfire system (pictured). Image: MOD/ Crown Copyright.

MCCO – long-range support​

Dstl is prioritising the MCCO capability with Lockheed Martin, MBDA and Thales, all providing insight into potential concepts, including a Boxer-mounted VLS system previously covered by Army Technology and an Ajax vehicle equipped with a 50kg missile such as Brimstone or Hellfire. A key part of the architecture is to enable platforms to accommodate any missile or rapid adaption to different missile systems.
Commenting on MCCO, Pickering said: “If we took Swingfire nowadays, the Swingfire missile system would, noting the detectability of the host platform, would not provide anywhere near sufficient range. This is looking at providing an organic battle group anti-armour capability with a range in excess of 10 km.
“The idea is MCCO would be in a position to provide dedicated anti-armour support to any user within the battle group… to allow a dismounted force to be able to call in an MCCO-class effector.”

Lockheed Martin’s Boxer-based MCCO concept. Image: Lockheed Martin UK.

MCCO is envisioned as a long-range anti-armour capability that would engage targets at a range of 10km and above, with threats cued by third-party systems within a battle group. Current work envisions the system carrying 50kg effectors – for example, the weight of a Brimstone missile – but concept work has also explored the potential of effectors up to 80kg in weight.
The MCCO capability would deliver ‘overwhelming’ anti-armour capabilities and is a move away from the past-decades reliance on only dismounted anti-armour systems.
Current concepts being explored would see effectors distributed across uncrewed ground vehicles able to carry two missiles, remote turrets fitted to existing vehicles carrying eight missiles, or vertical launch system capabilities able to carry 36 or more missiles.

MBDA concept showing Brimstone equipped uncrewed ground vehicles, Boxer and Ares. Image: MBDA.

These systems could sit behind front line forces, or, safely hidden by terrain, receive targets from other vehicles and fire missiles in support of them.
During a presentation on the capability, Dstl showcased concepts from MBDA detailing an Ares vehicle carrying eight Brimstone missiles on a swing launcher as well as a Boxer module carrying 16 Brimstone missiles on one side of the vehicle as well as its previously shown concept of a TheMIS UGV carrying a Brimstone launcher.
Dstl also showed a concept developed by Thales showing an Ares vehicle equipped with a remote turret that does not protrude into the vehicle’s hull and carried eight missiles. Thales has also developed a long-term concept for a future Light VLS vehicle.
Thales Ares remote turret concept. Image: Thales.
As well as devising the Boxer module, Lockheed Martin has also developed a concept for an ISO container filled with VLS tubes and carried on a MAN SV truck. This MAN SV-based system would be able to carry 50 plus missiles.
The project is also exploring how some loitering capabilities could be added to effectors, not to allow for long-term loitering of a location, but rather to let it circle a target while a smoke-screen clears. This fits into BGOAA’s ambition to develop systems that have a high one-shot-kill probability.
Additionally, MCCO is working with an ambition to engage attack helicopters as a secondary capability.

Lockheed Martin’s ISO container-based MCCO concept. Image: Lockheed Martin UK.

CISD – following on from NLAW and ASM​

At the closer range end of the spectrum, the CISD capability would form a successor to the Next-generation Light Anti-Armour Weapon (NLAW) and Anti-Structure Munition (ASM). Like other BGOAA lines of effort, plans for this capability would see a system with a significantly extended range when compared to in-service systems.
Dstl is exploring several lines of effort for the potential solution, including whether it would be best to optimise for the anti-armour fight or provide multiple effects and researching whether two systems delivering both capabilities would be more effective.
The ambition is that the CISD capability could be deployed anywhere within a battlegroup.

NLAW firing. Image: MOD/ Crown Copyright.

CCAAW – mounted and dismounted effects​

The CCAAW capability, the successor to the Javelin, would see a common effector fireable from either a mounted or dismounted launcher. Dstl envisages the system having at least twice the range of the in-service Javelin – bolstering its potential to be used in non-line of sight engagements.
The idea behind making CCAAW effective in the non-line of sight fight is that while adversary vehicle commanders can currently detect potential lines of fire and mitigate threats, this system would put adversary armoured vehicles on the back foot as they could effectively be hit from anywhere.
Current research is also looking at how non-conventional guidance systems could be developed for this capability to make adversaries defensive capabilities redundant. However, this is described as a high-risk, high-reward endeavour.

Javelin firing. Image: MOD/ Crown Copyright.
 

Kirkhill

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the government’s thematic guidance for the experiment was for expeditionary forces at the company level and smaller.


Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated the ability for a single user to control over 100 unmanned systems as part of a swarm in an urban battlefield setting.

Contractors demonstrate single-user drone swarm at DARPA experiment​

By Mark Pomerleau
Jan 20, 12:02 PM

Q66LUCDLJRFIPCQRVLPERKA6IA.jpg
Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated that a single user could control a swarm of over 100 unmanned systems in an urban environment. (Sgt. 1st Class Brent C. Powell/Army)

WASHINGTON — Raytheon Technologies and Northrop Grumman recently demonstrated the ability for a single user to control over 100 unmanned systems as part of a swarm in an urban battlefield setting.

The experiment was part of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency’s OFFensive Swarm-Enabled Tactics (OFFSET) program, which envisions smaller units able to amass up to 250 small aerial and ground unmanned systems in urban areas.

During the November experiment at Fort Campbell, Raytheon’s system allowed a single operator to successfully control a swarm of 130 physical drones and 30 simulated drones while Northrop demonstrated a user controlling a swarm of 174 platforms.
“Combined air and ground behaviors, such as intel recon and area patrol, are some of the swarm tactics employed. We also were able to sustain swarm operations for up to 3.5 hours,” Erin Cherry, senior technical program manager of emerging capabilities development at Northrop, said in a statement.
She added that Northrop’s swarm was able to detect about 600 “artifacts” — intelligence, environmental information and mission scenario elements created by DARPA for the event — in roughly 20 minutes.

The Raytheon BBN-led team’s used a combination of commercial off-the-shelf and custom built hardware and software for its swarming technology, even incorporating a virtual reality head set for the user to control the systems.
“We built this custom interface that uses that off the shelf hardware to provide a single person with this flexible God’s eye view of the environment and all of the drones operating within it so that they can manage that larger swarm,” Shane Clark, Raytheon BBN principal investigator for the OFFSET program, said in an interview, adding they had multiple interfaces to include ones that integrated with Android Team Awareness Kit.
Their system also had autonomous elements. For instance, if a user tasked a swarm to investigate or map a building, the system would choose the best or closest ground or air asset to respond without further human input.
While Clark couldn’t speak directly to how this system would be used by the military specifically, he noted the government’s thematic guidance for the experiment was for expeditionary forces at the company level and smaller.
Both companies intend to take their systems to the annual Army Expeditionary Warrior Experiment in March at Fort Benning. Clark said they’ll be doing a demonstration where they’ll be training active duty operators on how to use the system and getting their feedback on how well it works for them and whether the prototypes match with the tactical priorities and workflows they’re familiar with.
 

Kirkhill

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The larger cousins of the Company Swarm.

What formation is 174 UCAV/Fighters? A Squadron? Wing? Group? Division? Force?

And what is the person getting the God's Eye view through their virtual reality head set? A pilot? A commander? A Warrant Officer? A Corporal? A General?

600 targets identified in 20 minutes.

174 autonomous platforms under command (or is that control?)

Mission time 3.5 hours.

Wrapped up in a virtual reality universe.


JUST IN: Air Force Looking at How to Scale New Combat Drone Programs​

1/19/2022
By Meredith Roaten
nextgenairdominance.ashx

Lockheed Martin concept

The Air Force will work with industry to determine how to scale its new secretive combat drone programs, the head of the service said Jan. 19.

Air Force Secretary Frank Kendall revealed plans in December for two unmanned aircraft programs that could complement the service’s Next-Generation Air Dominance effort, also known as NGAD. The initiatives — which include concepts for partnering multiple drones with a crewed aircraft such as an NGAD platform or an F-35 joint strike fighter — will seek input from contractors, he said.

“There's a question of how much [platform teaming there should be], at what scale and to what extent — that we're gonna have to work on, but I want to move forward on this in a way which gets us to real operational capability,” he said at an event hosted by the Center for a New American Security.

“We're gonna bring people in — this is going to be largely a special access program level — and we're going to figure out how to do this as effectively as possible,” he added.

The NGAD program is expected to yield a family of systems — to potentially include a sixth-generation fighter jet and drones — that are intended to give the U.S. military an edge against advanced adversaries such as China and Russia.

While Kendall declined to provide more details about the programs publicly, he noted the concept of teaming manned and unmanned platforms is not new. The Defense Department and U.S. allies have done enough experimentation that Kendall said he is confident the programs will succeed.

“There's enough technology or existence from programs that we've already conducted that convinces me that's not a crazy idea, that it's something we can achieve,” he said.

It is imperative for the drones to be cheaper than manned aircraft in order to expand the Air Force’s tactical options, he noted.

“If we only do very expensive aircraft for the Air Force, we're not going to be able to forward at ... anywhere near the size that we either need or have today,” he said.

The new platforms should also be “attritible if not expendable,” he added

“That opens up a whole range of tactics that we currently would not contemplate because we'd be sacrificing manned aircraft and we're not going to do that,” he said.

Kendall told Politico in December that he wanted to get the new combat drone programs into the fiscal year 2023 budget. President Joe Biden is expected to submit his budget request to Congress in the coming months.

 

KevinB

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While there is a hap of having no heavy IFV to truly be a heavy brigade, I doubt someone had enough fore thought that that is what the 48 x 45T ones are for.
They missed the memo that the IFV program was cancelled - or the memo it's back isn't public yet.
Given the latest in Ukraine - I wouldn't bet against a quick refresh on CCAV or whatever it was called.
But you probably don't want to buy anything German these days, they want to be able to tell you where you can use it...
 

MilEME09

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They missed the memo that the IFV program was cancelled - or the memo it's back isn't public yet.
Given the latest in Ukraine - I wouldn't bet against a quick refresh on CCAV or whatever it was called.
But you probably don't want to buy anything German these days, they want to be able to tell you where you can use it...
We kinda did the same thing to the Philippines....
 

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The article discusses the Army's successful transition from the COIN-centric army of the Vietnam era to the Euro-centric Air-Land force of the Reagan era.

It considers Equipment, Personnel and Doctrine and uses my second favourite word.

Iteration.


There is a plan. There are desires. There is reality.

The binding element is my favourite word:

Intent.
 

FJAG

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The article discusses the Army's successful transition from the COIN-centric army of the Vietnam era to the Euro-centric Air-Land force of the Reagan era.

It considers Equipment, Personnel and Doctrine and uses my second favourite word.

Iteration.


There is a plan. There are desires. There is reality.

The binding element is my favourite word:

Intent.
A very good article and very much confirms my own biases. In short the need for a "plan".

There are two areas where I diverge a little bit.

To me doctrine is everything. When you properly define the doctrine then the equipment and personnel requirements, as well as organization, concepts of operation, the operational procedures, and moral foundation, are shaped by that.

Just as importantly, we need two doctrines: one for the less likely but possible full spectrum war scenario and one for more likely day-to-day OOTW situations. One can argue that these are at the opposite ends of a single continuum but I think if one does that then one ends up with the muddle of a middle weight force with major capability gaps that is neither fish nor fowl like the one we have now.

🍻
 

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Your assertion that "Doctrine is Everything" comes as a surprise. I would never have guessed that you would be a stickler for "The Word". :D

I prefer to pursue the Intent rather than the Ideal. I'd rather approach my intent in this world while I'm still breathing, and be satisfied with a job done well enough. ;)

For me doctrine has to be malleable to meet the exigencies of the current situation.

I'd sooner a short, clear statement of Intent with doctrine changing than try to define a multifarious doctrine that defines a solution for every situation.

But then I don't like poring over the NDA, QR&Os, CFAOs and DAODs either. I understand there are people so inclined.
 

KevinB

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Your assertion that "Doctrine is Everything" comes as a surprise. I would never have guessed that you would be a stickler for "The Word". :D

I prefer to pursue the Intent rather than the Ideal. I'd rather approach my intent in this world while I'm still breathing, and be satisfied with a job done well enough. ;)

For me doctrine has to be malleable to meet the exigencies of the current situation.

I'd sooner a short, clear statement of Intent with doctrine changing than try to define a multifarious doctrine that defines a solution for every situation.

But then I don't like poring over the NDA, QR&Os, CFAOs and DAODs either. I understand there are people so inclined.
Doctrine codifies the Intent.
Without Doctrine, there is chaos. Intent can often be fuddled with, and you end up with the 1 million LAV Army…
 

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Doctrine codifies the Intent.
Without Doctrine, there is chaos. Intent can often be fuddled with, and you end up with the 1 million LAV Army…

On the other hand, in the real world, I have 1 million LAVs. I don't have any of the other stuff I would like.

My primary realpolitik intent can be summarized as:

If we fight, then we win.

If we are taking the fight to somebody else then we can choose to fight or not fight and choose to fight with 1 million LAVs or not.

But

If someone brings the fight to us then we can only choose to fight with what we have available or surrender.

Doctrine is conditional on resources.

That is why I agree with the article that it is a chicken and egg process. It is iterative.

As the article pointed out Doctrine was generated to describe the shift from Co-In to Air-Land. Efforts were made to adjust equipment and personnel to the doctrine. It was observed that the doctrine was incompatible with the equipment and personnel. The doctrine was adjusted.

The equipment and personnel were adjusted. OODA applied. Doctrine adjusted.

Doctrine was adjusted to conform to current circumstances at least 4 times (one to generate FM100-5 and three more times to revise it).

And then the process settled and a couple of wins were scored. (Cold War, Kuwait, Iraq entrance).

Then the other team stopped playing the same game and new rules had to be developed and doctrine adjusted.


Is there any coach, football or basketball, that doesn't adjust their playbook annually to take advantage of new rules, new players and new opponents? Or do they insist in sticking to last year's game plan?

I would note that Rugby has no coaches or playbooks. It has managers that build skills.
 

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Doctrine Evolves, and needs to, as well as needs to be based on reality.
But you can’t blame doctrine when the Army doesn’t follow it.

My point is, if you base your Doctrine for a Peer/Near Peer conflict based on a Heavy Bde, then you need to have a Heavy Bde.

I think the CA has missed the boat in this respect. Playing too much with the US Army Heavy Forces has led to Heavy thinking, without the Heavy Forces to go along.

IMHO the CAF would be better suited to look at the USMC and 18th ABN rather than III Corps for a role model. Which would also mean telling NATO that there isn’t a CAF Heavy Bde for them - which there isn’t anyway.
 

Kirkhill

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Doctrine Evolves, and needs to, as well as needs to be based on reality.
But you can’t blame doctrine when the Army doesn’t follow it.

My point is, if you base your Doctrine for a Peer/Near Peer conflict based on a Heavy Bde, then you need to have a Heavy Bde.

I think the CA has missed the boat in this respect. Playing too much with the US Army Heavy Forces has led to Heavy thinking, without the Heavy Forces to go along.

IMHO the CAF would be better suited to look at the USMC and 18th ABN rather than III Corps for a role model. Which would also mean telling NATO that there isn’t a CAF Heavy Bde for them - which there isn’t anyway.

Heck they could even look at Stryker units and formations as models. The step up from what we have to those units wouldn't be ridiculous.
 

KevinB

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Heck they could even look at Stryker units and formations as models. The step up from what we have to those units wouldn't be ridiculous.
True - but those units either support XVIII or Heavy forces. They are ‘gap fillers’.


Neither Fish Nor Fowl, and while great to help either - they aren’t a solo entity.

I’d rather have 1 Reg Heavy Bde, a Reg Light Bde and move the LAV’s to Reserves on 30/70 Medium Bde’s.
 

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True - but those units either support XVIII or Heavy forces. They are ‘gap fillers’.


Neither Fish Nor Fowl, and while great to help either - they aren’t a solo entity.

I’d rather have 1 Reg Heavy Bde, a Reg Light Bde and move the LAV’s to Reserves on 30/70 Medium Bde’s.

I agree they aren't a solo entity. But apparently we aren't going to fight solo. And we also don't seem to feel the need to operate independently on our home turf.

Militia and Rangers.jpg

I've posted this map before

The orange are the Ranger Patrols - predominantly First Nations. The green are the Militia Armouries - predominantly settlers.

The Green Territory would be well managed by a Bison fleet and a few Bv206s.

The Orange Territory, IMO, is Bv territory with backing from lots of helicopters and aereoplanes.

In both cases the vehicles are more important than the guns they might, on occasion, have to transport.

Batteries, Bandages, Blankets and Beans. And good radios.
 

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I agree they aren't a solo entity. But apparently we aren't going to fight solo. And we also don't seem to feel the need to operate independently on our home turf.


In both cases the vehicles are more important than the guns they might, on occasion, have to transport.

Batteries, Bandages, Blankets and Beans. And good radios.
Frankly the Reserves as they stand currently are useless.
I would never given them those vehicles - as they cannot maintain them.
I would rather make Depot Centers with Reg Force Garrisons that have vehicles for Res Forces if they come out to play. But honestly until the Reserves are fixed, giving them stuff is just tossing away good money.
 

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If you don't give them kit to work with and jobs to do it won't attract useful people.
 
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