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Informing the Army’s Future Structure

Kirkhill

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So this image accompanied an article about a unit being stood up with 40 Pickups and 40 UAVs. The inclusion of the two helicopters stood out for me.


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Shortly after the US authorized the transfer of 40 armoured riverine/littoral patrol boats to the Ukraine (concurrent with reports of Kinburn activity) the UK announced a donation of 3 Sea Kings (Junglies?) to the Ukraine.

In the article on the Falklands

The ground-based Rapier air defense system was intended to mitigate the risk of air attack in the absence of air superiority. The terrain best suited for the Rapier to perform this function was inaccessible by ground vehicles and the system itself was too heavy to be hand-carried. As a result, the commander of the amphibious battle group, Michael Clapp, was compelled to dedicate limited assets “to supply the Rapiers with one Sea King on permanent call for the delivery of stores and petrol for their generators.”

it took 82 Sea King sorties to transport a single battery of six 105-millimeter howitzers and its required ammunition.



I would note that in the Falklands the Brits only had a couple of Bv202s (early variants of the 206s) and no ATVs/Quads as well as inadequate vertical lift assets. Nor did they have air drops or JPADS landing systems.

They most certainly did not have lots of trucks.
 

daftandbarmy

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So this image accompanied an article about a unit being stood up with 40 Pickups and 40 UAVs. The inclusion of the two helicopters stood out for me.


View attachment 75154

Shortly after the US authorized the transfer of 40 armoured riverine/littoral patrol boats to the Ukraine (concurrent with reports of Kinburn activity) the UK announced a donation of 3 Sea Kings (Junglies?) to the Ukraine.

In the article on the Falklands







I would note that in the Falklands the Brits only had a couple of Bv202s (early variants of the 206s) and no ATVs/Quads as well as inadequate vertical lift assets. Nor did they have air drops or JPADS landing systems.

They most certainly did not have lots of trucks.

Flew with the Junglies alot in 3 CDO BDE.

First class crews and craft. Crew members had to pass the Commando Course.


You had to be organized... they'd rarely wait for you to get your shit together and leave you to walk if required, and quite rightly so too ;)
 

GR66

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Force 2025 is by all accounts dead so sort of pointless to talk about it I suppose.
Also difficult to discuss future force structure when we don't know yet what the eFP Latvia Brigade will look like and what our contribution will be.

Assuming we have at least a Battalion-level contribution would it make sense for Latvia to be a Posting as opposed to a rotational tour?
 

FJAG

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What the British can learn from the USMC re: the Falklands would be more important.

One measly USMC MEU has more resources than a British Bde AFAIK.

When you look at the UK force structure it's pretty clear that the Brit's are like us - trying to do more with less.

It is worth reminding ourselves why a Defence Review is underway as the Integrated Review, written 1 SofS Defence, 3 Prime Ministers, and 4 Chancellors ago (e.g. last year) is now looking already out of date. The significant changes to the global security environment driven by the invasion of Ukraine, the reinvigoration of NATO against a dangerous Russian threat, the challenges raised by ‘grey zone’ operations as well as the increasingly fraught relationship between the USA and China means that assumptions need to be revisited.


It'll be interesting to see where this latest review will go. I betcha it ain't gonna be a good thing regardless of everything old being new again.

🍻
 

FJAG

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...
it took 82 Sea King sorties to transport a single battery of six 105-millimeter howitzers and its required ammunition.
I'd just like to put that in perspective.

The Sea King HC4 could lift appx 6,000 lbs internally and 5,000 underslung

The L118 is roughly 4,100 lbs

Back in the day the airlift planning figure for a fully equipped soldier was 250 lbs (that's light by today's standards)

A light airmobile battery would have roughly 6 detachments of 7 men each (42 total), and a CP and forward deployed tail of roughly 20-25 men so let's say 65. (FOOs and BC deploy with the battalion - rear tail stays at the base)

Depending on how you do the lift (gun slung and det inside / sortie; gun and ammo slung/ sortie, men separate; gun, ammo, men all separate sorties) It would take at a minimum 7 sorties to move 6 guns and personnel every time the battery has to move.

3 Commando Brigade had 29 Commando Regt RA deploying 3 x 6-gun batteries; 5 Bde deployed 97 Bty RA with 6 guns.

Ammo weighs roughly 50lbs per round (depending on in boxes or "deboxed" so every sortie could lift roughly a maximum of 100 rds underslung.

Now those figures are best case scenario as per aircraft capability. Those figures can change drastically based on conditions. Note the second reference below which states that it would take 45 sorties to move a battery (including it's basic load of ammo) and that in some cases it would take 1.25 hours to fly one sortie with 36 rounds across the island.

So to get to it - that 82 sortie quote is a bit vague. If we're talking one battery times one move then we're talking 7 sorties for the battery and 75 for ammunition which equates to 7,500 rounds per position. But that would have been restricted for distance and there would have been several moves based on the size of the island. I don't know how often the batteries had to move but based on the size of the island, they would have to leapfrog their way across. I do know that the commander dedicated 85% of all helicopter sorties to moving guns and ammo leaving the infantry to mostly walk.

Fire support was not used well on occasion and I know at the end for the final push the Brits corrected their mistakes and fired 17,500 rounds in the last offensive. That alone is 175 sorties (at best and based on the above point re 36 rounds per sortie is more like 400 or more sorties.

The best info that I have on this campaign is here:


and here:


at pp 14-21.

Interesting loggie issue at page 20 in that they had transported 16,000 proximity (i.e. air burst) fuzes with the fleet but couldn't find many of them at the end.

A final thought. If you think the ammo issue was a nightmare, think of all the fuel needed by the helicopters to get it there.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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Brits training in Oman - planning on rotating 2 light battlegroups annually through the training area.

Ukrainian lessons learned and applied? Apparently?

Small batteries to enhance mobility.
3 and a half minutes to get rounds on target and be off position.
Navigation in protected vehicles and pickup trucks over large featureless areas.

 

daftandbarmy

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Brits training in Oman - planning on rotating 2 light battlegroups annually through the training area.

Ukrainian lessons learned and applied? Apparently?

Small batteries to enhance mobility.
3 and a half minutes to get rounds on target and be off position.
Navigation in protected vehicles and pickup trucks over large featureless areas.


Oman is an awesome training area... mainly because you can do live firing just about anywhere you want to.

I was out in the desert with my platoon, tooled up for a week of live firing, and asked the Omani LO what we needed to do to make sure the range area was clear.

He said "Just fire a few rounds in the direction you want to go, then wait a bit for the Bedouin to clear out." :)
 

rmc_wannabe

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Oman is an awesome training area... mainly because you can do live firing just about anywhere you want to.

I was out in the desert with my platoon, tooled up for a week of live firing, and asked the Omani LO what we needed to do to make sure the range area was clear.

He said "Just fire a few rounds in the direction you want to go, then wait a bit for the Bedouin to clear out." :)
Reminds me of Romania and the shepherds tending their flock. 2 rounds into the tree line and the next thing you saw was 200 to 300 sheep booking it; usually with a German Shepherd Dog trailing and a herder yelling at us he's moving as fast as he could....
 

KevinB

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Oman is an awesome training area... mainly because you can do live firing just about anywhere you want to.

I was out in the desert with my platoon, tooled up for a week of live firing, and asked the Omani LO what we needed to do to make sure the range area was clear.

He said "Just fire a few rounds in the direction you want to go, then wait a bit for the Bedouin to clear out." :)
Lots of ranges like that outside of NA and Western Europe.
We have such funny concepts about range safety compared to the rest of the world…
 

Kirkhill

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I am a fan of the Aussies, like a lot of other folks.

This article caught my attention.

"It ultimately comes down to the ultimate question that we're not really good at answering in this country— what are we really trying do with our military?"​




“We do have limited resources — and there will be hard choices to be made about priorities"....pointed to command and control systems, precision strike capabilities and the need for robust logistics systems as key lessons learned from Ukraine.

“Australia needs to be able to preserve our freedom of action and to discourage and deter those seeking to disrupt the international rules-based order — especially through force, or the threat of force. We see the need for capabilities to deter conflict — and in a worst case scenario, defend against aggression. The war against Ukraine has highlighted this, in stark terms.”

Among those programs that could see changes is the Infantry Fighting Vehicle program, Australia’s largest. The current plan, strongly supported by the new Army chief, is to buy 450 IFVs from either South Korea’s Hanwha or Germany’s Rheinmetall. But reports have been circulating for months that the number is now likely to be closer to 300.

One of the top defense procurement experts here, Marcus Hellyer of the Australian Strategic Policy Institute (ASPI), said even those like himself who want to see “a lighter, more deployable army,” agree they need armor. But how much armor the island nation should have and how heavy it should be are key questions he expects the SDR to consider.

“I don’t know how the force structure the army is now building can be moved to the fight and, more importantly, get it home,” he said. There are signs the Royal Australian Army may not get as much armor as it wants. Greg Sheridan, the well-connected foreign editor of The Australian, penned a mid-October op-ed sharply critiquing the army’s plan to buy 72 Abrams tanks and the fighting vehicles.

“This is an insane program. We have not deployed a tank outside of Australia or anywhere near combat in more than 50 years,” he wrote. “We are planning to acquire 450 of the heaviest combat vehicles in the world. We cannot transport them effectively inside Australia as it is. We are acquiring infantry vehicles twice as heavy as those of the South Koreans. Our ships can carry only tiny quantities of them.”

In an interview with Sheridan on Nov. 4, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said Australia would instead focus on missiles, missile defense capabilities and drones, including armed drones.

Breaking the iron budget triangle, where each service gets almost exactly as much as the others, will be bureaucratically and politically perilous.

In his talk, Moriarity said that the government is already focused on building resilient supply chains, along with acquiring stockpiles of high-end consumables, including weapons. Resources — in other words money — will need to be found for this. Every existing program already has a sizeable constituency ready to defend it and a long-established precedent that no single service gets much more than the others.



Couple of related points

The Ukrainians have been effectively employing the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle (11 to 16 tonnes) as well as the ancient M113s (12 tonnes) - both of which have been donated by Australia and has prompted to Australia to look at re-opening its Bushmaster production line.

The Australians are tightly associated with the USMC and are a hinge, a lynch pin, for the island hopping strategy.

Australia has a lot better shipping arrangements available to it than Canada.

Australia has a much better developed defence industry infrastructure than Canada.

Report on the contenders - The Rheinmetall Lynx (34 to 50 tonnes) and the Hanwha Redback (42 tonnes)

 
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GR66

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I am a fan of the Aussies, like a lot of other folks.

This article caught my attention.

"It ultimately comes down to the ultimate question that we're not really good at answering in this country— what are we really trying do with our military?"​


Hmmm...any of the debates in that article sound familiar?
 

Kirkhill

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Ben Hodges on Lessons Learnt


Lesson 1: Modern warfare is still about the troops in the fight


"The importance of training, of leaders having the experience and ability and confidence to make decisions without perfect information.

"The stuff that we already know from our training and doctrine now is being reinforced even in modern warfare you have to have the human factors,"

Lesson 2: Strategic planning is critical


the amount of ammunition that has been used in this war has been "staggering".

"The defence industry in none of our countries right now is operating at a level to sustain that."

Lesson 3: The requirement for air and missile defence has increased


During his time as commander of the US Army in Europe, the lieutenant general says he was worried about not having enough air and missile defences.

At that time, he said the thinking was about the need to protect airfields, seaports and critical infrastructure.

The Russian military has been targeting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine as well, firing multi-million dollar cruise missiles at apartment buildings and power stations.

Lt Gen Hodges said this means the requirement for air missile defence is now "significantly higher".

Lesson 4: Hybrid warfare remains relevant


hybrid warfare in Europe is at its worst since the Second World War.

It can take the form of disinformation campaigns and fake news, meddling in foreign elections or deploying special forces on covert (secret) operations.

Lesson 5: Accurate intelligence is key to success


"I was so wrong about Russian capabilities.

"I really thought the Russians would do better.

"I think many of us overestimated what they would be able to do.

"How did we get that so wrong?" Lt Gen Hodges asked.

This line stands out for me....

The Russian military has been targeting civilian infrastructure in Ukraine as well, firing multi-million dollar cruise missiles at apartment buildings and power stations.

The Russians are committing war crimes - and they don't care. Their entire construct is based on terrifying the civilian population.

What does this mean for our planning assumptions?
For Air Defence requirements?
For the employment of Autonomous systems if the enemy doesn't givadam about rules of engagement and near misses?
We hold back technology in search of the perfect surgical strike. The enemy employs technology when it is good enough to cause an effect on our planning.
 

Kirkhill

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British Army on Lessons Learnt in Mali - Operating dispersed.


Lt Col Will Meddings, former Commander, Long Range Reconnaissance Group, told Forces News: "Down at a tactical level, there were a whole load of lessons that we took away, and I don't just mean things about how to operate and live in those temperatures at such long distances and so far away from resupply.

"But I think about how we could disperse ourselves across a wide area, act as a reconnaissance force."

He added: "The integration of ISR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance) and, I think, the operating over a dispersed area are the real tactical lessons that we'll be taking back."
 

Kirkhill

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This is an Air Force article but I think it applies across all services - especially in the "Joint" Canadian context and in a world where finding suitable labour is difficult. Artificial Intelligence and Autonomy are both being exploited by competitors and enemies without the same concern for the niceties that we show.

US Air Force must ‘automate more’ to maintain advantage, CIO says​

By Colin Demarest
Nov 30, 01:24 PM

A U-2 Dragon Lady assigned prepares to land at Beale Air Force Base, California, in 2020. The flight marked a major leap forward, as artificial intelligence took flight aboard a military aircraft.
A U-2 Dragon Lady prepares to land at Beale Air Force Base, California, in 2020. The flight marked a major leap forward, as artificial intelligence took flight aboard a military aircraft. (Airman 1st Class Luis A. Ruiz-Vazquez/U.S. Air Force)

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Air Force must embrace artificial intelligence to remain dominant in a world where militaries increasingly employ advanced computing and make decisions at a quicker clip, according to the service’s top IT official.

“We have to automate more. That’s kind of a first step,”
Chief Information Officer Lauren Knausenberger said Nov. 30 at a livestreamed event hosted by the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies. “If we tried to do everything today manually, leveraging the same processes that we always have, we’re not going to have the speed that we need for any of our kill chains.”

The Air Force already uses AI for predictive maintenance, education, imagery analysis and more. The technology is also a pillar of the Advanced Battle Management System, the service’s contribution to Joint All-Domain Command and Control, an attempt to seamlessly link forces across land, air, sea, space and cyber.

The speed and flexibility afforded by AI and machine learning, U.S. defense officials say, are needed to maintain an edge over technologically savvy competitors including China and Russia. The National Security Commission on Artificial Intelligence similarly concluded the U.S. must take AI seriously, as it will “reorganize the world.” The Pentagon has followed suit, launching the Chief Digital and Artificial Intelligence Office, which subsumed the Joint Artificial Intelligence Center and other older entities.

Knausenberger on Wednesday said the Air Force is “doing some very interesting things” with AI, “some just in the lab, some on the battlefield, some embedded in things that we are building today.”

The service in 2020 deployed AI as a pilot’s sidekick, allowing it to control sensing and navigation aboard a U-2 Dragon Lady surveillance plane. Leaders at the time hailed it a watershed moment.

More recently, AFWERX, an Air Force office in charge of finding new and innovative ways to use technology, established a program called Autonomy Prime to learn about autonomous kit the private sector is developing and how the military can appropriate it, Defense News reported.

The Pentagon’s public spending on AI, including autonomy, ballooned to $2.5 billion last year from a little more than $600 million in fiscal 2016.

More than 600 AI projects — including several related to major weapons systems, such as the MQ-9 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle and the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle — were underway as of April 2021. More than 230 are traced back to the Army, according to an analysis conducted by the Government Accountability Office. The Air and Space forces together are handling more than 80 AI projects.

“Our secretary has said a few times that in the future, we expect AI to just be a part of all of our weapons platforms,” Knausenberger said. “That is definitely notable, in that as we build out capabilities of the future, it’ll be in the statement of work, that we have this capability.”



A battery of 6 AI JLTVs with a total of 12 gunners?


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Swap all those manned vehicles for optionally manned JLTVs and MTVRs?


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Kirkhill

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US Army and Loitering Munitions.

“The Army will need a mixture of capabilities that suit light/SOF and mounted (Stryker/mechanized) formations from the squad to, potentially, the brigade level,” the RFI said.

 

Kirkhill

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And on the C-UAS side...


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a contract to purchase Israeli-based Smart Shooter’s SMASH 2000L fire control system, a company executive confirmed.

The 2000L is a rifle-mounted, “next generation fire control optic” and uses artificial intelligence, computer vision and advanced algorithms to locate and engage targets, Scott Thompson, the company’s vice president of U.S. operations, said at the Association of the United States Army’s annual conference in Washington, D.C.

“Once you engage the system, it does the ballistic calculation to the target — whether it’s a ground target or an aerial target — and it will not release the round until it has [a] 100 percent solution on that target,” Thompson said. “It’s really easy, very user-friendly.”



I get the sense that the system is something like the NLAW system or the AIMPOINT FCS-13 used on the CG-84, the Mk19 and various machine guns.

A ballistic computer for calculating the lead.

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