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C3 Howitzer Replacement

Kirkhill

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About those 500 HIMARS that Poland was looking at buying.

They have decided to go Korean again. Korean Tanks, Howitzers and now Rocket Launchers. Planes to follow.

Domestic production. Lower costs. Fewer strings.

Oh, and twice as many rockets per truck.


I wonder if the same truck could launch Air Defence missiles?
 

FJAG

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I wonder if the same truck could launch Air Defence missiles?
The truck - probably; the launcher system itself - my guess is not. The hydraulics used to orient the launcher are a factor. One needs fairly fast systems to react to the short sensor to shoot time inherent in air defence. Indirect fire systems do not. My guess - and just a guess - is that the K239's system would need a bit of tweaking.

Once again, I hope that you are not considering a dual purpose unit to deliver both indirect and air defence fire. It's one thing to have a common chassis and even launcher, its quite another to manage the target acquisition sensor systems, networking components, siting of systems etc etc that make the key differences between a field artillery and AD artillery role and unit.

🍻
 

Colin Parkinson

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Sometimes the "Good idea fairy" needs to be taken out back and shot. To many times, dual use/multi-task equipment ends up being overly complicated or just plain bad at both tasks.
 

Kirkhill

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The truck - probably; the launcher system itself - my guess is not. The hydraulics used to orient the launcher are a factor. One needs fairly fast systems to react to the short sensor to shoot time inherent in air defence. Indirect fire systems do not. My guess - and just a guess - is that the K239's system would need a bit of tweaking.

Once again, I hope that you are not considering a dual purpose unit to deliver both indirect and air defence fire. It's one thing to have a common chassis and even launcher, its quite another to manage the target acquisition sensor systems, networking components, siting of systems etc etc that make the key differences between a field artillery and AD artillery role and unit.

🍻

I'll start with a logistics win. If one truck with one superfast launcher, or even a vertical launcher, can be employed in both Air Defence and MRLS batteries (and even Coastal Defence batteries) I would consider that a win. Use the same truck for logistics and it is a bigger win.

Being able to reassign Air Defence launchers to MRLS or Coastal command would be a bigger win yet.
 

KevinB

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About those 500 HIMARS that Poland was looking at buying.

They have decided to go Korean again. Korean Tanks, Howitzers and now Rocket Launchers. Planes to follow.

Domestic production. Lower costs. Fewer strings.

Oh, and twice as many rockets per truck.


I wonder if the same truck could launch Air Defence missiles?
Poland is still getting the HIMARS.
Same way they are getting 250 M1A2’s.
They have a two tier Army strategy.

The idea they have a small cutting edge force - and a larger ‘good enough if we need all of it’ force that gives them a lot more depth if they need to blunt the Bear later on.
 

Kirkhill

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1662481429314.png

NASAMs Air Defence on a Truck
1662481589945.png

NSM Coastal Defence on a Truck tied to NASAMs variant FDC
1662481666218.png

HIMARS on a Truck
1662482008101.png

Chunmoo Truck

1662482094962.png

Sky Sabre Vertical Launcher.

1662481793015.png


How important is slew rate? And how important is it when dealing with off bore missiles?

Navies deal with their missiles with this launcher, or similar. The Mk41 VLS

1662482289988.png

Air Forces deal with their missiles with this launcher.

1662482639915.png
 

Kirkhill

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Poland is still getting the HIMARS.
Same way they are getting 250 M1A2’s.
They have a two tier Army strategy.

The idea they have a small cutting edge force - and a larger ‘good enough if we need all of it’ force that gives them a lot more depth if they need to blunt the Bear later on.

I was seeing more in the sense of "this is what we need to do today - this is what we want to do tomorrow".

Poland needs to rearm today and is working from inventory. It wants to be independent and well equipped tomorrow and is building a future.
 

Kirkhill

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Further to the Common Missile Launcher

At the 1:05 minute mark you see the launcher elevate and slew onto axis. In 4 seconds the hydraulics start whining, the launcher elevates and slews concurrently through 90 degrees horizontally and 45 degrees vertically, locks in position and the hydraulics stop whining.

I don't know but that seems to me to be a reasonable reaction time.

 

FJAG

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I was seeing more in the sense of "this is what we need to do today - this is what we want to do tomorrow".

Poland needs to rearm today and is working from inventory. It wants to be independent and well equipped tomorrow and is building a future.
By my count the Poles have 13 armoured battalions, 17 SP battalions but only 7 rocket battalions. Including training equipment and technical spares, that's roughly 750-800 tanks, 400 SPs and 150 rocket launchers required.

There aren't enough tanks in the purchases to replace their whole existing tank fleet so it strikes me it will be a three (four) tier tank fleet of M1A2s, K2s and the existing Leopards and PT 91s.

The artillery purchase contemplated looks like a wholesale replacement and expansion of their capabilities which makes me think they are planning on growing their three mech div/ 1 armoured div army. I find the moneys allocated so far to be quite modest. That's what happens I guess if you report acquisition costs and some bean counter isn't making you report the lifetime cost right up to and including disposition. It's also what happens when you allocate almost 30% of your budget on equipment renewal.

🍻
 

Kirkhill

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I think the Poles are intent on buying AND building 1000 K2 tanks. That would seem adequate to create a unitary fleet in the near term, not necessarily immediately.

And I agree completely with your accounting comments.

You forgot to mention negotiation skills.
 

Kirkhill

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3% of GDP
300,000 troops

32x F35As - 4.6 BUSD
48x FA-50 LAA

2x Patriot Batteries - 4.75 BUSD
CAMM Batteries

500x HIMARS Launchers (20 for 414 MUSD)
250x M1A2 Abrams SEPv3 - 4.75 BUSD

648x K9 Howitzers
980x K2 Tanks



I'm thinking that this is what the Poles are finding really attractive about the HIMARS system

1662496550597.png

1662496640565.png



500 mobile launch points makes it difficult to find High Value Targets, like Intermediate Range Ballistic Missiles.

Any of those 500 launchers could be loaded with ATACMs, PrSMs, GLSDBs, GMRLS-ER, GMRLS, MRLS Rockets, Korean 130mm Rockets, Polish 122mm unguided Rockets or nothing at all.

An interesting game of "Battleship".

The related issue is that instead of large depots of ammunition it is possible to drop small caches of pods all over the countryside which the 500 launchers can access and load.
 

KevinB

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I'm thinking that this is what the Poles are finding really attractive about the HIMARS system

View attachment 73385
I suspect you are 110% correct.
The HIMARS/MLRS Pod system allows for a significant amount of flexibility, and the flexibility is growing more and more every day.

It’s impressive what a country can do if they have the will…
 

Kirkhill

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I suspect you are 110% correct.
The HIMARS/MLRS Pod system allows for a significant amount of flexibility, and the flexibility is growing more and more every day.

It’s impressive what a country can do if they have the will…


Fun with numbers

Area of Poland - 322,575 km2
Number of MRLS launchers - 500
Area per MRLS launcher - 645 km2
MRLS radius - 15 km

Average Distance between MRLS launchers - 15 km

122mm Range - 40 km
GMRLS Range - 70 km
GMRLS-ER / GLSDB Range - 150 km
ATACMS Range - > 300 km
PrSM Range - > 500 km

PrSM Coverage Area - 785,000 km2

One MRLS launcher with PrSM will cover the entirety of Poland and a 150 km or so into its neigbours borders, or across the Baltic Sea.

And that all assumes static placement a mobile system.
 

Kirkhill

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According to Wikipedia you can buy two HIMARs launchers and carriers for the price of one Abrams.

Unit costUS$6.21 million (M1A2 / FY99)[2] Estimated in 2016 as US$8.92 million (with inflation adjustment)

Unit cost$3.5 million per one launcher+carrier, $110,000 per one M31 GMLRS (2014);[3]
$3.8 million (in 2020)[4] per one launcher+carrier

The FY 2014 budget called for $340.8 million in Paladin funding, which would be two dozen vehicle sets at $14.4 million per vehicle

Or 4 HIMARS for an M109 Paladin.

You can buy 5 M777s for the cost of a HIMARS (700,000 USD vs 3.5 MUSD)

 

Colin Parkinson

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Is the M777 the best towed 155mm gun out there for us? As I understand it, the gun is optimized for airmobile applications, by the use of expensive metals and weight savings, which means likely the guns will have a shorter life. However I concede the gun is the currently most popular 155mm out there.

Maybe the time has come to delegate to each of the RCHA units 3 batteries each. One battery is towed 155mm for each Regiment, one battery is AD for each Regiment and then each Regiment specialises in either towed, SPG or MRLS. That would give us an operational 24 towed, 6 SPG's and 6 MRLS systems along with 18 AD systems. That would be a good start. In addition, the Artillery school gets a full battery of towed, a troop of 3 SPG and 3 MRLS for teaching purposes. Reserve units get either towed 155mm, 105mm guns or smaller MRLS. A few also get a AD battery.
 

Kirkhill

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Is the M777 the best towed 155mm gun out there for us? As I understand it, the gun is optimized for airmobile applications, by the use of expensive metals and weight savings, which means likely the guns will have a shorter life. However I concede the gun is the currently most popular 155mm out there.

Maybe the time has come to delegate to each of the RCHA units 3 batteries each. One battery is towed 155mm for each Regiment, one battery is AD for each Regiment and then each Regiment specialises in either towed, SPG or MRLS. That would give us an operational 24 towed, 6 SPG's and 6 MRLS systems along with 18 AD systems. That would be a good start. In addition, the Artillery school gets a full battery of towed, a troop of 3 SPG and 3 MRLS for teaching purposes. Reserve units get either towed 155mm, 105mm guns or smaller MRLS. A few also get a AD battery.

If you are going to do that why stipulate that a battery is only 4 to 8 tubes? Why not 4 tube troops for a 12 tube battery? Or 6 HIMARs per troop? With the extra launchers being manned by reserves?

And every reserve unit should get at least an AD Troop with AMRAAMs and Sidewinders.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Because we will spend a decade debating the structure of a 12 gun battery I suspect. I fully agree on standing up a AD troop at each Reserve unit, along with a UAV Troop. Give the AD Troops Manpad simulators at each unit and contract Canadian companies to produce UAV's for recce and attack, based on current designs from Ukraine. They can stalk Reserve troops on exercises and flour bomb them.
 

Petard

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Sadly, we are now entering an era without Her Majesty; long live the King.

Right now, part of the scramble to enact Op Bridge will be to ensure appropriate gun salutes take place. It is very likely that the sorry state of the C3 fleet played a part in that, with the few serviceable guns being shuffled about for this awful day.

Which might be something to consider as part of this discussion

Considering these days appearances carry such weight in decisions, I wouldn't be surprised that if they ever get around to replacing the C3 that the ability to conduct gun salutes will be an essential requirement. When (if) those replacements do come they will have a new cypher on them

Very regrettably, we will never see another like Her Majesty
 
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FJAG

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I wonder what an "M113 155mm Armored Personnel Carrier" is? I think we have a reporter mixing apples and oranges.

Maybe the time has come to delegate to each of the RCHA units 3 batteries each. One battery is towed 155mm for each Regiment, one battery is AD for each Regiment and then each Regiment specialises in either towed, SPG or MRLS. That would give us an operational 24 towed, 6 SPG's and 6 MRLS systems along with 18 AD systems. That would be a good start. In addition, the Artillery school gets a full battery of towed, a troop of 3 SPG and 3 MRLS for teaching purposes. Reserve units get either towed 155mm, 105mm guns or smaller MRLS. A few also get a AD battery.
Not to be pedantic but I think you would be much better served by asymmetric regiments consisting of:
  • a 70/30 close support regiment with three 6-gun batteries, a small STA battery and a tactical battery providing enough FSCCs and FOOs and JTACs for at least one brigade. You bolster that with one 30/70 close support regiments for each formed RegF or ResF brigade (and I do not mean those ten things we call CBGs right now). (As between the CS regiments you create a mix of M777s and SPGs depending on defence missions and the CA structure)
  • a 70/30 AD regiment bolstered by a 30/70 ResF AD regiment; and
  • a 30/70 general support regiment with three HIMARS batteries, a loitering munition battery and an STA battery.
The key issue here is command and control both in training and for scalable operational deployments. Hybrid regiments with small numbers of varying capabilities are difficult to operate and develop a viable doctrine for.
If you are going to do that why stipulate that a battery is only 4 to 8 tubes? Why not 4 tube troops for a 12 tube battery? Or 6 HIMARs per troop? With the extra launchers being manned by reserves?
Troop and battery organizations are built around several factors: footprint of fire on the ground, local defence of the position, fire direction capabilities and logistics.
  • The ability to have howitzers that can self locate mitigates on the footprint of fire on the ground factor as guns shooting form many different locations can now concentrate their fire much better than in the past.
  • Similarly computer systems make fire direction much simpler (as long as you have a permissive EW environment) so that one command post can control a varying number of scattered elements.
  • Local defence is probably a bigger issue now than in WW2 and Cold War days. Afghanistan made it clear that there would be no security detachments to attach to scattered gun positions and the troops had to look after themselves. A 30-man, two-gun troop is about the smallest that can take care of itself.
  • Logistics become much more complicated the more scattered your gun batteries are.
We are currently running two-gun troops in four-gun batteries. Conventional wisdom in the Cold War days with dumb ammunition was that you needed a three-gun 155mm fire unit to be effective at the target end which is why we had four-gun troops so that one gun could always be out of action for rest and maintenance. I'm not sure to what extent the old lore has been reviewed and revised. Our current structure is more based on equipment and PY numbers than anything else. I think its high time for a structure review and simply leave it at the fact that the US continues to run six-gun batteries divided into two firing platoons.
I wouldn't be surprised that if they ever get around to replacing the C3 that the ability to conduct gun salutes will be an essential requirement.
We have ten provincial capitals and Ottawa which would indicate we need 44 saluting guns. For those guns, if used purely for saluting, barrel wear, sighting systems and recoil systems are essentially irrelevant. Wear and tear on wheel assemblies and trails and carriages becomes minimal. It should not be hard to winnow the fleet down to 44 saluting guns and spares.

The problem comes in only if we also need to use those same guns for training including live fire as we do now. They are long in the tooth and becoming harder and harder to keep functioning for live fire.

It's long past time where we should rearm the ResF (and the RegF) with enough of the right type of operational systems that the CA needs ... if the CA can ever figure out what it needs.

🍻
 
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