Characteristics of aircraft types

ROLE AIR SUPERIORITY BOMBER INTERCEPTION GROUND ATTACK CLOSE AIR SUPPORT
SIZE small (surprise, agility) large (range, missile load) medium-large (surprise vs range, weapons load) small-medium (surprise, agility vs endurance, weapons load)
NUMBER OF ENGINES single (agility, surprise, operating cost) twin (top speed) twin (damage tolerance) twin (damage tolerance)
COCKPIT/CANOPY TYPE bubble (situational awareness) sunk (drag reduction) sunk (drag reduction) bubble (situational awareness)
WING SWEEP moderate (maximum/cruise speed, turning performance, airfield perf.) moderate to high (high altitude performance vs maximum speed) low to moderate (low speed/altitude performance) none to low (low speed agility, airfield / low altitude performance)
WING LOAD low to moderate (agility) low to moderate (high altitude performance) high (gust sensitivity) low to moderate (low speed agility, airfield performance)
CREW 1 1-2 2 1-2
GUN CALIBRE 20-30 mm (firepower vs loadout) 25-30 mm (firepower vs loadout) 25-30 mm (firepower vs loadout) 25-30 mm (firepower vs loadout)
GUN TYPE revolver / linear action (response time) rotary (maximum rate of fire) rotary (maximum rate of fire) rotary (maximum rate of fire)
SENSORS IRST, RWR, LWR, MAWS radar, IRST, RWR, LWR, MAWS radar, FLIR, RWR, LWR, MAWS RWR, LWR, MAWS, (FLIR)
ENGINE TYPE afterburning turbojet / afterburning low bypass turbofan (speed, acceler.) afterburning turbojet / afterburning low bypass turbofan (speed, acceler.) afterburning turbofan (speed, endurance) nonafterburning high bypass turbofan (endurance)

NOTE: reason for selection of certain characteristics is explained in brackets. Aircraft that are intended for more than one of listed roles will have characteristics of several types.

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233 thoughts on “Characteristics of aircraft types

  1. As i said before, the use of the tank in an offensive capacity only is a non realistic one on a tactical and strategic level. To start with the latter : the whole concept of war on the plains of northern europe was from the point of view of Nato of a defensive nature: “to close the Fulda gap” and a lot of armour was supposed to be needed to stem the flow of t62’s and up. Why? Because the saying goed that the best tankkiller is another tank. Furthermore: on a tactical level there is no such thing as a offensive mode only. Combat is on this level mostly a mix of offensive and defensive actions (this says nothing about the strategic posture!). As far as mobility capabilities are concerned: on most battlefields the mbt’s will fare well.

    • Indeed. Which brings us back to my point: having a single-size-fits-all tank is unrealistic. At the very least you need a defensive heavy tank plus offensive medium tank. Preferably you’ll also have an air-mobile light tank as well.

    • The best tank killer is a anyone or thing with the firepower (ATGM, 120mm, recoiles rifle, etc) and the ability to not be destroyed by enemy tank. Be it by crazy amounts of armor or by being small and mobile like an infantry man.

      Scenarios: A wave of T-90’s approaching a defensive line.

      What is hardest for attacking T-90 to do?

      Spot and destroy enemy tank defense’s or spot and destroy infantry (armed with long-range ATGM’s). in camo position?

      Both can kill T-90 at long range but only one can hide from T-90 and more quickly disperse and reform.

    • Not sure the best tank killer is another tank. Most likely mines will slow down a rapid advance – and much cheaper too.

  2. Mobile light infantry has better ability to maneuver and even penetrate deep into enemy than big tanks.

    Issue is probably re-supply. But, infantry can be more easily re-supplied I think.

    ATGM costs more than 120mm round but you save the money on not having to purchase or maintain big fancy tanks.

  3. ” ““Frankly 120mm can’t do much that a Javelin can’t.”

    It can avoid running out of the ammo on the account of same being hellishly expensive (78.000 USD per missile), and cannot be jammed (poor heat contrast can easily cause Javelin to miss) or have its guidance system damaged.” ”

    Why obsess only over American kit? The Israeli Spike missile offers similar capabilities to the Javelin, comes in six sizes (mini, SR, MR, LR, ER and NLOS) has multiple firing options (man-portable, vehicle, naval and air-launcher), can also engage low speed aerial targets and depending on size of acquisition and size of missiles chosen can go down to 10000 USD per missile in the case of the Spike Mini, although that might not be a good example of the family seeing as it is mostly anti-personnel.

    • That’s one very serious problem these days with anti-tank missiles – too expensive to allow for multiple repeated training so the risk the troops won’t use it effectively in the field is greatly magnified.

      What’s needed is a cheap light to medium weight missile that can penetrate the sides/rear of any tank.

    • “Why obsess only over American kit”

      Cause we are awesome Andrei thats why.

      By the way, Mali was a cake walk compared to Afghnistan so stop bloating your self-esteem up.

      Yes I read your snarky post about Afghanistan.

      • “By the way, Mali was a cake walk compared to Afghnistan so stop bloating your self-esteem up. ”

        I’m not the one bloating me self-esteem up, you are with that affirmation. For the record I’m not French but I have an increasing admiration for the way the handle war admiration that seems to be shared by United States Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno according to this RAND study: http://www.rand.org/pubs/research_reports/RR770.html , which is the source of most of my affirmation regarding Mali . The only reason Mali was a cake walk compared to Afganistan is because the French handled it competently and expeditiously, unlike the American military in Afghanistan which not only did everything wrong when it came to counter-insurgency and fought a completely different war then they should have ( http://onviolence.com/?e=191 , http://onviolence.com/?e=98 ) but actually profited from the situation by asking for increasingly inflated budgets. Yes the number of Islamist fighters in Afghanistan was greater then in Mali but so to was the American Military involvement in Afghanistan compared to French one in Mali. On the other hand the supply situation for Afghan Islamist fighters was much harder then then the supply situation for Islamist fighters in Mali seeing as the Afghans could only resupply through Pakistan, a US ally, through very dangerous terrain, while Mali is surrounded by Islamist hold-outs, failed states and countries hostile to NATO and the UN, with prodigious amounts of weaponry available.

        • The one where you mentioned the tactical mistakes made in Afghanistan and highlighted that French strategy used in Mali was so much smarter.

          Can’t remember the exact discussion but it was discussion into ISIS and Middle East wars.

          I honestly don’t know too much about situation in Mali (it was one of those spurt of the moment impulse posts I sometimes write) but I doubt the situation in Mali would compare to what was going on in Afghanistan.

          I did take many hits to the head when I was young so If I am blaming you for someone elses post than forgive me.

      • “I honestly don’t know too much about situation in Mali (it was one of those spurt of the moment impulse posts I sometimes write) but I doubt the situation in Mali would compare to what was going on in Afghanistan.”

        I didn’t say they were mirror images,. yes there are a lot of differences mostly with scale and nationality of fighters involved (lots of Tuareg in Mali and they make Afghans look like petulant children ) but that is not a valid reason to dismiss the experience and success the French gained there and assume it dose not relate to Afghanistan. Difference between situations is also no excuse to wishful thinking that something that didn’t work in another situation is going to work now. I’m talking about Vietnam. Yes it’s a whole different situation then Afghanistan but that doesn’t mean that what didn’t work then is going to work now. It’s a logical fallacy to assume that. Still the US military repeated the mistakes of Vietnam in Afghanistan and added to them some of the mistakes the Soviets did with the same results. Don’t take me wrong I don’t hate the United States of America, on the contrary there are a lot of things I admire about it, but that dose not make me blind to the mistakes it makes especially when my knowledge of the history of the Roman Empire makes me draw parallels between it and the USA that lead to not so happy predictions about the future of not only the United States but the whole world. You see, this is the crux of the problem you might consider the rest of the world as ungrateful and hypocritical for pointing out the mistakes USA makes while ignoring the good things, but that only comes becomes the rest of the world realizes something you do not: you are now in the same position as the Roman Empire and thus your actions have a disproportionally big impact on the well being of the hole population of this planet. So you can’t afford to make mistakes.

        Still there are some bright spots such as general Odierno that is willing to learn from others. That RAND study is very interesting because it not only highlights what the French did right but alos points out that the US must not copy the French but adapt what they did to the higher resources available to the US Army.
        The recommendations are most relevant to this discussion :


        Recommendations
        The Army should examine the French experience for additional insights, including in the following areas:
        the advisability of reducing protection and fielding lighter vehicles to enhance mobility and reduce sustainment requirements, and in particular the introduction of a vehicle with the weight, protection level, and firepower of the VBCI
        the potential advantages and costs of pushing modularity below the brigade level to facilitate battalion and company-sized combined arms deployments
        the impact of digitization on small-unit operations
        the integration of intelligence into lower-echelon operations
        training to enable company commanders to conduct decentralized, combined arms operations and practice mission command
        French insights into training and interoperating with West African and Sahelian security forces
        the costs of France’s rotational equipping strategy (PEGP) and its effect on readiness.

      • I read the RAND report.

        I agree with the recomendations. Yes there was a lot done right and a lot the be copied. But, there is a lot about Mali comparison that must be mentioned.

        First what the French did in Mali was militarily defeat an insurgent militia force. The country was than turned over to Malian authorities. In a country that the French had deep associations and knowledge, having been a French colony until not too long ago.

        In Afghan & Iraq the US and allies quickly won military victories. In Afghanistan using Northern Alliance on the ground with special op support. In Iraq using regular large formations. It was the years after when US allied forces attempted policing & nation building that things got hairy. Very likely that special interests that wanted a prolonged campaign also played their part.

        The French had reliable support of local Taureg forces and Chadian troops in the northern areas were insurgents had taken territory. I would compare northern Mali to northern Iraq and Taureg to Kurds. Notice that in Northern Iraq (until recent ISIS campaign) the US had little trouble both militarily and in follow-up policing. Same as northern parts of Aghanistan were anti-taliban Groups (Tajiks being foremost) were in place to support Nato forces.

        Although the french use of surprise and quick decisive action is something to learn from. So is the use of scalable units with high degree of communication and on ground decision making. French also have developed some vehicles that were very good for operations like that in Mali.

        There is much French did right and anyone can and should learn from that. But, I dont agree that what they did was so much better than what US did in Afghanistan & Iraq. It was just a much easier scenario to look good in. Its easy to look good when everything is set-up nicely for your success.

        French were very good at setting themselves up for success. In other words taking mission that had high likelyhood of success. On the otherhand US has been very stupid about taking on missions that are impossible to look good in.

        I would make an American football comparison: Its like the quarterback that looks good against an inferior team when his O-line is giving him all day to scan the field and make a throw.

        Its when you are facing a good team that is making the QB make quick decisions under pressure and throw on the run that you can trully judge a quarterbacks quality.

        In US everything has become about money and business and even military operations are dictated by this corruption. System is decaying Andrei. Even foreign nations (Israel first and China is now doing it more) are now lobbying their interests in Washington. To big of a machine, too many moving parts. Hard to maintain quality control.

      • “There is much French did right and anyone can and should learn from that. But, I dont agree that what they did was so much better than what US did in Afghanistan & Iraq. It was just a much easier scenario to look good in. Its easy to look good when everything is set-up nicely for your success. ”

        This is the key to the success of every military operation the set-up not the execution. Think about it why did the US look so good in WWII was it because the US soldiers were superior to the Germans and Japanese? No. In most cases on an individual basis they were inferior. Was it maybe that the US equipment was so much better then the German and Japanese ones? No again it was inferior across the board safe for some exceptions such as the M1 Garand, the Jeep, the Iowa class battleships (which were not decisive) and the carriers. What was it then? The set-up. The US was set-up to look good because of it’s industrial might there was no way the Germans and Japanese could equal that.
        In both Afghanistan and Iraq the US ignored the set-up until it was to late. Sadam should have been deposed in 91 and the Afghans aid should not have been stopped after the Soviet withdrawal but converted from Stingers to Schools and roads. With this two pieces off setup the interventions at the beginning of the Millennium would have gone much smooth.
        This is what I’m trying to tell you military power is not the only power, and civility and diplomacy are not signs of weakness but actually signs of strength just because you can kick down a door and beat somebody into submission doesn’t mean that you should do it, sometimes you can convince somebody just by giving them a trinket.

        “In US everything has become about money and business and even military operations are dictated by this corruption. System is decaying Andrei. Even foreign nations (Israel first and China is now doing it more) are now lobbying their interests in Washington. To big of a machine, too many moving parts. Hard to maintain quality control.”

        Then something must be changed. We the little people should do something because it’s not just the US where everything has become about money and business but the whole planet.

        • I agree with your assessment of WWII. When US came into the war (December 1941) it was set-up nicely for their success. Japan and Germany was overstretched and incapable of winning the war logistically. Russia and China were the real reasons for US/UK WWII success. Outside of all of the industrial/logistical benefits.

          US soldier was clearly inferior to German in WWII. Also inferior to Brits. It was a matter of experience not some personal deficiency. Equipment situation is same scenario. No experience in developing weapons. Kind of like China today. Japanese were not very effective fighters and not well lead. Their key strenght was fanatical fervor. But, that was also a weakness as it went too far.

          Yes we need to do something Andrei. All I can do is just talk about it. There are many that are starting to see it my way. We will see were the pendulum swings. I beleive that in US first key is eliminating federal government. We need to become a federation of independant states with a constitution that prohibits seperate military action. Only military action can take place if majority of states agree. Bill of Rights should continue to be overriding rule over state governments. there is a lot to figure out but it starts with getting rid of this overpowerful, expanded, corrupted federal government.

          Democracy only functions well when power of government is as local as possible. When central governments overpower local it leads to power being concentrated in hands of rich and powerful entities.

      • ” We need to become a federation of independant states with a constitution that prohibits seperate military action.”

        Yeah that’s what we need to do here in the EU, become a federation of independent equal states not an empire ruled from Germany, with border provinces like my country and other Eastern European countries exploited for their cheap labor and market which can absorb the overproduction of German industry. In other words the original French model of the 60s not the current neo-liberal semi-fiasco. And if we succeed here in Europe and you guys in America there will be no reason why the two polities could not unite and become the seed of a larger Global Federation, based on growth, harmony, and equality of chance. Imagine what that would be an advanced prospers federation stretching over two continents and with population to rival China and India. A very nice dream. 😀 But it was dream such as these that lead to the Civil Rights Movement and modern democracies.

        • “not the current neo-liberal semi-fiasco.”

          I’d say it’s more like neo-liberal semi-fascism.

          “And if we succeed here in Europe and you guys in America there will be no reason why the two polities could not unite and become the seed of a larger Global Federation, based on growth, harmony, and equality of chance.”

          Eh, not gonna happen as long as both US and EU are run by capitalists. Mind you, Global Federation is entirely possible… but it will be a dictatorial neoliberal / neofascist entity ruled by bureocrats and capitalists, much like modern-day EU.

          “Imagine what that would be an advanced prospers federation stretching over two continents and with population to rival China and India. A very nice dream.”

          Very nice dream, yes. But only a dream, I’m afraid. And I’d prefer a confederacy myself.

        • We can’t give up and let it be. We must continue to dream and do our part whatever that might be.

          We must be careful with this idea. It can work only if true power and the large majority of decisions are kept as local as possible. Not just to current national governments but as local as possible.

          In Us I would virtually eliminate federal Government and than I would also remove many of state government powers and return these to the local counties. I would also make popular referendum a bigger part of government decisions, especially in municipalities.

          I am also all for having one world common currency and along with that open borders for trade. Without shared monetary unit open trade creates too many inbalances.

          Maybe it can start with US & EU linking Euro and Dollar (and eventually making one currency). Monetary/currency issues have become too important. One world currency would put focus back on what really matters which is allocation of resources, efficiency, gains through trade and specialization, Etc. Markets would really reach their true potential when world has one currency and no barriers in trade. Along with proper regulations and re-distributions to prevent accumilation of capitol.

          I always say to understand Macroeconomy you must first understand what money really is. It really is nothing, not important. Important only for enriching some and controlling markets. Money must be returned to its true role. to facilitate trade and exchange on an equal basis, thats it.

          I do beleive that democracy is the best governing system but only if power remains local. I also beleive in free markets but only if they are regulated smartly to prevent corruption, manipulations, and accumilation of capitol.

          Regulated smartly does not mean more and complex, it usually means less and simple.

          There are many simple smart fixes out there to make the world better. Problem is that the ones in power like the system that benfits them and are preventing these changes through various methods including media and control of information.

        • “I would also make popular referendum a bigger part of government decisions, especially in municipalities.”

          That is an issue for most of the world’s countries. People are too removed from decision-making process. Here in Croatia, Government is doing its best to make referendums as unviable as possible (well, they *are* staffed by Stalinists).

          “I am also all for having one world common currency and along with that open borders for trade. Without shared monetary unit open trade creates too many inbalances.”

          Free trade is not a good thing as it exposes economies, especially those of smaller countries, to manipulation and outright assault. Same for open borders.

        • I am not a big fan of free trade how it is done today. As done today I agree with you.

          But, if done right free trade is a wonderful thing for so many reasons. Free trade will increase the size of the pie for everybody as it takes advantage of each nations best skills and efficiencies.

          First, you need to have common currency so that trade happens equally and fairly. Than you must eliminate all taxation, tarrifs, and most other barriers. Except those establishing balanced trade.

          each nations money supply would start of being pegged to a specific currency (lets say Canadian Dollar). All of worlds funds will be converted to that specific value. than you would give new currency a name. Lets say “Common Dollar”

          Lets say that Canadian dollars value Vs Euro is one dollar= .50 Euro

          so if you had 25,000 Euros you now have 50,000 common dollars. From that point on there will be no central banks no printing no money creation.

          wealth will increase and or decrease based on real factors not on monetary/banking policies and manipulation of exchange rates.

          Once currency is set than you eliminate all taxation on trade worldwide. If sales taxes are in play you would pay tax only on retail therefore all items domestic or import will be taxed equally (I would get rid of all sales taxes altogether but thats a different argument).

          Nations will no longer be able to afford trade inbalances and im sure all nations will soon establish balanced trade laws that will prohibit imports if they exceed exports over a period of time.

          To fix issues of tax havens and multi-national firms I would disallow any corporate taxes. Taxes are only on funds, capitol, and other value gained by individuals. That means if you are “gifted” a yacht the value of said yacht is considered profit.

          your tax home will be the nation of your birth as long as you have been proven to have lived there for at leat half the time from birth to age 21. If by age 21 you have not lived in place of birth for half your life than your tax home will revert to the place where you have lived in the most (could be place of birth) or your mothers tax home if you do not have a place where you have lived at least half your life

          I would make all profit taxable in same manner and rate. No lower or higher taxes for certain types of profit. I would prefer to keep taxes generally very low and elimination of big central governments would go long-way toward that goal.

          Continuing on trade I would make certain labor rights and protections universal.

          Any nation found to have violated taxation and regulation agreement will be disallowed from participation in trade for a period of time.

          Thats a start.

        • “But, if done right free trade is a wonderful thing for so many reasons.”

          Trade has to be regulated. If not regulated, it turns into something best described as a “feral beast”.

          “First, you need to have common currency so that trade happens equally and fairly. Than you must eliminate all taxation, tarrifs, and most other barriers.”

          That would strip almost all defenses that smaller nations have against domination by larger ones. As for consequences… look at Greece and its problems.

          “From that point on there will be no central banks no printing no money creation.
          wealth will increase and or decrease based on real factors not on monetary/banking policies and manipulation of exchange rates. ”

          I don’t see banks giving up manipulation that easy. I’m afraid that common currency would actually increase possibility of manipulation. Look at the EU.

          “Nations will no longer be able to afford trade inbalances and im sure all nations will soon establish balanced trade laws that will prohibit imports if they exceed exports over a period of time. ”

          Sorry, not gonna happen. First, there are import lobbys in every nation. Second, some nations simply don’t have anything to export. Third, large corporations, especially multinational ones, have greater financial and lobbying power than many small nations. More likely, common currency and lack of barriers will create far greater trade imbalances than before, as nations won’t be able to defend from imported cheap sh*t by, say, raising taxes on imported products.

          “I would make all profit taxable in same manner and rate.”

          That would depend on wether you include wages in profit. If you do, then you have to have an untaxable proportion. It is not same if you take 10% from someone that is living on basic substinence wage or from someone who makes 5 million USD a month (most likely by forcing workers to live on substinence wage).

          “Continuing on trade I would make certain labor rights and protections universal.
          Any nation found to have violated taxation and regulation agreement will be disallowed from participation in trade for a period of time. ”

          That would be good… but you’d also have to expand it to “Any nation or multinational corporation…” as latter have financial power greater than many nations, and also have greater propensity to violate regulations (even if just by acting like rules lawyer).

        • Whitout creation of fake fiat currency and with balanced trade laws nations will have no choice but to trade equally and fairly based on real economic factors. I am not saying my ideas are going to happen in the real world anytime soon. All of these are ideals of how I would do it if I could. I am barely considering real world political obstacles. I am going mostly on pure economics. Just to establish a system of principles & beleifs. In real world all you can do is fight for your principles and try to get as close to them as is possible.

          Considering reality (from US perspective) I would support balanced trade amendment that would require big tarrifs on imports from nations that have unbalanced trade with us, like China. Purpose would be to try to prevent corporations from producing cheaply and than making big profits selling that stuff in US. Tarrifs would be set to try to make cost (for producer/importer) of items produced in cheap labor markets balanced with items produced domestically. Purpose of tariff is to balance out trade by equalizing cost to producer/importer. Cost being equal firms would produce based on things like available workforce, training/skills/education of workforce. Available capitol and natural resources, Infastructure, regulation, and taxation. this is maybe more realistic.

          Once trade with said nation balances out than tarrifs would begin to drop, at least until trade losses balance again. Most likely some nations like China, Vietnam, India would require constant tarriffs to maintain balance until their currency value and labor costs elevate.

          Realistically, if idea ever gets enough support it would not start as world trade bloc but maybe as regional type bloc and maybe progress as it is shown to work.

          “Trade has to be regulated. If not regulated, it turns into something best described as a “feral beast”

          Firms have to be regulated to ensure they don’t abuse rights of workers, attempt collusion to manipulate free market, violate safety and security statutes, are responsible for environmental impact, etc. In my ideal world, nations would be responsible for enforcing universal regulations with oversight. Firms would be made to pay price by nation. If nation is found to not be properly enforcing regulation they can be banned from trade bloc for a period. Based on international agreement.

          No regulation is bad and too much (and too complicated) regulation is even worse.

          Too much regulation is the real “Feral Beast”. Thats what special interests want, complicated incomprehendible (to most people) regulation that they can manipulate to their interests. Same goes with taxes. Ask any small business/individual provider what is their biggest obstacle in competing with big firms and they will tell you its regulation. Big firms manipulate regulation to their needs because it is too complicated for regular people to be able to notice.

          Regulation and taxation will be an issue in free trade. You do not want nations/regions/municipalities competing for business based on those factors. It would be a race to the bottom. Thats why in my ideal scenario I would eliminate taxes directly on firms and support common/universal regulation.

          As far as taxes, all profits eventually go to a real person. Unless firm uses profits for capitol growth, investment.

          I would tax only real people and very progressively. That means that higher income will be taxed much higher than lower income. I would also support general exception on first $30,000 for married filling jointly. That means 0 taxes on your first 30,000 in income and than progresivley higher rate on anything above 30,000. All form of income is treated the same no special rates for dividend/rent/interest or wages.

          I am supporter of small government in my ideal scenario there would be no sales or property taxes. Taxes would be only on income and local, state, and federal would have seperate voter approved rates. Powers and responsibilities would mostly be sent down to local government as I stated before. Therefore, Local municipality would probably get/need largest chunk of those taxes. State would get next highest and Federal smallest chunk.

          All tax rates will be negotiated by legislators/representatives to present to public but would have to be approved by popular vote. In my scenario there would be no money creation based on banking tricks. I would prohibit government bonds or tacking of debt. Governments can only spend what they collect. If cuts cannot be negotiated and a spending plan is not put up for public vote, than there would be automatic and equal sequestration until spending is in equilibrium with inlays collected.

          Again this would work in theory. In practice taking into account political factors, special interests, and stupidity of people this is probably impossible.

          its like Communism (as Marx envisioned it) it will not work in real world because of the human factors mentioned above. But, it is worth studying.

          Remember I am writing of top of my head in-between clients at work. This is not my fully developed macroeconmic theory. It would help if I had computer aided models that can run numbers. In fact I have never put my whole theory on paper. I do have parts saved but not put together yet.

          Mostly, becuase I generally prefer to discuss real-world, realistic, piece-meal solutions. Based on my general theory.

          And, nothing is ever fully developed. You have to be flexible as you face issues.

      • This is sounding a lot like Boyd, now that I think about it.
        National government delegates a local government freedom of action/power to achieve a common schwerpunkt (the betterment of the nation). The freedom of action should reduce the friction and increase harmony/tempo as more decisions are being made independently with a common schwerpunkt.
        The catch seems to be the most important part: Trust. Trust between national and local would be the ‘glue’ that keeps the whole operation together. With political parties, however, there is never any trust between the governments with different parties.

        • We are not talking about a federal government delegating powers to local gov. I meant legal/constitutional removal of powers from feds. Feds only function would be foreign affairs and administration of Defense.

          State Dept and DOD, thats it. Maybe CIA. Domestically the States would take back some powers and even more would become local.

          I would like to see a mayor have more power than a president domestically in each municipality.

          Powers to use military force must be authorized by grand mayority (I say 74% 37 out of 50) of states. And states probably should determine this vote based on referendum or at least include municipalities in vote equation along with state representatives.

          Decentralize base of power is the objective.

      • Lots of comments during the night when I sleep I understand for Duviel and Chris which are at least 7 times zones behind, but you Picard? What did you do move to America? Or turned into a night owl?
        Okay let me get my opinions in. I agree with lessening centralization and putting more political power in the hands of the people thru referendums, which in most countries except for Switzerland are jokes. Also I think the average citizen should me more involved in the political debate. From my point of view the current model of representative democracy is obsolete. It was conceived in a time when most of the population didn’t know how to read or write and were employed in agriculture and where affected only by a modicum of the decisions being made by leaders. Thus one educated person could easily represent a large mass of uneducated people with very low expectations from him. Today most of the population has at least high-school level education, and there is a bewildering large array of possible occupations and expectations. How can a lawyer represent an engineer? Dose he/she have any idea of what the engineer faces in day to day life what his/her expectations are? Nope. My idea would be to make full use modern communications technologies to allow every interested, educated person a role in the political decision making. One could imagine that at a local level the legislature is divided into two chambers, an upper one to which I while get later and a lower one divided into several for lack of a better word guilds. Each guild comprises people with similar or related occupations which tend to be affected by the same laws. Guilds would debate and vote on laws concerning them with each person wishing to state an opinion give the right to a single opinion. Communicating this opinion could be done on-line on a guild forum, I would be partial to the term e-agora seeing as forum is an already overused term, where each participant to the discussion is clearly identified and has proven his or her expertise in the matters covered by the guild. Voting then ensues with every person that identified itself having the right to vote. Laws affecting more then one guild (such as budget laws) would be debated and voted in each involved e-agora and would only pass through consensus off all involved e-agoras. Thus a form of referendum is achieved. The upper chamber lets call it a Senate, would be an elected meritocracy. Eligible for election in the Senate would be only persons whose work would have benefited the whole community, for example a business man would be eligible only if his business brought a lot of benefits to the community such as permanent jobs, education, health-care etc, and didn’t destabilize the community in times of crisis. So somebody like Donald Trump would not be eligible 😀 (heard he wants to run for president. If he wins I’m emigrating to Mars) . The role of the Senate would be to verify the laws passed thru the e-agoras.
        Executive branch would be purely technocratic each e-agora would elect one of it’s members to oversee that branch of government on the assumption that they would know which one of them is more appropriate for the task. So the Transporters E-agora would elect the minister of transportation, the judges and attorney e-agora the minister of justice etc.

        I will elaborate in further posts, because I don’t have anymore time right now.

        • Very intersting! a little complicated but sounds like its probably same reason my ideas sound complicated

          1) They kind of are

          2) I have not had the time to properly explain them

          I would attempt to try it out at a smaller local government. Once you get the kinks out you can maybe expand concept. I like use of communication/social tech for getting popular involvement. My concern would be hackers and such.

          in my idea, local governments would be able to make their own laws [with constitutional constraints] that would than require popular vote to approve. Municipalities would have more power than today, state would administer mostly some oversight functions and feds would have basically only powers in external relations and military, with super majority state approval needed for military ops. Roughly speaking.

          I know we are probably wasting our time but every idea started somewhere before it became popular.

          I can see both of our ideas being compatible.

          Maybe we can start this when we all move to Mars.

          Trump wont win. Just a show.

        • “I understand for Duviel and Chris which are at least 7 times zones behind, but you Picard? What did you do move to America? Or turned into a night owl?”

          I’ve got rather… irregular sleeping pattern. And irregular pattern of everything else, truth be told. One day I’ll be asleep at 1 AM and up at 4 AM, next day I’ll be asleep at 8 PM and up at 6 AM, then I’ll be asleep at 9 PM and up at 7 AM but with the caveat that I won’t be able to sleep between 1 AM and 2 AM… you get the idea (it’s 3-and-something AM right now, I left my laptop running over the night to download some crap as I often do as my mobile Internet’s typically sh*t, so when I realized I can’t sleep at the moment… here I am).

          “From my point of view the current model of representative democracy is obsolete.”

          Agreed. It’s plutocracy, plain and simple.

          “I will elaborate in further posts, because I don’t have anymore time right now.”

          So far, quite nice.

        • Your brain is in full throthle. You have to do something light before going to bed. I have conversation with my wife before bed, that usually works, Lol. Or I put on a nature show on Tv. Anything light. Also try to keep same bedtime hours.

          Most importantly, stop trying to sleep!

          You just go to bed and do something relaxing your body must do the rest by itself. Its like blinking your eyes, if you try to do it you will mess your self up. Your body must do it without your help or involvement.

          Try this for a week. Try going to bed with the goal of lying there but not sleeping. Remember, you dont want to sleep!

          Try it and tell me about it later.

  4. @Mike

    I think that MBTs are going to be pushed more into a niche role – they are not going to be a single-handed war winner; sure a very important part of a niche, but still a niche. If you think about it, heavy tanks were always defensive in nature and only useful for the initial breakthrough of very heavy lines – after that lighter tanks were always going to be needed.

    One of the more serious Israeli flaws was that they did not support their tanks with infantry very closely. They did have artillery and some airpower, but no CAS. Coordination I would argue was not too good.

    The Merkava IV is arguably a better protected tank than the M1A2, so I would argue that pretty much every tank is going to be vulnerable.

    I think that recoiless rifles, artillery (provided it’s accurate enough) and CAS might be able to largely replace the tanks direct fire support. A turretless tank might be worth looking at as well for this job (one other advantage they have is that they may be able to better elevate their guns to the higher arcs (important for urban warfare).

    • I think a light highly mobile infantry force with un-armored light vehicles that can provide heavy firepower will not necesarily need direct fire support.

      Humvee for example. You can put a TOW launcher on top or a .50 cal, 40mm grenade launcher, etc. You can probably modify most any ATGM to fire from a Humvee (or the versions from around the world).

      I would actually say that vehicles in general are best for moving to and fro not for fighting (in most cases). Man on foot ar harder to target and can more easily ambush or sneak up on adversary. With new lighter weapons a single soldier can now carry ATGW, .50 cal machine gun, 40mm auto grenade launcher. There is even a version of Minigun (3,000 rpm .762 cal gatlin gun) that is light enough to be carried around by one soldier. There are these light vehicles (I will get name for you) that SOC forces use that are basically a small flat bed with 4 large wheels and serves basically as mechanical mule. These would work well to help soften load on soldiers and transport some of these heavier man portable weapons. As well as for other heavy equipment, mortars, etc. You dont want to put to much weight on soldier and wear them out either.

      • “Humvee for example. You can put a TOW launcher on top or a .50 cal, 40mm grenade launcher, etc. You can probably modify most any ATGM to fire from a Humvee (or the versions from around the world). ”

        And get blown up by harsh language or bogged down in mud. Wheeled vehicles are far from ideal solution if you want an offroad mobility; and staying on road will get you killed.

        “There are these light vehicles (I will get name for you) that SOC forces use that are basically a small flat bed with 4 large wheels and serves basically as mechanical mule.”

        I had an idea for a tracked jeep. It would solve most issues I have with light vehicles. Mount a recoilless on it and it may be a better support weapon than a tank. It would not be as survivable (against NBC attacks and AT weapons, though latter are hard to judge), but it would have better mobility – both tactical and strategic. You could also take off recoilless rifle and carry it around for use by infantry.

        • Yes you are right about wheeled vehicles. You can use wheeled vehicles in many cases if good off-road wheels and vehicle not too heavy. But, you do need tracked vehicles. The idea was that you can put direct fire-support on small-light vehicles. making them tracked is easily doable. I know a guy (friend of a friend) who figured out how to make his Ford F-150 truck tracked.

          Big tanks are just unnecessarily big and not mobile enough. You can get same firepower out of a man-portable weapon or small light vehicle. You wont get armor protection but you give many more targets for apponent and targets that are small and fast moving.

          If you can make tank invulnerable to direct fire than yes tanks all day but when you can take out a tank with one soldier tank losses its value.

      • The problem with wheels is their pressure is too high. They cannot go into soft soil and not get stuck. It’d be quite dangerous to rely on wheeled vehicles because if they go on predictable roads, they’ll get mined and blown up (especially the ones without V-shaped hulls, which I note the Humvee lacks). Heavy tanks sometimes share this flaw as well.

        I think the light tank is probably the least bad situation here.

      • The British Supacat or ATMP is the flat bed design that resembles my idea of mech. mule to carry equipment for infantry. A tracked design alternative might be needed. Other current vehicles that fit my tactical concept are Panhard VBL scout car (it can roof mount Milan, TOW, M249, M2, HK 40mm grenade machine gun, etc), Israeli RAM, British Fox light armoured car, Cadillac Gage Scout car, Rheinmetall Wiesel 1 (especially TOW version), Russian BMD, etc. Small low profile vehicles that are highly mobile, easily transportable, and can provide heavy fire support. I would honestly use MBT’s more for protection of logistical convoys than for frontline direct action. I might use tanks as force mix for initial attack on enemy defense line but not for penetration or flanking/maneuver warfare. Tanks require too large of logistics tail and are too slow and visible for use in actions inside/behind enemy line. Regardless, (unless you can break enemy line to allow for re-supply or you have full control of air) you can’t do large force actions inside enemy territory if you are not able to follow that up with breaking of enemy frontal defenses. Otherwise your force might get trapped and/or starved. Penetration maneuvers are useful in weakening enemy defenses to allow for main force breaking of said force.

        Additionally, In a maneuver fight were there are no set lines and both sides are maneuvering and attacking (kind of what Nazi’s did early) Use of a tank army would not be best. Light mobile vehicles with heavy hitting firepower and anti-infantry firepower will best be able to fight and with less logistics issues.

        To me logistics and re-supply are the key issues in any land war. But, best way to solve that is by quickly breaking up and destroying enemy forces through fast swarming manuevering supported by heavy firepower. And/or by being able to control airspace and having large airborne re-supply capabilities.

        For my use, (protection of convoys and fast moving initial attacks of heavy enemy defense formations) I would prefer to have a tank like Challenger II or M1-A2. Terrain will also dictate much here.

        Thats my view at least.

        • Just a note: tanks are not necessarily heavy. Which is why I want a 70 ton tank, a 45 ton tank and a 20 ton tank (metric tons, obviously). Tracked vehicles are always more mobile than tired ones.

          70 ton tank would be for infantry support and facilitating breakthroughts, 45 ton and 20 ton ones would be for maneuver warfare, with a caveat that 20 ton one would also be employed in air mobile divisions.

        • Although weight influences mobility in some aspects (and gas need) its not just the weight factor for me, its the size factor too. Tanks are (even light ones) usually big targets and in my mind with the ATGM’s out there (both land and helo based. Although land based bigger threath I think) big vehicles are just big targets.

          In fact if you are going to bring a tank into front line combat I would bring a 70 ton tank that can atleast protect crew (if not remain in combat) if hit by ATGM. A 20-45 ton tank is still a big target, still requires more maintenance and fuel and wont survive an ATGM. I would prefer small light mobile vehicles in larger numbers and with firepower.

          a 20 ton low profile tank with a fuel efficient engine and simple design might fit more into my tactical idea for maneuver and penetration.

          Not saying that I beleive that my concept is only one that could work. Just think it deserves consideration. and at least a role.

          Past use of tank armies is becoming obsolete and I think needs some re-thinking.

        • Tanks are not necessarily big. You can have a light tank with 75-105 mm gun with an autoloader, something like AMX 13.
          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMX-13

          Main advantage of tanks is not their armor but their mobility. If you use wheeled platform, you lose mobility. You can put a recoilless rifle on a jeep, but what if that jeep gets bogged down in mud? APC similar to M113 or FV432 is a possibility, but they are not really that smaller than tanks and are more vulnerable for their weight – not only does FV432 have thinner armor but also has larger profile than AMX-13.

        • yeah you do need tracks. Most if not all of the small, light vehicles I mentioned could be converted to tracks. Wheeled vehicles have some benefits in good terrain or if use of roads possible.

          My key point is smaller more mobile with less logistical needs while maintaining anti-armor firepower and anti-infantry fire support. I would use Mechanical mules to carry load so to allow infantry on foot to carry heavier weapons and increase use of infantry served ATGM’s

          I would not use tank for tactical maneuver. I think smaller vehicles (like ones I described) can do that best with less logistical needs.

          As Jan mentioned, mortar and artillery can be dangerous to foot soldier. But, fighting in a big profile armored vehicle is just as dangerous with todays anti-armor weapons. A tank like Chally II offers high probability of survival for crew (against most battlefield weapons) but the tank will usually not be any good for combat until heavy repairs. regardless, tanks don’t carry infantry APC’s, trucks, Utility vehicles do, and these are not usually heavy armored.

      • A certain amount of practical knowledge seems necessary in order to have a good view on the issue. For instance as i have seen myself, the AMX 13 was a complete failure. The “little tank” (as in the tv series “Allo,allo”) had, in order to fire, be positioned carefully, otherwise it flipped backwards due to the recoil of the gun. In the Durch army firing it was strictly regulated due to this risk. In ww2 the tanks were just as heavy as they are now, which makes itlogical that functional necessities and weight are connected. One should not judge a weaponsystem isolated. Nowadays it is about integration. A unit should be judged by the way it is coordinated/connected ( armour and inf), its mobility and its firepower i.e. Its capabilities to hurt te enemy. Anyone who suggest that infantry on foot is capable to kill off tanks…well, just look at the “load” the average grunt must carry. The biggest (infantry) killer is mortarfire. The intensity of such a barrage and its sustained character makes a battlefield killing zone for unprotected grunts. In my time we were warned for the 200mm mortars of the Russians…footsoldiers need protection and mules to carry their eavy weapons and ammo

        • “The “little tank” (as in the tv series “Allo,allo”) had, in order to fire, be positioned carefully, otherwise it flipped backwards due to the recoil of the gun.”

          Which version? I couldn’t find anything about it except a forum legend. And even if it could not fire gun when turret was off the axis by a certain number of degrees, it could still fire machine guns – which are if anything even more important for light/medium tanks whose duty is to destroy enemy support structure and not engage other tanks.

          “In ww2 the tanks were just as heavy as they are now, which makes itlogical that functional necessities and weight are connected.”

          Primary German tank was Panzer IV which weighted 26 tons and later versions had long 75 mm gun. IIRC, Guderian believed it to be the best German tank of World War II. Primary US tank was Sherman, which was about the same. Primary Soviet tank was T-34/76 which weighted cca 30 tons and had long 76 mm gun. *Heavy* tanks weighted about as much as modern MBTs, but that does not mean that light and medium tanks are useless.

          Agree with the rest.

        • 12000 panzer mark III, of which the Russians said :” good for bad european weather, not for bad russin weather. Therefore in 1942 came the mark VI (tiger) and in 1943 the Mark V (panther). The latter considered to be the best tank of all, mainly because it was an improved version of the t34, with sloping armour for instance. 45,5 tonnes. The tiger 58,9 tonnes. The t34 weighed 32 tonnes. Andrew roberts states that, had the germans started earlier the building of its mbt’ they wouldhave had a much better chance of winning the war, page 528 “The storm of war”.

        • “12000 panzer mark III, of which the Russians said :” good for bad european weather, not for bad russin weather.”

          You’re mixing things up. Guderian said that late model Panzer IV was the best German tank of the war, not Panzer III. Panzer IV Ausf G and later models had long 7.5 cm gun that, while not as good as one on Panther, was superior to its Russian equivalent. They were also lighter than German “beasts”, and thus more strategically mobile.

          Germans produced 8.600 of them. Overall, instead of one Tiger, 1,5-2 Panthers or 2-4 Panzer IVs could have been produced.

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Panzer_IV

          “Andrew roberts states that, had the germans started earlier the building of its mbt’ they wouldhave had a much better chance of winning the war, page 528 “The storm of war”.”

          Andrew Roberts is wrong. Germans had problems with lack of fuel, lack of steel, lack of personnel and lack of logistical capacity. Panzer IV was lighter, cheaper, more mobile and easier to produce and support in the field, which would have meant that less fuel, steel and workforce would be necessary to produce and operate equivalent, or larger, number of tanks. You needed 3 towing vehicles to tow a Tiger. One was enough for Panzer IV. Panther was too expensive and put into full production way too early, while Tiger was an unnecessary waste of resources.

        • AMX-13 may not have worked well (not sure if it did) but that does not devalue the concept of having a small, low-profile, light tank with a big gun. I prefer a small scout car (tracked in most cases would be best) with a ATGM launcher. I like use of APC for transport but not direct combat and MBT for protection of supply convoys and maybe for use in punching holes in heavy defenses to allow for lighter forces to penetrate. Although I prefer not to attack teeth of defensive line. I prefer to out flank defensive lines and cut off supplies when possible.

          Its always helpful to have combat experience when discussing combat but you need other factors too. I know bunch of guys with combat experience and none can nor wish to think outside the box they were trained in.

      • “The t34 weighed 32 tonnes. Andrew roberts states that, had the germans started earlier the building of its mbt’ they wouldhave had a much better chance of winning the war, page 528 “The storm of war”.”

        There are also others (seen them in some documentary about german tanks on Discovery some years back ) that state that the Germans would have won the war had they not invested in the Panther and Tiger and instead concentrated on building large numbers of the latter marks of Panzer Kampfaagen IV, which had the same firepower as the Panther but were much more cheaper both to acquire and operate and infinitely more reliable then the Panthers and Tigers which often broke down. I believe this idea would have been more feasible then starting to build the Tigers and Panthers earlier as there was no way the development process for the Panther at least could have been expedited in anyway.

      • “For instance as i have seen myself, the AMX 13 was a complete failure.”

        Yes a complete failure a total production run of 7700 stretched over 37 years and 3400 exports in about 30 countries 14 of which still use it today 69 years after it was designed. If that’s the French fu**ing up I really want to see them succeed.

        • It is amphibious and air transportable. It is very light which improves mobility in certain terrain, roads, bridges. So yes it will be very useful in many situations where MBT’s cant operate. It is not as fast or quick as I would like.

          Worse of all even though is is very light (which also makes it poorly armored) it is not that small. I would like it to have smaller dimensions.

          2S25 I think fills a need. I also want a small, fast vehicle that can be made both tracked and wheeled.

          There are also roles for 70 ton MBT’s (although I beleieve mostly in protection of fixed sites and supply convoy escort).

          My issue is more with todays over-reliance on heavy tank formations as primary offensive tool for ground forces. Key word being over-reliance.

      • “I also want a small, fast vehicle that can be made both tracked and wheeled.”

        So listing it all out –
        1. Track and Wheel capable
        2. Small
        3. Fast
        4. Powerful main gun* and/or ATGM

        For duel wheel and track purposes, the first thing that comes to mind is the T7 Combat Car.
        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/T7_Combat_Car
        The T7 also had good mobility and was small, but its armor/armament was inadequate for a light tank.

        The problem is that you need a big turret ring for a big gun (one of the problems with Pz. III was its turret ring was too small for the KwK 40), which drives up vehicle size.

        *Unless I am misunderstanding what you mean by powerful main gun. Do you simply mean a high velocity gun with good armor penetration, or something of a large caliber which can provide support with HE and HE-F shells?

        • You pretty much got it as far as what type of vehicle I would like to base (or atleast more heavily incorporate) my maneuver/attack ground forces around.

          I would add, I want said vehicle to be able to mount various weapons. ATGM, 100mm+ recoiless rifle, 20-30Cal. cannon, .50 cal, Aero minigun, 40mm grenade machine gun.

          I will take a look at T7 and write what I think.

          “Do you simply mean a high velocity gun with good armor penetration, or something of a large caliber which can provide support with HE and HE-F shells”

          I simply want a vehicle mounted weapon that can destroy/disable a heavy tank TOW/Milan launcher would be good enough. M40 106mm recoiless might work too.

          I guess one of issues would be that small vehicle will not be able to carry too many missiles/shells. Although price, material usage, complexity will make it so that army will be able to have 5-10 for each MBT.

          Having supply vehicles (maybe something like Bvs 10) sitting just behind carrying ATGM’s for reload might be a solution worth evaluating.

          I would like to hear more opinions on how to best use this proposed vehicle/weapon along with other weapons like MBT’s maybe?

          Just for fun. But, you never know who is reading. And than again, it could be russians or chinese reading too 😦 Or, most likely just some bored office workers like myself.

  5. I do think that a certain amount of tactical knowledge on warfare and even more so the deciding factors in winning certain types of wars is necessary to make a realistic choice of weapons, protection and to answer the question of logistics . If the decision to introduce the M16 and not to use the very good M14 anymore is based on weight (weapon and ammunition) that is needed to provide the footsoldier with adeqate firepower, the introduction of 40 mm’s and or Gatlings is not a very wise one. Logistics is a very important factor and the soldier that has to carry his “own” will likely end up like the para’s and marines during the falkland war, so savibg weight is important. Most battlefields of today are extremely lethal environments and the number of bodybags a very important political factor. A western nation will not let getting killed its precious sons very easily. And to illustrate the importance of “manpower”; the airwar over Germany was not lost because of inferior planes but because the Germans ran out of able and experienced pilots (next to some important strategic mistakes Hitler made). So, if protection can be given, without compromising the goals too much for us “westerners”, this is the best choice, as it is for Israel.

    • Against a modern real foe tanks will be blown up and become nothing but coffins. Again if one man with a modern ATGM can destroy a tank than tank is useless other than for psych warfare. Of course that psych starts to change when tanks are blowing up and you cant find the shooter.

      Troops will not be carrying heavy weapons you need a mechanized mule like a stated. Highly mobile troops with firepower will take less casualties than tank force supported by infantry.

      In scenarios (like much of Vietnam war) where mechanization is not possible and you need troops to cover distances on foot my mobile firepower may not be usable but neither will tanks.

      • Just want too specify the truth is usually the mean of various truths. Most of our ideas here are just preliminary ideas to spark discussion not fully developed tactical doctrine. I do beleive the use of heavy vehicles and tank armies needs to be updated. Otherwise, we might put ourself in position of French army in 1940. Stuck in past war. As much as development of weapons/technology must be dictated by doctrine and tactical needs, doctrine must also take into account new technology and weapons that become possible as time goes by.

        • “Just want too specify the truth is usually the mean of various truths. Most of our ideas here are just preliminary ideas to spark discussion not fully developed tactical doctrine. ”

          Which is why we have discussion. People are generally like blind men trying to understand the elephant, each of them will have a good image of one part but for the whole picture they have to talk.

    • “I do think that a certain amount of tactical knowledge on warfare and even more so the deciding factors in winning certain types of wars is necessary to make a realistic choice of weapons, ”

      Knowledge of military history primarily.

      “If the decision to introduce the M16 and not to use the very good M14 anymore is based on weight (weapon and ammunition) that is needed to provide the footsoldier with adeqate firepower”

      Decision was based on the need to provide foot soldier with adequate firepower. Automatic AK-47 has proven its worth, especially in suppressive fire situations, in Southeast Asia, and US had nothing to counter it with. M16 was intended as a stopgap measure – being originally designed for airfield protection – but US never went around to producing a proper assault rifle designed for battlefield conditions.

      M14 was “very good” for a WWII/Korea scenario where most armies were using bolt-action and semi-auto rifles. In Vietnam, it could have been a DGM rifle, and nothing more.

      But yes, weight is important. Soldiers today carry to much weight anyway.

      “So, if protection can be given, without compromising the goals too much for us “westerners”, this is the best choice, as it is for Israel.”

      That is true. But the best way to minimize casualties is to end the war quickly. Which means primarily establishing clear political goals. But when those goals are “introduce neoliberalism to a Middle Eastern country”, as it was in 2003, or “help the hugely unpopular dictatorial government” as in Vietnam, such a thing really isn’t possible as people won’t give support to it.

      • Same thing goes for infantry rifles. One size cant fit all. We need different weapons/solutions for different problems.

        What do you want from general assault rifle?

        I want a rifle that is

        1) Reliable, simple and easy to maintain

        2) Light, well balanced, and easy to fire accurately. Especially after I been firing for a while and im tired. I want a bipod on mine.

        3) Accurate in single shot with a good and light scope that functions well in all light levels and distances.

        4) High rate of fire in auto mode with controlability. Not like the AK’s I have fired in auto.

        5) Fires a round that keeps good balance between weight ans size (for my own logistics), and balistics (how well and accurately it kills the enemy at all the distances i will need it to). And, how well it penetrates body armor).

        I dont know which rifle best fits that criteria?

        I can tell you I am not huge fan of AK personally. Although, it meets criteria #1 from what I have read.

        • Yes, these are all good requirements. Personally I prefer bullpup designs as it is better for a number situations – you can combine short rifle for urban combat with long barrel required for open-field combat, a feature impossible in classic rifles. While I may be partial towards the VHS rifle, seeing as I’m Croatian, I would say it is one of the better designs around – I hear it is reliable, and it has integral sights for the grenade launcher. Steyr AUG also seems to be an excellent design, while I have heard that FAMAS is not exactly reliable; if true, then any other pluses it may have are basically irrelevant and it can be sent to scrap heap.

      • Interestingly, the US has been hesitant to adopt Bullpups. I’m not sure whether that’s due to institutional inertia though.

        One particular use I could see is instead of Carbines, using Bullpups. They have much better stopping power than a Carbine would. Carbines are given to vehicles crew and people who cannot haul around a full sized rifle due to space limitations. I would argue, instead of arming people with a Carbine, arm them with a Bullpup.

        • “I’m not sure whether that’s due to institutional inertia though. ”

          Probably. US military is, if nothing else, conservative.

          “One particular use I could see is instead of Carbines, using Bullpups. They have much better stopping power than a Carbine would. Carbines are given to vehicles crew and people who cannot haul around a full sized rifle due to space limitations. I would argue, instead of arming people with a Carbine, arm them with a Bullpup.”

          That is the point. In fact, Bullpup designs have a major advantage in ratio of rifle length to barrel length when compared to classical designs. In other words, you get either more precise and lethal weapon for the same total length, or shorter and more mobile weapon for the same barrel length.

  6. There is one thing totally not related to tanks that I think is worth considering – the fleet size. It will be a doubling, even with replacing all fighters with the FLX.

    Let’s say the FLX costs 1/6 as much (so about ~$40 million million USD) and about 1/15 as much to fly per hour (say $4,600 USD was Picard’s figure) as a leading double engine bomber interceptor (like the F-22, which let’s say costs about ~$250 million – the USAF contends this is $160 million and with R&D, it is ~$360 million; $68,362 apparently, so close to $70k/hour).

    Let’s say we go for 60 hours of flight per month
    – Even with 1/15 the flight per hour cost, you’ll be flying 5x as much (F-22 flies 10-12 hours/month, so let’s say 12 hours/month)
    – Assuming the FLX has an 8000 hour airframe life (same as F-22), you’ll have to replace it 5x as much because your flying 5x more per month

    So in terms of marginal costs per fighter per life cycle (and I’m assuming the costs per flight hour encompass everything):
    – 40 million + $4.6k x 8000 = 76.8 million
    – 76.8 million x 5 = $384 million

    F-22
    – 250 million + ~$68.362k x 8000 = $796,896.000

    So you will have about 2x as much aircraft (because $384 million versus $797 million) and 5x as much sorties per plane, so outnumbered in force multiplier around 10:1 (5x as much sorties, 2x as much aircraft). The other is that your pilots will be vastly superior at 60 hours per month.

    • Sorry for missing this post, but IIRC figure was 45.000 USD for the F-22 direct operating price – 68.000 includes base maintenance etc. Let’s say 46.000 to account for inflation.

      FLX: 40 million USD, 4.600 USD PFH, 60 hours per month, 8 years
      F-22: 275 million USD, 46.000 USD PFH, 15 hours per month, 44 years

      FLX: 66.496.000 USD lifecycle, 345.725.000 USD per 44 years
      F-22: 639.320.000 USD lifecycle per 44 years

      So the F-22 costs about twice as much as the FLX. Somewhat less if we take USAFs cost figures for granted. However, you also get 4 times as many hours per month from the FLX compared to the F-22, so real difference is in neighbourhood of 8:1. Plus, there are other multipliers to account for – both pilots and maintenance staff will give superior performance on the FLX, and you won’t have to do expensive MLUs and reconstructions: if you want upgrades, send specs to factory and you’ll be getting them next batch! (Tranche system) If you don’t want upgrades, economies of scale will mean that flyaway price will likely get reduced below 40 million USD per aircraft I have calculated – not only will FLX remain in production for a long time but it is intended for use across NATO (in my last NATO air forces proposal, I calculated a total of 6.700 FLXs in service).

  7. Other considerations:

    – With the FLX, you might be able to get more economies of scale at production because you are building so many. The closest real world example to this is the Lockheed F-16 plant – an FLX will have even greater economies.

    – Seeing that the aircraft will last for shorter (~11 years), it might make sense for major upgrades to not to do the upgrade and at times to simply by a new plane.

    – The FLX also will have lower R&D costs per plane, plus more planes, so R&D costs per plane should be lower.

    – You will have a large cadre of “super pilots” because of their extra hours and because at any given time, you have 2x as many pilots (so 2x as many top 5-10% pilots, who became so good in the first place because they have about 5x hours per month).

    – Another option: If you want the same sized fleet, the money could be invested elsewhere (such as into better engine technology or materials sciences) or perhaps simply it may make sense to reduce the military spending to begin with (it makes no sense to win a war and “lose the peace” by being out-competed in civilian sector manufacturing or industry).

    • Also, because FLX is cheaper, there will be little incentive to keep it in service past its lifetime. Plus, since many components from older aircraft – gun, IRST etc. – will likely be in working condition even at the end of the service life, production costs of later FLXs may be reduced by reusing old components in a new airframe.

    • There is that.

      I was reluctant to factor those in

      – Potentially gun parts (but barrel will likely have to be changed – as realistic training probably entails firing the gun or firing blanks)
      – IRST, I think the issue will be technological advancement – a problem shared with the radar and avionics as well

      But yes, there is less incentive for SLEP and upgrade programs.

      The US has been aiming to try to get the F-18s, 10k hours overall:
      http://www.janes.com/article/50222/dod-to-award-boeing-slep-contract-for-legacy-hornet-fleet

      I have heard anecdotally though that many aircraft in the USAF inventory are restricted to lower G maneuvers for that reason. Apparently their only “saving grace” has been the fact that after the USSR collapsed, Russia does not have the money to procure fighters and their fleet is aging too.

    • One more thing that I forgot to mention. Problems. Although I expected that the initial few FLX too have their share of problems, like all fighters, I expect it to be a lot smoother than an F-22.

      Certainly, while there may be some peacetime losses from accidents, it will be one of the safer aircraft in terms of flight hours versus accidents.

      The F-22 and soon, the F-35 have no doubt incurred a ton of costs from simply having problems that were not anticipated.

  8. “One of the more serious Israeli flaws was that they did not support their tanks with infantry very closely. They did have artillery and some airpower, but no CAS. Coordination I would argue was not too good.”

    They did, but combined arms isn’t something that most militaries have practiced too much. The Israeli’s more than most in the past, though they gave up on it, not entirely sure of the reasons.

    Before anyone shouts me down, you will see a semblance of combined arms, though not the real thing. For instance an infantry battalion during training might find the odd attack chopper, half a battery or a troop of tanks, but it is in a, “oh look there’s a tank over there” sort of a way.

    The reason is cost and casualties. I don’t know how many miles you expect a heavy tank covers in a year of training though the figure might surprise you. Many ( most even) won’t even get through a tank of gas. Also working closely with tanks is quite dangerous, as too is maneuvering in IFVs at night. These vehicles are rather top heavy, traversing inclines and the like results in a real danger of rolling, which the poor bugger with his seat jacked up to peek out of the turret has to be aware of. In training the British Army puts quite powerful lights at the bottom of depressions, there were simply too many cases of Warriors rolling.

    Tanks are not designed to travel for many miles. In total. Many WW2 types weren’t designed to last for much more than 500 miles, not true these days but it probably gives you an idea of the design compromises needed to pack the firepower and protection needed into the design size. When was the last time you bought a car that going to last you for 20 years or more? Those huge tank transporters ferry them around to where they are needed, and tank design has historically been either tied to railway transportation or bridge quality.They are quite an extreme asset in terms of the maintenance and care needed to keep them running, hence the solution is generally to trickle their use during peacetime to keep costs down. The lighter tanks certainly have some fun ( CVRT etc) but a tank crew might only spend a month or two on exercise per year. Ammo too is a bit of an issue, once it is close to it’s sell by date they’ll bang em off but there isn’t as much live firing as you would think. Look at any tank buy in the world and you’ll likely see that 10-15% or higher of the vehicles are armoured recovery and the like. They do tend to break down quite a lot, which is why you need the recovery vehicles.

    “A turretless tank might be worth looking at as well for this job (one other advantage they have is that they may be able to better elevate their guns to the higher arcs (important for urban warfare).”

    I do like the design of the S-tank. Height is a biggie. The trouble with direct fire is, to my mind, that you aren’t going to outrange the ATGMs, and you aren’t going to spot them in a tank either. Frankly neither system is going to be engaging at max range outside of the desert under perfect conditions, so you have to assume that when you fire the big gun someone is going to notice. Now the new CIWS systems might prove to be effective, in which case why do you need the armour? You certainly don’t need 120mm for direct fire support, Nor 105mm. They were chosen to defeat tanks. If the tank is now reduced to the niche of infantry support then something which can light up a ridgeline with ananswerable suppressive fire would be useful, as long as it could scoot pretty rapidly too.

    Sounds more like mobile AAA to me than a tank. Protected by something Trophy-alike it might well be viable. It pretty much already exists, oto 76mm. Wouldn’t want to run into a tank company but theres likely a soboted projectile that could worry them a bit.

    “I think a light highly mobile infantry force with un-armored light vehicles that can provide heavy firepower will not necesarily need direct fire support.”

    I pretty much agree, or rather the target set they would require direct fire support for is a small one. One of the real advancements is remote turrets. Stick a GPMG in a squaddies hands and he’ll love you forever, stick one in a turret and people think it is underpowered. There is nothing underpowered about a GPMG as fire support in a remote turret though, those things rattle through ammo belts at quite a pace, with the operator in complete safety if hull down. Pick whatever sensor fit you like, much easier to integrate without a turret itself in the way.

    Thing is all the major militiaries are going in the opposite direction. Take the British, a brigade is going to be 1 x heavy armoured ( about 50 Challies) , 1 x recce ( light armour), 2 x armoured inf ( warrior) and 1 x ‘protected mobility’ ( Basically inventing a role for the Mastiff).

    Total cost £668 million per year.

    Light infantry battalion ( land rovers and trucks) will cost you about £40 milion p/a for about 650 blokes. £60k per year. Add in all the fluff that came with Afghan and each pair of boots on the ground ( well actually in the base, only a small percentage venture outside) was between £300 and £400k. And that’s excluding your tanks.

    Looking at the brigade above, you are only putting less than 2000 inf into the mix and you get a similar figure ( about £350k per bayonet). I’m being overly generous, once upgraded the Warriors will only house 7 men, so the real figure for bayonets will be closer to 500 – assuming the Mastiffs can get to wherever the Warriors are. What you would probably see is 14 Warriors supported by 4 Challies. That’s an awful lot of direct fire support for 72 blokes. Hope they aren’t planning on sleeping.

    Artillery is even cheaper than inf, and doubles nicely as light inf, so what would be the superior force given equal budgets? I could put 10,000 bayonets in the field and beef up the IDF support massively and add some more engineers for the same money. My supply requirements would be tiny in comparison too.

    The reason I like the idea of electric motorbikes so much is that such a force would be more mobile than anything else on the battlefield, and stealthy too. Hell if they massed their armour to punch through ( what else could they possibly do?) them wave them on by. Let them through and let the highly mobile ATGM teams hit them in the flanks. If they’re crawling at 3mph dismounted it won’t be long before they need resupplying, keeping tabs on them isn’t going to be tricky. 2-4 bikes per platoon laying cable and I’ve got secure comms, organic recce, useful T1 casevac light resupply and the ability to deliver ATGM teams anywhere they choose to do battle with response times that make their mission very difficult. They won’t be going anywhere near a wood, marsh or hills.

    I could move an entire company in a very short space of time, completely off road and silently. The only emissions even close to the front line would be the Coy HQ generator. Probably worth getting a bit fancy and adding some airmobile but not strictly necessary.

    • To be honest Mike, I don’t think that there’s any army that has the level of service that me and Picard are advocating – especially not between CAS and ground forces. It needs to be as close together (probably closer) than infantry is with land artillery.

      As far as the Israelis, since the 1973 war, their officer to troop ratio has become somewhat more top heavy, which may have adversely affected their abilities. Their pilots also fly less, and I suspect their military culture, although no doubt man for man, one of the top still in the world (and in some areas, probably the top still), has been declining from the force that it once was.

      • One of the reasons why is the amount of armour they ride around in. Not entirely down to cost, more down to the limited amount of infantry they can put out.

        If you’ve only got 2500 infantry in the field how much CAS do they really need? Arty is quicker.

        Overall I prefer my idea for an armed recon / dedicated gunship with SLAR. Think my rough design was asymetric, hence two could fly a racetrack pattern.

        “As far as the Israelis, since the 1973 war, their officer to troop ratio has become somewhat more top heavy, which may have adversely affected their abilities. Their pilots also fly less, and I suspect their military culture, although no doubt man for man, one of the top still in the world (and in some areas, probably the top still), has been declining from the force that it once was.”

        The Israeli’s have a habit of surprising, though when you’ve been bogged down in the drudgery of policing actions you aren’t going to be as sharp for the real thing. Operational imperatives take precedence.

        • “If you’ve only got 2500 infantry in the field how much CAS do they really need? Arty is quicker.”

          Artillery is quicker but not really mobile and cannot scout in front of troops. CAS aircraft have far more roles in force setup than just CAS.

      • Yeah, but what Mike is trying to say is that 2500 men (and maybe women) won’t be able to cover enough ground to require the higher mobility of an aircraft. Modern artillery with ranges of up to 75 km with base bleed/rocket assisted/guided projectiles. That a whole lot of ground to cover with 2500 people.

      • “Yeah, but what Mike is trying to say is that 2500 men (and maybe women) won’t be able to cover enough ground to require the higher mobility of an aircraft.”

        Exactly.

        With heavy armour too don’t forget that the tail has to be protected, those supply trucks and recovery vehicles have to come from somewhere, as does your artillery. This sucks combat troops out of the frontline so out of those 2500 you might have 800 forward ( Oh the generosity!).

        Five hundred of those riding around in armoured vehicles doesn’t leave a lot of ground you can cover with two infantry companies spare, Hence with such a force it is easy and natural to ensure that your artillery covers their movement. Very difficult to make a case for CAS being necessary here, particularly a specialist design.

        Far more likely that you’d always have a full battalion in the close, how much frontage do you think a single battalion can handle?

        Armoured forces are necessarily deep, both in terms of their intended operation ( as in deep beyond the FEBA) and in terms of the rear elements needed. If you want to apply great force to a small frontage then armour is your friend, though this almost completely nullifies the justification for CAS, except in an expoitative fashion or to defeat counterattacks. Don’t forget that you aren’t leaving your tanks on the front line, they themselves come from rear areas to smash and grab whatever the recon tells them is out there.

        If you want to occupy a large frontage then infantry is your friend, and CAS too. If you want to saturate a small frontage then artillery is your god. Armed recon by CAS would be counter-productive here as it merely gives away your area of interest. CAS too as don’t forget that it is called in by ground troops. With few troops over a limited width it isn’t difficult to do the math.

        This is why I keep disagreeing with your insistence on armouring up your CAS designs. Close and Deep are very different environments.

        It doesn’t take a genius to see that the answer to deep lying and deep striking armoured forces is mobility. If you can hit their rear areas or even merely force them to expend more manpower on the rear areas then half the battle is won. With their protected mobility ( from the front at least) you will generally want to be able to get out of the way pretty sharpish when a 65 tonne monster turns up. You then want to be able to deny them the ability to reinforce and exploit, here CAS is your friend, as too are weapon systems which can target follow on forces. ( MLRS).

        As a simplification infantry need CAS, tanks need recon.

        • “Five hundred of those riding around in armoured vehicles doesn’t leave a lot of ground you can cover with two infantry companies spare, Hence with such a force it is easy and natural to ensure that your artillery covers their movement. Very difficult to make a case for CAS being necessary here, particularly a specialist design.”

          In mobile warfare, towed artillery has to stop to deploy while self-propelled artillery is limited in types of terrain it can cover. So it cannot always cover the movement.

          And smaller the force, greater necessity for good situational awareness… which means scouting. And CAS aircraft are ideal for that.

          “If you want to apply great force to a small frontage then armour is your friend, though this almost completely nullifies the justification for CAS, except in an expoitative fashion or to defeat counterattacks. Don’t forget that you aren’t leaving your tanks on the front line, they themselves come from rear areas to smash and grab whatever the recon tells them is out there. ”

          Yes and no. Armor is used primarily for breakthroughts and fast maneuver deep behind enemy lines. CAS aircraft aren’t really useful against dug-in units, but shine during maneuver phase – you can have them scout in front of the force, discover and destroy ambushes, have them secure the flank against the counterattack so that full weight of your attack can be employed against your specific point of interest (as Patton did during campaign in France), have them help out the main attack whenever it runs into trouble, and very presence of CAS aircraft will make the enemy more careful with his force maneuvers, thus forcing him to give up initiative and ability to respond to your own movement. CAS aircraft can also be used to eliminate enemy artillery. Therefore, combined employment of CAS aircraft, armor and mechanized infantry only makes sense.

          “If you want to saturate a small frontage then artillery is your god.”

          That is only relevant in the initial breakthrough, and it is rare for modern maneuver battlefield to offer targets for massed artillery.

          “Armed recon by CAS would be counter-productive here as it merely gives away your area of interest. CAS too as don’t forget that it is called in by ground troops.”

          If you move too fast for the enemy to exploit that information then it doesn’t really matter. And don’t forget that engagement by tanks *also* gives away your area of interest, and having CAS aircraft destroy enemy troops in advance will speed up the movement of ground troops. Besides, warning the enemy if your presence several minutes to hours in advance is preferable to walking into an ambush.

          “This is why I keep disagreeing with your insistence on armouring up your CAS designs.”

          If it can’t survive at very least small arms fire, it is useless for CAS.

          “It doesn’t take a genius to see that the answer to deep lying and deep striking armoured forces is mobility.”

          Indeed.

          “As a simplification infantry need CAS, tanks need recon.”

          CAS aircraft can provide both. Plus a lot more.

      • “Artillery is quicker but not really mobile and cannot scout in front of troops..”

        Hmmm… No.

        CAS, as in your ALX, cannot scout in front of troops either, or not without getting it’s ass handed to it by every peer rival and many militias with goat herds. If your ground based recon has pinpointed all of the AAA, SAM and likely manpads locations, then you probably don’t need aerial recon. If on the other hand it hasn’t, and it never does or will, then you are merely flying,at low level, in a relatively slow machine, into the enemies back yard, where every ground based system can hear you coming and has the initiative and drop on you. I don’t know of a single armoured formation that doesn’t pack enough AAA and SAMs to have such a recon flight dancing a jig to avoid them.

        Say the airframe survived, the chances of the recon being useful are extremely small. 300 knts is still rather fast to pick out individual camoed up vehicles whilst extremely low. Operate a bit higher for greater visibility and you are entering the terrain which every single SAM system is designed to protect. Over Kosovo, much higher, the NATO jets spent rather a large amount of time maneuvering to defeat SAMs. Difficult to calmly watch the treeline whilst you are pulling G to defeat incoming.

        Every battlefield interdiction aircraft is designed for speed on the deck, the closer to mach 1 you can get the more chance you have as at least they don’t hear you coming. Arguably you still need relatively safe ingress and egress points, and this in the 70s and 80s, they don’t make them any more for good reason,

        Oddly enough the airframe you want for this work is explicitly the F-35. ( boo hiss).

        Battlefield interdiction, deep air support is the one mission it is designed to be ruthlessly brilliant at. All those expensive EOTS and radar sensors are there for just this reason, to spot and prosecute armoured formations on the move, day or night. Hence why it is designed to defeat manpads and X-band fire control radars, and why it’s situational awareness has been beefed up so much ( it it works), and why it operates above the level of traditional AAA. It is designed to compliment armoured forces on the offensive by defeating counter attacks, prevent the massing of force. In other words to defeat mobility itself.

        I’d be rather interested to see how the F-35 fared against my Draco like creatures… Should be effective to 20,000 ft .

        Now, I know we don’t like the F-35. It is the pantomime villain in fat bastard form. Trouble is it is the insistence on protected mobility and direct fire support which has caused it’s development, and in this context it makes perfect sense.

        • “CAS, as in your ALX, cannot scout in front of troops either, or not without getting it’s ass handed to it by every peer rival and many militias with goat herds. ”

          It can. SAMs have a kill rate of 1 aircraft in 200-300 SAM launches. Having a low-flying aircraft scout ahead means greater danger, yes, but main danger will not be SAMs, or MANPADS, but rather AAA. Which is why you need armor, as optical AAA gives no warning until they start shooting at you (like radar SAMs, radar AAA is more or less useless).

          “If your ground based recon has pinpointed all of the AAA, SAM and likely manpads locations, then you probably don’t need aerial recon.”

          Ground recon cannot pinpoint it except for those close to the frontline, that is the issue.

          “If on the other hand it hasn’t, and it never does or will, then you are merely flying,at low level, in a relatively slow machine, into the enemies back yard, where every ground based system can hear you coming and has the initiative and drop on you.”

          Wrong. First, all aircraft are slow down low, and speed = survivability mantra is bullshit. It helps survivability, but is not the only way to achieve it. Second, flying low means that the enemy has very short time avaliable to lock on and fire at you, which means that many won’t be able to actually attack you even when they do see you.

          “I don’t know of a single armoured formation that doesn’t pack enough AAA and SAMs to have such a recon flight dancing a jig to avoid them. ”

          AAA and SAMs need to be static to be employed. If the enemy remains static in fear of your CAS aircraft, then said aircraft have done their job without firing a single bullet.

          “Say the airframe survived, the chances of the recon being useful are extremely small. 300 knts is still rather fast to pick out individual camoed up vehicles whilst extremely low.”

          A-10 has search speed of 225 mph or 196 knots.

          “Every battlefield interdiction aircraft is designed for speed on the deck, the closer to mach 1 you can get the more chance you have as at least they don’t hear you coming.”

          Wrong. Only proper battlefield interdiction aircraft in existence are Su-25 and A-10. Tornado isn’t it, it is capable of deep interdiction, which has nothing at all to do with battlefield interdiction except for low altitude flight and similarly-sounding name. Same for the F-35.

          “Oddly enough the airframe you want for this work is explicitly the F-35.”

          When I feel like murdering my own troops I’ll drop a nuke.

          “Battlefield interdiction, deep air support is the one mission it is designed to be ruthlessly brilliant at. ”

          Deep interdiction =/= battlefield interdiction.

          “All those expensive EOTS and radar sensors are there for just this reason, to spot and prosecute armoured formations on the move, day or night. ”

          They are there primarily to allow it to target fixed points – bridges, ammunition depots etc. – in all weather conditions. Its ability to attack armored formations is limited, but it does exist; its ability to attack infantry is nearly nonexistent.

          “Hence why it is designed to defeat manpads and X-band fire control radars, and why it’s situational awareness has been beefed up so much ( it it works), and why it operates above the level of traditional AAA.”

          Only thing it has been designed to defeat are X-band fire control radars. It is still vulnerable to IR SAMs, optical AAA and VHF search radars. Combine first and last ones, and F-35 is about as stealthy as the F-16. Which is why it will always fly at 30.000+ ft… from where it cannot support troops (it can cheer them on, though, if that counts as support). No different from the F-15E, F-16, Rafale, Gripen, Typhoon…

      • @Mike

        It will come down to the goals really. To hold terrain, your infantry force is probably best.

        For a deep “Blitzkrieg”, some form of light tank will be needed for sure.

        For breaking a fortified line (ideal would be to maneuver around if possible, but the terrain may not always be ideal – and of course, enemies are likely to fortify critical choke points).

      • Oops, hit enter by accident. For breaking the fortified line, there may be a need for heavier forces.

        Inevitably, you’re going to get less manpower combat to logistics the heavier you go. There is also the issue of outrunning supply lines for Blitzkrieg (happened in WWI during the Ludendorff offensive).

        I think that the ALX should be able to do ok – large radar missiles will not be effective and at the divsionary level, there isn’t much in the way of mobile massive mobile AA. IR missiles (especially Manpads) and medium calibre flak guns will be a threat though. It will not be able to survive a fortified line though – the density of AA is simply to large. But one small ground hugging aircraft will have the element of surprise – and it should be able to report back the location of heavy AA.

      • “Wrong. First, all aircraft are slow down low, and speed = survivability mantra is bullshit. It helps survivability, but is not the only way to achieve it. Second, flying low means that the enemy has very short time avaliable to lock on and fire at you, which means that many won’t be able to actually attack you even when they do see you.”

        It isn’t speed per se ( though all designs are considerably faster than you envision on the deck), but energy conservation. For instance the proposal to upgrade the A-7s with F110s ( as part of the CAS / BI program) was to enable them to pull 6gs at 450knts, which was the minimum requirement for evading manpads ( which also doesn’t announce it’s launch). More powerful engines on the A-10 was also considered, but the airframe just wasn’t up to it. Once you are doing cartwheels in the sky to avoid incoming your speed drops, you become less agile and therefore easy prey. High drag designs like the A-10 have serious problems conserving energy in the first place, most units nix several weapons stations to reduce drag and one of the reasons the airframes wre a bit knackered was the need to spin the engines up with the boards out to get reasonable acceleration.

        Same reason the LANTIRN pods purchased for the A-10 went to the Strike Eagles instead, with the advent of teen series soviet SAMs the threat environment was simply too hot for a low and slow mud mover. Hence they were relegated to SEAD and bomb trucks should another asset paint the target ( mainly in cooperation with AH-64s). They’d turn up to provide the heavy weaponry, but they weren’t asked to do the spotting themselves….

        They did some scud hunting I suppose, but IADS was already toast, no counter air and the launchers specifically required visual ID.

        “Wrong. Only proper battlefield interdiction aircraft in existence are Su-25 and A-10. Tornado isn’t it, it is capable of deep interdiction, which has nothing at all to do with battlefield interdiction except for low altitude flight and similarly-sounding name. Same for the F-35.”

        I have no idea where you get the idea that only the A-10 and Su-25 are designed for battlefield interdiction. This is the staple diet of almost every ground weapon carrying tactical bomber in existence. Jaguar, Mig-27, Harrier, the list is endless. Some are more specialised for the deep strike or interdiction role but that would just make them slightly over designed. Dial back a bit and most of the tactical bombers from WW2 were designed for battlefield interdiction too, almost exclusively on the German side of the fence. Bombing staging points, roads, supply convoys, ammo dumps, rail heads… If it is beyond the fire support line and the tactical commander on the ground wants it bombed then it’s battlefield interdiction. Within the range of artillery and it’s close air support. Armed recce can be a blend of the two but if you care to look at the aircraft which carry recce pods, or cameras in the older days, none of them are, or were, low and slow. Completely defeats the object.

        Purely visual armed recon from a jet over a contested battlefield? Really?? Maybe in a very low threat environment, or where the IADS has already been seriously degraded, and there is nothing else available…. You mean like as in a low speed pass on suspected enemy positions? Or just looking out of the canopy a bit whilst pootling aimlessly around the battlefield? How do you think this works?

        Go hire yourself a Cessna and fly around at 500 feet, 110knts and see how effective you think it would be faster…. Cubs used to do it in Normandy, but they only got away with it because the Germans feared opening up on them, and the hail of artillery which would follow.

        Interdiction or deep strike is generally controlled by the air force given the theatre aims, rather than the Army having input. Sub-strategic though still with a view to limiting the movement of supplies and forces.

        ” Its ability to attack armored formations is limited, but it does exist”

        This is it’s primary role! Every iota of the airframe is designed around the SAR imaging and target discrimination from the expensive radar!.. I hate to link to propaganda pieces but there are plenty of youtube vids and the like which demonstrate it…

        You didn’t think it was a fighter did you?

        • “It isn’t speed per se ( though all designs are considerably faster than you envision on the deck), but energy conservation.”

          Yes, ideally a CAS fighter would have a TWR of >1,0 at combat weight.

          “More powerful engines on the A-10 was also considered, but the airframe just wasn’t up to it.”

          Or Air Force simply didn’t want to upgrade the aircraft it desperately wants to retire at all costs.

          “They did some scud hunting I suppose, but IADS was already toast, no counter air and the launchers specifically required visual ID. ”

          A-10 also did SEAD and DEAD, so that Strike Eagle excuse doesn’t really hold water.

          “I have no idea where you get the idea that only the A-10 and Su-25 are designed for battlefield interdiction.”

          For battlefield interdiction you need to be able to find targets, engage them, and return. Tornado is a wee bit too fast for it, while high-flying designs like just about any multirole fighter have to search for targets with FLIR… which is quite problematic, as huge amount of clutter means very narrow search field and therefore short range or slow search; grayscale nature of IR sensors also limits pilot’s ability to find targets, though in some cases FLIR can be a huge help as IR emissions are hard to camouflage. At the same time, fast movers simply don’t have the endurance to hang out in search unless carrying external tanks, can’t fly down low to find camouflaged targets and typically have very limited weapons load onboard (Typhoon can carry at most 4 AtG weapons if it wants to have sufficient endurance, which gives a total of 7 firing passes when combined with gun; compare this to 20+ firing passes avaliable to the A-10. Did I mention that Typhoon costs 5 times as much as the A-10? Make this 20:7 advantage into 80:7 advantage, and that’s not counting sortie rate difference).

          “Bombing staging points, roads, supply convoys, ammo dumps, rail heads… If it is beyond the fire support line and the tactical commander on the ground wants it bombed then it’s battlefield interdiction.”

          http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/library/policy/army/accp/in0801/ch2.htm

          “Close Air Support

          CAS is air action against hostile targets close to friendly forces. Each air mission requires detailed integration with the fire and movement of those forces. This means that the aircraft are under positive or procedural control.

          Battlefield Air Interdiction (BAI)

          BAI is air action against hostile surface targets that are in a position to directly affect friendly forces. These missions require joint planning and coordination. However, they may not require continuous coordination during the execution stage. Those air strikes short of the fire support coordination line (FSCL) must be coordinated with the FSCOORD.

          Air Interdiction

          Although not a part of close air support, air interdiction will play an important role by influencing actions in the deep battle. Air interdiction is that air operation conducted to destroy, neutralize, or delay the enemy’s military potential before it can be brought to bear effectively against friendly forces. It is conducted at such distance from friendly forces that detailed integration of each air mission with the fire and movement of friendly forces is usually not required.”

          What you are describing is air interdiction, not battlefield air interdiction. Close air support requires specialized aircraft and specialized pilots. Battlefield interdiction is best done by CAS units, but can be done by other air-to-ground capable aircraft if required. Air interdiction is doable by mostly everything capable of dropping bombs.

          “Armed recce can be a blend of the two but if you care to look at the aircraft which carry recce pods, or cameras in the older days, none of them are, or were, low and slow. Completely defeats the object.”

          Or it is simply that slow and low aircraft don’t *need* to carry cameras / recce pods. Besides, armed reconnaissance is different from reconnaissance in that you need to be capable of actually attacking and destroying targets you find.

          “Purely visual armed recon from a jet over a contested battlefield? Really?? Maybe in a very low threat environment, or where the IADS has already been seriously degraded, and there is nothing else available….”

          Wether it is purely visual or with FLIR / recce pod, pilot has to be trained for it. Which means multirole jets can’t do it. And in many cases doing recon from 30.000 ft completely defeats the purpose.

          “This is it’s primary role! Every iota of the airframe is designed around the SAR imaging and target discrimination from the expensive radar!”

          Oh yes, tell me when it works against mobile targets…

    • In terms of what I think about the tank destroyer, it’s like the S-Tank and the German Stugs from WWII, probably Jagdpanther is what you’d want to base it on most closely. The big benefit of the turretless tank is that the turret weighs a lot and getting rid of the mechanics and complexity in the turret saves quite a bit of weight (and potentially height). This gives you the opportunity to
      – Add more armor (you could have near-heavy level tank protection with a medium tank)
      – Or add a bigger gun on the same mass chassis (this is also where the opportunity to get higher elevations is)
      – Enjoy the weight savings and have a lighter vehicle (could also have a lower profile)

      Obviously, without a turret, it isn’t going to fare as well offensively in tank to tank combat (and the Stug was originally made for infantry support). But in WWII, the Stugs did fare remarkably well all things considered on the Eastern Front versus Soviet tanks, particularly when used defensively.

      I think that the Trophy and similar systems represent a partial answer to the RPG/ATGM problem. Ideally, I would like to see a passive detection system rather than a radar though (probably IR based). I think that this will lead to an arms race between missile/RPG vs countermeasure.

      You could add multiple layers of defense in, although this will come at the expense of weight:

      – Active defense (probably like Trophy, a shotgun), but with passive sensors
      – Birdcage for detonating RPGs
      – Explosive reactive armor (probably double layered with some NxRA first to prevent decoys)
      – Then the actual armor

      If it were necessary to do all that. I think though that it may be desirable to have 2 variants of the turretless tank – one based on the light chassis and the other based on the heavy chassis. Some versions could be Open topped as Picard advocated.

      You could put a remote MG turret on it. What kind of MG are you thinking for the turret – a 7.62mm variant (could use FN MAG or M240?) or a 12.7mm variant?

      I would agree that light infantry battalion is going to be your cheapest option though.

      • Some thoughts
        – S tank would be for a short variant
        – Jagdpanther if you wanted a more powerful gun (although you would of course want a more reliable chassis than the Panther tank)

      • “In terms of what I think about the tank destroyer, it’s like the S-Tank and the German Stugs from WWII, probably Jagdpanther is what you’d want to base it on most closely. The big benefit of the turretless tank is that the turret weighs a lot and getting rid of the mechanics and complexity in the turret saves quite a bit of weight (and potentially height). This gives you the opportunity to”

        Very feasible but I don’t really see a role. Love the design in general and I’d certainly rather have lightish S-tanks than many of the behemoths out there, but as I’m wondering whether tanks are worth it I really can’t see a specialist design for a purely defensive tank having much clout.

        For instance if the opposition tanks and IFVs are now emitting pretty much full time then I’d rather replace all of mine with Dracos, nullify the attack helicopter threat, provide rapid on call fire support and, with the addition of a Trophy type system, could be used to brass up a ridge / tree line in an emergency. 76mm is a bit heavy for AA, about right for IDF and perfectly adequate for direct fires. Would be very much shoot and scoot direct though.

  9. “Sounds more like mobile AAA to me than a tank. Protected by something Trophy-alike it might well be viable. It pretty much already exists, oto 76mm. Wouldn’t want to run into a tank company but theres likely a soboted projectile that could worry them a bit.”

    There is. The South African Rooikat ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rooikat ) armed with the GT4 76mm cannon that can fire all of the ammunition of the Naval Oto 76 mm but also an APFSDS with a muzzle velocity greater then 1600m/s (that about as much as the APFSDS of the Abrams’s 120mm cannon) that can defeat T-62 Armour from any angle at 1500 m. I have a sneaky suspicion that the South Africans are understating these values.

      • “Liking the APFSDS though!”

        Me too. Wonder if there is any chance to be combined with the STRALES guidance systems of the Oto 76 for guided antitank round?

        “Hmm.. Nice, but a bit on the heavy side. ”

        True. And old. Conceived in the 70s. But it’s a starting point.

    • Thinking about it a bit more I’m really not convinced that direct fire support is worth it. There are innumerable vehicles that you could make a case for, whether due to mine protection, armour, firepower, mobility, air transportability, amphibious etc. Having a mix of all of them is expensive, and degrades your core capability.

      Take the Warrior, the new 40mm doesn’t give you anything the old 30mm didn’t, except increased armour penetration and modular armour, which is jury rigged anyway. No new capability, just £650 million spent to retain one, at the price of a dismount per vehicle.

      If you need increased anti armour capability though the best way is simply to assign an extra Javelin section. This is pretty much the number of blokes you are losing. Same with IDF ( more mortars), manpads ( not part of a battalions normal strength).I can understand why retaining heavy tanks and the like is an easy decision, they might cost you and extra £50 million per year but with all the infrastructure and training as sunk costs it makes sense. The question though is would you spent £3 billion to buy them in the first place if you didn’t have any in this day and age? Tracked or wheeled recon is necessary, but with the battlefield increasingly transparent to SAR not quite as necessary in the numbers present. If the modern ATGMs eat even the heaviest of tanks then IFVs and recon are basically fucked.

      Back in the day the sensors, thermal imaging and the like, were almost the reason detre for the heavies and their recon. Now every battalion has thermal imaging which is at least on a par and available at platoon and section level.Your average infantryman carries more batteries of every imaginable type than you could shake a stick at.

      The only problem is concentration of force. Potentially there isn’t much in the way of fortifications, mobile or fixed, that the infantry couldn’t handle given almost unlimited ammo and fire support. On foot though the amount you can lug about isn’t huge, hence part of the reason detre for the APC / IFV and the various attempts ( walkers and the like) to mimic the natural mobility of humans.

      Still loving the idea of electric bikes, providing you could find a way of moving reasonable numbers of reloads. This would greatly solve the timely movement of heavy weapons to the point of need. You might typically be looking after 5km and anything up to 10km of front, so your 12 ATGM teams have to be able to respond. They also need enough reloads to deal with anything bigger than a probing attack and several positions to fall back upon or else become vulnerable to direct fire.

      The main problem though is your mortars. They’ll be eating a ton of ammo a day each, easily. Sustained fire can burn through tens of thousands of rounds a day too. The thing that strikes me is that we probably had this about right in 1936 with the universal carrier.

      No pretence at mine proof, shark proof, NBC proof, just a low lying very mobile and not particularly fast tractor. Only thing around which is even similar is the German Wiesel, though the design is horribly compromised by the airmobile tag. Looks as though you could pick it up and put it in the missuses handbag too, which isn’t awe inspiring. The 120mm version would be pretty awesome if I wasn’t convinced it would only work for about five rounds…

      All you really need is mobility, something that can act as a battlefield ambulance, rapid resupply and the ability to dig in quickly, which could be solved in itself by adding something along the lines of a mini excavator to it. It isn’t a question of which calibre and how much armour, the infantry already have the tools they need, they just can’t carry them.

      Another idea which might have a place for especially heavy fortifications or particularly hazardous recon is one the Germans tried in WW2 with creeper mines. Basically very low tracked mini vehicles which were steered by remote to their intended victim ( under tanks, next to pill boxes, trenches etc) filled with 100kg of the good stuff. Looked a lot like the IED busting mini vehicles. One of the advantages of heavy armour and direct fire support is that every sod opens up on them, therefore giving away their positions. I don’t see any reason why such a mini vehicle couldn’t fit the sort of rooftop mounted remote weapons that are now adorning light vehicles, Basically either a remote heavy weapons station which would be almost undetectable or a sacrificial lamb in an assault. Keep their heads down and let them crawl right up to and into opposition positions. Maybe more one for the engineers but very dooable.

      • “Your average infantryman carries more batteries of every imaginable type than you could shake a stick at.”

        Which is kinda problem as it f*cks up mobility.

  10. “Probably. US military is, if nothing else, conservative.

    That is the point. In fact, Bullpup designs have a major advantage in ratio of rifle length to barrel length when compared to classical designs. In other words, you get either more precise and lethal weapon for the same total length, or shorter and more mobile weapon for the same barrel length.”

    Most of the perceived drawbacks of the bullpup (slower reload times and issues with left-handed people) can be solved with good design.

    I remember reading once Colonel Douglas McGregor argue that the US had become like the old colonial powers, a mostly constabulary force for fighting insurgents and for corporations, rather than something more about fighting to win versus a heavily armed conventional enemy.

  11. Thinking about CAS again, it seems CAS aircrafts’ biggest threat is from MANPADS, and countermeasures such as DIRCM are in place to be utilized, but what about physical defenses?
    Are there any materials that are light, and have excellent tensile strength for withstanding explosive detonations? Kevlar comes to mind, but Kevlar doesn’t seem like it would help much against a continuous-rod warhead, even if you took an entire sheet of the stuff and stapled it to the bottom of your plane.
    (I’m not very knowledgeable at all in material sciences, so I’m speaking out of my ass here)

    • I’m not really sure. I’d say that biggest threat is optically-aimed AAA. As for MANPADS, they do damage via fragmentation, that is to say kinetic penetration of fragments. Some kind of composite armor might be useful, maybe Kelvar / Titan or something like it. Kevlar is designed to stop physical penetration, but I can’t really say I ever gave much attention to the topic.

  12. I found an interesting post about the Abrams and Leopard 2.
    http://forum.warthunder.com/index.php?/topic/234692-tanks-the-future-of-warfare/?p=4778811
    (The whole thread is rather interesting)
    “””
    Why is the M1 abrams so good? Seriously. Currently, the Leopard 2A6/A7 has quite important things over the M1A2SEPV2, but, at the core, i think the M1 is better.

    The M1A2 has probably the best comm/navigation and optics, of any tank. T-14, K2, Altay, type 10 may be more or less equal… but it’s not sure.

    To be Honest, what bothers me the most with M1A2 is that they are painted in desert color since 15 years… Damn! And actually, US army shouldn’t even bother painting in tan! who cares? They fight insurgents!

    Look standard dark olive color M1A1 abrams (1990s)… Ain’t it far more pretty? Looks solid.

    M1 Abrams currently has 3 main issues in my opinion:

    -turbine… The diesel engine is needed ASAP, for fuel economy and price reasons. Turbine is powerful and reliable otherwise, it’s not the problem.
    -too heavy! US army must find a solution to reduce weight to 58-60t max, currently the latest mod is about 64t i think… New armor solutions and a proper APS should lead in that direction.
    -the lack of true HE-frag ammunition! US army / USMC will never understand it or what? Damn, they need ASAP something like russian 125mm HE-F rounds.

    Why is the M1A2 so good? I mean, the M1 tank in general… Because, right from the start, it made no compromise with ammo storage: all is safely stored in 2 places equiped with blowout panels. The side turret armor is on its whole length made of composite and spaced armor, while the Leopard2 isn’t.

    I think it’s a fantastically thought-out tank, but some doctrinal choices of US army hampers its full potential. This tank designed in the 1970s is not only able to remain competitive, but it’s one of the best.

    I love russian tanks… But, M1 offers a better package than any tank of the T-64-72-80-90 type. T-14 is no doubt a different beast.

    The real problem with the M1 and other tanks, is the lack of an autoloader… it’s not a real problem, but, it’s not a quality.

    I think the M1A3 should remain without autoloader, as it would compromise too much the design and turret armor.

    M1A3 needs imho:

    -diesel engine
    -reduced weight under 60t
    -lighter armor solutions
    -a new 120mm gun of L50 length, but no L55 rheinmettal, it’s a false solution, this gun is overrated
    -a new 120mm cheap and programmable HE ammo, forget all these multi purpose HEAT bullcrap
    -NEVER NO MORE TAN PAINT… eyes burn.

    Why should US army ever replace it (for now)? for now it’s as good as anything and needs just a new evolution step. The definitive problem with M1 armor in a possible tank fight is the lower hull… I have no doubt that T-14 ammo or even current T-90/72 ammo can penetrate that 600-700 LOS armor block with no problem.

    As an “ideal” current tank, i think the AMX leclerc is quite it. The problem is, it’s too expensive and hard to maintain, bad reliability of many components. It’s ideal because it’s small, lighter and has an autoloader, a gun that outperforms rhm L44, and a modular armor that is very effective. Well in this regards, the japanese type 10 is also ideal and more modern than leclerc.

    T-14 might be even more “ideal” but it’s too early to say something.
    “””

    I want to see what you think of his points before I say anything.

    • First and foremost, tank is a system… gas turbine alone is enough to disqualify a tank from competing for title of “the best” as it drinks fuel by the gallon, makes tank-infantry cooperation difficult and creates huge IR signature. It also has superior top speed but inferior acceleration when compared to diesel engine, and just as in aircraft, in tanks acceleration is more important than top speed.

      Autoloader, or lack of it, is not a problem it is a tradeoff. Autoloaders allow smaller crew and smaller turret profile at the expense of longer reload times, lesser reliability and, in certain (Russian) designs, greater vulnerability.

      Leclerc may be the best tank on paper (balance of firepower / protection / mobility), but it is expensive. Personally, I prefer Challenger II to either of them.

  13. Read an article recently from someone who had been on the frontlines in the Ukraine…

    Very interesting analysis which pretty much backs up the discussion above. The key points were the proliferation of UAVs – and that there is no current way to take the buggers out ( I still think some good old fashioned flak is a wonderful thing to have).

    The vulnerability of IFVs was a considerable lesson – mainly due to their incredible vulnerability to thermobaric warheads. The Ukrainian infantry would ride on top of their BMPs!

    Now I’ve always thought IFVs / APCs were basically crap but didn’t really expect them to be quite so crap. The Russians used lots of rocket arty, TOS-1s etc. Previous mixes had been about 4 tubes to 1 rocket arty piece though intel suggests it was more like 4:3. With UAVs constantly overhead their lethality was amazing. Those lovely 240mm mortars were, oddly enough, lovely.

    Saying that tanks themselves lost none of their sparkle, though the UKR forces didn’t have much in the way of decent ATGMs. They resorted to using self propelled arty to 122mm the turrets off as tank shells were usually defeated by the reactive armour present on both sides. Russia committed a handful ( report stated maybe a company worth) of T-90s which it appeared were almost invulnerable. Their CIWS system would just knock out incoming ATGMs at knife fighting range, the ATGMs described it as being a bit like a magical force field surrounding them.

    Some darned good manoeuvring at one stage from the Ukrainians, though couldn’t convert it into a strategic success.

    Russian artillery being a bit good is nothing new, 85% of casualties were caused by it, but one has to wonder how NATO forces would have fared…

    Badly I think. If BMPs are made obsolete then what chance ours aren’t? Report said they were often useful as fire support platforms when kept back to support attacks, but that makes their armour almost entirely pointless. Would a warrior, Luchs, Ajax or whatever fare well against thermobarics hitting the top armour? I doubt it.

    I imagine the Ruskies still have quite a few Shilkas and whatnot so with the western reliance on missiles for AA I’d imagine we’d lose the UAV war. Which probably means we’d lose the artillery duel too. The Ukrainians had no airpower to speak of but I can’t see us having much else in the way of advantages…

    ATGMs were a bit of a damp squib in other ways. With constant surveillance dug in ATGM teams would quickly be on the receiving end of fires, so maybe even the PBI need to shoot and scoot…

    I didn’t save the link but I’ll try to find it…

    • ” Very interesting analysis which pretty much backs up the discussion above. The key points were the proliferation of UAVs – and that there is no current way to take the buggers out ( I still think some good old fashioned flak is a wonderful thing to have).”

      That, or jamming…

      “Russia committed a handful ( report stated maybe a company worth) of T-90s which it appeared were almost invulnerable. Their CIWS system would just knock out incoming ATGMs at knife fighting range, the ATGMs described it as being a bit like a magical force field surrounding them.”

      Yes, that is an interesting system.

      ” Russian artillery being a bit good is nothing new, 85% of casualties were caused by it, but one has to wonder how NATO forces would have fared…”

      That is actually nothing new, in almost all wars majority of casualties were caused by the artillery. In Crimean war percentage was 50% IIRC.

      ” I imagine the Ruskies still have quite a few Shilkas and whatnot so with the western reliance on missiles for AA I’d imagine we’d lose the UAV war. Which probably means we’d lose the artillery duel too. The Ukrainians had no airpower to speak of but I can’t see us having much else in the way of advantages…”

      Agreed.

      ” ATGMs were a bit of a damp squib in other ways. With constant surveillance dug in ATGM teams would quickly be on the receiving end of fires, so maybe even the PBI need to shoot and scoot…”

      Shoot and scoot is a must on today’s battlefield, unless you are really well dug in.

  14. “That is actually nothing new, in almost all wars majority of casualties were caused by the artillery. In Crimean war percentage was 50% IIRC.”

    Quite but the APC / IFV is supposedly designed to protect it’s infantry from said artillery. It appears that thermobaric warheads are a previously unthought of vulnerability.

    That they actually made them more vulnerable is quite a finding… Whilst the Ukraine military had it’s weaknesses it was by most standards a relatively modern force.

    As too the utility of the tank, admittedly in the absence of some of it’s key predators. Saying that the Ukrainians resorting to 122mm HE in thin skinned vehicles rather than their own tank cannon due to the effectiveness of reactive armour is another eye opener.

    • ” Quite but the APC / IFV is supposedly designed to protect it’s infantry from said artillery. It appears that thermobaric warheads are a previously unthought of vulnerability.”

      Agreed, but how many militaries can afford large-scale employment of thermobaric weapons?

      ” As too the utility of the tank, admittedly in the absence of some of it’s key predators. Saying that the Ukrainians resorting to 122mm HE in thin skinned vehicles rather than their own tank cannon due to the effectiveness of reactive armour is another eye opener.”

      Indeed it is. But IIRC Ukraine did not have modern double-head ATGMs.

        • From what I know though, they are not most effective at penetrating armor… I looked it up, and thermobaric AT weapons still require HEAT warhead to clear a path first (so dual warhead). Purely thermobaric weapons are only used against soft targets, chances are if you make a thermobaric weapon that can destroy an armored vehicle, a cheaper HE weapon of similar size would be able to do it as well.

          So if IFVs were vulnerable against thermobaric weapons, question is why? Against vehicles that are not hermetically sealed, I could see them sucking the oxygen out. Tanks and other AFVs cannot afford to always remain completely sealed off, so a surprise attack could be effective.

  15. The description didn’t make the mechanism of vulnerability clear though it was maybe implied that occupants would be burned to death.

    AT Thermobarics are designed to punch through armour first, I think the point here is that the AFVs were being defeated through their top armour, which is merely structural rather than armoured. I’m wondering whether the positive and negative pressure waves might pop the hatches?

    Found a link, though it does seem like a draft version…

    https://prodev2go.files.wordpress.com/2015/10/rus-ukr-lessons-draft.pdf

  16. Smaller thermobarics being used against light armour about 1:30 in..

    That’s a 2kg warhead… Not sure what the warhead on a TOS-1 is but the rocket itself is over 200kg.

  17. “From what I know though, they are not most effective at penetrating armor… I looked it up, and thermobaric AT weapons still require HEAT warhead to clear a path first (so dual warhead). Purely thermobaric weapons are only used against soft targets, chances are if you make a thermobaric weapon that can destroy an armored vehicle, a cheaper HE weapon of similar size would be able to do it as well.”

    Been having a look into this myself…

    Just speculation as the physics is rather complex though the article I posted is from eye witness accounts so I take it seriously.

    As you say thermobarics don’t defeat armour, but what are we talking here? The top armour on a BMP is 6mm and up to 10mm on the actual hatches. 6mm isn’t even enough to reliable defeat 7.62. It isn’t armour per se but merely structural steel. AFVs are just open topped boxes with enough steel over the top to keep them together.

    So what is required to effectively defeat 6mm steel? Well if we turn the problem on it’s head the situation is little different to a HE blast on the underside of a vehicle, one that is not optimised against mines. The upper sides of all IFVs and APCs are just flat.

    The answer then would be not a lot. Light MRAPS use at least 10mm spaced armour and V hulls to withstand 3kg blasts from about 50cm distance, which represents an anti-vehicle mine. Without armour, double hulls or nice V shapes you’d probably barely need a pound or two of HE.

    I’ve seen plenty of Ford Rangers that have been ripped apart by IEDs, not sure how thick the steel is but a couple of pounds was enough to destroy the floor pan and structural members, which I guessing would be tubular 1/8 inch steel or similar.

    Hence I’m guessing that the shock wave from thermobarics is enough to overpressure the top of the BMP hulls and the resultant fireball incinerates anything that is left.

    As far as I’m aware the vast majority of our IFVs are mainly aluminium…

    • “As you say thermobarics don’t defeat armour, but what are we talking here? The top armour on a BMP is 6mm and up to 10mm on the actual hatches. 6mm isn’t even enough to reliable defeat 7.62. It isn’t armour per se but merely structural steel. AFVs are just open topped boxes with enough steel over the top to keep them together.”

      Seems it would be better to use trucks or halftracks than AFVs… at least infantry transported would be able to see any possible dangers.

      ” Hence I’m guessing that the shock wave from thermobarics is enough to overpressure the top of the BMP hulls and the resultant fireball incinerates anything that is left.”

      Thanks, makes sense. I don’t know much about BMPs specifically, so I assumed they were better armored. But with the armor this thin, overpressure would be enough… hell, with faster missiles or projectiles, you may not even need a warhead.

      “As far as I’m aware the vast majority of our IFVs are mainly aluminium…”

      Which so happens to burn quite easily… that is what I’d call a deathtrap… IIRC, that is why most of them received steel additions to the armor – still not a perfect solution though.

      • https://www.sott.net/article/318757-Pentagon-is-spooked-from-what-it-has-seen-from-Russia-in-Donbass

        Not just me it appears… The Pentagon seems to be taking all this quite seriously.

        Cross domain fires? Sounds like ADAT with an anti-ship capability. Can’t see that working, a simplification of logistics yes but how this answers the questions raised is…. Beyond me.

        Thing is IFVs are most definitely designed to survive reasonable scrutiny from likely artillery and VT fuzed ammo has been relatively common for quite some time now. I seem to recall that the Bradley was designed to survive VT fuzed 152 from about 20m, so presumably it has reasonable top armour.

        VT fuzed though is fragmentation which probably has a circa 100m incapacitation zone against exposed infantry, so 20m armoured doesn’t sound like an awfully stringent test to me. Saying that there isn’t too much to suggest that the thermobaric warheads are airburst, though it would make sense.

        Would Warrior / Bradley etc be as susceptible as BMPs? I’d have to assume so, otherwise you’d think the Ruskies would have designed something else. These platforms have been in service for quite some time and it wouldn’t take a great deal of int to ascertain their tolerances.

        “”In a 3-minute period…a Russian fire strike wiped out two mechanized battalions [with] a combination of top-attack munitions and thermobaric warheads,” said Karber. “If you have not experienced or seen the effects of thermobaric warheads, start taking a hard look. They might soon be coming to a theater near you.” ”

        So what roughly 100 vehicles? Seems the British Army are upgrading 245 Warriors… So the Russians took out the equivalent of 40% of our armoured infantry fleet in 3 minutes….

        …..

        ………..

        I can’t see that there is a fix here, IFVs already trade far too many seats for protection and firepower. Adding more top armour means slower, less room, more powerful engines and all the tradeoffs which had already made these vehicles marginal at best in my opinion. Is this why the Russians refused to buy any more BTRs?

        Christ the F35 had better work.

        I’m glad I’m not in the bloody infantry anymore.

        • Ironically, infantry may soon be the most survivable because it is spread out and hard to find… if thermobarics are that effective, it may well spell the end for armor in general, not just IFVs. Or we’ll be seeing IFVs as armored as tanks, something similar to Israeli Merkava variants maybe.

  18. Possibly… I think the latter is more likely though I don’t know of a single NATO weapons program for them.

    The Kornet and other Russian ATGMs come with thermobaric versions, I had assumed this was for bunker busting but likely not.

    Infantry will only be hard to find if you can neutralise the UAV threat. This is a real problem and one which almost all Western forces are poorly equipped to deal with. It is clear from the Ukraine that they could see them but not shoot them down, probably due to their reliance upon missile based systems which can’t target their low emissions. .

    Laser beam riding light MANPADS might be a partial solution, though Blowpipe and Javelin weren’t thought to be particularly effective with a similarish mechanism.

    Those Ottomatics that I was rather fond of could offer a flak option, trouble is Russian MLRS systems have impressive range. Also a lot of the more threatening UAVs might operate above their engagement envelope.

    Oddly enough if you recall my idea for a purpose designed gunship with an asymmetric configuration. It was basically a side on stealthy aircraft which would mount something akin to the 6 pounder or Mk110. No reason why they couldn’t be used as airborne flak to reach out and touch UAVs at any altitude. Same too my crack pipe ideas about blimps mounting CIWS.

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