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Australian Army Discussions and Updates

This is a discussion on Australian Army Discussions and Updates within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by knightrider4 Guys I'll think you will find in the last DCP update that funds $1 Billion AUD ...


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Old June 7th, 2007   #346
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Guys I'll think you will find in the last DCP update that funds $1 Billion AUD has already been allocated for around 2018 for a GBAD system.
LAND19 Phase 7 allocates $A750-1000m to "enhance or replace the existing GBAD system. Year of decision is 2015/16 - 2017/18 and in service date is listed as 2018 - 2020 so it is a fair way off! Little detail is provided but it says it "may include new technologies and weapons systems also able to counter rockets, artillery and mortars."

Source: Page 102 DCP 2006-16 Public Version.

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Old June 7th, 2007   #347
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Little detail is provided but it says it "may include new technologies and weapons systems also able to counter rockets, artillery and mortars."

Source: Page 102 DCP 2006-16 Public Version.

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I think you'll find that the little throw away phrase refers to some R&D work currently in play with respect to ballistic detection systems.

the same tech used in signal management is being adapted for other solutions.
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Old June 7th, 2007   #348
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Were not facing any foes at the moment, but there are several nations in the region with increasing capabilities. Perhaps we should wait untill we actually go to war before we decide what capabilities we need???
An excellent idea. OK, who are our "foes" and what capabilities do they which we need to counter, with our capabilities? You have ten seconds, from now.

The problem is of course we have only long term threats, not immediate foes. If we spend our money badly, we may end up with systems which can't counter our real foes' capabilities.

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The F35's will be able to counter them at low altitude anyway, if they're there in the first place. What happens if they're not? Then you've exposed forces with no answer to a mid altitude air threat that will/allready has capable PGM's.
We don't have F-35s at the moment, we have F/A-18s and will for the foreseeable future. Even if we had F-35s, forcing your opponent higher ensures that he is more easily detected and countered.

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They allready have PGM's, and in that case the RBS-70 is doing nothing apart from countering gunships.
Not such a bad thing, in itself, I think you'll find. As to them already having PGMs, do they? Who are "they" and what sort of PGMs do they have? What numbers do they have them in?

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Ahhhh.... so the RBS-70 is intended to get threat nations to increase their capabilities, and not to actually be usefull??? Wow i never realised that was the reasoning behind ADF military purchases, to get threat nations to spend on countering them. In fact i thought the exact opposite reasoning was behind the RAN not getting TLAM, but RBS-70 is completly different right??? In fact intead of not buying the platform in order to prevent threat nations aquireing a capability, we ARE buying a platform so threat nations DO aquire capabilities to counter them. That makes heaps of sence, if your Ronald Raygon and your threat nation is the Soviet Union.
Appears you're rather dismissive of the concept of deterrence for some reason. It actually does drive a great deal of our defence procurement thinking, you realise and has since the days of Federation, when we acquired our own Navy, rather than relying solely upon that of our "great and powerful friends".

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And by your reasoning the reason threat nations are aquireing PGM's is because of the RBS-70????
Its one of the reasons. Indeed, the acquisition of PGMs and the change to medium altitude attacks by strike aircraft has been largely drive by the proliferation of low-altitude AAA and SAMs. I believe the RAF has direct experience of ignoring that change.
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Old June 7th, 2007   #349
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It is when it distorts your force structure and aquisition plans - something I keep pointing out.

Look, the reality is the Army leapt at the chance to get new MBTs. The PM was embarassed when he promised an "armoured brigade group" to help in the invason of Iraq and Army took the opportunity to prise more money out of the government. These vehicles will distort decisions for decades and we more than likely won't ever see the lighter, more easily deployable vehicles that we should have. I still think this all comes back to what the ADF is for - forward or continental defence. That though, is a different argument and one which we keep avoiding, as far as I can tell.
It should did, but I have to disagree that a replacement tank capability is distorting our force structure. For starters the money used on purchasing them was obtained from program funding that was going to the 120mm AMS acquisition project that Army apparently neither wanted nor asked for. It was not "prised out of Government". Simply re-directed to a more relevant capability.

It's your opinion only that we "should see light more deployable" vehicles in ADF service. Presumably some sort of "wheeled tank destroyer" I guess. Such vehicles WERE contemplated under A21 and warfighting experiments conducted in 99/00/01 and 2002. Army was n't satisfied with such vehicles survivability in the types of fighting it sees in it's likely future environments. Then it convinced Government sufficiently to can the 120mm AMS project and put the funding to a tank capability...

The PM should remain embarrassed because even with our current tank capability (when it's operational) we STILL won't be capable of deploying an armoured brigade. We need an ADDITIONAL Armoured Regiment's worth of tanks for that, a modern IFV capable of complementing them and a significantly LARGER support base to sustain this extremely heavy (in ADF terms) brigade.

What 1 Brigade is, if anything is a Mechanised Brigade, because the major maneuvre units are mechanised infantry battalions. A legacy of our infantry-obsessed Army.


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Yep, which is one of the reasons why four is too small a number.
I agree, but I don't see us becoming the "tank flying" nation you seem to be worried about.

Does the weight of an M1 really matter to an LPA or LHD?


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If we needed additional airlift capability we could have bought 747s - they are cheap and almost a drug on the market at the moment. The "out sized load" capability of the C-17 isn't needed so much as the sheer ability to fly cargo in and out of an operational area. The C-17 is simply too expensive to be utilised on forward airstrips.
RAAF doesn't seem to think so, neither does USAF. However the intra-theatre lifter likely to be acquired to replace the Caribou, should ease this problem considerably in any case...



Yet it was one of the justifications used in explaining their acquisition...

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Personally, I suspect we will never see these M1s deployed outside of Australia. If we are to fight for our "great and powerful friends" we will utilise forward deployed US stocks. If we are to fight for ourselves, the numbers are too small to be of much value and their deployment still remains too problematic in our region.
I remember once you didn't see them operating outside of Darwin in the wet season either...
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Old June 7th, 2007   #350
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Out of interest, and taking in to consideration the arrival of Australia’s M1A1’s, how many deployable battle-groups will the Australian Army be able to deploy based on the following two scenarios?
  • Company Battle-Group – Infantry company, 2 x tank troops and associated HQ, engineering and logistical support
  • Battalion Battle-Group – Infantry Battalion, tank squadron and associated HQ, engineering and logistical support
Also do the Aussies have the capacity to sustain either a medium, heavy or light brigade on extended deployment?

UK army for example is built around seven deployable brigades (light / airborne, heavy and medium), however they are struggling to keep one deployed brigade in both Iraq and Afghanistan on a permanent basis.
Australia is raising the capability to provide up to 9x battlegroups, with maybe 3 or 4x deploying at any one particular time.

Battlegroup size would likely be a battalion, a tank troop or 2, medium artillery battery etc in size.

Each deployment will be different and require different sized forces. The current battlegroup in Afghanistan for instance includes 2x motorised infantry company's and roughly a Squadron's worth of Cav (ASLAV based) troops, no artillery (but an 81mm mortar capability) but has a predominantly engineering focus, due to it's tasks at hand.

Army's standing strategic guidance is to be capable of maintaining a Brigade AND a battalion in separate locations for an extended period.

Obviously however our Army is primarily light infantry based, though moving towards a mostly light motorised capability (within Regular Army) so most overseas deployments in future will include a significant armoured vehicle capacity.

Army has deployed in excess of 40x Armoured vehicles to each deployment in Iraq and Afghanistan for instance, with an ability to deploy more if necessary...
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Old June 7th, 2007   #351
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An excellent idea. OK, who are our "foes" and what capabilities do they which we need to counter, with our capabilities? You have ten seconds, from now.
I was being sarcastic

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The problem is of course we have only long term threats, not immediate foes. If we spend our money badly, we may end up with systems which can't counter our real foes' capabilities.
Thats exactly right. We should be aquireing systems that dont limit our options, and IMO going for a very low altitude SAM system that is basicaly a very capable MANPAD does limit our options. A bare bones low-mid altitude SAM system like SLAMRAAM in addition to RBS 70 gives us alot more options than purely relying on a very low altitude system.

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We don't have F-35s at the moment, we have F/A-18s and will for the foreseeable future.
Thanks for the info.

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Even if we had F-35s, forcing your opponent higher ensures that he is more easily detected and countered.
I dont think your really understanding what i'm trying to say, because your actually in agreement it seems. Pushing the air threat into higher altitudes does make them easier to intercept, and RBS 70 just barely does that, its a very low altitude system, and IMO we need a low-mid altitude system.

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Not such a bad thing, in itself, I think you'll find. As to them already having PGMs, do they? Who are "they" and what sort of PGMs do they have? What numbers do they have them in?
PLAAF, do i really have to outline their capabilities to you??? IAF, same deal??? RMAF, Su30MKM has a nice selection of ASM's LGB's & TVGB's I can provide a link if you want, as for F18C and E i'm sure your aware of the PGM's there capable of deploying. RSAF, RAAF standard or better on a platform v platform basis. TNI, SU30 comes with nice stuff if they ever got there act together. To assume that in any future conflict were we will actually face an air threat that said threat wont be deploying PGM's is pretty unrealistic IMO.

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Appears you're rather dismissive of the concept of deterrence for some reason. It actually does drive a great deal of our defence procurement thinking, you realise and has since the days of Federation, when we acquired our own Navy, rather than relying solely upon that of our "great and powerful friends".
No i'm not, i am dismissive of your notion of it, that we somehow buy systems in order to provoke threat nations into buying systems to counter them, thus lurring them into an arms race they cant afford??? The only context were such a policy would be relevent would by the cold war in the 80's. My notion of deturrence is detering threat nations from taking hostile action through your own capabilities, not provoking an arms race.

I dont know why your trying to sell the concept of deturrence on me, i'm advocating the purchase of more capable systems in addition to the RBS 70, and if you look back through some of my stated positions in earlier discussions, indipendant action and capabilities has allways been of paramount importance IMO. A low-mid altitude SAM system would only improve this ability.

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Its one of the reasons. Indeed, the acquisition of PGMs and the change to medium altitude attacks by strike aircraft has been largely drive by the proliferation of low-altitude AAA and SAMs. I believe the RAF has direct experience of ignoring that change.
I wasnt refering to the effect of SAM systems on low altitude air strikes, i was refering to your statement stating that the specific purchase of the very low altitude RBS 70 as our only land based SAM system would somehow provoke threat nations into aquireing PGM's, which is a fair way off the mark IMO. if anything a SLAMRAAM or other low-mid altitude sam system would improve this theory would it not???
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Old June 9th, 2007   #352
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It should did, but I have to disagree that a replacement tank capability is distorting our force structure. For starters the money used on purchasing them was obtained from program funding that was going to the 120mm AMS acquisition project that Army apparently neither wanted nor asked for. It was not "prised out of Government". Simply re-directed to a more relevant capability.

It's your opinion only that we "should see light more deployable" vehicles in ADF service. Presumably some sort of "wheeled tank destroyer" I guess. Such vehicles WERE contemplated under A21 and warfighting experiments conducted in 99/00/01 and 2002. Army was n't satisfied with such vehicles survivability in the types of fighting it sees in it's likely future environments. Then it convinced Government sufficiently to can the 120mm AMS project and put the funding to a tank capability...
Again, that comes down to those basic questions which we keep avoiding - exactly what is the ADF for?

If the Government has decided that we are to have an expeditionary force, then we need considerably more spending - more than likely about double, to enable us to purchase not only capabilities but in quantity to enable us to be better than any potential, overseas foe.

If the Governent has decided that we are to have a continental defence force (with limited interventionary ability) then we need the correct forces - those that can be easily deployed to where the threat is, rather than waiting for the threat to come to us

To both of those goes the corollary question - who is the enemy going to be?

If, on the otherhand, as your last two comments suggest we have DoD and Army in profound disagreement over the types of equipment we need because no one appears sure of the strategy and mission they are intended to undertake, then I'd suggest we have a big problem.

It appears we lack leadership and the Army has taken it upon itself to determine strategy and mission, rather than having Government telling them what they should be doing (or perhaps they are? It may well be that I just don't subscribe to Forward Defence : )

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What 1 Brigade is, if anything is a Mechanised Brigade, because the major maneuvre units are mechanised infantry battalions. A legacy of our infantry-obsessed Army.
Well, considering where we have tended to be deployed over the last 50 years - which is approximately half the period of entire existence for our army, afterall, Infantry has been the only really useful arm. Therefore I see nothing wrong with the Army being "infantry-obsessed"

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I agree, but I don't see us becoming the "tank flying" nation you seem to be worried about.

Does the weight of an M1 really matter to an LPA or LHD?
Yes, it does. Suddenly all ramps have to be class 60, rather than say, class 30. This means a substantial increase in weight for structure, with a much lower amount available for payload.

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RAAF doesn't seem to think so, neither does USAF. However the intra-theatre lifter likely to be acquired to replace the Caribou, should ease this problem considerably in any case...
The RAAF's tune will change when the first C-17 is lost. I can't wait to see the Board of Survey on that one! Nor would I like to be the pilot (if he survives). Remember what happened to the MELBOURNE's commanders? I expect his career would go the same way.

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I remember once you didn't see them operating outside of Darwin in the wet season either...
Actually I think you'll find I said that unless they seriously upgraded the infrastructure, they'd find it very hard to operate outside of Darwin in the wet. As we've seen, they are now upgrading the infrastructure, at considerable cost - as predicted. This is the "black hole" gravitational distortion effect beginning.
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Old June 9th, 2007   #353
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Yes, it does. Suddenly all ramps have to be class 60, rather than say, class 30. This means a substantial increase in weight for structure, with a much lower amount available for payload.
....
But all the contenders for the Australian LHD contest (& AFAIK all current Western LPD & LHD designs) assume at least class 60 loads. They're all designed for M1/Leopard 2/Challenger 2/Leclerc etc. Unless you request a unique design, & pay for all the design work, you can't buy something lighter.
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Old June 9th, 2007   #354
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Again, that comes down to those basic questions which we keep avoiding - exactly what is the ADF for?

If the Government has decided that we are to have an expeditionary force, then we need considerably more spending - more than likely about double, to enable us to purchase not only capabilities but in quantity to enable us to be better than any potential, overseas foe.

If the Governent has decided that we are to have a continental defence force (with limited interventionary ability) then we need the correct forces - those that can be easily deployed to where the threat is, rather than waiting for the threat to come to us

To both of those goes the corollary question - who is the enemy going to be?
I don't find the idea that we design a force structure for a specific role a very attractive idea. Nor a particular foe either.

What I believe the best option is, is to develop a range of forces that can respond to any credible scenario. I see Government doing that.

I've asked you previously what exactly is this "Continental force" that you speak so highly of?

The force in the 80's capability wise was less capable now and less mobile. Perhaps given your stated preferrence for Continental defence, that infantry should be riding around in the back of Unimogs so they can mop up whatever Kamarians or Musorians get through RAAF/RAN, but personally I think the Digs are better off with a bit of armour around them...

Mogs were about the only vehicular transport they had in the 80's, apart from tracked Armour of course...

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If, on the otherhand, as your last two comments suggest we have DoD and Army in profound disagreement over the types of equipment we need because no one appears sure of the strategy and mission they are intended to undertake, then I'd suggest we have a big problem.

It appears we lack leadership and the Army has taken it upon itself to determine strategy and mission, rather than having Government telling them what they should be doing (or perhaps they are? It may well be that I just don't subscribe to Forward Defence : )
Seems the chief anticipated these sorts of questions some time ago and produced this:

http://www.defence.gov.au/publications/FJOC.pdf



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Well, considering where we have tended to be deployed over the last 50 years - which is approximately half the period of entire existence for our army, afterall, Infantry has been the only really useful arm. Therefore I see nothing wrong with the Army being "infantry-obsessed"
Infantry is the only really useful arm?

Doesn't ordnance Corps have something to do with equipping infantry? Doesn't pay Corps ensure all those infanteers get adequately compensated for their tremendous efforts? Doesn't transport Corps deliver them? Doesn't RASIGS provide the comms for them? Doesn't artillery provide fire support and air defence, doesn't armour corps provide recon, transport and fire support capabilities?

The Army needs to become less infantry focussed and more "combined arms" focussed, just like the chief says...


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Yes, it does. Suddenly all ramps have to be class 60, rather than say, class 30. This means a substantial increase in weight for structure, with a much lower amount available for payload.
And they have been.

And the LHD's are BOTH especially designed to accomodate vehicles of this size and weight. Afterall Combat engineers need to deploy plant which has similar weight on vitually ANY operation, irregardless of whether M1A1's are sent.

I still don't see the issue of their weight equating to a lack of deployability...

Nor does the M1A1 seriously effect Army's deployment options when the capability of the LHD's are considered. Does a dedicated "heavy vehicle" deck, in addition to greater capacity for "light vehicles" not alleviate this (non) problem?


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Actually I think you'll find I said that unless they seriously upgraded the infrastructure, they'd find it very hard to operate outside of Darwin in the wet. As we've seen, they are now upgrading the infrastructure, at considerable cost - as predicted. This is the "black hole" gravitational distortion effect beginning.
Well I have a different recollection of what you said about this. In fact you bet a bottle of red that the Army would encounter difficulties moving it's M1A1 troops outside Darwin.

See post 200# Australian M1A1 technology thread...

In addition to which you stated, "Via ship, of course. Where can we unload them, once they arrived? How can we move them from the ports, once they are unloaded? I've been over this several times already - our transport infrastructure is not designed to carry the loads that these vehicles and their transporters constitute. Most of the roads aren't designed for it. Most of the bridges aren't designed for it. Most of the railways aren't designed for it. The ports (with the exception of three) aren't designed for it."

Well, whatever may have been done since this post, Army has now demonstrated an ability to move it's M1A1 from Robertson Barracks, through to Darwin wharf and then load them onto it's LPA"s via the LPA's integral crane, off-load them onto LCH's via the LPA's own crane AND deliver them "over the beach" via LCH.

Now, I agree that this was done in calm flat conditions, with no hostile fire etc, but it demonstrates capabilities which you doubted Army had.

Don't worry about that bottle of red though. I don't drink the stuff personally...
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Old June 9th, 2007   #355
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hi my name yasin i was born in australia and signed up for the australian army
only doing part time and i was wondering about the M1 tank that the defence minister chosed why didnt he make other MBT choices at least like the L2A6 or the challenger to
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Old June 9th, 2007   #356
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The M1A1 was offered at a very competitive price and ensures 100% compatability with US logistics and US training. Its also a very good battle tank.

The only other real contender was the Leopard, and they are very expensive tanks. Not only that, Australia's order would be filled much later, than the M1.

How often does Australia deploy tanks? Not that often. Vietnam? Will we ever have to deploy them on our lonesome? Not likely. When we get the LHD that will be a non issue, and we can deploy, what 12-16+ of them off one ship. If we get a commerical RoRo, they could carry 30+ of them. We will have far more mobility than say Germany, who has 600 tanks, but no amphibious capability.
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Old June 10th, 2007   #357
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I don't find the idea that we design a force structure for a specific role a very attractive idea. Nor a particular foe either.

What I believe the best option is, is to develop a range of forces that can respond to any credible scenario. I see Government doing that.

I've asked you previously what exactly is this "Continental force" that you speak so highly of?
Actually, I've not spoken of any "force", per se, rather a strategy, as part of the continuing bun fight between Forward Defence and Continental Defence.

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The force in the 80's capability wise was less capable now and less mobile. Perhaps given your stated preferrence for Continental defence, that infantry should be riding around in the back of Unimogs so they can mop up whatever Kamarians or Musorians get through RAAF/RAN, but personally I think the Digs are better off with a bit of armour around them...

Mogs were about the only vehicular transport they had in the 80's, apart from tracked Armour of course...
I'd suggest that the force of the 1980s wasn't what we needed either - it was too lightly equipped - although, considering the staggering low level of stategic threat we enjoyed in that decade, I'd suggest it was more than adequate, particularly as far as the Government of the day was willing to pay for.

We all have our wishlists, the great piece of kit we'd like to see adopted but too rarely and this is a point I keep coming back to, do we have that conversation which I've kept alluding to - what is the ADF for? Once we answer that one, really then and only then can we start talking about what equipment the defence forces as a whole need, to fulfill the strategy that flows from answering it IMO.

That strategy and its attended acquisitions must be paid for and of course, Treasury doesn't think Defence is much of a breadwinner. Indeed, I'm hard pressed to think of a single election, except the 1964 one which has been really fought on Defence as an issue. This means that Defence is always a fair way down the list at Budget time, no matter what the rhetoric of the Government of the day might actually claim.

Indeed, I've actually been amazed how little Defence and Foreign Policy has been part of the electoral debate(s) we've had over the last 6 years, despite being quite deeply embroiled in two overseas wars. If anything, there has been a concerted effort IMO by both major parties to downplay the issues involved.

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Infantry is the only really useful arm?
No, you misunderstand me. Perhaps I didn't make myself clear enough. You suggested that our Army was "infantry-obsessed". I pointed out that, that "obsession" is part of a long tradition. So long in fact its over half of our Army's history - ~50 of its ~100 years of existence and that tradition came about because during that period, Infantry was the main fighting arm in the places it was deployed. Other Arms are important (and I note, you mixed Services and Arms together for some reason) but they were not the main Arm of the Army.

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The Army needs to become less infantry focussed and more "combined arms" focussed, just like the chief says...
It has throughout most of its history been combined arms focussed, despite what the Chief may believe.

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And they have been.

And the LHD's are BOTH especially designed to accomodate vehicles of this size and weight. Afterall Combat engineers need to deploy plant which has similar weight on vitually ANY operation, irregardless of whether M1A1's are sent.

I still don't see the issue of their weight equating to a lack of deployability...

Nor does the M1A1 seriously effect Army's deployment options when the capability of the LHD's are considered. Does a dedicated "heavy vehicle" deck, in addition to greater capacity for "light vehicles" not alleviate this (non) problem?
What happens once they get off the boat, Digger? You see many class 60 roads and bridges around Oz or perhaps even more importantly, the region?

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Well I have a different recollection of what you said about this. In fact you bet a bottle of red that the Army would encounter difficulties moving it's M1A1 troops outside Darwin.

See post 200# Australian M1A1 technology thread...

In addition to which you stated, "Via ship, of course. Where can we unload them, once they arrived? How can we move them from the ports, once they are unloaded? I've been over this several times already - our transport infrastructure is not designed to carry the loads that these vehicles and their transporters constitute. Most of the roads aren't designed for it. Most of the bridges aren't designed for it. Most of the railways aren't designed for it. The ports (with the exception of three) aren't designed for it."

Well, whatever may have been done since this post, Army has now demonstrated an ability to move it's M1A1 from Robertson Barracks, through to Darwin wharf and then load them onto it's LPA"s via the LPA's integral crane, off-load them onto LCH's via the LPA's own crane AND deliver them "over the beach" via LCH.

Now, I agree that this was done in calm flat conditions, with no hostile fire etc, but it demonstrates capabilities which you doubted Army had.

Don't worry about that bottle of red though. I don't drink the stuff personally...
It is a capability they still lack. Running a dinghy around on a millpond is not the same as attempting the Sydney to Hobard, Digger. I'm surprised that you'd even suggest that this demonstrates anything other than a very limited capability.

I think there's still a lot to be demonstrated before you can claim it. An awful lot.
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Old June 10th, 2007   #358
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There are a lot of myths associated with the use of heavy tanks like the M1A1.

Firstly the general assumption that they haven't been demonstrated to have mobility in our region. The Centurion was used widely in South Vietnam and the Matilda across the South West Pacific. It may not be easy to deploy tanks in some regional areas but it is not impossible. A US Army study in the 60s found that ~60 tonne tanks could be deployed to 50% of South Vietnam – a country hugely dominated by the Mekong river delta so not a mean achievement.

Secondly that we haven't had a use for them. Every combat of medium intensity and higher Australia has been engaged with since Hamel in 1918 has involved tanks. Most of the time we had our own but sometimes relied on Brit or Yank support. Post WW2 every medium intensity and higher war we had tank support.

Sure we didn’t deploy tanks to East Timor but that was hardly a war. The Indonesian govt. had ordered the Army to withdraw and except for one battalion on one night did so with reasonable discipline and was no real threat. The mob like militia were overawed by M113s and ASLAVs so didn’t really need tanks they certainly never stood and fought in which case armour would be needed to clear them out.

Thirdly there is an idea that soldiers, light infantry, can actually fight without tank support. Well they can but they have to spend lives to do it. Tanks provide protection to soldiers who are not inside their armour. They do so by providing mobile, protected firepower where it is needed to suppress and destroy the enemy.

The kind of regional fighting we would see if say East Timor, Solomons or so on were to the intensity level of a Bougainville civil war would require a troop (3-5) of tanks per battalion. Similarly a full singing/dancing battle group deployment to Afghanistan would require a full squadron (14) of tanks.

These are the kind of threats Australia faces in the next 20 odd years. M1A1 tanks are perfect for it even at a reduced one regiment level. While some nuts at the right and left fringes think these tanks are for an Army armoured brigade driving to Tehran this is not the intent.
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Old June 11th, 2007   #359
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There are a lot of myths associated with the use of heavy tanks like the M1A1.

Firstly the general assumption that they haven't been demonstrated to have mobility in our region. The Centurion was used widely in South Vietnam and the Matilda across the South West Pacific. It may not be easy to deploy tanks in some regional areas but it is not impossible. A US Army study in the 60s found that ~60 tonne tanks could be deployed to 50% of South Vietnam – a country hugely dominated by the Mekong river delta so not a mean achievement.
Vietnam, even in the 1960s was a considerably more developed nation than most of the islands to our north are today. Once you move off the limited road network, you're into marsh, primary and secondary rainforest, mangrove or fields (often Rice near the coasts and slash/burn gardens away from there). Vietnam had a well developed network of roads over the coastal plains, which is where Armour was primarily deployed during that conflict - by all sides. The coast plains themselves, tended to be, except around villages/towns primarily semi-open land (which surprises most people BTW as they think of Vietnam as being primarily jungle), interspersed with patches of rainforest.

The Centurion was some 10 tons lighter than the M1a1, while the Tilly was even lighter (and most notably smaller, while as nearly as well armoured - which is why it, instead of the M3 Grant/Lee medium was used in the SW Pacific - strategic mobility and protection was prized over gun size). Apart from PNG and Indonesia, most of the other islands have a decaying infrastructure, rather than an improving one.

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Secondly that we haven't had a use for them. Every combat of medium intensity and higher Australia has been engaged with since Hamel in 1918 has involved tanks. Most of the time we had our own but sometimes relied on Brit or Yank support. Post WW2 every medium intensity and higher war we had tank support.
Yep, sure did. I've never suggested we wouldn't have a use for a tank in any future conflict. What I've pointed out is that we appear to have forgotten the lessons of WWII when we did deploy armour to the SW Pacific Theatre. As I've pointed out, the Tilly was chosen deliberately over the larger and more capable M3, because it was easier to move around the region by small barge if necessary. The 2 Pdr (when equipped with HE) was found to be adequate, particularly if backed by the 3in How, for infantry support and AT work. While a bigger bang would have been appreciated, it was not possible to mount one in the Tilly. The only vehicle which was readily available, the M3 was deemed too large (and not enough armour), while the M4 wasn't that much smaller. Even after WWII when we received ~200 Churchills from the UK, the Tilly remained in service while they sat in storage, eventually being disposed of (I'm unsure if they were returned to the UK or were merely turned into scrap).

This is why I suggest we need a smaller, lighter vehicle, preferrably with a big gun. Perhaps a 120mm gun mortar or something similar. Something that is designed not to slug it out with opposing armour - because there simply is any to really speak of in our region and what there is there can be dealt with by other means, if necessary than direct fire weapons - but rather something which can be used as a general infantry support vehicle, along the lines of the AVRE.

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Thirdly there is an idea that soldiers, light infantry, can actually fight without tank support. Well they can but they have to spend lives to do it. Tanks provide protection to soldiers who are not inside their armour. They do so by providing mobile, protected firepower where it is needed to suppress and destroy the enemy.
Agreed. However a tank is not the only vehicle which can do that job. Tanks are best for killing other tanks. There are no other tanks in our immediate neighbourhood. Therefore, we must question if we need tanks, as such. That does not mean we do not need armoured support for our infantry, just we need to question which is better - a MBT, which while it can take on other tanks is heavy, difficult to deploy and hard to use tactically in an environment where there is little in the way of physical infrastructure to allow it to be used or something lighter which can overcome those problems.

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The kind of regional fighting we would see if say East Timor, Solomons or so on were to the intensity level of a Bougainville civil war would require a troop (3-5) of tanks per battalion. Similarly a full singing/dancing battle group deployment to Afghanistan would require a full squadron (14) of tanks.

These are the kind of threats Australia faces in the next 20 odd years. M1A1 tanks are perfect for it even at a reduced one regiment level. While some nuts at the right and left fringes think these tanks are for an Army armoured brigade driving to Tehran this is not the intent.
Isn't it? I'd suggest that may well be the view of sensible people. However it is clear that when the PM made his promise of an "armoured brigade group" so foolishly, he was thinking of Australian tanks, pennants flying, advancing, if not to Tehran then to Baghdad, so don't be too sure. I'd also suggest that Army is quite willing to play that game, if they are provided with the tools to do it. This is one, of several reasons why Army has been so willing to re-embrace Forward Defence.
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Old June 11th, 2007   #360
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hi guys

I new to this mainly i just read the forum ,I dont have the knowledge of some of the people on here and just leaves me awestruck that you can get so much info out there.
But just a little perplexed about the problem regarding weight and bridge clasifacation on abrams ,not 100%sure but would assume it would be about 70 as when it is at combat weight ,people say it will have problems out of darwin or pucka ,but single traler semis are 42.5 tonne bdouble 62.5and triple road trains are 90tonne
pardon my ignorance but they dont seem to have a problem getting around 90% of oz and this is only the base weight without higher mass loading.

please correct me if im way off target with what you are trying to say


regards tom
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