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Indian Army News and Discussion

This is a discussion on Indian Army News and Discussion within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by dragonfire I think the IA is currently looking for static guns and not the self propelled ones. ...


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Old January 23rd, 2010   #736
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Originally Posted by dragonfire View Post
I think the IA is currently looking for static guns and not the self propelled ones. IA has some self propelled guns and the DRDO has been experimenting with various tanks instaling the guns on them after removing the turrets
I quickly browsed through the equipment of the Indian army an could only find rather old designs like the Abbot with an rather outdated 130 mm. There are many excellent reasons why NATO, WARPAC and Korea invested so heavily into them. The more capable the opposition the greater the need to prevail in the CB fight.


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I think IA is already looking for a lighter gun as well for the high altitude regions. The IA does use the Pinaka MBRLS (Multi-Barrel Rocket Launching System) for e.g. it was used during Kargil
While I do think that for an alpine environment the heavy (120 mm) can be considered to be the fire support element par excellence the need for a weapon with more reach is of course there. The CB operations, the interdiction and the destruction of the enemy assets and enemy infrastructure (roads and bridges!!!) all make a relative light, accurate and long ranged 155 mm howitzer a huge asset. The Kargil war merely reinforces that message.

MLRS with guided and unguided rockets can be a sensible addition. Guided rockets with a range of almost 90 km like the ones fired by the MLRS and HIMARS can, If well integrated and supported be an amazing asset. You could fire at the 90 angle to the target and thus from a position very close to a mountain side, shielding you from any conventional CB. (The containerized PAM seems to become more sensible now). Given the often terrific challenges of the terrain and the strain on the roads this ability to engage distant enemy high value targets from many positions in depth unusable by conventional artillery is a great bonus which also makes the resupply easier.

Pinaka seems to be a very sensible addition, but can of course not fire long-ranged guided rockets yet.


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IA relies on pack animals mainly donkeys. They had tried working with Yaks but it wasnt succesful
Donkeys can be a very efficient link in the supply chain. They are especially important if we consider just how few roads there are in the Himalaya, and how many good footpaths and donkey trails. In the more rounded and bare landscapes of Ladakh and Spiti, and not just there, a capable cross-country vehicle like the Bv206 could do great things. The wear and tear for the soft tracks however must be breathtaking.

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IAF has a large fleet of Mi-8 and Mi-17s which does a lot of lifting for the IA and for tactical ops and smaller cargo lifts the IA has its own fleet of Chetaks, Cheetahs, nw Dhruvs
Support helicopters have almost become a necessity in far-flung operations in mountainous terrain.


Firn

P.S: The BEL Weapon Locating Radar seems to be finally a huge step forward for the fire support and will become a sine qua non. The number of units seems rather small to me and the carriage might not be ideal for difficult terrain. In the mountains you may well need some cross-country mobility to place the vehicle in a good position to keep the screening crests of the mountains as low as possible.
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Old January 23rd, 2010   #737
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Originally Posted by Firn View Post
I quickly browsed through the equipment of the Indian army an could only find rather old designs like the Abbot with an rather outdated 130 mm. There are many excellent reasons why NATO, WARPAC and Korea invested so heavily into them. The more capable the opposition the greater the need to prevail in the CB fight.
Infact almost all of the IA's arty and AA guns is old and outdated. The notable bettr equipment is the Bofors guns and the Tunguska's, the former proved its worth in kargil, the Pinaka is still contemporary and am sure there will be future developments on the system

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While I do think that for an alpine environment the heavy (120 mm) can be considered to be the fire support element par excellence the need for a weapon with more reach is of course there. The CB operations, the interdiction and the destruction of the enemy assets and enemy infrastructure (roads and bridges!!!) all make a relative light, accurate and long ranged 155 mm howitzer a huge asset. The Kargil war merely reinforces that message.
The IA is raising a couple of new Mountain brigades in the eastern sector and is on the lookout for light tanks with 120 mm guns, they are looking for 300 wheeled and tracked vehicles apart from the light static guns.


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MLRS with guided and unguided rockets can be a sensible addition. Guided rockets with a range of almost 90 km like the ones fired by the MLRS and HIMARS can, If well integrated and supported be an amazing asset. You could fire at the 90 angle to the target and thus from a position very close to a mountain side, shielding you from any conventional CB. (The containerized PAM seems to become more sensible now). Given the often terrific challenges of the terrain and the strain on the roads this ability to engage distant enemy high value targets from many positions in depth unusable by conventional artillery is a great bonus which also makes the resupply easier.

Pinaka seems to be a very sensible addition, but can of course not fire long-ranged guided rockets yet.
The Pinaka MBRL has a range of upto 120 km and IMI is providing assistance to DRDO on TCS of Pinaka for improved CEP. Besides which a longer range improved version is being developed. PAM is yet to be operationaly deployed by the USArmy

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Support helicopters have almost become a necessity in far-flung operations in mountainous terrain.
IA is only able to maintain the Siachen ops because of the sortie flown by its helos without which it would not be possible

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P.S: The BEL Weapon Locating Radar seems to be finally a huge step forward for the fire support and will become a sine qua non. The number of units seems rather small to me and the carriage might not be ideal for difficult terrain. In the mountains you may well need some cross-country mobility to place the vehicle in a good position to keep the screening crests of the mountains as low as possible.
The IA has also acquired the Green Pine WLRs from the US a few years back - i think about 4 systems were deployed in the Kashmir sectors
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Old January 23rd, 2010   #738
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Originally Posted by dragonfire View Post
Infact almost all of the IA's arty and AA guns is old and outdated. The notable bettr equipment is the Bofors guns and the Tunguska's, the former proved its worth in kargil, the Pinaka is still contemporary and am sure there will be future developments on the system



The IA is raising a couple of new Mountain brigades in the eastern sector and is on the lookout for light tanks with 120 mm guns, they are looking for 300 wheeled and tracked vehicles apart from the light static guns.




The Pinaka MBRL has a range of upto 120 km and IMI is providing assistance to DRDO on TCS of Pinaka for improved CEP. Besides which a longer range improved version is being developed. PAM is yet to be operationaly deployed by the USArmy



IA is only able to maintain the Siachen ops because of the sortie flown by its helos without which it would not be possible



The IA has also acquired the Green Pine WLRs from the US a few years back - i think about 4 systems were deployed in the Kashmir sectors
pinaka mbrl actually only has a range of 30-40 km
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Old January 23rd, 2010   #739
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The IA is raising a couple of new Mountain brigades in the eastern sector and is on the lookout for light tanks with 120 mm guns, they are looking for 300 wheeled and tracked vehicles apart from the light static guns.
The terrain in the Himalaya offers great variety and gradually opens up towards the Tibet. While good tank country looks often vastly different, there is surprisingly often quite some ground for small armored formations. The integration of a formation of Tanks, IFV and APCs might make quite some sense, even if the supply is rather problematic. However the soldiers should be trained mountaineers.


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The Pinaka MBRL has a range of upto 120 km and IMI is providing assistance to DRDO on TCS of Pinaka for improved CEP. Besides which a longer range improved version is being developed. PAM is yet to be operationaly deployed by the USArmy
The range is only 40km and there is no guided rocket in service. So far the GMLRS set the industry standard with a great service record, outstanding precision and a range of up to 90 km. A variant of the ATACMS can cover 300 km and addresses specific operational and strategic needs. South Korea was not surprisingly a buyer, we already talked about their threat matrix.

PAM might be a very sensible addition to light formations, but so far it has not been fielded and there is no feedback from the ground.

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The IA has also acquired the Green Pine WLRs from the US a few years back - i think about 4 systems were deployed in the Kashmir sectors
The quality of the carriage is, as I wrote also a very important factor. Basically the higher your position, the larger the space you can scan. On a valley floor you might have quite huge blind spaces or shadows due to having the mountain range in the front of your nose. A more mobile (tracked) one could be important for operations in the Himalaya.


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Old January 25th, 2010   #740
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A question: Is there any mountain division which has integral IFV/tank support? The usual way to secure armored support in wartime is to attach a heavy formation to them, especially when they have to fight on easier terrain, which makes things harder for such light units. Just curious.

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Old January 26th, 2010   #741
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A question: Is any known mountain division which has integral IFV/tank support? The usual way to secure armored support in wartime is to attach a heavy formation to them, especially when they have to fight on easier terrain, which makes things harder for such light units. Just curious.

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there are a couple of armored divisions dedicated to the NE but I can't say for sure how they're structured for combat. if i find ssomething i'll let you know.
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Old January 26th, 2010   #742
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India might be one of the nations where a "pure" moutain division makes most sense. Still I never understood why armor and mountains should be mutually exclusive. It should be a matter of scale, quantitiy and good sense.

A formation of gun/mortar AFVs would be rather neat to have, as well as a decent IFV with the same carriage to support it. Should work rather well in some terrain, especially when the other side has not brought tanks with them.


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Old January 26th, 2010   #743
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If the IA likes their Tunguskas, the Pantsyr-1S would be a good choice. I'm sure negotiations can be made to put it on a tracked chassis (it may already be on one for the Russian Army).

However for howitzers, I'm not sure armor is a major support. If you're worried about counter-battery fire you need radars to detect it, and you need to train move and shoot tactics.
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Old January 26th, 2010   #744
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If the IA likes their Tunguskas, the Pantsyr-1S would be a good choice. I'm sure negotiations can be made to put it on a tracked chassis (it may already be on one for the Russian Army).

However for howitzers, I'm not sure armor is a major support. If you're worried about counter-battery fire you need radars to detect it, and you need to train move and shoot tactics.
Yes, you're 100% right.
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Old January 26th, 2010   #745
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The FMS notification for India's request to acquire 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers has appeared. Please note that the order includes the Selex LINAPS (Laser INertial Artillery Pointing System) which is in service with the British Army's 105mm L118 and also in use by the Canadian Army's M777. This order is not for the M777A2. [h/t to ArtyEngineer and pirate]

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Vietnam War historical tidbit on heli-mobile artillery support

Two batteries of 105mm howitzers at LZ Falcon (Alpha and Charlie Batteries of the 1–21 Field Artillery Battalion), in support of then LTC Harold Moore's 1-7 Calvary troopers at LZ X-ray (made famous by the movie staring Mel Gibson) during the Battle of Ia Drang Valley that started on 14 Nov 1965 fired more than 4,000 high-explosive rounds by the end of the day. Some estimates suggest that the Americans on LZ X-Ray were out numbered 10 to 1 but they were able to hold on thanks to artillery and air support. On 0900 hours on the 2nd day, the Americans established a second firebase at LZ Columbus, 5 kilometers northeast of X-Ray; this added two batteries of howitzers to the steel curtain protecting Moore’s battalion. In total and for 53 straight hours, the artillery men at LZ Falcon managed to fire more than 18,000 rounds in defense of LZ X-Ray. In the Battle of the Ia Drang Valley, artillery proved to be the difference between life and death for LTC Hal Moore’s 1-7 Calvary troopers and all 4 batteries provided a ring of fire round the perimeter. But logistics support was the enabling force behind the firepower, providing the edge necessary to earn victory in the face of imminent defeat. See link on the logistics involved, in particular the role of the forward support element of the American Division Support Command (DISCOM).

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Old January 27th, 2010   #746
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The FMS notification for India's request to acquire 145 M777 155mm Light-Weight Towed Howitzers has appeared. Please note that the order includes the Selex LINAPS (Laser INertial Artillery Pointing System) which is in service with the British Army's 105mm L118 and also in use by the Canadian Army's M777. This order is not for the M777A2. [h/t to ArtyEngineer and pirate]

It seems to be a pretty sensible choice for the mountain divisions guarding the long frontier. Less (weight) can be more (capability).

The success story of the heli-mobile artillery shows IMHO also just how much helicopter support is needed to keep the howitzer howling at such an astonishing rate. Firepower was often seen by the US forces in Vietnam as the answer to all problems, which created of course a new set of them.

All in all I think that the Indian alpine or better himalayan units gain a lot of capability with this purchase. Now the infantry needs the ability to quickly and accurately call in that amazing firepower.


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Old January 28th, 2010   #747
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It looks as if India is moving back to buying British, albeit licence-built in the USA.
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Old February 4th, 2010   #748
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It seems to be a pretty sensible choice for the mountain divisions guarding the long frontier. Less (weight) can be more (capability).

The success story of the heli-mobile artillery shows IMHO also just how much helicopter support is needed to keep the howitzer howling at such an astonishing rate. Firepower was often seen by the US forces in Vietnam as the answer to all problems, which created of course a new set of them.

All in all I think that the Indian alpine or better himalayan units gain a lot of capability with this purchase. Now the infantry needs the ability to quickly and accurately call in that amazing firepower.


Firn
As usual, Planeman's done an amazing open source job on artillery deployments on both sides - Bluffer’s Guide: Indo-Pakistan Border. I think increasingly the use of UAVs for artillery spotting and weapons locating radars will affect the outcome of any artillery duel. However, these two artillery force multipliers are not the only determining factors as the respective air forces will need to protect their own forces from the other's air force.

Have a read. It's certainly some food for thought.
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Old February 4th, 2010   #749
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Piercing the army's armour of deception
Ajai Shukla / New Delhi February 4, 2010, 0:31 IST
by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 4th Feb, 2010

On August 24 last year, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) dressed up failure as achievement when — almost nine years after India bought the T-90 tank from Russia — the first 10 built-in-India T-90s were ceremonially rolled out of the Heavy Vehicles Factory (HVF) near Chennai.

No reasons were given for that delay. Nor did the Ministry of Defence (MoD) reveal the T-90’s ballooning cost, now a whopping Rs 17.5 crore. On November 30, 2006, the MoD told the Lok Sabha that the T-90 tank cost Rs 12 crore apiece. Parliament does not yet know about the 50 per cent rise in cost.

The story of the T-90 has been coloured by deception and obfuscation from even before the tank was procured. Business Standard has pieced together, from internal documents and multiple interviews with MoD sources, an account of how the Indian Army has saddled itself with an underperforming, yet overpriced, version of the Russian T-90.

The deception stemmed from the army’s determination to push through the T-90 contract despite vocal opposition from sections of Parliament. Former Prime Minister H D Deve Gowda argued — allegedly because a close associate had a commercial interest in continuing with T-72 production — that fitting the T-72 with modern fire control systems and night vision devices would be cheaper than buying the T-90. Deve Gowda correctly pointed out that even Russia’s army had spurned the T-90.

To bypass his opposition, the MoD and the army reached an understanding with Rosvoorouzhenie, Russia’s arms export agency. The T-90 would be priced only marginally higher than the T-72 by removing key T-90 systems; India would procure those through supplementary contracts after the T-90 entered service. Excluded from India’s T-90s was the Shtora active protection system, which protects the T-90 from incoming enemy missiles. This was done knowing well that Pakistan’s anti-tank defences are based heavily on missiles.

Other important systems were also pared. The MoD opted to buy reduced numbers of the INVAR missile, which the T-90 fires. Maintenance vehicles, which are vital to keep the T-90s running, were not included in the contract. All this allowed the government to declare before Parliament that the Russian T-90s cost just Rs 11 crore, while the assembled-in-India T-90s were Rs 12 crore apiece.

The MoD did not mention that these prices would rise when the supplementary contracts were negotiated. Nor did it reveal that India’s pared-down T-90s barely matched the performance of the Pakistan Army’s recently acquired T-80 UD tank, which India had cited as the threat that demanded the T-90.

Worse was to follow when the initial batch of 310 T-90s entered service (124 bought off-the-shelf and 186 as knocked-down kits). It quickly became evident — and that too during Operation Parakram, with India poised for battle against Pakistan — that the T-90s were not battleworthy. The T-90’s thermal imaging (TI) sights, through which the tank aims its 125mm gun, proved unable to function in Indian summer temperatures. And, the INVAR missiles assembled in India simply didn’t work. Since nobody knew why, they were sent back to Russia.

Even more alarmingly, the army discovered that the T-90 sighting systems could not fire Indian tank ammunition, which was falling short of the targets. So, even as a panicked MoD appealed to the DRDO and other research institutions to re-orient the T-90’s fire control computer for firing Indian ammunition, Russian ammunition was bought.

With Russia playing hardball, none of the supplementary contracts have yet gone through. The TI sights remain a problem. The army has decided to fit each T-90 with an Environment Control System, to cool the delicate electronics with a stream of chilled air. None of the world’s current tanks, other than France’s LeClerc, has such a system. The American Abrams and the British Challenger tanks fought in the Iraq desert without air-conditioning. India’s Arjun tank, too, has “hardened” electronics that function perfectly even in the Rajasthan summer.

Nor has the MoD managed to procure the Shtora anti-missile system. The Directorate General of Mechanised Forces now plans to equip India’s eventual 1,657-tank T-90 fleet with the advanced ARENA active protection system, for which it has budgeted Rs 2,500 crore in the Army Acquisition Plan for 2009-11.

The greatest concern arose when Russia held back on its contractual obligation to transfer the technology needed to build 1,000 T-90s in India. But, instead of pressuring Russia, the MoD rewarded it in 2007 with a contract for 347 more T-90s. In an astonishing Catch-22, the MoD argued that the new purchase was needed because indigenous production had not begun.

Next month, when the T-90 is measured against the Arjun in comparative trials, the T-90s’ drawbacks will not be evident. But, as officers who have operated the T-90 admit, these could be crucial handicaps in battle.

“It is for these reasons that I have consistently argued for supporting the Indian Arjun tank,” says General Shankar Roy Chowdhury, former army chief and himself a tankman. “Another country can hold India hostage in many ways. We need to place an order for several hundred Arjun tanks so that economies of scale can kick in and we can bring down the price even further.”

If the Arjun performs strongly in next month’s comparative trials around Suratgarh and Pokhran, that order could be in the offing.

FRAUD ON THE NATION?

* Key operational systems were kept out to bring the price down
* Parliament wasn’t told about this, nor of the plan for supplementary contracts
* The performance on the ground showed that the T-90 was an appalling mistake
* This has set in train even more costly cover-ups
* All this, while the indigenous Arjun is free of many of these minuses
Piercing the army's armour of deception

Brilliant journalism if all of this is accurate, and a shocking situation, my father decided to delay his annual vacation, i decided to delay a car purchase and god knows the sacrifices so many people make every day to save money, and the authorities spend our money like its a joke, no one in India questions defence expenditure as they know its vital, but hell they should at-least be transparent about it.

Deceiving the authority people put incharge of running their affairs, if this comes to light and is somehow linked to corruption charges would do unrepairable damage.
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Old February 4th, 2010   #750
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As usual, Planeman's done an amazing open source job on artillery deployments on both sides - Bluffer’s Guide: Indo-Pakistan Border. I think increasingly the use of UAVs for artillery spotting and weapons locating radars will affect the outcome of any artillery duel. However, these two artillery force multipliers are not the only determining factors as the respective air forces will need to protect their own forces from the other's air force.

Have a read. It's certainly some food for thought.
An interesting view on this interesting topic. I will probably write a more in-depth comment of his guide later on.

Some quick thoughts (limited on regions A and B, so basically the alpine arc of the front):

a) The artillery sites are out there in the open, with very limited cover and little chance to move. I would not like to serve anywhere near them. Often constructed to cover a lot of real estate, quite some seem to me to be perfect counter-battery fodder.

The need to destroy the enemy firepower was not taken seriously when WWI broke loose. But very soon it became a key element of the war, involving most impressive efforts. In the Dolomites many artillery positions were dug deeply into the mountains , to survive the heavy enemy poundings.

b) Both sides have a rather limited amount of fire-finders. They could and perhaps should be highest on the lists of priority targets. Suitable Drones or AEW aircraft should be able to pinpoint their locations ( I have written somewhere about this possibility). The technology is certainly there.

c) Shoot and scoot is of course limited due to the few and narrow roads. Still it should greatly enhance the survivability of the artillery units. In this case Pakistan holds the clear advantage. A rather light modern SPH can do the quick and accurate shooting as well as the rapid scooting pretty well.

d) Modern UAV and well trained and equipped small forward observation teams could be key elements of any conflict. With so many huge advantages to the defending forces, accurate and powerful fire support as well as the destruction of the enemy firepower is the key for any overt offensive action.

e) Given the vast territory and the difficulty to supply large amounts of men and material, quality will perhaps be more important than sheer quantity. Especially dangerous and very very difficulty will it be to support the bases and obvious positions. In WWI the barracks were very soon pushed under glaciers, into the mountains and to the sides of very steep reverse slopes and under overhanging walls. The supply routes run upwards using as much of those natural and artificial advantages as possible.

f) Guided ammunition will be also hugely important. First due to the already mentioned and huge challenges of the supply chain. Secondly the topography will make the employment of conventional ammunition from many positions against many targets impossible. Thirdly especially guided rockets like the GMLRS could accurately engage the enemy from huge distances out of positions which can not be tracked by fire-finders nor be engaged by unguided artillery rockets or rounds.

g) Of course it is a fight of two systems against each other. The airforces and the GBADs will also play a very important part in every conflict.


I have still a lot to say, but this must suffice as a quick reaction.

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