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This is a discussion on US Army News and updates general discussion within the Army & Security Forces forum, part of the Global Defense & Military category; Originally Posted by Guardian52 It is a question of CONOPS; that's a very good point. I'm sure the Guardian and ...


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Old August 30th, 2016   #31
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It is a question of CONOPS; that's a very good point. I'm sure the Guardian and its crews could handle the extra information flow; my main beef is that the UAVs in question will not necessarily be armed at all times. An OH-58 Kiowa can be rapidly tasked to provide CAS in the event other assets are not available; very few UAVs can. Also, I don't like the premise of a UAV, presumably armed with AGM-114s and nothing else, providing CAS in most scenarios.
1. A maximum of 2-4 shots (missiles) I'm pretty sure is the payload of the MQ-9
2. I've never heard of JTACs, CCT, TACPs being in direct communication with UAV pilots and I imagine that would be difficult to coordinate directly because they fly UAVs from Las Vegas. I don't like having a middle-man when my life is on the line, and I need CAS ASAP (Danger Close, troops in contact)
3. How many of these UAVs do we have currently in the inventory that can perform this mission requirement with the Guardian? Maybe they've been working on this for years but tbh I don't have that much faith in Obama's (and eventually Clinton's) DOD. I don't think the OH-58 was planned for retirement until somebody at the White House decided this was one of the things they could cut from. So now they're going to design, and mass produces a new system to replace a more effective system that didn't even need an upgrade? Granted, from what I've gathered, the older Kiowa's were suffering in the engine maintenance department, lot's of malfunctions relative to time in the air, but the OH-58F program addressed that with adaptations to the Rolls-Royce engines.
2-4 Hellfires was also the principal armament of the OH-58 Kiowa Warrior...

MQ-9's are also certified and regularly carry Paveway II / Enhanced Paveway II LGB's as well.
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Old August 30th, 2016   #32
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Right, The Kiowa has the same payload capacity in the Hellfire department. That's not really my main beef. Mainly I'm concerned with rapid reaction and survivability of systems. Generally speaking the MQ-9 is not considered stealthy, although its smaller airframe does contribute to a small RADAR cross section. I read Command Authority by Tom Clancy and when he used the Kiowa's in a fictional war with Russia they were flying nap of the earth and popping out from behind buildings and hills; killing T-90s that didn't even know they were there. Although, as I said before, the Reaper has a small RADAR footprint, once it is detected it cannot run or defend itself reliably.

Didn't know the MQ-9 could carry LGBs, that's good. Thanks for that.
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Old August 30th, 2016   #33
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Right, The Kiowa has the same payload capacity in the Hellfire department. That's not really my main beef. Mainly I'm concerned with rapid reaction and survivability of systems. Generally speaking the MQ-9 is not considered stealthy, although its smaller airframe does contribute to a small RADAR cross section. I read Command Authority by Tom Clancy and when he used the Kiowa's in a fictional war with Russia they were flying nap of the earth and popping out from behind buildings and hills; killing T-90s that didn't even know they were there. Although, as I said before, the Reaper has a small RADAR footprint, once it is detected it cannot run or defend itself reliably.

Didn't know the MQ-9 could carry LGBs, that's good. Thanks for that.
For many of the members here, quoting a Tom Clancy novel to support your assertions isn't going to carry much weight, and may well diminish the value of your argument in their eyes.
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Old August 30th, 2016   #34
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Hahaha I know. Using fiction is a bad example, but as a writer, and a huge fan of Tom Clancy I couldn't help myself.

But the fact that I used a novel as an example proves another point; the Kiowa has not been used to its full potential since... I'd say the second gulf war. When was the last time a Kiowa was actually used to kill a tank? And that brings up another question... Does the Army need a dedicated AAS to counter the kind of threats present in the GWOT? But even if the answer is no, shouldn't we be preparing with the ever more likely open war with Iran that might occur within the next 5-10 years?
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Old August 30th, 2016   #35
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you can't dumb the debate down to a platform specific issue - the battlespace is far more complex than that and it gets down to the nature of the threat, the players involved, timeline of the conflict etc...

as per the OP, referencing Tom Clancy in a serious forum is an option and path I'd not use again

its like quoting donald trump to run an argument for the need for coherent debate

There is no way in hades that I would use a Kiowa against a threat player such as the Iranians. unless you own the battlespace then you won't be using them in complex and contested space - and its the same reason why you see exercises such as Green Flag where the A-10's only enter the fight once the theatre has been cleansed or managed. Like the F-111's in days gone by, they will struggle to survive and need to enter complex battlespace with escorts and other aircraft "eared up" - or they're going against a very unsophisticated player

Kiowas have bugger all chance of coming home unmolested against a country like Iran unless that theatre was wiped and cleaned before they even started up at their base
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Old August 30th, 2016   #36
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Point conceded on the novel thing, not gonna happen again.

Do we not usually destroy a country's air power before invading? Wasn't that an aspect of the bombing campaign directly preceding the 2003 invasion of Iraq? Would we not see that in a potential invasion of Iran? If so, one could make the argument that we'd have a need and use for the Kiowa in that permissive environment.

But as far as the current war, I know the Kiowa has its uses as a CAS platform. I'd like to point out that the 160th SOAR still uses AH-6Ms and that aircraft has less of an offensive capability than an OH-58 with two Hellfires and a .50 Cal.
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Old August 30th, 2016   #37
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Do we not usually destroy a country's air power before invading? Wasn't that an aspect of the bombing campaign directly preceding the 2003 invasion of Iraq? Would we not see that in a potential invasion of Iran? If so, one could make the argument that we'd have a need and use for the Kiowa in that permissive environment.

But as far as the current war, I know the Kiowa has its uses as a CAS platform. I'd like to point out that the 160th SOAR still uses AH-6Ms and that aircraft has less of an offensive capability than an OH-58 with two Hellfires and a .50 Cal.
I'll let GF speak for himself but I think there is a lot more to the Kiowa's survivability in such a theatre than merely OPFOR airpower. Ubiquitous mobile SHORAD, VSHORAD and MANPAD systems combined with simple trash fire would all be serious issues.

I'd also venture that the CONOPs for AH6 et al. in the spec ops domain would be totally different to using a Kiowa as a useful recon asset - it's a bit of an apples and oranges situation. I imagine the latter would need to be capable of bit more "independence" than the former, which would more routinely be operating as part of a much larger, pre-planned force package. In short, your recon chopper needs to be able to consistently detect and/or encounter the enemy and survive it, while your AH6 is there to maneuver against an enemy/asset you've already more or less identified.

Just my 2c.
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Old August 30th, 2016   #38
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I'm very new to defense forums in general so I am here to learn what I can from whom I can. So I really appreciate the knowledge you're throwing down to me.

Can we all agree that the Kiowa was a valuable asset? If not, why?
Can we all agree that it should not have been retired until it could have been replaced? If not, why?
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Old August 30th, 2016   #39
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Point conceded on the novel thing, not gonna happen again.

Do we not usually destroy a country's air power before invading? Wasn't that an aspect of the bombing campaign directly preceding the 2003 invasion of Iraq? Would we not see that in a potential invasion of Iran? If so, one could make the argument that we'd have a need and use for the Kiowa in that permissive environment.

But as far as the current war, I know the Kiowa has its uses as a CAS platform. I'd like to point out that the 160th SOAR still uses AH-6Ms and that aircraft has less of an offensive capability than an OH-58 with two Hellfires and a .50 Cal.
Not all battlefield airspace can be guaranteed to be sanitized so such aircraft may become a liability rather than an asset. The US no longer has the same edge in battlespace management and capabilities that it had in 1991 or 2003. This is because other nations have observed, learned, adapted and are catching up, closing the gap. That is how strategies and military capabilities work. The PRC have developed an A2/AD strategy to keep the US as far away as possible from the motherland as feasibly possible so as to prevent the shock and awe that occurred in Iraq (twice) happening to them.

Secondly and more importantly, todays battlespace is changing and the assets within it are part of a series of systems that are required to communicate and transfer data between multiple diverse platforms. So the platforms must have that ability. For example the RAAF can do more with its E7A Wedgetail AEW&C than the USAF can with its E3 AWACS. That's just purely to do with advancements in technology and the Aussies having a different way of doing things.

Thirdly, CAS itself is changing and no longer is platform specific or centric. It can be delivered by multiple platforms ranging from a UCAV to a strategic bomber using PGMs.

Fourthly, the modern battlespace is becoming more netcentric hence sensing and targeting can be performed by different platforms such as UAVs removing manned platforms from hazardous areas.

It's time to move on with new technologies and ways of doing things that actually help the warfighter. The next enemy may not be an irregular asymmetric low tier opponent with no or little anti air capability, but a nation state having a conventional armed forces with the ability and knowledge in how to effectively use them.
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Old August 30th, 2016   #40
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What about the Wedgetail makes it better than the E3? You say the RAAF does things differently? Exactly how when it comes to AWACS deployment?

Keep dropping knowledge bombs on me. I'm really loving the feedback I'm getting.
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Old August 30th, 2016   #41
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I'm very new to defense forums in general so I am here to learn what I can from whom I can. So I really appreciate the knowledge you're throwing down to me.

Can we all agree that the Kiowa was a valuable asset? If not, why?
Can we all agree that it should not have been retired until it could have been replaced? If not, why?
There's also the fact that it's yet another type of helo with its own spare parts, separate pilot training, etc. Basically everything it used to do can be done with other tools, better, and frequently cheaper. You'll notice that the US isn't alone in basically ditching the recon-helo concept. So, in a way, it has been replaced, but instead of little a replaced with big A, the capabilities little a has are improved on and added to big C and big D, making a redundant.
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Old August 30th, 2016   #42
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Right, The Kiowa has the same payload capacity in the Hellfire department. That's not really my main beef. Mainly I'm concerned with rapid reaction and survivability of systems. Generally speaking the MQ-9 is not considered stealthy, although its smaller airframe does contribute to a small RADAR cross section. I read Command Authority by Tom Clancy and when he used the Kiowa's in a fictional war with Russia they were flying nap of the earth and popping out from behind buildings and hills; killing T-90s that didn't even know they were there. Although, as I said before, the Reaper has a small RADAR footprint, once it is detected it cannot run or defend itself reliably.

Didn't know the MQ-9 could carry LGBs, that's good. Thanks for that.
Just a small piece of reality, every Russian Tank Bde has an air-defense btln, every Motor-Rifles Bde has two (1 pure SHORAD one with tac-SAMs). In a given battlespace they'd be linked together with a system called Barnaul, that also talks to local PVO (air-defense) command, and ultimately fighter CAPs. Even in Georgia (that war was a cluster-f*ck) armor columns always had Tunguska-Shilka class systems, and even buckets of ZU-23-2s and MANPADS. In '14-'15 the Russian 200th MRB in Eastern Ukraine also used Tunguskas, and they were probably linked up to Russian Tor-M1 and Pantsyr-1S systems also in Ukraine at the time. Even in Syria the Russian field camp in Palmyra, set up so some EOD guys could help clear the city of IEDs, with 0 ISIS airpower threat, the camp was covered by Pantsyr-1S systems, and Flankers regularly flew CAPs over the area. Hopefully this illustrates what ngati was saying above.

Your general point on the vulnerability of UAVs against a high-tech conventional enemy is valid, but helos are every bit as vulnerable, and have expensive human pilots inside of them.
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Old August 30th, 2016   #43
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What about the Wedgetail makes it better than the E3? You say the RAAF does things differently? Exactly how when it comes to AWACS deployment?

Keep dropping knowledge bombs on me. I'm really loving the feedback I'm getting.
A final thought. Areas like AEW, ELINT/SIGINT, are all highly specialized and fairly sensitive. So while some meaningful answers can be given, typically not as many as one would like. Basically the people that talk don't know what they're talking about, and the people who really know aren't allowed to say.
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Old August 31st, 2016   #44
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Just a small piece of reality, every Russian Tank Bde has an air-defense btln, every Motor-Rifles Bde has two (1 pure SHORAD one with tac-SAMs). In a given battlespace they'd be linked together with a system called Barnaul, that also talks to local PVO (air-defense) command, and ultimately fighter CAPs. Even in Georgia (that war was a cluster-f*ck) armor columns always had Tunguska-Shilka class systems, and even buckets of ZU-23-2s and MANPADS. In '14-'15 the Russian 200th MRB in Eastern Ukraine also used Tunguskas, and they were probably linked up to Russian Tor-M1 and Pantsyr-1S systems also in Ukraine at the time. Even in Syria the Russian field camp in Palmyra, set up so some EOD guys could help clear the city of IEDs, with 0 ISIS airpower threat, the camp was covered by Pantsyr-1S systems, and Flankers regularly flew CAPs over the area. Hopefully this illustrates what ngati was saying above.

Your general point on the vulnerability of UAVs against a high-tech conventional enemy is valid, but helos are every bit as vulnerable, and have expensive human pilots inside of them.
So long story short... The Russians are very prepared to deal with enemy air. How does that compare to the US? And, just a thought, how does that compare to the PRC?
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Old August 31st, 2016   #45
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A final thought. Areas like AEW, ELINT/SIGINT, are all highly specialized and fairly sensitive. So while some meaningful answers can be given, typically not as many as one would like. Basically the people that talk don't know what they're talking about, and the people who really know aren't allowed to say.
I saw that coming.
I was on Oahu, Hawaii, earlier this month and last month and got to see a bunch of stuff for RIMPAC. Including that GIANT golfball-looking seaborne RADAR systems used to track ICBMs in flight. Really cool piece of machinery.

The more research I try to do online about that system, the more I realise how tight-lipped everybody is; at least amongst those who actually are in the know.
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