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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 Vulcan Goes wider than that, looks as though certain people want the US Army/USMC to be in ...


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Old December 3rd, 2016   #76
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Goes wider than that, looks as though certain people want the US Army/USMC to be in the business of coastal defence in general.

PACOM chief eyes coastal defence artillery for South China Sea | IHS Jane's 360

Mentions that the M109A7 should get a look too to study the positibilities to be used as coastal artillery.
More along the same lines. The Army. Looking to the past to remain relevant in the Pacific theater of operations. I guess the question is how many Asian countries along the First Island Chain would be willing to host such a force?

A U.S. Army Role in Countering China’s A2/AD Efforts: The Expeditionary Coastal Artillery Brigade
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Old December 20th, 2016   #77
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I may be wrong, but AFAIK, US Army has no Artillery Divisions. I find this odd. What is even more odd is the small number (421 M777A2*) of artillery guns deployed. All this makes me feel that US Army relies more on airstrikes and even the artillery units rely mostly on Guided Munitions. It seems the US Army only looks at Artillery as a support arm.
*Are the M198 still in service?
Also, is there a plan to equip units that have 105mm guns with 155mm?


I contrast this with the Indian Army. Each Strike Corps of the IA has one Artillery Division. Apart from that, all types of divisions (Armored, Infantry, Mountain or RAPID) have one artillery brigade each (true for all Holding Corps). The total stands at approximately 218 artillery regiments.

Now, the idea behind the Artillery divisions is "maneuver by fire". The Artillery is integrated into the Strike Corps so that the maneuver formations do not necessarily advance under cover of artillery support. Rather, they advance to support the Artillery strike. As and when required, the Mechanized forces can take the center-stage, with Artillery switching to supporting role. This role-switch can be performed alternately, thereby maintaining a high operational tempo. This option seems absent for US Army.

One thing I really like about US Army artillery is the modular-versatility of the rocket artillery units. The M270 is like the Pinaka MBRL, Prahaar MBRL and Brahmos SSM all thrown into one (although Brahmos has no parallel in the M270's rockets). I wish India also creates a common platform like the M270. The IA has only recently started introducing rocket and SSM artillery in numbers. The plan is to field some 22 Pinaka regiments by 2022 along with some 6 regiments of Brahmos. (Which is not nearly enough.)

Another question, M777A2 has a 155mm X 39 mm caliber. Why is the M777ER not being inducted? I can understand why Marines would need an All-Ultra-light-howitzer-force, but should the US Army not have 155mm X 52mm as the standard?
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Old December 20th, 2016   #78
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I may be wrong, but AFAIK, US Army has no Artillery Divisions. I find this odd. What is even more odd is the small number (421 M777A2*) of artillery guns deployed. All this makes me feel that US Army relies more on airstrikes and even the artillery units rely mostly on Guided Munitions. It seems the US Army only looks at Artillery as a support arm.
*Are the M198 still in service?
Also, is there a plan to equip units that have 105mm guns with 155mm?


I contrast this with the Indian Army. Each Strike Corps of the IA has one Artillery Division. Apart from that, all types of divisions (Armored, Infantry, Mountain or RAPID) have one artillery brigade each (true for all Holding Corps). The total stands at approximately 218 artillery regiments.

Now, the idea behind the Artillery divisions is "maneuver by fire". The Artillery is integrated into the Strike Corps so that the maneuver formations do not necessarily advance under cover of artillery support. Rather, they advance to support the Artillery strike. As and when required, the Mechanized forces can take the center-stage, with Artillery switching to supporting role. This role-switch can be performed alternately, thereby maintaining a high operational tempo. This option seems absent for US Army.

One thing I really like about US Army artillery is the modular-versatility of the rocket artillery units. The M270 is like the Pinaka MBRL, Prahaar MBRL and Brahmos SSM all thrown into one (although Brahmos has no parallel in the M270's rockets). I wish India also creates a common platform like the M270. The IA has only recently started introducing rocket and SSM artillery in numbers. The plan is to field some 22 Pinaka regiments by 2022 along with some 6 regiments of Brahmos. (Which is not nearly enough.)

Another question, M777A2 has a 155mm X 39 mm caliber. Why is the M777ER not being inducted? I can understand why Marines would need an All-Ultra-light-howitzer-force, but should the US Army not have 155mm X 52mm as the standard?

Correct, no Artillery Divisions. Indirect Assts are Integrated into Brigade level teams and also can be Division and Corps Assets. The US Army also has M998 towed 155, and the lighter M119 105. They're relying more on the newer HIMARS and working on a new concept called Long Range Pritective Fires designed to deep strike beyond 300km. One could argue this is more designed for application in more contested airspace where CAS isn't guaranteed.

Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) | USAASC
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Old December 20th, 2016   #79
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Correct, no Artillery Divisions. Indirect Assts are Integrated into Brigade level teams and also can be Division and Corps Assets. The US Army also has M998 towed 155, and the lighter M119 105. They're relying more on the newer HIMARS and working on a new concept called Long Range Pritective Fires designed to deep strike beyond 300km. One could argue this is more designed for application in more contested airspace where CAS isn't guaranteed.

Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) | USAASC
That link is not working for me. Anyhow, I read an article about the same on breakingdefense.com titled: "New Army Long-Range Missile Might Kill Ships, Too: LRPF." What I deciphered from this article is that LRPF hinges on the ATACMS, which is being upgraded to allow US Army Artillery to hit targets out to 500 km. I would be interested to know how much more they can increase the range to if they decide not to stick with the treaty.

This LRPF concept, however, does not seem new to me. Artillery Divisions of the Indian Army today have the capability to hit targets out to 300km and by 2022, will have the capability to hit targets out to 1500km (up to 600km Brahmos SSM: after minor upgrades to existing systems; 750-1500km Shaurya SSM: in production).

Meanwhile, China and Russia already have these capabilities.

This seems like gross neglect of the artillery arm of the US Army, and even now, LRPF concept is only addressing part of the problem. What to do about howitzers. They are very few in number, considering the size of the US Army. Are units with the 105 mm not going to be upgraded to 155mm? And how many M198 are in service?


All this looks like a result of America's over-reliance on air-power and CAS. Now that they realize that US air-superiority is not guaranteed in every conflict, they are revisiting artillery.

About the ATACMS though, how does it compare with the Brahmos in terms of cost vs capability? I am interested in this because these two missiles seem like they fulfill similar requirements in both Armies, and yet it looks like Brahmos has a lower payload vs range and a more sophisticated seeker resulting in a higher cost price. Does the ATACMS behave like a cruise missile (does it maneuver)? It does seem more cost effective though. Also, what other SSMs does the US Army use in a tactical role?
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Old December 20th, 2016   #80
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Correct, no Artillery Divisions. Indirect Assts are Integrated into Brigade level teams and also can be Division and Corps Assets. The US Army also has M998 towed 155, and the lighter M119 105. They're relying more on the newer HIMARS and working on a new concept called Long Range Pritective Fires designed to deep strike beyond 300km. One could argue this is more designed for application in more contested airspace where CAS isn't guaranteed.

Long Range Precision Fires (LRPF) | USAASC
The M998 was the original HMMWV (Humvee). The M198 was a towed 155mm howitzer fielded by the US military. It is no loner in service with US forces.
The only artillery fielded by the US military are the M109 series 155 mm self propelled howitzers, the M777 155 mm & M119 105 mm series of towed howitzers. Along with the M270 MLRS and M142 HIMARS rocket artillery.
The USMC also operates a number of M327 120mm Expeditionary Fire Support Systems (French MO-120 RT-61, 120 mm rifled mortars) as artillery systems as they can be transported by MV-22 Ospreys ,and less known within the AAV-P7 amphibious assault vehicles, for early entry forces, until larger systems can be landed.
As far as I am aware, the US military has never fielded any Artillery Divisions. The largest US artillery formations have been Artillery Brigades with a number of subordinate regiments.
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Old December 21st, 2016   #81
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The artillery division concept is a very little used one. It was used first by the Soviets with the intent of using a s**t load of artillery to literally smash the front open (WWII) and since then has been taken up at various times by Iraq, India and Vietnam with only India still using it.

I have to ask with India's artillery divisions are they more mobile or fixed? If they are fixed (which I suspect) then they can possibly have an effect of use holding defined positions, But in a mobile force it's probably just too much artillery to command for a single unit effectively in the modern battle field.
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Old December 23rd, 2016   #82
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The artillery division concept is a very little used one. It was used first by the Soviets with the intent of using a s**t load of artillery to literally smash the front open (WWII) and since then has been taken up at various times by Iraq, India and Vietnam with only India still using it.

I have to ask with India's artillery divisions are they more mobile or fixed? If they are fixed (which I suspect) then they can possibly have an effect of use holding defined positions, But in a mobile force it's probably just too much artillery to command for a single unit effectively in the modern battle field.
I don't think that's true. Look at the use of Russian arty in the summer of '14. They annihilated the entire Ukrainian assault force in the Izvarino pocket with nothing but artillery, and massive quantities of it. Arty divisions themselves may no longer be a formation but massive quantities of artillery are still relevant in some situations. And the use of Russian arty in Syria, and US and French arty in Iraq, to support native infantry forces shows that the role of artillery is still very important.
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Old December 24th, 2016   #83
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With the proliferation of drones, indirect fire weapons gain value. Even "obsolete" soviet-era artillery equipment can wreak havoc if you can see the target area in realtime using a cheap drone.

Also you don't need disciplined or competent soldiers to do that.
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Old December 24th, 2016   #84
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With the proliferation of drones, indirect fire weapons gain value. Even "obsolete" soviet-era artillery equipment can wreak havoc if you can see the target area in realtime using a cheap drone.

Also you don't need disciplined or competent soldiers to do that.
Especially when the artillery is sitting over the border immune to retaliation or even a pre-emptive strike due to fear of escalation (ie direct Russian involvement instead of sniping from the sidelines). In a hot war such concentrations of artillery, especially towed and unarmoured truck mounted types would be obliterated in short order by tactical air and long range strikes by highly mobile, armoured rockets and tactical missiles, as well as dispersed tube SPGs using superior situational awareness to shoot and scoot.
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Old December 24th, 2016   #85
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Especially when the artillery is sitting over the border immune to retaliation or even a pre-emptive strike due to fear of escalation (ie direct Russian involvement instead of sniping from the sidelines). In a hot war such concentrations of artillery, especially towed and unarmoured truck mounted types would be obliterated in short order by tactical air and long range strikes by highly mobile, armoured rockets and tactical missiles, as well as dispersed tube SPGs using superior situational awareness to shoot and scoot.
the israelis are developing some spectacular platforms for tracking and targetting UAS.

you can imagine the benefits when that fidelity starts to assist larger TMS
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Old December 24th, 2016   #86
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the israelis are developing some spectacular platforms for tracking and targetting UAS.

you can imagine the benefits when that fidelity starts to assist larger TMS
People currently appear to have not only forgotten the lessons of WWII but the various Arab Israeli wars in the 60s and 70s as well as Desert Storm in 91 and the complete obliteration of the Iraqi military in 2003. Its not just in terms of what happens to concentrated forces, armoured or not, its the effect of having the best integrated picture.

Lets not forget LO either, crossing threads here but the current insanity on the F-35 thread is conveniently forgetting that LO opened the way for the 4th gen strike packages that pureed Sadams forces in 91. Now we get people thinking that teen series fighters can do alone what they couldn't 25 years ago when the truth is a future war will see F-35s taking down IADS then killing everything they see, which is a darn sight more than any other platform can see. Massed artillery divisions will just reduce the time taken and fuel burned to do the job.
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Old December 24th, 2016   #87
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Especially when the artillery is sitting over the border immune to retaliation or even a pre-emptive strike due to fear of escalation (ie direct Russian involvement instead of sniping from the sidelines). In a hot war such concentrations of artillery, especially towed and unarmoured truck mounted types would be obliterated in short order by tactical air and long range strikes by highly mobile, armoured rockets and tactical missiles, as well as dispersed tube SPGs using superior situational awareness to shoot and scoot.
Assuming they have superior situational awareness. The truth is that even if Ukraine had been willing to strike those artillery positions, they didn't have the means and were mostly unaware of them until the shells started falling. The massed Ukrainian Army vehicles parked in the open with no efforts to conceal or entrench them speak for themselves. Also I hope you're not suggesting that Ukraine has done a decent job suppressing the giant quantities of arty and mortars in the hands of the rebels in the east. Not all wars involve 1st world countries.

I'm not arguing that arty by itself is a game changer but I submit that large composite formations of artillery filling a role similar to the Arty Division, still have a place on today's battlefields. Keep in mind even with the availability of air power in Syria and Iraq, Russia, the US, and France have all opted to deploy arty in addition to that. And the Turks selected artillery to play a similar role to that of Russia, when they used it against the Kurds in cross-border fires. In that regard I think the US would do well to consider increasing the size of US indirect fire formations both mortar and artillery.

And the M109 is rather old and unimpressive these days. Something more in line with the Swedish Archer, or the Russian Coalition, I think is in order. If the M1 is going to remain the primary US MBT for decades to come, it would make sense to use its chassis. Either that or standardize it with either the M270 or the HIMARS (for something closer to the French CAESAR). While I understand the previous discussion focused much on towed guns, perhaps something like the CAESAR is the solution as it offers the mobility of an SPG with the lesser weight of a towed gun + truck, as well as the lower logistical burden of merely dealing with a truck rather then a dedicated heavy tracked chassis.
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Old December 24th, 2016   #88
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People currently appear to have not only forgotten the lessons of WWII but the various Arab Israeli wars in the 60s and 70s as well as Desert Storm in 91 and the complete obliteration of the Iraqi military in 2003. Its not just in terms of what happens to concentrated forces, armoured or not, its the effect of having the best integrated picture.

Lets not forget LO either, crossing threads here but the current insanity on the F-35 thread is conveniently forgetting that LO opened the way for the 4th gen strike packages that pureed Sadams forces in 91. Now we get people thinking that teen series fighters can do alone what they couldn't 25 years ago when the truth is a future war will see F-35s taking down IADS then killing everything they see, which is a darn sight more than any other platform can see. Massed artillery divisions will just reduce the time taken and fuel burned to do the job.
But we're talking about the US here. Who is going to use F-35s against the US? Or are you suggesting the US will have trouble dealing with PAK-FA or J-31 type aircraft? I understand that Russia or India wouldn't be able to use artillery in this manner against the United States, but what prevents the US from doing so against it's enemies? I can't help but assume that the Iraqis would be much happier if instead of a single French battery supporting them, they had an entire arty btln or several, for taking Mosul. Given the trouble the difficulties they've had in breaking through ISIS defenses in those conditions, more and better artillery support seems like an obvious choice.
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Old December 24th, 2016   #89
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But we're talking about the US here. Who is going to use F-35s against the US? Or are you suggesting the US will have trouble dealing with PAK-FA or J-31 type aircraft? I understand that Russia or India wouldn't be able to use artillery in this manner against the United States, but what prevents the US from doing so against it's enemies? I can't help but assume that the Iraqis would be much happier if instead of a single French battery supporting them, they had an entire arty btln or several, for taking Mosul. Given the trouble the difficulties they've had in breaking through ISIS defenses in those conditions, more and better artillery support seems like an obvious choice.
No what I am saying is the tactics used in a permissive environment will not work in a high threat one. Yes Russia used massed artillery to destroy Ukraine's offensive but would it work against a coordinated NATO offensive that was preceded by an air campaign? What I am arguing is that traditional artillery massed into divisions is probably more a liability for the west as the collateral damage would be unacceptable in limited warfare while it would be too inflexible and vulnerable in total war. Once the battlefield has stabilised enough for artillery divisions to be employed without being destroyed it would most definitely be permissive enough to employ close air support as well, ie F-35 with wing mounted ordinance, as well as older types.

Yes the US could use more artillery but it could also be argued they need more of everything. I think they are moving in the right direction, especially in terms of increasing the versatility of their fires, Army missiles getting an anti shipping role, navy air defence missiles' getting an anti surface/land attack role.
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Old December 24th, 2016   #90
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No what I am saying is the tactics used in a permissive environment will not work in a high threat one. Yes Russia used massed artillery to destroy Ukraine's offensive but would it work against a coordinated NATO offensive that was preceded by an air campaign?
Other then nuclear weapons, there's nothing that would work against a coordinated NATO offensive preceded by an air campaign. It's not really a relevant example. But imagine a situation where is no time for a traditional NATO air campaign because a Russian ground push threatens to render NATO action irrelevant politically in a time frame less then that which is necessary to properly roll back Russia's IADS. And you are the NATO commander. Now don't you wish you had a little more arty?

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What I am arguing is that traditional artillery massed into divisions is probably more a liability for the west as the collateral damage would be unacceptable in limited warfare while it would be too inflexible and vulnerable in total war. Once the battlefield has stabilised enough for artillery divisions to be employed without being destroyed it would most definitely be permissive enough to employ close air support as well, ie F-35 with wing mounted ordinance, as well as older types.
Air support is expensive and as it stands artillery is being used anyway in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Again pointing to the current battle for Mosul, additional artillery employed by a professional western military would go a long way.

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Yes the US could use more artillery but it could also be argued they need more of everything. I think they are moving in the right direction, especially in terms of increasing the versatility of their fires, Army missiles getting an anti shipping role, navy air defence missiles' getting an anti surface/land attack role.
I agree about the versatility and emerging multi-purpose capabilities. However I think the US is skewed very heavily in the direction of air power. Air power is superior to artillery in most ways but it's expensive and more limited in quantity. Recent conflicts both Ukraine, and the variety of conflicts across the Middle East, showcase that artillery is far from done with, and a robust indirect fire capability is often essential to successful offensive operations.

There's a reason I mention composite formations rather then actual TO&E divisions. Having enough artillery within infantry and armored formations to allow for a massed employment in cases where it's called for is what I'm suggesting.
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