Australian Army Discussions and Updates

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
I just watched a program on the Abrams tank factory and included was a discussion on the fitting of both flat and curved explosive tile armour.
Are Australian Army tanks so fitted? If so does this increase their weight beyond the limitations of the RAN’s recently modified LHD landing craft?
The link only refers to “advanced composite” armour, is that similar?
M1 Abrams Tank | Army.gov.au
There was a documentary made about 2006 called Megafactories in the Abrams factory and it showed the re-life process the Tanks were put through, and in a nice touch they had a couple of the Australian Tanks as the finished article.
remember watching it at the time, quite informative.

It is on Youtube but unfortunately behind a Paywall.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
An article suggesting that the ADF create a two ocean army. the following key points are lifted from the article:
  • The Indo-Pacific has emerged as the main theatre of escalating Sino-US strategic competition, and this is likely to superimpose itself on a raft of underlying Asian rivalries and insecurities with unpredictable consequences. As such, this new era of regional volatility has provided significant impetus to reviving debate on the security of Australia’s vulnerable northern recesses.
  • Given this geo-political reality, the correct strategy for Australia in the 2020s is a clearly a maritime one with an integral role for the Army in a joint force. While the ADF has long considered itself a ‘two ocean force’ its capability and concept of operations would benefit from a land force that conceives of itself in terms of a wider strategic philosophy of land power. Such a strategic philosophy needs to cover not just contingencies in the Pacific but also those that may involve the Indian Ocean.
  • As an instrument of statecraft, the Army must be ready to undertake a suite of missions in the Indo-Pacific region emphasising confidence-building measures such as military diplomacy, combined training exercises, international military exchange programs, security force assistance programs, mentoring-training and stability activities up to, and including, the possibility of engaging in simultaneous combat missions, and littoral manoeuvre operations.
  • To accomplish this mosaic of tasks, the Army needs to be a larger establishment by some 4000-5000 soldiers and, given the acceptance of the Indo-Pacific strategic concept in Canberra, there is a case to be made for a greater land force presence in Western Australia. One option would be to station a regular battalion capable of amphibious operations in the Perth metropolitan area with the reserve 13th Brigade providing support
The only comment that I have is that a 5,000 soldier increase in the army along with the associated capabilities and equipment won't be cheap. This will require a considerable increase of funding to stand up and then to sustain.

 

Morgo

Member
I am struggling with the logic of basing amphibious forces in Perth.

I can rationalise greater amphibious capability away from the east coast. The ability to rapidly defend / dislodge an aggressor from Timor / Christmas Is / Cocos.

I can rationalise a greater long range air defence / BMD capability based in the north west being useful for protecting our gas infrastructure.

But both of these things more sensibly reside in Darwin, where they can also deploy to the South Pacific as well, which realistically iswhere we are more likely to need these forces.

Where would we be aiming to conduct amphibious operations that would make Perth the logical basing option? Madagascar??
 

aussienscale

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
The only comment that I have is that a 5,000 soldier increase in the army along with the associated capabilities and equipment won't be cheap. This will require a considerable increase of funding to stand up and then to sustain.

Won't be cheap for the Army, but what about the Navy and RAAF that would be needed to support a 2 Ocean Army, I know we throw around the whole 2 ocean navy thing a lot, but can you imagine what would be required for this !! Wow that is a hell of a lot of money, let alone the time that would take to actually build and stand up such a force !!

That to me is talking about doubling the RAN's amphibious capability, support and supply, then the actual numbers of people you need to increase that capability. Transport and lift capability increase and fighter, tanker increase to cover a 2 ocean Army and that subsequent increase in numbers !

A massive task ! Thinking we need a little more than 2% of GDP, pre Covid GDP that is :)
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
No mention of where this Bde+ is coming from, no mention of retention, no mention of funding the facilities. No realistic determination of what 13 Bde can do or support. Didn't read the FSP or he would have seen the Army isn't the short term priority so all this expansion is going to have to wait.

No problem with the basic idea. But if I need to go into SW Asia I can use the road/rail/air networks within Australia to move the forces to an appropriate point of embarkation and then go forward. It means that *gasp* soldiers from Brisbane could go to Sumatra.

This isn't even wishful thinking. Well, it's certainly not the latter....
 

tigerstripes

New Member
I am struggling with the logic of basing amphibious forces in Perth.

I can rationalise greater amphibious capability away from the east coast. The ability to rapidly defend / dislodge an aggressor from Timor / Christmas Is / Cocos.

I can rationalise a greater long range air defence / BMD capability based in the north west being useful for protecting our gas infrastructure.

But both of these things more sensibly reside in Darwin, where they can also deploy to the South Pacific as well, which realistically iswhere we are more likely to need these forces.

Where would we be aiming to conduct amphibious operations that would make Perth the logical basing option? Madagascar??
A few short points on why a base here is not all stupid:

1. Not sold on it having to be an amphibious force, I think a motorised battalion in Bushmasters and Hawkei's will be a better alternative,

2. We have a Battalion group/ Brigade minus based in Adelaide.....where are they going to conduct OPS...Antarctica?

3. A quick look at google maps will clearly show why it would make sense. Indonesia, South China Sea, India are all North/North West of Australia, including the Pacific these are the locations we are pivoting to in the coming years. So I say why not? ......

4. Along with the a air defence capability in the North West I feel an Army battalion in Perth makes sense, we have one of 2 Major Navy bases in Perth, Reserve Brigade with most of the enabling capabilities shows that it is possible to support such a force.

5. By moving 7 RAR and what ever else they could strip out of Darwin over the years has demonstrated that the federal government has no interest in maintaining large forces North so Perth would make a good alternative. While their at it might as well send one of the Canberra class over here.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
A few short points on why a base here is not all stupid:

1. Not sold on it having to be an amphibious force, I think a motorised battalion in Bushmasters and Hawkei's will be a better alternative,

2. We have a Battalion group/ Brigade minus based in Adelaide.....where are they going to conduct OPS...Antarctica?

3. A quick look at google maps will clearly show why it would make sense. Indonesia, South China Sea, India are all North/North West of Australia, including the Pacific these are the locations we are pivoting to in the coming years. So I say why not? ......

4. Along with the a air defence capability in the North West I feel an Army battalion in Perth makes sense, we have one of 2 Major Navy bases in Perth, Reserve Brigade with most of the enabling capabilities shows that it is possible to support such a force.

5. By moving 7 RAR and what ever else they could strip out of Darwin over the years has demonstrated that the federal government has no interest in maintaining large forces North so Perth would make a good alternative. While their at it might as well send one of the Canberra class over here.
1. How does that fit in with Army’s Beersheba Brigade concept? So we should have an entire regular Brigade that is equipped and structured entirely differently to the rest of Army? Yeah, no...

2. They will conduct ops anywhere Army needs them too. We do actually have transport options to deploy any of our Brigades, you understand? Road, rail, sea and air...

3. If a quick look at google maps is all it takes, then why is this brigade in Adelaide or Perth? Darwin is a far closer and more logical basing city to deploy into these environments... Plus the little fact that most of this brigade is already there...

4. What air defence capability? Why base one single battalion there? You are aware of readiness cycle Army maintains? What is one single battalion there going to achieve, exactly? Any supporting elements or are they all staying in Darwin / Adelaide?

5. Brilliant idea. Let’s move 30% of Navy’s transport capability, away from 66% of Army‘s high readiness ground forces...
 

tigerstripes

New Member
1. How does that fit in with Army’s Beersheba Brigade concept? So we should have an entire regular Brigade that is equipped and structured entirely differently to the rest of Army? Yeah, no...

2. They will conduct ops anywhere Army needs them too. We do actually have transport options to deploy any of our Brigades, you understand? Road, rail, sea and air...

3. If a quick look at google maps is all it takes, then why is this brigade in Adelaide or Perth? Darwin is a far closer and more logical basing city to deploy into these environments... Plus the little fact that most of this brigade is already there...

4. What air defence capability? Why base one single battalion there? You are aware of readiness cycle Army maintains? What is one single battalion there going to achieve, exactly? Any supporting elements or are they all staying in Darwin / Adelaide?

5. Brilliant idea. Let’s move 30% of Navy’s transport capability, away from 66% of Army‘s high readiness ground forces...
No one said anything about an ENTIRE Brigade....

We have roads and rail??? really?

No need to get so defensive about it, it is merely an opinion that not all forces need to be based on the East coast or the holy grail of forward defence...Darwin.

You do realise that there is basically a brigade minus in Adelaide right??? Battalion, armoured elements, artillery, CSS?? So a base in Perth is not completely out of the realm of possibility.

What is one single battalion going to achieve....not sure you'll have to ask our ONLY amphibious battalion that question???

The Canberra class thing was a joke but since you think its a brilliant idea good stuff, send it over hahaha

@Tigerstrips

You are within your rights to make your point but do it politely please. I would note that ADMk2 is a defence pro and has history in this area. Certainly make your point and back them up with coherent arguments. However, your case is not held by the condescending tone you have used.

If we all play nice we all benefit from a robust discussion.

Alexsa
 
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ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
No one said anything about an ENTIRE Brigade....

We have roads and rail??? really?
Well then why make a point about a battalion in Adelaide conducting ops in ‘Antartica’? You clearly know full well they would deploy from there exactly the same way any battalion in Perth would....

No need to get so defensive about it, it is merely an opinion that not all forces need to be based on the East coast or the holy grail of forward defence...Darwin.
I agree. So does Army, hence why Adelaide exists...

You do realise that there is basically a brigade minus in Adelaide right??? Battalion, armoured elements, artillery, CSS?? So a base in Perth is not completely out of the realm of possibility.
No. really? Obviously that’s news to all... Perth isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility except for the lack of training facilities, infrastructure and any compelling reason to actually move an entire battalion (not a trivial or inexpensive task I’m sure you’ll agree) permanently...

What is one single battalion going to achieve....not sure you'll have to ask our ONLY amphibious battalion that question???

The Canberra class thing was a joke but since you think its a brilliant idea good stuff, send it over hahaha
I’m sure you are aware that 2RAR isn’t a battalion in the proper sense. It is constructed to provide a deployable pre-landing force, sub-unit in size, but hey seeing as though we’re joking, why not just move them? Maybe we’ll need to conduct an amphibious landing on Diego Garcia one day...
 

tigerstripes

New Member
Well then why make a point about a battalion in Adelaide conducting ops in ‘Antartica’? You clearly know full well they would deploy from there exactly the same way any battalion in Perth would....



I agree. So does Army, hence why Adelaide exists...



No. really? Obviously that’s news to all... Perth isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility except for the lack of training facilities, infrastructure and any comp
Well then why make a point about a battalion in Adelaide conducting ops in ‘Antartica’? You clearly know full well they would deploy from there exactly the same way any battalion in Perth would....



I agree. So does Army, hence why Adelaide exists...



No. really? Obviously that’s news to all... Perth isn’t completely out of the realm of possibility except for the lack of training facilities, infrastructure and any compelling reason to actually move an entire battalion (not a trivial or inexpensive task I’m sure you’ll agree) permanently...



I’m sure you are aware that 2RAR isn’t a battalion in the proper sense. It is constructed to provide a deployable pre-landing force, sub-unit in size, but hey seeing as though we’re joking, why not just move them? Maybe we’ll need to conduct an amphibious landing on Diego Garcia one day...
elling reason to actually move an entire battalion (not a trivial or inexpensive task I’m sure you’ll agree) permanently...



I’m sure you are aware that 2RAR isn’t a battalion in the proper sense. It is constructed to provide a deployable pre-landing force, sub-unit in size, but hey seeing as though we’re joking, why not just move them? Maybe we’ll need to conduct an amphibious landing on Diego Garcia one day...
I actually agree with you that it would be expensive etc and at the moment completely out of left field...but stranger things have happened. All it may take is a West Oz pollie with plenty of pull and an axe to grind. Hell they managed to dislodge the entire Submarine force from Sydney back in the day.
 

Depot Dog

New Member
As a long term reader I feel I have something to contribute to this conversation. I am just following this conversation even thou my thoughts should be in the ADF discussion thread.

One thing that has bewilder me about fleet base West is lack of air cover. From WW2 to Dessert Storm air supremacy/protection, one of the first things required in the campaign. In WA we have a fleet base West with no air protection. So in addition to the discussed army personal why not base a fighter squadron at RAAF Base Pearce. I'd even suggest the rumored 4th F35 Squadron.

Last point is the Indian Ocean has always had it's problems. Let us not forget the recent Indian-China recent border skirmish. China built this massive scale model to prepare for the showdown to come
Adding to the list is India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry could unravel, Persian gulf incidents with Arabs states Missiles fired at US warship from Yemen etc. Any one of these could destabilize the Indian ocean region. Therefore having assets out west to deal with surprises would be handy.

Regards MH
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
As a long term reader I feel I have something to contribute to this conversation. I am just following this conversation even thou my thoughts should be in the ADF discussion thread.

One thing that has bewilder me about fleet base West is lack of air cover. From WW2 to Dessert Storm air supremacy/protection, one of the first things required in the campaign. In WA we have a fleet base West with no air protection. So in addition to the discussed army personal why not base a fighter squadron at RAAF Base Pearce. I'd even suggest the rumored 4th F35 Squadron.

Last point is the Indian Ocean has always had it's problems. Let us not forget the recent Indian-China recent border skirmish. China built this massive scale model to prepare for the showdown to come
Adding to the list is India-Pakistan nuclear rivalry could unravel, Persian gulf incidents with Arabs states Missiles fired at US warship from Yemen etc. Any one of these could destabilize the Indian ocean region. Therefore having assets out west to deal with surprises would be handy.

Regards MH
A permanent Fighter sqn in Perth to provide Air cover on the slight chance of a strike against FBW, launched by a hostile AF? What about Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide?
A sneak attack, A-la Pearl Harbour would almost certainly be Cruise Missiles launched from Subs and your Fighter Sqn wouldn’t be of much use and would in fact be a Target, or by Ballistic Missiles and again your Fighter Sqn would be of no use whatsoever, any Surface Fleet would be detected long before they got within range of striking FBW. Any shooting war where there is any prospect of a direct attack against Perth would see units deployed to RAAF Curtin the Bare Base at Derby or RAAF Learmouth, both of which a far better situated to defend Perth then RAAF Pearce is.
The biggest improvement going on right now in the ADF is in ISR, the RAAF could have Fighters on the ground at RAAF Pearce in a few hours anyway, and moving Units is very expensive and creating new ones even more so
 

Depot Dog

New Member
A permanent Fighter sqn in Perth to provide Air cover on the slight chance of a strike against FBW, launched by a hostile AF? What about Canberra, Melbourne and Adelaide?
A sneak attack, A-la Pearl Harbour would almost certainly be Cruise Missiles launched from Subs and your Fighter Sqn wouldn’t be of much use and would in fact be a Target, or by Ballistic Missiles and again your Fighter Sqn would be of no use whatsoever, any Surface Fleet would be detected long before they got within range of striking FBW. Any shooting war where there is any prospect of a direct attack against Perth would see units deployed to RAAF Curtin the Bare Base at Derby or RAAF Learmouth, both of which a far better situated to defend Perth then RAAF Pearce is.
The biggest improvement going on right now in the ADF is in ISR, the RAAF could have Fighters on the ground at RAAF Pearce in a few hours anyway, and moving Units is very expensive and creating new ones even more so
Many thanks for your reply. Point taken that cruise missile or ballistic missile attack a fighter squadron is useless. But then again any attack of that nature on the west or east coast air defense is not the answer. IADS shows promise but the area covered will be expensive and limited.

In 81 I was posted to RAAF base Darwin. During my time there was an exercise where a squadron of Mirages flew from east to west coast via Darwin. It was to simulate an emergency out west. By the time they got to Darwin they were behind time and had quite a few breakdowns. I will agree alot of things have improved since then. These include RAAF Tindal based aircraft, Air refueling, ISR assets, northern bare bases and better aircraft.

I was not trying to do a fantasy thread and project my beliefs on where things should be placed. So please do not focus this on my suggestion for Pearce. I see your point about northern bare bases and cutting them off before they get there. Given the distance I felt Perth and the south West corner deserved better protection.

Regards MH
 
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Boagrius

Active Member
The only threat that could really reach Perth would be a surprise SLCM attack (no fixed wings or BM in range), and the one thing the other team don't have a lot of (for now) is VLS equipped SSNs that could pull it off. That said, I expect this to steadily change in the coming decade(s) - enter the stated IADS investment from the Strategic Update. I'd suggest that if protection against this threat was desired then hardening key existing airbases (eg. by shifting essential aircraft shelters, fuel & ammo storage underground) may be more important, along with coupling the projected IADS capability with robust low altitude ISR eg. EL/M-2083.
 
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Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Terminology please. Fantail is a USN term and not a Commonwealth naval term, so please use the appropriate name which is quarter deck, or in this case the flight deck. Fantail so sounds like the arse of a fan.
Or a chocolate covered toffee .

The USMC have certified and fired weapons systems offensively from their large deck amphibs. I wonder if there may be a future capability of doing so with army operated air defence and anti ship missiles. Logically their command and control systems should be able to network with the RAN.
 

ASSAIL

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
After spending 5 years there I can confirm it is a nice place to visit....for short a period hahaha
After being drafted to Darwin in 1974 for 2years, (I put Darwin last on my Patrol Boat choices) and was more then happy to leave, I realised my error and returned in 1980 and still here.
I consider the large cities in the South “nice places to visit.....for a short period”
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
No one said anything about an ENTIRE Brigade....

We have roads and rail??? really?

No need to get so defensive about it, it is merely an opinion that not all forces need to be based on the East coast or the holy grail of forward defence...Darwin.

You do realise that there is basically a brigade minus in Adelaide right??? Battalion, armoured elements, artillery, CSS?? So a base in Perth is not completely out of the realm of possibility.

What is one single battalion going to achieve....not sure you'll have to ask our ONLY amphibious battalion that question???

The Canberra class thing was a joke but since you think its a brilliant idea good stuff, send it over hahaha
You are missing some of the behind the scenes knowledge as to why it's a dumb idea.

First off, you place you military forces with respect to the threat. That gives us patrol boats in the north and a fighter Sqn. That's all the threats to the landmass of Australia taken care of. So you put the rest where it can be sustained. And the majority of that should be in a triangle between Brisbane, Adelaide and the coastline. Why? Simple - the vast majority of our population and industry are there. But, there is one other consideration, that of politics. Northern and western Australian's are as much Australian as those in the triangle, so we put elements in Perth, Darwin and northern QLD. Note that political consideration includes economic ones; the ADF contributes a lot of money to those communities (and arguably before the minerals boom of the late 00's was the major crutch for Darwin and Townsville). That's it - the majority is driven from where the population is because that's how we retain people. So yes - while most of our population is on the east coast the majority of the military will be there.

When it comes to retention - what do you think the main cause is? It's not the LT's or PTE's (which are easy enough to grow anyhow), it's the senior CAPT - LTCOL and senior CPL - WO2. The ones with families. Spousal employment is hard in the triangle and even more so north or west. Schooling (although actually pretty good in Darwin) is a problem as well, especially for the older kids. Gosh - my family would love to move back to Darwin, but we can't justify the impact of the kid's education and my spouse is unlikely to find employment. So we can't go.... The ADF is just starting to realise this wholesale, and while Service needs will always (rightfully) be the priority, we have to consider the member's non-military needs and circumstances. We cannot just find people of those ranks and experiences off the street.

Do you know why there is a Bde minus in Adelaide? There is actually a reason for it, and it's got nothing to do with Antarctica. It's simply down to weather and training opportunities - you can do field training at Cultana for 12 months a year, but not at Mt Bundy. The retention is a bonus! This highlights the fact that we can keep military forces in the SE triangle and push them forward if needs be. And the rail and road links between Adelaide and Perth are as good as those between Darwin and Adelaide.

You also seem to miss the point about rail and road. The fact is with internal lines of communication we will always respond quicker than a threat. And we have experiences in moving large amounts of mass (be it people or equipment) around Australia. Between the ADF, the mining industry and the farming industry, you'd be surprised at how quick we can put stuff somewhere. It would take longer for the LHDs to go from Sydney to Perth than it would to move 1 Bde to Perth. In fact, it would probably be faster to move 7 Bde to Perth than for the LHDs to get there. Whereas we could just send the LHDs to the Port of Brisbane.....

Let us put aside that 2 RAR is a Bn. I get it, the RAR Association will have my head. But it's not. It's a Coy sized pre-landing force. It'll only be committed when there is a mech force in the same landing party. Unlike this single Bn in Perth. And what is that single Bn of regular's going to achieve? They won't be able to train with armour, engineers or artillery. They'll just be a chunk of light infantry in an Army going mech. So they'll have even harder retention problems (it'll be a unique unit), and they'll be even more useless on a battlefield as they won't be familiar with the bits that keep infantry alive. So it's a net negative that undermines the point (and success) of Beersheba. And complicating it further, your specialisation will force the senior soldiers to remain in Perth, making a significant % leave. We've tried this before in many units in many locations - it's predictable!

Finally - like one of my soapboxes says - how are you paying for this? You have the FSP, read that and tell us what you are cutting to pay for this. First though, let us know how much you think it'll cost. I'd be surprised if you were close - I sure as hell wasn't when we priced moving something. But the budget has been 'fixed' for the next 20 years and there is no fat. So what are you cutting?

Do consider MINDEF's background and what has occurred over the past 12 - 18 months. Has there been any suggestion or hint that this is a possibility? I can assure you that increases in WA numbers have already been identified as a challenge and something like this two-ocean Army is most likely to have been looked at and discarded. Quickly.
 

old faithful

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
There is a reason that 2RAR is the size it is ATM anyway.
Choules accomadates @350 troops comfortably.

2RAR is pretty much 350 man unit.
A Coy is 4 rifle Platoons.
ISR Coy is also about 4 platoons,
Recon Pl
Sig Pl
Small boat PL and
Joint fire team Platoon.
and then there is Admin company.

2RAR is doing some really good cross training with SASR and 2 Cdo, and its paying off, with 2RAR winning this years the D.O.G and going on to the UK to represent Australia and compete in the Cambrian March. (3 RAR did the same circa 1993/4? and won it :) )

I can definatley see some merit in building on 2 RAR's posted streangth, up to 3 rifle companies, it would allow a company group to be posted on one of the amphibs at all times. Where the battalion would be based IMO opinion, would be the home port of the amphibs.
 
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