Australian Army Discussions and Updates

DDG38

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
The RAN may not be playing in the LCH arena at the moment but I can't see them giving up any medium to large vessel capability to Army. And besides, it's not exactly easy to just stand up a ship's company, turn the engine over, load up some gear and drive up to the beach. The RAN has been developing and improving it's amphibious capability over decades and it's now world class over anything that Army may be dreaming up. Stick to the small green boats guys, leave the heavy lifting to the grey funnel line. ;)
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
The RAN may not be playing in the LCH arena at the moment but I can't see them giving up any medium to large vessel capability to Army. And besides, it's not exactly easy to just stand up a ship's company, turn the engine over, load up some gear and drive up to the beach. The RAN has been developing and improving it's amphibious capability over decades and it's now world class over anything that Army may be dreaming up. Stick to the small green boats guys, leave the heavy lifting to the grey funnel line. ;)
The article in DTR does actually say its unsure about whether it will be operated by the RAN or Army. I don’t think there can be much doubt that this is a project very much driven by an Army requirement(lets not forget that the Canberra class is to).
Either way the Army does not have the expertise and experience to sail 500-2k ton LSMs requiring a crew of 12-15 anywhere so the RAN is going to have to be heavily involved in developing this capability, whether they have HMAS against their name or not. Probably the most likely scenario will be a Purple Crew under RAN command as per the larger Amphibs.
 

MickB

Active Member
I think production of future LCHs should include a batch to be gifted to our pacific allies similar to the Pacific Patrol Boat program.
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Some have enough trouble operating the patrol boats, LCH won't be any better unless it is a commercial variant that they could use to improve inter island trade this allowing economic considerations to improve effectively paying for there upkeep and operations.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Robin Laird has written an interesting article about the Tiger ARH replacement. He discusses the Tiger, the reasons why the ADF have problems with it, the three potential replacements, and why he believes that the Army has to move away from its Middle East continental mind set and constructs and start being serious about archipelago combat, because that's where it's next battlegrounds will be. He says that it has to go from being a US Army clone to being amphibious like the USMC, so it has to live and think amphibiosity (his word). So this change of foci informs the Army's choice of ARH and his argument is that:
  • There is no point replacing the Tiger ARH with an upgraded Tiger ARH because you don't resolve any of the existing problems
    • Logistics support problems from Airbus (same as MRH-90).
    • Limited number of aircraft users.
    • Aircraft is not marinised and in Australian use would be operated from sea so would be returning to LHD for refuelling, rearming, maintenance etc. Easier and simpler to do it that way than setting up a fully functional airstrip on the shore.
  • The AH-64 Apache is a like for like replacement of the Tiger and isn't fully marinised. So no real advantage.
  • This leaves the AH-1Z Viper which is fully marinised and was designed and built right from the outset to be so. It's used by the USMC and would only require some modifications to give it EW protection etc.
He provides a good argument and I believe one well worth considering. He also mentioned about the ADF replacing the MRH-90 as well for similar reasons the Tiger, with the main one being the poor spares support from Airbus.

 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
I suppose a lot depends on the CONOPS the Army is envisaging. ie. Are they planning on operating the ARH from the LHDs in a persistent fashion or are the LHDs simply to deliver them to land based operating areas. I suspect this distinction could heavily influence the amount of marinisation required.
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
Robin Laird has written an interesting article about the Tiger ARH replacement. He discusses the Tiger, the reasons why the ADF have problems with it, the three potential replacements, and why he believes that the Army has to move away from its Middle East continental mind set and constructs and start being serious about archipelago combat, because that's where it's next battlegrounds will be. He says that it has to go from being a US Army clone to being amphibious like the USMC, so it has to live and think amphibiosity (his word). So this change of foci informs the Army's choice of ARH and his argument is that:
  • There is no point replacing the Tiger ARH with an upgraded Tiger ARH because you don't resolve any of the existing problems
    • Logistics support problems from Airbus (same as MRH-90).
    • Limited number of aircraft users.
    • Aircraft is not marinised and in Australian use would be operated from sea so would be returning to LHD for refuelling, rearming, maintenance etc. Easier and simpler to do it that way than setting up a fully functional airstrip on the shore.
  • The AH-64 Apache is a like for like replacement of the Tiger and isn't fully marinised. So no real advantage.
  • This leaves the AH-1Z Viper which is fully marinised and was designed and built right from the outset to be so. It's used by the USMC and would only require some modifications to give it EW protection etc.
He provides a good argument and I believe one well worth considering. He also mentioned about the ADF replacing the MRH-90 as well for similar reasons the Tiger, with the main one being the poor spares support from Airbus.

Le sigh....

Straight up there is one large misconception. If a -64 is like for like with a Tiger, then why isn't a -1Z?

Moving on to the helicopters alone. The -1Z lost to -64A and Tiger 20 years ago. And didn't lose by a little bit - in every single aspect it came a clear third. In everything. Furthermore, based on the help we had to give the USMC from an engineering point of view, I'm not convinced Bell was any more open or detailed than Eurocopter. The problems that can be laid at the feet of Tiger, many would have occurred with -1Z. And this includes issues with small fleets. The -1Z has one customer and about the same number of airframes as Tiger (with 4 customers). The -64 has 2400 odd airframes across nearly a dozen nations - including Japan, Taiwan, South Korea and Indonesia. Add in the UK, US Army, Holland - no matter where we go to fight, it's highly likely there will be an Apache user there we can work with.

Moving on from 1999/2000, there are two clear differences. 1 - we know that marinisation (while useful) is not as important for an Army helicopter. How much time do these airframes spend embarked v on land. Furthermore, while extra maintenance is required over the airframe life (mostly monitoring), AH-64s have successfully demonstrated their ability to operate from carriers/LHDs. In fact, all three airframes have. Often. I will say that the auto-blade fold is nice - but obviously not essential.

-1Z and Sea Hawk crew train together? Wow. So do our Tiger and Black Hawk / MRH crews. It's because schools smash common trades together, not because of helicopter compatibility. Plus, the Black Hawk / Apache are much closer from a maintenance / design point of view than -1Z can be. Mainly because their simultanious development in the 1970s demanded it. There will be bigger differences now, but most of the avonics and mechanics are, if not identical, very similar. I can see us easily cross-training across the Hawk/Apache fleet.

Blah blah blah about FARPs and weapons. Doesn't he know that they all use the same weapons (shush - I know 2.75" =/= 68mm!) Does he honestly think that the -1Z will have weapons for it that the -64E doesn't? Remind me again, who flies the most attack helicopters in the US?

Finally, I'll accept an -64A is a like for like for Tiger; even the -64D we were offered. An -64E is a different beast inside. The avoinics updates exceed Tiger now, probably are better than Tiger 3 (I have no way of knowing at the moment) and are certainly better than -1Z (which again, was worse than both 20 years ago). The -64E has black boxes on it that let us do things we want to try (especially with uncrewed assets) that the others do not offer. It's closer to a smart aircraft he mentions than the -1Z is.

Other quibbles....

The Army will do more base protection? Uhhhh - no. And if that were the case, why would I need a marinised expeditionary helicopter?

The strategy is defence in depth and mobile defence out to the Solomons. Uhhh - no. It's a key area, but we have interests (including regional) that demand us to move beyond that. There's also a whole peninsula just to the north west that is kinda critical and goes up further.

Army is to provide for defense of Australian territory by enhanced mobility within the continent. Uhhh - no. We want to defend Australian territory as far out as possible. This sounds like an old Air/Sea gap wet dream again.

Army provides missile defence. Uhhh - no. It's an Air Domain thing, which is.....RAAF! (ok, ok, ok. It's a Joint problem where Army will contribute a tiny part and the RAN will have a major part. But it shows a real misunderstanding of doctrine and the FSP)

Sea basing. (I would love to know who this colleague is). We can't do it. We gave up on this years ago. The USN can barely do it. And what's with the comments about LHDs aren't meant to fulfill a combat need? We certainly see them as combat vessels. A Former CA is on record as saying the AWD Project was Army's most important one - without them the LHDs didn't sail. In all my training we've always combat loaded them and while we don't want to do Okinawa, we still plan on fighting....

A new capability? The LHD's? Uhhh - no.

More sea lift for the RAN. Is that why the FSP does that? Gosh..... We know there are sea lift limitations (but we can sea base...huh?). In fact, we know pretty much to the tonne how short we are. There are feasible and non-feasible answers, and the FSP contains may of the former. But the biggest issue remains workforce. A third LHD would be awesome, but we can't crew it. 2 - 3 more Choules, crew. A fleet of LSTs/LPAs/etc, crew. It's a really fine line we walk with workforce - and honestly, the Pers Group people don't get enough kudos.

There's more, but I have a day job I have to return to....
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I believe that one tenet of his argument is that the Australian Army should start thinking more USMC rather than US Army and I would tend to agree with him. Your aviation are going to have to be nimble and quick and be able to operate from sea bases, be they the LHDs, Choules, other ships, or USN and /or RNZN vessels, or as very bare basic deployments on the move.

The Solomon Islands are strategically important as is PNG, and that lesson was driven home in the period 1942 - 45. There were still 100,000 Imperial Japanese Army and Navy troops and sailors active, cranky and starving, in the Rabaul fortress when Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender in Tokyo Bay in September 1945. The USN, & RNZAF were still bombing and strafing them, destroying the gardens they used to grow food, sinking every ship in the harbour, destroying anything that maybe of use to them. The USN and RNZN still had ships blockading the area and attacking anything Japanese that attempted to float, and anything that they could target ashore. Whilst the US Army surrounded them ashore, keeping them bottled up. Nimitz decided to bypass Rabaul and continue island hopping because he believed it would be better just to cut it off and leave it to wither and die on the vine.

Today the weapons, sensors and capabilities are far more advanced and that makes a big difference, but the battlefields are still the same and the physical obstacles to overcome are still similar, so I do think that the Army does need to have a completely honest look at the future battlegrounds and how it is going to best deal with them. This means that it may have to reevaluate its CONOPS and some people may have to get off particular hobby horses. It means that the Army has to become more smarter.
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
I believe that one tenet of his argument is that the Australian Army should start thinking more USMC rather than US Army and I would tend to agree with him. Your aviation are going to have to be nimble and quick and be able to operate from sea bases, be they the LHDs, Choules, other ships, or USN and /or RNZN vessels, or as very bare basic deployments on the move.

The Solomon Islands are strategically important as is PNG, and that lesson was driven home in the period 1942 - 45. There were still 100,000 Imperial Japanese Army and Navy troops and sailors active, cranky and starving, in the Rabaul fortress when Japan signed the Instrument of Surrender in Tokyo Bay in September 1945. The USN, & RNZAF were still bombing and strafing them, destroying the gardens they used to grow food, sinking every ship in the harbour, destroying anything that maybe of use to them. The USN and RNZN still had ships blockading the area and attacking anything Japanese that attempted to float, and anything that they could target ashore. Whilst the US Army surrounded them ashore, keeping them bottled up. Nimitz decided to bypass Rabaul and continue island hopping because he believed it would be better just to cut it off and leave it to wither and die on the vine.

Today the weapons, sensors and capabilities are far more advanced and that makes a big difference, but the battlefields are still the same and the physical obstacles to overcome are still similar, so I do think that the Army does need to have a completely honest look at the future battlegrounds and how it is going to best deal with them. This means that it may have to reevaluate its CONOPS and some people may have to get off particular hobby horses. It means that the Army has to become more smarter.
I got that, and I even used to think that. But now I ask - why? Why do we want to be like the USMC?

Their role is much narrower than ours - they are their for seizing or defending naval bases, ground operations in support of naval operations and amphibious landings. We do all that (well, perhaps not defend naval bases...) and more. Look at the current thinking they have - delete tanks because if we need them the US Army will provide them. We can't afford that.

They rely on the other services more than we do - it's easy to say every marine a rifleman when you don't have to provide medics, tanks, operational level logistics or intelligence. Army, while 100% reliant on the other services here, has to provide all those bits too. We can't turn to the RAN and get them to provide all our medics, let alone higher level command.

They are bigger than us and can afford inefficiencies - 181 000 people. 1300 crewed aircraft (including helos). Then add in all the other support they get from the other services for their basic trade.

There are some good ideas from the USMC - their focus on combined arms (although they aren't so crash hot on joint warfare because of institutional distrust) and expeditionary mindset. But I'd point out that except for the 1980s and 1990s, the Australian Army has always practiced that. We have been world leaders in integrating armour, artillery and infantry + aviation and maritime support. Other than 1942, we have fought everywhere but Australia and except for DoA have always expected to. We work with Allies and other services better than the USMC does - and always have.

The key part is your last paragraph (bar the last sentence). The battlefields are likely to remain the same. A Pacific War against China is likely to not see heavy Army involvement initially - but we will be required to seize terrain. I doubt we'll see a refight of the Kokoda Track and the number of key islands has got smaller, but I can certainly see operations on the Malaysian Peninsula and further north, as well as other key islands in the Pacific. So the terrain is going to be familiar at the least. But we are building an Army - and ADF - that can do that. As well as all the other tasks that pop up, like supporting allies in the Middle East, Indian Ocean or Africa. That's always been the challenge we face - unlike the Marines the ADF has to deal with a full range of requirements and potential missions. On a smaller base of resources.

The last sentence intrigues me. How? and why? AHQ and ADFHQ truck this out regularly, but I'm yet to see us detail why, or how we do it. I'm also intrigued to understand what is so dumb in our past that requires such a phrase. I accept that the DoA era was dumb, but I also accept that it was provided by super-smart people in good faith and it was outside Army control. So what does 'get smarter' mean?
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
@Takao Get smarter means innovative thinking and in the ADF's case the Army looking at how the RAAF operate in a 5th Gen environment. What they did they did to change their corporate thinking etc. It means being able to communicate across platforms from all 3 domains so, for example, a CRV / soldier / Abrams etc can directly provide / receive targeting / INTEL information electronically to / from a F-35A / Shornet / Romeo / FFG etc., in real-time. It means that some upgrades improvements are run by the operators themselves in the field, not by office wallahs in Canberra warming chairs, so that these can be fielded quickly rather than having to complete endless quantities of paperwork and attend numerous meetings before something is even sent for approval. It means being very quick and nimble and able to adapt quickly without hidebound staff officers interfering protecting their empires and not understanding the 21st Century or modern technology. It's a generational shake up of Defence culture because of the technology revolution.
 
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Takao

The Bunker Group
@Takao Get smarter means innovative thinking and in the ADF's case the Army looking at how the RAAF operate in a 5th Gen environment. What they did they did to change their corporate thinking etc. It means being able to communicate across platforms from all 3 domains so, for example, a CRV / soldier / Abrams etc can directly provide / receive targeting / INTEL information electronically to / from a F-135A / Shornet / Romeo / FFG etc., in real-time. It means that some upgrades improvements are run by the operators themselves in the field, not by office wallahs in Canberra warming chairs, so that these can be fielded quickly rather than having to complete endless quantities of paperwork and attend numerous meetings before something is even sent for approval. It means being very quick and nimble and able to adapt quickly without hidebound staff officers interfering protecting their empires and not understanding the 21st Century or modern technology. It's a generational shake up of Defence culture because of the technology revolution.
I don't think that really answers the question definitively....

the Army looking at how the RAAF operate in a 5th Gen environment. What they did they did to change their corporate thinking
We have, and for all the Jericho stuff, there hasn't been real change within the RAAF yet. Things will change when the F-35 starts getting more hours, but there is still significant resistance to dramatic change (including UAV) in surprising parts. For us, Boxer and the IFV / tank upgrade are following in that path as a networked sensor system. If 5th Gen is stealth, speed and sensors we are heading down that path rapidly. And by the turn of the decade Army will have ore types and more numbers of uncrewed vehicles, further pushing change in our CONOPS and SOPs.

It means being able to communicate across platforms from all 3 domains so, for example, a CRV / soldier / Abrams etc can directly provide / receive targeting / INTEL information electronically to / from a F-135A / Shornet / Romeo / FFG etc., in real-time.
No one can do this on a battlefield yet. The US comes close, but struggles in a contested environment. For us, we've been pushing for this for two decades now. Tiger was the last platform that didn't have to conform to a common BMS - now every project has to demonstrate how they will and provide funding to buy additional units before funding approval. In addition, there has been a bunch of research and $$ into cross-domain/platform linkages - up to and including CEC across domains. I honestly don't know what Army or the ADF could do here - all three Services are pushing damn hard.

It means that some upgrades improvements are run by the operators themselves in the field, not by office wallahs in Canberra warming chairs,
We do. Units have at least three ways into AHQ for funding requests and they often provide upgrades. My workshops have oversee dozens - air and ground, forced by up on high or as an idea from an operator. Often though, this isn't what we want. Many times operators don't understand what they want, don't understand how it fits into the Joint Force, don't have the skills or don't have the time to do upgrades. The units are actually really poor at force design or future proofing - which is fine, it's not their job. That's the job of office wallahs like me. Of course, it's incumbent on me to make sure I still understand the issues units go through - so we do talk to them.

so that these can be fielded quickly rather than having to complete endless quantities of paperwork and attend numerous meetings before something is even sent for approval
Not going to lie - sometimes things go too slow for me. But, most of our processes are driven by the Commonwealth, not the DoD. We get a lot of money and are better treated than most Departments, we owe it to conform to all the processes and regs required by Finance and Treasury. Also, we haven't been too good at it in the past. Would you trust the DoD of 2000s with your cash?

Beyond that though, our Capability Life Cycle has three options for budgets - annual, fundamental and rapid. The annual is status quo, nothing exciting. You've seen the results of the fundamental and how it changes the overall IIP. The rapid is what you want though - we can get funds and make purchases within weeks if needed. And we've used it. Not sure how you can get much quicker when (a) the threat isn't there yet, and (b) it's not our money.

It means being very quick and nimble and able to adapt quickly without hidebound staff officers interfering protecting their empires and not understanding the 21st Century or modern technology
Two problems - there is not yet an immediate threat to adapt to yet (real adaption only occurs on the battlefield) and we have issues with industry and $$ output. The latter is simple, even if you gave me $1bn cash in hand, I couldn't spend it all on new facilities - there isn't enough builders in Australia. It was fascinating to learn, and see the data, that there are hard limits we can spend in certain industries because the supply chain isn't big enough. Take our old favourite SSNs...if we had $10bn in cash right now, can we buy one before the end of the financial year?

There are people within AHQ and ADFHQ who have the job of understanding 21C warfare. I'm one of them. Units can't - they are busy with today's (yesterday's - M113) gear. There are some supremely intelligent and capable people there - a quick glance at FLW and AARC highlights names that are in demand worldwide for their brains. They are trying to design forces with tech that is still just theoretical, simply in an effort to be prepared. Our HQ isn't perfect - it has humans in it. There are some empire building peeps, but the AHQ of today is very different to 5 or 10 years ago.

It's a generational shake up of Defence culture because of the technology revolution.
I don't know - the Army of today (even with AS4) would whip the arse of the Army I joined. But you have to be carful, because as a Westerner we default to tech being a panacea. And it often isn't. Army is leading the push on uncrewed platforms, we are helping with air defence, battlefield management, signals and other cool future tech. I cannot think of a future tech that we are not looking at in some manner, many of which have been included in the FSP and some of which are being rolled out today.


Don't get me wrong. We are a bureaucracy. We are full of humans. We have a budget. There are many things we do that aren't optimal, things we could improve. Some projects we let go too long, some we turn off too soon. We don't always manage our people and their skills the best. Of course I have a list of things to change (#PaidParking) But...the AHQ of today is not too shabby. Our 1-stars are scarily capable (beyond their Service too) and our 2- and 3- stars reinforce that and go further. We have crazy smart people in and out of uniform. I have been super privileged to work alongside some of them - and they are amazing. So when people (and there are a number of pseudo-intellectual PME blog posts that do this) talk about how we have to become smarter - I need specifics.
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I think a lot of the problem here is that there is an awful lot that goes on behind the scenes that doesn’t make it into the public domain.

To perhaps add something concrete to the debate, below is a link to a presentation by the Director General Future Land Warfare, Brigadier Ian Langford.


It is quite a long video (about 50 minutes), but I think most people on this thread will find it worthwhile. The presentation talks about the future of Army, and the Army contribtion to the joint force and national strategy. If you can’t afford the 50 minutes, I recommend you flick through the video and just look at the slides, particularly after about the 40 minute mark. The slide on the indicative future force structure at the 47 minute mark might prove particularly interesting. The brief is now a bit out of date, and of course the unclassified version doesn’t include a lot of the interesting bits, but it might allow some to peek a bit behind the curtain.

As an aside, if you want the army to get smarter, having Brigadier Langford as the DGFLW is a good start. He is a very impressive individual, with three Distinguished Service Crosses and three Master’s degrees (and is a good bloke, to boot). I think he is the second smartest man I have ever talked to.
 

south

Active Member
I don't think that really answers the question definitively....


We have, and for all the Jericho stuff, there hasn't been real change within the RAAF yet. Things will change when the F-35 starts getting more hours, but there is still significant resistance to dramatic change (including UAV) in surprising parts. For us, Boxer and the IFV / tank upgrade are following in that path as a networked sensor system. If 5th Gen is stealth, speed and sensors we are heading down that path rapidly. And by the turn of the decade Army will have ore types and more numbers of uncrewed vehicles, further pushing change in our CONOPS and SOPs.
G’day @Takao

If possible can you elaborate on the above paragraph regarding RAAF Jericho, UAVs, as well as why the F-35 getting more hours will be key for change?
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
On rapid acquisitions - yes they’re necessary; but they also have a history of being short term fixes which sometimes become orphans, often because the complete PM process was short circuited and something important like logistics was skimped on. They’ll continue to be important to fix immediate problems but are not the way to manage significant capability outcomes.
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I must admit, I expected the link to that video I posted to generate some comments. Maybe the information is buried too deep. I might summarise some of the information in the video, particularly about the army objective force. As always, the information should be taken with a grain of salt. It is the unclassified version, so not everything is included, a lot is already out of date, and a lot is still in the thought bubble stage, and predates any decisions or funding. However, with COVID having upset the strategic apple cart the way it has, I expect we‘ll see some significant changes happen earlier rather than later.

Some key points from the brief:
- 1 Bde is to be split in two to create a fourth combat brigade. The elements currently in Darwin will remain part of 1 Bde, while those in Adelaide will become part of 9 Bde, forming an integrated (ARES/ARA) brigade. 1 Bde will become a light amphibious brigade, with 4 RAR being re-raised as a mirror of 2 RAR. 9 Bde will become a mech heavy brigade with 1 Armd Regt and 7 RAR, as well as 9 Regt equipped with SPGs and 9 Field Squadron equipped with the L8160 combat engineering vehicles.
- 8 Bde is to become the fires brigade based in Adelaide, with 16 Regt (the GBAD unit with NASAMs), the long range fires regiment and a land based anti ship missile unit.
- A new two star aviation command is to be created, which will command 16 Bde and all aviation elements (including 20 STA with the Shadow UAS replacement). The majority of army aviation will be centralised in a centre of excellence in Townsville.
- Darwin is to become the main watercraft precinct with most of the expanded littoral manoeuvre capability.
- A new health brigade is to be raised, taking all the health units off 17 Bde.
- 6 Bde is to become a more specialised brigade with a ridiculous acronym, and include all sorts of ISR, EW, cyber etc capabilities.
- 13 Bde is to grow to have a more significant capability in the west of the country, including a littoral manoeuvre, artillery and cavalry capability.
- The majority of AFVs are to be prepositioned at Cultana and Shoalwater Bay, to save money on moving them for exercises and improve availability.
- What remains of 2 Div will focus on domestic contingency response.
- 12/40 RTR is to become an RFSU.
- The army is to grow by nearly 5000 personnel over the next couple of decades.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The November APDR is out and it discusses the Tiger ARH replacement. The article claims that the Tiger is performing as it should be and the aircrew love flying it. However one or two senior sirs further up the food chain have developed a strong dislike of the Tiger and have gone out of their way to queer the pitch for it. At one stage Airbus offered to install Link 16 into the Tiger, but the Army said no. Now I would think that the risk of integration would weigh on the Army's mind. Apparently the Army / Australia was also invited to join OCCAR which probably would have helped with the spares problems but they said no to that as well.

If what the article claims is correct then the senior sirs are playing games that are costing the CoA a significant amount of money, especially in a time of economic crisis. The second point that I would make, is the French have flown the aircraft in combat in both Afghanistan and currently in Mali apparently without problems. So that begs the question, why did the Australian Army have so many problems with the Tiger when France and Germany haven't? I also query why there are continual claims that the Australian Army is still having problems with the NH90 / MRH-90 when it has had so long? Yes Airbus has been poor with spares availability, but that cannot be the only reason. The RNZAF now has achieved a high serviceability and operational rate with their aircraft. So what are they doing that is different to the Australian Army? There also appears to be a common theme of rotary wing procurement stuff ups across the Army and the RAN with the RAN SH-2G(A) Supersprite acquisition. However the RAN did get it right with the Romeo acquisition process.

It's real easy to say that both the aircraft are a hunk of shit and should be replaced, but maybe it's not the fault of the type, or fully the fault of the manufacturer, but the user also needs to share a significant proportion of the blame for their management of the procurement process and subsequent use. Both aircraft are of advanced design and newer than anything that the US has on the market at the moment. All it offers are upgrades to old aircraft that are 1950s, 60s, at the best 70s technology. The US Army has its vertical lift program, but how long will that take to gain IOC? It doesn't exactly have a sterling reputation in new procurements.

What are the problems then? There is definitely more than one side to this story and we may never know all of the details because there are accusations by the article's author of Army politics at play here. If that is correct there will be some arse coverage involved as well with careers, future prospects, and reputation to protect. The manufacturers and politicians also have vested interests in this as well. My own view is that the Army and the CoA erred by not acquiring a number of extra aircraft for spares and that way they could keep birds flying by using parts off the spares and replacing those parts with ones ordered from the manufacturer. That's what the RNZAF does with its NH90 fleet, and it also utlises its new NH90 simulator a lot. Does the Army need to have RAAF guidance or advice during the procurement process especially around spares, availability and what's doable? Maybe, maybe not but there is a problem somewhere and I believe that the platform isn't it.



 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
I must admit, I expected the link to that video I posted to generate some comments. Maybe the information is buried too deep. I might summarise some of the information in the video, particularly about the army objective force. As always, the information should be taken with a grain of salt. It is the unclassified version, so not everything is included, a lot is already out of date, and a lot is still in the thought bubble stage, and predates any decisions or funding. However, with COVID having upset the strategic apple cart the way it has, I expect we‘ll see some significant changes happen earlier rather than later.

Some key points from the brief:
- 1 Bde is to be split in two to create a fourth combat brigade. The elements currently in Darwin will remain part of 1 Bde, while those in Adelaide will become part of 9 Bde, forming an integrated (ARES/ARA) brigade. 1 Bde will become a light amphibious brigade, with 4 RAR being re-raised as a mirror of 2 RAR. 9 Bde will become a mech heavy brigade with 1 Armd Regt and 7 RAR, as well as 9 Regt equipped with SPGs and 9 Field Squadron equipped with the L8160 combat engineering vehicles.
- 8 Bde is to become the fires brigade based in Adelaide, with 16 Regt (the GBAD unit with NASAMs), the long range fires regiment and a land based anti ship missile unit.
- A new two star aviation command is to be created, which will command 16 Bde and all aviation elements (including 20 STA with the Shadow UAS replacement). The majority of army aviation will be centralised in a centre of excellence in Townsville.
- Darwin is to become the main watercraft precinct with most of the expanded littoral manoeuvre capability.
- A new health brigade is to be raised, taking all the health units off 17 Bde.
- 6 Bde is to become a more specialised brigade with a ridiculous acronym, and include all sorts of ISR, EW, cyber etc capabilities.
- 13 Bde is to grow to have a more significant capability in the west of the country, including a littoral manoeuvre, artillery and cavalry capability.
- The majority of AFVs are to be prepositioned at Cultana and Shoalwater Bay, to save money on moving them for exercises and improve availability.
- What remains of 2 Div will focus on domestic contingency response.
- 12/40 RTR is to become an RFSU.
- The army is to grow by nearly 5000 personnel over the next couple of decades.
Interesting stuff
Not critical, just interested.
Are we moving away from a common to all brigade structure, developed and evolved within plans Beersheba / Keogh.
Interested to know more about the re raised 4RAR and its Darwin location.
Two amphibious units in two different locations?
Also will 2RAR get additional numbers.



Regards S
 

OldTex

Member
I must admit, I expected the link to that video I posted to generate some comments. Maybe the information is buried too deep. I might summarise some of the information in the video, particularly about the army objective force. As always, the information should be taken with a grain of salt. It is the unclassified version, so not everything is included, a lot is already out of date, and a lot is still in the thought bubble stage, and predates any decisions or funding. .......

Some key points from the brief:
- 1 Bde is to be split in two to create a fourth combat brigade. The elements currently in Darwin will remain part of 1 Bde, while those in Adelaide will become part of 9 Bde, forming an integrated (ARES/ARA) brigade. 1 Bde will become a light amphibious brigade, with 4 RAR being re-raised as a mirror of 2 RAR. 9 Bde will become a mech heavy brigade with 1 Armd Regt and 7 RAR, as well as 9 Regt equipped with SPGs and 9 Field Squadron equipped with the L8160 combat engineering vehicles.
.......
- A new two star aviation command is to be created, which will command 16 Bde and all aviation elements (including 20 STA with the Shadow UAS replacement). The majority of army aviation will be centralised in a centre of excellence in Townsville.
- Darwin is to become the main watercraft precinct with most of the expanded littoral manoeuvre capability.
.......
- 6 Bde is to become a more specialised brigade with a ridiculous acronym, and include all sorts of ISR, EW, cyber etc capabilities.
........
- 12/40 RTR is to become an RFSU.
.........
These key points are IMHO the ones which need a lot of explanation, supported by facts, in order to pass even a cursory glance.

What is the justification for the creation of a light amphibious brigade spread over 2 widely separated locations and greatly removed from the principle means of transport (based in FBE)? It is just a variation of the operational deployment force role that 3 Bde used to jealously guard.

The idea of creating an integrated ARA/ARES multirole combat brigade would need to be significantly better executed than the previous incarnation of the 'integrated brigade' in the 1990's. The time it would take to train ARES to the same standard as ARA alone precludes the ability to effectively conduct Raise-Train-Sustain in such a brigade.

The inclusion of 20STA in an expanded 16 Avn Bde would appear to be based on just one platform (the Shadow UAS or replacement). Rather the function of the UAS (and the other platforms in 20STA) is more attuned to being retained in 6 Bde, with all of the other ISR (and EW, cyber and other esoteric capabilities).

Where is the 'aviation centre of excellence' supposed to be established? As the importance of Townsville airport has increased for civil aviation, that has placed greater constraints on the military aviation facilities (formerly RAAF Base Garbutt). Is it proposed that a new military aviation facility will be established at a new location in the vicinity of Townsville?

Why shift the Army watercraft facility from Ross Island? Is the idea of locating it in Darwin politically motivated or are there sound reasons for such a relocation?

What is the region that 12/40RTR would operate in as a RFSU? The idea of the RFSU is that they tap into the knowledge and daily exposure of the locals to identify unusual occurrences which might indicate unauthorised arrivals or infiltration on Australian territory.
 
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