Australian Army Discussions and Updates

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The ARA is built around the idea of supporting one expeditionary combat brigade overseas. Australia has not been able to do so for quite some time (we needed US, Kiwi and CMF attachments in Vietnam). With the new kit and bodies coming over the next few years we may well be able to sustain a modern high intensity brigade strength warfighting capability. This is, however, not the same as defending Australia - we couldn't afford the large permanent standing Army necessary to do so. The Army Reserve gave us a cheap, quick, surge capability. I am not sure why this role is now disparaged.
Because that way a lot of money gets spent with virtually no outcome in the form of useable or deployable capability, that’s why. Ares units with modern equipment do not provide a modern warfighting capability, not without extended full time, lead up training, additional manning resources, fulltime service agreements and then they are ARA in all but unit designation anyway.

Australia does not have the resources available to properly equip all of Army to the same standard and provide actual warfighting capability from all it‘s units. Attempting to do so, didn’t deliver the capability needed from Ares and diluted capability within ARA because resources were diverted away from them. It was a neither fish, nor fowl approach.

Unfortunately, as @Takao and @Raven22 have pointed out, 2 Division appears to still not have properly adjusted to this reality and worked out a decent role for itself, within it’s means (not just cash...) that can actually contribute effectively to overall capability.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Ah, the perennial question as to VSHORAD. There are lots of answers and questions here. What is VSHORAD in today's world, who is responsible for it, what are the counters available and how does it tie together. There is a gap, but how that is filled is a thorny problem. The best answer is probably directed energy weapons on all platforms - which suffers from, well, not really existing at the moment. So what can the IFV/CRV guns do, what can the APS do, what about other electronic warfare elements, can you have a 'fighter' UAV - all needs to be considered and wargammed. I'm not sure you'll see a LAND XXX for VSHORAD, what you'll see are tweaks to existing programs or, honestly, just classified answers.
On this topic, it seems to have been a particularly difficult one for our Army, though I’m not sure why? Plenty of real world, deployed solutions exist... Maybe just not a priority?

Direct energy, the holy grail of so many defensive architectures seem like they are still a long way from fielding operational systems in numbers that will matter, but we have people who within the last 12 months have had to shelter from incoming missile attacks and staff who have received plenty of indirect fire over the years on deployment and again, have hunkered down or dispersed in response because there is no other option available to us...

Consequently do you see a role for something like IM-SHORAD or Rheinmetall’s Skyranger perhaps as an interim solution while the directed energy systems mature and field in numbers?

I know NASAMS II provides improved air defence capability against a range of threats, but we won’t be firing AMRAAM missiles against ballistic missiles nor artillery / mortar rounds nor against “drone” threats that are starting to proliferate...

30mm air-bursting munitions in a short range defensive role, just seem to have so much more current ‘useability‘ for our purposes, which would be improved markedly, should they be radar cued...
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
But as for why I disagree with the role in the ARA or ARes is simple - I can't see the point of it. It's not survivable,* it has bad ISR capabilities and it adds nothing. In ARA terms I think it's a hold out from olds and bolds; CRV is too big and recce must be sneaky. As my yellow lanyard peers hammer in my head though, recce is a mindset, not a platform. So Boxer is bigger than ASLAV - ok. It's also orders of magnitude more survivable and capable, meaning you now have options you didn't in an ASLAV. Or, perhaps you consider using the smallest AFV - the M1 (with upgraded sights of course). We need to look at milking the best from this new capability (that we haven't even begun to really play with) before claiming the sky is falling and we need a new capability.
The whole probem with Australian cavalry is that we are terrible at communicating exactly what it is that we do. That largely stems from the fact that a lot of the time we (as an organisation) don't really know ourselves. As you say, too often this means that the cavalry is simply seen as a platform, and therefore the biggest and most capable platform must be best. Clearly, this is not the case. Without going into a dissertation about what cavalry does, the thing the cavalry need more than any other force is freedom of action. Therefore, the ideal platform for the cavalry is the one that provides the most freedom of action.

It is here that the Boxer ticks some boxes, but not others. The protection and firepower it provides is outstanding, which allows the cavalry to accept significantly more risk, assume a higher tempo, conduct recon in force with greater success etc etc. But Boxer misses widely on others, generally due to its massive size. It is very hard to deploy and sustain startegically, has relatively poor mobility over long distances, requires relatively massive amounts of sustainment, requires that sustainment to be that much closer to the FEBA etc etc. Holistically, then, the Boxer provides average freedom of action at best, and that freedom of action if weighted very much to close combat, which is only a small part of what cavalry do.

This is my round about way of saying why light cav is good and, perhaps, necessary. Light cavalry is the other side of the freedom of action equation compared to Boxer. It has very limited protection and firepower, which makes it not great at close combat obviously, but it is fantastic at pretty much everything else. It is very easy to deploy and sustain strategically, has excellent mobility over long distance, requires much less in terms of sustainment (an A1 of three vehicles rather than an A1 of 12 vehicles) etc etc. In other words, light cav is good at the things Boxer is not and vice versa, and each provides complimentary capabilities. To say light cav doesn't have a role is to say that light forces in general don't have a role, which is certainly not the case. The US Army maintains 14 IBCTs for a reason.

Crucially, though, when I say light cav I don't mean what exists currently in the ARes, but an actual coherent capabiity built from the ground up. The US Army IBCT cavalry squadrons are a good example. Each troop (what we call a squadron) has three platoons of six vehicles, plus mortars and a Raven UAS. Each platoon has four vehicles with the LRAS (which provides a better optic than the Bradley CFV) and two with mounted TOW.

An Australian equivalent could look very similar, but with Hawkei rather than Humvee/JLTV. Each troop might have four vehicles with a mast mounted optic/tethered UAS and swing mounted 0.50 cal or GMG, and two with an RWS mounting an ATGM. Throw in UAS at both troop and squadron level, a CUAS and tactical EW capability at squadron level, and access to general support LRPF (mortars are useless), and you have a very useful capability. It may not be what you need to support a mechanised brigade in a high tempo fight, but in situations when getting to they key terrain before the enemy will win the day (such as a conflict in the pacific), it would be very useful. With the much reduced training and support bill compared to Boxer mounted cavalry, it would also be a natural fit for the ARes units - IF they could solve the problem of conducting collective training.
 
Some very interesting and stimulating views shared and very much appreciate feedback regarding current position of Australian ARes RAAC in the future context. Many professionals here share similar views, which I think bodes will in the long run.

Hopefully, much as the ARA is taking shape with FSP, platform transition and training etc, the same will be undertaken with the ARes. To be honest, much could be changed and for not too much coin, considering the numbers of PMV/PMV-L's there will be available. Many solutions could be based on others suggestions.
On this topic, it seems to have been a particularly difficult one for our Army, though I’m not sure why? Plenty of real world, deployed solutions exist... Maybe just not a priority?

Direct energy, the holy grail of so many defensive architectures seem like they are still a long way from fielding operational systems in numbers that will matter, but we have people who within the last 12 months have had to shelter from incoming missile attacks and staff who have received plenty of indirect fire over the years on deployment and again, have hunkered down or dispersed in response because there is no other option available to us...

Consequently do you see a role for something like IM-SHORAD or Rheinmetall’s Skyranger perhaps as an interim solution while the directed energy systems mature and field in numbers?

30mm air-bursting munitions in a short range defensive role, just seem to have so much more current ‘useability‘ for our purposes, which would be improved markedly, should they be radar cued...
Hello AD Mk2, :)

This is something I also noticed back in Nov 2020 and some buzz on the Skyranger tests - Boxer Skyranger tests in UAS.

Once the army is fully transitioned through with the Boxer program, I do hope we look at this or something similar and cover any current/future capability gap. This article highlights similar points to you, regarding interim solution usage "Skyranger Boxer with a 35 mm gun firing air burst munition (ABM), and eventually high energy lasers (HELs)".

Wonder if these are/could be modularised?

Has Australian Army had SPAAG since Korea? :rolleyes:
..Crucially, though, when I say light cav I don't mean what exists currently in the ARes, but an actual coherent capability built from the ground up.
..It may not be what you need to support a mechanised brigade in a high tempo fight, but in situations when getting to they key terrain before the enemy will win the day (such as a conflict in the pacific), it would be very useful. With the much reduced training and support bill compared to Boxer mounted cavalry, it would also be a natural fit for the ARes units - IF they could solve the problem of conducting collective training.
Hi Raven,

Sorry to parse you're great post.
May I ask if we already have expertise within ARA, or as you said this would have to be developed ground-up, based on the experience of others i.e. US Army?

In ARes terms it's a bandaid to make senior ARes ranks happy that the RAAC units still have a role. Which has a flow on thought, and one that the senior ARes people refuse to seriously consider, about what is the role of the ARes. There are some efforts to define their role, look at some of the stuff coming out from AHQ with revised structures, but there is a senior element that seems determined to not want to consider new roles.
Thanks Takao - Do you think the re-role would be accepted as a whole, by sernior ARes ranks & the CavScout/LH Rgts themselves or would there be inherent pushback?

Cheers again
 
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t68

Well-Known Member
The ARes question is a big one, it’s really neither here or there. But I do remember when the Lancer lost there M113 there was a bit of an exodus from said units.

It is a hard one to come to grips with as most people recognise and my dealings with ARA stuff is when posted to ARes units they do see a lot of people committed to there units and come to respect what ARes give up in terms of training, a posting for ARA staff changes a lot of mindsets when it comes from the ARA

Most ARes members have a really affectionate for it which is a bit different from ARA where they get posted I have known some ARes having carriers of upto 25 odd years in the one unit, but also have to realise where there bread is buttered when it comes to paying the bills. I know from my time money was not the overwhelming factor and not even a factor in joining the ARes
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
On this topic, it seems to have been a particularly difficult one for our Army, though I’m not sure why? Plenty of real world, deployed solutions exist... Maybe just not a priority?

Direct energy, the holy grail of so many defensive architectures seem like they are still a long way from fielding operational systems in numbers that will matter, but we have people who within the last 12 months have had to shelter from incoming missile attacks and staff who have received plenty of indirect fire over the years on deployment and again, have hunkered down or dispersed in response because there is no other option available to us...

Consequently do you see a role for something like IM-SHORAD or Rheinmetall’s Skyranger perhaps as an interim solution while the directed energy systems mature and field in numbers?

I know NASAMS II provides improved air defence capability against a range of threats, but we won’t be firing AMRAAM missiles against ballistic missiles nor artillery / mortar rounds nor against “drone” threats that are starting to proliferate...

30mm air-bursting munitions in a short range defensive role, just seem to have so much more current ‘useability‘ for our purposes, which would be improved markedly, should they be radar cued...
First up, I think you are 100% right. We suffer from the curse of all Western armies, we have been conditioned since 1943 to fight under a (at worst) neutral sky. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Timor - all were fought under even better conditions and we could ignore that element entirely. Now, thanks in large parts to the democratisation of UAVs, we have to think about something where our last SMEs were of my grandfather's era. The Russian's on the other had, they have an AD network designed to defeat us - so it's multi-layered and effective. If you have Twitter I highly recommend @gunner_schmulke for a looksee; he's heavily involved in Russian AD an offers some different views.

I agree with you 100% about DE. I do think it's the answer, but it's sill at least a decade away without a conflict to accelerate. Taking off the shelf I think you need 3 systems, and I unashamedly steal from the Russians! Exemplar system (ie, if its MK30-2 that could be an 25 - 40mm gun) would look similar to this:

AIM-120 based system to provide short range capability, tied into the Joint IAMDS system and operating primarily under their command (not the ground commander)...

RIM-116 based system for very short range / UAV capability. Tied into the Joint IAMDS system and BMS, but under command of the ground commander

MK30-2 based system for point defence of CT. Tied into BMS and under command of the CT commander.

I'll mix the last two onto a single system if needs be, but will also run individual platforms. I'm not a fan of the IM-SHORAD as the Hellfires draw attention away from AD (by the way, can we pause and laugh at the idea of an IM-SHORAD providing BMD like the website suggest? Stryker A1 Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defence (IM-SHORAD)). A single platform for the guns or missiles (or a platform with RIM-116/MK30) also promotes expertise and puts an AD expert at the commander's table so have to be listened to.

If I could, I'd also seek to add a dedicated 12.7mm or (at a pinch 7.62mm) RWS/turret to all vehicles to provide last ditch point defence that you wouldn't waste an APS on/ I don't think it's possible; but this would then be replaced by the first, short range DEW. It also provides some APS redundancy, allowing vehicle commanders to use it on higher threats.

That's the kinetic effectors. Into that I'm going to add some EW. Three systems, an active and targeted EW system (like the person-portable ones that look like big railguns), an active and wide EW (designed to beat back command links and the like) and a passive EW system that disrupts our signature and includes decoys. I'm also going to add some more (many more) of those (again, stealing from the Russians) ranging from tanks to C2 nodes.

Finally, there are two cultural issues that I'd try and change. The first is convincing us to take the threat seriously. We pay lip service to AD (aim 6 aircraft lengths in front of the enemy fast jet - :rolleyes:) but we don't do it. Camouflage track plans? Overhead protection? Air raid drills? Hahahaha..... The second is that we will take casualties. We can't stop every rocket, UAV, bomb or artillery shell. We should understand this and try to mitigate, but also realise that the IAMD isn't going to catch all.

So not a simple answer, and there is a heavy does of cultural change which is always easy. But it's something that we have to consider, as the RAAF simply can't achieve this mission (and that's technically, not because they wouldn't try). It'll also need some $$'s, which I think exist, especially if we use in-service munitions and platforms (hence RIM-116, AIM-120 and MK30). But, I'm not sure it's being taken seriously yet. I mean, we talk about it and write blog posts, but actual direction and commitment of effort and $$?
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
Thanks Takao - Do you think the re-role would be accepted as a whole, by sernior ARes ranks & the CavScout/LH Rgts themselves or would there be inherent pushback?
There'll be push back. The RAA is a beacon of flexibility and change (hugs to the gunners) compared to the Rum Brigade that still have to much say.

But - I will say this. The average ARes soldier is highly committed and damn keen (see @t68 above - these soldiers and officers give up time and $$ to serve!). Build a no shit useful capability (and @Raven22 has given the first logical and strong justification for light cav I've seen (still not convinced :p)) that is used and provides value to the Joint Force and you'll be fighting ARes recruits off with a stick. Take them seriously, give them an actual job, use them, support them - they'll force the change on the units. And that ends up an ARes responsibility; but starts firmly in the ARA space around Blamey Square.
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Sorry to parse you're great post.
May I ask if we already have expertise within ARA, or as you said this would have to be developed ground-up, based on the experience of others i.e. US Army?
We certainly have the knowledge and experience within our army to build this capability from the ground up. I only alluded to the US Army as an example of a coherent capability that works. I’ve worked with US Army `light cav’, and there is certainly nothing they know at the soldier or junior officer level that we don’t. Realistically, all we would need to do is throw all the bits and pieces at an ARA cav squadron, and let them work it out. It is, after all, really not that complicated, certainly compared to some of the other capabilities we are trying to stand up at the moment.

It is a hard one to come to grips with as most people recognise and my dealings with ARA stuff is when posted to ARes units they do see a lot of people committed to there units and come to respect what ARes give up in terms of training, a posting for ARA staff changes a lot of mindsets when it comes from the ARA
As Takao has said, don’t take any criticism of the ARes as an organisation as criticism of individual ARes soldiers or junior officers, most of whom are as you say committed and dedicated. The sad thing is the vast majority of that commitment and dedication is lost as the organisation is incapable of harnessing it. I worked for a couple of years at HQ 2 Div in the operations cell, and 80% of my job was trying to wring some capability out of the organisation. At the individual and small group level there was a lot of good work happening, but the entire organisation was incapable of developing any collective capability that was useful outside of domestic response tasks.

As I have said, I have zero faith the ARes can develop collective combat capability above about the platoon level without fundamental reform of reserve conditions of service. You simply cannot develop collective capability when individual soldiers can choose whether they attend training or not. At the moment, to train, say, a battalion requires every soldier to want to attend all the training, for every soldier to be able to get enough time off work to attend training, for all that time off work to be at the same time, and for all that time off to be at the same time as all the training events. That is an impossible ask. The world is simply too complicated to allow that to happen, whatever the intentions of individuals within the organisation.

I think if we want the reserve to be able to field viable combat forces, then conditions of service need to be changed to something like the US National Guard, where training is more or less compulsory. That is a massive change though, and the push back from civilian employers would huge. It works in the states due to their legislation and culture, but it would be unprecedented here is Australia. Without such fundamental reform, though, the ARes will continue along more or less as it is, with individual and small group supplementation to the ARA, and collective capability aimed at domestic response tasks that don’t require much collective training.
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
We certainly have the knowledge and experience within our army to build this capability from the ground up. I only alluded to the US Army as an example of a coherent capability that works. I’ve worked with US Army `light cav’, and there is certainly nothing they know at the soldier or junior officer level that we don’t. Realistically, all we would need to do is throw all the bits and pieces at an ARA cav squadron, and let them work it out. It is, after all, really not that complicated, certainly compared to some of the other capabilities we are trying to stand up at the moment.



As Takao has said, don’t take any criticism of the ARes as an organisation as criticism of individual ARes soldiers or junior officers, most of whom are as you say committed and dedicated. The sad thing is the vast majority of that commitment and dedication is lost as the organisation is incapable of harnessing it. I worked for a couple of years at HQ 2 Div in the operations cell, and 80% of my job was trying to wring some capability out of the organisation. At the individual and small group level there was a lot of good work happening, but the entire organisation was incapable of developing any collective capability that was useful outside of domestic response tasks.

As I have said, I have zero faith the ARes can develop collective combat capability above about the platoon level without fundamental reform of reserve conditions of service. You simply cannot develop collective capability when individual soldiers can choose whether they attend training or not. At the moment, to train, say, a battalion requires every soldier to want to attend all the training, for every soldier to be able to get enough time off work to attend training, for all that time off work to be at the same time, and for all that time off to be at the same time as all the training events. That is an impossible ask. The world is simply too complicated to allow that to happen, whatever the intentions of individuals within the organisation.

I think if we want the reserve to be able to field viable combat forces, then conditions of service need to be changed to something like the US National Guard, where training is more or less compulsory. That is a massive change though, and the push back from civilian employers would huge. It works in the states due to their legislation and culture, but it would be unprecedented here is Australia. Without such fundamental reform, though, the ARes will continue along more or less as it is, with individual and small group supplementation to the ARA, and collective capability aimed at domestic response tasks that don’t require much collective training.
It's only recently that reservist jobs became protected and leave (often unpaid) to attend training was guaranted. I was forced to go inactive in the late 90s because my employer kept changing my shifts, then when I was asked to go full time for 12 months to back fill for personnel deployed to Timor in 99 I was told, in no uncertain terms, that my employment would be terminated.

Things are better now but still the majority of employers are not supportive and reservists are discriminated against. To make it work reservists have to be protected by law.

Maybe a way forward would be to add support of employees who are reservists to the contactor score cards maintained by defence. More and more SMEs want a slice of the defence procurement and sustainment pie, so penalise any who don't adequately support reservists. Infact, on some critical support contracts, it could be a requirement that a deployable element employed by the contractor be reservists (minimum inactive reserve) who can be called up to do their civilian job in uniform.
 

old faithful

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
The whole probem with Australian cavalry is that we are terrible at communicating exactly what it is that we do. That largely stems from the fact that a lot of the time we (as an organisation) don't really know ourselves. As you say, too often this means that the cavalry is simply seen as a platform, and therefore the biggest and most capable platform must be best. Clearly, this is not the case. Without going into a dissertation about what cavalry does, the thing the cavalry need more than any other force is freedom of action. Therefore, the ideal platform for the cavalry is the one that provides the most freedom of action.

It is here that the Boxer ticks some boxes, but not others. The protection and firepower it provides is outstanding, which allows the cavalry to accept significantly more risk, assume a higher tempo, conduct recon in force with greater success etc etc. But Boxer misses widely on others, generally due to its massive size. It is very hard to deploy and sustain startegically, has relatively poor mobility over long distances, requires relatively massive amounts of sustainment, requires that sustainment to be that much closer to the FEBA etc etc. Holistically, then, the Boxer provides average freedom of action at best, and that freedom of action if weighted very much to close combat, which is only a small part of what cavalry do.

This is my round about way of saying why light cav is good and, perhaps, necessary. Light cavalry is the other side of the freedom of action equation compared to Boxer. It has very limited protection and firepower, which makes it not great at close combat obviously, but it is fantastic at pretty much everything else. It is very easy to deploy and sustain strategically, has excellent mobility over long distance, requires much less in terms of sustainment (an A1 of three vehicles rather than an A1 of 12 vehicles) etc etc. In other words, light cav is good at the things Boxer is not and vice versa, and each provides complimentary capabilities. To say light cav doesn't have a role is to say that light forces in general don't have a role, which is certainly not the case. The US Army maintains 14 IBCTs for a reason.

Crucially, though, when I say light cav I don't mean what exists currently in the ARes, but an actual coherent capabiity built from the ground up. The US Army IBCT cavalry squadrons are a good example. Each troop (what we call a squadron) has three platoons of six vehicles, plus mortars and a Raven UAS. Each platoon has four vehicles with the LRAS (which provides a better optic than the Bradley CFV) and two with mounted TOW.

An Australian equivalent could look very similar, but with Hawkei rather than Humvee/JLTV. Each troop might have four vehicles with a mast mounted optic/tethered UAS and swing mounted 0.50 cal or GMG, and two with an RWS mounting an ATGM. Throw in UAS at both troop and squadron level, a CUAS and tactical EW capability at squadron level, and access to general support LRPF (mortars are useless), and you have a very useful capability. It may not be what you need to support a mechanised brigade in a high tempo fight, but in situations when getting to they key terrain before the enemy will win the day (such as a conflict in the pacific), it would be very useful. With the much reduced training and support bill compared to Boxer mounted cavalry, it would also be a natural fit for the ARes units - IF they could solve the problem of conducting collective training.
Raven, does Aust CAV have dismounts anymore? If so, in what capacity.I helped train some CAV guys in Tully way back when. It was a recon course.
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Raven, does Aust CAV have dismounts anymore? If so, in what capacity.I helped train some CAV guys in Tully way back when. It was a recon course.
Yes and no. The ARA ACRs theoretically don't maintain any cav scouts, but the ARes are tasked to provide them. However, since the buckets were handed back to the infantry as part of Plan KEOGH there has been an excess of soldiers in units and not enough ASLAVs for them to man, so most units have created their own scout sections. This will work temporarily until natural attrition reduces the excess numbers of soldiers, and the introduction of Boxer fully equips the squadrons.

The plan though is that the linked ARes units will provide the scouts to the ARA ACRs. This is better than nothing, but only just. The cavalry should be a permanent combined arms team, so training when you only have access to part of that team (the scouts) for a couple of weeks of the year is extraordinarily difficult. At least the powers that be have been convinced to crew the Boxer with four soldiers rather than three. The 'extra' soldier allows for some level of redundancy in the crew, as well as provide a system operator for things like UAS and the other electronic gizmos. Hopefully at some point the cavalry can get their scouts back, because it is very close to impossible to do anything useful without them. I would prefere a squadron structure with just two troops if it meant they also had scouts, rather than the full three without scouts.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
First up, I think you are 100% right. We suffer from the curse of all Western armies, we have been conditioned since 1943 to fight under a (at worst) neutral sky. Korea, Vietnam, Cambodia, Rwanda, Iraq, Afghanistan, Timor - all were fought under even better conditions and we could ignore that element entirely. Now, thanks in large parts to the democratisation of UAVs, we have to think about something where our last SMEs were of my grandfather's era. The Russian's on the other had, they have an AD network designed to defeat us - so it's multi-layered and effective. If you have Twitter I highly recommend @gunner_schmulke for a looksee; he's heavily involved in Russian AD an offers some different views.

I agree with you 100% about DE. I do think it's the answer, but it's sill at least a decade away without a conflict to accelerate. Taking off the shelf I think you need 3 systems, and I unashamedly steal from the Russians! Exemplar system (ie, if its MK30-2 that could be an 25 - 40mm gun) would look similar to this:

AIM-120 based system to provide short range capability, tied into the Joint IAMDS system and operating primarily under their command (not the ground commander)...

RIM-116 based system for very short range / UAV capability. Tied into the Joint IAMDS system and BMS, but under command of the ground commander

MK30-2 based system for point defence of CT. Tied into BMS and under command of the CT commander.

I'll mix the last two onto a single system if needs be, but will also run individual platforms. I'm not a fan of the IM-SHORAD as the Hellfires draw attention away from AD (by the way, can we pause and laugh at the idea of an IM-SHORAD providing BMD like the website suggest? Stryker A1 Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defence (IM-SHORAD)). A single platform for the guns or missiles (or a platform with RIM-116/MK30) also promotes expertise and puts an AD expert at the commander's table so have to be listened to.

If I could, I'd also seek to add a dedicated 12.7mm or (at a pinch 7.62mm) RWS/turret to all vehicles to provide last ditch point defence that you wouldn't waste an APS on/ I don't think it's possible; but this would then be replaced by the first, short range DEW. It also provides some APS redundancy, allowing vehicle commanders to use it on higher threats.

That's the kinetic effectors. Into that I'm going to add some EW. Three systems, an active and targeted EW system (like the person-portable ones that look like big railguns), an active and wide EW (designed to beat back command links and the like) and a passive EW system that disrupts our signature and includes decoys. I'm also going to add some more (many more) of those (again, stealing from the Russians) ranging from tanks to C2 nodes.

Finally, there are two cultural issues that I'd try and change. The first is convincing us to take the threat seriously. We pay lip service to AD (aim 6 aircraft lengths in front of the enemy fast jet - :rolleyes:) but we don't do it. Camouflage track plans? Overhead protection? Air raid drills? Hahahaha..... The second is that we will take casualties. We can't stop every rocket, UAV, bomb or artillery shell. We should understand this and try to mitigate, but also realise that the IAMD isn't going to catch all.

So not a simple answer, and there is a heavy does of cultural change which is always easy. But it's something that we have to consider, as the RAAF simply can't achieve this mission (and that's technically, not because they wouldn't try). It'll also need some $$'s, which I think exist, especially if we use in-service munitions and platforms (hence RIM-116, AIM-120 and MK30). But, I'm not sure it's being taken seriously yet. I mean, we talk about it and write blog posts, but actual direction and commitment of effort and $$?
Strikes me that there is also a considerable challenge associated with ISR here. Can’t imagine it would be sufficient to rely exclusively on the local NASAMS battery to provide detection/tracking etc of incoming UAS and loitering munitions. I wonder if a distributed network of CEA-TAC and MTS-A equipped vehicles might be able to plug some of the gaps in sensor coverage?

This also overlaps with the kinetic component – I’m not sure how you escape the need for a dedicated VSHORAD platform. We seem to have the AIM120 covered with NASAMS (although I’d submit that a step up to AMRAAM-ER/ESSM Blk II would be desirable for the much greater capability at reasonable cost). Not aware of any RIM-116 based GBAD systems but both the 30mm Skyranger (either Lynx or Boxer based) and Biho II (AS-21) offerings pair the 30mm with a MANPAD-of-your-choice. Both of these could provide organic sensing as well.

That said, assuming the above adequately addresses C-UAV, you still have C-RAM to think about… :oops:
 
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Takao

The Bunker Group
Strikes me that there is also a considerable challenge associated with ISR here. Can’t imagine it would be sufficient to rely exclusively on the local NASAMS battery to provide detection/tracking etc of incoming UAS and loitering munitions. I wonder if a distributed network of CEA-TAC and MTS-A equipped vehicles might be able to plug some of the gaps in sensor coverage?

This also overlaps with the kinetic component – I’m not sure how you escape the need for a dedicated VSHORAD platform. We seem to have the AIM120 covered with NASAMS (although I’d submit that a step up to AMRAAM-ER/ESSM Blk II would be desirable for the much greater capability at reasonable cost). Not aware of any RIM-116 based GBAD systems but both the 30mm Skyranger (either Lynx or Boxer based) and Biho II (AS-21) offerings pair the 30mm with a MANPAD-of-your-choice. Both of these could provide organic sensing as well.

That said, assuming the above adequately addresses C-UAV, you still have C-RAM to think about… :oops:
Oh yes, the ISR question hasn't even come close to being answered. There was a perfect answer from UWS, but we short-sightedly rejected it years ago. Without that answer I don't know how we balance detection with stealth. I've seen some theories, but they are all active.

Oh, all the effectors were exemplars. They simply describe a range of of an effector. If you don't look too closely you wont notice the Tor / Pantsir / Tunguska mix. With a RAAF S-300 / S-400 behind it. Honestly...;)

C-RAM? Not convinced the juice is worth the squeeze. But then again, I'm even less convinced of BMD... :cool:
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
@Takao I see that you aren't a fan of the IM-SHORAD because of the Hellfires in the mix. Why not take the Hellfire and any ATGM out of the mix and replace that with more VSRSAM? That actually simplifies the situation then and you get away from the yank tendency to over complicate things, although I can see the reasoning why they want Hellfires in the mix. But I would rather 8 SAM than 4 + 2.

I am not convinced about C-RAM either because it's big, bulky and more for fixed positions rather than a mobile column. However if you could fit some ESSM, with launchers, in 20 ft ISO containers on the back of an 8 x 8 truck, then you would have a mobile SAM that could cause lots of problems. However the efflux from the hot launch would be problematic and a dead give-away. That's where the Poms and their Land Ceptor (CAMM-L) do have an advantage because they have them mounted in 20 ft ISO boxes on back of their 8 x 8 trucks, and they just look like another truck carrying a 20 ft ISO container until they need to launch the SAMs. It's something that I wish the NZ Army would look at.
 

swerve

Super Moderator
...That's where the Poms and their Land Ceptor (CAMM-L) do have an advantage because they have them mounted in 20 ft ISO boxes on back of their 8 x 8 trucks, and they just look like another truck carrying a 20 ft ISO container until they need to launch the SAMs. ...
The pictures I've seen all show something that looks like canisters in a cage, not an ISO container. Like this -
Land-Ceptor.jpg
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The pictures I've seen all show something that looks like canisters in a cage, not an ISO container. Like this -
I have seen video of it in a container type box. I will go hunt one up after I get some beauty sleep. It's 0Dark00 here.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Oh yes, the ISR question hasn't even come close to being answered. There was a perfect answer from UWS, but we short-sightedly rejected it years ago. Without that answer I don't know how we balance detection with stealth. I've seen some theories, but they are all active.

Oh, all the effectors were exemplars. They simply describe a range of of an effector. If you don't look too closely you wont notice the Tor / Pantsir / Tunguska mix. With a RAAF S-300 / S-400 behind it. Honestly...;)

C-RAM? Not convinced the juice is worth the squeeze. But then again, I'm even less convinced of BMD... :cool:
Interesting. Is the UWS solution in the public domain? You'd have to think it would be worth revisiting in light of recent events.

As for effectors, it seems to me that the needed tech is out there, it's just a question of pulling it all together. Patriot covers your HIMAD SAM (AIR6500), NASAMS with AIM120 + AMRAAM-ER covers medium and short ranges, which leaves a place for a SPAAG + missile combo on the LAND400 Ph2 or 3 chassis. Throw in some MANPADS (Stinger successor?) for good measure. The SPAAG might give you some C-RAM capability but I'll defer to your expertise on whether it is worthwhile to go further beyond that. Perhaps it is better to simply not be around when the "RAM" arrives ;-)
 

MickB

Active Member
This is aimed at Takao, but I’ll chip in because I have some skin in the game. The problem with the current light cavalry is that it essentially provides zero capability. As Takao is saying, no one sat down and did the analysis of what capability they were supposed to provide, and then developed a coherent structure to provide that capability. The light cav model came evolved to where it is simply because it required the absolute bare minimum in terms of resources, so the army could pretend to give the reserve units a role and purpose and not have to make difficult and unpopular decision about whether units should continue to exist. As they stand, the light cav units have nowhere near the equipment and training they need to provide a useful capability. Realistically, the only somewhat useful capability the ARes RAAC units provide is the PMV lift capability, and even then the capability is tiny.

In my opinion though, we could create light cavalry units that do have a purpose and do provide a capability. Both the British Army and US Army provide models of what could work (although personally I don’t like the British Army model as it developed much like our own - simply because they couldn’t afford enough real AFVs). However, the question would remain whether the ARes could sustain such a capability. Here I am very dubious. From my experience, with current conditions of service, the ARes simply cannot conduct the collection training necessary to maintain a capability above the platoon level. It turns out you can’t train a squadron/regiment when only a small portion of the soldiers turn up to each training event. This is why I think things like the integrated 9th brigade are doomed to fail. Without fundamental reform to ARes conditions of service, which would make training something close to compulsory, the ARes will simply not be able to generate a combat capability at a collective level.
On light cav, I have read an article (unable to locate right now) on how the speed,mobility and firepower of the German Weisel caused the US Army many problems in joint exercises.
The Weisels were able to manouver quickly to dominate high ground and choke points and then withdraw as full force was brought against them.

Being heavily armed for their size allowed them to give a good account for themselves. The addition of AT and Mortar variants brought a wide range of capabilites to these vehicles.

It would be interesting if the 120mm mortar system developed for the Weisel could be adapted to the Hawkei.
 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
It would be interesting if the 120mm mortar system developed for the Weisel could be adapted to the Hawkei.
Personally I don’t think there is a lot of value in mortars for the cavalry. One reason is the lack of range. A 120mm mortar normally only ranges out 7200m or so. Supported by a section of mortars, a squadron frontage could only be about 8 km or so to ensure everyone was supported. In good terrain, that is the sort of frontage normally covered by a troop. Even something like NEMO/AMOS doesn’t really provide the range needed.

The other reason is that mortars just don’t contribute much in terms of capability. The purpose of Australia’s cavalry is to degrade the enemy’s cohesion, reduce freedom of action, threaten critical capabilities, disrupt decision cycles etc. The idea is that the enemy is forced to focus their efforts on protecting themselves from the cavalry, rather than advancing their plans against the force the cavalry is supporting. To do that, the cavalry need enough firepower to gain the enemy’s attention - a mortar just doesn’t do that. Realistically, the mortar’s primary purpose would be to fire smoke or HE to allow a threatened patrol to break contact. Useful to be sure, but hardly decisive.

Instead of a mortar section, if I was a squadron commander I would much prefer something like a pair of Spike NLOS launch vehicles. Being able to apply precision fires that can destroy anything up to a MBT out to 25km will certainly get the enemy’s attention. In a perfect world the launchers would also be able to launch loitering munitions that can be guided to a target by an operator or seek them out autonomously. Spike NLOS/loitering munitions, a viable CUAS capability and some black boxes that can do basic EW - those are the things I would be investing in for the cavalry. Plus giving them back scouts.
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Personally I don’t think there is a lot of value in mortars for the cavalry. One reason is the lack of range. A 120mm mortar normally only ranges out 7200m or so. Supported by a section of mortars, a squadron frontage could only be about 8 km or so to ensure everyone was supported. In good terrain, that is the sort of frontage normally covered by a troop. Even something like NEMO/AMOS doesn’t really provide the range needed.

The other reason is that mortars just don’t contribute much in terms of capability. The purpose of Australia’s cavalry is to degrade the enemy’s cohesion, reduce freedom of action, threaten critical capabilities, disrupt decision cycles etc. The idea is that the enemy is forced to focus their efforts on protecting themselves from the cavalry, rather than advancing their plans against the force the cavalry is supporting. To do that, the cavalry need enough firepower to gain the enemy’s attention - a mortar just doesn’t do that. Realistically, the mortar’s primary purpose would be to fire smoke or HE to allow a threatened patrol to break contact. Useful to be sure, but hardly decisive.

Instead of a mortar section, if I was a squadron commander I would much prefer something like a pair of Spike NLOS launch vehicles. Being able to apply precision fires that can destroy anything up to a MBT out to 25km will certainly get the enemy’s attention. In a perfect world the launchers would also be able to launch loitering munitions that can be guided to a target by an operator or seek them out autonomously. Spike NLOS/loitering munitions, a viable CUAS capability and some black boxes that can do basic EW - those are the things I would be investing in for the cavalry. Plus giving them back scouts.
True, if things are as they should be CAV should be able to call in fires from formation level tube and rocket artillery. An interesting addition could be armed firescouts or camcopters integrated with and supporting cav, as the Kiowas (not the armed part) used to.
 
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