Australian Army Discussions and Updates

Takao

The Bunker Group
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.
I disagree. Well, about the mortars - the Spike NLOS should be included.

AMOS now has a 10 000 m range. There's work out there that will see 120 mm rounds gain 10 - 25% range. A 120mm bomb is about 80% of a 155 mm shell in terms of HE power and the like, and you can get PGM and armour piercing rounds that will penetrate top armour of almost anything. Furthermore, the 120mm will be owned by the Cav BG Comd - they won't have to rely on the Arty Regt unmasking their guns.

The 120mm of 2025+ is a scary beastie, nothing like the 120mm of today. Look at the advances in lethality and range to the 81 that's occurred (where the 81mm now resembles the 120mm of two decades ago) and take the 120mm with those add-ons.
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I disagree. Well, about the mortars - the Spike NLOS should be included.

AMOS now has a 10 000 m range. There's work out there that will see 120 mm rounds gain 10 - 25% range. A 120mm bomb is about 80% of a 155 mm shell in terms of HE power and the like, and you can get PGM and armour piercing rounds that will penetrate top armour of almost anything. Furthermore, the 120mm will be owned by the Cav BG Comd - they won't have to rely on the Arty Regt unmasking their guns.

The 120mm of 2025+ is a scary beastie, nothing like the 120mm of today. Look at the advances in lethality and range to the 81 that's occurred (where the 81mm now resembles the 120mm of two decades ago) and take the 120mm with those add-ons.
My understanding is the 120mm delivers 105mm level effects in indirect fire and in NEMO type applications deliver effective direct fire as required. It can very much be a modern day assault gun, deployed at squadron or even troop level, i.e. a in a similar supporting role to the MRV (M-113 with 76mm Scorpion turret) of old.
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
I strongly disagree about the alleged lack of effectiveness of the mortar.
Let's talk mobility first - a simple land rover can carry a highly sophisticated 120mm mortar with all the added features with their weight, including sufficient ammo.

Let's talk response times - a mortar, unlike a howitzer, can be assigned to a battalion battlegroup, or even an ad hoc company level battlegroup. Means they're potentially far more trigger happy - just make sure the relevant staff know how to use their assigned tools before criticizing said tools.
Advanced BMS surely reduce overall response times of all systems to much lower levels, but maneuver element leadership have yet to streamline the process sufficiently, and will forever lag behind computers that send targeting data and fire requests from frontline troops.

Let's talk actual firepower - a typical old dirt cheap 120mm mortar shell might just hit 7km, maybe 8km. Meanwhile, defense companies are showing results of hits on same level targets out to 10km, 12km, and even 16km.
But because of ballistics, such munitions have to be guided, and that's all the better because you now give light troops a true pocket artillery AND precision fires.

Yeah, not all those new weapons are needed. For example if an army has precision fires out to 30km based on a missile, it might not need loitering munitions.
Or an army lacking mortars may seek missiles or other munitions for the 10km range.
It's all about giving a customer flexibility with choices.

But if you don't have any form of precision fires yet but have dedicated mortars with an organized doctrine, you make them your precision fires. It makes a lot of sense.

As for Spike, yeah I'm not sure that's something you wanna give to cavalry but then I don't really know how cavalry really works. It's a weapon system that usually, and for good reasons, finds its way into the brigade level fires, making it hard to compare with battalion level mortars.
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
And some news. As most here may already know, Elbit does the integration work for the turret with the hull of the Hanwha Redback.
According to past marketing videos, Hanwha ships Redbacks directly to Israel's Elbit facilities to have the MT30 turret, dubbed T2000 in Australia, attached to the hull and have all its systems integrated and checked before shipping it back.
One test involved a firing of a Rafael Spike LR2 missile.

 

Raven22

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I strongly disagree about the alleged lack of effectiveness of the mortar.
My point wasn’t that mortars lack effectiveness in general, only that they are not particularly suitable for Australia’s cavalry. They certainly have their place in support of armoured and infantry battle groups. If we were looking at capabilities to enable the cavalry, for me mortars wouldn’t be at the top of the list.

It's a weapon system that usually, and for good reasons, finds its way into the brigade level fires, making it hard to compare with battalion level mortars.
That is entirely my point. Instead of a weapon optimised to fire HE, smoke and illum to enable manoeuvre (like mortars), Spike NLOS is a weapon optimised for destroying high value targets at range. It is exactly the type of weapon needed for the cavalry to perform their role in support of the formation.
 
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Boagrius

Well-Known Member

Continuing the GBAD debate for Army.
Is our C-RAM based on the Phalanx CIWS? Can't find info other than the radar system.
We don't currently have a kinetic C-RAM capability to speak of AFAIK. There was a solid discussion of the massed drone issue on the previous page of this thread (385) but it seems to be something that most Armies are struggling to come to grips with. The Russians seem to be fairing better thanks to their more GBAD-heavy doctrine, while most western armies are probably having a harder time adapting after having just spent the last 20 years focusing on COIN campaigns that involved zero threat from the air.

My hunch is that the answer resides in a multi layered approach using both kinetic interceptors and electronic warfare platforms. It will also mean adapting our ISR apparatus to deal with the threat, and as @Takao mentioned, there is actually a homegrown solution that may yet prove useful here. Further in the future, many are expecting/hoping that directed energy weapons will make up for the relative lack of magazine depth in traditional GBAD systems like NASAMS II or even battlefield (V)SHORADs like Biho II/Skyranger (although I could see them being useful in the interim). I am also curious as to whether data-linking future AFVs like the Boxer, IFV and Abrams with the local air picture might help them to defend themselves with their onboard MGs alongside dismounted MANPADS...
 
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We don't currently have a kinetic C-RAM capability to speak of AFAIK. There was a solid discussion of the massed drone issue on the previous page of this thread (385) but it seems to be something that most Armies are struggling to come to grips with. The Russians seem to be fairing better thanks to their more GBAD-heavy doctrine, while most western armies are probably having a harder time adapting after having just spent the last 20 years focusing on COIN campaigns that involved zero threat from the air.

My hunch is that the answer resides in a multi layered approach using both kinetic interceptors and electronic warfare platforms. It will also mean adapting our ISR apparatus to deal with the threat, and as @Takao mentioned, there is actually a homegrown solution that may yet prove useful here. Further in the future, many are expecting/hoping that directed energy weapons will make up for the relative lack of magazine depth in traditional GBAD systems like NASAMS II or even battlefield (V)SHORADs like Biho II/Skyranger (although I could see them being useful in the interim). I am also curious as to whether data-linking future AFVs like the Boxer, IFV and Abrams with the local air picture might help them to defend themselves with their onboard MGs alongside dismounted MANPADS...
We got it for the ghan. I don't know what system the radar is twinned with as I never saw it when i was in.

 
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Boagrius

Well-Known Member
IIRC the Giraffe radars provide a strictly sense and warn capability, but do not cue an actual C-RAM weapon system. This might change in future, but I'm not aware of any concrete plans...
 
IIRC the Giraffe radars provide a strictly sense and warn capability, but do not cue an actual C-RAM weapon system. This might change in future, but I'm not aware of any concrete plans...
Probably why I couldn't find anything other than the radar system then. To my mind, the C in C-RAM as per the headline in the story I posted, should be something a little more robust than a siren.

It proves we half a system in place at least and could therefore be used for drone defence at static bases.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Rheinmettall have unveiled their Skyranger 30 which may be just what would suit the Army. It has the Oerlikon KCA 30×173 mm cannon used on board the Saab 37 Viggen fighter aircraft fitted with new technologies and now named the KCE. It fires 6 rounds per second, and carries 250 ready rounds on one side of the gun, and is fitted with a single muzzle coil allowing programming airburst munitions, with an elevation of 85°. The remote turret weighs 2.25 tonnes against the Skyranger 35 mm turret wieght of 4.45 tonnes. It uses a S-band AESA multi-mission radar, five flat antennas being integrated around the turret to provide full 360° coverage. It also has Rheinmettall's FIRST (Fast Infra Red Search and Track) for passive detection. It is also missile agnostic so a clients choice of missile can be integrated with the system.

 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
The 360 radar and IRST coverage defintely seems like a selling point from a C-UAS POV. How many times have we seen highly modern SHORAD vehicles dispatched by UAVs they seemed utterly unaware of? Perhaps this approach would help.

As I've indicated before, if Army decides to pursue a system like Skyranger 30, I'd like to see it pitted against the very modular Biho II that the Saudis recent signed on for with South Korea (alongside any HEL based systems that may materialise).


Probably makes sense to get LAND400 Ph3 out of the way first though, and then use the same chassis again if possible. I say this not just for the obvious logistics commonality but also for the inherent ability to keep up (closely) with our AFVs.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
The 360 radar and IRST coverage defintely seems like a selling point from a C-UAS POV. How many times have we seen highly modern SHORAD vehicles dispatched by UAVs they seemed utterly unaware of? Perhaps this approach would help.

As I've indicated before, if Army decides to pursue a system like Skyranger 30, I'd like to see it pitted against the very modular Biho II that the Saudis recent signed on for with South Korea (alongside any HEL based systems that may materialise).


Probably makes sense to get LAND400 Ph3 out of the way first though, and then use the same chassis again if possible. I say this not just for the obvious logistics commonality but also for the inherent ability to keep up (closely) with our AFVs.
The Skyranger 30 turret along with the IM-SHORAD turret are both platform agnostic although the IM-SHORAD 30 mm gun ammo is only standard HE. The other point to consider is that you will be manufacturing your own 30 mm ammo for the Rheinmettall 30 mm guns in the Boxers, so it would be easy to obtain a 2nd license to manufacture the 30 mm AHEAD ammo. It's just the missile that needs to be sorted.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Probably why I couldn't find anything other than the radar system then. To my mind, the C in C-RAM as per the headline in the story I posted, should be something a little more robust than a siren.

It proves we half a system in place at least and could therefore be used for drone defence at static bases.
Our ‘C’ is hardened protection for our troops, dispersal of vital assets, and our capability to rapidly return precise direct and indirect fires...

We have no active counter systems for such threats...
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
I think there is a flawed process going on right now. Australia needs air defenses for strategic defense, and it needs mobile systems to protect its troops once they are moving. I won't comment on strategic defense.

First, I believe the Skyranger is perhaps not a good option for Australia, in any variant.
Second, the solution needs to be a little more systematic than looking at a shopping list.

The following units need these capabilities:

Platoon - defeat perceptible small threats that can be affected by small arms fire. Perception aids need to be improved, for example by a BMS that might give general location to scan, thermals or AR to pinpoint it.
Kinetic capability needs to be augmented to increase likelihood of hitting the target. Systems like Smartshooter's SMASH, tested by the US Army, can enable one member per squad to apply accurate fire on a small, hardly visible drone.

Company - mobile small radars to augment detection, missiles like Stingers, to hit larger more distant drones, and to respond more quickly and precisely if any unit below company level encounters an urgent threat.

Battalion - defeat small MALE drones, helicopters, and some guided and unguided munitions.

Brigade - defeat cruise missiles, all forms of guided and unguided munitions, and some capability against manned or unmanned combat aircraft.

Division - defeat long range artillery rockets, short ranged ballistic missiles, all forms of aircraft.

No army in the world truly achieves all that. It takes an organic structure to supplement maneuvering forces to give them those capabilities. For example air forces that operate air defenses give their umbrella to divisions and brigades on maneuver.
But they still need those capabilities.

I'm not sure the NASAMS is a good option for any tier, because its missiles are almost prohibitively expensive against most aerial threats, and for any tier I don't see how it can defeat all the threat types unless it comes with a boosted version. But since I said no shopping lists, I'll focus on what Australia has in its inventory right now or has already financed.

The maneuvering forces are going to ride in either wheeled or tracked fighting vehicles, packed with medium caliber weapons, heavy machine guns, and ATGMs. Said weapons are augmented by APS which come equipped with radar and EO systems.
When you already have 30mm guns and ATGMs aided by radar and powerful EO, what really is the difference between the current weapon selection and the Skyranger or Biho?
Not much. Those products are made for those who need dedicated VSHORAD and do not have modern combat vehicles, or have some extra cash.

To make the current Lance turret more suitable to meet aerial threats on the same level as the Skyranger, you basically need to add only software changes, and allow switching ATGMs to MANPADS.

Of course some units, with vehicles of course, need to have a dedicated role of hunting aerial threats. That way you allow your troops to give some answer to an emerging threat. But just as much as aerial threats are evolving, so are ground based weapon systems - they become much more universal and capable of defeating a wider range of threats.

With available or soon to be available hardware, the Australian maneuvering units can meet any threat up to but not including MALE drones, and even defeat some unguided munitions. But to fulfill that they might need to make some serious changes on the networking level.
 
Our ‘C’ is hardened protection for our troops, dispersal of vital assets, and our capability to rapidly return precise direct and indirect fires...

We have no active counter systems for such threats...
In my now distant experience of 2 way firing ranges, returning fire whilst having incoming is difficult to say the least. We've always done hardened and dispersed. Why did we not get the other half?
 
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Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I think there is a flawed process going on right now. Australia needs air defenses for strategic defense, and it needs mobile systems to protect its troops once they are moving. I won't comment on strategic defense.

First, I believe the Skyranger is perhaps not a good option for Australia, in any variant.
Second, the solution needs to be a little more systematic than looking at a shopping list.

The following units need these capabilities:

Platoon - defeat perceptible small threats that can be affected by small arms fire. Perception aids need to be improved, for example by a BMS that might give general location to scan, thermals or AR to pinpoint it.
Kinetic capability needs to be augmented to increase likelihood of hitting the target. Systems like Smartshooter's SMASH, tested by the US Army, can enable one member per squad to apply accurate fire on a small, hardly visible drone.

Company - mobile small radars to augment detection, missiles like Stingers, to hit larger more distant drones, and to respond more quickly and precisely if any unit below company level encounters an urgent threat.

Battalion - defeat small MALE drones, helicopters, and some guided and unguided munitions.

Brigade - defeat cruise missiles, all forms of guided and unguided munitions, and some capability against manned or unmanned combat aircraft.

Division - defeat long range artillery rockets, short ranged ballistic missiles, all forms of aircraft.

No army in the world truly achieves all that. It takes an organic structure to supplement maneuvering forces to give them those capabilities. For example air forces that operate air defenses give their umbrella to divisions and brigades on maneuver.
But they still need those capabilities.

I'm not sure the NASAMS is a good option for any tier, because its missiles are almost prohibitively expensive against most aerial threats, and for any tier I don't see how it can defeat all the threat types unless it comes with a boosted version. But since I said no shopping lists, I'll focus on what Australia has in its inventory right now or has already financed.

The maneuvering forces are going to ride in either wheeled or tracked fighting vehicles, packed with medium caliber weapons, heavy machine guns, and ATGMs. Said weapons are augmented by APS which come equipped with radar and EO systems.
When you already have 30mm guns and ATGMs aided by radar and powerful EO, what really is the difference between the current weapon selection and the Skyranger or Biho?
Not much. Those products are made for those who need dedicated VSHORAD and do not have modern combat vehicles, or have some extra cash.

To make the current Lance turret more suitable to meet aerial threats on the same level as the Skyranger, you basically need to add only software changes, and allow switching ATGMs to MANPADS.

Of course some units, with vehicles of course, need to have a dedicated role of hunting aerial threats. That way you allow your troops to give some answer to an emerging threat. But just as much as aerial threats are evolving, so are ground based weapon systems - they become much more universal and capable of defeating a wider range of threats.

With available or soon to be available hardware, the Australian maneuvering units can meet any threat up to but not including MALE drones, and even defeat some unguided munitions. But to fulfill that they might need to make some serious changes on the networking level.
I recall the Germans were looking at a CRAM option using 155mm HE air burst in the 2000s. The idea was they track the incoming munition and lob a timed airburst HE round at roughly the apex of the incoming trajectory, obliterating it well away from the target area.

I wonder what became of this idea, was it trialed, did it actually work? Now we are getting SPGs, is it an option for us?
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
I think there is a flawed process going on right now. Australia needs air defenses for strategic defense, and it needs mobile systems to protect its troops once they are moving. I won't comment on strategic defense.

First, I believe the Skyranger is perhaps not a good option for Australia, in any variant.
Second, the solution needs to be a little more systematic than looking at a shopping list.

The following units need these capabilities:

Platoon - defeat perceptible small threats that can be affected by small arms fire. Perception aids need to be improved, for example by a BMS that might give general location to scan, thermals or AR to pinpoint it.
Kinetic capability needs to be augmented to increase likelihood of hitting the target. Systems like Smartshooter's SMASH, tested by the US Army, can enable one member per squad to apply accurate fire on a small, hardly visible drone.

Company - mobile small radars to augment detection, missiles like Stingers, to hit larger more distant drones, and to respond more quickly and precisely if any unit below company level encounters an urgent threat.

Battalion - defeat small MALE drones, helicopters, and some guided and unguided munitions.

Brigade - defeat cruise missiles, all forms of guided and unguided munitions, and some capability against manned or unmanned combat aircraft.

Division - defeat long range artillery rockets, short ranged ballistic missiles, all forms of aircraft.

No army in the world truly achieves all that. It takes an organic structure to supplement maneuvering forces to give them those capabilities. For example air forces that operate air defenses give their umbrella to divisions and brigades on maneuver.
But they still need those capabilities.

I'm not sure the NASAMS is a good option for any tier, because its missiles are almost prohibitively expensive against most aerial threats, and for any tier I don't see how it can defeat all the threat types unless it comes with a boosted version. But since I said no shopping lists, I'll focus on what Australia has in its inventory right now or has already financed.

The maneuvering forces are going to ride in either wheeled or tracked fighting vehicles, packed with medium caliber weapons, heavy machine guns, and ATGMs. Said weapons are augmented by APS which come equipped with radar and EO systems.
When you already have 30mm guns and ATGMs aided by radar and powerful EO, what really is the difference between the current weapon selection and the Skyranger or Biho?
Not much. Those products are made for those who need dedicated VSHORAD and do not have modern combat vehicles, or have some extra cash.

To make the current Lance turret more suitable to meet aerial threats on the same level as the Skyranger, you basically need to add only software changes, and allow switching ATGMs to MANPADS.

Of course some units, with vehicles of course, need to have a dedicated role of hunting aerial threats. That way you allow your troops to give some answer to an emerging threat. But just as much as aerial threats are evolving, so are ground based weapon systems - they become much more universal and capable of defeating a wider range of threats.

With available or soon to be available hardware, the Australian maneuvering units can meet any threat up to but not including MALE drones, and even defeat some unguided munitions. But to fulfill that they might need to make some serious changes on the networking level.
A few thoughts:

- Agree with you on the question of networking - mentioned earlier that there ought to be a way to bring the weapons of the regular AFV fleet to bear on the UAS and loitering munition threat especially. Spreading some 30mm AHEAD/ABM rounds across the Boxer and IFV fleets ought to be fairly straightforward too.

- My primary inclination toward a system like Skyranger was its sensor suite, providing 360 deg monitoring of the immediate airspace while in close proximity to armoured forces. A deep magazine of 30mm AHEAD style ammunition strikes me as the next best thing to a laser based system when faced with the drone swarm problem (EW aside). That said...

- I freely confess I hadn't considered the possibility of using APS sensors for C-UAS purposes. I am not aware of this having been demonstrated, although it would be interesting to compare how they would perform vis a vis a purpose built AD system. How would the detection ranges compare? Sensor footprints? EW resistance? etc. Again, being able to bring all of the weapons of the armoured force to bear on this problem strikes me as a no-brainer, just a question of how you do it.

- As for NASAMS, I am not sure at what level of organisation the Army intends to use it. IIRC we are getting ~3 batteries, to be initially armed with AMRAAM. IMO if we are to use a short to medium range SAM with relatively expensive interceptors, we might as well base it around ESSM Blk II or AMRAAM-ER rather than AIM-120. At least that opens up a much greater array of possible targets, and provides broader protection for units on the ground.
 
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Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
I recall the Germans were looking at a CRAM option using 155mm HE air burst in the 2000s. The idea was they track the incoming munition and lob a timed airburst HE round at roughly the apex of the incoming trajectory, obliterating it well away from the target area.

I wonder what became of this idea, was it trialed, did it actually work? Now we are getting SPGs, is it an option for us?
I also do not know about the German trials, if they even existed. But the US proved the feasibility of the concept when they used their brand new all-domain multi-tier network to communicate data from air defense sensors to an artillery unit, which then fired a 155mm shell that destroyed a cruise missile.
Other non-traditional ways to defeat cruise missiles, the most dangerous and elusive aerial threat today, were also tested and proven.

 
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