Australian Army Discussions and Updates

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
- 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.
Ask the OEM.
But here's my 2 shekels:
Radio systems are ultra versatile.
Any radio system can transmit/receive/both, can influence the 3 fundamental properties of a transmitted EM wave (power, frequency, phase) in any way desired, and can interpret a received EM way in any way desired as well.
As long as the transmitter can synthesize a frequency that is supported by the antennas and is suitable for searching and tracking objects kilometers away, then your current system is good to go and won't fall short of any other.

I've proven once that Trophy's radars for example could theoretically detect a target 100km away with a near ideal reflection, or even more. It'll take time but if you want I can show you.

The T-14 for example uses its APS to search and track targets at up to 100km.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I've proven once that Trophy's radars for example could theoretically detect a target 100km away with a near ideal reflection, or even more. It'll take time but if you want I can show you.
You haven't proven anything. All you have done is argued a point and hopefully provided some sources to back it up. That does not prove anything. For something to be proven, it has to be independently verified by a recognised SME, and preferably by more than one.

Yes this may appear to be semantics, but there is a fundamentally important distinction between prove and suggest. All you and every other poster, have done or do when you post something here with supporting evidence is suggest or show something. It is never proven. To claim so is both incorrect and can have the appearance of being somewhat arrogant.
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
You haven't proven anything. All you have done is argued a point and hopefully provided some sources to back it up. That does not prove anything. For something to be proven, it has to be independently verified by a recognised SME, and preferably by more than one.

Yes this may appear to be semantics, but there is a fundamentally important distinction between prove and suggest. All you and every other poster, have done or do when you post something here with supporting evidence is suggest or show something. It is never proven. To claim so is both incorrect and can have the appearance of being somewhat arrogant.
I said I have proven this once but not here. Perhaps I should have been more precise on this. I have had a similar debate on the uses of an APS radar on another forum.
My intention is that this is something I can prove, through my knowledge of RF and some well known formulas, IF I am asked to.
But if I'm not asked to provide a proof, I'd rather not clutter a comment that I feared would become a wall of text. I do have that tendency, and I don't have OPSSG's level of organization to make it an eye candy.

I have backed up my theory with a source, citing Russia's AESA mmW radars on the T-14, used as both an APS sensor and a long range surveillance tool.

If you want a simple proof, here it is:
Assume a transmission power of 30dBm (1W)
Assume 0dB antenna gain (even though in reality it should be in the 30dB region depending on frequency).
Assume a distance of 200km (includes reflection at 100km).
At 30GHz, the lowest in the mmW region, the free space loss is 168dB.
At 300GHz, the highest in the mmW region, it is 188dB.
Off beam losses can be neglected because AESA can change directionality.
In the worst case, a CW (a peak with no data, which is what radars transmit) will return to the radar at a power level of -158dBm, which is about what a very high quality receiver should be able to spot, without it dipping below noise levels.

Now, obviously, the antennas have a very high gain because they're an array of hundreds, sometimes thousands of individual antennas.
An array of 1024 tiny antennas, measured in mere milimeters, will provide a gain of 30dB, which will allow these systems to analyze a CW at a very high range.
And remember, an antenna amplifies both the transmitted signal, and the received signal (if it's a mono radar).
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
@Big_Zucchini Okay. I see that you are using it in the electronics engineering sense. Fair enough. Mea culpa. In that case may I suggest that in the future you stipulate in what context you are using the term, or avoid it. In my own experience I have found it easier to avoid using particular SME terminologies when I am away from those environments, although it can be frustrating some times.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
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.
Crawl, walk, run... NASAMS even with AMRAAM is such a massive increase in capability over RBS-70, I suspect Army wants a deliverable capability to start with and that means in a NASAMS sense, to existing in-service weapons such as AMRAAM. I suspect as the capability evolves, AMRAAM-ER will be quickly on the shopping list, along with I suspect a shorter ranged, cheaper weapon with (perhaps) alternative seeker options (EO/IR, IIR etc).
 
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south

Active Member
I said I have proven this once but not here. Perhaps I should have been more precise on this. I have had a similar debate on the uses of an APS radar on another forum.
My intention is that this is something I can prove, through my knowledge of RF and some well known formulas, IF I am asked to.
But if I'm not asked to provide a proof, I'd rather not clutter a comment that I feared would become a wall of text. I do have that tendency, and I don't have OPSSG's level of organization to make it an eye candy.

I have backed up my theory with a source, citing Russia's AESA mmW radars on the T-14, used as both an APS sensor and a long range surveillance tool.

If you want a simple proof, here it is:
Assume a transmission power of 30dBm (1W)
Assume 0dB antenna gain (even though in reality it should be in the 30dB region depending on frequency).
Assume a distance of 200km (includes reflection at 100km).
At 30GHz, the lowest in the mmW region, the free space loss is 168dB.
At 300GHz, the highest in the mmW region, it is 188dB.
Off beam losses can be neglected because AESA can change directionality.
In the worst case, a CW (a peak with no data, which is what radars transmit) will return to the radar at a power level of -158dBm, which is about what a very high quality receiver should be able to spot, without it dipping below noise levels.

Now, obviously, the antennas have a very high gain because they're an array of hundreds, sometimes thousands of individual antennas.
An array of 1024 tiny antennas, measured in mere milimeters, will provide a gain of 30dB, which will allow these systems to analyze a CW at a very high range.
And remember, an antenna amplifies both the transmitted signal, and the received signal (if it's a mono radar).
I don’t see this as a proof: you have discounted target RCS, background clutter, and
you cannot discount beam losses as soon as the AESA beam shapes off boresight. While to an extent this could compensate for not assigning gain to the antennae I don’t think it is that simple.

While the conditions and power transmitted in this paper is different than your example, they haven’t anywhere near the detection range you are mentioning.
 
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Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
I don’t see this as a proof: you have discounted target RCS, background clutter, and
you cannot discount beam losses as soon as the AESA beam shapes off boresight. While to an extent this could compensate for not assigning gain to the antennae I don’t think it is that simple.

While the conditions and power transmitted in this paper is different than your example, they haven’t anywhere near the detection range you are mentioning.
The research is well written, however it does not discount anything of what I said. I gave a broad look and intentionally did not go into specifics that only the manufacturer deals with, and you focused on certain specifics while ignoring the idea I was conveying.
So I can only conclude that we are talking about entirely different things, which makes this argument a little moot.

But the topic does interest me, and if my answer so far did not satisfy you, I can go into that detail as well.

My point is you can use the APS's radars as a sensor for an air defense, and any generic IFV's weapons as the kinetic effector, therefore enabling a platform to act as a quasi air defense asset. And via networking, any maneuvering air defense umbrella could be massively thickened by simply investing in the natural technological advancements of ground combat vehicles, instead of allocating extra budget and resources to dedicated air defense units.

In my comment, I did not mention micro UAVs. For any tier of air defense, they will remain an issue that industry has yet to fully cope with. There are plenty of other threats like artillery, PGMs, and small MALE drones, that are more traditional threats that will not go away, and which maneuvering forces have yet to address in full, or in many armed forces, at all.
I also did not go into terrain details.

It should be fairly obvious that a tank's crew will not be actually expected to detect targets 100km away and track them as if they were an AD crew. They don't even have a visual interface of what the APS sees - but it could be data that is relayed to other more relevant assets.
Looking at more realistic scenarios, such as 5km range, they will be able to detect small targets.

Already, APS are supposed to detect low RCS ATGMs, HEAT shells, and even APFSDS shells. I'll leave the APFSDS issue aside because the sabot petals can be used by the APS to discriminate it when it's fired and just avoid tracking it altogether.
But a 105mm HEAT shell for example, has an RCS of 0.011m^2. The APS is expected to detect that, track it all the way to the vehicle, and intercept. All that while in uneven, cluttered environment.

Let's look at aviation now - they use radars to detect targets on the ground. If you can use a radar to do photography instead of an EO pod, and can discriminate minor objects, do you think a computer would have any issue discriminating an object?

There are also radars today that can track targets through defilade, or systems that can counter man portable UAVs.

There are missiles that are guided by a mmW, such as the Brimstone, and have to hit ground targets. They're much harder to discriminate because they're actually attached to the ground, especially when static, compared to a UAV that is constantly moving and therefore can be detected by cross analyzing the doppler effect, phase shifts, and return time (directly related to doppler).

So what makes this micro UAV any different from an ATGM?
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
Crawl, walk, run... NASAMS even with AMRAAM is such a massive increase in capability over RBS-70, I suspect Army wants a deliverable capability to start with and that means in a NASAMS sense, to existing in-service weapons such as AMRAAM. I suspect as the capability evolves, AMRAAM-ER will be quickly on the shopping list, along with I suspect a shorter ranged, cheaper weapon with (perhaps) alternative seeker options (EO/IR, IIR etc).
Yeah, but again, what purpose will it fill exactly? Buying a new system, developing a doctrine, setting up a chain of supply, and training on it takes years. Taking a little time to think how the air defenses and tasks should be distributed among the various tiers of command for the ground forces? Nearly effortless.
Does anyone know the reasoning behind the NASAMS buy?

I personally think the US should give its AIM-9X the Iron Dome treatment - i.e determine what's really the only thing needed for the missile to function properly, remove any expensive stuff that isn't vital to its operation, and streamline production to make hundreds, perhaps thousands per year, and see their prices dipping below $100k, maybe, just maybe even half that. Then every ally would profit from an affordable maneuvering system that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. But why is there no motivation to start such a tedious effort? Beats me, but then we are all guilty of arriving late to an obvious conclusion.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Yeah, but again, what purpose will it fill exactly? Buying a new system, developing a doctrine, setting up a chain of supply, and training on it takes years. Taking a little time to think how the air defenses and tasks should be distributed among the various tiers of command for the ground forces? Nearly effortless.
Does anyone know the reasoning behind the NASAMS buy?

I personally think the US should give its AIM-9X the Iron Dome treatment - i.e determine what's really the only thing needed for the missile to function properly, remove any expensive stuff that isn't vital to its operation, and streamline production to make hundreds, perhaps thousands per year, and see their prices dipping below $100k, maybe, just maybe even half that. Then every ally would profit from an affordable maneuvering system that doesn't cost an arm and a leg. But why is there no motivation to start such a tedious effort? Beats me, but then we are all guilty of arriving late to an obvious conclusion.
Providing static and maneuverable short - medium ranged air defence for Army battle groups, HQ’s fixed installations etc, against a range of threats, something we have sorely lacked for years.

Of course it doesn’t really address the UAV or C-RAM issue, but that is hardly NASAMS fault of course, being designed for other things...
 

south

Active Member
The research is well written, however it does not discount anything of what I said. I gave a broad look and intentionally did not go into specifics that only the manufacturer deals with, and you focused on certain specifics while ignoring the idea I was conveying.
So I can only conclude that we are talking about entirely different things, which makes this argument a little moot.

But the topic does interest me, and if my answer so far did not satisfy you, I can go into that detail as well.

My point is you can use the APS's radars as a sensor for an air defense, and any generic IFV's weapons as the kinetic effector, therefore enabling a platform to act as a quasi air defense asset. And via networking, any maneuvering air defense umbrella could be massively thickened by simply investing in the natural technological advancements of ground combat vehicles, instead of allocating extra budget and resources to dedicated air defense units.

In my comment, I did not mention micro UAVs. For any tier of air defense, they will remain an issue that industry has yet to fully cope with. There are plenty of other threats like artillery, PGMs, and small MALE drones, that are more traditional threats that will not go away, and which maneuvering forces have yet to address in full, or in many armed forces, at all.
I also did not go into terrain details.

It should be fairly obvious that a tank's crew will not be actually expected to detect targets 100km away and track them as if they were an AD crew. They don't even have a visual interface of what the APS sees - but it could be data that is relayed to other more relevant assets.
Looking at more realistic scenarios, such as 5km range, they will be able to detect small targets.

Already, APS are supposed to detect low RCS ATGMs, HEAT shells, and even APFSDS shells. I'll leave the APFSDS issue aside because the sabot petals can be used by the APS to discriminate it when it's fired and just avoid tracking it altogether.
But a 105mm HEAT shell for example, has an RCS of 0.011m^2. The APS is expected to detect that, track it all the way to the vehicle, and intercept. All that while in uneven, cluttered environment.

Let's look at aviation now - they use radars to detect targets on the ground. If you can use a radar to do photography instead of an EO pod, and can discriminate minor objects, do you think a computer would have any issue discriminating an object?

There are also radars today that can track targets through defilade, or systems that can counter man portable UAVs.

There are missiles that are guided by a mmW, such as the Brimstone, and have to hit ground targets. They're much harder to discriminate because they're actually attached to the ground, especially when static, compared to a UAV that is constantly moving and therefore can be detected by cross analyzing the doppler effect, phase shifts, and return time (directly related to doppler).

So what makes this micro UAV any different from an ATGM?
Suggesting fantastical numbers while not considering key tenets (Radar Range Equation), or are not realistic in an operational context does not promote an argument. Don’t be surprised when the utility is challenged.

secondly - I didn’t mention micro UAVs either. Even against the car ~10m^2 the detection range from the paper prociddd was not within 2 orders of magnitude of what you were suggesting.

I have zero doubts that an APS can detect an airborne object, or even multiple simultaneous objects (being their principle job, natch). But if you discount considerations like target RCS, radar duty cycle, scan volume, task sharing, integration to vehicle systems, emcon etc then we start to move to fantasy land.
 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
Suggesting fantastical numbers while not considering key tenets (Radar Range Equation), or are not realistic in an operational context does not promote an argument. Don’t be surprised when the utility is challenged.

secondly - I didn’t mention micro UAVs either. Even against the car ~10m^2 the detection range from the paper prociddd was not within 2 orders of magnitude of what you were suggesting.

I have zero doubts that an APS can detect an airborne object, or even multiple simultaneous objects (being their principle job, natch). But if you discount considerations like target RCS, radar duty cycle, scan volume, task sharing, integration to vehicle systems, emcon etc then we start to move to fantasy land.
Then once again you have entirely missed the point of my argument which I will again have to explain, this time very briefly - it is to show that in a sterile test environment, an APS meets, and exceeds, the minimal physical requirements to scan for targets at very long ranges.
Any other challenge cannot be quantified properly for a demonstration because of the randomality and volatility of these factors, but we can reasonably assume those challenges were sufficiently solved considering the operational requirements of such radars, and the proven success of these radars in thousands of tests, and actual operation and combat.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Then once again you have entirely missed the point of my argument which I will again have to explain, this time very briefly - it is to show that in a sterile test environment, an APS meets, and exceeds, the minimal physical requirements to scan for targets at very long ranges.
Any other challenge cannot be quantified properly for a demonstration because of the randomality and volatility of these factors, but we can reasonably assume those challenges were sufficiently solved considering the operational requirements of such radars, and the proven success of these radars in thousands of tests, and actual operation and combat.
There is a significant difference between results achieved in a "sterile test environment" and reliable delivery of an operationally useful capability.

Unless/until an APS has demonstrated an ability to effectively conduct long ranged scans under a variety of different conditions which could occur in a threat environment, it would be premature to think APS sensors have a place in an IADS.

Relating to that, is there any sort of existing land-based battlespace management system which can deliver CEC-like capabilities, which could even make use of APS sensor scans? I personally am not aware of any system with that level of integration, or that could handle the number of nodes which would likely be required if an armoured/cav unit were to be participating in such a network. Without the involvement of sensor and shooting platforms, AND a C4 or C5 network to link the two and likely a command element as well, then the capabilities of a theoretical adhoc area sensor network are rather moot.
 

John Newman

The Bunker Group
I was just having a read of the latest DTR Magazine (March 2021):


On page 43 is a brief article about the LARC-V replacement, apparently being called by Army simply as ‘Amphibious Vehicle’ or AV.

The reported requirement is for 15 AVs and options for five (5) more, potentially 20 vehicles.

Whilst I’m all for supporting Australian design and manufacture, I find it hard to believe that a very small production run of 15 + 5 is viable or cost effective, we could end up paying a very significant premium for such a small production run, and a group of people unemployed very quickly.

Yes there is always the potential for export orders (as the article suggests), but I wouldn’t be holding my breath.

Maybe they could also add some more for use in Antartica, I understand we operate some LARC-V down there in a resupply role, but even then would that be viable?

Don’t get me wrong, local design and manufacture is a good intention, but sometimes you just have to question the viability and numbers.

Cheers,

Ps, saw this on a TV travel show today, two ‘pink’ LARC-V in North Queensland.

 

Big_Zucchini

Well-Known Member
There is a significant difference between results achieved in a "sterile test environment" and reliable delivery of an operationally useful capability.

Unless/until an APS has demonstrated an ability to effectively conduct long ranged scans under a variety of different conditions which could occur in a threat environment, it would be premature to think APS sensors have a place in an IADS.

Relating to that, is there any sort of existing land-based battlespace management system which can deliver CEC-like capabilities, which could even make use of APS sensor scans? I personally am not aware of any system with that level of integration, or that could handle the number of nodes which would likely be required if an armoured/cav unit were to be participating in such a network. Without the involvement of sensor and shooting platforms, AND a C4 or C5 network to link the two and likely a command element as well, then the capabilities of a theoretical adhoc area sensor network are rather moot.
That is why I presented examples of actual, operational use of an APS sensors' to detect, track, and defeat very low RCS targets fired from within the relevant range.

Sometimes it is necessary to look at the exact parameters of a volatile environment and model worst case scenarios, and sometimes it is sufficient to look at a sterile case and judge viability according to available spares in relevant parameters.
Only the latter is relevant for a theoretical debate.

If you don't understand the answer, try first understanding the question.
Keep in mind the original question I tried to answer was whether it was possible for APS sensors to participate in traditional air defense missions. To give a little reminder what this could be:
1. MALE drones.
2. PGMs.
3. Artillery.
4. Man portable drones.

Not all share the same EM and visual environment.
First 3 would be spotted in front of a clean background - the sky.
#1 would be detected at a long range, while #2 and #3 have a potential to appear at a shorter range, but still sufficiently far away to react with a slower system like a weapon station.
#4 would always appear in a cluttered environment, but at a shorter range. This form of cluttered environment is one for which APS sensors were designed in the first place. And if you want examples, I can provide. Just ask.

And let's not forget most APS utilize an EO sensor as well.

I think FireWeaver does that and I'd like to think the JADC2 would be upgraded to do that as well when the APS effort would no longer be based on an interim solution. But I cannot vouch for either.

My proposition is that such capabilities be considered as part of a holistic, army-wide modernization effort. Not that it be used immediately today.
 

Flexson

Member
Ps, saw this on a TV travel show today, two ‘pink’ LARC-V in North Queensland.

My parents used to be the Managers/Caretakers for 1770 caravan park a handful of years before Des Mergard got the first LARC. The full day trip is expensive but well worth the price. They don't just drive around on tarmac and in and out of the water at a boat ramp like the one that was running around on the Goldcoast back in the day. They cross a number of creeks and rocky sections and it's quite good fun. I've been on LARC's operating out of Tobruk but still would recommend doing their tour. The Mergard's have even used them for what they were designed for, moving heavy equipment and materials up to Bustard Head Lighthouse.
 

aussienscale

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Question, have I missed something, I have been shown, sorry can't find or get access to the article in Australian and NZ Defender, sorry have never heard of them.

The article stated, and do not have a date, that there is an option in the RFT for Land 400 Ph3 of up to 50 Protected Amphibious Vehicles ?

I have never seen anything in the public RFT, nor any other indication from Government or Defence of this, and no mention in the latest release from a couple of weeks ago, the attached pic of the article was sent to me

Cheers
 

Attachments

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Talk about being spoilt for choice. A massive step up in capability is inbound regardless of who wins as far as I can tell. Now about that MLRS/GBAD/LBASM... ;-)
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
"(l-r) Hanwha Defence Australia REDBACK Infantry Fighting Vehicle, Australian Army Armoured Personnel Carrier M1123 AS4, and Rheinmetall Defence Australia LYNX KF41 Infantry Fighting Vehicle at Russell Offices, Canberra." (Image source ADF image library link)
View attachment 48079
What's with the cammed up delivery van parked between the two armored vehicles?
 
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