Australian Army Discussions and Updates

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Was referring specifically to the LAND 8113 requirement, which seems destined to produce an MLRS capability for Army. I'd expect HIMARS to be a heavy front runner due to the commonality with US forces, the extensive amount of exposure we've had to the system vis a vis competitors and, as far as PrSM is concerned, the potential to use it as an extended range LBASM capability in our maritime-dominated region.
While the HIMARS would definitely be the favourite, South Korea offer a interesting alternative with the K-239 Chunmoo which supposedly* can fire 130, 227 and 239mm Rockets.
*Sorry i only have Wikipedia to go on for that
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
Yep you'd have to think the Chunmoo would be the main competitor. That said the path ahead for HIMARS with things like GMLRS(ER) and PrSM aligns so well with our region/long-range strike needs that I'd be shocked if it didn't get the nod. Time shall tell...
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Yep you'd have to think the Chunmoo would be the main competitor. That said the path ahead for HIMARS with things like GMLRS(ER) and PrSM aligns so well with our region/long-range strike needs that I'd be shocked if it didn't get the nod. Time shall tell...
You are being presumptuous and that is dangerous where pollies are concerned. Just because YOU think that a particular capability / platform is the only viable option, does not mean that the people make the recommendations to Cabinet or who sign the cheques concur.
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
One big con against Towed Arty is Counter Battery fire, to mission Kill a AS-9 you are going to pretty much have to hit it, preferably with a AP round, with Towed Arty a near miss even 20-30m away with HE, could kill or severely injure Crew or damage the Gun and or the Truck and of course Shoot and scoot is much faster in a SP Vehicle.
Fair statement.
How many times in the last forty years have we been apart of a dominant military force and counter battery fire is not so much of a consideration.
I can see SPH's being excessive resources for many a future scenario.
Will a 120mm mortar be a good substitute.
It very well maybe.

At the end of the day we have 54 M777's with a lot of life left in them.
Do they have a future??
While many deride the concept of a gun on a truck, I can still see benefits for its deployment in our neck of the woods.
As a modular system being able to be either on its gun carriage or vehicle mounted is a major plus.
Also just like the Bushmaster PMV's the trucks cabin can adapted for crew protection against small arms.

If we didn't have them and it was a clean slate purchase them yep maybe a wheeled something else.

But at the end of the day we have the guns and trucks and a proven working system to make it all work.
Defence don't have a blank cheque, so sometimes you have to make best use of what you have!!

Motorised Battalion / Brigade with a supporting GOAT!!!!


Regards S
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
You are being presumptuous and that is dangerous where pollies are concerned. Just because YOU think that a particular capability / platform is the only viable option, does not mean that the people make the recommendations to Cabinet or who sign the cheques concur.
Yep, no doubt there is always the uncertainty produced by the machinations of those dreaded pollies ;-) To be clear, HIMARS is definitely not the only viable option (hence the exchange about K239 above), it just strikes me as the clear favourite on multiple levels. As I say - in the absence of a crystal ball - time shall tell.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Yep, no doubt there is always the uncertainty produced by the machinations of those dreaded pollies ;-) To be clear, HIMARS is definitely not the only viable option (hence the exchange about K239 above), it just strikes me as the clear favourite on multiple levels. As I say - in the absence of a crystal ball - time shall tell.
HIMARS and K-239 seem to be the only options currently available from a exceptible source. A HIMARS buy would be a straight forward FMS sale but ROK would probably offer some local production, though as to whether Australia would want it fitted to a Land 21 Truck or accept them on a Hanwai truck is debatable.
 

Bob53

Active Member
History has shown that this is not really accurate, unless one would really consider Viet Cong forces operating in Vietnam as peer or near-peer level forces to the US and allied militaries. Towed guns are just not going to have the mobility of self-propelled guns, which means that if local hostiles spot towed guns being setup (which also takes longer than a SPG) there is the potential for a strike/counterstrike made against the towed guns and/or crew.

All it might take is a spotter with a cell phone, and then a couple of people and a 60 mm mortar launcher and mortar bombs could attack the gun or crews.
Or locals with a small drone
 

Bob53

Active Member
A full regiment of three squadrons of tanks per brigade would be nice, it will bring strength up to the old mech brigade ratio of one regiment for every two infantry battalions, as opposed to the infantry division scale of one regiment for every nine infantry battalions.

I suspect we need more attack helicopters than the 29 planned. The two squadrons of twelve are intended support not just the three brigades but also maintain a regular presence on the LHDs.

On both areas I will defer to our resident experts in Cav and aviation. I've played with both but am well out if date compared to and nowhere near as experienced as Raven and Takao.
Sort of what I was getting at about keeping the tigers. If the only argument is a 2nd small fleet is harder to maintain I would probably live with that for the increase in capability. The Tigers are set up and running. Replacing them with AH64 will mean we need new stores of spares and have to retrain and re house the support centres apparently due to the AH64 blade lengths.

The Tigers are here and now so I can for the life of me understand when we need more of everything is flying around, of any reason why we would dispose of them...Or is that aside from its too hard to support 2 fleets, or is it too expensive to fly again, or is it we dont have funding to keep them. Which considering they are here and now and would probably get pence in the pound if sold- May be NZ can buy them of us and make us look stupid again. So it's probably we need the extra capability but dont have the funds to support 2 support teams and carry 2 sets of spares.

Imagine if Emu War2 starts up how handy they would be. :)

If the global threat environment accelerates as much in the next 5 years as it has in the last 5 years, the disposal decision may change by that time. I dont think there is a delivery schedule yet but 2-5 years lead should be enough time to build the support teams up in size. My observations of recent experience seems to be 3-5 years for IOC and then anywhere up to another 5 years on the to get FOC.

@Bob53 Red ink like green ink, is reserved for Moderators use only.
Ngatimozart.
 
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Milne Bay

Active Member
HIMARS and K-239 seem to be the only options currently available from a exceptible source. A HIMARS buy would be a straight forward FMS sale but ROK would probably offer some local production, though as to whether Australia would want it fitted to a Land 21 Truck or accept them on a Hanwai truck is debatable.
Local production is certainly a theme that has been strongly supported in recent announcements.
If either HIMARS or K-239 were to offer that, it could be a significant factor in the decision.
MB
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Sort of what I was getting at about keeping the tigers. If the only argument is a 2nd small fleet is harder to maintain I would probably live with that for the increase in capability. The Tigers are set up and running. Replacing them with AH64 will mean we need new stores of spares and have to retrain and re house the support centres apparently due to the AH64 blade lengths.

The Tigers are here and now so I can for the life of me understand when we need more of everything is flying around, of any reason why we would dispose of them...Or is that aside from its too hard to support 2 fleets, or is it too expensive to fly again, or is it we dont have funding to keep them. Which considering they are here and now and would probably get pence in the pound if sold- May be NZ can buy them of us and make us look stupid again. So it's probably we need the extra capability but dont have the funds to support 2 support teams and carry 2 sets of spares.

Imagine if Emu War2 starts up how handy they would be. :)

If the global threat environment accelerates as much in the next 5 years as it has in the last 5 years, the disposal decision may change by that time. I dont think there is a delivery schedule yet but 2-5 years lead should be enough time to build the support teams up in size. My observations of recent experience seems to be 3-5 years for IOC and then anywhere up to another 5 years on the to get FOC.
What are you going to use them for? They are a one trick pony, will be obsolete by 2030 without a major upgrade, they are too different in fitout to the Apache to provide a useful Trg role, have no utility value at all. For the money you would spend keeping them flying you could probably get a Sqn of the same Aircraft as the lt SF Helicopter but without all the extras and have a far more useful Helicopter.
 

oldsig127

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
What are you going to use them for? They are a one trick pony, will be obsolete by 2030 without a major upgrade, they are too different in fitout to the Apache to provide a useful Trg role, have no utility value at all. For the money you would spend keeping them flying you could probably get a Sqn of the same Aircraft as the lt SF Helicopter but without all the extras and have a far more useful Helicopter.
More importantly, how do we double the number of air and ground crew. Everyone thinks you can pull them out of your nether regions, but even on a war footing pilots take years to train. Assuming you can change the attitudes of young Australians to military service enough to get that many suitable candidates ( and their replacements ad infinitum)

oldsig
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Sort of what I was getting at about keeping the tigers. If the only argument is a 2nd small fleet is harder to maintain I would probably live with that for the increase in capability. The Tigers are set up and running. Replacing them with AH64 will mean we need new stores of spares and have to retrain and re house the support centres apparently due to the AH64 blade lengths.

The Tigers are here and now so I can for the life of me understand when we need more of everything is flying around, of any reason why we would dispose of them...Or is that aside from its too hard to support 2 fleets, or is it too expensive to fly again, or is it we dont have funding to keep them. Which considering they are here and now and would probably get pence in the pound if sold- May be NZ can buy them of us and make us look stupid again. So it's probably we need the extra capability but dont have the funds to support 2 support teams and carry 2 sets of spares.

Imagine if Emu War2 starts up how handy they would be. :)

If the global threat environment accelerates as much in the next 5 years as it has in the last 5 years, the disposal decision may change by that time. I dont think there is a delivery schedule yet but 2-5 years lead should be enough time to build the support teams up in size. My observations of recent experience seems to be 3-5 years for IOC and then anywhere up to another 5 years on the to get FOC.
There seem to be a few ideas contained above that I am not sure are really accurate or valid. For instance, there is a very real question about whether a mixed fleet of ~29 AH-64 Apaches and 22 Tiger ARH's would provide an increase in capability. If (and a big IF, IMO) the Tiger ARH's were to get upgrades to keep it relevant, then it might be able to provide a capability increase. The unfortunate reality though does seem to be that the costs to upgrade the 22 Tiger ARH's is sufficiently high that it is less overall expensive to just replace the type with a different helicopter with the desired capabilities. This is even before the costs, resources and effort which would be required to sustain two different types of recon/gunship helicopters are considered.

If Australia were to go ahead and spend to acquire AH-64 Apaches, and then spend what would be needed to keep the Tiger ARH around, relevant and useful, IMO that same amount of coin could be spent just getting more Apaches and all the needed bits, bobs and personnel necessary to support an increase in the Apache fleet size.

Consider this. In order for the Tiger ARH to be kept in service, training streams are needed to provide pilots, ground crew, and maintainers. The ADF needs to have physical plant/infrastructure in place to operate and maintain the Tiger ARH's from, as well as to hold supplies of spares that Australia maintains, and/or parts which being shipped between Australia and OEM suppliers. On a side note about that, it does seem that one of the issues with the Tiger ARH has been the costs/time associated with shipping parts back to Europe for repair/reconditioning. If Australia were to keep the Tiger ARH in service, such problems would continue to persist and would likely get worse if no new orders get placed to keep production going.

If Australia is going to make the efforts required to have a helicopter recon/gunship capability, IMO it would be far better to dedicate such resources to a platform that can be had and sustained in the numbers needed with the capabilities required.

In some ways, it does seem as though some people want to keep the Tiger ARH in service, simply because Australia already has them in service. In that regard, it seems almost like people would argue that the ASLAV's and M113's currently in Australian service should be retained when the relevant LAND 400 phases provide their replacement platforms, because the ASLAV's and M113's are already owned/operated by Australia.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Sort of what I was getting at about keeping the tigers. If the only argument is a 2nd small fleet is harder to maintain I would probably live with that for the increase in capability. The Tigers are set up and running. Replacing them with AH64 will mean we need new stores of spares and have to retrain and re house the support centres apparently due to the AH64 blade lengths.

The Tigers are here and now so I can for the life of me understand when we need more of everything is flying around, of any reason why we would dispose of them...Or is that aside from its too hard to support 2 fleets, or is it too expensive to fly again, or is it we dont have funding to keep them. Which considering they are here and now and would probably get pence in the pound if sold- May be NZ can buy them of us and make us look stupid again. So it's probably we need the extra capability but dont have the funds to support 2 support teams and carry 2 sets of spares.

Imagine if Emu War2 starts up how handy they would be. :)

If the global threat environment accelerates as much in the next 5 years as it has in the last 5 years, the disposal decision may change by that time. I dont think there is a delivery schedule yet but 2-5 years lead should be enough time to build the support teams up in size. My observations of recent experience seems to be 3-5 years for IOC and then anywhere up to another 5 years on the to get FOC.

@Bob53 Red ink like green ink, is reserved for Moderators use only.
Ngatimozart.
The other problem with “retaining” Tigers, apart from the cost of maintaining 2 types to perform the same basic role, not only in sustainment, but from a training perspective as well, is that the Tigers are obsolete in many ways, hence why all the users of it, are either going all in on a massive upgrade program to make it better (Tiger Mark III) or ditching it for better (us).

Our Tigers in their current configuration will not be sustainable for long. They will be orphan aircraft and as defence has already assessed, not worth (for us) retaining.

Their worth for us, will be selling as a fleet asset, once Apache is introduced to service and the Tiger can be retired.

If the sustainment funding hypothetically exists (it doesn’t) I’d suggest two better options exist than retaining both fleets.

1. Simply buy more Apaches, using acquisition funds from the sale of Tigers. Another squadron worth would be a worthwhile addition.

2. Assess a light utility helicopter capability, similar to how the US Army used to combine the effects of Apache and Kiowa Warrior, perhaps building on the Special Forces Light Utility Helicopter requirement.
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Lets not forget that under current planning the Army is increasing its number of Helicopters from 73 to up to 109 by around 2030 with.
4 extra CH-47F*
7 extra ARH
6 MRH-90 transferred from the RAN
up to 18 light SF helicopters.
*yet to be confirmed by the Aus Gov.
 

Bob53

Active Member
There seem to be a few ideas contained above that I am not sure are really accurate or valid. For instance, there is a very real question about whether a mixed fleet of ~29 AH-64 Apaches and 22 Tiger ARH's would provide an increase in capability. If (and a big IF, IMO) the Tiger ARH's were to get upgrades to keep it relevant, then it might be able to provide a capability increase. The unfortunate reality though does seem to be that the costs to upgrade the 22 Tiger ARH's is sufficiently high that it is less overall expensive to just replace the type with a different helicopter with the desired capabilities. This is even before the costs, resources and effort which would be required to sustain two different types of recon/gunship helicopters are considered.

If Australia were to go ahead and spend to acquire AH-64 Apaches, and then spend what would be needed to keep the Tiger ARH around, relevant and useful, IMO that same amount of coin could be spent just getting more Apaches and all the needed bits, bobs and personnel necessary to support an increase in the Apache fleet size.

Consider this. In order for the Tiger ARH to be kept in service, training streams are needed to provide pilots, ground crew, and maintainers. The ADF needs to have physical plant/infrastructure in place to operate and maintain the Tiger ARH's from, as well as to hold supplies of spares that Australia maintains, and/or parts which being shipped between Australia and OEM suppliers. On a side note about that, it does seem that one of the issues with the Tiger ARH has been the costs/time associated with shipping parts back to Europe for repair/reconditioning. If Australia were to keep the Tiger ARH in service, such problems would continue to persist and would likely get worse if no new orders get placed to keep production going.

If Australia is going to make the efforts required to have a helicopter recon/gunship capability, IMO it would be far better to dedicate such resources to a platform that can be had and sustained in the numbers needed with the capabilities required.

In some ways, it does seem as though some people want to keep the Tiger ARH in service, simply because Australia already has them in service. In that regard, it seems almost like people would argue that the ASLAV's and M113's currently in Australian service should be retained when the relevant LAND 400 phases provide their replacement platforms, because the ASLAV's and M113's are already owned/operated by Australia.
Well explained once again and I,m on board with buying more AH64 if there is a need. I didn’t understand how so Obsolete the Tigers were. FOC was only just over 5 years ago! Standby NZ though.
 
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John Newman

The Bunker Group
It appears the MRH 90 fleet is grounded again:


An interesting quote from the ADBR article:

“Many of the availability issues are reportedly attributable to European certification standards being different to those of the US from which the ADF sources most of its equipment, as well as difficulties in maintaining configuration management through the more than 40 different sub-variants of the baseline NH 90 helicopter which is built on six final assembly lines and is in service in Europe and the Middle East.”

More than 40 different sub-variants, well that obviously doesn’t help sustainment.

Cheers,
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Well explained once again and I,m on board with buying more AH64 if there is a need. I didn’t understand how so they were. FOC was only just over 5 years ago. Standby NZ though.
One needs to remember that the Tiger ARH was ordered back around December, 2001 or nearly two decades ago. First delivery was in December, 2004 and they were supposed to reach FOC in December 2011. While FOC might have been reached (finally!) in April 2016, this was nearly five years later than planned, and nearly a dozen years after first delivery. Basically by the time FOC was reached, the Tiger was nearly ready for a MLU to upgrade/replace avionics and comm systems. In point of fact, discussion among Tiger users started in early 2016 for a series of proposed upgrades which became known as the Tiger Mk 3, with comms and avionics among the elements to be upgraded.

Basically by the time Australia reached FOC with the Tiger, it had already been recognized by other Tiger users (France, Germany & Spain) that upgrades were required to keep the helicopter in service in a useful capacity.

This is then where one needs to look at what the actual cost would likely be/have been, to get the Tiger ARH fleet to be where it needed to be so that it provided the desired capabilities to Army and the ADF. Given that the fleet itself was already determined to be too small, as well as in need of upgrades, it does seem that opting for an earlier fleet replacement makes more sense than it might otherwise at first seem.
 

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
It appears the MRH 90 fleet is grounded again:


An interesting quote from the ADBR article:

“Many of the availability issues are reportedly attributable to European certification standards being different to those of the US from which the ADF sources most of its equipment, as well as difficulties in maintaining configuration management through the more than 40 different sub-variants of the baseline NH 90 helicopter which is built on six final assembly lines and is in service in Europe and the Middle East.”

More than 40 different sub-variants, well that obviously doesn’t help sustainment.

Cheers,
With 444 deliveries made per the NH90 website, 40+ sub-variants works to an average variant fleet size of about ten. Not sure if this also includes the NFH90 based off the NH90 platform, but either way it would not only make sustainment an issue, but also keeping the variants current as various subsystems need upgrade and/or replacement. Even if the MRH90's in Australia are all the same variant, it now does seem likely that the type itself would not be able to draw upon the support for a fleet of helicopters utilized worldwide which can help boost availability and keep maintenance costs down.
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
When the Tiger replacement was announced I was surprised because Tiger actually works while the MRH doesn't. We argue against mixed ARH fleets, i.e. Tiger supported by another type as the USMC do with AH-1Z and UH-1Y (hindsight goggles on Mangusta and Lnyx anyone), yet we are now supporting mixed fleets of utility / battlefield helos that are going to become even more mixed because MRH isn't fit for purpose and cant maintain the required level of availability to sustain training and operations.

Looking more and more like we should have gone Sikorski all the way, Mike, Romeo and Sierra, would have been cheaper and it could have easily covered of all of the Army, Navy and Special Forces requirements for helos of that size. Hindsight is a wonderful thing isn't it?

The thing that gets me is we have had some real stinkers of procurements that don't seem to get much bad press at all, while others get both barrels to the point they become politicised, leading to knee jerk decisions to placate the public / media. MRH is one that usually slips under the radar of media and public outrage for some reason.

I have often wondered where we would be now had we gone Merlin for the 12 additional troop lift helos and say plus six more for a Sea King replacement, then evolved S-70s for everything else bar the ARH requirement. If we went Mangusta, we could have acquired some Lynx as well, well maybe super Lynx with T-800s assuming we went the enhanced Mangusta with that engine, then when Super Sea Sprite failed replace it with Super Lynx, or maybe just go Super Lynx in the first place. On Lynx it must be the most often looked at, but never successful bit of kit in the history or ADF procurement, as we first looked at them to operate of the cancelled DDLs in the 1970s, again for the FFGs, and again for the cancelled OPCs that the Sprogs were bought for. I imaging Lynx / Wildcat could be viable for Special Forces too.
 
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