Australian Army Discussions and Updates

Massive

Active Member
Getting this right is so critical - knowing where the target is and then having the effectors to engage the target (rough definition of a weapon system).

Having the right sensors in the right place is where drones come in - and then having the right effectors in sufficient (survivable) quantities is critical.

For me that is:

HIMARS in quantity (Brigade divisional unit)
SPG in quantity (fully equipped Regiment - ie. 18-24 guns - at brigade level)
NLOS (battery, brigade)
Loitering munitions (Brigade down)
Land-based ASM (Regiment-sized divisional unit) - though not that convinced about this one

Moving in the right direction but quantity matters.

Regards,

Massive
 

Bob53

Active Member
Or, you could have just linked the article
DEFENCE REPORT Infantry Fighting Vehicle decision mystery
And provided a brief synopsis, and maybe some of your own thoughts.
Behind a paywall mate and I thought some might appreciate the read. They both appear to be good choices. The interesting parts is the suggestion that German gov would purchase a similar number of AU built vehicles and then the idea that the Sth Koreans may purchase Australian built red backs. Either way it’s a win for the ADF I suspect.
 
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ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
I am going to throw this out here because the war in Ukraine has shone a light on some western army weaknesses and fallacies that have crept in over the last 30 years. One of them is air defence, not just against the traditional foes from the 1980s and earlier of fixed and rotary wing aircraft in various forms and roles, or some missiles, but in new beasties that have appeared such as UAVs large medium and quite small, smart missiles, and smart LO missiles. The Australian Army is reinvesting in fixed medium range SAM capability and it has some MANPAD capability but it really has nothing that is mobile and can protect its forces whilst they are on the move. When they are fighting insurgents or involved in a low level conflict that isn't so important, but when they will be facing a near peer enemy such as the various branches of the PLA, that is a completely different kettle of barramundi or shrimp.

At next weeks Eurosatory Rheinmettall are going to exhibit their new Skyranger 30 mobile GBAD. Rheinmetall Air Defence unveils its Skyranger 30 (upgraded) - EDR Magazine
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The gun started as a Rheinmettall 30mm x 173 used in the SAAB Viggen which was then modified until the present gun was arrived at. It can fire 16 rounds per second, or an estimated cyclic rate of 945 rounds per minute. The turret is able to house a couple MANPAD missiles and a coaxial MG for self defence.

The first issue is to see the target, which is not easy task when dealing with small items such as Class I UAVs. The detection sensor adopted on the Skyranger 30 is the brand-new S-band AESA Multi-Mission Radar (AMMR) under development by Rheinmetall Italia, five flat antennas being integrated around the turret to provide full 360° coverage. ... The S-band provides a detection range of around 20 km, the system being optimised for small targets in order to cope with most recent threats. An active system is always a target for RF-seeking weapons, hence RAD installed on its Skyranger 30 a passive detection system, in the form of Rheinmetall’s FIRST (Fast InfraRed Search and Track) that allows surveillance without giving out the presence of the Skyranger.” One of the advantages of this system is that it will be capable of being mounted on either the Boxer CRV or the winner of Land 400 Phase 3 Competition.

This is one option for a mobile GBAD that is around and its the most modern of those around. It's something that is a necessity for the army and shouldn't be poo pooed just because the Americans don't have it. They aren't omnipotent and it is a capability gap they they're groping around in the dark trying to fill. I wouldn't be surprised to see them raiding museums for the old quad mounted 50 cals. :)

 

Bob53

Active Member
For anyone who has been watching the grinder that is the Ukraine war, do you think this might alter the force structure of the AU Army with a tilt to longer range fires? I understand current planning includes K9S and HIMARs but with out going to fantasy fleets the numbers seem low.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
For anyone who has been watching the grinder that is the Ukraine war, do you think this might alter the force structure of the AU Army with a tilt to longer range fires? I understand current planning includes K9S and HIMARs but with out going to fantasy fleets the numbers seem low.
Planning for AS-9 is up to 60 guns and HIMARS at 20 launchers is only an initial tranche, to provide a single operational battery, with further batteries acquired down the track. Likely to be around 24 operational launchers over time. M777A2 is also up for upgrade / replacement under a separate project.

Combined, unless numbers are changed, that represents a force of around 140x artillery pieces, which seems to me quite a lot, given the overall size of our land forces…
 
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Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Planning for AS-9 is up to 60 guns and HIMARS at 20 launchers is only an initial tranche, to peovide a single operational battery, with further batteries acquired down the track. Likely to be around 24 operational launchers over time. M777A2 is also up for upgrade / replacement under a separate project.

Combined, unless numbers are changed, that represents a force of around 140x artillery pieces, which seems to me quite a lot, given the overall size of our land forces…
The other constraint to keep in mind is the quantity of ordnance which might be needed. Using prior conflicts as a guide, as well as the current conflict in Ukraine, it is quite possible that warstocks could be rapidly depleted if called upon to provide volumes of fire. Expanding the number of guns and especially MRLS's significantly could accelerate warstock depletion in the event of a conflict.
 

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
We probably need to look at increasing indirect fires in infantry and armoured units i.e heavy mortars, and NLOS type missiles, while beefing up the RAA with even more SPGs, and medium to long range rockets and missiles. Easier to train on, operate and maintain systems need to be cascaded to the reserves where possible, no matter how big, expensive and sexy they are.

For those who think Ukraine signals the end of heavy armour, I would suggest it is an example that more is needed and it has to be used properly and adequately supported. If the Russians were using screening infantry, cav and aviation their losses would not have been as severe. Combined arms, combined arms, combined arms!
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
In regards to the future M777 upgrade/replacement if chosen to be replaced in terms of the reserves if they where to be assigned to them (if, not will be) would we be better off for them with simething like CEASER or Archer? Would I imagine be a simpler system for them to learn and maintain while providing a quick shoot and skoot capability? Also I understand we have apperantly 2 production lines in Australia for 155mm shells (US and German versions) Do we know the max production rate of these facilities? Considering a major conflict as is being shown in Ukraine one would have to be able to provide a lot of shells continuously but also I would imagine the ability to make replacement barrels in short order (M777 having a barrel life of I have heard 1,750 shells upto 2,500 shells wouldnt be hard for them to go through the barrel life in 2 weeks or less in a high intensity conflict)
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
just because the Americans don't have it. They aren't omnipotent and it is a capability gap they they're groping around in the dark trying to fill. I wouldn't be surprised to see them raiding museums for the old quad mounted 50 cals. :)
Their solution is the Stryker A1 Initial Maneuver Short-Range Air Defence vehicle. No idea though how it compares to Skyranger 30 but it has a 30mm auto cannon; Stinger, Hellfire and a radar. At some point in the future I believe the intention is to fit a laser to it.
 

Morgo

Active Member
From today’s AFR. Disappointing, but hopefully this is a reprioritisation (submarines, Hunter class, long range fires) and not just a straight cut.

Defence poised to slash armoured troop carriers order by a third

The Defence Department is examining slashing billions of dollars from the purchase of hundreds of armoured troop carriers by cutting the order by a third, freeing up funds for other projects including drones.

The Australian Financial Review understands the two contenders for the project, which is worth up to $27 billion, have been told to resubmit their bids based on Defence buying 300 infantry fighting vehicles instead of 450.

But Defence sources warn any savings may prove illusory, with industry also suffering from inflationary pressures in its supply chain and higher wage and energy costs.

Known officially as Land 400 Phase 3, the planned purchase of the tracked infantry fighting vehicles is the single most expensive acquisition project in the army’s history.

The vehicles are intended to carry six soldiers at a time into the front line of a battle, and replace the army’s Vietnam War-era M113 armoured personnel carriers.

German defence company Rheinmetall and South Korean firm Hanwha were selected as the final two contenders, promising to build the vehicles at factories in Brisbane and Geelong respectively.

Both companies provided vehicles for evaluation including blast testing, and lodged their final offers in November last year.

But ahead of the May 21 election, Defence and the former government began exploring whittling back the number of vehicles.

Decision likely in September
Sources said the two companies were told in the week following the election to revise their final offers based on Defence buying just 300 vehicles.

They were also told to prepare budgets based on how much it would cost for the government to increase the order in increments of 50 vehicles.

The deadline for the revised bids is the end of July, with a decision now expected in September.

But the tight turnaround is leaving the companies scrambling to contact suppliers, many of which are now reporting cost pressures of their own and may be unable to sustain a big cut.

One source said overheads such as development costs and establishing production lines were relatively fixed irrespective of how many vehicles were ordered, so Defence may be surprised to discover that cutting the number by a third does not reduce total project costs by the same proportion.

Another source said reducing the number of vehicles was at odds with long-term plans to add an extra brigade to the army, bringing the total number to four. That would imply a need for 600 vehicles.

This source said new Defence Minister Richard Marles “wants to put armed drones back on the table” after the Morrison government cancelled Defence’s only drone program and put the savings into cybersecurity instead.

Both Hanwha and Rheinmetall declined to comment, citing the tender process, and referred the Financial Review to the Defence Department.

Defence refused to deny it had approached the bidders about scaling back the number of vehicles on order, but said the Land 400 project was an essential part of delivering a “relevant and credible combined armed fighting system” for the army.

“This project is pre-government decision and subject to a live tender process, therefore it would not be appropriate for Defence to make further comment,” the department said.

“Once a decision has occurred, notification will be made via government announcements.”

Army’s big spending on armoured vehicles, which includes upgraded tanks, has sparked fierce debate, with some military experts arguing they are outdated in the era of modern warfare. One problem is many are too heavy for bridges and roads in the Pacific.

Australian Strategic Policy Institute analyst Marcus Hellyer said the army could look at pooling vehicles for use across all brigades if a smaller number of armoured troop carriers was ordered.

He said any savings could be used to buy drones or for seed funding for a new fleet of conventional submarines or long-range bombers.

“Lethality needs to be a priority,” Dr Hellyer said.

“If the government does come up with a smaller number of vehicles, Defence will still find a way to spend the money.”
 

the road runner

Active Member
Here are M113 being made ready for Ukraine

ADF prepares M113AS4s for Ukraine - YouTube

As for the cut in Land 400 future IFV .. The decision to cut has NOT been announced. At this stage its just an examination...Cutting the fleet by 1/3 is a major set back for Land 400/Army and the ADF... It feels like Land 400 is just dragging on and on... I for one hope Army get to replenish their Vietnam era M113 with 450 units as a minimum. If Anything cut the Bushmaster/Hawkei fleet and rid our self of all M113 and leave the IFV alone...
 

Redlands18

Well-Known Member
Here are M113 being made ready for Ukraine

ADF prepares M113AS4s for Ukraine - YouTube

As for the cut in Land 400 future IFV .. The decision to cut has NOT been announced. At this stage its just an examination...Cutting the fleet by 1/3 is a major set back for Land 400/Army and the ADF. It feels like Land 400 is just dragging on and on... I for one hope Army get to replenish their Vietnam era M113 with 450 units as a minimum. If Anything cut the Bushmaster/Hawkei fleet and rid our self of all M113 and leave the IFV alone...
Considering the Army got 1046 Bushmasters, I would say anything up to half of them are currently in storage as war stocks so what would the point of them being cut? The Hawkei is the Armys Landrover/G-Wagon replacement, so basically the Armys number 1 workhorse, I would actually think 1300 is the very minimum required.
So what if the Army only orders 300 now? They only ordered 300 Bushmasters to start with. The great advantage of building them in country, is it makes it a lot easier to order more down the road and with production not starting till about 2024 we will have years yet to negotiate further orders.
 

ADMk2

Just a bloke
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Here are M113 being made ready for Ukraine

ADF prepares M113AS4s for Ukraine - YouTube

As for the cut in Land 400 future IFV .. The decision to cut has NOT been announced. At this stage its just an examination...Cutting the fleet by 1/3 is a major set back for Land 400/Army and the ADF... It feels like Land 400 is just dragging on and on... I for one hope Army get to replenish their Vietnam era M113 with 450 units as a minimum. If Anything cut the Bushmaster/Hawkei fleet and rid our self of all M113 and leave the IFV alone...
Defence has already explained this. They asked the bidders to provide options on a range of capability options including MORE vehicles then was initially requested. The “source” could well be “Senate Estimates“ as this was explained openly there by defence.

The only real ‘news’ is the intended establishment of a 4th ready combat brigade, which is surely needed, but hopefully dovetails in with Army force structure planning, rather than the current situation.

Personally I think Defence / Gov will opt for a tranche of vehicles, which could well be the 300 vehicle number, to be followed on down the track by additional tranches, to keep the production line humming, plus provide additional urgently needed variants such as a tracked load carrier.

Seems to be the way Army in particular (but other services to a lesser degree as well) are buying things these days and is probably related to the organisation’s ability to absorb all the new kit they are getting whilst still maintaining viable collective combat capabilities in the meantime.
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
Defence has already explained this. They asked the bidders to provide options on a range of capability options including MORE vehicles then was initially requested. The “source” could well be “Senate Estimates“ as this was explained openly there by defence.

The only real ‘news’ is the intended establishment of a 4th ready combat brigade, which is surely needed, but hopefully dovetails in with Army force structure planning, rather than the current situation.

Personally I think Defence / Gov will opt for a tranche of vehicles, which could well be the 300 vehicle number, to be followed on down the track by additional tranches, to keep the production line humming, plus provide additional urgently needed variants such as a tracked load carrier.

Seems to be the way Army in particular (but other services to a lesser degree as well) are buying things these days and is probably related to the organisation’s ability to absorb all the new kit they are getting whilst still maintaining viable collective combat capabilities in the meantime.
First of all we just don't know.
As to numbers, maybe not a surprise but lets wait and see.
It's a long term project that will probably evolve.

Awaiting an announcement
Sometime!

Cheers S.
 
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