Australian Army Discussions and Updates

Joe Black

Active Member
In any news, a local Queensland based company, Cyborg Dynamic Engineering (https://www.linkedin.com/company/cyborg-dynamics-engineering/), is supplying defence 3 of their UGVs for trial:



This UGV looks very much like that from Milrem from its outward appearance and config. I wonder if it is a local version of Milrem like robotic UGV that Defence is considering trialling and acquiring.
 

kato

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
This UGV looks very much like that from Milrem from its outward appearance and config.
Not really - on the Milrem Themis the two tracks are self-contained propulsion units effectively only connected by a plate across the width. Variants carrying a RWS simply have the RWS bolted onto that plate (instead of e.g. a box for the cargo variant).

This one looks more like traditional tracked propulsion from an engine mounted in the chassis. It's also only about half the size of a Themis.
 

DDG38

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
"Australian Army riflemen from Alpha Company of 8th/9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, make entry after conducting an explosive breach on a building during urban operation training, a part of Exercise Ram Horn at Wide Bay Training Area, Queensland." Image Source : ADF Image Library
20220616army8614011_0202.jpg
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
"Australian Army riflemen from Alpha Company of 8th/9th Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, make entry after conducting an explosive breach on a building during urban operation training, a part of Exercise Ram Horn at Wide Bay Training Area, Queensland." Image Source : ADF Image Library
View attachment 49460
Different looking army compared to the 80s
SLR, greens and Vietnam era kit.
These young folk need and deserve the best gear.



Regards S
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Different looking army compared to the 80s
SLR, greens and Vietnam era kit.
These young folk need and deserve the best gear.

Regards S
Definitely, although I still much prefer the SLR. It was a great problem solver.

1656567419062.png

Pinched this from a private Pommy ex services Facebook page. I never lost one myself, but close to it more than once. I would think that the RSM would use his pace stick to insert it in a place where you wouldn't forget to lose it again.

For those who are unfamiliar with the item it is a gas plug from the L1A1 SLR rifle. If you misplaced it, your SLR went from being a semi automatic rifle to a bolt action rifle. Cunning people always had a spare or two on hand, otherwise one had to do some explaining to the WO/ RSM /CPO all of whom didn't have a sense of humour about such things. Neither did the cracker stackers / armourers / gunners.
 

MickB

Active Member
That and capabilities that can be maintained predominantly through simulation with the equipment being of a type that requires minimal maintenance. Deployable rocket and missile capabilities could fit this type. Easy and cheap the develop and maintain the required skills, even though the equipment its self is high end and expensive, leave most on the gear in storage, use the minimum for training as required and do the rest of the training with simulators.
Going back to the talk of advanced tech to the reserves, I would like to explore the possibility of adding much older skills as well.

Given the recent success of stealthy hit and run ATGM teams in Ukraine and the proposal here that they be introduced to the reserves, I would consider adding some force enablers. (I do understand that part of this success comes from tactical and terrain issues that may not be repeated)

First of course is the ATGM teams, add to them the recon drone operaters to seek and find the targets.
All right pretty standard so far but in addition to this I suggest we add light infantry teams cross trained as pack animal (Mule) handlers.

The are several benefits, the ability to operate in difficult terrain eg heavily forested, jungles and/or mountains.
The transportation of more supplies and reloads to extend the length of operations more than troops on foot alone.
To take some of the burden of the troops so they can traverse the terrain quicker, with less injuries and arrive more refreshed better prepaired for a fight.
They could clear the region around any ambush of the enemy faster and further in the same time period as troops on foot.
Pack animals are more stealthy than vehicles.
The handlers, being trained infantry as well could as security for the drone/missile teams.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
Going back to the talk of advanced tech to the reserves, I would like to explore the possibility of adding much older skills as well.

Given the recent success of stealthy hit and run ATGM teams in Ukraine and the proposal here that they be introduced to the reserves, I would consider adding some force enablers. (I do understand that part of this success comes from tactical and terrain issues that may not be repeated)

First of course is the ATGM teams, add to them the recon drone operaters to seek and find the targets.
All right pretty standard so far but in addition to this I suggest we add light infantry teams cross trained as pack animal (Mule) handlers.

The are several benefits, the ability to operate in difficult terrain eg heavily forested, jungles and/or mountains.
The transportation of more supplies and reloads to extend the length of operations more than troops on foot alone.
To take some of the burden of the troops so they can traverse the terrain quicker, with less injuries and arrive more refreshed better prepaired for a fight.
They could clear the region around any ambush of the enemy faster and further in the same time period as troops on foot.
Pack animals are more stealthy than vehicles.
The handlers, being trained infantry as well could as security for the drone/missile teams.
Put everyone on horses and they can move even quicker and just as quietly. Can't see the army doing it though. Far to logical :D
 

Stampede

Well-Known Member
... not a sound, and no give away deposits .... oh you mean electric bikes or trucks
Practical bike or a bit of fun?


Cheers S
 

Takao

The Bunker Group

Massive

Active Member
TL;DR: We need 1040 to do the job. Right now. So the 450 300 we have isn't enough, and hence we need more. Right now.
Thanks Takao.

Depressing reading. I had hopes that Land 400 would finally see the ADF with significant landpower and that is clearly not the case. I would add that from your desciption above with the 1000 IFV variant number only includes 2 BG of the follow on Brigade so the true need would indeed be more like 1500.

A couple of questions from me:

1. What would the role of Cav/CRV be here and would that replace any of the IFV variant ask?

2. Could instead of 4 triangular BG intead go for 2 armoured & 2 mech inf BG instead? Would this reduce the ask and would it fit within doctrine?

More broadly, looking at the numbers provided it feels unlikely that the 1000 (let alone 1500) variants would not be affordable. If these numbers are required for the current strategy to be implemented is there then a need to re-visit the strategy.

Thanks again as always - greatly appreciate the insight.

Regards,

Massive
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
Thanks Takao.

Depressing reading. I had hopes that Land 400 would finally see the ADF with significant landpower and that is clearly not the case. I would add that from your desciption above with the 1000 IFV variant number only includes 2 BG of the follow on Brigade so the true need would indeed be more like 1500.

A couple of questions from me:

1. What would the role of Cav/CRV be here and would that replace any of the IFV variant ask?

2. Could instead of 4 triangular BG intead go for 2 armoured & 2 mech inf BG instead? Would this reduce the ask and would it fit within doctrine?

More broadly, looking at the numbers provided it feels unlikely that the 1000 (let alone 1500) variants would not be affordable. If these numbers are required for the current strategy to be implemented is there then a need to re-visit the strategy.

Thanks again as always - greatly appreciate the insight.

Regards,

Massive
Ah, you have put your finger on some of the points that make this challenging and why/how many on the internets miss the details.

Specific answers:

1. The cavalry are going to be focused on the screen/guard. There is probably going to be 2x Sqn of CRV there, along with most of the Regt HQ and log train. You may even see some elements (1 - 2x Sqn) pulled out to provide a Div asset; but I'm not sure how CRV v ASLAV doctrine will shake out there. You very well may be able to replace some of the IFV detachments with CRV, although I'd expect a cavalry Sqn or Tp to be added simply because a CRV cannot act as an IFV. The most likely place is in the security BG, the CRV mobility and inherent reconnaissance capability will enable control over a greater area than an IFV Coy. The final role, and where this element sits in the chain of command is intriguing, is the escorts of convoys. Something that we very rarely practise, but our logistic convoys are unlikely to be running around without some form of escort, and a CRV Tp would do that very well.

2. Simply put, yes. The definition of a BG is a task-orientated organisation. So you can pull elements out or add them in as you want, there would be (assuming you have the kit) nothing wrong with running BG as you say. I simply went four like ones for ease of maths and the best flexibility of C2 - now the Bde Comd can rotate the main weight of combat, be assured a reserve that is at strength, and smiplify logistics.

Now some general answers/comments.

First off, there are options that reduce that 1040x number. Like all things though, they come with risks and cons. The easiest ones are to accept similar risks that I discussed in the tanks area:
you cut the two BG (shudder...) and run no reserves (shuddddder.... #PrincipleOfWar) and run no training (*twitching uncontrollably*) and assume at least 95% serviceability (*bzzzrtsatrb*).
Obviously not a fan, but that could cut 150 - 400x ish off the total, depending what risks you were comfortable with.

Next easiest is to look at what variants need to absolutely be an IFV hull v which don't. Some of the C2 variants could be CRV, especially the RAA ones. You may reduce some engineer variants in favour of the M1-hulled versions. An 'easy' answer could be replacing some of the logistic variants with M113AS4-hulls, especially robotic ones. But, now you have tactical and strategic supply chain issues. Now you have to add CRV spares into the supply chain that was originally 'just' IFV and M1. Might not be an issue, especially if you have a cav Tp or Sqn already in there (screen/guard especially). The replacing with M113s (or similar simply platform) reflects @OldTex's comments about FV432 in OP TELIC, but also injects the strategic logistics issue. Now I have to keep funding an M113 fleet (and every dollar spent on an M113 is one less to spend on an IFV). I have to carry M13 spares. I have to train M113 drivers and maintainers. You still need the same number of platforms, so does the overall cost savings of going from 1040x to 840x IFV pay for 200x M113AS4?

Next, we could beef up some BG to save on IFV. We could replace 16x IFV with 10x M-1A2, make some of the BG as 2x Tk and 1x Mech. Depending on unit cost, an M-1 could be cheaper, use less crew and be more resilient. But...as much as I love tanks, the shortage in almost every single war lies in infantry numbers...so there are likely to be tactical and longevity risks in doing so.

Similarly, we could remove some of the variants through consolidation or trimming Spt Coy. Depending on how big the log variants are, we may be able to remove 10 - 15% simply though grouping like to gather. You probably don't need 3x Class I log variants for a BG (one from each CT), maybe 2x is fine. Or, does Spt Coy need pioneers when you have a CER Sqn attached? Can the snipers be doled out without vehicles, perhaps into CRVs or other IFVs? Do we even need a reconnaissance Pl in Spt Coy when we have CRVs and the like (removing that Pl would save 30x IFVs...). I'm not suggesting we do, but base assumptions about an Inf Bn probably should be revisited.

Finally, we can accept risk and build when needed. This is why industry is so vital, I cringe every time I see "Defence shouldn't be a jobs program" because making it a jobs program is how we do it properly. If you have a production line you can ramp up production (which, by the way, then kits out the second Brigade and replaces casualties) so we can have 450x now (well....2024 onwards) but, if needs be, in 2027 we can roll out another 600x vehicles. Now, is that feasible? Well...... it depends. It needs a solid industry (oh for a National Shipbuilding Heavy Vehicle Building Plan), solid supply chains (hello RAN...) and a solid mobilisation plan (oh.....). The actual production I'm not too concerned about, I have seen the plans for a portable production line that could produce 30 - 50x AFV within 10 days, so a fixed factory could probably double that at least (assuming sub-assemblies are available).

So, as many have noted, the ADF cannot afford 1040x IFV now. But allowing for some risks (and that's a whole other post....), some pre-planning, some industry, and some mix and match, we can get away with 450. Which is why we are buying 450 and not 1040. But, it's like everything. We can't afford the number of frigates we need, we can't afford the number of tanks we need, we can't afford the number of C-17 we need, we can't afford the... *sigh*. My post reflected what is doctrinally needed. We are not slaves to doctrine, but it provides the basis of all we do. It has been entertaining watching people say it's wrong and too many - it's the harsh reality of war that the ADF and Australia has under estimated its need for decades. We have taken a lot of risk, and I'd much rather people be arguing that risk than kit. Challenge the strategic assumptions and directions - you'll not really be able to challenge specific numbers or force structure (certainly not without challenging fundamental basics - which is fine, but harder than most realise).
 
Last edited:

Todjaeger

Potstirrer
Finally, we can accept risk and build when needed. This is why industry is so vital, I cringe every time I see "Defence shouldn't be a jobs program" because making it a jobs program is how we do it properly. If you have a production line you can ramp up production (which, by the way, then kits out the second Brigade and replaces casualties) so we can have 450x now (well....2024 onwards) but, if needs be, in 2027 we can roll out another 600x vehicles. Now, is that feasible? Well...... it depends. It needs a solid industry (oh for a National Shipbuilding Heavy Vehicle Building Plan), solid supply chains (hello RAN...) and a solid mobilisation plan (oh.....). The actual production I'm not too concerned about, I have seen the plans for a portable production line that could produce 30 - 50x AFV within 10 days, so a fixed factory could probably double that at least (assuming sub-assemblies are available).
I do have one comment regarding "Defence shouldn't be a jobs program."

I have significant reservations about defence acquisitions of kit when it seems that a significant part of the selection calculation involved political calculations of the advantages to selecting Kit A, to be build in a facility located in XXX electorate vs. selecting kit that would have scored the best overall in evals for protection levels, cost, ability to maintain and support, etc.

I am all for establishing domestic production capabilities (provided they can be maintained) but loath when pollies decide against a facility because it is in an area that is firmly opposition territory, and therefore any/all kit from said facility is de facto eliminated.

I also do not like it when 'make-work' that adds little or no value to Defence, whilst eating up Defence funding, simply because of the influence pollies and companies or a company from that area have (I am looking at you, Austal).
 

OldTex

Active Member
Finally, we can accept risk and build when needed. This is why industry is so vital, I cringe every time I see "Defence shouldn't be a jobs program" because making it a jobs program is how we do it properly. If you have a production line you can ramp up production (which, by the way, then kits out the second Brigade and replaces casualties) so we can have 450x now (well....2024 onwards) but, if needs be, in 2027 we can roll out another 600x vehicles. Now, is that feasible? Well...... it depends. It needs a solid industry (oh for a National Shipbuilding Heavy Vehicle Building Plan), solid supply chains (hello RAN...) and a solid mobilisation plan (oh.....).
The idea of a National Heavy Vehicle Building plan does have merit. If properly planned and developed (without any political interference) it would provide a sustainable level of production that retains essential skills and enhances defence capability. The plan would need to include all of the essential inputs to the capability, including steel, engines, electronics and all other elements needed. It is almost a lay-down misere for the existence of a Department of Supply.

I am all for establishing domestic production capabilities (provided they can be maintained) but loath when pollies decide against a facility because it is in an area that is firmly opposition territory, and therefore any/all kit from said facility is de facto eliminated.
For such a plan to work effectively it cannot be switched off on political or ideological whims. Politicians need to remember that they are not paying for the capabilities from their own pockets but it is paid for by the Government.
 
Last edited:

Volkodav

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
I do have one comment regarding "Defence shouldn't be a jobs program."

I have significant reservations about defence acquisitions of kit when it seems that a significant part of the selection calculation involved political calculations of the advantages to selecting Kit A, to be build in a facility located in XXX electorate vs. selecting kit that would have scored the best overall in evals for protection levels, cost, ability to maintain and support, etc.

I am all for establishing domestic production capabilities (provided they can be maintained) but loath when pollies decide against a facility because it is in an area that is firmly opposition territory, and therefore any/all kit from said facility is de facto eliminated.

I also do not like it when 'make-work' that adds little or no value to Defence, whilst eating up Defence funding, simply because of the influence pollies and companies or a company from that area have (I am looking at you, Austal).
My biggest bug bear in regard to defence procurement was the deliberate rundown of existing industrial capability to benefit another electorate.

Killing Cockatoo to rejuvenate Williams Town, killing Williams Town to boost Adelaide, almost killing Adelaide to benefit Perth was stupidity of the highest order. The killing or attempted murder, involved starving the yard of work, introducing a black hole, then rebuilding somewhere else. This was then used to justify the next crime and move, i.e. Australian yards are too expensive etc. Well of course they are if you effectively start from scratch every time.

The argument that the RAAF does perfectly well buying from overseas ignores the fact we used to play the same silly games with aircraft manufacturing as well. Our political classes and parochialism have done more damage to our industrial capacity than any foreign power ever has.

The sooner we get used to continuous builds the better, build the capacity and then maintain it. Some idiot will always claim is cheaper to buy over seas or to build in short bursts, but this is pure short termism, we should always be looking to the long game. The long game shows it is better and less wasteful to build and maintain capability than to acquire, run it down and then acquire it again.
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
The idea of a National Heavy Vehicle Building plan does have merit. If properly planned and developed (without any political interference) it would provide a sustainable level of production that retains essential skills and enhances defence capability. The plan would need to include all of the essential inputs to the capability, including steel, engines, electronics and all other elements needed. It is almost a lay-down misere for the existence of a Department of Supply.


For such a plan to work effectively it cannot be switched off on political or ideological whims. Politicians need to remember that they are not paying for the capabilities from their own pockets but it is paid for by the Government.
Actually neither pollies or the government formed by some pollies pay, it is the tax paying citizens. Sadly, too few of these citizens actually vote and even fewer take the time to understand defence acquisition decisions being considered.
 

oldsig127

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Actually neither pollies or the government formed by some pollies pay, it is the tax paying citizens. Sadly, too few of these citizens actually vote and even fewer take the time to understand defence acquisition decisions being considered.
Actually, in Australia almost ALL of our citizens, tax paying or not DO vote, as it's mandatory. Understanding what they vote for is not a requirement.

oldsig
 

John Fedup

The Bunker Group
Actually, in Australia almost ALL of our citizens, tax paying or not DO vote, as it's mandatory. Understanding what they vote for is not a requirement.

oldsig
Good idea that should be applicable to the many pathetic low vote democratic countries. Unfortunate there likely is no way to have voters understand the important issues of the day.
 

Gooey

Well-Known Member
Volk

Thanks for your great assessments as always.

WRT "...The argument that the RAAF does perfectly well buying from overseas ignores the fact we used to play the same silly games with aircraft manufacturing as well."

If I may opinion, due to technology and labour even during WWII the Australian aircraft output appeared to generate too old/late (eg. Beaufort and the Boomerang; yes I know Beaufighters and Mosquitos would argue against that towards the end) when obtaining from overseas (eg. Kittyhawks, Cat's, B24s) was more timely and operationally an advantage.

Sweep through 80 years and the arguments for Australian industry to build its own type of Gen V F-35 seems wrong. Perhaps in cooperation with Tempest or the SK/Indo thingy or in building from kit-sets over a longish period of time?

For me it's the same argument against building SSN in Australia, except amplified. Why would you? Yes for maintenance, updates etc but ...
 
Top