Australian Army Discussions and Updates

One thing that strikes me from following the Ukraine war at distance, is how intense it is. Even high quality products can be destroyed by drones,as just one example. Makes you think that the small number of k9 self propelled artillery is too low a number. Given that advanced killer drones are not going away, then higher numbers might be necessary to take account of combat attrition, perhaps an additional 25. Yes that may mean having more than the ideal and some of those extra are kept mothballed as a reserve, feels like a p
prudent measure imho. Possibly also a reserve of tanks, not in use , just stored away properly in a low humidity environment
 

ngatimozart

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One thing that strikes me from following the Ukraine war at distance, is how intense it is. Even high quality products can be destroyed by drones,as just one example. Makes you think that the small number of k9 self propelled artillery is too low a number. Given that advanced killer drones are not going away, then higher numbers might be necessary to take account of combat attrition, perhaps an additional 25. Yes that may mean having more than the ideal and some of those extra are kept mothballed as a reserve, feels like a p
prudent measure imho. Possibly also a reserve of tanks, not in use , just stored away properly in a low humidity environment
Yes, this war is certainly teaching many lessons. It's not just the UAVs but the devastating impacts of likes of the Javelin & NLAWS top down strikes on tanks where their armour is relatively weak. They're just easily breaking through into the vehicle. This is a Task & Purpose video that is about the Israeli Namer IFV, but it does discuss in some detail the impacts of NLAWS & Javelin attacks on tanks.


The learnings that I get from it is that the M1A2 Abrams and other western MBT are somewhat thin on the top (bit like me) and that any Russian or Chinese ATGM with a top down strike capability will be in like Flynn. So what's the solution? More armour? Probably but that means a turret rebuild and reinforcing of the the hull top from behind the turret ring with armour. That's more weight and that is going to slow the vehicle down. The Israelis use Trophy for a vehicle a defence system, but it's expensive (still cheaper than a replacement MBT thought) and it is energy hungry, so whatever vehicle it's mounted on requires significant power generation capability.

Then there is your next point, combat / normal attrition. How have the numbers acquired been reached? By Treasury? By Pollies? Or by the TO&E of the Armoured Regiment? I strongly suspect the first two in descending order and Army numerical requirement was just seen as a wish list. Yes I am a cynic but when Treasuries and Pollies are colluding on Defence acquisitions I have no reason to be optimistic. I think that we would have to look at the actual numerical requirement of the regiment and then calculate an attrition number from there. What ratio for losses you would use, I have no clue because I am no tankie, but given that the PLA-GF would field a lot of ATGM, they love UAVs, love artillery, and have a reasonable number or armed helos, I would expect they would be somewhat enthusiastic in their anti armour warfare. They (and the CCP) do not value human life like we do, so will be more than willing to accept quite high casualty rates in order to complete their assigned mission.
 

buffy9

Active Member
One thing that strikes me from following the Ukraine war at distance, is how intense it is. Even high quality products can be destroyed by drones,as just one example. Makes you think that the small number of k9 self propelled artillery is too low a number. Given that advanced killer drones are not going away, then higher numbers might be necessary to take account of combat attrition, perhaps an additional 25. Yes that may mean having more than the ideal and some of those extra are kept mothballed as a reserve, feels like a p
prudent measure imho. Possibly also a reserve of tanks, not in use , just stored away properly in a low humidity environment
Two regiments are funded under the FSP as it is right. This was confirmed by MAJGEN Jeremy King recently in a Q&A with DTR (subscription required but worth the read). In it he says there may be roughly a doubling in the number of vehicles ordered as part of the second order, or just under. So roughly 60 guns and 30 ammo carriers, assuming it is fully doubled.

Assuming 6 gun batteries (we use 4 with the m777s now), then that amounts to 10 batteries worth. Two regiments will likely use 6 of those, 53 Battery will probably use another for 7, and a small number will probably be giving to the School of Artillery to train new members on. The additional two and a half batteries should be enough for maintenance pools, attrition stock and additional training (drivers/crewies, technical maintenance training, etc).

Drones haven't necessarily been the biggest killer of armour in Ukraine. Heavy artillery has also played a major role, as has poor tactics and preparedness from either particular side. Drones are certainly a threat (and I don't believe they've been swarmed yet in Ukraine?), though often they are used as spotters rather than as "droppers."

I think the two regiments is fine so as long as they are well prepared and able to do well at what they are designed for. Keeping in mind they will be part of a wider fires system that will include a HIMARS battery/regiment, perhaps a pool of current M777 batteries, and that which is provided by aviation (the Apaches and CAG).

Applying lessons from Ukraine will be key I think. Whether we will need to ever fight like Ukraine in some areas though is probably a better question.

On tanks, Takao has a lot of awesome posts on how we don't have as many as we want. Same may be the case with final IFV numbers. Unfortunately, Defence only gets so much money, so not everyone gets an extra large pie table. It happens.
 
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ngatimozart

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Two regiments are funded under the FSP as it is right. This was confirmed by MAJGEN Jeremy King recently in a Q&A with DTR (subscription required but worth the read). In it he says there may be roughly a doubling in the number of vehicles ordered as part of the second order, or just under. So roughly 60 guns and 30 ammo carriers, assuming it is fully doubled.

Assuming 6 gun batteries (we use 4 with the m777s now), then that amounts to 10 batteries worth. Two regiments will likely use 6 of those, 53 Battery will probably use another for 7, and a small number will probably be giving to the School of Artillery to train new members on. The additional two and a half batteries should be enough for maintenance pools, attrition stock and additional training (drivers/crewies, technical maintenance training, etc).

Drones haven't necessarily been the biggest killer of armour in Ukraine. Heavy artillery has also played a major role, as has poor tactics and preparedness from either particular side. Drones are certainly a threat (and I don't believe they've been swarmed yet in Ukraine?), though often they are used as spotters rather than as "droppers."

I think the two regiments is fine so as long as they are well prepared and able to do well at what they are designed for. Keeping in mind they will be part of a wider fires system that will include a HIMARS battery/regiment, perhaps a pool of current M777 batteries, and that which is provided by aviation (the Apaches and CAG).

Applying lessons from Ukraine will be key I think. Whether we will need to ever fight like Ukraine in some areas though is probably a better question.
I think that your assertion that UAVs aren't necessarily the biggest killer of armour in Ukraine is missing the lesson. It's the combination of UAV with artillery / ATGM / and other things that go boom, that are lethal. It doesn't matter whether they're spotters, droppers, or kamikaze UAV, they all are just as lethal and have a habit of causing the sky to deposit high explosive bricks upon peoples heads.

Your last paragraph is the crucial one though and the context of it shouldn't be undervalued.
 

buffy9

Active Member
I think that your assertion that UAVs aren't necessarily the biggest killer of armour in Ukraine is missing the lesson. It's the combination of UAV with artillery / ATGM / and other things that go boom, that are lethal. It doesn't matter whether they're spotters, droppers, or kamikaze UAV, they all are just as lethal and have a habit of causing the sky to deposit high explosive bricks upon peoples heads.

Your last paragraph is the crucial one though and the context of it shouldn't be undervalued.
I definitely agree, 100%. Persistant surveillance with short, sharp and difficult to track kill chains is something that likely isn't going to disappear. Its just too easy for nations to replicate as Ukraine has shown. Small drones and man-portable missiles aren't necessarily difficult to source in big numbers when the time comes either. Its not necessarily all technology though - Civ Div has a good video that highlights how tactics can help.


One issue I think Army might face going forward is learning to use more COTS equipment. I know there are some projects for small drone projects, but really getting something like small (not necessarily nano) quadcopters down to the platoon level in rifle company terms. Any NCO is qualified (although maybe not familiar with) doing an all-arms call for fire with artillery; small drones might amplify this by not having them look over flat or complex terrain where they can't necessarily see super far.
 

Morgo

Active Member
I think that your assertion that UAVs aren't necessarily the biggest killer of armour in Ukraine is missing the lesson. It's the combination of UAV with artillery / ATGM / and other things that go boom, that are lethal. It doesn't matter whether they're spotters, droppers, or kamikaze UAV, they all are just as lethal and have a habit of causing the sky to deposit high explosive bricks upon peoples heads.

Your last paragraph is the crucial one though and the context of it shouldn't be undervalued.
I think Ngati’s and Buffy’s final statements are bang on the money.

The lesson from Ukraine is not “Australia needs more tanks / more SPGs / more IFVs” (although this is true), it is “Australia cannot win a fight of this nature against a well supplied and causality insensitive major land power.”

So what does this mean? I’ll venture an unpopular opinion on an Army thread, but it means we need to avoid a conflict like this at all costs unless we are part of a coalition. This is hardly a revolutionary statement, but we need the RAN and the RAAF to hold the enemy at a distance and disrupt their logistics. And we need to prioritise investment in RAN and RAAF capabilities along with A2AD Army capabilities ahead of a fulsome armoured capability if we are capacity constrained, although in an ideal world we wouldn’t have to choose.

Army has an important role in seizing and holding islands, peninsulas and other areas where another power cannot bring their superior mass to bear (as other services have control, or at least denial of the sea and sky around them), while we use top class logistics (again through RAN and RAAF, but also Army watercraft) to generate local overmatch in combat power. This is why I think we cannot have enough investment in logistics and amphibious vessels for RAN and Army.

If we end up in a Ukraine vs Russia slugging match we will probably lose, and we certainly won’t be playing to our strengths.

Just my two cents.
 

STURM

Well-Known Member
Yes, this war is certainly teaching many lessons. It's not just the UAVs
Is the war teaching us a lot of new things per see or merely validating and reminding us various things we already knew? On UASs we've long been aware of their value and the innovative ways they can be utilised from Nargano Karabakh, the 2015 Donbas campaign; as well in Syria and Iraq.
 

DDG38

The Bunker Group
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buffy9

Active Member
Pardon this dumb sailor's ignorance on such small caliber weaponry, but is this replacing the Steyr ? And aren't all carried weapons "personal defence weapons" ? Sounds like a bit of corporate speak wankery in that terminology.
The idea goes beyond ADF, essentially a weapon somewhere between a rifle and a submachine gun. Conventionally it would be given to personnel where the EF88 may be too much or the MP5 is too little. Realistically, it will probably be used mostly by SOCOMD. I can't find the pictures quickly unfortunately by the MCX Rattler has been seen in use by 2CDO, which may have been related to prototyping or part of an earlier procurement.

I don't know what the go is with RAN or how they necessarily use Steyrs, though if they are being used for defence of the ship over the deck an EF88 with 5.56mm is probably better than an MCX with .300BLK. Clearance divers and boarding parties might be different if tight spaces are an issue.
 
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ngatimozart

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I don't know what the go is with RAN or how they necessarily use Steyrs, though if they are being used for defence of the ship over the deck a 5.56mm is probably better than .300BK. Clearance divers and boarding parties might be different if tight spaces are an issue.
The RNZN issue Bennelli(?) shotguns and Glock 19s to their boarding parties. In my day if we went armed it was with the Sterling SMG because the mighty L1A1 SLR was just a tad to long. I quite liked the Sterling.
 

ADMk2

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Pardon this dumb sailor's ignorance on such small caliber weaponry, but is this replacing the Steyr ? And aren't all carried weapons "personal defence weapons" ? Sounds like a bit of corporate speak wankery in that terminology.
In the short term, no.

Army is moving to a tiered system of “weapons platforms” rather than “guns”. They are systems because with the ancillaries these weapons are now equipped with (optics, illumination systems, low-light / thermals, suppressors, grenade launcher attachments and so on) the training impost for non-combatants is too high and detracts from training for their principal role.

The PDW linked above is aimed at personnel who are not close-combatants (ie: infantry) yet require the capability to defend themselves in conflict zone. These are being acquired under LAND 159 Tranche 1, Tranche 2 provides for an ADF wide replacement close combatant assault rifle. Traditionally non-close combatants would be given the standard rifle but these are becoming too specialised at the top end for non-specialists. Hence the “fairly“ basic PDW platform.

So the SiG MCX platform may well be the platform of choice for this system which would make sense from a training and logistics POV, but if it is selected under Tranche 2, it will have a greater range of options (including quite probably calibres) than we can see with the Tranche 1 system.

As can be seen below, LAND 159 is an extremely substantial program that within a few years will see a totally different “look” for ADF compared to previous years.

 

buffy9

Active Member
Would the new US rifle be of any interest?
6.8 mm ammunition and advanced optics/ballistic computer
I believe DTR (again apologies but it appears to be well informed as a source) had an article in one of its issues that stated Aquaterra is positioning itself to offer the XM5 and possibly the XM250 for the ADF as part of Tranche 2. Likewise and also from DTR, Thales-Lithgow is positioning to offer a domestic 6.8mm rifle design.

If the US really does move in earnest towards 6.8mm, then it would make sense for ADF to follow. Future body armour is only going to get better and it will likely proliferate, even to non-state actors.

In the short term, no.

Army is moving to a tiered system of “weapons platforms” rather than “guns”. They are systems because with the ancillaries these weapons are now equipped with (optics, illumination systems, low-light / thermals, suppressors, grenade launcher attachments and so on) the training impost for non-combatants is too high and detracts from training for their principal role.

The PDW linked above is aimed at personnel who are not close-combatants (ie: infantry) yet require the capability to defend themselves in conflict zone. These are being acquired under LAND 159 Tranche 1, Tranche 2 provides for an ADF wide replacement close combatant assault rifle. Traditionally non-close combatants would be given the standard rifle but these are becoming too specialised at the top end for non-specialists. Hence the “fairly“ basic PDW platform.

So the SiG MCX platform may well be the platform of choice for this system which would make sense from a training and logistics POV, but if it is selected under Tranche 2, it will have a greater range of options (including quite probably calibres) than we can see with the Tranche 1 system.

As can be seen below, LAND 159 is an extremely substantial program that within a few years will see a totally different “look” for ADF compared to previous years.

When you say close-combatant rifles are becoming too specialised, is this in relation to a likely 6.8mm shift? 6.8mm rounds are heavier and if rounds do exploit the 80,000psi chamber pressure, I can see what you mean by non close-combatants requiring a smaller and easier calibre.

If this be the case - I'm a tad concerned about sustaining a BDE with two different small arms calibres. Non-standardisation and the impacts of it for logistics.
 
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ngatimozart

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Would the new US rifle be of any interest?
6.8 mm ammunition and advanced optics/ballistic computer
I have been following this with quite a bit of interest and it offers quite a lot to your average grunt. For one the cartridge is 6.8mm x 51 so with the current MAG-58s all that is required is a barrel change. The cartridge case itself is lighter and the bullet lighter than the 7.62mm round but actually travels further and has higher energy when it hits the target. It also means returning to the common ammo type of the 7.62 x 51mm days when the L1A1 SLR and GPMG (MAG-58) were in service together because they both used the same round. This time it would be the 6.8mm x 51 round. From memory the the optics are 8 x so that's brilliant. Sure beats the Mk 1 eyeball and SLR iron sights. I realise that NZDF have just acquired the new MARS rifles and ADF with the new EF rifle, but I would be hoping that both forces are serious considering the new 6.8mm x 51 round and the new rifles. We wouldn't even have to buy new LMG, just new barrels and if need to go with 7.62 x 51 on the LMG for any reason, it's only a barrel change.
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Thales for some time has been developing with AHQ (Army HQ) a local version for a close combat 6.8 weapon.

https://www.thalesgroup.com/sites/d...-developing-new-6-8mm-close-combat-weapon.pdf

Been going on since at least 2020 and if everything has been going to plan by Q3 2023 they should be introduced to conduct initial user trials. This weapons is to compete against the selected NGSW weapons in Land 159 Tranche 2.

On a side note in that link I found small potatoes but a military grade lithium battery whose company has also recieved funding from the CEFC, Even the greenies investing in defence ;)
 
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