Interesting & obscure RAN discussions (not related to current capabilities)

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Takao

The Bunker Group
I was part of a US/Australian team looking at this question a few years back.

We found a significant conflict between like powers would see a mish-mash of technology by the six month mark. There would be large amounts of non-expendable high-tech stuff like radios and computers (plus some platforms), but most of the expendable high-tech stuff would be long gone. No AIM-120, no SM-2, no PGM, not even laser guided arty shells. Some would trickle through; it would be held in reserve for major pushes.

Now that provides a huge challenge. Assume war breaks out with Hobart in deeper level service and she survives the opening clashes. How does Hobart defend itself without SM-2? Noting the REDFORCE probably doesn't have anti-ship missiles, what does it need to defend against? 5"? Are there even REDFORCE ships left? Could Hobart be the most powerful surface vessel in the area? What does that mean for Australia politically?

Looking beyond maritime stuff; we guessed a revision to 1960s platforms and munitions, with 2010s kit held as strategic reserves. The F-35s probably wouldn't fly but would wait with our limited supply of precision munitions to support strategically significant attacks. Army wouldn't use PGMs at all - it'd be Tiger or Apache with 30 mm and unguided 70 mm while the guns fire large amounts of 155 mm dumb rounds. Trading mass for tech. Casualties would mount, and you'd probably end up with a fluid stalemate a'la North Africa in 1940-42 or the Eastern Front 1942-43.

But very, very, very few people are looking at this...
 

Unric

New Member
Probably too speculative and theoretical for this forum but thanks for the input Takao. Hopefully never comes to this!
 

Takao

The Bunker Group
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Probably too speculative and theoretical for this forum but thanks for the input Takao. Hopefully never comes to this!
I agree with your last bit; but not your first.

The number of people I am aware that are looking at this can be counted on two hands. Certainly in Australia. The short victorious war syndrome is a key element of Defence planning and we don't like talking about what happens if we don't win in 100 hours or so. There are some trying to make some effort, and you hopefully will see the seeds of that soon, but how we fight at D+6 months will be drastically different to D-Day and we need to consider it.

If we aren't considering it internally, than externally is the only way. This forum has more say than many realise, and if we aren't doing it internally than this may be one of the only ways.....
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
How many times in history have we been told that the war will be short and the troops will be home by Christmas? WW1, Old Tex has already mentioned OP BARBAROSSA, Gallipoli etc. Or when victory and the end seemed to be in sight, only to have it snatched from your hands and you are forced into a stalemate and truce, such as the UN in Korea 1953, or in defeat as Hitler found out at the gates of Moscow. Those who plan for a short war, but don't make plans for a long war end up paying the price in blood and treasure, but never their own blood or treasure.
 

StingrayOZ

Super Moderator
Staff member
There is some latent potential in Australia for weapons manufacturing. Australia uses and manufactures a tremendous amount in the mining explosives areas. Australian munitions do make some stuff specifically for military purposes. We could probably sustain some sort of dumb iron bomb production. Making propellants for basic missiles probably isn't beyond us either..

IMO its unlikely Australia would deplete its compete stocks of missiles in the opening salvo, we don't have enough active ships for that.
A 5" is still a formidable weapon, we have a significant war stock of submarine torpedoes and older weapons like harpoon.

It doesn't have to be a massive war either, we are seeing countries suffer significant economic difficulties, war stocks won't be kept up, and modernized and older systems will face early retirement. Alliances can be put under strain, and programs can be curtailed or cancelled, production can be very fickle in a globalized economy.

Like anything in war time, its often not easy to get production going. As we have found with PPE equipment during the virus. Some core technologies and capabilities should probably be invested locally, for commercial and military purposes. Raw material fabrication (particularly for composites), adaptable high tech production lines etc are always going to be useful. But it can take 5-10 years for transitions to take place. Even restarting previous production capabilities can be a huge effort (submarines? Frigates? etc).

Australia does have semiconductor manufacturing capability locally. Its small, but its there. But like most of the industry it would be dependent on materials from else where.

Australia had some sophisticated plans made back in the 50's and 60's. However, not much since then has taken place, and the planning that was done back then, has now been disassembled. We had significant latent nuclear, rocketry, aerospace and naval capability.
 

t68

Well-Known Member
The 2011 military intervention in Libya is a recent starting point ordinance stock. The US played a backseat role but it was quite telling on the individual nations of NATO and reserve stock that was prominent. That officially lasted 7 mths


 

StobieWan

Super Moderator
Staff member
The 2011 military intervention in Libya is a recent starting point ordinance stock. The US played a backseat role but it was quite telling on the individual nations of NATO and reserve stock that was prominent. That officially lasted 7 mths


Indeed - stocks for TLAM for the UK usually run at about 80 missiles for instance - Stormshadow is an outlier as we had to order a batch and bought 1000 in a single buy, so that's two extremes. In a full-on shooting war in Europe, NATO would be down to harsh language and insistent hand gestures fairly quickly.

That needs to be fixed now that everyone is getting back on task regarding a peer to peer conflict.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
I was part of a US/Australian team looking at this question a few years back.

We found a significant conflict between like powers would see a mish-mash of technology by the six month mark. There would be large amounts of non-expendable high-tech stuff like radios and computers (plus some platforms), but most of the expendable high-tech stuff would be long gone. No AIM-120, no SM-2, no PGM, not even laser guided arty shells. Some would trickle through; it would be held in reserve for major pushes.

Now that provides a huge challenge. Assume war breaks out with Hobart in deeper level service and she survives the opening clashes. How does Hobart defend itself without SM-2? Noting the REDFORCE probably doesn't have anti-ship missiles, what does it need to defend against? 5"? Are there even REDFORCE ships left? Could Hobart be the most powerful surface vessel in the area? What does that mean for Australia politically?

Looking beyond maritime stuff; we guessed a revision to 1960s platforms and munitions, with 2010s kit held as strategic reserves. The F-35s probably wouldn't fly but would wait with our limited supply of precision munitions to support strategically significant attacks. Army wouldn't use PGMs at all - it'd be Tiger or Apache with 30 mm and unguided 70 mm while the guns fire large amounts of 155 mm dumb rounds. Trading mass for tech. Casualties would mount, and you'd probably end up with a fluid stalemate a'la North Africa in 1940-42 or the Eastern Front 1942-43.

But very, very, very few people are looking at this...
That is a sobering thought. Out of interest, how likely would it be for a major power conflict to last six months without nuclear escalation? Seems like a long time to leave the big red button alone, or to avoid things coming to a head ala the Cuban Missile Crisis.
 

spoz

The Bunker Group
Those who propose large holdings of EO as war stocks need to remember the stuff has a fixed shelf life; that is particularly limiting in the case of rocket motors where the solid propellant can crack over time, rendering it US and in many cases as dangerous to the launching platform as it is to the target (qv the Sachsen incident a couple of years ago).

Australia retains the capacity to manufacture a wide range of natures, including 5 inch.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
@StingrayOZ NZ has its own space program with satellite launches from the Rocket Lab launch facility on the Mahia Peninsula. I would presume that since we build the rockets here, we also make the fuel here. Given that it's a liquid fuel it's different, but a young Kiwi, about 10 years ago, developed a solid rocket propellant that was throttleable like liquid fuel. So we may have the capability to manufacture solid rocket propellant.

Since Australia is going to license build thethe Spike LR missile - am I correct in that??? - I would presume that you would also have a solid rocket propellant manufacturing plant being set up as well.
 

Shanesworld

Active Member
@StingrayOZ NZ has its own space program with satellite launches from the Rocket Lab launch facility on the Mahia Peninsula. I would presume that since we build the rockets here, we also make the fuel here. Given that it's a liquid fuel it's different, but a young Kiwi, about 10 years ago, developed a solid rocket propellant that was throttleable like liquid fuel. So we may have the capability to manufacture solid rocket propellant.

Since Australia is going to license build thethe Spike LR missile - am I correct in that??? - I would presume that you would also have a solid rocket propellant manufacturing plant being set up as well.
Yes the propellant is made here. The infrastructure and research effort to do so is also largely here but resides predictably within several small/medium business whose main earnings come from other areas which could be effected by coming economic downturn. I worked for one that was always close to financial ruin.
 

Wombat000

Active Member
The question of attritional degradation of systems is an interesting one.
At the end of the day, for example a Mk41 VLS without sufficient ammunition re supply are just empty tubes, and the prime weapon system may indeed default to the 5”.

I don’t know the answer.
Obviously the closer to a ‘pre-conflict‘ full spec warshot the better, but perhaps there’s some scope for a ‘missile-lite‘ answer?
Optimal full spec capability may be restricted by time, competition for the missiles, costs, commercial factors or limits to their manufacture overseas.

However perhaps there might be a role for a cheaper (even somewhat dumber) round that is compatible with the system and would flesh out war stocks to account for a longer term drain on national ammunition stocks; and hence still maintain longer range, longer term utility for the missile system.

Somewhat using a bigger naval example of @Takeos arty rounds analogy, saving the higher spec rounds for more prudent scenarios.
It would also maintain some form of cheaper industry involvement, which perhaps has already started with Spike.

anyway, just thoughts.
 

Unric

New Member
I assumed that a large part of the cost of a missile (as an example of expensive consumable) is R and D and the manufacturing equipment. Low production numbers mean there's not much opportunity for economy of scale. Is that correct? Reason I ask is that if so, I don't see much benefit from producing a simplified missile?
 

Unric

New Member
Should have clarified: I don't see necessary a cost benefit. Having a home grown industry could be a huge benefit.
 

oldsig127

The Bunker Group
Verified Defense Pro
Since Australia is going to license build thethe Spike LR missile - am I correct in that??? - I would presume that you would also have a solid rocket propellant manufacturing plant being set up as well.
Yes , reported by me on April 29 that Varley had been chosen to manufacture Spike for Australia and other customers. As noted, it's a start anyway

oldsig
 

76mmGuns

Member
I was part of a US/Australian team looking at this question a few years back.

We found a significant conflict between like powers would see a mish-mash of technology by the six month mark. There would be large amounts of non-expendable high-tech stuff like radios and computers (plus some platforms), but most of the expendable high-tech stuff would be long gone. No AIM-120, no SM-2, no PGM, not even laser guided arty shells. Some would trickle through; it would be held in reserve for major pushes.

Now that provides a huge challenge. Assume war breaks out with Hobart in deeper level service and she survives the opening clashes. How does Hobart defend itself without SM-2? Noting the REDFORCE probably doesn't have anti-ship missiles, what does it need to defend against? 5"? Are there even REDFORCE ships left? Could Hobart be the most powerful surface vessel in the area? What does that mean for Australia politically?

Looking beyond maritime stuff; we guessed a revision to 1960s platforms and munitions, with 2010s kit held as strategic reserves. The F-35s probably wouldn't fly but would wait with our limited supply of precision munitions to support strategically significant attacks. Army wouldn't use PGMs at all - it'd be Tiger or Apache with 30 mm and unguided 70 mm while the guns fire large amounts of 155 mm dumb rounds. Trading mass for tech. Casualties would mount, and you'd probably end up with a fluid stalemate a'la North Africa in 1940-42 or the Eastern Front 1942-43.

But very, very, very few people are looking at this...
Given this situation, should we be designing a second type of warship, based on larger calibre guns, similar to ww2 battlecruisers/ships again? Should there be development of , say, 8 inch guns, throwing 100kg+ shells again?

So in the beginning, we'd send guided missile ships first. Then weeks and months later, with no more missiles, the guided missile ships would take a back seat and the battleships come forward, with stockpiled guided shells. The warhead of an 8 inch (ww2 era at least) is around the same as a nsm ( do I need to reference this?)

Such a design might have fore and aft to Melara 76mm guns using strales system for anti missile defence, and then 1-2 X 8 inch guns, twin helicopter hangers rear ( anti sub ).

Is this the sort of thing naval warfare noggings should be considering?
 

vonnoobie

Well-Known Member
Given this situation, should we be designing a second type of warship, based on larger calibre guns, similar to ww2 battlecruisers/ships again? Should there be development of , say, 8 inch guns, throwing 100kg+ shells again?

So in the beginning, we'd send guided missile ships first. Then weeks and months later, with no more missiles, the guided missile ships would take a back seat and the battleships come forward, with stockpiled guided shells. The warhead of an 8 inch (ww2 era at least) is around the same as a nsm ( do I need to reference this?)

Such a design might have fore and aft to Melara 76mm guns using strales system for anti missile defence, and then 1-2 X 8 inch guns, twin helicopter hangers rear ( anti sub ).

Is this the sort of thing naval warfare noggings should be considering?
Not 8 inch. If such was to be done which I hardly imagine it ever would be the 6inch or 155mm would be better due to much higher rate of fire. Problem with it would be big change from current systems. To make that an easy to introduce and sustain system you would have to have this actively fielded across the fleet before hostilities so to nip this in the but could the Hunters field a 155mm/6 inch gun in place of the 5inch? If not then let's leave it in the past.

The best thing we can do against a powerful adversary (china) is to hold out long enough for their own reserves of resources to dwindle down and crash their economy and by extension their ability to wage a war. When it comes to China they are at extreme risk as they are so reliant on resources from abroad. A war with china won't have to be so much defeating all their military assets but rather a war on sea trade.
 

At lakes

Active Member
The Americans tried the 8inch gun experiment in 1975 on the USS Hull DD945 a Forest Sherman class destroyer. They removed A and B turret and replaced it with an experimental 8-inch gun. She conducted several trials and did two deployments with the Pacific Fleet. The project was cancelled in 1979 deemed not viable and the gun removed and the two 5-inch turrets returned to the A and B position. These remained until 1983 when she was decommissioned and she was sunk as a target in 1998.

 

spoz

The Bunker Group
This is a bit pedantic but Forrest Sherman’s had 5/54s in A, X and Y position (not that the USN called them that). The 8 inch was in place of Mount 51, the forward 5 inch.
 
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