US Army News and updates general discussion

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
I’m trying hard to reconcile a concept that offers a “cheap” round with precision guidance.
It's not a new concept. Depending on how you distribute your inherently expensive guidance systems, you can either make a system very expensive, or not so expensive.
It also depends on questions like "Do we want it to be guided and corrected the whole path, or can we settle for maybe 50% of the path down to terminal stage? Or can we go down to terminal stage only?"

For example, INS guidance can be extremely expensive if the guidance system works the entire flight and the flight itself is very long. IIRC a Peacekeeper ICBM's INS cost about $300,000 in 1989 dollars,

But if you take an INS and couple it with, say, a GPS that recalibrates it mid-flight, then the INS itself needs to be exponentially less complex and expensive.

"Active" forms of guidance can be expensive, but some are cheaper than others.
A long range projectile like that should not have expensive guidance equipment. In fact, it could do entirely without any active form of guidance, even optical sensors (yeah I know they're technically passive).
A GPS receiver and a recalibrating INS should be, in military terms, dirt cheap.

The most expensive components should actually be the propulsion, and as in the case of the $1 million HVP, a major cost factor is development costs which simply were not divided between ordered units.

As for why a gun is desired over any other solution, is beyond me.
 

Ranger25

Active Member
Staff member
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  • #282
US Army has awarded a contract to GDLS for their Styker based MSHORAD system. They system carries a quad Stinger mount along with Hellfire missiles and a 30mm bushmaster. Will replace the old (rarely deployed) Avenger units and return a ground based SAM capability to maneuver units. Will also add some ATGM capability with the addition of the Hellfire system.

First unit training now with an initial total production of 144 units


 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
The gun is an M230LF, a derivative of the Apache-borne M230, not a Bushmaster.
This means its gun is less accurate and less powerful than a typical 30mm seen on IFVs, but it's deemed adequate.
 

Terran

Active Member
Considering the role is Short range anti aircraft, particularly anti UAS, the loss in accuracy and velocity is more than acceptable.
Additionally M230LF have been finding there way onto MRAP and JLTV. Where in they are far superior to those of a traditional grenade launcher or HMG.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Considering the role is Short range anti aircraft, particularly anti UAS, the loss in accuracy and velocity is more than acceptable.
Additionally M230LF have been finding there way onto MRAP and JLTV. Where in they are far superior to those of a traditional grenade launcher or HMG.
Agreed, but its capability against low flying fixed wing aircraft should be inherently very low. Its gun would not be better for the task than even the infamously inaccurate dual 2A42 of the Pantsir, and neither Stingers nor Hellfires are energetic enough for defense against fixed wing aircraft other than perhaps the SU-25, whose role has shifted recently to combating hybrid forces rather than peers.
 

Terran

Active Member
Anti aircraft guns have always been marginally effective at anti aircraft.
Vs a low slow drone or low flying helicopter they may be better suited. So much so I suspect that’s the only practical reason for the investment. Drones are becoming more and more common and a more realistic threat.
However historically it’s a moon shot if they actually nail an airplane at altitude. In the pre radar fighter days they served mostly to flag where the aircraft were for friendly fighters. They also serve a psychological support aspect on both sides of the equation. To the guys shooting they view it as doing something more than fleeing or huddling up. For the guy being shot at it makes him question his choice of action.
This said historically they have provided excellent ground fire capacity. The fact this system includes the option for Hellfires proves that advantage has not been forgotten. Vs infantry and light armor it’s a nasty beast you don’t want to be on the business end of.
SAM systems by contrast do exactly what’s on the tin so to speak. More effective yet systems like Stinger are again more limited.
A tier system mix is the goal here. MSHORAD or Irondome systems being the last and lowest tier. Patriot, MEADS being the step up followed by THAAD, Aegis ashore or GMD. As such the lackluster performance is understood.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
Iron Dome is not a last tier defense, it's a very energetic, extremely agile missile, with coverage above the level of point defense. IM-SHORAD is rightfully below it, and may be replaced by a laser based system in the distant future as told in the article.
 

Terran

Active Member
I stand corrected a sort of low medium. Not a replacement for the medium of PAC but not as mobile as MSHORAD
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
It fits right between the IM-SHORAD and the PAC-2/3.
I just hope Rafael and the Army could make it compatible with the ABMS, otherwise it won't live up to its full potential.
 

Feanor

Super Moderator
Staff member
Anti aircraft guns have always been marginally effective at anti aircraft.
Vs a low slow drone or low flying helicopter they may be better suited. So much so I suspect that’s the only practical reason for the investment. Drones are becoming more and more common and a more realistic threat.
However historically it’s a moon shot if they actually nail an airplane at altitude. In the pre radar fighter days they served mostly to flag where the aircraft were for friendly fighters. They also serve a psychological support aspect on both sides of the equation. To the guys shooting they view it as doing something more than fleeing or huddling up. For the guy being shot at it makes him question his choice of action.
This said historically they have provided excellent ground fire capacity. The fact this system includes the option for Hellfires proves that advantage has not been forgotten. Vs infantry and light armor it’s a nasty beast you don’t want to be on the business end of.
SAM systems by contrast do exactly what’s on the tin so to speak. More effective yet systems like Stinger are again more limited.
A tier system mix is the goal here. MSHORAD or Irondome systems being the last and lowest tier. Patriot, MEADS being the step up followed by THAAD, Aegis ashore or GMD. As such the lackluster performance is understood.
From what I understand, with AAA it's less about shooting down each individual aircraft then it is about making it far more difficult for the aircraft to attack the ground formations. A lot of the time limiting what the enemy can do is as valuable as actually destroying a specific target.
 

Big_Zucchini

Active Member
From what I understand, with AAA it's less about shooting down each individual aircraft then it is about making it far more difficult for the aircraft to attack the ground formations. A lot of the time limiting what the enemy can do is as valuable as actually destroying a specific target.
That is a good side effect. But those people who designed AAA systems throughout the generations, thought more about how to actually hit the target than to scare it.

A few psychological warfare improvements that aren't implemented in most systems are tracers for every round and some burning agent coating some of the shrapnel for the added visual effect.

But today's AAA systems are very accurate, if the gun itself has low enough dispersion.
 

Rob c

Well-Known Member
That is a good side effect. But those people who designed AAA systems throughout the generations, thought more about how to actually hit the target than to scare it.

A few psychological warfare improvements that aren't implemented in most systems are tracers for every round and some burning agent coating some of the shrapnel for the added visual effect.

But today's AAA systems are very accurate, if the gun itself has low enough dispersion.
The big problem with any AAA is the time taken for the projectile to reach the target means that you have to make sure that the pilot flies his aircraft accurately enough for the projectile and the aircraft to arrive at the predicted point together and hope for friendly air currents at the same time. Getting the projectile to the predicted point is only half of the the problem, getting the aircraft to the same predicted point is the other half as in the matter of seconds an aircraft can stray enough to take it outside of a lethal distance especially if it is travelling at speed.
 
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Big_Zucchini

Active Member
That's where advanced algorithms and/or human judgment comes into play.
A fixed wing aircraft won't be constantly maneuvering. In between maneuvers it will have quite a lot of time of level, straight flight. Identify a pattern, then shoot.
Maneuver all the time and you'll burn both your fuel and your energy.
I think AAA a la MANTIS can make a return, until lasers become viable.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
To my mind IM-SHORAD strikes me as primarily directed at enemy UAS and rotary wing assets. Fixed wings are more likely to be dealt with via Patriot, land based SM-6 and friendly airpower.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
True, although I suspect Stinger would be the weapon of choice against low flying fixed wings rather than the (C-UAV oriented) cannon. I imagine it ought to suffice as an interim solution, which is all it is supposed to be after all.
 

ngatimozart

Super Moderator
Staff member
Verified Defense Pro
True, although I suspect Stinger would be the weapon of choice against low flying fixed wings rather than the (C-UAV oriented) cannon. I imagine it ought to suffice as an interim solution, which is all it is supposed to be after all.
You realise that a 30 mm cannon can do significant harm to a fast jet if the fast jet encounters it. I am a great believer of AAA as part of a VSHORAD solution because it is still quite lethal especially if it's linked to a radar fire control system. Missiles aren't the be all to end all and sometimes I think that the fixation on them, especially in a SHORAD / VSHORAD role can be detrimental, blinding people to other options. Missiles are not cheap to own and use. So I don't entirely accept that AAA is well past its useby date, especially when missile manufacturers start making the claim.
 

Delta204

Member
After reading through the posts in the Nagorniy Karabkh thread I would think the focus for these type of ground units should/has likely shift away from fixed wing fast jets threat to the type of loitering / kamikaze UAS's that can pop up and be deployed in numbers even if air superiority is achieved (which is likely the case where US ground forces would be). Have to think that AAA is almost a necessity given the limited number of stingers that would be carried.
 

Boagrius

Well-Known Member
You realise that a 30 mm cannon can do significant harm to a fast jet if the fast jet encounters it. I am a great believer of AAA as part of a VSHORAD solution because it is still quite lethal especially if it's linked to a radar fire control system. Missiles aren't the be all to end all and sometimes I think that the fixation on them, especially in a SHORAD / VSHORAD role can be detrimental, blinding people to other options. Missiles are not cheap to own and use. So I don't entirely accept that AAA is well past its useby date, especially when missile manufacturers start making the claim.
Oh no doubt about that. That said I'm not sure that the M230LF on IM-SHORAD is pitched at fast movers. With a 30x113mm round and ROF of just 200 RPM, I doubt it is an ideal weapon for that target set. Contrast with something like Millenium Gun/Skyranger for example. Strikes me as a much better fit for C-UAV work etc.
 

Terran

Active Member
It might be a better fit vs fast movers but two strikes against Millennium/Skyranger. Strike one No US production. Strike two which is the biggest issue the 35mm. No other current issue US system uses that ammo. The aim of the Stryker IM Shorad was a rapidly field-able system that could be dropped into the European Stryker fleet. Strike one slows that but strike two killed it. The US in the recent past used a ground based version of the Phalanx for C-RAM at US Bases in Iraq and Afghanistan. Had the US adopted MANTIS or Skysheild for the Job then Skyranger would be a logical step. But because it didn’t it would be hard to justify adoption of a unique gun system with a unique ammo type.

The want here was a mobile very short range air defense system primarily targeted against low flying attackers and especially small UAS. Anything from hand held to the size of a large quad copter. Anything larger would be for stinger. This however doesn’t mean that all is served and the job is done, the system is even described as Interim. A number of systems were demonstrated at white sands but Skyranger and its siblings were not part of the list we know of. Those included South Korea’s K30 Biho, Avenger upgrades, Iron dome as sky hunter.
We know soon after that Iron dome was purchased in small numbers well the issues of source code are argued over along with the contract for the IMSHORAD.
 
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