This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
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One tid bit from my dealings in SA arms
Ukraine war kinda blew the end user agreements to level of toilet paper.
It was interesting to find out South African burocracy is holdign back on export permits for some 200milion $ of arms orders including near 120mio for Poland and Turkey over fears they are not end destination. Kinda reminds of that line
in Lord of War , where Viktor Bout explains to the Interpol guy that US president is the biggest illicit arms salesman in the world that occaionaly uses him for delicate business.
US is now buying T72 in Morocco
Mr. T (MrT4) said:
Software induced shutdown or deterioration is quite widespread these days sometimes is sold as a safety feature preventing damage or injury
In my experience its employed rather seldom. There are some products or product types where it is common but this is really limited to these.
There is the legal issue and looming threat of mass suits and action by cosumer protection agencies.
The thing is if you sell a customer a product it becomes his property. The supplier looses allmost rights (if the contract is fullfilled) and is left with duties defined by product liability regulations. If there is a software installed that shuts the product down and this is not specified in the contract (which it usually isn't, who would buy such a product) this is causing deliberate damage to someone elses property. Its like sending someone over with a hammer to smash the product. Which is pretty obviously forbidden.
Sometimes they try to circumvent this by, as you say, claiming safety features but this can trigger the product liability and should be removable by service, maintenance or repair. If its not we are back to deliberatly damaging someone else property.
Another typica move to circumvent this is by not selling the product as such but delivering it as part of a service. Terminating the service contract allows the suppliert to shut the product down. But this is difficult to realise for physical products especially in the consumer market. In the industry market this is pretty common but its not really the same thing because the product would not be shut down but rather replaced immediatly or the supplier changed. Assuming a need for the product is still there.
Mr. T (MrT4) said:
One example on the drone i am involved in
Drones are a niche product and pretty new. The market is still in the early stages of developement. Hard to transfer things that happen in this field to other ones.
Mr. T (MrT4) said:
same quality drone camera that cost 3k $ for DIJ drone costs us 12k $ , and next higher grade one only offering something like 10-15% gain in performance is almost double the price.
Besides the impact of production volume on price there also is the effect of dimishing returns and the 80-20 rule. You can get 80% of the possible performance for 20% of the cost. getting the last 20% performance costs aditional 80%.
It will be intresting to see if there really will be a reorganisation of supply chains and brining production back from China. My educated guess is: its all lip service and the usual BS. In the end it will only be about money and China is cheaper. End of story.
Yes lot of the supply chain stuff talk right now is posturing, but in the end, if the Chinese continue the zero COVID nonsense business might friendshore to other Asian locations simply because its hurting the bottom line. If the west was smart it would shut the fuck up criticizing China for covid zero (the hypocrisy on this is mindbogling) and let the Chinese wreck their own business model in the end Business is following the bottom line more than political policies.
Chinese manufacturing at this stage is not profitable because of low wages but simply because productivity is extremely high. One of the things that is most impressive is their turn around times even for small batches, no one in Europe would bother, and in China, they make stuff sometimes in 24h the other thing is the supply of subcomponents due to the industry clusters in same cities, you know you design a PCB for a drone specify use xyz components,and likelihood of them being able to make the part in the short term is extremely high, even when chips for servos are often German, and processors US made , in any case same order in EU or US might take weeks before all the specific parts are on stock.
80-20holds true but its the final 10% or even less that costs an insane amount of money.
On the topic of drones vs air defences , my recent work on a target drone made me think we will see in the future a considerable rise in use of decoy drones. For example, a target drone that follows a preprogrammed flight path using off the shelf parts without any optics or command controls and in size(not in weight) and flight speed similar to a smaller shahed 131 , cost me (target drone specs) less than 2k $ while same exact same surveilance equiped drone is closer to 10k $ while much heavier attack drone might cost 50-500k$ depending on sophistication so in the contested environment it would make sense to deploy both sensored or attack drones and decoy drones to deplete AD . Kind similar to how in the past target drones were used to lure SAM sites into the firing of their missiles and then attack while they are being reloaded .
There's an argument that the main thing China has going for it now is its industrial clusters. Final Production of a lot of goods is easy enough; getting all the sub components made is the hard part.
But does anyone seriously believe business is mowing it all back west , all these plans liek CHIPS act are basicaly talking about reclaiming some of tinyest subcomponent production that is now in Taiwan?
Moving it all back West? No. Some to other Asian countries, some to the US, some to Middle East and Latin America. China will manufacture a lot, but the era of rapid growth for it is over.
I'll give you an example of what we're seeing here in the U.S.. Where I work, we export a lot of casting molds and cores to Mexico. The Mexican foundries have American contracts/owners. The castings are produced in Mexico, but often used in the U.S..
More of the 'Ukraine Effect' - the US now doing multi year, high volume contracts for munitions. Previously it was done on an unpredictable year to year boom and bust cycle that prevented contractors from fully investing and optimizing production lines.
Some of these purchases are massive. While most will go to the US, and some are no doubt slated for Ukraine, I imagine more then a few are going to become 'stocking stuffers' for Taiwan. Especially the Harpoons.
These are still amateur numbers, especially if we're talking about deterring China.
Still, it's a good start.
Well in terms of more China focused munitions, this is also happening:
I think in the next few years, the kinetic aspect of deterrence will be pretty solid.
The big issue is economic, and there the US has a long way to go. Right now huge swathes of the US economy is dependent on Chinese imports of retail consumer products. Millions, possibly over 10 million, jobs are tied up in selling these Chinese widgets. Theres also chemical precursors for medicine etc that were foolishly of shored that would be bad to do without...
When the first missile is fired in defense of Taiwan, thats all over. And that sort of economic dependency and destruction greatly curtails the deterrent effect.
The US needs to further increase industrial policy to create a ABC - "Anywhere But China" - Supply chain. The US should impose +1% tariffs per month on Chinese imports, with the goal of ending all imports of Chinese goods over the next decade. And the money raised from those tariffs, plus loans, should be offered to any company relocating their manufacturing to another country.
It should also develop policies to create a sort of "Freedom Trade" to encourage manufacturing and better economic links with allies in the Pacific and Europe. (IE encourage US Steel manufacturers to buy Australian iron ore instead of ore from Brazil, etc.)
Fortunately, we're starting to do what you mentioned. Like I told Mr. T4, my employer sends a lot of product to Mexico, to make components that are used by American companies. (After 30 years, North American free trade is working like it was supposed to!)
As for precursor chemicals, possibly India as a China substitute, if they can get their QC up. Frankly, we need a Chemicals Initiative for our industrial policy. Support R&D, and crush the NIMBY/BANANA legal-industrial complex so plants can be built, and actually make products. (Energetics for artillery are a good first step.)