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This is intended for people interested in the subject of military guns and their ammunition, with emphasis on automatic weapons.
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APKWS II still costs 30k$ a pop, even when it was defined for cost below 10k.
It is expensive, even for USA, if it is pretended to be used commonly. It is not very useful if the rocket is not guided (minikatiusha?)
An 81mm or 120mm mortar can be fielded by one or two UGV and it can shoot either guided or unguided ammo. I find it more flexible than APKWS for dismounted units. Indeed, in the 2030, airborne units with UGV armed with 30mm cannon and mortar could carry a very serious punch from the first minute
How is a small UGV going to operate a Mortar?
As far as cost, APKWS is really not that expensive in the scheme of military spending.
For the cost of one V22 Osprey, you can buy 2,400 APKWS.
For the cost of one Eurofighter Typhoon, 3900 APWS.
Keep in mind that doesn't even include the outrageous maintenance and fuel costs of flying these aircraft.
1-2x APKWS per flight hour is typical.
Whereas a few ground based APKWS obviates the need for a plane during close support in many instances.
Could you tell me what teen or euroteen have a 30k$ cost per hour of flight?
I agree with you about costs of using 4th gen multirrole for CAS in AA low risk environments such as Astan. Even American pockets aren't unlimited, and burning hours of the inherited Cold War fleet in that is absurd. IF we NATO need to intervene in some place, it would be needed to address the CAS resources properly and select more suited systems that those that we are using now. However, a reduced cost CAS resource offer an unvaluable asset: high ground
There would be several options for self-loading a 81mm mortar. From an evolution of the old Vasiliek system, to a robotized feed. Inside the box of a THeMIS there is plenty of space for installing such a device, providing that the mortar base is on the ground
poliorcetes said...I agree with you about costs of using 4th gen multirrole for CAS in AA low risk environments such as Astan. Even American pockets aren't unlimited, and burning hours of the inherited Cold War fleet in that is absurd. IF we NATO need to intervene in some place, it would be needed to address the CAS resources properly and select more suited systems that those that we are using now. However, a reduced cost CAS resource offer an unvaluable asset: high ground
Well a significant chunk of the US CAS in Afghanistan was done by B1Bs, so the idea of saving money doesn't really feature.
Rather than dreaming up even more obscure ways of letting troops patrolling on foot in the middle of nowhere get support. Stick with drones and Super Tucanos which will cover far more patrols more cheaply than a bunch of trucks which need crews and the fairly limited potential of these rockets.
I believe I posited before that an IFV with an interchangeable mount allowing the use of guided 70mm rockets and ATGMs in whatever mission configuration was deemed appropriate would be a great support platform for the troops.
Imagine Bradleys in Iraq being able to let of 23 rockets without reloading instead of just two missiles.
Heck, for real fun, make the mount interchangable with a MANPADS missile pack too, potentially every infantry platoon would have a missile for every occasion.
But burning the Cold war fleet is unsustainable, even for USA. It's going to be worse if CAS is finally conducted by F-35. Go figure...
And you are excluding options needlessly. Drones are cheap (although their guided munitions AREN'T cheap), and COIN birds could offer dozens of time over the terrain that teens are offering, both because costs per hour and persistence. It would be a very serious deterrence for direct engagement with our troops.
But there are a good number of possibilities in which UGVs can offer significant advantages. For the very beginning of airmobile patrols, to urban combat, perimeter defense, etc. Since troops are going to go on foot in the next war, upgrading their fire capability without the logistic footprint and limitations of helicopter-portable manned ground vehicles.
UAV are going to be critical in all future operations. But UGVs are going to gain importance because in an NH 90 you can carry 3-4 armed themis, land them among paratroopers and offer them flexible and powerful fire capabilities
Some times I think about UGV comparing them with a tripod-mounted weapon that can move on itself and fire behind corners, or even fire without human operators in some circumstances. An APKWS module could offer huge advantages in certain scenarios, and an UGV is the smallest vehicle that can make them mobile. Indeed, themis can be carried by a wheeled vehicle up to 60 kph if I recall it correctly. In certain patrol scenarios such UGVs could add decissive firepower
This last issue is the most substantial. The M327 requires 2x vehicles to employ. 1 vehicle tows the 1,283lb Mortar. Another vehicle is needed to tow the 30 round ammo carriage, which is another ~1300lbs. And these vehicles + mortar cannot be transported by helicopter, only by a V22 Osprey.
To fire, the mortar requires a crew of 4 gunners.
If only the US was advanced as Spain.
Whoever these guys are. Indonesia I think.
An actual fire support system that can deliver smoke, mines, plaster area threats and provide precision support with guided munitions would see a far logical path than a rocket based system that is unusable without a designator.
"Rather than dreaming up even more obscure ways of letting troops patrolling on foot in the middle of nowhere get support. Stick with drones and Super Tucanos which will cover far more patrols more cheaply than a bunch of trucks which need crews and the fairly limited potential of these rockets."
I'm fully on board Drones and Super Tucanos as close air support, and I think its criminal that we're using fancy jets for this application.
At the same time, drones and planes can't be everywhere; both fuel limitations, numbers of pilots, and in the case of an advanced enemy, jamming / AA fire.
So its important to have infantry, and especially small infantry units, have some sort of Organic, 'baked in' fire support on the ground.
Ideally, that fire support should be Artillery, Large mortars, small mortars, IFV's, etc. But thats not always the case either, especially for small untis far afield, or where terrain is especially dispersed and remote like Afghanistan. Or during the opening phases of an expeditionary war.
That's why I really like the Fletcher and Mini MLRS APKWS. Its small, its light, its easy to use, it can be mounted onto any vehicle, and its capable of providing effective close support out to 5km.
In the case of Fletcher, every other vehicle can have one mounted. Ie Vehicle 1 has a Fletcher + 50bmg, Vehicle 2 has a 40mm AGL + .338lwmg.
In the case of emergency close support, all thats needed is getting a single soldier to get to one of the Fletcher trucks, point it in the right direction, and fire. Wheruppon it will pick up the infatryies IR laser and hit the target.
There's no need to wait for planes to arrive, or ask for authorization from higher ups to bring in the artillery.
gatnerd said...Ideally, that fire support should be Artillery, Large mortars, small mortars, IFV's, etc. But thats not always the case either, especially for small untis far afield, or where terrain is especially dispersed and remote like Afghanistan. Or during the opening phases of an expeditionary war.
So a truck with half a million dollars in rockets stuck to it's roof is cost effective, but a mortar carrier that price is not? Mortars also works around hills and urban locations, which is something these rockets will be extremely limited at.
Mortars is not a great option against a peer/near peer opponent. Radars can easily detect the mortar location and pass the coordinates to enemy artillery for annihilating fire.