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Australian Small Arms Modernization   Small Arms <20mm

Started 1-Oct by gatnerd; 5980 views.
Refleks

From: Refleks

4-Oct

Yes, different sorts of drones should be platoon, company, and battalion assets as well.

Now, regarding both weight and "close combat", consider that these offer much the same benefits in the counter defliade role as something like an XM25 with... well, zero launcher weight, zero need to consider whether the grenadier needs to also carry a rifle or not... because they don't even need the launcher.

A little facetious, but behold this story in four parts wink








https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I_Qj-6GQ36Y

  • Edited 04 October 2022 0:33  by  Refleks
gatnerd

From: gatnerd

4-Oct

stancrist said:

Does the rifle squad really need its own tiny air force?  And are the advantages outweighed by the drawbacks?  The primary purpose of the rifle squad is close combat

I'd say it would be a huge advantage, and work synergistically with the 'close with and destroy the enemy' goal of light infantry. 

Assuming a combat arena where there are no fixed lines in clear opposition to one another, the advantage becomes quite obvious:

Option A) A squad / platoon walks around an area, until the squad spots an enemy and engages them, or the enemy spots them, possibly ambushing them.

Option B) The Squad / Platoon deploys a small quadcopter with thermal, that flies forward and up 1000' in the air, and uses its thermal camera to detect where an enemy force might be hiding.

With option B, the squad can locate the enemy before the enemy can locate them, and then 

1. Attack that position with drone dropped grenades 

2. Call in an artillery or airstrike on that enemy position

3. Use knowledge and surveillance of the enemy and surrounding area to plan an optimal assault on that position (ie drone spots a nice path to flank them.)

Or ideally all 3. 

stancrist

From: stancrist

4-Oct

Refleks said:

When considering both weight and "close combat", consider that these offer much the same benefits in the counter defliade role as something like an XM25 with... well, zero launcher weight, zero need to consider whether the grenadier needs to also carry a rifle or not because they don't even need the launcher.

Yes indeed.  Apparently you did not notice that I recognized the utility of miniature drones like the D40 in https://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages?msg=8048.11

My "weight and close combat" comments were in regard to the larger quadcopters gatnerd advocated in https://forums.delphiforums.com/autogun/messages?msg=8048.12

I don't see a problem with using kamikaze drones like the D40 at squad level.  However, I do seriously question use of bigger quadcopters (like that below) by the rifle squad.

Refleks

From: Refleks

4-Oct

Ah, yes I missed that, my apologies!

  • Edited 04 October 2022 1:05  by  Refleks
stancrist

From: stancrist

4-Oct

gatnerd said:

       stancrist said: Does the rifle squad really need its own tiny air force?  And are the advantages outweighed by the drawbacks?  The primary purpose of the rifle squad is close combat

I'd say it would be a huge advantage, and work synergistically with the 'close with and destroy the enemy' goal of light infantry. 

Can the squad synergistically "close and destroy" when one man is busy operating the drone while the other eight are assaulting the enemy?

Can the squad really afford to lose 11% of its direct fire weapons by having one member sit out of the assault in order to operate the drone?

Would the drone operator be left sitting alone during the assault, vulnerable to attack by stray enemy?

Or will another squad member be tasked to protect him, further reducing the squad's combat power?

gatnerd said:

Assuming a combat arena where there are no fixed lines in clear opposition to one another, the advantage becomes quite obvious:

Option A) A squad / platoon walks around an area, until the squad spots an enemy and engages them, or the enemy spots them, possibly ambushing them.

Option B) The Squad / Platoon deploys a small quadcopter with thermal, that flies forward and up 1000' in the air, and uses its thermal camera to detect where an enemy force might be hiding.

Okay.  Sounds good.  But I think I addressed that in my previous post to you.  From Msg 19:

Since the squad will operate in conjunction with the rest of the platoon -- under direction of the platoon leader -- is it not more logical to have platoon headquarters operate drones?

gatnerd

From: gatnerd

4-Oct

stancrist said:

Can the squad synergistically "close and destroy" when one man is busy operating the drone while the other eight are assaulting the enemy? Can the squad really afford to lose 11% of its direct fire weapons by having one member sit out of the assault in order to operate the drone?

I imagine the drone would be employed prior to an assault, as a scouting / intel gathering tool. Or as a strike platform for long range targets, or initiating an assault. 

Once the squad is within visual / firearms / assaulting range of the enemy theres less need for them to gather intel. Also a military drone would almost certainly have a basic 'autopilot' feature where a drone could simply be programed to hover / circle an area being assaulted autonomously, and then the drone guy can simply call out enemy positions to the squad as needed by glancing at a chest / wrist mounted screen.

The Marines, as part of their new Squad structure, are planning on having a Squadcopter, so it's not just some fevered fantasy of mine. 

...

As far as the platoon level, I think it's advantageous to have them at the squad level due to attrition / redundancy. These small drones have finite battery life, or could be lost or destroyed. 

That said, I could see the weapons squad being augmented by a heavier drone with more striking power. Or just actual loitering munitions like Switchblade 600. 

  • Edited 04 October 2022 7:05  by  gatnerd
schnuersi

From: schnuersi

4-Oct

stancrist said:

Is there reason to think that Pike is intended to equip all infantry squads in every theatre regardless of mode of warfare?

No but i understood the thesis as it should be done.

stancrist said:

Is it not more probable that a small APGM like Pike would be issued on an as required basis, depending on the situation? There are many different types of 40mm rounds, but they are not all issued to each grenadier, for every combat scenario.

Agree.
Allthough I would ask how many of the wide range of 40 mm ammo types are actually used and issued on a regular basis. Which are available to the line infantry in a timely manner if the need arises.
I fully agree that things like Pike and small drones in general are a tool for the box. I highly doubt that they cause fundamental changes or do things that can not be allready done by other means.

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

4-Oct

gatnerd said:

I question how effective most enemy SHORAD is against small drones. Drones are certainly shot down, but many are not. Heres a small drone literally flying on top of a BUK-2M air defense vehicle and guiding artillery onto it.

A Buk is hardly SHORAD ;)
and yes such systems are vulnurable if something gets inside their minimum range of engagement.

Also there is no denial that RU and UA as well as most western militaries are currently not fully equiped to deal with the potential drone, missile or air threat a near pear HIC would most likely include. That being said, the equipment and knowledge is available it just needs to be purchased and distributed.
Its also no secret that RU did fail to train its troops to deal with or at least reduce the effect of such threats. UA has been noticable better in this regard.
The thing is that the effectiveness of drones goes down significantly if this is done. The UA is one of the proofs for that.

gatnerd said:

I'd be surprised if any enemy will be able to fully blanket the skies against these things, especially if radar and ECM guided munitions are employed.

The RU electronic warfare units are capable of doing it. Or better would be if enough would be deployed. Where they are deployed drones are allmost out of the picture. In a neer pear HIC both sides can potentially deploy guided munitions. Which makes it more difficutl for both to do so effectively without getting hit in the process as well. The problem RU has with countering western artillery is mostly related to their inflexible C3 structure, poor training of the lower ranking frontline leaders and lack of professionality in the non elite units. Their weapon systems are perfectly capable of countering what UA is using. Their C3 structure is not. There are several instances of RU having used SS21 for counter battery. With significant effect. The reason is that the missile troops are "elite" and are hooked into the C3 structure different from the common artillery. Which allows them to react conciderably quicker even though they are a strategical asset.

gatnerd said:

A major advantage of the Squad copter is that it gives the squad its own tiny airforce, capable of conducting small strikes, but far more importantly being able to locate the enemy from a safe position / render seeming safe moments unsafe:

I fully agree on the recon capability allthough I still do not think the drone needs to be organic to squad level to do this.
Harrasing fire is also nothing new and it doesn't require a drone. If a recon drone is up and spots targets of opportunity AGLs, mortars or missiles will do just fine. Again the question is why should this capability be on squad level?

gatnerd said:

They could be tremendously useful and dangerous.

Yes but to whom.
A recon drone scouting ahead might just as well give the presens of the following troops away. If the opponent manages by very simple tactical means to avoid detection by the drone the following troops might be over confident and feel safe and run right into an ambush.
The chance for this gets bigger the smaller the drone and as a result the more limited its capabilities are. This in combination with an operator who is not focussed on this task and still a member of a manoeuver element IMHO is an invitation to desaster.

schnuersi

From: schnuersi

4-Oct

Refleks said:

Perhaps in your country, but there has been great interest in counter defliade assets at the squad level by more than one western country since the mid 1990s, before the major shift in focus to LIC and COIN.

Are you refering to projects like OICW? These where much less focussed on counter defilade but on maximising hit chance in general. The counter defilade capability came with it. The idea was to turn every rifleman into a grenadier and the HE thrower would have been the main weapon. The carbine would basically only function as a build in PDW.
This is quite different to the counter defilade weapon proposals we see today.

BTW: nothing ever came from it. All these projects have been shelved. Even the XM25 is concidered a failure.
Instead we now see 60 mm mortars and weapons like the CG and MATADOR with HE-Frag warheads at platoon and squad level. Which is plenty of anti defilade firepower in addition to 40 mm grenades and hand grenades. Regardless I am not convinced that such heavy weapons a really needed at squad level.

 "that counter defilade assets are only useful in LIC/COIN (which I vehemently disagree with)"
I didn't say that. I said that the current focus on such systems is caused be the experience with LIC and COIN as well as the desire to get everything at squad level. Counter defialde assets are certainly usefull. They also are available. In quite large numbers actually. Just not for a single squad operating all alone without any help or support.

"it would still make sense to equip your forces with such assets because major western nations are still more likely to find themselves in a LIC/COIN conflict today than any other form of conflict"
I disagree. Because of the bad experience and results of the last decades it is rather unlikely that any western or nato country will engage in COIN in the near future.
Even if it would happen the need for counter defilade weapons at squad level are not linked to COIN or LIC directly but the concrete experience in the theatres. The environment, wich includes things like ROEs, have created the need. A mortar or howitzer battery can provide counter defilade capability in LIC/COIN as well as in HIC.

Refleks said:

Finally, nothing in my stance implies that having a counter defilade asset at squad level (when the technology is available today) precludes the use of supporting fires if the situation and ROE allows for it. These are not mutually exclusive.

True. But what are you willing to give away? An infantry squad allready is burdened to its limit. If you add something you have to take something else away. Why is the supposed increase in capability only there if it is an organic asset at squad level?

Refleks said:

so one would think it's trivial to counter them on the electronic front, and yet Russia is struggling to neutralize even these commercial drones.

Not really.
The impact of the commercial drones is very limited. In large parts of the frontline they are not usable at all because RU counter them. Also these drones have been used during a stactic phase of the conflict. So even under ideal conditions (stactic lines, badly trained and equiped opponents) their impact is minimal.

Refleks said:

Weaponized drones today are like optics on rifles since the 90s. May have been a rare thing initially, but they will be commonplace going forward, and we should not be the last to figure that out.

And just like rifle optics they really change allmost nothing. Have the statistical chances to hit under combat conditions gone up? How big is the number or rounds expended per casulty today compared to pre rifle optics. Nothing really changed. The widespread use of supressors IMHO will have more of an impact. It will become much harder to detect shooters. This is potentially a significant change.
With drones it is even worse. The more common they become the more common will be countermeasured of any kind. Reducing their effectiveness to allmost zero. Just another tool in the box.
But this still does not explain why it has to be on quad level.

stancrist

From: stancrist

4-Oct

gatnerd said:

I imagine the drone would be employed prior to an assault, as a scouting / intel gathering tool. Or as a strike platform for long range targets, or initiating an assault.

The Marines, as part of their new Squad structure, are planning on having a Squadcopter...

True, but the quadcopter that the Marines acquired for use at the squad level is smaller than what you proposed and designed for ISR only.  It cannot be used as a strike platform.

Having a quadcopter in the squad may make sense for the Marines, who have a notably different situation with the "island hopping" campaign they are planning/preparing to fight.

Also, the USMC rifle squad (15 men) is a much larger organization than that of the US Army squad (9 men) or Australian squad (8 men) and adds a Systems Operator to fly the drone.

A dedicated systems operator avoids the problems an Army squad would have (i.e., saddling the squad leader with additional duty or detracting from combat power of the fireteams).

  • Edited 04 October 2022 15:51  by  stancrist
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