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Think Defence hopes to start sensible conversations about UK defence issues, no agenda or no campaign but there might be one or two posts on containers, bridges and mexeflotes!

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Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 2, 2014 6:23 pm

Boat and Float ?
Looks to me like an unambiguous invitation to discuss ship-to-shore topics.

Might as well go with top-level reading of USMC Commandant General Amos’ perspective on fast heavy-lift Connectors in the June ’14 issue of the PROCEEDINGS:


– Which would fit inside USN well-decks with adequate heavy-lift capacities to support the USMC Ground Combat Element ?

Yes, it starts with L….

June 2, 2014 7:20 pm

In addition to helicopter and MV-22B “over the horizon” transport of troops to a beach head, during WW2 the US Marines also had the 1st Parachute Regiment (never used as paratroops due to a shortage of Navy transport aircraft). While impractical for heavy equipment, it might be a way to get more (live!) bodies ashore in a hurry.

Think I’ll button up until the incoming lightens up!

June 2, 2014 7:23 pm

A slightly different, and grander, aspect of Naval Power: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-27641717

So for all you fans of the Grey Funnel Line, would you want dreadnoughts to reappear in the line?

June 2, 2014 7:41 pm

About the Aqua Dock in the photo, can it be powered by the engines of the boats tied up to it in order to move the dock (or multiples thereof) around with cargo on board?

June 2, 2014 8:09 pm

@Chris – I, for one, can see a place for a heavily armored, fast, big-gunned warship. It would probably have plenty of deck-space for VLS but would primarily be a platform for fully-stabilized, armored, semiautomatic big-gun turrets with guided and unguided projectiles. In this highly technical, electronic age, it’s still not possible to “spoof” gretbigo bullets following the laws of ballistics. While datalinks, UAVs, GPS, laser-designation would all be useful in making the “big-gun cruiser” or even a “monitor” more effective, in high-intensity electronic warfare environments, the big, dumb shells fired by the gretbigo guns would always follow their ballistic trajectories to tear gretbigo holes in whatever they hit. By “gretbigo,” I mean 8 inch or larger bore rifles (to use naval vernacular). Heavily armored would mean extensive use of laminate (or Chobham) armor or even encapsulated depleted uranium.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 2, 2014 8:13 pm

To watch General Amos discuss an earlier highly-compressed version of his thoughts, watch from minute 12:20 to about 19:45 and more later, here at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nHWy1LIYyjQ

In his talk, his Connector-use scenario adds up to 200nm or 400nm roundtrip.

In EF-21 he speaks of at least 65nm stand-off distance from shore.

In the current article he starts with 100nm stand-off distance, i.e. 200nm round-trip

Lot’s of implications for ship-to-shore realities and related doctrines. No more things happening within view from shore.

By the time you see them coming, it’s already very late…

Gloomy Northern Boy
June 2, 2014 8:18 pm

My own Fantasy Fleet includes a T46 – a stretched T45 with a double gun turret of larger calibre and additional VLS cells to spoil the day of Her Majesties Enemies in gunboat style from over the horizon and then sail in to accept the surrender…although the RT plan to use more and bigger submarines for that purpose has great merit, but provides fewer opportunities to throw cocktail parties as required… :-)


Gloomy Northern Boy
June 2, 2014 8:34 pm

@Obsvr – I claim no knowledge of sniping; but I do know that Police Officers mostly dislike being called “plods”, and the armed ones I met were far from gung-ho and certainly had no “paramilitary delusions”…although in fairness they were not from the Met, which seems to have different standards…


June 2, 2014 9:17 pm

@KVO – With that kind of stand-off distance, the need for inshore fire support and protection of the landing force grows exponentially as it takes at least four hours to make the trip to the landing site(s) with the speeds the general ascribes to the vehicles needed. During WW2, the US Navy used PCs and SCs to corral the landing craft and lead them to the correct beaches as well as to provide close-in fire support. If the landing force isn’t sufficiently armed itself, it will need cover on the way to the beach(es) and fire/AAA support once it gets there. Does anyone think the US Navy, or any navy for that matter, will have enough destroyers/frigates/LCSs or aircraft to cover that line of supply AND the off-shore fleet of “assault ships?”

This tells me we need a new class of fast, relatively heavily-armed, escort ships. For convenience we can call them “corvettes.” Since we won’t have the “luxury” of a long preparation time, as we did in WW2, to rapidly design and mass produce relatively inexpensive multipurpose light ships such as the PCs and SCs, we need something right now. I would suggest the Norwegian Skjold-class coastal corvettes with a mix of surface-to-surface missile-armed and surface-to-air missile-armed versions with all of them armed with the Oto Melara 76mm/62cal STRALES gun system. We don’t need six of them like the Norwegians have. We probably need on the order of twenty-four of them to give us the ability to cover landings in different parts of the world.

June 2, 2014 9:28 pm
Ace Rimmer
June 2, 2014 9:33 pm

Just had a look at the Aqua dock website, its definitely got potential, I’m thinking along the lines of footbridges across rivers, wonder if you drive a Land Rover across it?


All Politicians are the Same
June 2, 2014 9:37 pm

@ Simon 257

Genius. Have seen it done many times but this one was clever.

June 2, 2014 9:39 pm

@GNB – Unless those subs have big whacking guns on them, I would disagree with the idea of them sailing in anywhere to accept the surrender. There will likely be some soreheads just itching to blast it with an old-fashioned gun that can put holes in the ballast tanks, etc. I haven’t heard of submarines with big whacking guns on them since the French Surcouf. Besides, subs don’t sail smartly into port will all flags flying. They sort of skulk into port. (Now I’m going to hear it from the submariners!)

Ace Rimmer
June 2, 2014 9:43 pm

@Simon, thought that was pretty good! Sure TD won’t mind….

June 2, 2014 9:46 pm

I thought I recognized Hitler’s emotionalism in those anti-F35 rants on the interweb!

June 2, 2014 10:02 pm

Just dropping by with a couple of links that I enjoyed reading recently.

First up, semi-submersible, speedy and stealthy things


and the nifty Panhard Crab which I rather like


June 2, 2014 10:25 pm

The stealth boat is awesome (lets hope the Argentinian SBS don’t have any)

On the second link on CRAB , It seems not only RT was sowing his seed far and wide but also Ferret! Long live Son of Ferret , (how long for 100 to be delivered as is?)

June 3, 2014 12:24 am

Humvee or smaller with a Bushmaster and more horsepower? Yowzah! Silent running an option? Excellent!

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 1:38 am

this is a serious issue.
As is AH/UH-1 helo-range – if not carried on LCU-F’s back.
M1-A 120mm tank-gun-, LAV-turrets, USMC AVENGER-, mortars only go that far.
If carried aboard LCU-F, then AH-1 will do what they do carrying more weapons and not longer-range fuel.

The LCU-F discussion(s) in print and online mentioned Inshore Fire Support (IFS) off one or two LCU-Fs.
With USMC already running HIMARS, then big sister MLRS would offer certain tube-artillery opportunities, incl. 180nm ATACMS.

Only actual testing would inform use of perhaps 155mm or 203mm barrel-artillery; 155mm M-109 was fired off LCU-1610type – but with an unstabilized barrel and unguided ammo, i.e. more of a ‘proof-of-concept’.

Therefore the more long well-deck Amphibs, the more likelihood to dedicate Connector-capacity to IFS.

Coastal Defense Cruise Missiles (CDCMs) pushing ships offshore creates the need for more much lower-signature smaller autonomous systems that are well-deck based. And this will affect doctrine around LSD/LPD/and particularly new other LHDs, such as French, Australian, Russian, Japanese, etc.
This is the first time we see seriously mentioned as a practical ambition the concept of OTH-100+.
Which other amphibious forces could resonate with this ?

As to SKJOLD, where to keep them in the ARG/MEU ? Would they be high-seas capable ?
Very limited range.

June 3, 2014 2:18 am

@KVO – I’m aware how serious of an issue this is. My point was that the landing force would need protection over and above that mounted on the LCUs. I’m not convinced that direct fire from embarked tanks or artillery is an option, although HIMARs or MLRS might work. As for Skjold, they could have a dedicated support/transport vessel OR they could just run their lift engines and be towed. (Just thinking outside the boat, as it were.)

Your point about AH-1/UH-1 is well-taken. They need to be carried as close as possible so they need protection during the transport phase.

We’re on the same side.

June 3, 2014 5:49 am

@ Hitler f-35 vid.

A chap on F-16.net’s F-35 Forum made that and sent it to Sol!

@ Panhards Crab

Looks like a modern version of a Humber Armoured Car:

June 3, 2014 6:25 am

LEP for C2s might be just the right thing to do, as the medium weight force can start to be getting their own tanks, over the same time horizon?
– BAE is not out of the game after all… even the chassis is from their Swedish subsidiary

Have been wondering how Finland’s BMP2s are getting stealth features… might be something akin to what is described in the linked article (less extensive and expensive, of course)? The renewed optics will be the same as (were?) to be fitted into that new Franco_russian wheeled thingy (the engine has already dropped off as the Swedes embargoed it)

June 3, 2014 6:33 am

Had to wade through all of the previous month’s Open Thread (was not able to keep pace over the month) and there were a couple of mentions of the BVR missiles not being able match the sensor capability of the F35… maybe these mentions were all based on that hour-long video, which I have not watched.

Meteor for export then? WVRs from America (as Australia has already decided, as a replacement programme) and BVRs from Europe? There was some kind of programme aiming at a division of labour (R&D) in which the Europeans in their effort/ decision making once again turned out to be so fragmented that the US finally lost patience and did their own thing.

June 3, 2014 6:58 am

ACC – I saw the BAE CV90 demonstrator at DSEi a couple of years ago. All painted black with hexagonal peltier effect tiles covering the flank. Peltier devices are quite clever – as current flows through the slab it draws heat from one side and shovels it out the other – you could for example make a solid-state fridge using them. But just like the fridge, the heat pulled from the cold side has to be dealt with; it doesn’t go away. So with the Polish CV90 idea, there are just three possibilities:
1. The heat drawn back from the outer skin is dumped into a vat of liquid nitrogen deep inside the hull
2. The inside of the vehicle gets hotter and hotter until it could be used to cook Sunday dinner
3. The cloaking system can only operate for a few minutes, needing to be switched off to dissipate accumulated heat

The major issue with these devices is that they are slabs of semiconductor and are brittle and fragile. Obviously they are not in any way armour, but even bumping into branches walls lampposts or vehicles would be too much for them.

Eventually someone is going to make a robust material that can light up & darken the outer surface across a broad spectrum (UV to IR) but its not here yet.

See here http://aviationweek.com/awin/technologies-evolving-cloak-battlefield-vehicles-sensors for a slightly more technical description of the technology.

Shades of RT’s request a week or so ago to get rid of vehicle heat signatures…

June 3, 2014 7:33 am


I posted the link to the F-35 Test Pilot Vid. It is really worth watching it. Save you hunting for it again here it is:

The question comes up at 38:50. The LM Test Pilot William C. Gigliotti, noted that the US fighter fleet across the board needed a new (Aim-120) long-range missile with better Kinematic (if that’s the right word) capability. Although I’m sure that a long- range Aim-120 was cancelled a few years ago.

June 3, 2014 8:11 am

KENT, personally, I don’t think they will succeed with OTH. It’s a nice concept, but there are too many factors working against it. For one, standing off will increase the transit time, no matter how people wish otherwise.

Doctrine wise, there is also the problem of how the marines deploy. As much as people imagine scenes of “Saving Private Ryan”, where they used landing craft as assault boats, the USMC does NOT work that way. Their doctrine is an AAV landing first, then solidifying an infantry parameter around the beachhead where the LCUs and LCACs land in safety, so no matter how macho your LCUs are, they will not be risked because they are your long term lifeline to the ships. You can lose all of the AAVs, and it won’t matter too much if you managed to secure the parameter for the follow up echelon. Lose your LCUs on the other hand, and your supplies will face a bottleneck for days if not weeks.

This means that the OTH limiter is the AAV, not the LCU, because you can only go as fast as your point men.

Ambitious concept, impressive in a way. But maybe too ambitious.

Kibbitz already knows my opinion on the LCU-F. Nice concept. Can the hardware and the usage live up to the expectation? I have my doubts.

Sometimes I get the feeling that Americans like to go for techy solutions without considering usage and doctrine. The LCS is one such item left without a concept of ops, same with this “improved” LCU-F when the most critical chokepoint isn’t LCU speed but the initial entry AAVs which were supposed to have been replaced with the EFV before they saw the price tag for one and canned the project.

Want to take bets that this OTH fad will go nowhere in the end? The most they can get out of it is probably a heliborne assault.

June 3, 2014 8:23 am


My bet is that the main consequence will be the landed force, seldom exceeding a MEU. Vertical ops will become the mainstay, but to have a s ignificant force gathered that way will risk “half” of the navy… well, not all of it, but the amphibiosity realted assets.

June 3, 2014 8:58 am

@ GNB, if you live in UKland then the plods do not carry guns as part of their uniform. This is a very good start to avoiding paramilitary delusions, plods are basically benign. Where I live we call them Wallopers, they do carry as part of their uniform.

June 3, 2014 9:09 am

If you’re doing a landing, and you need to do it OTH, you shouldn’t be doing it.

June 3, 2014 10:27 am


Doesn’t that mean our entire doctrine for amphibious warfare is wrong?

Surely you’d always choose to keep your “motherships” at arms reach?

June 3, 2014 11:16 am

Simon, the doctrine as you so fondly call it currently is NOT to leave the “mothership” at arms reach. The “arms reach” concept is the new guy on the block in response to perceived improved shore defences. And Phil has a point. If the enemy has moved anti-ship missiles to your area of ops, your cover is pretty much blown and you’re going to end up facing a contested landing, which is a no-no for this kind of ops and a sure sign to pack it up and try again some other day somewhere else.

Talking from the point of USMC tactics that is. Not sure how your RM does it.

June 3, 2014 11:55 am

TD, thanks, but there really isn’t much talk about how the RM does entry other than LCU and helo. Though I can see some basic differences in doctrine already between the RM and USMC.

The Americans build up their force on the beach to hit a port with infantry and vehicles while you guys simply move in once you land with almost pure infantry (because the initial battalions are all that is going in there).

Interesting. It would mean that your forces have a tendency to hit their targets faster while the US is a bit slower but hit harder because of the buildup. Something for any exercise OPFOR to keep in mind.

June 3, 2014 12:19 pm

@ Obs

I wonder if the shadow of the Dieppe raid, still falls on UK Amphibious planning?

If you look at the Falklands War, the Argentinians had been trained by the USMC and used the same doctrine, so they landed fairly close to Port Stanley. And then expected us to do the same. We didn’t, landing miles away. The Grand Plan was to use Helicopters to move forward. That plan went down with Atlantic Conveyor! So we had to walk!

June 3, 2014 12:30 pm

If your oppo’s strength is about 30, straight to objective is probably a good choice.

Didn’t the argy Marines pretty much withdraw after the initial days (the main units being kept near the southern airbases) and the show was left to be run by some good-old infanteers (I won’t say cavalry men, to avoid offending RT)? They fought the campaign WW1 or 2 style and did not even understand the range/ logistics requirements of effective air cover.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 12:36 pm

OBSERVER: With OMFTS and STOM on Marines’ desks since the mid-90s, no more building up stuff on the exposed beach if you can at all help it. STOM = Ship To Objective Maneuver versus congregating on the beach somewhere waiting for a few Enduro-delivered mortar rounds to spoil the day.

– no “Beach Head”,
– no “Private Ryan Scenario”

Remember the article explicitly speaking of as many insertion-points as you’d have LCU-F and LCAC-2.
And remember full GCE-style ‘First Wave’ i.e. all frontline combat assets delivered in those many locations pretty much at once (!) for maximum surprise and virtual attrition.

With a beam of 22′ an air-draft of 10-11′, just about all ‘sea-skimming’ missiles will skim right over and beyond LCU-F.

As General Amos points out in video and print, Vertical Deployment is insufficient. The World Record of helo-lift is about 25 metric tons via a rare Russian MIL Ueber-Helo, not available to any Marines anywhere in the world. Even the 40-year old AAV-7 weighs in at 28 tons. A main battle tank between 60 – 70 tons.

OBSERVER, increasingly potent shore-defenses are proliferating. If you can make those ‘go away’ – let’s hear it.
General Amos on the other hand mentions OTH-100 as a more plausible option.

What this most potent and experienced amphibious force is working towards will inform all other Navies’ decision-making on Amphibs, their Marines, and respective doctrines.

If modern French, Australian, Russian etc. LHDs can not carry organically high-speed heavy-lift Connectors in adequate numbers – which can ? – they have serious challenges on their hands. Facing such shore-defenses, using them just as Helo-Carriers will run right into the helo combat-radius conundrum, which will ‘swallow’ much of that thinking.

Call in a Carrier Strike Group ? A serious challenge even for USN with more such assets than the rest of the world combined.

Amphibious Capabilities will rise steadily in strategic and tactical importance. Optimistic notions about close-inshore Amphib-Ships-in-full-sight Marines-delivery operations in a non-permissive environment are clearly recognized as highly problematic by General Amos. As he stated in February on that video-link above, “…this is something we woefully missed the mark on. It’s time we stepped up the game on Connectors…”

Every Navy with amphibious ambitions will have to study – if not copy (!) – what is happening at USMC/USN.

KENT: “Great minds think alike…” Cue the fanfares…. I do like my fanfares early in the day ! By noon my ears stop ringing, and I’m all set to get to work.

June 3, 2014 12:37 pm

You do an opposed landing or you don’t. If it’s not opposed why do we need to invest in OTH capabilities when we could invest in volume and throughout instead. There’s no reason to do OTH unless you’re expecting a fight and if you’re expecting a fight there you should land somewhere else OR launch a persistent campaign to prep the landing area and reduce it.

June 3, 2014 12:41 pm

Hi there,

Wouldn’t it be a lot faster to use ospreys for intial landing and then chinooks for the follow up? If you’re going over the horizon then you’ve got to shrink travel time to a minimum, I don’t know if this is possible but could you sling an ISO container full of commandos under a lynx wildcat? :P Making use of the helos from the escorts, would definitely go someway to shrinking travel time :)


June 3, 2014 1:08 pm

Kibbitz, as you said, somehow with all the alphabet concepts on the Marine’s desks since 90s, yet somehow they still deploy like it is 1994. AAVs, infantry deployment, LCACs disgorging hummers, the whole 9 yards. Where is the application? It’s been 20 years.

As for shore defences, scare-mongers would like you to believe that there is an anti-ship missile behind every bush. Reality is that those are high value assets, something like MBTs. You do not get them scattered over and yonder. They guard high value targets or wait in either ambush or in reaction to your ships. If your amphib is targeted by one, it’s clear sign that you’re busted, they moved heavy assets into the area. GTFO before you end up playing tag with an MBT on the beach.

See Phil’s reasoning. If you have to OTH, you’re in the wrong place.

BTW, I don’t suppose it is really a big secret by now, but conceptually, we avoid most of the shore defences by deploying at night. long LCU journey and you end up cold, wet, seasick and miserable, but even with all the toys and gadgets these days, humans still switch their minds off at night. Much more likely to slip through, especially with low/no light. It also helps that once the “dawn assault” phase takes place, you got the whole day to unload the stores from the LPD as opposed to an afternoon attack and you are left with only half a day of daylight get all your ducks in order.

And before you wah-wah about radar, MH370 should have demonstrated by now that many radar nets have huge holes. A bit of aerial recon and some map planning will keep you out of detection arcs, especially if you came in straight from the sea instead of hugging the coastline.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 1:41 pm

OBSERVER, several items to observe:
– You have to have the capability to do OTH in order to actially accomplish STOM. With EFV not delivering (fortunately) and no new technology emerging, it’s down to low-tech/high-concept proposals the Commandant mentions.
– If you don’t plan for the known knowns, how would you plan for the uncertain knowns, never mind the unknown unknowns… where’s Rummy when you need him to explain things concisely ?!
– What are rare high-value CDCMs today can readily be proliferating 10 years from now. Since naval hardware is expected to last 30-50 years, we want to be prepared for the known knowns proliferating during just a fraction of that vessel-class life-time.
– CMC Amos is surrounded by battle-tested and wargame-worn specialists who are drawing hard conclusions, whether you or I agree matters none. I, however, take note.

About your ‘day-scheduling’, that is all quaint and well. Taking advantage of the dark to turn off electronic sensors…

How would you protect the ARG-MEU and deliver Marines to do what Marines do ?

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 1:54 pm

PHIL said:
“You do an opposed landing or you don’t. If it’s not opposed why do we need to invest in OTH capabilities when we could invest in volume and throughout instead. There’s no reason to do OTH unless you’re expecting a fight and if you’re expecting a fight there you should land somewhere else OR launch a persistent campaign to prep the landing area and reduce it.”

If it were so easy. Black or white…
Unless you intend to announce your ambitions with lot’s of however unobtrusive ISR while the ARG-MEU ‘waits’ and thus gives away its location and probable intentions you will not know what exactly will await you. Still, most modern military tactics would always counsel against running straight at the machine-gun position.

So you have to deliver as ‘suddenly’ as possible from OTH-max. a MEU-punch where and how most effective, such as via a dusk-launched 5-10hrs at 20kts to arrive at various locations, and with as much of your GCE-assets concurrently as possible, as the LCU-F article in the July’13 PROCEEDINGS elaborates upon.
And the hope would be to not have a head-on engagement by design. However, you need to be prepared for some staunch opposition of the beach-owners while you concurrently engage them all over the shoreline.

There seems little reason not to pursue such capability with High-Concept/Low-Tech geometries.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 2:00 pm

” …long LCU journey and you end up cold, wet, seasick and miserable,…

Should you take the time to read the LCU-F material on hand in print/online and e.g. the various threads here at TD, you’d notice that at least on her you’d be warm, and dry, with access to the loo, and the option of keeping your eyes/brain/inner ear glued to an artificial steady horizon via goggles or screens to keep the green from ruining your facial tone.

You are thinking buck-board one-horse buggy. LCU-F suggests Van.

June 3, 2014 2:31 pm

Kibbitz, just a query, which branch of the service were you with and do you have any experience with amphibious landings? You seem to be very familiar with all the fad buzzwords.

June 3, 2014 2:36 pm

More details on T26 contracts
Seems to be ramping up rather nicely for an announcement in the autumn.
Holding my breath on what the missile fit out over and above Sea Ceptor will be and which 127mm gun to be procured

Gloomy Northern Boy
June 3, 2014 2:58 pm

@wirralpete – My guess is that there will be no announcement about the main yard until after the Referendum…

Heads for Bunker, pursued by Salmondistas… :-)

June 3, 2014 3:08 pm

Ouch, you really are hung up about that referendum, Gloomy. :)

Want to bet it’ll end up something like Australia’s?

June 3, 2014 3:08 pm

@GNB – Aye lol
If it goes yes for the salmondistas hoping for an english solution based on Cammell Lairds plenty of room to build a new frigate factory and even new dock to service QE carriers
They currently refit all RFA vessels bar the Bays and assuming they’re gettin contracts for fitting out the Tides

June 3, 2014 3:10 pm

wasn’t this part “which 127mm gun to be procured” announced already, i.e not the one the Germans and the Dutch have chosen?

Simple decision rule? If you speak English, get your guns from a manufacturer that starts with a “B”… everyone else, the Italian job, with some smaller Bofors’es mixed in, for good measure.

June 3, 2014 3:26 pm


I’m no authority but as far as I’ve been lead to believe our doctrine is for “acceptable risk” and an over the horizon assault. T’is the reason HMS Ocean was built (two company assaults within 30 minutes with an armed aviation patrol)

All of this previously was supposed to be under air cover provided by the carriers. We no longer have this, so maybe the whole ethos has shifted to something a little less risky?

As for how is should be done I’m more inclined to suggest that both ways are totally valid. You either “pick off” your enemy from range using high-speed attacks / skirmishes, or go in “heavy” with the relevent logistic force behind supporting what is essentially a front-line moving from the sea over the land.

June 3, 2014 3:44 pm

Simon, it is the famous “air-bubble” provided by the T45s. RE
“All of this previously was supposed to be under air cover provided by the carriers.”

When I last looked the Maritime Doctrine doc still had it (there was no Joint doctrine doc at that time available… and I was only looking for both of them to see if CEPP had made it into the text).
– of course everyone knows that taking the pure range from where ever the T45 would be sitting and using a compass to draw the circle also to the over-the-land part might not be “water-tight”? Hence, the preference for OTH, even assuming any coastal defence missiles away?

June 3, 2014 3:48 pm

Cutting down the JOINT DOCTRINE PUBLICATION 0-01 into a single paragraph I get…

The manoeuvrist approach is to apply momentum, tempo and agility against identified physical, intellectual or emotional vulnerabilities with emphasis on hindering/hampering an enemy’s capability using a ruthless determination to gain disproportionate advantage.

To me this indicates a lack of appetite for an opposed landing and a focus towards skirmishing and well-kitted guerrilla warfare – i.e. “hit and run” from over the horizon.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 3:51 pm

Observer wrote on June 3, 2014 at 2:31 pm
“Kibbitz, just a query, which branch of the service were you with and do you have any experience with amphibious landings? You seem to be very familiar with all the fad buzzwords.”

Nope. I won’t follow you there to compare… That would be.. well…

I’d rather reflect on the challenges and apparent solutions.
Lot’s to study, to reflect one, to absorb – all without personal hang-ups, since those don’t really matter.

As I read everything available recently on USMC’s new doctrine, hardware-solutions under (publicly-stated) consideration – just look at CMC Amos’ piece, its footnote and then those sources’ footnotes etc. – major urgent changes have been diagnosed, postulated and apparently are in the process of being addressed.

The big question is the current and future viability of anything ‘amphibious’ in a progressively less-and-less ‘permissive’ context, as indicated by the increase in quality of even third-tier shore-defenses.

It is understandable than this obvious paradigm-shift can be too demanding for quite a few.
In fact, it quite harshly suggests diminishing utility of a whole range of not-so-cheap assets afloat right now anywhere around this globe – unless their declining viability can be effectively upgraded such as through major OTH-shifts and the central role of adequate number of fast heavy-lift Connectors that can still execute the central amphibious task. Judging by available shore-defense systems of 2004, that challenge has been on the table for at least one decade, and actually for much longer yet.

So, when CMC Amos takes on this challenge, I’m all for it. Just note the range of addresses of the spectrum of Connectors he explicitly cites. He clearly takes this very seriously.
As should we all within NATO and western Allies in the Far East, no matter your urge to get distracted by ‘comparing’ instead…

June 3, 2014 4:31 pm


Let’s deconstruct STOM.

What it basically is, is an attempt to apply some of the fundamental principles of war:offensive action, concentration of force and economy of effort. This is achieved by applying forces directly onto the objectives without dissipating them in lodgement operations. Very good theory.

But how do you, in practice achieve that against a peer enemy? Try and apply that to Normandy or Okinawa? I’d argue you can’t. You cannot avoid a lodgement if you conduct anything other than a “raid”. So what we have is a concept suited to a raid. Fine. The problem is this concept requires voracious investment in the form of new technologies (V22, AAAV etc etc) and new force structures. So you have a concept that skews the entire force but that concept is essentially useless bollocks against a peer. So you invest billions and billions and still can’t fight against a peer using STOM.

So, amphibious operations are either conducted somewhere relatively benign (in which case you don’t need OTH and should instead concentrate on building combat power on land with massive throughput) or somewhere nasty but you have to accept that you need a persistent campaign to reduce the potential lodgement.

STOM is suited for a raid. It offers nothing against a peer enemy. At best it offers a marginally more persistent version of an air drop as long as you can keep air superiority.

So what is the point?

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 5:01 pm

I find arguing with a 4-star Commanding General War-Veteran about STOM somewhat presumptuous. I sure could not ‘cut the mustard’ with folks on his level of professional attainment

What I can do is read his latest piece, study its context, including how and where he integrates references to OMFTS and STOM into his ‘on-the-record’ narrative.

Fortunately this is publicly accessible at http://www.usni.org/magazines/proceedings/2014-06/bridging-our-surface-connector-gap.

Give it read.
And accept the ‘boss’s ‘ intellectual-, institutional-, and doctrinal gravitas. You’ll find his face and signature on USMC”s new doctrine ‘Expeditionary Force 21 (EF-21).

’nuff said.

Wait…wait…there comes OBSERVER… yes… with insights.
Alas, General Amos may not listen.

June 3, 2014 5:05 pm

Kibbitz, I’ve read the material. I’m not impressed. It’s more like wishful thinking than an actual project. And you might want to brag less for now, your van still has not shown if it can out run that buggy in real life yet. Or even have a chance of becoming more than a powerpoint slide.

Personally, I think it’s the next “miracle cure” the Americans have latched on to.

Kibbitz, you don’t happen to go by the handle of Twenty-twenty on Snafu do you?

June 3, 2014 5:10 pm

Kibbitz, you’re an idiot. Amos is a naval aviator, not a ground pounder. Who do you think has more experience doing the shit that you have been baying about? A pilot?

And if you want to credentials toss, what are YOURS?

June 3, 2014 5:10 pm

good points there. And what’s the point? There only is a bottom line if you can utilise superior strategic mobility towards achieving an important end.
– it may not need application of force; just the knowledge (by you and the other parties) that you are capable of doing “it” may produce the result… if it needs bobbing up and down somewhere for a good while, so be it. I have kept mentioning that the Italians designed their “troop ship” to be livable in for a half year period, and the new German “v big” peace-keeping frigates can also stay out for up to two years (obviously with crew changes and, in the end, they only carry SF in limited numbers, so not “troop ships”, but still a credible means of intervening/ blockading)

June 3, 2014 5:16 pm

There is another way to use amphibious forces, not only for initial entry, that is basically the OPSPLAN that I’m more familiar with. It’s something similar to what MacArthur did at Incheon, cutting in behind the enemy to severe their supply lines and trap them in a cul de sac. Think of it as a sea-borne blitzkreig. We learnt it from the Japanese back in WWII when they got creative and used it to entrap British forces.

June 3, 2014 5:19 pm

Let me just add that my comments were in the European context, and applying the USMC as an instrument (and certainly not the only instrument) will not be facing the same constraints.

Gloomy Northern Boy
June 3, 2014 5:22 pm

@Observer – a comparatively small group of people are trying to take my rather successful Country apart, and I have no means of influencing the outcome.

Furthermore, some of them are clearly doing it in the hope that it will do the rest of us serious harm (CASD/UNSC Seat/defence and security policy generally)…none of them seem to be wholly truthful about some of the likely consequences…and when those consequences are pointed out firmly but politely they call Ministers in HMG bullies, liars and worse (the pound, naval shipbuilding, borders)…they dish out the same treatment to our overseas allies as it suits them (NATO, the EU). I find this irritating a bit like oil of wintergreen injudiciously applied after a nice hot shower…

And finally, even in very ancient nations all experience shows that secession ends badly…almost always in anger, very often in bloodshed…and my take on the immutable Law of Unintended Consequences is that they are always bad and often absolutely catastrophic. See the Balkans for details…the point where I gave up on the EU as a serious vehicle for foreign or defence policy.

But I will try to be less boring about it. :-(

A remorseful Gloomy

June 3, 2014 5:27 pm

Gloomy, never said you were boring, in fact, it’s enlightening.

Cheer up old boy. My bet is on Scotland getting independence about the same time as we colonize Mars. Or maybe a bit after. :P

June 3, 2014 5:27 pm

Give it read.

Alright then. I will. I am looking forward to how he argues his Marines can teleport themselves over an enemy held beach in numbers greater than a company raid.

I’ll be back now.

June 3, 2014 5:30 pm

And what’s the point?

I meant what is the point of skewing your force to conduct a method of operations that can’t be used against a peer force.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 5:48 pm

“What’s the point ?”

Well, not sure there’s a way to address this question…

How about you (and OBSERVER ?) examining how your current doctrine fares in a less than HA/DR permissive environment ?

In stark contrast with that, General Amos apparently has greater ambitions than a few ‘drive-by’-raids for his 180,000 Marines.

And you are right to no want to play with OBSERVER since he quickly resorts to ‘comparing’ and name-calling ?!
Rather unsporting, I should say.

June 3, 2014 5:50 pm

I did give it a read, it was just a call to modernize and a bit of crystal ball reading. Nothing about how they are going to execute an ops. The first part was simply reorganization by another name, they are no longer MEFs but MEUs! What do they do? Same as the old job, but this time with airplanes too.

Basically, Amos now has a problem. He doesn’t want to get too close to the enemy, but standing that far away means that the enemy is also now out of his reach. This is him looking for a longer pole.

Personally, I think a lot of this could be solved by simple redesigns of the LCU from displacement hulls to simple semi-planing hulls and cutting down a lot of their endurance. Note the word “simple”, not the Rubix cube of the LCU-F. Load all these onto a LASH and you got a decent amount of lift. I share leesea’s opinion that the US really has too few landing craft per ship, a side effect of the AAV organization. It aids them a lot in the initial entry, but the shortage of LCUs starts to hurt later in logistics. Having another ship carry the extras into the field would be simple and help a lot. Amos himself even alludes to it in the article.

KISS. Much better than billion dollar research projects that end up producing nothing.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 5:57 pm

ArmChairCivvy wrote:
” Phil,
good points there. And what’s the point? There only is a bottom line if you can utilise superior strategic mobility towards achieving an important end.
– it may not need application of force; just the knowledge (by you and the other parties) that you are capable of doing “it” may produce the result… if it needs bobbing up and down somewhere for a good while, so be it.”

We’d call that deterrence.
And if Amphibious Assault is periodically actually applied here and there with plausible effect, that tool will be good for while. There are enough tin-pot fools out there to fish for such an engagement sooner or later.
Why build, own, drive ‘boomers’ ?
Why polish launch-buttons on land- and sea-based offensive/defensive systems ?

Such cases would underscore an exemplary capability.
As a reality-check, S.Korea is boosting its Marines, as is Japan, Australia, even little and poor Philippines are getting there, etc.

Deterrence is good – if plausible.

June 3, 2014 5:58 pm

Kibbitz, look back, you were the one who started edging towards ad hominem first. I’m just pointing out to you that name dropping does not mean that you have a grasp of the topic by the other person. Commandant Amos is Commandant Amos, you are you. How good is YOUR grasp of the topic?

And try not to go into hypocrisy, it’s one of the few things that really pisses me off.

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 6:06 pm

“Personally, I think a lot of this could be solved by simple redesigns of the LCU from displacement hulls to simple semi-planing hulls and cutting down a lot of their endurance. Note the word “simple”, not the Rubix cube of the LCU-F. Load all these onto a LASH and you got a decent amount of lift. I share leesea’s opinion that the US really has too few landing craft per ship, a side effect of the AAV organization. It aids them a lot in the initial entry, but the shortage of LCUs starts to hurt later in logistics. Having another ship carry the extras into the field would be simple and help a lot. Amos himself even alludes to it in the article.

KISS. Much better than billion dollar research projects that end up producing nothing.”

Another insight.

What do you think folks at NAVSEA and USMC HQ have been examining the options around ?

Why are you attempting to bring into the discussion ‘personal rank’ to then promptly float ‘this one’ ??!!

This is going where it will go – with and without my or your ‘brilliance’ here or anywhere.

CMC Amos, however, does understand that post- Iraq and post-Afghanistan, without a plausible amphibious capability his Marine Corps would be at progressive risk of being budget-cut into oblivion.

You will notice however, that amongst all US armed forces, USMC is the most highly-regarded and has suffered less from budget-cuts. No fools there…

June 3, 2014 6:08 pm

Christ that was a turgid thing to read.

But nonetheless, get through the bullshit bingo and “connector” bollocks and what Amos is saying is that the Marines need to be more flexible. He mentions projecting further from shore and the uses the example of Afghanistan. Hardly the sort of operation you are advocating for OTH operations.

So he’s saying that the Marines need to be prepared to adopt a flexible approach to getting ashore, that this might be from over the horizon (very far from the horizon) and it might be in force to create a lodgement. So OTH is not prescribed as a default state, merely one way of achieving an objective.

As I have said, STOM is suited to a raid or an air assault. Not to a peer enemy. And not over ground. And what Amos says in that article backs that up. The fact AAAV was binned does to.

So as ever the truth is not very sexy. Amos says the Marines need to take opportunities where they can and be flexible with how they are delivered to the fight. They might come from over the horizon when they can. but they might build a lodgement. None of it invalidates my argument that skewing your force to achieve one concept of operations which can’t be used to fight a peer is silly. Old Amos and I agree.

Red Trousers
June 3, 2014 7:09 pm

…and the nifty Panhard Crab which I rather like


There is an awful lot to like in that little wagon, but not for recce. Two reasons in my mind, one major, one more minor but potentially still lethal.

Visibility out. In a CVR(T) from the commander’s seat I could see about 270 degrees from forward merely by turning my head and shoulders in less than half a second, as well as 90 degrees vertically. In a second I could look completely rearwards. You won’t be able to in that little thing. I could also hear the outside world.

That windscreen. Going to glare horribly by being flat panelled, going to show up as a massive heat differential on thermal.

Do the same wagon with the commander head out in the turret, make it a two seater, and give Drives a typical thermal sight and flip forward viewing ports as per Ferret, and you might have something useful.

Chris, are you listening?

Kibbitz Van Ogle
June 3, 2014 7:12 pm

Hey, a group-hug after all.
All for a good cause, late in the day.
Amongst Allies.

So, how would RN/RM do OTH-65 to work alongside USMN/USMC within the hard realities discussed in EF-21 ?

June 3, 2014 7:32 pm

Exactly the same as the US almost. It’s an air assault. A suitable tactic when you’re flying over an undefended beach – in the example Amos used the beach was undefended as it was not an enemy beach. That is OTH and that is STOM. A useful capability to have but some might argue the 82nd could have done it too. When you frame OTH and STOM in terms of an air assault with all the limitations of that approach, then it makes more sense. It does not make sense for ground operations. Which I’d bet the farm is why the USMC has Osprey and doesn’t have AAAV. Somebody realised that if Iwo Jima was going to happen air assaults were out and so was the fantasy of not establishing a beach head.

If the door needs to get kicked in then STOM or OTH is pointless. Otherwise its a tool that can be used when appropriate. But it is too often imagined as some masturbatory method of conducting the D-Day landings.

June 3, 2014 7:32 pm

RT – sorry my attention was temporarily stolen by a fierce curry. But now I’m all ears…

I already have a wagon similar to your desires. At the moment it does have a similar fixed transparent armour setup to that of CRAB, and does look like a shiny thing – one army reviewer when he spied the image of it declared “I want one!” and he meant as a personal toy, not a tool of the Army. But I have considered reworking the driver area to make it head out/periscope. It already has a one man turret which is MG armed, and is big enough to fit simple comms and obligatory ECM (for which the turret had to grow bigger – I thought electrons were small?!)

It is of course far bigger than RTesque recce officers would like, and does not come fitted with Derailleur gears or crank & pedals. Try as hard as I could the thing ended up bigger than Ferret by some margin – about the same length as Snatch but wider. Funnily enough, very similar size/weight to CRAB, although I knew nothing of the Panhard machine until my design was done.

June 3, 2014 7:49 pm

That pivot to Asia doesn’t seem to be working of to well


Nato has pledged to bolster its defence capabilities in response to Russian actions in Ukraine, but said it would stick to a key agreement with Moscow.

The Nato announcement came hours after the US president pledged $1bn to boost military deployments to Europe.

Russia earlier said it could pull out of the 1997 Nato-Russia Founding Act should there be major Nato deployments in eastern and central Europe.

June 3, 2014 8:00 pm

Meanwhile a new shiny toy is available – yes please. Pass the magic GPC…


Red Trousers
June 3, 2014 8:33 pm


The “transparent armour” has to go for a recce wagon. It’s like Blackpool Illuminations on thermal for a recce wagon. Fine elsewhere like for liaison or GP wagons for the military filth, but not forward of the FEBA.

I am fairly settled in my view that we should be looking at recce troops of 6 wagons, 3 each of cannon and AGL. The cannon equipped variants should be 3 man crews, the AGL 2 man crews. Total 15 men, but critically, balanced in three pairs of complementary capabilities to give depth in defence, or breadth in advance. It also allows for a three man 24 hour OP to go forward and leaves the troop still capable of slightly reduced aggressive reaction and counter-desant operations.

You must also allow for the Commanders to be heads out. You cannot do recce effectively while closed down.

June 3, 2014 8:50 pm

Defence has to be taken seriously, man it’s such a big issue. Here we all are having fun and we don’t realize how much effort and risk goes into keeping us safe … really.

June 3, 2014 9:07 pm

RT – the vehicle I just described I had pegged for liaison not recce, hence its windows and compact(ish) dimensions. But I’m open to a bit of re-tasking… I also have vehicles with medium calibre gun + GW one man turret on top (one man because of the shape of the autoloader), either wheeled or tracked. But with common support with the liaison wagon. Imagine everything you ever wanted from FFLAV or TRACER or even (original) FRES…

Red Trousers
June 3, 2014 9:39 pm


Such a shame you and I did not coincide at the time that I was setting requirements for FRES SV in the period 2000-2003. I really would have given you a decent chance to spend a couple of months with ATDU, then walked you round some one stars and equivalents in Shabby Wood, the then new DSTL, and various Force Development Colonels in DRAC, DRA, and DInf. All the time I would have been telling you of my ultimately unsuccessful battle to have the combat element of FRES SV (the poster child of FRES SV) divorced from the main requirement, so that the Combat Support elements such as C2, Engineer or Artillery Support elements could be the 30 tonne wagons we see proposed now, while the fighting was done in 5 tonne or less wagons. I did not have a production ready 5 tonne recce wagon option in front of me, so lost the battle.

However, a thought. Liaison wagons might be bought in the tens of dozens. They are never going to set the design spec of a fighting wagon bought in the low hundreds.

June 3, 2014 9:59 pm

RT – ref numbers – something to bear in mind certainly. At the moment I’m busy with one of the larger vehicles but I’ll add the – um – reccefication? of the liaison vehicle to the ‘to do’ list.

Ref time – back in 2000 I had aspirations for one type of vehicle. No design other than a sketch. (As it happens, once I’d done the first couple of vehicle designs in 2010, I went back to that sketch and applied the same design process to it that had created the other two ‘proper’ designs. Funnily enough it ended up looking completely different with different driveline and configuration and – well almost everything was different other than the number of wheels. Such is the wonderful world of engineering design.) So had we met to talk vehicles it would have been a short and unhelpful conversation. I have loads of really interesting stuff now though. What a pity you have sold yourself to industry in the mean time…

June 3, 2014 10:02 pm

@TD: Panther was sold as a recce vehicle as well as a liason one. I can remember watching a TV report where is was touted as the replacement for Warrior :-)

June 3, 2014 10:03 pm

TD – I think they tipped the scales at about £420k each, if memory is correct – quite expensive.

Red Trousers
June 3, 2014 10:22 pm

Chris, no pity about me going off to industry. I was told by the Army’s two star in charge of my career that I’d pissed off too many vested interests to go further than full Colonel, plus Mrs RT wasn’t too keen on my next two year posting including two operational tours, looked at the finances and offers available, so Offski while still employable.

Now, if your next wagon designs can include a mini-station for an IMINT controller with a couple of screens in front of him, and a cubic metre for storage and antenna, and modest power for the next gen massively elevated sensors, I’ve got my own company with a full blown CONOPS for organic vertical reconnaissance and extended surveillance for land forces at what should be about 5% of the current cost, lesser chances of detection and greater probability of detection. And my employer’s buy in to doing some blue sky stuff, and if it works they will swing in behind me with proper systems engineering.

June 3, 2014 10:28 pm

You’re putting a price on true love @TD, shh :-(

Gloomy Northern Boy
June 3, 2014 11:28 pm

Just watched the biography of Captain Eric “Winkle” Brown RN – a Naval Pilot who started on Gloucester Gladiators, ended on Buccaneers and in between times flew 487 aircraft types as a Test Pilot…including charmers like the ME 163 (the one guaranteed to blow up on landing if it had any fuel left!).

Absolutely bloody astonishing chap…keep your eyes on Yesterday (History Channel)…bound to show up again.

A profoundly humbled Gloomy


PS Boss – nobody would call you a pimp…more an Escort Agency Proprietor…pimps work outdoors, not on-line with the assistance of dodgy photos (of containers, obviously) :-)

June 3, 2014 11:59 pm


Completely agree about Captain Brown, first guy to land a jet aircraft on a flat top, first guy to land a mosquito on a flat top (twice as heavy as anything that had been landed before). Holds the world record for the amount of aircraft types flown. Real inspiration.

The documentary is on BBC Iplayer :)

Kind of makes me want to go FAA, anyone know if you can get the navy to fund a degree?


Not a Boffin
June 4, 2014 6:31 am

The BBC prog only scratched the surface. Read his books – “Wings on my Sleeve” is a good start.

June 4, 2014 7:08 am

Roders, don’t the military usually fund scholarships? It’s fairly common if you sign up.

June 4, 2014 7:52 am

TD – I saw the Piranha in the FV Shop (where vehicles were finished and one-offs created) while working at Alvis; the most abiding memory of it was the quite sickening muted lime green MOWAG decided to paint it. It was an early version – Mk1? – with the boat-like nose to help with swimming. VBL was a deal done just about the time I left so I never saw that one, although colleagues said it was a really nicely designed vehicle. But BMR? The deal was with Santa Bárbara Sistemas, for the imaginatively named BMR (Wheeled Armoured Vehicle) which was quite chunky and steered front and rear axles – good for turning circle, bad for high speed manoeuvring. There was if I remember right a separate deal with Steyr for Pandur 1 at a later date – I think I still have a marketing brochure for that. CV90 was courted because it moved the product range up into medium weight armour to allow direct competition with the Arch Enemy (GKN Defence) and their Warrior. Despite RT’s experiences, I have to say for a small organisation they thought big; the fighting vehicle division when I left to work on grey helicopters numbered about 120 staff from MD and drawing office staff (maybe 20 of us, including purchasing, tech pubs, marketing) to the shop floor including storemen, welders, assembly workers, fitters, electricians, pattern maker, painters and test team, down to Norman who fetched and carried and swept and helped. By comparison Williams F1 currently have about 600 employees.

June 4, 2014 7:58 am


I don’t know, the nearest recruitment centre is a helluva log way away, and I can’t drive yet :(

Can’t see any mention of it on the website though,
Apart from the bursaries.

June 4, 2014 8:18 am

RT – Yes. I have suitable designs. But most importantly the approach to the design has created an extremely flexible set of systems that can be moved around to suit whatever configuration works best. The vehicle structure is just the armoured box that everything fits into/onto. Hence a set of apparently disparate vehicles in the family all using the same basic components. So if you want a vehicle that looks like an LCU on tracks that’s OK. Or if you want an armoured van that’s OK too. I draw the line at pushbikes though.

I should declare here – and this should be obvious to anyone in the vehicle business – there is a mountain of work that would need to be done to get from the cool concepts to tested hardware. Some aspects of the design are more – um – unusual than others and need specialist effort to either accomplish or discount but that’s way beyond the capacity of my funds. But if everything was tested and known and off-the-shelf already, the vehicles would not be as advanced as they are, nor would the advantages of the unusual design aspects be available as in reduction of size, exceptional mobility (if the calculations are right), and high levels of protection.

I was amused by the term ‘vertical reconnaissance’ – “The sky’s still there; its still there; its still there… Ooh! Bird! The sky’s still there…”

June 4, 2014 8:45 am

I’d note that RA needs are not necessarily ‘one size fits all’. The FST vehs need to be big enough to carry a FST and solid enough to take the crap in the vicinity of the Coy or Sqn Comds.

On the other hand advances in comms and computers mean that a smaller vehicle can be used for BCPVs, the gear no longer fills an APC, eg see Fig 1 at http://nigelef.tripod.com/fc_computer.htm for the load when 432 was still fairly new.

June 4, 2014 9:04 am


Just to let you know the comments page is adrift with recent comments by several hours:


The Feed page is keeping pace:


However mobile devices don’t convert the urls in the xml into easily selected links.

June 4, 2014 9:46 am

TD, who’s on overwatch? :)

Chris, good luck on the vehicles, I do see a probable market in the lower (<25 tons) end of the spectrum, especially for both support vehicles (non-combat) and infantry support vehicles (with things that shoot and go boom). You need to be in with an established company before most defence departments will even give you the time of the day though. You thought of signing on with a company as a platform to get your ideas off the ground? It beats going door to door and being asked the dreaded question "what's your monthly production output?".

June 4, 2014 9:50 am

Obs – ref monthly production output – they do mean Powerpoint pages don’t they? After all these days if its not in Powerpoint it just doesn’t exist.

June 4, 2014 10:13 am

Chris, let me introduce you to the ancient art of Origami, where you convert paperwork into hardware. :P

June 4, 2014 10:21 am

Obs – indeed one of my friends, a vehicle designer of considerable repute, uses CAD. In his world CAD is ‘Cardboard Aided Design’ in which the drawing board design is rendered in 3D out of sheets of card printed with appropriate colour & detail of the panels they represent, turned into the vehicle shape by being folded where appropriate and glued together. Equally valid, if not entirely conventional…

June 4, 2014 2:34 pm

How many refits is it for HMS Ocean by now? I a not criticising, the purchase price was good
… but she is the only one in class

June 4, 2014 3:12 pm

And apparently the most capable tank in the USA is: http://www.tubechop.com/watch/2973426

You have to smile…

June 4, 2014 3:13 pm

Cold War revisited as Russian fighter jet provocatively ‘buzzes’ US reconnaissance plane – crossing 100-feet in front of its nose

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2648139/Cold-War-revisited-Russian-fighter-jet-provocatively-buzzes-US-reconnaissance-plane-crossing-100-feet-nose.html

These stories do seem to be coming on a more regular basis, so both sides are more active in testing each other.

June 4, 2014 4:17 pm

Canadians to F-35 or not to F-35 debate:


RQ-4 Global Hawk supports NATO “Unified Vision” exercise as part of the Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) assessment:


June 4, 2014 6:04 pm
June 4, 2014 6:12 pm

These stories do seem to be coming on a more regular basis, so both sides are more active in testing each other.

There’s an FOI asking about Russian QRA scrambles. Numbers is relatively stable with a peak in 2007 of 19 launches in response to Russian aircraft. Last three years have seen 10, 9, 8 scrambles (so going down…).

June 4, 2014 6:16 pm


Going down… or… or… counting down?!

June 4, 2014 6:18 pm

An Independence Day style signal. Better call mother.

June 4, 2014 6:23 pm

So… she’s scarier than any Russian? :)

June 4, 2014 6:37 pm

You can tell I read from bottom up by my sequence of replies… :(

ToC, the F-35’s a done deal, for better or worse, LM has sewn up the next generation light fighter market. Any other solution is a step back and even more ironically, will force any air force to get the F-35 anyhow as their opposition modernizes and all the old fighters that were recommended as the F-35’s solution will hit their out of service life and their production runs close. Not a good situation to be in, I’ve always believed that competition forces people to bring out their best, and that 2 or 3 types of next generation light fighters is what the West needs just in case of lemons, but that’s life. Maybe we can get the F-35’s competition from Korea… It would be rather ironic if the alternative to the F-35 came from China though.

Hmm… evil Chinese master plan, raise tensions all around, then offer to sell the J-20. :P The whole South China Seas claim was just a marketing ploy! :P

June 4, 2014 6:38 pm

As we approach the 70th anniversary of d-day the bbc takes a short look at a legend in a role that previously never existed


40 deg south
June 4, 2014 11:56 pm

I’m curious to know what happened to the UK MOD tender for a modular assault rifle issued back in (from memory) 2012. Is the process continuing or has it fallen victem to budget constraints? Has any weapon been identified as a front-runner?

Given the recent links between New Zealand and UK defence procurement (SeaCeptor, MAN trucks, 7.62 rifle etc), the results of the UK selection could well influence whatever is chosen to replace NZ’s Steyr AUGs.

June 5, 2014 8:10 am

@40 deg south

Not directly related but may also be of interest:


June 5, 2014 8:26 am

I think the key here is the FAMAS bit (their UORs point into the HK direction). Then again, the already good AUG has been further improved in Oz… a nice ANZUK solution there?
… if the soon to start joint (Anglo-French) intervention force won’t end up with the same basic small arm, that would not be good. The speak for “certain military units” in the tender doc could be exacatly about this as the SAS et al seem to be more interested in the 7.62 solutions, to replace whatever they now use.

Timing? From now to OSD of the current AR makes ten years. Enough time to field experiment the new choice and possibly roll it out to the whole army.

June 5, 2014 9:23 am

@40 Deg South

The UK MoD’s Modular Assault Rifle tender was deferred. I think that means postponed rather than cancelled.

France will buy either the FN SCAR -L or H&K HK416. FN looks to be in a strong position.

June 5, 2014 9:52 am

Hi Monty, what are those signs? French UORs for A-stan were HKs, and it was the same HK that rescued (redesigned) the UK AR.
– if anything, it is that company and their design/ modification capability that seems to be the common denominator
– of course FN can pretend to be French speaking, if not quite French. And they have a shared history with the BA as well… hmm, could be close; do you think the specs will matter? Within those given, and then postponed, you could choose anything, really!

Kibitz Van Ogle
June 5, 2014 12:44 pm

KVO wrote:
“So, how would RN/RM do OTH-65 to work alongside USMN/USMC within the hard realities discussed in EF-21 ?”

Phil June 3, 2014 at 7:32 pm responded:
“Exactly the same as the US almost. It’s an air assault. A suitable tactic when you’re flying over an undefended beach – in the example Amos used the beach was undefended as it was not an enemy beach. That is OTH and that is STOM. A useful capability to have but some might argue the 82nd could have done it too. When you frame OTH and STOM in terms of an air assault with all the limitations of that approach, then it makes more sense. It does not make sense for ground operations. Which I’d bet the farm is why the USMC has Osprey and doesn’t have AAAV. Somebody realised that if Iwo Jima was going to happen air assaults were out and so was the fantasy of not establishing a beach head.

If the door needs to get kicked in then STOM or OTH is pointless. Otherwise its a tool that can be used when appropriate. But it is too often imagined as some masturbatory method of conducting the D-Day landings.”
PHIL, you’d want to engage with the question of OTH-65 !

– 1. How would RN/RM go about this ?
– 2. You casually skate by the need to bring armor…. after recent hard bloody experiences you propose that air-born is going to resolve this ?|
– 3. And apparently no man-pad risks in your happy scenario either ?

This sounds like incapacity to actually address OTH-65, OTH-100 etc.
And that seems to drive Gen. Amos to address this with his focus on ample numbers of fast heavy-lift Connectors.

What’s happening at RN/RM on this ?

June 5, 2014 1:10 pm

@ Chris – ” Stormer HVM is running towards its OSD, the Stormer components are a bit long in the tooth ”

Which doesn’t entirely fit with the recent capability upgrade to provide a battery for each RF Bde and a lightweight bty for 16 AA Bde. Furthermore HVM is being upgraded, HIPE was completed a couple of years ago the upgraded sensors are probably better than anything else in the field army (panoramic thermal with x30 optical and x60 thermal zoom), auto track engagement and in a year or so a new Lightweight Multi-role Missile slower but longer range than HVM and with a new warhead that will enable engagement of small UAS targets. Not sure if the new missile has a fancy name but its interesting that it is little known.

June 5, 2014 1:26 pm

Obsvr – I was referring to the Stormer base vehicle rather than the SP Starstreak system. Funnily enough I have fitted Starstreak into my concept vehicle family because I see it as a useful system with some life ahead of it. There’s nothing particularly wrong with the Stormer but the genesis of the vehicle (as TD will explain in the FRES posts) goes back to the latter days of RARDE Chertsey in the 70s, its T300 transmission is closely related to CVR(T)’s TN15 and the suspension/roadwheels/idler are all from the Scorpion parts bin. Its not a front-line role which is some mitigation but the protection level of Stormer is on a par with, maybe slightly better than, the basic CVR(T) without appliqué or slat armour. At some point I would expect a migration of Starstreak or its successor onto a more modern better protected carrier; whether that’s one of mine or another company’s offering. I have a preference of course…

June 5, 2014 9:09 pm

We’ve had to rely on the Germans but someone has finally painted a typhoon


June 5, 2014 11:41 pm

The chavs

June 6, 2014 1:33 am

@ Chris

I’d also observe that Stormer is extremely cramped, there is a seat for the 4th (WE) body but fitting in 4 plus kit plus a full load of msls is a challenge.

The reality is that the need for AD with the new msl is going to increase, any year now insurgents are going to start using small unmanned aircraft for indirect fire attacks (probably Hezbollah first), currently defence against this is close to non-existent in western armies. Once that happens the demand for air defenders with suitable weapons is going to skyrocket (to coin a phrase), the problem is that currently weapons to deal with this threat are thin on the ground, and big (eg the Phalanx based system used in Basra) – OK for big bases but not small ones, convoys, and the like. Concern about this emerging threat was part of the reason for the AD deployment at the London Olympics although neither Rapier nor 3 dart HVM are suitable for the emerging threat (the darts spread to ensure 2 hit a manned a/c and currently there are no counter-measures to HVM, all DAS are worthless against it but small UAS have a good chance of slipping through). AD guns are horribly expensive (and short range), and armed heli flying continuous cbt air defence patrols will also be pricey.

June 6, 2014 1:42 am

The Australian Defence Minister said something today that may have a bearing on whether Australia eventually chooses the type 26 or some other design in the future frigate project.

Basically, it seems Australia is bringing forward the timetable for the future frigate and starting design work for an Australian F-105 design, without the AEGIS radar system. As an option, at least. Here’s the relevant quote from the press release:

“The Government has also agreed to bring forward preliminary design work to ensure Australia maintains the necessary capabilities to retain the option of building the future frigate in Australia. This work will focus on continued production of the current AWD hull, suitably adapted and utilising capabilities from the cutting-edge Australian companies CEA Technologies Australia and SAAB Combat Systems. Further decisions on the future frigate will be taken in the context of the 2015 Defence White Paper.”

So the type 26 may still get a run, but you’d have to say its chances are diminishing. Just thought you guys would be interested.

June 6, 2014 6:24 am

Obsvr – ref Stormer volume – considerably better than Samson (‘mind your head’ – Ow! flippin’ winch) or worse still Striker with something like 3ft high roofplate under the launcher bin… But I do recall the reloads filling much of the rear end of the vehicle, and the very compact (not) operator station for the missile. Very impressive rotating periscope though. As for the launcher its huge (apparently the installation of the losing competitor for the anti-aircraft defence requirement had a Striker like set of hinged silos that laid flush on the roofplate) – one of my managers offered the opinion it was an intentional last line of defence; if the missiles failed to get the enemy aircraft, the vehicle would trip it up as it flew over.

As for anti-UAV, I think the answer might be simpler than you fear. One of the off-the-shelf weapon systems we investigated (Alvis DO staff) were flechette loaded rockets. These were spin stabilized projectiles programmed to release simple steel darts at a given time into flight; because of the high rate of spin the darts were thrown outward and became a disc of dumb projectiles moving at close to rocket speed. Various sized flechette darts were offered – a few big heavy ones for anti-vehicle use down to hundreds of finger-sized ones. It strikes me (pun intended) that a starstreak-like launcher – possibly a variant of LMM – could have a high number of small flechette darts to deploy when the seeker determines the UAV is within striking distance. Are you listening, Thales?

June 6, 2014 6:50 am

Chris, are you planning a mass murder of own troops? OK, the ones under armour would carry on regardless.

I would vote for adapting Oerlikon-type AHEAD ammo into the arsenal, onto existing guns (I think Oerlikon is now a division of Rheinmetall, but just to give a pointer to what I am talking about).

June 6, 2014 7:14 am

ACC, armies have been using canister, shrapnel and grapeshot for ages. Take home message on their use is to stand behind the gun, not in front of it :)

I think fused high-ex might also be effective. UAVs tend to be fragile, and a hard enough blast might be enough to knock it from the skies or if you are lucky, overstress the wings and rip them off.

June 6, 2014 7:40 am

ACC – flechettes of smallish mass would loose speed much faster than heavy projectiles – would you prefer to be at the location where a number of 4 inch nail like flechettes fell to the ground or where the Starstreak dart (400mm long 22mm diameter weighing almost 1kg) ended its trajectory?

June 6, 2014 8:22 am

TD, they would be if HE didn’t have the tendency to set things on fire as well :)

And you really need to clarify “kill”. “Mission kill”, probably. Mobility or ship kill? Not likely. Most ships in battle were kept from sinking due to the efforts of their damage control crews, I believe? And it seems easier to plug up small leaking holes than to try plugging up a huge one made by a large amount of explosives.

June 6, 2014 8:44 am

Oberver, this is fine if the fighting formation is a massed square or a triple line facing to the enemy “ACC, armies have been using canister, shrapnel and grapeshot for ages. ” Add to the no, and the no, that there is no good expectation for the direction from which the unmanned plane would be approaching and that your own would normally be widely dispersed?

Chris, no and no to your alternatives, too, if I were to choose. I have been downrange when shot (not buck shot, I must admit, is raining down on you… no problem as long as you don’t look up). Against the kind of target we are talking about the heavy metals used for AHEAD to be effective against incoming hi-speed missiles can probably be skipped for something cheaper, which then, coming down at the end of the upward trajectory would be less heavy, too… we are not maximising the range against such targets thazt we are talking about here as they would be coming in at three-top level (if you happen to have any trees).

June 6, 2014 9:09 am

ACC – back in the days when I was looking at battlefield UAVs the idea was to keep them as high as possible within the capability of the sensor to deliver adequate quality imagery – at a few thousand feet the UAV is pretty well inaudible, very difficult to see, and possibly a difficult item to keep a radar track hooked to. Treetops was for launch & recovery only. Against these moderate flying height moderate sized UAVs it seems a disc of flechettes would be useful. HE as a near miss pressure wave weapon (very depth charge) requires good timing and aim; the disc of flechettes just needs to intercept the flightpath of the UAV.

But these UAVs I considered weren’t the quad-copter in & out of buildings devices, nor even the hand launched polystyrene flying webcams – maybe your target systems are different from mine….

June 6, 2014 9:11 am

ACC, then I would hope that none of the soldiers in the unit have developed the ability to fly :)

And no, UAVs don’t do tree top flights. They shut off their engine and glide past you silently at a standoff distance, you need the range. True about the HE though.

June 6, 2014 9:19 am

I would have thought that with with 25-40mm cannon, power turrets, small radars and timed fuses and some cannister shot, the average platoon of IFV’s could dispense with a few quadcopters in no time at all :-)

June 6, 2014 9:23 am

How destructive would canister/flechette rounds be? How about http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cEkILY1h6fA

June 6, 2014 9:52 am


Yes but if you believe some on this site, an Australian Frigate based on the 105 hull will be an expensive noisy useless death trap way too big for the job.


Because when several others and me suggested a frigate based on the T45 hull and machinery: –
Commonality old boy
Easy upgrade path etc
Training easier
Production run

We are told that was not possible. Because apparently the T45 hull not suited for ASW work because it was
expensive noisy etc.

As T26 now seems to be all but the same size, and I find it difficult to believe that t45 was in any way ‘noisy’, (coz if it is the designers need to be shot), can anyone tell me what was wrong with simply a batch 2 t45 with the anti sub gear from early ships carried over?

Why squillions on a new frigate hull design?

June 6, 2014 9:56 am

Chris, Observer, I agree with your latest comments (which are about the types of UAVs proliferating as of today to hundreds, and soon thousands).

My point of reference was this earlier comment by Obsvr:
“The reality is that the need for AD with the new msl is going to increase, any year now insurgents are going to start using small unmanned aircraft for indirect fire attacks (probably Hezbollah first), currently defence against this is close to non-existent in western armies. Once that happens the demand for air defenders with suitable weapons is going to skyrocket (to coin a phrase), the problem is that currently weapons to deal with this threat are thin on the ground, […] neither Rapier nor 3 dart HVM are suitable for the emerging threat (the darts spread to ensure 2 hit a manned a/c and currently there are no counter-measures to HVM, all DAS are worthless against it but small UAS have a good chance of slipping through). ”

When we take the lighter, sensor -only UAVS, into the picture, with their partly battery-powered flight even eliminating a heat signature, I will expand the AHEAD solution to a related one, andpatented by RT: a shotgun outside the commander’s hatch of every type of IFV.

I fully agree with wf’s view more broadly, but this sort of thing (for 40mm) would need the ranging input
as explained between 2:30 and 4:30, so to have every CT40 coming into the inventory effective also for the cases now discussed, the type of round I was putting forward might be more efficient… Bofors “cloud” is over 2000 particles with 18mm penetration of aluminium, so when the same is packeked into a CTA it can’t be that different as the HE payloads are broadly equal.

June 6, 2014 10:10 am

On the Yamato the 9 x18.1-inch guns were provided with an anti- aircraft shell of their own, called San Shiki Model 13. This round weighed 2,998 pounds and was filled with 900 incendiary tubes (of rubber thermite) and 600 steel stays. A time fuse was supplied, set before firing, that went off at a predetermined altitude and when the fuse functioned, the explosive and metal contents burst in a cone extending 20 degrees forward, towards the oncoming aircraft. Instantly after detonating, the projectile shell itself was destroyed by a bursting charge, increasing the quantity of steel splinters. The incendiary tubes ignited about half a second later and burned for five seconds at 3000 degrees C, producing a flame about 16 feet long.
However on firing the main armament it disrupted the flight of the shells of the 192 auxiliary weapons also carried on board ( 6 x 155mm + 24 x 127mm + 162 x 25mm + other smaller calibres ) . About American 500 aircraft attacked her but lost only 12 aircrew despite this literal metal hail storm of firepower ,WTF.

June 6, 2014 10:10 am

ACC, broadly speaking, that is my preferred solution too, something medium calibre delivered that uses existing or soon to be utilized systems on current platforms. Which would mean flechette, shrapnel, airburst HE or even canister if you can get the range. Failing that, you can try EO guided weapons to chase that plane down. With emphasis on “try”. Or go last ditch and use the pintle mount with tracers, though I doubt it’ll have the range.

monkey, much better than Force Z which got a total of 3 aircraft between 2 ships of the line. Such low kill numbers against aircraft is standard.

Brian Black
June 6, 2014 10:12 am

If you’re concerned about UAVs, and defending convoys and sites away from main bases, then a simple Humvee Avenger type affair with missiles and MG or light cannon should do the trick. They did produce a HVM version, and I’m sure we’ve got lots of protected mobility platforms that could carry such gubbins.

Regarding flechettes, how about a flechette rifle to replace the current system and calibre. If Afghanistan has reinforced the notion that killing the enemy is more about weight of fire than accuracy, and machine guns are heavy and cumbersome, then maybe it’s time to revisit old ideas. Besides, there’s not been a deadend argument about calibres on this site for weeks.

(5.6mm, twin 30 round mags)

June 6, 2014 10:31 am

why bother with rifles when you have some old CG’s kicking about, or more likely, on some shelf. For HE it does about 150m better than this old American round (with flechettes, that kind of round is available for the American CG’s (M3s); range in an angle upwards will obviously suffer from gravity… wonder how much, though, as this would be many multiples of the commander’s shotgun range

M590 Antipersonnel Canister[from Wiki]
The Antipersonnel (Canister) Cartridge M590 (XM590E1) or M590 cartridge is a flechette round designed for close-in defense against massed attacks on personnel positions. The cartridge consists of an aluminum cartridge case crimped to an aluminum canister. The canister consists of a thin-walled, deep-drawn, scored aluminum body which contains a payload of 2400 eight-grain (0.5 g), low-drag, fin-stabilized, steel-wire flechettes. The sides are scored to facilitate splitting when the round is fired.
When the projectile leaves the muzzle, the pressure ruptures the canister along the score marks to release the flechettes which disperse in a cone angle of approximately 8 degrees.
Cartridge weight: 6.79 lb (3.08 kg)
Cartridge length: 19.19 in (487 mm)
Projectile weight: 3.97 lb (1.8 kg)
Muzzle velocity: 1,250 ft/s (381 m/s)
Maximum effective range: 328 yd (300 m)
Fuse: none

June 6, 2014 10:45 am

Didn’t know CCM did this,


June 6, 2014 10:51 am

BB, did you read the wiki section on their flaws? And that of the follow on project, the Advanced Combat Rifle?

Weight of fire is one thing, but the concept made the flaw of assuming that “more shots” = “more semi-aimed shots”.

Not a Boffin
June 6, 2014 11:27 am


“As T26 now seems to be all but the same size, and I find it difficult to believe that t45 was in any way ‘noisy’, (coz if it is the designers need to be shot), can anyone tell me what was wrong with simply a batch 2 t45 with the anti sub gear from early ships carried over?

Why squillions on a new frigate hull design?”

A somewhat confused conflation of size with noise there. Let’s see if we can fix that.

You may wish not to believe that a T45 is in any way “noisy”. Unfortunately for your argument, rangings of the ship indicate otherwise in several ways which I won’t go into.

The key here is that the requirement for the ship did not specify an underwater signature level suitable for conducting ASW, because – funny old thing – it was designed as a force AAW ship with a local (ie ability to form part of a screen) ASW capability. Unsurprisingly then, the design of the ship did not include significant UW signature reduction measures across its systems, as doing so costs big money, so omitting what has not been asked for is hardly a shooting offence.

That means that the propeller design, the hullform back aft and its operating parameters are not optimised to reduce noise, they’re optimised against other relevant characteristics. It also means that the vast majority of the marine systems do not incorporate the sorts of noise reduction measures you’d look to see on an ASW ship, both in terms of individual equipment specifications and arrangements.

ASW capability is about much more than just clagging some sonars on the ship. Youtend to need different compartment arrangements, different marine system designs, all of which significantly reduce the theoretical commonality you’re talking about.

The actual hullform design is relatively cheap (<£5M). You'd pay ten times that just changinng the internals and systems designs and drawings etc for a T45 mod and still not necessarily get what you wanted. A new frigate design is the sensible way to go from a number of perspectives. It would just help if someone was actually in charge of the project……

June 6, 2014 11:36 am

Presumably we are more likely to get the desired commonality about 20 years down the line by someone taking the T26 design and ‘optimising’ it for AAW by sticking a bigger better radar on top and maybe stretching the hull to get more missiles in, while hopefully not deleting too many of the noise reduction features.

June 6, 2014 11:38 am

Today is the 6th June , the 70th anniversary of D Day.
Are there any plans on turning our Vanguards into VLSM carriers in the future like the Americans did with 4 of their Ohio’s on retirement. The Vanguards I read were fuelled for 40 times round the earth so even by 2028 I doubt they would need refuelling .Although worn and therefore noisy (which is death to a SSBN) one of these converted could provide a lot of firepower support for any fleet deployment.
I.e sneak in before a landing and dump a couple of hundred precision guided missiles onto an enemy shore.