Eurosatory 2018

Generally speaking, the Eurosatory 2018 was a disappointment to me because I hoped for much more novelties than were shown. I recognised most portable equipment and even many of the vehicles from Eurosatory 2008.

This is kinda representing the spirit of innovation there
Here's a photo album of 300+ photos from Monday and Tuesday:

Sorry about the many early blurred photos. Lots of indoor photos are blurred but almost all outdoor photos are clear despite the wind. I suspect the brochures bag that often dangled from my left arm caused the blurring.

Many photos of hardware have some related context photo (designation, often specs) very nearby. Often times there was simply no such thing to make a photo of.
I used a cheap, old type smartphone with a 5 MP camera. Many photos were repeated because I didn't trust the 1st try. Photobucket failed to upload some photo files and I don't know why.

Someone got creative in the quest for attention.
The #1 hardware novelty was almost certainly Nammo's design for a ramjet 155 mm shell that's supposed to fly 100 km far with a decent payload (there's a lengthy presentation in the photo album about it). They clearly hope to exceed what Leonardo offers with its 155 Volcano design. A question remains; why put so much effort into teaching 155 mm to fly far with good or great precision if it's much easier to pull off with a fin-stabilised guided rocket launched from a multiple rocket launcher or even a plain box?

The #1 software novelty was likely Rafael's Fire Weave (though there's also some dedicated hardware involved). I talked a lot to a Rafael representative, and will likely write more about it later.

Nexter showed off some Leopard 2 hull / Leclerq turret hybrid (which I utterly ignored as I only paid attention to the turret), and its stupidity. They seriously showed off vehicles and guns to the public at a trade fair, but also spent on having almost one guard per project who angrily pointed at tiny 'no photographs' signs.

Even more hilariously stupid, some other exhibitors posted 'no photographs of vehicle underside' signs at indoor vehicles. I can't tell if they were serious (stupid) or actually trying to redirect attention to the belly.

The displayed drones were unimaginative, and thus I didn't pay much attention to them.

There was a weird, near-total absence of infrared-only ILLUM and multispectral smoke products on the trade fair.

I call this "the Matrix camouflage pattern".
Noptel and Junghans: I asked them about their old optical fuse design. Noptel (original inventors, now a subsidiary of FNH) hinted that it was too expensive, Junghans flat-out claimed that it never worked (mistook clouds for the ground), but admitted that it might be about time to look at the jamming-proof concept again since technology advanced. Well, at least the representative admitted this after I pointed out that one could simply couple the proximity fuse with an electronic timer that is programmed to activate the fuse only for the last 50 or 100 metres and the Shortstop fuse jammers had evolved into many rather widespread IED jammers, proliferating the concept. The Junghans rep did express extreme confidence in their RF fuses' ECCM at first, though.

I asked a representative of a well-known small arms red dot sights and night vision sights producer about the NATO (accessory) rail and especially what's going on regarding a powered NATO rail, since the products were marketed as Picatinny rail-compatible (NATO rail is backwards compatible to this, but Picatinny rail is inferior). He know nothing about either, and after some explanations he finally got the idea why a powered rail with a central battery in the grip and potentially even data transfer between accessories may be a fascinating idea. Seriously; he was supposed to be the expert.

A representative of a big armoured glass producer knew nothing about some old basic research into non-shattering armoured glass. I showed him some infos, he's going to look it up. Flabbergasting.

Lots of other reps answered my questions by telling me exactly what I had already guessed based on incomplete info. 

I noticed something for the very first time about the Ultimax 100; the (drum) magazine is too close to the trigger for resting my index finger straightly. That's uncomfortable and bad for trigger discipline. I compared this to some other displayer LMGs and the problem didn't exist anywhere else, so this isn't my index finger's fault.

The M4 Carl Gustav feels incredibly light on the shoulder, likely because the centre of gravity (unloaded) is only about 15-20 cm in front of the shoulder. The SAAB rep couldn't tell whether the USMC would buy many more M4 to get enough for its new infantry squad TO&E, as customers apparently often buy old CG versions even when a newer, better one is available. BTW, SAAB guarantees a life of 1,000 shots with SAAB munition for the M4. The rep signalled no interest in a slip ring version of the HEAT munitions, even though it could eliminate spin almost entirely and thus increase armour penetration.

A reusable Instalaza C90 - I didn't have this on my radar before. It blows the M4 CG out of the water with its weapon weight (3.5 kg, about half that of the M4 CG), but munition weights and calibre are extremely close. It's a choice for land forces that do not insist on the smaller dispersion of the CG's HE shells at longer distances, I suppose. (The C90's barrel is smoothbore, while the M4 CG's is rifled.)

That Dragon C thermal sight that I had in the list for ultralight infantry is actually available in a 640x480 pixel version with the same weight already.

Spike SR is confirmed to lack top attack mode due its lack of a movable IIR sensor (it cannot look at a sufficient off-boresight angle for a top attack flight profile; it would lose the lock-on). It can supposedly fly to 2,000 m (Rafael first claimed 800 m effective range, then 1,500, then 1,800, now again 1,500. Supposedly, they do now market is as having 1,500 m range to not chip away at the case for Spike MR). 1,500 m is apparently its tank ID distance ("ID" as the user can tell a tank from a car at that distance - identification is likely the main argument in favour of the heavy command launch unit used with Spike MR).

Those Cockerill 105 mm turrets with 42° maximum elevation have the potential for indirect fire, but aren't really prepared for it in any way other than their huge maximum elevation. Indirect cannon (cannon ~ fixed cartridge case) fire is a capability that customers could demand and get with little additional development work. There's no fire control for indirect fires, no dedicated munition types, no preparations for manipulating the propellant power (the easiest method would be semi-fixed cartridge cases that allow to add or remove propellant charge modules).

I discussed ballistic helmets with a rep, but got no answer for my question why nobody tries to bring a soft, foldable helmet (that could conveniently be stored close to the hip) into the market. I suppose it might work with soft body armour textile layers and foam trauma pads, at least up to a frag protection rating equivalent to what the 1...1.1 mm thin steel helmets offered (enough to protect against falling bullets and fragments from distant explosions in the air). I suppose that such a soft helmet / ballistic hat might be carried along by troops who would otherwise just use a hat for convenience.

Some brochure photos:

just a Brahmos anti-ship missile brochure

backpack radio jammer (mobile phones and tactical radios),
RF fuse jammers look similar (see the classic 90's Shortstop)

Some (apparent start-up) passive exoskeleton, not yet optimised for low own weight

Slovakian LORANA FOG missile equivalent.
The drawing is extremely similar to a drawing in an ALAS brochure.

ultralight thermal sight (clip-on or stand-alone with digital zoom)
all-round through-armour vision system

Apparently, there are three ways how to provide an AFV crew with all-round under armour vision.
#1 is to do what was done in the AH-64  ages ago; single sensor that turns to look the same direction as the (one) user. Nobody seems to pursue this approach any more.
#2 is to have a box on top with multiple staring cameras that provide 360° vision, even to a helmet-mounted display of multiple crewmembers.
#3 is to have distributed sensors, but they provide no seamless vision to helmet-mounted displays. They can rather feed screens only, and are thus similar to panoramic mirrors.

I suppose #2 will be the preferred retrofit solution, while #3 makes more sense for new AFV designs where you can integrate the sensors into the outside, rather than occupy the roof with yet another pole and box that provokes sniping.

still the same Sentinel product

some data on Sentinel
lighter than M4 Carl Gustav, but lacks the rifling

The representative gave me this without me wanting it. Well, have a look at the maximum target velocity: Mach 2
Fast-moving warheads don't expel their fragments exactly to the sides; the combination of outward fragment velocity and forward velocity leads to a cone-shapes fragmentation pattern (or continuous rod pattern). This is important, as you need to get the timing right against targets that approach very fast from the front. You might miss those if the fuse acts too late. The FREMEN fuse appears to do just that against faster than Mach 2 missiles. I don't quite understand why they push this info with a marketing brochure.

SPACIDO, a very promising fuse for 155 mm HE shells.
Some South Korean very light personal role radio (intrasquad radio)

Intrasquad radios are likely the biggest improvement of infantry in the past 30 years. The in-service models are anything but small or lightweight, though. I don't think that the South Koreans are technology leaders, but these brochure photos can give you an idea about how capable, small and lightweight such radios can be.

a bit heavier, thus a bit more capable

This would be rather for fire team or section leaders.

Laser module for burning small drones.
Have a look at the operating temperature range if you like that idea.

Flexible ballistic neck protection. Better than to use your hands for it when prone.

One of the most important army items.

Some digital press kits:


P.S.: I'm visible on one of the photos; the good-looking dude with the camera. :-)


Bundeswehr structure - what I would do (revisited 2018)


Regarding conscription: 

Conscription was deactivated. That was probably the only good major action of that horrible minister of defence. It can be reactivated easily, as I proposed.

Regarding the air force:

I do still largely agree with myself from 2010, though now I would mention that the Luftwaffe should largely get out of the air/ground business save for stand-off missile launches (Taurus) and air/sea strike (requires integration and purchase of 100...200 modern anti-ship and anti-radar missiles, only one Typhoon wing would have to train for it). I would also mention that I'm fine with a reduction in Typhoon numbers by a third in favour of better training and that I insist on better proofing against surprise strikes.
Ground attack efforts are likely not efficient early in a conflict, and I see Germany as a "first two weeks" defender of NATO and the EU in NE Europe. Other air forces that would first need to build up strength in the theatre of war are better suited for wearing down air defences and doing air/ground strikes with little or no stand-off.

Regarding the navy:
I didn't yet speak out freely by calling the German navy useless back in 2010. I did so in the meantime. The German navy could and should be disbanded because it's a useless diversion of resources. Coastal minehunting can be done without manned ships or boats and could also become a civilian or paramilitary task again, as in the early 50's (maybe that would be a fitting job for the civilian THW). 

Regarding the army:

Eight years later and I still didn't fully write about what I called "unorthodox ideas" back then. [sigh] Well, I would now certainly mention an emphasis on rapid deployment by road, more pontoon bridging for the Oder river, better air defences, better AT missiles, better combined arms TO&Es for the brigades and a vastly improved missile artillery.
I would also leave no doubt that all "special forces" but the Fernspäher (long range scouts, of which we should have many more) units should be disbanded in favour of an improved personnel situation in the infantry (or be re-roled into Fernspäher units).
edit: Last Fernspäher company was disbanded in 2015. My bad.
I did write about "an army corps for Germany" in much greater detail in the meantime.

Regarding the Streitkräftebasis:

It's still quite a blind spot of mine because I have no personal contacts there and hear or read very little about the Streitkräftebasis.

Regarding the centralised medical service:
I didn't pay attention to it in 2010. Now I would crash the inflated medical service, and brutally so. 11% of German military personnel is medical personnel - that's ridiculous! Military medical care can be limited to open wound, burn wound, blunt trauma, eye trauma and counter-biological/chemical agents care till the patient can be transported to a civilian hospital. The troops should simply be insured by the cheapest civilian health insurance (the rates depend on the region) for ordinary health care. I suppose the non-mobilised central medical service could and should be reduced to 2-5% of the personnel strength.

Overall, I don't think we need a permanent increase of military spending. A period of reform investments might require an increase for about four years, but then the spending could be slightly below current level and we could still greatly contribute to deterrence and if need be defence of NATO (and the EU)  in Europe. It's more a question of readiness, seriousness, stocks, doctrine, rapid reaction deployment capability and robustness than of a large budget. 
Four excellent mechanised army brigades with good corps-level support, 40 air superiority Typhoons and 20 air/sea Typhoons would be a plentiful contribution to collective deterrence and defence if they were quickly in action even after a powerful strategic surprise attack on NATO.


edit: To clarify; I'm not really in favour of the gold-plated long range scout concept that the Heer had till 2015.  A force of more than 200 personnel yielded only eight LRS teams. This kind of inefficiency makes LRS near-pointless. LRS need to be resources-efficient first and foremost. Efficient LRS can make large area surveillance affordable, and that would have extremely beneficial effects on battalion battlegroup- to corps-level tactics. An alternative to the employment of a LRS mesh is to rely on elusive militia small units that are from the area.


From current occasion: That moron('s) ambassador

The supposed ambassador of the U.S. managed to cross several lines that are unacceptable and justify an eviction (persona non grata status), and a stern lesson to U.S. senators to not send such a moron to Germany ever again, for no such overt moron would be accredited as ambassador (persona grata) ever again.

Here's what that moron did in the span of less than four weeks of supposedly being ambassador of the United States in Germany:

The ordinary offences that almost nobody cares about:
  1. lied about Germany in context of NATO and military spending
 The offences with at least minimal deniability due to the choice of words:
  1. threatened German corporations regarding business with Iran (right on his first days in Germany)
  2. lied about German democracy by supposing our top politicians decide who gets to win elections (reality: We don't have primaries, but our elections are proper.) 

The offences that are knockout criteria:
  1. lied about a nonexistent "silent majority" (he meant the so-called "alt right"*), thus disputing the legitimacy of the Merkel administration (the ruling CDU/SPD/CSU coalition).
  2. says that he wants to empower one specific political group in Germany.
Germany used to be one of the countries that were important enough to the U.S. government to not send political hacks and donors as ambassadors, but most experienced and knowledgeable career diplomats. People who knew and understood Europe for real (not some propaganda fantasy of it), knew and understood Germany, were able to fluently talk German on difficult topics. Now the moron and his enablers in the U.S. Senate sent an incompetent and lying (or delusional) political hack to Germany as "ambassador", and he's not welcome.

The knockout criteria leave IMO no reasonable choice other than to unofficially tell the "ambassador" to go home and to tell Trump that either there's going to arrive a non-moronic ambassador of the U.S. that's not a lying POS (as opposed to a fine representative of Trump) or we shall treat the "ambassador" as an ambassador from a hostile country**, give him a last chance but persona non grata him after his next public mouth fart.

I doubt that Merkel has the balls for any drastic action, though. She can only administrate the status quo and do about one political u-turn per about two years, not real active policy. A likely outcome is that the moron gets a gag order from the fatter moron and gets silently dispatched in 2021.

for reading on the issues:


P.S.: I went to the original English language articles to check if the German reports about the choice of words was accurate and it was. I will not link to that fascist publication, of course.

*: fascists and neonazis and people who are too close to them to distinguish them from them. Their election potential is below 20%, far from a "silent majority".
**: As were the hostile ambassadors of Warsaw Pact states in NATO countries during the Cold War.


[Blog] Blog message and link drop June 2018

I change the way I publish Defence and Freedom posts. 
  • The first Saturday of the month will have a link drop & humour & commentary blog post.
  • The other Saturdays will have ordinary single topic blog posts.
  • Additional days will have blog posts only as commentary on recent events.
This will amount to about 60 blog posts per year. I suppose it's better to go to a steady, low intensity blog output than to shut down entirely as did so many blogs that I followed in the past ten years.

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Blogger (the hosting service) no longer supports OpenID. Past comments made with an OpenID account may have disappeared without my involvement.

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I'll be at Eurosatory this year (early in the week) and intend to write a summary on the 16th.

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The United states Marketing Corps stays true to its name.

The "300%" figure is utter bollocks a.k.a. an obvious lie, but the video still mentions some interesting details.
One interesting detail is that the USMC sticks to its traditional attempt of doing platoon-level jobs with unusually large sections. The MAAWS (likely not just M3, but also M4 Carl Gustav) at section level is ill-advised, for the section cannot carry much munition for it. Every single shot with it weighs more than 3 kg. One such weapon should be at the platoon level as portable 'infantry gun', but it's mostly dead weight at the section level.
Another interesting thing is that the USMC appears to follow the proposed emphasis on accuracy (near misses) for suppressive fires, rather than sticking with the common approach of doing suppressive fires to machinegun bursts mostly. I suppose which works best depends on how good you know where the opponents are. It's feasible to suppress opponents at building windows with single shots, but you rather need long bursts to suppress opponents at a long line of bushes.
And then there's the interesting addition of an assistant to the section leader who deals with many new electronics. I wrote about that in 2009.

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You better be able to shoot that far if you use THAT big rockets!
Previous record shots were around 400 km, including the American SM-6 missile.

This kind of long range missiles are not really an issue for fighters or strike fighters, but they push back AEW&C aircraft, tanker aircraft, air/ground radar aircraft, electronic intelligence aircraft and transport aircraft. They might need to avoid an area of about 500 km around some suspected S-500 element site, which largely devalues them. AEW&C in particular would rather not be able to look at the sky above most of our mechanised forces. Fighters would need to cooperate with (possibly jammed) datalinks to create a situational picture by adding their radars' fields of view and ranges. Such a network can easily break down, not just due to jamming, but also due to few fighters on station AND moving 'forward'. Flanks could be left unguarded, and 'lines' of such cooperating fighters in the sky could be defeated from the blind flanks.
Air war against a S-500 user (or user of other unusually long range anti-AEW missiles) would look VERY much unlike the air wars against Iraq.

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I. Cannot. Resist.

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Have a look at this:

It shows the demonstration rigging that camouflage advertisers are using (matching the background to the product), but it also shows the difference between micropattern and macropattern. 
Multisorb has - in the context of a VBL armoured car - micropatterns only while the comparison VBL has a three colour paint scheme that's nothing but a break-up macropattern.
The paint scheme is meant to break up the silhouette on a less homogenous background at long distances (much more than 500 m), while Multisorb's micropatterns look suitable for much shorter distances.
At very long distances the paint will be a better camouflage on light backgrounds and the darker Multisorb a better camouflage on dark backgrounds (brightness difference to background, not colours, matter at long distances).
Such textile covers are pretty good as IR camouflage and can also reduce the distance at which battlefield surveillance and airborne GMTI radars can detect the vehicle, while their optical camouflage effect is debatable. 

The annoying thing about that presentation of Multisorb is that they could easily have designed the product to have both micropatterns and macropattern.

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For those who understand German: