Link dump May 2019

military innovation

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"strategy of limited actions" = "small wars"
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Since I recently touched on the topic of SAR radars in naval affairs:
SAR imagery for ship identification (a pretty good resolution example)

related to:

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Reminder that these days no treaty with the U.S. is worth its paper:

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 I overlooked this when I wrote (repeatedly) about the merge between field artillery and air defence:
Well, I can't know everything. Still, I'm a bit disappointed that nobody pointed at this in comments.

This was written published by me mere days after the Polish article:
At least some of my writing about the merge was earlier than the article above:


 I suppose now I can wait till I find official references to my other air defence favourites; RCWS for the dispersed low level counter-drone fight.

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I wrote a while ago about how much Western military equipment isn't meant to function well at -30°C, and how this could open a window of opportunity for successful aggression. Colder than -20°C is actually rare in the relevant areas of NATO, though. The question remains whether the 'more extreme weather' facet of climate change / global warming will push this issue more to the forefront, and will Western armed bureaucracies respond well?

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[for Germans]:
Der Wahl-o-mat für die Europawahl ist veröffentlicht:



  1. New START up next. Someone told the US that intermediate range missiles cant reach from CONUS to Chinese boom chuckers. Who knew how large the Pacific Ocean is? I didn't. Its unfair to expect that anyone else knew either.

    So can they swap? Restart the INF and kill New START instead? I'll ask Putin.

  2. I also like the idea of a common rocket artillery and air defense infrastructure. As it so happens, 160mm LAR-160/Accular rockets are 3.4-4 meters long; 227mm GMLRS, ~380mm LFRP, and 610mm ATACMS missiles are all 3.94 m long; ESSM is 3.66 meters long; and NSM/JSM is 3.95m long.

    A new 4.0-4.5 meter height “self-defense” version of Mk 41 or Mk 57 VLS could potentially allow navies and armies to utilize common launch canisters for air defense and land-attack missiles. A 2-3 cell-abreast version of Mk 41 (e.g., a smaller version of the angled, deck-mounted concepts) or Mk 57 VLS version should be road-mobile. Updated versions of the BMG-109G launcher could utilize the tactical and strike length Mk41 VLS or Mk 57 canisters for longer-ranged munitions.

    In a naval context, a ~4 meter height Mk 57 VLS style system could be easily mounted along the periphery of helicopter landing decks as on the Zumwalt-class destroyers so that the bow-mounted VLS cells can be reserved for full-height/length canisters (e.g., SM-3/6, TLAMS, LRASMs, new UUM-125-type ASROCs, and 2-stage, long-range ESSMs).

    1. I’m also a proponent of utilizing 152-160mm rockets for naval applications. If NGFS is a requirement, this size of rocket could be used for launching PGMs instead of the equivalent artillery shells atop 5/6+ zone charges. They could also be packed 9 to a single Mk 41 canister. This would extend barrel length by reserving 127-155 deck guns for short-range area targets and thereby increase magazine depth because fewer charges need to be carried. Moreover, at lower energy levels a rifled coil gun may be practical at the power and energy densities of present technologies. This sort of utilization should also apply to land-forces.

      I’ve seen Mk 31 GMLRS missiles quoted at about $100K per missile. M982 Excalibur purportedly costs about $68K per round (wiki). It seems as though adding a guidance package increase costs far more than adding a rocket motor to the rear of a dumb or smart warhead.

      M982 is just shy of 1 meter long. A zone-6 charge is also about 1 meter long. M982 can achieve ranges of about 40 km atop a zone-5 charge and 45-50 km atop a zone-6+ “super” charge. A 4.0 meter 160mm Accular missile achieves a range of 40 km launching a 35 kg warhead. The M982 warhead is only 22 kg according to the source below. Accordingly, a 160mm missile 4.0 meters longs is roughly twice as long as a 155mm projectile and charge that achieves the same range, but the missile delivers a 159% more massive payload. So versus a maximum range 155mm shot, the opportunity cost of carrying a 160mm rocket in place of a 155m shell is roughly 1 155mm shot for every 2 160mm missile. Factoring in the expense of purchasing, maintaining, and moving a 50+ caliber gun tube and an autoloader capable of approaching the missile systems MRSI rate of fire, I think chasing 40+ km performance from 155mm tube artillery is misguided.


    2. 152-160mm rockets could also carry some ineresting, less conventional payloads.

      A and G sized sonobuoys, for example, are less than 127mm in diameter, as is Raytheon’s Coyote UAV. As stated above, 4.0 meter 160mm Accular rockets are capable of launching a 35 kg warhead to 40 km. The AN/SSQ-565 multistatic low frequency active sonobuoy is probably the heaviest A-sized sonobuoy at 14.4 kg for the bare buoy, and it already comes equipped with a GPS receiver.

      A 4.0 meter 160mm rocket launching a relatively light 1 meter-long, gee-hardened sonobuoy payload should be able to launch the sonobuoy on a mostly ballistic trajectory to first CZ distances (i.e., ~50 km), much like the BTERM, ANSR rocket-assisted projectiles. Much of technology for high altitude P-8 sonobuoy deployment could be reused to slow down the sonobuoys enough to survive water-entry. Adding wings to the payload section like the ground-launched small diameter bomb or the HAAWC torpedo might extend the range to second CZ distances at the expense of a much longer time of flight (i.e., see BTERM/ANSR vs ERGM/LRLAP). A coyote UAV could be launched behind a handful of sonobuoys (e.g., a bathythermal buoy, at least one active buoy, and a handful passive buoys) to relay data back to the ship like the old DASH UAVS. A single short, 4-5 meter Mk 41 canister could therefore enable a relatively small surface-vessel to lay a usable sonobuoy field at 1-2 CZ distances.