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Is the M-1 Abrams outclassed now?

SethB

Member
That is a great question. As @Hotdogs notes it is nothing new, but the numbers (by my feeble estimate) are kind of interesting when one thinks of a peer-to-peer fight. I imagine it would take six to 8 CH-47's/MV-22's to lift a single 155 battery with ammunition - 24 plus to lift an entire battalion. Of course artillery battalions aren't sent anywhere alone, so you have already moved at least two infantry battalions (each with mortar capability). On top of that you have to add in CAP to cover the lift (or would HMLA do the job...maybe both?) and a nearly continuous logistics. Now the Corps work on a fully autonomous Huey (and K-Max) makes sense.
I texted a friend about it last night and he told me that the 105MM (M119A2) can be carried internally on the CH47 but it's easier to sling load them.

Of course, we don't every have a need to go from an LHA to land, so we have that going for us.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
I texted a friend about it last night and he told me that the 105MM (M119A2) can be carried internally on the CH47 but it's easier to sling load them.

Of course, we don't every have a need to go from an LHA to land, so we have that going for us.
Thanks. That was the info I was curious about. I believe you can also use a Humvee as a prime mover?
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
Israel is already there with their Spike-NLOS (Non Line Of Sight) missile system, basically a much larger version of their Spike ATGM's that can go out to 25km. The Marines already have them, the Republic of Korea Marine Corps that is.

View attachment 22796

P.S. A guided rocket = missile.
I haven't really followed that development, but it appears that the big difference is in guidance systems.

The Army is apparently working on its own system that splits the difference between the Spike and the GMLRS. Also, the ATACMS is supposed to be replaced with something that has a similar range but is smaller so a HIMARS launcher can carry more of them.
GPS guided systems are great, but I question if these can maintain a sustain rate of fire for regular use during conventional operations. Let alone the issues of reliance on off board signals for terminal guidance. I would expect there won’t be a whole sale divestment of tube artillery but a mix of systems. Rocket artillery doesn’t always have the same effect on a target or group of targets as a regular artillery battery. Being able to run converged, circular, parallel sheafs, manage burst height, as well as use other munitions (illum, smoke, marks) are invaluable when the need arises. Rocket artillery has been around since WWII, so there are some limitations that the ground commanders obviously noted that adversely affected maneuver.

Just another tool in the toolbox I suppose...
 

SethB

Member
Thanks. That was the info I was curious about. I believe you can also use a Humvee as a prime mover?
Yes. The big benefit there is that if one of the HMMWVs is deadlined you can use another HMMWV (a battery has a bunch) to tow the piece.

With self propelled pieces a flat tire can keep you out of position, so they can be less reliable under some circumstances.
 

SethB

Member
GPS guided systems are great, but I question if these can maintain a sustain rate of fire for regular use during conventional operations.
Yeah, you lose a lot of flexibility.

Let alone the issues of reliance on off board signals for terminal guidance.
Techically the GMLRS (227MM guided rocket) is INS guided and GPS aided. It can fire without GPS. The problem you'll have then is determining an accurate target grid without GPS and determining the launcher location. You need to update the inertial system in the launcher and that will be hard without a survey team to assist. Those were taken out of the MTOE a while ago.

I would expect there won’t be a whole sale divestment of tube artillery but a mix of systems. Rocket artillery doesn’t always have the same effect on a target or group of targets as a regular artillery battery. Being able to run converged, circular, parallel sheafs, manage burst height, as well as use other munitions (illum, smoke, marks) are invaluable when the need arises.
With GMLRS you can set the sheaf that you want and put the rounds right where you want them to go. In fact, the M30 GMLRS used submunitions and the planning factor was that a 12 round fire mission could be replaced with 2 rounds because of the greater accuracy and more reliable submunition.

Still, the problem remains that illum/IR illum/smoke/WP etc as well as HE or DPICM used for shaping isn't well served by rockets.

I would say that the real problems faced by artillery aren't technical, they are organizational.
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
GPS guided systems are great, but I question if these can maintain a sustain rate of fire for regular use during conventional operations. Let alone the issues of reliance on off board signals for terminal guidance. I would expect there won’t be a whole sale divestment of tube artillery but a mix of systems. Rocket artillery doesn’t always have the same effect on a target or group of targets as a regular artillery battery. Being able to run converged, circular, parallel sheafs, manage burst height, as well as use other munitions (illum, smoke, marks) are invaluable when the need arises. Rocket artillery has been around since WWII, so there are some limitations that the ground commanders obviously noted that adversely affected maneuver.

Just another tool in the toolbox I suppose...
I don't disagree that tube artillery isn't going away anything soon but adding smaller close-range ballistic missiles will give ground commanders a wider range of capability and accuracy coupled with range that didn't exist before. It will also make targeting much more a challenge too as they would be able to strike targets with precision that are now far out of their reach, and responsibility too.
 

Hotdogs

Leeroy Jenkins
pilot
Yeah, you lose a lot of flexibility.



Techically the GMLRS (227MM guided rocket) is INS guided and GPS aided. It can fire without GPS. The problem you'll have then is determining an accurate target grid without GPS and determining the launcher location. You need to update the inertial system in the launcher and that will be hard without a survey team to assist. Those were taken out of the MTOE a while ago.
With GMLRS you can set the sheaf that you want and put the rounds right where you want them to go. In fact, the M30 GMLRS used submunitions and the planning factor was that a 12 round fire mission could be replaced with 2 rounds because of the greater accuracy and more reliable submunition.

Still, the problem remains that illum/IR illum/smoke/WP etc as well as HE or DPICM used for shaping isn't well served by rockets.

I would say that the real problems faced by artillery aren't technical, they are organizational.
Accuracy is always awesome, but when we’re talking about suppressing entrenched or armored targets, I’d give preference to 81s or 777s due to the need to cover large areas and efficiency. No need to waste a multi-million dollar rocket on a dug in fireteam.

You’re talking to pilots. Most of us are well familiar with INS systems - and their tendency to drift. For long range rockets without an observer, any drift while shooting off of an INS is multiplied the further you are from the launch point. Pilots can eyeball corrections with proficiency depending on the weapons being released, but rocket artillery not so much. That’s not exactly something you want dropping near friendlies.

I don't disagree that tube artillery isn't going away anything soon but adding smaller close-range ballistic missiles will give ground commanders a wider range of capability and accuracy coupled with range that didn't exist before. It will also make targeting much more a challenge too as they would be able to strike targets with precision that are now far out of their reach, and responsibility too.
Yeah I’m in total agreement. I think @SethB is hinting at it, but organizationally assets like these can get husbanded at higher levels preventing tactical commanders from employment. I.e. The potential for it to get treated like a land based cruise missile and wrapped up in joint target coordinating vice preplanned on call fires. This also has an effect on fires planning as well, moving coordination lines further out and leaving space inside that can be restricted from targeting by air assets. Although it’s something that has been worked around before, at-least in the Corps.
 

SethB

Member
Accuracy is always awesome, but when we’re talking about suppressing entrenched or armored targets, I’d give preference to 81s or 777s due to the need to cover large areas and efficiency. No need to waste a multi-million dollar rocket on a dug in fireteam.
Of course. I made a similar argument with a Marine Lt. Col. and he told me that the artillery is still headed towards guided rockets.

Precision munition prices are dropping quickly. A 155 round costs about $1,500 (probably more now) and adding precision costs $10,000 per unit. Considering tube wear and ammunition consumption that's a fair trade. It might actually be cheaper, particularly if you are flying munitions in.

I don't know what precision missiles artillery will use in the future, but hopefully it will be small and inexpensive. Ideally we will get to the point where the observer can fire the weapon from his position and there won't be a need for a crew on the firing location.

You’re talking to pilots. Most of us are well familiar with INS systems - and their tendency to drift. For long range rockets without an observer, any drift while shooting off of an INS is multiplied the further you are from the launch point. Pilots can eyeball corrections with proficiency depending on the weapons being released, but rocket artillery not so much. That’s not exactly something you want dropping near friendlies.
M31 GMLRS is the best munition available for use near friendly positions. It can be use when our troops are within 50 meters. If GPS were down due to jamming or attacks that wouldn't be the case. But M30 GMLRS has 404 explosive submunitions. You only shoot it at people you don't like.

INS inaccuracy is mitigated by shooting more than one rocket per mission. Honestly, I'm much more concerned about launcher location, as we don't have the survey teams that we would need to provide updated launcher locations so the rocket can be updated before firing. That would be as much an issue if we were shooting unguided rockets in a degraded GPS environment. There is a long range rocket on the Korean Peninsula that isn't particularly accurate and is unguided. You have to shoot a bunch to be sure of effects. It's primarily used for shooting at hardened artillery batteries that are built into bunkers, with the guns on rails. You have to detect their firing on radar and get a round to them before they roll back into cover and close the doors.

Yeah I’m in total agreement. I think @SethB is hinting at it, but organizationally assets like these can get husbanded at higher levels preventing tactical commanders from employment. I.e. The potential for it to get treated like a land based cruise missile and wrapped up in joint target coordinating vice preplanned on call fires. This also has an effect on fires planning as well, moving coordination lines further out and leaving space inside that can be restricted from targeting by air assets. Although it’s something that has been worked around before, at-least in the Corps.
It's easy for pilots and artillerists, both of whom are airspace users, to compete for that airspace. Artillery doesn't have the same constraints as an aircraft. It may not be as accurate as a JDAM but there is no crew rest requirement, munitions can be delivered faster and artillery is largely immune to enemy ADA. Also... in the time that it takes for the USAF to generate sorties and a carrier to get in place MLRS launchers can fire hundreds of pre-ATO fire missions.

MLRS is generally used in general support as a division asset. Depending on the phase of the operation and where artillery is needed it can be pushed down to a lower level, or ordered to fire missions generated by echelons above. That allows for coordination with other airspace users. MLRS, tube artillery and mortars all have different target sets and considerations. One of the cool things about NLOS-LS was that it used a missile that could be programmed to fly a non-ballistic path, that is to say you could fire it under a coordinating altitude in order to make it responsive.

I hope all this makes sense and is a valuable contribution.
 

Randy Daytona

Cold War Relic
pilot
Super Moderator
Of course. I made a similar argument with a Marine Lt. Col. and he told me that the artillery is still headed towards guided rockets.

Precision munition prices are dropping quickly. A 155 round costs about $1,500 (probably more now) and adding precision costs $10,000 per unit. Considering tube wear and ammunition consumption that's a fair trade. It might actually be cheaper, particularly if you are flying munitions in.

I don't know what precision missiles artillery will use in the future, but hopefully it will be small and inexpensive. Ideally we will get to the point where the observer can fire the weapon from his position and there won't be a need for a crew on the firing location.



M31 GMLRS is the best munition available for use near friendly positions. It can be use when our troops are within 50 meters. If GPS were down due to jamming or attacks that wouldn't be the case. But M30 GMLRS has 404 explosive submunitions. You only shoot it at people you don't like.

INS inaccuracy is mitigated by shooting more than one rocket per mission. Honestly, I'm much more concerned about launcher location, as we don't have the survey teams that we would need to provide updated launcher locations so the rocket can be updated before firing. That would be as much an issue if we were shooting unguided rockets in a degraded GPS environment. There is a long range rocket on the Korean Peninsula that isn't particularly accurate and is unguided. You have to shoot a bunch to be sure of effects. It's primarily used for shooting at hardened artillery batteries that are built into bunkers, with the guns on rails. You have to detect their firing on radar and get a round to them before they roll back into cover and close the doors.



It's easy for pilots and artillerists, both of whom are airspace users, to compete for that airspace. Artillery doesn't have the same constraints as an aircraft. It may not be as accurate as a JDAM but there is no crew rest requirement, munitions can be delivered faster and artillery is largely immune to enemy ADA. Also... in the time that it takes for the USAF to generate sorties and a carrier to get in place MLRS launchers can fire hundreds of pre-ATO fire missions.

MLRS is generally used in general support as a division asset. Depending on the phase of the operation and where artillery is needed it can be pushed down to a lower level, or ordered to fire missions generated by echelons above. That allows for coordination with other airspace users. MLRS, tube artillery and mortars all have different target sets and considerations. One of the cool things about NLOS-LS was that it used a missile that could be programmed to fly a non-ballistic path, that is to say you could fire it under a coordinating altitude in order to make it responsive.

I hope all this makes sense and is a valuable contribution.
Any thoughts on the proposed Extended Range Cannon Artillery System? Going from a 39 calibre barrel to a 58 caliber/ 30 ft barrel, the claims are for a 43 mile range with extended range munitions.

30294


 

Griz882

Livin' On the Right Side of the River From Pags!
pilot
Contributor
Any thoughts on the proposed Extended Range Cannon Artillery System? Going from a 39 calibre barrel to a 58 caliber/ 30 ft barrel, the claims are for a 43 mile range with extended range munitions.

View attachment 30294


Interesting piece of gear. Like the Navy, the Army has allowed some skill to atrophy during the long war and massed artillery is one of those. Although I feel this particular system fills a very thin gap it is a rather fast shooter with incredible range.
 

Griz882

Livin' On the Right Side of the River From Pags!
pilot
Contributor
I see now that Poland has inked a deal for 250 M1A2 SEPv3 tanks. That should keep things humming in Lima and Detroit for a while since the U.S. Army is getting them as well. Along with the 32 new F-35's they purchased and the investment in HIMARS, it looks like Poland is on quite the defense spending spree. Things are changing quickly in that region.

All this makes me wonder if I can get one of their old SH-2G Super Seasprite's on a surplus deal!
 

Max the Mad Russian

Hands off Ukraine! Feet too
Yeah Belarussian president Lukashenko on one hand is quite belligerent, no wonder given his mind's perversion, but on the other resists to invite Russian armed forces to be permanently based on his soil. Belarussian military are out of date and too weak to stop even modest aggression of a kind of Crimea or Eastern Ukraine. Anyway, historically Poland as a state had never been a friend to Russians except for relatively short Warsaw Pact tenure, and with noted relatively modern weapon systems with no Russians in sight it quite can counterbalance the region quickly. Remember, Mr. Putin is not a strategist, he is rather the special ops master. He will never up to a nuclear threshold for foreign soil, even the neighbour one. And this land resembles Fulda Gap so closely that armour warfare is quite relevant here.
 
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