Tuesday, January 24, 2017

German bridges are tearing up US armored vehicles, not the other way around!

via Pravda.
The US army has come across "unexpected difficulties" during the redeployment of armored vehicles from the German port of Bremerhaven to Poland.
According to The Wall Street Journal, several vehicles were seriously damaged during the transportation. The vehicles crashed into the bridges, the height of which turned out to be lower than the military expected. Five armored vehicles were left in Germany, and the military have not found a safe way for their transportation yet.
Several US tanks had their batteries discharged upon their arrival to Europe, commander of US forces in Europe, Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges said. He also acknowledged that Washington did not have sufficient knowledge about the infrastructure of those NATO members that used to be part of the former Soviet bloc.
The United States is currently moving to Europe 87 M1 Abrams tanks, 144 armored vehicles M2 Bradley, 18 self-propelled howitzers M109 Paladin and four thousand troops to support operations Atlantic Resolve Operation. The goal of the maneuvers is to contain the potential of the Russian Federation.
Too damn funny!

You're telling me that during this so called "show the flag" exercise that planners didn't do a basic FUCKING ROUTE RECON!

We better hope Russia isn't about to come across the border...it looks like we've forgotten how to do simple stuff.  I guess its true.  Institutional knowledge does evaporate unless regularly exercised.  Oh and don't buy for one minute the excuse about "not having sufficient knowledge about infrastructure".

I bet you can find an old warhorse from the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment that could tell you every and anything you wanted to know about East German infrastructure!

Open Comment Post. Jan 24, 2017.

US Army deactivates its Long-range Surveillance Companies...

via Stars and Stripes.
The Army will quietly deactivate its three long-range surveillance companies in the active-duty force in the remaining days of January, along with four National Guard companies in 2018, the Army said.
The nearly 100 soldiers in each of three active-duty companies attached to three Corps commands at Fort Hood in Texas, Fort Bragg in North Carolina and Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington will be reassigned to other units at those posts, said Lt. Col. Christina Kretchman, an Army spokeswoman.
Army National Guard units in Nebraska, Georgia, Indiana and Alabama will fold up their long-range surveillance companies and reassign those soldiers in August 2018, Kretchman said.
Stars and Stripes first reported in July that senior leaders decided to deactivate the companies through an evaluation in the Total Army Analysis, a force structure program used to balance the composition of the force with strategy and resources.
Computer models were used to conclude long-range surveillance companies were not in demand by ground commanders.
Defense analysts have said Army commanders have an aversion to risk and a growing preference to use technology such as satellites and drones for reconnaissance rather than insert small teams of soldiers.

Long-range surveillance companies in the Army are comprised of 15 six-man teams led by a staff sergeant. The teams specialize in navigating forward positions to monitor enemy movement and gather intelligence for commanders.

Drones replacing eyeballs on the ground?  No demand from commanders?

The thinking doesn't make any sense.  There is no demand for airborne forces yet the Army maintains a full division of them.  They have an air assault division but every unit in the Army is "air assault" capable.

I wonder if the problem is the size of these units on the new battlefield?  Perhaps they should have followed the sniper model and simply enlarged to be able to better deal with the threat.  SOCOM is doing the same thing with their forces...enlarging to evolve with the changing battlefield.

Budget Wars! Army sends wish list to Congress.

Thanks to Jonathan for the link!

via Defense News.
It also addresses other capability gaps that have come to the forefront as the service increases its concentration on the European theater to deter an aggressive Russia’s possible unwelcome military advancement into Eastern Europe. 
The Army would spend $1.8 billion beyond the 2017 budget to upgrade its armor formations, a direct answer to capability demands in Europe. 
According to the list, the service would accelerate Abrams tank production by two Battalion sets -- recapitalizing older tanks into a new version. 
Bradley Fighting Vehicle production would be sped up to build one cavalry squadron set. The Army would also ramp-up the pace to modernization of 140 Stryker armored fighting vehicles to the Double V-Hull (DVH) variant as well as the production of 18 M88A2 Hercules armored recovery vehicles, which would accelerate the pure-fleet of M88A2 for all Armored Brigade Combat Teams and ABCT support units. 
Among other armor formation upgrades, the Army would procure battalion mortar capability for three ABCTs and would fund research and development to increase fire power of the Joint Light Tactical Vehicle with a 30mm gun. 

US Army Europe has also lamented a capability gap in short-range air defense (SHORAD) and the wish list asks for $1.3 billion to pay for modifications to the Patriot Air and Missile Defense System, procures Patriot Advanced Capability-3 missiles, accelerates Stinger air defense system modifications and a service life extension program and also would fund modifications of the Army’s Avenger short-range air defense systems. 
 Electronic warfare is also a growing concern and the Army would speed up the procurement of ground and air electronic warfare capabilities, an area where Russia is considered to be more advanced. 
The Army is also asking for $2.5 billion for 10 new-build AH-64E Apache attack helicopters and advanced procurement for an additional 10 aircraft, 14 new-build CH-47F Chinook cargo helicopters, 17 LUH-72A Lakota light utility helicopters, and 12 additional Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft. 
Story here. 

How can the Army be so smart, yet so stupid at the same time?

Concentrating on upgrading and rebuilding their force is in keeping with the line from the new administration.  The talk concerning worries about Russia?  Not so much.  The Trump Administration doesn't agree (and I'm with them) but the Think Tank community is also coming around to thinking that they are down the list of threats (and that's if we can't pursue common interests).

ISIS, Iran, N. Korea, and China as an economic foe all rank ahead of Russia according to the latest thinking.

I also don't understand the emphasis on aviation.  I don't see the planning to move the Airborne Light Tank forward and no talk about modifying ATACMS to attack ships at sea.

When the Army was fighting for survival and looking for a place in Air-Sea Battle that's all they talked about.  With Russia being the foe of choice for McCain and the other Neo-Cons in Congress they're reverting back to old habits.

That type thinking will cost them.

This was a chance for the Army to re-tool and pivot toward being ready for a fight in the Pacific.  Instead they're opting for the comfortable terrain of Europe where the fight will never come. 

Monday, January 23, 2017

"Red Eyes" T-90 destroyed in Syria by anti-tank system...

Thanks to FKDahl for the link!  

Vid and story here.


I need more info on this.  Doubt we'll get it though.

Pic of the day. T-72A SAA, in the district of Damascus, 09 Jan 2017

Pic via Bmashina Tumblr Page.

The UK gets its Airborne Early Warning System for its new Carriers. Crowsnest goes onto AW101 Helicopters.

via Defense Update.
The British Defence Minister Harriett Baldwin announced a £269M (US$327 million) deal for the procurement of 10 aerial surveillance systems to operate on the Royal Navy new Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers. Initial deliveries are expected in 2018 with initial operational capability in 2020.
Lockheed Martin UK is the prime contractor for the Crowsnest project. The company will integrate airborne early warning radars and passive electronic support measures in the Merlin Mk2 helicopters provided by Leonardo that will also modify the Navy’s 30 AW101 Merlin HM.2 platforms to be able to carry the Crowsnet mission package.

Thales will provide the sensor suite solution for the system. With the new radar Crowsnet will replace the Seaking AEW7 that operated from the decks of the Royal Navy’s Invincible class aircraft carriers that were phased out of service in recent years. The system is an updated and improved version of the Cerberus tactical sensor suite, currently in service on the Sea King Mk7 helicopter.
The Merlin Mk2 Crowsnet will act as the eyes and ears for the Royal Navy’s ships, providing long range air, maritime and land detection and tracking capability. The Merlin Mk2 helicopters already perform a number of other roles for the Royal Navy, including anti submarine warfare, search and rescue.
One day we're going to have to have a real deal discussion on these pages about what a "real" aircraft carrier is and is expected to do.

The Queen Elizabeth Class Carrier is bigger than an America Class LHD (yes I know they've taken to calling them L-Class carriers but that's unmitigated bullshit and something they've pulled out of their asses...much more of that and the big Navy/Carrier Mafia will kick the Marine Corps so hard we'll bleed for years) but will have a similar complement.

It could operate conventional aircraft but they've chosen to go with the F-35B. Which means that while the AW101 will be a big improvement over the legacy system it will in no way compete with the E-2D Hawkeye when it comes to raw performance.

The Royal Navy made a conscious choice to move forward with degraded abilities across the board to include its future AEW system.

Why does this matter?

It matters because one day in the future the Brits MIGHT have to go it alone.
They might have to face another Falklands type situation where that little country that should be a pushover instead is launching advanced anti-ship missiles from long distance....

Making the best of a bad situation.  Dealing with the reality they face now and not relitigating decisions made in the past is what the Brits are doing.

This is good news.  But hindsight makes me wonder if mistakes were made.

Yars Nuclear Capable ICBM Combat Simulation

Russian Defense Ministry Says Its Warplanes Have Flown First Combat Mission in Syria With U.S.-Led Coalition Aircraft

Thanks to William for the link!

via Washington Post
MOSCOW — Russian Defense Ministry says its warplanes have flown first combat mission in Syria with U.S.-led coalition aircraft.
I don't know the implications of this but I like it.  About damn time.  Kill ISIS and deal with Assad at our leisure.

Ukrainian BTR-4M in Indonesia undergoing testing.

Thanks to DWI for the link!

Pics via Ukrainian Military Pages.com

Open Comment Post. Jan 22, 2017

Brits send tanks thru the Channel Tunnel...

via Sun
THE British Army has sent a TANK through the Channel Tunnel for the first time – to practise getting armoured vehicles to Eastern Europe quickly in case of a crisis with Russia.
The military exercise saw five armoured vehicles transported to France on train wagons in the early hours of Wednesday.
A Challenger tank and matching recovery vehicle, a Warrior armoured fighting vehicle, a Warrior recovery vehicle and a reconnaissance vehicle were all sent across the Channel during the exercise.
They made the 40-minute return journey a few hours later.
This is big in Europe but I don't quite get the excitement.  One raid by Russian Spetsnaz/GRU with a few demolition charges will destroy the tracks and shut down this form of rapid reinforcement.

More vehicles can be moved quickly by sea (if you're taking into account mass) and its not that far a trip.

As a PR exercise it sings.  Militarily practical?  Not so much.