Bradley Replacement - OMFV

jsport

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..just to reinforce Future vehicles will have to take great consideration to complex softkill and hard kill vehicle protection systems 1596509205269.png 40mm UAS.jpg Quick Kill 2 family.jpg
 

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shin_getter

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Just because it isn't "near peer" does not mean that the conflict would be all that cheap and easy and that one does not need to invest in equipment for the purpose as recent wars have shown.

On the converse, one suspects that the way to defeat Russia is to just throw the budget at renewable energy and let the oil price collapse do its thing, or buy targeted advertising in Germany instead of this. Just giving the money to the air force probably does more than improving a....troop carrier. The time to spend money on improving troop carrier is when you have all the other stuff available and additional investment do not add to it, which can not happen if other domains (air, support fires, etc) are heavily contested.

one-two person crew
So when the company laagers and needs to throw a defensive perimeter around the - let's be generous and call it 20 - vehicles, that gives 20-40 personnel to do everything - daily maintenance, resupply, food, planning, sleeping, and manning the perimeter. It's not enough. You can't simply think about direct combat, you have to think about everything they're called to do.
Just have the vehicle carry people, not have the vehicle demand that someone operate it.

A vehicle will need to operate in future US Army Multi-Domain Ops where high speed opportunitistic, penetration, and local temporary superiority count most.
A crawling speed vehicle that is orders of magnitude slower than stuff that flies, in a world where artillery from a thousand kilometers off can mass on you for temporary superiority while one tries to cross belts of no signature networked sensors?

High intensity combat probably means large land vehicles generally hiding under the biggest pieces of top cover they can find until the one is attrition-ed to the point that it is no longer high intensity.
 

jsport

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Just because it isn't "near peer" does not mean that the conflict would be all that cheap and easy and that one does not need to invest in equipment for the purpose as recent wars have shown.

On the converse, one suspects that the way to defeat Russia is to just throw the budget at renewable energy and let the oil price collapse do its thing, or buy targeted advertising in Germany instead of this. Just giving the money to the air force probably does more than improving a....troop carrier. The time to spend money on improving troop carrier is when you have all the other stuff available and additional investment do not add to it, which can not happen if other domains (air, support fires, etc) are heavily contested.

one-two person crew
So when the company laagers and needs to throw a defensive perimeter around the - let's be generous and call it 20 - vehicles, that gives 20-40 personnel to do everything - daily maintenance, resupply, food, planning, sleeping, and manning the perimeter. It's not enough. You can't simply think about direct combat, you have to think about everything they're called to do.
Just have the vehicle carry people, not have the vehicle demand that someone operate it.

A vehicle will need to operate in future US Army Multi-Domain Ops where high speed opportunitistic, penetration, and local temporary superiority count most.
A crawling speed vehicle that is orders of magnitude slower than stuff that flies, in a world where artillery from a thousand kilometers off can mass on you for temporary superiority while one tries to cross belts of no signature networked sensors?

High intensity combat probably means large land vehicles generally hiding under the biggest pieces of top cover they can find until the one is attrition-ed to the point that it is no longer high intensity.
nothing useful to contemplate.
 

DWG

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one-two person crew
So when the company laagers and needs to throw a defensive perimeter around the - let's be generous and call it 20 - vehicles, that gives 20-40 personnel to do everything - daily maintenance, resupply, food, planning, sleeping, and manning the perimeter. It's not enough. You can't simply think about direct combat, you have to think about everything they're called to do.
Just have the vehicle carry people, not have the vehicle demand that someone operate it.

That strikes me as the worst of both worlds.
 

iverson

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"one suspects that the way to defeat Russia is to just throw the budget at renewable energy and let the oil price collapse do its thing, or buy targeted advertising in Germany".

Very true.
 

GTX

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one-two person crew

So when the company laagers and needs to throw a defensive perimeter around the - let's be generous and call it 20 - vehicles, that gives 20-40 personnel to do everything - daily maintenance, resupply, food, planning, sleeping, and manning the perimeter. It's not enough. You can't simply think about direct combat, you have to think about everything they're called to do.

Dare I say, consider modern sensors, AI etc etc. We are allowed to move on from what was used in the 1940s, 50s, 60s...
 

GARGEAN

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Dare I say, consider modern sensors, AI etc etc. We are allowed to move on from what was used in the 1940s, 50s, 60s...
Useless. People will cling to their habits until it's literally impossible. So "fourth crew member is better than autoloader" is insanely still living and will live until main MBT fleet of US will switch to AL. Not even talking about more radical changes.
 

DWG

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one-two person crew

So when the company laagers and needs to throw a defensive perimeter around the - let's be generous and call it 20 - vehicles, that gives 20-40 personnel to do everything - daily maintenance, resupply, food, planning, sleeping, and manning the perimeter. It's not enough. You can't simply think about direct combat, you have to think about everything they're called to do.

Dare I say, consider modern sensors, AI etc etc. We are allowed to move on from what was used in the 1940s, 50s, 60s...

Yet to see an AI or sensor that could bomb-up an AFV or change a track. And you need people awake to monitor the sensor feeds and react, so they don't help there. Once numbers drop too far there's just no way for the unit to function beyond a day or two outside of falling back on a larger parent.
 

Foo Fighter

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There is no telling some people. Perhaps sign them up to do a week of the routine tasks and be sleep deprived with a four man crew, then let them try doing the job with two. Funny how these comments about two man crews and the like are from those who have never done it. I suppose it proves the point that being an armchair warrior is easier than being on the hot spot.
 

jsport

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Ajax (then Scout SV) here's what you could have won. Original programme envisaged a far more valuable breadth of more than 15 variants for a robust medium weight capability, now cut back to the 6 (Ajax, Athena, Ares, Apollo, Atlas and Argus) variants.
Image
 

JohnR

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Ajax (then Scout SV) here's what you could have won. Original programme envisaged a far more valuable breadth of more than 15 variants for a robust medium weight capability, now cut back to the 6 (Ajax, Athena, Ares, Apollo, Atlas and Argus) variants.
Image
.

Maybe nobody at the MOD could come up with anymore names beginning with A.

That said can someone explain the acronyms for the different models? Obviously I get Scout and Direct Fire, was the planned armament the smooth bore 120mm as used on the BAE Systems armed variant of the CV90. FRO I assume is a replacement for the Striker. I understand repair and recovery but what does the ES stand for? But as for RDMS, LAS and PMRS I have no clue. In regard to the Bridge Layer what load was it meant to carry.

Regards
 

Apophenia

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...That said can someone explain the acronyms for the different models? Obviously I get Scout and Direct Fire, was the planned armament the smooth bore 120mm as used on the BAE Systems armed variant of the CV90. FRO I assume is a replacement for the Striker. I understand repair and recovery but what does the ES stand for? But as for RDMS, LAS and PMRS I have no clue. In regard to the Bridge Layer what load was it meant to carry.

ES = Equipment Support; Recovery now Atlas, Repair, now Apollo
- Also Equipment Support Direct Fire Repair & Equipment Support Direct Fire Recovery

FR(O) = Formation Reconnaissance (Overwatch)
- Also FR C2 (Formation Recce Command and Control)

LAS = Light Armoured Support, orig. 'Formation Reconnaissance Light Armoured Support (Cargo)'

PMRS = Protected Mobility Recce Support; RPMRS C2 now Athena, Engr Recce now Argus

RDMS = Remote Delivered Mine System (cancelled fairly early on)

Sorry, don't know the load for the AVLB (orig. 'Manoeuvre Support Armoured Vehicle Launched Bridgelayer').
 

Moose

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The industry getting bent out of shape about a Pentagon design team isn't surprising, neither is the decision to back down. That said, I hope the key features like the advanced diesel, 50mm gun, and advanced suspension don't end up on the cutting room floor because of this move.
 

jsport

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the Army should still have a team focused on making stark advancement demands on industry. No more second rate product offerings when the vehicle is expected to operate so outnumbered in combat.

An APS capable of so called 'revenge fire' even against indirect fire threats needs to be included.

the program should still have a DoD LSI forcing smooth integration of technologies across companies as single vendors, and non modular systems for such complex manned systems needs be gone.

PS: RCVs are going to have to operate autonomously and at significant stand off to really protect manned systems in the evolving environment.
 

Kat Tsun

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one-two person crew

So when the company laagers and needs to throw a defensive perimeter around the - let's be generous and call it 20 - vehicles, that gives 20-40 personnel to do everything - daily maintenance, resupply, food, planning, sleeping, and manning the perimeter. It's not enough. You can't simply think about direct combat, you have to think about everything they're called to do.

Dare I say, consider modern sensors, AI etc etc. We are allowed to move on from what was used in the 1940s, 50s, 60s...

Are we?

Nothing fundamental has changed about these things, nor does it seem to change in the future, unless Western armies become suddenly incredibly confident in the ability of robotic combat systems to fight autonomously, or just accepts that friendly troops might get killed by a robot tank and rolls with it.

Neither seems to be happening anytime soon though. Robotic combat systems are considered both less reliable (to use a word) and held to higher standards (the actual truth) than human ones, so any errors from them tend to reflect poorly on the concept as a whole. Meanwhile tank crews can banter each other with 120mm HEAT-MP and barely anyone bats an eye, relatively speaking. So any robotic system will need a man in the loop operating it, like Brimstone or TOW. IOW, identical to the robotic combat systems that were operated by the 51st Independent Tank Battalion during the Great Patriotic War, where Soviet flamethrower UGVs were able to destroy Finnish fortifications without terribly endangering the crews of their control vehicles.

The only difference is modern teletanks have better cameras and can drive themselves into a ditch I guess? It's not really as much as you're implying. Maybe the teletanks can off on their own and come around as a flanking attack in a combat using GPS and auto-driving, but they're more likely going to end up getting stuck in a ditch or on a stump in practice. Or fall into a radio shadow and just stop moving or responding to operator input, but that's probably more likely in urban terrains.

Anyway, the most obvious utility of the fourth man in a tank, if not loader, is radio operator. UGS/UAS will probably be a standard issue part of combined arms battalions and companies in the future, which is where all the "modern sensors" and "AI" are going to be anyway. Given how many radio bands you'll need to talk to your friends, talk to the robot tanks, talk to the robot airplanes, talk to the manned airplanes, and talk to the infantry, making a separate, fourth radio operator...operate all the three or four or five (or more) separate radios is probably not a bad idea. After all, the FCS tankettes were going to have like four separate radio bands for everything from local tactical communication (mmW-band),to SATCOM (W-band), to aircraft/ground troops (UHF/VHF-band), and IFF/BFT updates (L-band). Probably more, since I'd imagine they'd need legacy SINCGARS support for talking to Allied nations or something. So you're looking at like five radios and that's excluding the hot garbage that GMR turned out to be.

That's a lot of stuff to juggle for the TC alone, but probably about right for a single radio operator to keep in working order in battle, provided you design it for it, rather than design it to need 10 minutes to reboot because the radio crashed again and now has to load a lot of probably unnecessary waveform libraries and radio emulation software and whatnot. Oof.

OTOH, like always, you can expect the maintenance workload to go up for all these added things. So maybe putting a dozen additional hands in the headquarters of the tank company, in a 5-ton or something, with a towed workshop, would not be a bad idea. This was also proposed in an ARMOR issue back in 1995, but it was talking about the bizarre Western Design FMBT, although that was a two-man operated, three-man crewed tank. Except in this case it's a four-man operated, five man-crewed tank. This would be pretty close to ideal in terms of workload and being able to do things so that the tank platoon doesn't need to run to their sister mech platoon and ask if they can spare half their infantry squads.

To some extent I think all armies know this, too. The real hard part is finding all this necessary manpower in the increasingly bleak demographics of developed economies, but two infantry squads is basically fourteen guys so that's sorta innate already, just no one really thinks about it much. You just need to train the radio-operator to be the technical guy and have a random PFC help you tension the tracks. The other two squads can tension the IFVs' tracks or something.

Okay this got a bit longer than I thought it would be and I apologize, also the last one bit about in-house infantry is dangerously Simpkinian.

Dare I say, consider modern sensors, AI etc etc. We are allowed to move on from what was used in the 1940s, 50s, 60s...
Useless. People will cling to their habits until it's literally impossible. So "fourth crew member is better than autoloader" is insanely still living and will live until main MBT fleet of US will switch to AL. Not even talking about more radical changes.

Third eye open is automatic loader and fourth crewman.

The only reason you'd go for a third crewman is because you want to gain some tangible benefit of combat survivability, which is why the Soviets did it. Smaller armored volume means shorter tank means less statistical battlefield losses to anti-tank guided missiles and HV guns.

There are so few tanks in most armies these days that statistical losses are unable to be sustained for very long (looking at you, Artsakh, and your 183 confirmed tank losses in two weeks) so making the tanks slightly taller in exchange for better situational awareness, or better ability to keep the enemy at a distance, is not a terrible trade off. Despite being almost half a meter taller than the T-72, this has never seriously hampered the M1's ability to kill things.

You can just bomb the obvious AT guns to death with suicide drones/missiles before sending in the tanks. The suicide drones/missiles are of course flown by the fourth crewman of the tanks. Better than having the TC, driver, or gunner doing the job, since all of these guys have their own jobs they need to be doing at the same time. There's also no indication or reason to believe that robotic combat systems won't be used alongside tanks in battle, where the conventional three man crew has its hands full already (and seems to the absolute minimum viable combat crew, as neither the T-72 nor M1 show substantial differences in battle beyond vehicle-specific design quirks [gun depression, armor, etc.]), and the fourth crewman, now freed of needing to load the gun in combat, can instead drive the robot tankette remotely.

Seems to be the optimal route moving forward if you want to cheaply and easily integrate unmanned combat systems into the ground troops honestly. Cheap is relative of course, since it'll need a better radio than SINCGARS to talk to the robot, but whatever.
 
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Fluff

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I dont know where this will go, but your tank is going to have to be quite a bit larger, to accommodate an autoloader, for say 140mm round, and a 4th crewman, with screens, control systems etc. Also spatially, where is this 4th person going? Cant fit in the turret, autoloader is there, back end of Merkava is a possibility.

Do you know why the voice in your car now understands you so much better than 5 years ago? Because its been offboarded, your not talking to a dumbed down PC, your linked by 4G to a system that has heard every version of'basingstoke' known to man.

I would think it more likely to have 4 operators in either a heavy APC, or a dummy tank, but I suspect they will try to run it from a safe base, 50km behind the line.
 

TomS

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Do you know why the voice in your car now understands you so much better than 5 years ago? Because its been offboarded, your not talking to a dumbed down PC, your linked by 4G to a system that has heard every version of'basingstoke' known to man.

I would think it more likely to have 4 operators in either a heavy APC, or a dummy tank, but I suspect they will try to run it from a safe base, 50km behind the line.
No one is deliberately trying to jam your in-vehicle navigation app. On the battlefield I guarantee that someone is. Putting the controller closer to the unmanned systems makes it easier to overcome jamming. (Option B is satcom, but there just isn't enough bandwidth for a significant number of UGVs)
 

chimeric oncogene

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No one is deliberately trying to jam your in-vehicle navigation app. On the battlefield I guarantee that someone is. Putting the controller closer to the unmanned systems makes it easier to overcome jamming. (Option B is satcom, but there just isn't enough bandwidth for a significant number of UGVs)
Starlink is coming along nicely, but nobody's trying hard to shoot it down, jam it, or spoof it either.
 

shin_getter

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Are we?

Nothing fundamental has changed about these things, nor does it seem to change in the future, unless Western armies become suddenly incredibly confident in the ability of robotic combat systems to fight autonomously, or just accepts that friendly troops might get killed by a robot tank and rolls with it.
The prospect of civilian automated vehicles and billions of private money thrown at the problem points to real change. There has been AI algorithm breakthrough in the near past that opens up an autonomy development road map. Now, can it fail as in previous cases of AI hype? Yes, but there is also some chance that it may succeed, and if it does it would lead to revolution in vehicle design, and those new projects are betting on this.

Anyway, the most obvious utility of the fourth man in a tank, if not loader, is radio operator. UGS/UAS will probably be a standard issue part of combined arms battalions and companies in the future, which is where all the "modern sensors" and "AI" are going to be anyway.... There are so few tanks in most armies these days that statistical losses are unable to be sustained for very long
The logical place for UGS/UAS is dedicated command and control vehicle, possibly combined with support facilities. Small Unmanned vehicles need rearm, refuel and maintenance points. A catapult and other gear can also improve aircraft performance.

Communication relays is a better solution to range than adding big volume and weight demand to armored combat vehicles already too much for strategic mobility.

The so few tanks that would quickly get destroyed in intensive combat means it is silly to base UGS/UAS force around tanks, as the latter forces number order(s) of magnitude greater. Imagine a naval air arm limited by "the tiny bit of space for cranes and catapults behind the third triple turret of the battleships".

You can just bomb the obvious AT guns to death with suicide drones/missiles before sending in the tanks. The suicide drones/missiles are of course flown by the fourth crewman of the tanks. Better than having the TC, driver, or gunner doing the job, since all of these guys have their own jobs they need to be doing at the same time.
Or you can have operating concepts more flexible than mud movers. Even small missiles and drones can have dozen kilometer+ of range and aerial or centralized command and control enable much better utilization than locked behind a vehicle with poor organic medium scale situation awareness and no command facilities. Robotic ground vehicles is also likely employed independently in many missions, just think about all the economy of force and security ops.

One can want organic drone capability for AFVs for independent operations. Tanks unlike ships are a small force and not asked to operate independently outside of combine arms support.

The really good reason for organic drone capability is to prevent some airforce wannabe which may attempt the idea of independent deep maneuvers and stealing all the unmanned assets from the proper mission of supporting the tank force.
 

jsport

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how does this not go to large, autonomus, sufficiently protected, mothership UGV running autonomous Smaller armed UAS/UGVs, A low footprint SATCOM (AI directed, more secure, less data, and less data overhead but w/ robotic C2 and limited SA) link tech which is not being proposed now. Commercial SATCOM research will not develop the link tech as it will have little commercial application. No flashy hyperspectral RT video.
 

Kat Tsun

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Are we?

Nothing fundamental has changed about these things, nor does it seem to change in the future, unless Western armies become suddenly incredibly confident in the ability of robotic combat systems to fight autonomously, or just accepts that friendly troops might get killed by a robot tank and rolls with it.
The prospect of civilian automated vehicles and billions of private money thrown at the problem points to real change. There has been AI algorithm breakthrough in the near past that opens up an autonomy development road map. Now, can it fail as in previous cases of AI hype? Yes, but there is also some chance that it may succeed, and if it does it would lead to revolution in vehicle design, and those new projects are betting on this.

Anyway, the most obvious utility of the fourth man in a tank, if not loader, is radio operator. UGS/UAS will probably be a standard issue part of combined arms battalions and companies in the future, which is where all the "modern sensors" and "AI" are going to be anyway.... There are so few tanks in most armies these days that statistical losses are unable to be sustained for very long
The logical place for UGS/UAS is dedicated command and control vehicle, possibly combined with support facilities. Small Unmanned vehicles need rearm, refuel and maintenance points. A catapult and other gear can also improve aircraft performance.

Communication relays is a better solution to range than adding big volume and weight demand to armored combat vehicles already too much for strategic mobility.

The so few tanks that would quickly get destroyed in intensive combat means it is silly to base UGS/UAS force around tanks, as the latter forces number order(s) of magnitude greater. Imagine a naval air arm limited by "the tiny bit of space for cranes and catapults behind the third triple turret of the battleships".

You can just bomb the obvious AT guns to death with suicide drones/missiles before sending in the tanks. The suicide drones/missiles are of course flown by the fourth crewman of the tanks. Better than having the TC, driver, or gunner doing the job, since all of these guys have their own jobs they need to be doing at the same time.
Or you can have operating concepts more flexible than mud movers. Even small missiles and drones can have dozen kilometer+ of range and aerial or centralized command and control enable much better utilization than locked behind a vehicle with poor organic medium scale situation awareness and no command facilities. Robotic ground vehicles is also likely employed independently in many missions, just think about all the economy of force and security ops.

One can want organic drone capability for AFVs for independent operations. Tanks unlike ships are a small force and not asked to operate independently outside of combine arms support.

The really good reason for organic drone capability is to prevent some airforce wannabe which may attempt the idea of independent deep maneuvers and stealing all the unmanned assets from the proper mission of supporting the tank force.

An automated car designed to keep away from other vehicles on a fixed path isn't terribly useful for navigating poorly mapped (or unmapped) terrain and avoiding ditches, honestly. The biggest failing of military autonomic driving systems is that they tend to get stuck on obstacles that aren't marked on maps on offroads, like ditches or fences or trees, and have very precious few ways of avoiding these obstacles that isn't "man in the loop". Which is why I mentioned them getting stuck in the first place. At the very least you will want someone to keep an eye on the things while they're driving, even if it's a simple conga line in follow-the-leader, because the leader might get lost or attacked, and the robotic systems will get confused in an ambush and likely annihilated. Or they simply get stuck in a ditch that was dug a few weeks ago for laying a large diameter irrigation pipe that never showed up, and all of them fall into this hole.

Autonomic driving makes more sense for convoy operations where movement is down known routes (roads) which are marked, mapped, and pre-scouted, and regularly traveled. I wouldn't trust a robotic convoy without a human every few vehicles, and certainly not by itself, but it is a legitimate manpower saver in terms of drivers, even if not in terms of maintenance or any sort of real work. This just means that the other drivers can be resting (or doing work on the FOB) instead of driving two 8 hour shifts back to back, though. It's more transformative of work in ways that can be described only by understanding what the rest of the job entails (despite what certain animes say, a driver's job isn't just driving).

All that said, no one who is anyone is going to ditch their tanks anytime soon. Sure, the British might, but they're also ditching everything else, so they aren't exactly on the forefront of big thinks. Also I suppose while yes it's entirely possible to go full DARPA and just use SUO-style missile pods or whatever, and that would actually work great against something the Azeri Army, that only works right up until the foxholes of commandos and their missile pods are bombed out by drones I guess, although it might be more difficult to identify a human in a foxhole, it certainly won't be difficult to identify the foxhole, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that people will need to learn how to dig decoy positions (again) through blood rather than theory.

Again, the analogy to the Great Patriotic War eerily lingers over the entire idea.

And of course that would run into the issue of "you just made the entire Army establishment angry that you're trying to force through your idea as primacy" and turn everyone against you. This happened to RAH-66 and its little robotic helicopter buddy.

"Strategic mobility" is a bit of a meme, honestly. It's never really been much of an issue to send tanks by boat and wait a month instead of a fortnight. No one has ever lost a war because they couldn't move tanks to Korea or Saudi Arabia in less than 96 hours. I doubt this trend will suddenly end given that ground offensives have become even harder to pull off successfully, not easier, than they were in 1950 or 1990. Compare a timeline of Mosul 2012 or Debaltseve to Mosul 1992 or Ned Almond and you'll see what I mean: a month nowadays means less than it did 30 years ago, and much less than it did 70, in terms of ground gaining offensives. If anything we could make transportation slower and save some fuel.

That said my main point was that any unmanned ground system will be useful as a vanguard, or point man, for an individual tank. Instead of sending a couple riflemen, the IFV, or another tank, to scout ahead, you send the UGS. Manned by the loader, obviously, because the loader of the M1 that is sending out the UGS can use a narrowband, microwave or L-band transmitter to talk to his robot tank (which is hard to detect and harder to jam because it is low power and an unusual band that isn't just UHF/VHF), provided it doesn't break line of sight. Or if it is he can use an aerial system as a battle node to bounce off and talk to his robot. Either way, the closer you get the operation of the robot to the unit directly involved the better, and I think the only person who you can safely trust when to know when to use a teletank for reconnaissance is, if not the platoon commander, then the tank commander of the tank needing a scout.

For what it's worth this is why I think turning CAS into JTAC controlled (directly) Predator drones and MELBs wouldn't be too bad of an idea. Local control is faster and more accurate.

In practice, this would probably be identical to the mechanized sweep and clear of Fallujah, but with a little more than half as many mechanized troops, because instead of buddying the M1s with each other like they did in 2004, each M1 can go down its own street because it has its own little robot buddy to protect it from ambushes. This would let you do with a couple platoons (one M1, one M2) what required a full mechanized company team in Fallujah (2 M1, 2 M2): clear a small village or a few streets. For the cost of half a dozen tankettes and maybe a dozen guys. Hardly seems a bad trade when the brigade colonel can now zip up the rest of the pocket with his now freed battalion task force(s?), or keep a company of tanks in reserve to counter a potential penetration by an enemy unit to let the enemy out of the city, or what have you. There are myriad situations where reducing the requisite manpower and machines required to do a job is a good thing, and introducing manpower saving devices at the lowest level is the best way to do it.

(...) The tactics used by the Americans offset the inherent design weaknesses of tanks in the cities. Operating in pairs, tanks covered each other while others remained a short distance behind lending support. The same can be said about the Bradley vehicles, although their armor was far less capable. (...)

Putting them at a higher level, like a robotic battalion or something, indicates that you either have a severe disinterest in the technology, because we know how to integrate teletanks with individual armor vehicles, or you don't think it would be terribly useful to integrate a complicated combat system at lower levels for one reason or another. Perhaps that makes sense for someone with more manpower than money, where you can throw highly motivated ground troops, get mulched, and come back tomorrow with more, but that doesn't describe the Western world. That said it might describe Afghanistan or Israel or Georgia though. It's not so much casualty averse, of course, and there will be losses regardless (as Artsakh proves), but minimizing them means you don't need to maintain a half million man army, and your battalion can be ready for action again in a day instead of a week (although this might not matter much); there are also psychological incentives, as troops using robotic systems might be encouraged to "sniff out" the enemy more aggressively and do things more dangerously if they know they aren't in any real danger, which they wouldn't be, in theory.

A UGS like Black Knight can utilize the same resupply LOGPACs (fuel, spares, including tracks and road wheels, and 25mm ammunition) as the M2 Bradley, which means they might want to be integrated into the Bradley companies. A UGS based on the Griffin light tank would probably want to be integrated into M1 companies, since AFAIK Griffin uses the same road wheels, parts of the turret systems (CITV, gunner FLIRs) and main gun as the M1 tank.

In regards to "air force wannabe", I don't quite understand that one. You say that the purpose of the robotic systems is to independently operate on a lot of missions, then you double back and say it isn't because it's stealing? I agree with the latter part, that any integration of robotic vehicles is going to be important on a small scale, but I don't think that these are either-or scenarios. I think it's a quite blatant false dichotomy, akin to saying that because tanks are mechanized they have "stolen" mechanization from the infantry. I don't disagree with the basic idea, but I don't see why you can't have robotic ground vehicles in a company or battalion to support troops as a UGS, but also have separate, perhaps larger or more capable, vehicles in a brigade or division for independent operations. I was simply saying that a robotic vehicle at the lowest level is the cheapest, fastest, and most obviously effective option because it requires the least amount of radical thinking. It's very natural to take a "battle buddy" M1 or M2 section and replace one buddy with a robotic wingman. Or as a teletank operated assault gun for light infantry, for that matter. It's another thing entirely to use a Black Knight or Uran-9 as a "land Tomahawk" and try to swing it around as a hammer to be used against an anvil of a wall of anti-tank missiles, snipers, and minefields.

One of those things is a normal combat drill. The other is based entirely on extrapolated, hypothetical capabilities that are yet-to-come and has no real world analogue yet.

tl;dr: I don't think that robotic vehicles can be used independently because tests of them being used by themselves tend to result in them flipping over due to being too top heavy, literally driving wrong on certain terrains (such as hills) and throwing tracks or just getting stuck, falling into radio shadows and losing contact with their handlers (or their GPS) and getting lost, or outright missing things that aren't marked on their digital maps (like ditches and fences). That said, I do think they can be used to save manpower that can be freed up for other things, obviously, just not as literally or directly as you're assuming they can.

Think less "50 kilometers" and more "50 meters". "Robotic teletanks" is much more in line with the technologies that have been actively demonstrated in laboratories rather "autonomous combat droids", which are based on technologies that said laboratories are using to hypebeast overly optimistic billionaires.

That said I think our disagreement is less one fundamental and more one of risk aversion. I would rather see a robotic combat system integrated as quickly as possible with the minimum of fuss to get people experienced with the things and in being around them, and to show that they have benefits. I think you would prefer a more rapid transition to a possible future state where robotic combat systems become a major player, alongside mechanized infantry and tanks, in combat ground forces. These aren't incompatible dichotomies, as I don't think robotic vehicles will overtake mechanized troops any time soon, but it's generally safer to go with the least fussy route. It's not as flashy, granted, nor is it terribly sexy, but it avoids the pitfalls of other "revolutionary" things like Future Combat Systems and RAH-66: alienating anyone and everyone around, or becoming so big and bloated that it becomes an issue.

While it might not be possible to prevent someone from stealing a company's worth of UGS and trying to use them as a hammer or something, I don't think that's necessarily wrong or bad, since wars are learned through experience, and even failure is a good teaching tool. Maybe they could do it at NTC before trying it for real, but they first need robots to try that stuff with. And getting that stuff fast is done by producing the least fussy plan that meshes the most with existing expectations and needs.

Sell the robots as a manpower saving tool that "makes battalions twice as big" or something, then figure out what they can really do in the NTC in simulated urban and desert environments.

Perhaps robots will be good at supporting tanks in close terrains, where their ability to scout ahead without losing men is useful, but better as a flanking or protection force in open terrains, where they can put firepower on the flanks and let a battalion concentrate most of its more lethal manned weapons on a narrow area. This would be roughly how the Soviets envisioned robotic combat systems in the late 1980's, but the Soviets were rather forward thinking folks in that regard.
 
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jsport

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Are we?

Nothing fundamental has changed about these things, nor does it seem to change in the future, unless Western armies become suddenly incredibly confident in the ability of robotic combat systems to fight autonomously, or just accepts that friendly troops might get killed by a robot tank and rolls with it.
The prospect of civilian automated vehicles and billions of private money thrown at the problem points to real change. There has been AI algorithm breakthrough in the near past that opens up an autonomy development road map. Now, can it fail as in previous cases of AI hype? Yes, but there is also some chance that it may succeed, and if it does it would lead to revolution in vehicle design, and those new projects are betting on this.

Anyway, the most obvious utility of the fourth man in a tank, if not loader, is radio operator. UGS/UAS will probably be a standard issue part of combined arms battalions and companies in the future, which is where all the "modern sensors" and "AI" are going to be anyway.... There are so few tanks in most armies these days that statistical losses are unable to be sustained for very long
The logical place for UGS/UAS is dedicated command and control vehicle, possibly combined with support facilities. Small Unmanned vehicles need rearm, refuel and maintenance points. A catapult and other gear can also improve aircraft performance.

Communication relays is a better solution to range than adding big volume and weight demand to armored combat vehicles already too much for strategic mobility.

The so few tanks that would quickly get destroyed in intensive combat means it is silly to base UGS/UAS force around tanks, as the latter forces number order(s) of magnitude greater. Imagine a naval air arm limited by "the tiny bit of space for cranes and catapults behind the third triple turret of the battleships".

You can just bomb the obvious AT guns to death with suicide drones/missiles before sending in the tanks. The suicide drones/missiles are of course flown by the fourth crewman of the tanks. Better than having the TC, driver, or gunner doing the job, since all of these guys have their own jobs they need to be doing at the same time.
Or you can have operating concepts more flexible than mud movers. Even small missiles and drones can have dozen kilometer+ of range and aerial or centralized command and control enable much better utilization than locked behind a vehicle with poor organic medium scale situation awareness and no command facilities. Robotic ground vehicles is also likely employed independently in many missions, just think about all the economy of force and security ops.

One can want organic drone capability for AFVs for independent operations. Tanks unlike ships are a small force and not asked to operate independently outside of combine arms support.

The really good reason for organic drone capability is to prevent some airforce wannabe which may attempt the idea of independent deep maneuvers and stealing all the unmanned assets from the proper mission of supporting the tank force.

An automated car designed to keep away from other vehicles on a fixed path isn't terribly useful for navigating poorly mapped (or unmapped) terrain and avoiding ditches, honestly. The biggest failing of military autonomic driving systems is that they tend to get stuck on obstacles that aren't marked on maps on offroads, like ditches or fences or trees, and have very precious few ways of avoiding these obstacles that isn't "man in the loop". Which is why I mentioned them getting stuck in the first place. At the very least you will want someone to keep an eye on the things while they're driving, even if it's a simple conga line in follow-the-leader, because the leader might get lost or attacked, and the robotic systems will get confused in an ambush and likely annihilated. Or they simply get stuck in a ditch that was dug a few weeks ago for laying a large diameter irrigation pipe that never showed up, and all of them fall into this hole.

Autonomic driving makes more sense for convoy operations where movement is down known routes (roads) which are marked, mapped, and pre-scouted, and regularly traveled. I wouldn't trust a robotic convoy without a human every few vehicles, and certainly not by itself, but it is a legitimate manpower saver in terms of drivers, even if not in terms of maintenance or any sort of real work. This just means that the other drivers can be resting (or doing work on the FOB) instead of driving two 8 hour shifts back to back, though. It's more transformative of work in ways that can be described only by understanding what the rest of the job entails (despite what certain animes say, a driver's job isn't just driving).

All that said, no one who is anyone is going to ditch their tanks anytime soon. Sure, the British might, but they're also ditching everything else, so they aren't exactly on the forefront of big thinks. Also I suppose while yes it's entirely possible to go full DARPA and just use SUO-style missile pods or whatever, and that would actually work great against something the Azeri Army, that only works right up until the foxholes of commandos and their missile pods are bombed out by drones I guess, although it might be more difficult to identify a human in a foxhole, it certainly won't be difficult to identify the foxhole, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that people will need to learn how to dig decoy positions (again) through blood rather than theory.

Again, the analogy to the Great Patriotic War eerily lingers over the entire idea.

And of course that would run into the issue of "you just made the entire Army establishment angry that you're trying to force through your idea as primacy" and turn everyone against you. This happened to RAH-66 and its little robotic helicopter buddy.

"Strategic mobility" is a bit of a meme, honestly. It's never really been much of an issue to send tanks by boat and wait a month instead of a fortnight. No one has ever lost a war because they couldn't move tanks to Korea or Saudi Arabia in less than 96 hours. I doubt this trend will suddenly end given that ground offensives have become even harder to pull off successfully, not easier, than they were in 1950 or 1990. Compare a timeline of Mosul 2012 or Debaltseve to Mosul 1992 or Ned Almond and you'll see what I mean: a month nowadays means less than it did 30 years ago, and much less than it did 70, in terms of ground gaining offensives. If anything we could make transportation slower and save some fuel.

That said my main point was that any unmanned ground system will be useful as a vanguard, or point man, for an individual tank. Instead of sending a couple riflemen, the IFV, or another tank, to scout ahead, you send the UGS. Manned by the loader, obviously, because the loader of the M1 that is sending out the UGS can use a narrowband, microwave or L-band transmitter to talk to his robot tank (which is hard to detect and harder to jam because it is low power and an unusual band that isn't just UHF/VHF), provided it doesn't break line of sight. Or if it is he can use an aerial system as a battle node to bounce off and talk to his robot. Either way, the closer you get the operation of the robot to the unit directly involved the better, and I think the only person who you can safely trust when to know when to use a teletank for reconnaissance is, if not the platoon commander, then the tank commander of the tank needing a scout.

For what it's worth this is why I think turning CAS into JTAC controlled (directly) Predator drones and MELBs wouldn't be too bad of an idea. Local control is faster and more accurate.

In practice, this would probably be identical to the mechanized sweep and clear of Fallujah, but with a little more than half as many mechanized troops, because instead of buddying the M1s with each other like they did in 2004, each M1 can go down its own street because it has its own little robot buddy to protect it from ambushes. This would let you do with a couple platoons (one M1, one M2) what required a full mechanized company team in Fallujah (2 M1, 2 M2): clear a small village or a few streets. For the cost of half a dozen tankettes and maybe a dozen guys. Hardly seems a bad trade when the brigade colonel can now zip up the rest of the pocket with his now freed battalion task force(s?), or keep a company of tanks in reserve to counter a potential penetration by an enemy unit to let the enemy out of the city, or what have you. There are myriad situations where reducing the requisite manpower and machines required to do a job is a good thing, and introducing manpower saving devices at the lowest level is the best way to do it.

(...) The tactics used by the Americans offset the inherent design weaknesses of tanks in the cities. Operating in pairs, tanks covered each other while others remained a short distance behind lending support. The same can be said about the Bradley vehicles, although their armor was far less capable. (...)

Putting them at a higher level, like a robotic battalion or something, indicates that you either have a severe disinterest in the technology, because we know how to integrate teletanks with individual armor vehicles, or you don't think it would be terribly useful to integrate a complicated combat system at lower levels for one reason or another. Perhaps that makes sense for someone with more manpower than money, where you can throw highly motivated ground troops, get mulched, and come back tomorrow with more, but that doesn't describe the Western world. That said it might describe Afghanistan or Israel or Georgia though. It's not so much casualty averse, of course, and there will be losses regardless (as Artsakh proves), but minimizing them means you don't need to maintain a half million man army, and your battalion can be ready for action again in a day instead of a week (although this might not matter much); there are also psychological incentives, as troops using robotic systems might be encouraged to "sniff out" the enemy more aggressively and do things more dangerously if they know they aren't in any real danger, which they wouldn't be, in theory.

A UGS like Black Knight can utilize the same resupply LOGPACs (fuel, spares, including tracks and road wheels, and 25mm ammunition) as the M2 Bradley, which means they might want to be integrated into the Bradley companies. A UGS based on the Griffin light tank would probably want to be integrated into M1 companies, since AFAIK Griffin uses the same road wheels, parts of the turret systems (CITV, gunner FLIRs) and main gun as the M1 tank.

In regards to "air force wannabe", I don't quite understand that one. You say that the purpose of the robotic systems is to independently operate on a lot of missions, then you double back and say it isn't because it's stealing? I agree with the latter part, that any integration of robotic vehicles is going to be important on a small scale, but I don't think that these are either-or scenarios. I think it's a quite blatant false dichotomy, akin to saying that because tanks are mechanized they have "stolen" mechanization from the infantry. I don't disagree with the basic idea, but I don't see why you can't have robotic ground vehicles in a company or battalion to support troops as a UGS, but also have separate, perhaps larger or more capable, vehicles in a brigade or division for independent operations. I was simply saying that a robotic vehicle at the lowest level is the cheapest, fastest, and most obviously effective option because it requires the least amount of radical thinking. It's very natural to take a "battle buddy" M1 or M2 section and replace one buddy with a robotic wingman. Or as a teletank operated assault gun for light infantry, for that matter. It's another thing entirely to use a Black Knight or Uran-9 as a "land Tomahawk" and try to swing it around as a hammer to be used against an anvil of a wall of anti-tank missiles, snipers, and minefields.

One of those things is a normal combat drill. The other is based entirely on extrapolated, hypothetical capabilities that are yet-to-come and has no real world analogue yet.

tl;dr: I don't think that robotic vehicles can be used independently because tests of them being used by themselves tend to result in them flipping over due to being too top heavy, literally driving wrong on certain terrains (such as hills) and throwing tracks or just getting stuck, falling into radio shadows and losing contact with their handlers (or their GPS) and getting lost, or outright missing things that aren't marked on their digital maps (like ditches and fences). That said, I do think they can be used to save manpower that can be freed up for other things, obviously, just not as literally or directly as you're assuming they can.

Think less "50 kilometers" and more "50 meters". "Robotic teletanks" is much more in line with the technologies that have been actively demonstrated in laboratories rather "autonomous combat droids", which are based on technologies that said laboratories are using to hypebeast overly optimistic billionaires.

That said I think our disagreement is less one fundamental and more one of risk aversion. I would rather see a robotic combat system integrated as quickly as possible with the minimum of fuss to get people experienced with the things and in being around them, and to show that they have benefits. I think you would prefer a more rapid transition to a possible future state where robotic combat systems become a major player, alongside mechanized infantry and tanks, in combat ground forces. These aren't incompatible dichotomies, as I don't think robotic vehicles will overtake mechanized troops any time soon, but it's generally safer to go with the least fussy route. It's not as flashy, granted, nor is it terribly sexy, but it avoids the pitfalls of other "revolutionary" things like Future Combat Systems and RAH-66: alienating anyone and everyone around, or becoming so big and bloated that it becomes an issue.

While it might not be possible to prevent someone from stealing a company's worth of UGS and trying to use them as a hammer or something, I don't think that's necessarily wrong or bad, since wars are learned through experience, and even failure is a good teaching tool. Maybe they could do it at NTC before trying it for real, but they first need robots to try that stuff with. And getting that stuff fast is done by producing the least fussy plan that meshes the most with existing expectations and needs.

Sell the robots as a manpower saving tool that "makes battalions twice as big" or something, then figure out what they can really do in the NTC in simulated urban and desert environments.

Perhaps robots will be good at supporting tanks in close terrains, where their ability to scout ahead without losing men is useful, but better as a flanking or protection force in open terrains, where they can put firepower on the flanks and let a battalion concentrate most of its more lethal manned weapons on a narrow area. This would be roughly how the Soviets envisioned robotic combat systems in the late 1980's, but the Soviets were rather forward thinking folks in that regard.
..alot of antiquated concepts/ideas here not alot of paying attention to other threads. Dancing around a FEBA is not deep pentration, ie component Multi-D Ops. Automony, advanced terrain processing, sat imagery, Project Convergence processing (artillery CAS targets in 2 min) etc all are a new game where the question is how many humans left in the fight. The Israelis w. Project Olive know this as well. If you can operate so deep how do you justify humans deep in adversary rear area. Ground combat is going to resemble the SEAD, giving new releance to the term Joint SEAD,
 

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I'd think terms like "FEBA", "main battle", and "deep penetration" are the real antiquated ideas, given that modern wars tend to be waged by proxy actors and irregulars as a whole, but sure. I guess if they put a cannon in the back of RAH-66 it would have been cool. The American Aircraft Penetrator had a chaingun in its ass, and it still flies, unlike RAH-66.

The Israelis are just aping Future Combat Systems, partly because they know they have to end conscription soon, and being able to see through tanks, and send robots ahead of the tanks, is cool. Which is what I said.
 
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jsport

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I'd think terms like "FEBA", "main battle", and "deep penetration" are the real antiquated ideas, given that modern wars tend to be waged by proxy actors and irregulars as a whole, but sure. I guess if they put a cannon in the back of RAH-66 it would have been cool. The American Aircraft Penetrator had a chaingun in its ass, and it still flies, unlike RAH-66.

The Israelis are just aping Future Combat Systems, partly because they know they have to end conscription soon, and being able to see through tanks, and send robots ahead of the tanks, is cool. Which is what I said.
The targeting which will be available in the new network centric environment will largely see all the service simply servicing distant fixed and (a new concept 'mobile') DMPIs at the farthest distance and in a rapid fashion. Thus what appears to be an emphasis on indirect fire for the Optionally Manned Tank. When the space, time of the new paradigm are properly viewed the close battle will resemble the medium to far battle and IFV's contribution will increasing fall under scrutiny.
 

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I think your oversimplifying, full outright near peer war, yes you can have a long range sensor/detection led battle. see it, hit it, kill it.

nearly all recent conflicts have had non-combatants roaming the area, civilians, NGO's, peacekeepers, etc etc. No amount of range/detection is going to tell you who is on that moped, getting closer to your checkpoint.

So having an armoured bastion, as a base will still be needed.
 

jsport

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I think your oversimplifying, full outright near peer war, yes you can have a long range sensor/detection led battle. see it, hit it, kill it.

nearly all recent conflicts have had non-combatants roaming the area, civilians, NGO's, peacekeepers, etc etc. No amount of range/detection is going to tell you who is on that moped, getting closer to your checkpoint.

So having an armoured bastion, as a base will still be needed.
you could well be correct, if H Kissinger is correct, Western European Social Democrats may not even fight to stay out of the East's orbit. Natural Gas dependence, Huawei, extreme left and right parties ultimately having the same political goal. "take over" Western Europe could be "over before it started" like the Crimea to the Russians. (Sun Zhu style)
 

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I think your oversimplifying, full outright near peer war, yes you can have a long range sensor/detection led battle. see it, hit it, kill it.

nearly all recent conflicts have had non-combatants roaming the area, civilians, NGO's, peacekeepers, etc etc. No amount of range/detection is going to tell you who is on that moped, getting closer to your checkpoint.

So having an armoured bastion, as a base will still be needed.
you could well be correct, if H Kissinger is correct, Western European Social Democrats may not even fight to stay out of the East's orbit. Natural Gas dependence, Huawei, extreme left and right parties ultimately having the same political goal. "take over" Western Europe could be "over before it started" like the Crimea to the Russians. (Sun Zhu style)

Kissinger appears to subscribe to the George W. Bush manner of thinking, "if you're not with us, you're against us." Western European democrats have their own way of thinking about problems. Kissinger obviously believe it is better to be dead than Red. Silly really...
 

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