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Candidates for NATO standardisation in the Cold War

uk 75

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One of the interesting aspects of the Cold War is how some weapons became almost NATO standard systems (F104, Centurion and Leopard tanks)
What weapons should have become standard and did not
 

DWG

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.280 British (7x43mm) has to be about the best candidate, there's pretty universal recognition that the U.S. forcing 7.62mm NATO on everyone else made a practical select fire assault weapon too difficult. The rifle it's fired from is slightly less important, but both the EM-2 and the original .280 FAL were good rifles. EM-2 would have had the advantage of introducing universal issue of rifle optics 30 years earlier than the reality.
 

zen

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I think I'll agree with DWG there.
 
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Fluff

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87.5mm field gun AKA 25pdr
Airgeep
Skyhook
 
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zen

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Had the national politics not intervened, then the Atlantique and the Harrier (P1154) could have been NATO standard.
It was potentially possible for a naval 105mm gun and ammunition to have been agreed as it nearly was for 5" (127mm)/L56.
 

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The Folland Gnat could be a possibility since IIRC other than the enlarged wheels necessary for rough field operations it more than met the specifications for the NATO Basic Military Requirement 1 (NBMR-1) light weight tactical strike fighter (LWTSF). Of course the major problem would be overcoming the urge for governments to favour domestic designs over a joint one as which happened with Fiat G.91 in our timeline. Perhaps some form of agreement ahead of the contest committing participants to buying a set number of aircraft?

uk 75 in their original post mentions the Centurion tank, IIRC at least for the Netherlands and Denmark that was largely helped by the US paying for them via Mutual Defense Assistance Act (MDAA) monies. I have a vague recollection that something similar was being planned for the rearmament of the Deutsches Heer since American industry was largely tied up with the Korean War but that when things quieted down it was dropped. You'd probably have to play with the dates somewhat but if Germany received the Centurion that would give it a fair amount of momentum.
 
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uk 75

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The British 105mm light gun was adopted by the US after its own gun got too expensive and complicated. If France, Belgium and Germany had bought it for their airborne units
 
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DWG

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The British 105mm light gun was adopted by the US after its own gun got too expensive and complicated. If France, Belgium and Germany had bought it for their airborne units
Or the Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer a generation earlier. With Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece all using it, it pretty much was a NATO standard.
 
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alertken

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Siberia addresses the core issue here, which is not domestic politics of jobs, but is...who is the customer?

If US is willing to pick up the entire R&D bill, then to provide on attractive terms, including free, copies of a product for which US is setting up support infrastructure, even in another country, then...no-brainer to take the US type, to be a wide Standard.

Economies of scale from its domestic orders give US massive advantage over other sources. Why did UK bother with 40-odd Nimrods when >700 Orions were to be built? Waste.

The motive behind >40 NBMRs from 1957 was simply to avoid wasteful duplication of effort, hurting NATO's inter-operability cf. Warsaw Pact. None, again, none became a deployed standard., and waste continued. Other Nations did succeed in some, meagre, sales to US DoD: most resulted from skillful navigation of US procurement processes.

There is no point in moaning about US taxpayers expecting most-or-more Defence procurement to employ...themselves.
 

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The British 105mm light gun was adopted by the US after its own gun got too expensive and complicated. If France, Belgium and Germany had bought it for their airborne units
Or the Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer a generation earlier. With Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece all using it, it pretty much was a NATO standard.
I understood the British hated the Italian 105 and it didn't serve for long - reputedly fell apart.
 

zen

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The British 105mm light gun was adopted by the US after its own gun got too expensive and complicated. If France, Belgium and Germany had bought it for their airborne units
Or the Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer a generation earlier. With Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece all using it, it pretty much was a NATO standard.
I understood the British hated the Italian 105 and it didn't serve for long - reputedly fell apart.
It's supposed to come apart...
 

Fluff

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The British 105mm light gun was adopted by the US after its own gun got too expensive and complicated. If France, Belgium and Germany had bought it for their airborne units
Or the Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer a generation earlier. With Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece all using it, it pretty much was a NATO standard.
I understood the British hated the Italian 105 and it didn't serve for long - reputedly fell apart.
It's supposed to come apart...
Not on the way to a job.....
 

zen

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The British 105mm light gun was adopted by the US after its own gun got too expensive and complicated. If France, Belgium and Germany had bought it for their airborne units
Or the Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer a generation earlier. With Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece all using it, it pretty much was a NATO standard.
I understood the British hated the Italian 105 and it didn't serve for long - reputedly fell apart.
It's supposed to come apart...
Not on the way to a job.....
Actually yes, it comes apart for ease of movement by pack animal if I recall correctly. Movement over mountainous terrain being it's design criteria.
 

Fluff

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The British 105mm light gun was adopted by the US after its own gun got too expensive and complicated. If France, Belgium and Germany had bought it for their airborne units
Or the Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer a generation earlier. With Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece all using it, it pretty much was a NATO standard.
I understood the British hated the Italian 105 and it didn't serve for long - reputedly fell apart.
It's supposed to come apart...
Not on the way to a job.....
Actually yes, it comes apart for ease of movement by pack animal if I recall correctly. Movement over mountainous terrain being it's design criteria.
Brits wanted to use it towed by a landrover - it fell apart, in an unplanned way.

just wikied- so it must be true - some users ended up going to a portee solution, to stop them rattling to bits.
 

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Brits wanted to use it towed by a landrover - it fell apart, in an unplanned way.

just wikied- so it must be true - some users ended up going to a portee solution, to stop them rattling to bits.
The L5 was a pack howitzer, that role puts a premium on light weight rather than robustness.

The problem the UK had with it wasn't robustness, it was range. Hence the completely new series of ammunition (new for towed ordnance anyway, the Abbot SPG already used it) introduced with the L119 that replaced the L5.
 
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Kadija_Man

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The British 105mm light gun was adopted by the US after its own gun got too expensive and complicated. If France, Belgium and Germany had bought it for their airborne units
Or the Italian 105mm Pack Howitzer a generation earlier. With Britain, Canada, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Greece all using it, it pretty much was a NATO standard.

The L5 appeared to be a fine gun, the Australian experience in Vietnam was that it was ill suited to sustained warfare. The barrels wore out too quickly and the breeches became damaged over time. The RAA (Royal Australian Artillery) replaced them with US M101 guns which proved more durable.
 

DWG

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Sustained warfare isn't a standard part of the pack howitzer design requirements. They were designed as guns that could be mule, or even man-packed into position for a quick assault, not fired week-in, week-out. That role necessarily means the lightest possible trail, barrel and breech, and the ability to assemble/disassemble them in a hurry, both of which will unavoidably limit robustness. If they were used for a role that they weren't intended for and came up short, then that isn't really a criticism of the gun, it's a criticism of the choice to use them - which could be a necessary decision, but still doesn't place the blame on the gun.

WRT the M101, it fired the same ordnance as the L5, and so would still have fallen short of the UK range requirements that led to the replacement of the L5 with the L118 light gun. In fact a separate version of the L118, the L119, was produced for training on remaining US 105mm ordnance, and for export.
 

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- The West German 110mm LARS-1 (Light Artillery Rocket System) - especially when one considers that until the arrival of the American M270 Multiple-Launch Rocket System (MLRS), NATO woefully lacked rocket artillery period.
(Note: for all intent and purposes each NATO army could mount the LARS-1 on their respective 6x6 truck.)

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- Standardise the German Biber armoured vehicle-launched bridge (AVLB) system [sorry I don't know the actual bridge system's name/designation or manufacture - but would love to know!!] - not necessarily the Leopard 1 chassis, but the actual bridging system and it's associated mechanical system within NATO.
I think it's safe to say that the 'Biber bridge' system was an outstanding design - especially it's horizontal deployment technic which had a sensible tactical advantage over the scissor-type designs.
[can anyone please tell me if the 'Biber bridge system' was designed to be fitted to other Western tank chassis?]
I'm wondering if the could have been strengthened (maybe steel instead of aluminum??) to allow the likes of the heavier Chieftain MBT to cross it in British Army service??


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uk 75

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I think the UK got caught short because it had a national candidate to replace/update the 25pounder and then had to go with NATO 105m.
The lightweight Italian gun gota lot of service in with units East of Suez where it got choppered in and out.
Unless the US had adopted the German LARS it would have stayed a FRG only but US use with Heavy Regts could have
The Leopard family deserved to be NATO's T55 and T62. Less sure about Leo 2. Though NL, DKand later Canada did take it.
Biber came too late for US and UK
The Nimrod vs Atlantique/Orion point is valid. But the UK might have taken As or Os if TSR2 and 1154 had gone ahead
 

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At minimum, a common single and twin barrel 20mm towed anti-aircraft gun to meet the requirements for low-level air defence (not to mention it's ground support capability)
In truth I've never understood Britain and the US dismissing of towed low-level cannons - regardless of the excuses of manning and technological advancements of missiles.
The ubiquitous nature and numbers of the Soviet/Warsaw Pact's ZSU-23-2 has never ceased to impress me.

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Oh, I thought NATO's adoption of the Murder 1 MICV would have made complete sense - especially when one seriously considers the long winded and costly development of the Bradley and
Warrior IFV. Sure keep the M113 as the common battlefield taxi as it was.
I appreciate that the Marder was deemed 'expensive' ($390,000 each in 1975) and 'heavy', but I'm sure that NATO could have devised a more cost effective means of manufacturing the design - especially in terms of numbers.....maybe it could have been a multi-national consortium type arrangement - Country A building the chassis, Country B building the turret, Country C the tracks, etc....a little like the F-16 and Tornado IDS....
It would be interesting to compare the cost of the Marder 1 and Bradley/Warrior (inclusive of their R&D)....on top of this, with the Marder 1 entering service in 1971 vs the Bradley (1981) and Warrior (1984).
Ironically 'The U.S. Army rejected the Made 1 due to it not being amphibious, too large and heavy for air transport, and too expensive.' Ironic because the amphibious requirement by the US Army was a joke and was eventually negated; the air transport requirement (The Bradley could not be carried aboard a C-130 or a C-141 Starlifter either); and again we have the issue of cost, which I find it hard to believe the Bradley in the end didn't end up costing more than the Marder....

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Keyboard Commando

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I believe the US looked at adopting the Marder at some point in the Bradley's development but they dismissed it for lacking amphibious capability (which we have never used on the Bradley anyway) and being a bit too heavy, which is silly considering how much it's grown weight-wise. Ideally we could have avoided the wasted millions in development hell, stuck an American turret on the Marder and be done with it.
 

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W
I believe the US looked at adopting the Marder at some point in the Bradley's development but they dismissed it for lacking amphibious capability (which we have never used on the Bradley anyway) and being a bit too heavy, which is silly considering how much it's grown weight-wise. Ideally we could have avoided the wasted millions in development hell, stuck an American turret on the Marder and be done with it.
My sentiments exactly Keyboard Commando!
Especially when one thinks of the logistics difference in the operation and maintenance of the Marder, Warrior, Bradley in West Germany.

Actually, I cant think of the Bradley without thinking of this:


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IMO the Bell AH-1 Cobra would have to be designated as the NATO standard combat helicopter. I understand the cost associated with 'a specialised attack/anti-tank helicopter, but I've always held in mind the various 'improvised' attack/anti-tank helicopters derived by NATO was just that - improvised. I've always seriously questioned the survivability of the likes of the Bell OH-58, Aerospatiale SA342 Gazelle, MBB Bo-105, Hughes/McDonnell Douglas MD500, Augusta A109 on the main front of any NATO vs Warsaw Pact if it went full blown. Yes I both know and appreciate the notion of small, cheap and fast, but we are talking full fledged conventional war. IMO the Bell AH-1G to AH-1S would have been an cost effective attack/anti-tank helicopter for most of NATO armies/air forces up until the 1990's. The notion of France/Germany designing and building its Eurocopter Tiger, Italy its Augusta A129 Mangusta, some NATO armies/air forces operating Bell AH-1 Cobra's and then Hughes AH-64 Apaches seems a terrible mix match of platforms.....

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It makes sense from a capability and standardization perspective, especially earlier in the Cold War when dedicated anti-armor helicopters were lacking in NATO versus the Hind's proliferation in the Warsaw Pact. However, even as an American, I recognize the importance of domestic development in Europe and keeping the money at home so to speak. I think at least for Europe if the A129 Tonal or one of the Westland attack helicopter projects had gone forward earlier, this would provide them the capability needed. Another thing to keep in mind was that we weren't so sure the Cobra would stick around like it did, considering the way we bounced from the AH-56 to the S-67 and finally onto the Apache, which wasn't so capable in it's earlier iterations either. In that case I think the Europeans were right to be skeptical.
 

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If only the Fiat G.91 competition (whatever was its name, NBRM or LWF) had not been such a farce... the better aircraft winning an honest victory would, somewhat, help sales to NATO members... while Dassault was a dickhead vis a vis international cooperation, Breguet was a polar opposite. A TAON win, followed by a naval variant in place of Etendard IV, could put the company back on the right track at the worst moment for Dassault

"goddam it, I crushed the public companies into oblivion and De Gaulle has now accepted the fait accompli - and that's freakkin' Breguet come back from the grave to provide a private competitor to myself ?"
 

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If only the Fiat G.91 competition (whatever was its name, NBRM or LWF) had not been such a farce... the better aircraft winning an honest victory would, somewhat, help sales to NATO members... while Dassault was a dickhead vis a vis international cooperation, Breguet was a polar opposite. A TAON win, followed by a naval variant in place of Etendard IV, could put the company back on the right track at the worst moment for Dassault

"goddam it, I crushed the public companies into oblivion and De Gaulle has now accepted the fait accompli - and that's freakkin' Breguet come back from the grave to provide a private competitor to myself ?"
Your opinion on the best design submitted to the NATO Light Weight Strike Fighter compation?

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Not the Fiat G.91 by a long shot, for a start. Either the Breguet TAON or the Folland Gnat (fly & insects in both cases, how about that - taon is a big fly while gnat - moucheron - is a very small one).
 

uk 75

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Apart from the Turks experience I think the cost of Leo2 might have been higher than M1s
 

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How about Sikorsky's approach with the home factory being responsible for design and development?
Most of low-tech production gets farmed out to shadow factories in other NATO nations, while Sikorsky now only builds transmissions and control systems which are their proprietary area of expertise.
This leaves NATO customer nations with the option of adding whichever sensors or weapons they want. For example, Norway designed the Penguin anti-ship missile.

However, from the perspective of smaller NATO nations, having only one basic helicopter airframe (e.g. Bell UH-1 Huey) makes it cost-effective to buy a large enough fleet to defend the nation. Try to design both a transport and attack helicopter that share the same dynamic components (controls, rotors and transmissions). Then hang any sensor or weapon you want on the skinny fuselage version.
 
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Apart from the Turks experience I think the cost of Leo2 might have been higher than M1s
Although I wouldn't claim to know the real-term aquasition cost of Leo 2 vs M1, I'm confident that the operational/maintanance/logistical cost of the Leo 2 would be cheaper than that of the M1. On top of this is the Leo2's excellent commonality of combat support vehicles - i.e Leo2-based armoured recovery, bridge layer, combat engineer vehicles....when compared to the M1's oddpodge assortment....

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Apart from the Turks experience I think the cost of Leo2 might have been higher than M1s
Although I wouldn't claim to know the real-term aquasition cost of Leo 2 vs M1, I'm confident that the operational/maintanance/logistical cost of the Leo 2 would be cheaper than that of the M1. On top of this is the Leo2's excellent commonality of combat support vehicles - i.e Leo2-based armoured recovery, bridge layer, combat engineer vehicles....when compared to the M1's oddpodge assortment....

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All good points ... to which I would add that Leopard 2 acquisition costs would have been lower if West Germany had NATO partners in the programme.
 

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How about Sikorsky's approach with the home factory being responsible for design and development?
Most of low-tech production gets farmed out to shadow factories in other NATO nations, while Sikorsky now only builds transmissions and control systems which are their proprietary area of expertise.
This leaves NATO customer nations with the option of adding whichever sensors or weapons they want. For example, Norway designed the Penguin anti-ship missile.

However, from the perspective of smaller NATO nations, having only one basic helicopter airframe (e.g. Bell UH-1 Huey) makes it cost-effective to buy a large enough fleet to defend the nation. Try to design both a transport and attack helicopter that share the same dynamic components (controls, rotors and transmissions). Then hand any sensor or weapon you want on the skinny fuselage version.
I hear what you are saying re commonality riggerrob, but I can't help wonder the political/national resentment of NATO nations who would see and interpret such a monopoly by the likes "Sikorsky" as unacceptable. I would think 'real and meaningful' joint/multi-national weapons/platform programs would be more sensible and exceptable to and by all NATO members.


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Apart from the Turks experience I think the cost of Leo2 might have been higher than M1s
Although I wouldn't claim to know the real-term aquasition cost of Leo 2 vs M1, I'm confident that the operational/maintanance/logistical cost of the Leo 2 would be cheaper than that of the M1. On top of this is the Leo2's excellent commonality of combat support vehicles - i.e Leo2-based armoured recovery, bridge layer, combat engineer vehicles....when compared to the M1's oddpodge assortment....

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Pioneer
All good points ... to which I would add that Leopard 2 acquisition costs would have been lower if West Germany had NATO partners in the programme.
Good and valid point my friend.

I might add if I may, I'd think the Leo2 would be somewhat more European battlefield centric in design and nature.

I should have added, if NATO selected the M1 Abrams as it's 'NATO MBT', one would imagine that it could have been the 'diesel-powered' derivative, as opposed to the legacy gas turbine-powered variant favoured by the US Army.

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