USMC Doctrine Changes

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TomcatViP

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Writing that Right in the middle of a war where a peer adversary (per definition) have to lob missiles from his own territory to keep losses down...

Remind me, what does the Marines usually do? Collecting taxes at Mar-a-Lago?
 
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TomS

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Seems like a solution looking for a problem...

Indeed.

I once worked with a Marine officer who commanded an OV-10 squadron in Desert Storm. He loved the plane but thought it was far too vulnerable for FAC/CAS in defended airspace. Two OV-10s were shot down and several more damaged by MANPADS or short-range IR SAMs when they ran out of flares. Three crewmembers ended up POWs and one died.

I'm not convinced this is an improvement over a couple of MQ-9s.
 
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Foo Fighter

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There are far too many "I want" projects out there. What is needed is cold and logical proposals to fit the need of the troops and task at hand. We have got to the stage where MQ-9 etc are tried, tested and mature in service. Why oh why muck up the process/gene pool with more new for no good reason money pits?
 

Josh_TN

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I don't see the utility of guns in this day and age outside specialized gun ships. When you can bullseye any point target with a 3kg PGM for several thousand USD I think there is no reason to bring an aircraft, manned or not, into the AAA/MANPAD envelope and no need to launch anything from a gun.
 

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TomS

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Guns make the cheapest & best Tank plinkers, and defense against many SAMS would be also be cheapest.


  • Potential future applicability to air and ground platforms

The program you linked to, MAD-FIRES, is mainly focused on a 57mm projectile more suitable for naval vessels than fighter aircraft.

As for tank plinking, care to guess the champion tank killer of Operation Desert Storm and the weapon it used?

Answer is the F-111 with 500-pound LGBs. With only 84 aircraft in theater, the F-111 killed ~1400 armored vehicles while 140 odd A-10s killed 900. And I'd bet there were more Warthog kills by Maverick or cluster bombs than guns.

In the 2003 rematch, the best aerial tank killer of the war was probably the B-1B with Sensor Fuzed Weapon smart submunition dispensers.
 

mkellytx

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In the 2003 rematch, the best aerial tank killer of the war was probably the B-1B with Sensor Fuzed Weapon smart submunition dispensers.
Are you sure? ISTR that our Bone's in '03 were GBU-31's off the rotaries mostly. Granted the folks up north were in the sandbox while our guys were in the South Pacific. Any SFW was an unguided -97, don't think we'd converted the 10 by's to 1760 yet. Now the BUFF's on the other hand dropped a bunch of -105's through a sand storm on a lot of armor, maybe that's what you remember?

Economy per kill really depends on how closely spaced the armor is, nice and close -105 is pretty good, spread out a guided 500lber is pretty cheap. The Marine F-35's fly around a lot with the 500lb types.
 

TomS

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In the 2003 rematch, the best aerial tank killer of the war was probably the B-1B with Sensor Fuzed Weapon smart submunition dispensers.
Are you sure? ISTR that our Bone's in '03 were GBU-31's off the rotaries mostly. Granted the folks up north were in the sandbox while our guys were in the South Pacific. Any SFW was an unguided -97, don't think we'd converted the 10 by's to 1760 yet. Now the BUFF's on the other hand dropped a bunch of -105's through a sand storm on a lot of armor, maybe that's what you remember?

Economy per kill really depends on how closely spaced the armor is, nice and close -105 is pretty good, spread out a guided 500lber is pretty cheap. The Marine F-35's fly around a lot with the 500lb types.

Honestly not sure at all. I've not seen a very comprehensive survey of the OIF air campaign comparable to the GWAPS. What I am sure of is that guns were very far down the preferred list of ways to kill tanks from the air.
 

jsport

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A fan of SFW personnally, but it is a 70s tech and requires direct overflight. Also new production of any cluster munition of which SFW is, is now banned internationally. Current munitions are maintained but no new production.

F-35s carrying 500lbs or even the new guided 250lb SDB is a low density, low loiter, low result against moving, smartly spaced, armor advances.

Bombers are wasted of CAS.
As the DARPA description points out use from the air applies for MADFIREs. A bonus of countering SAMs from altitude one could conclude. A standoff, high altitude dedicated CAS able to loiter and single plink would is a future. OIF was long long ago.

additionally, SOCOM has not canceled the requirement for an aerial gun and if anything they want more of them. A single A-10, AC-130 replacement would satisfy some in AF/SOCOM/Joint community who are not part of the cult of the Lightning II.
 
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mkellytx

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A fan of SFW personnally, but it is a 70s tech and requires direct overflight. Also new production of any cluster munition of which SFW is, is now banned internationally. Current munitions are maintained but no new production.

As am I, I've used them in real life. Only the munition dispenser needs to fly over if the WCMD version (CBU-105) is used, which I have. The -97 would need to be dropped closer as it's unguided. As for the convention/treaty, we didn't sign it, when we said we'd abide by it there were all kinds of weasel words that give us an out, and cluster munitions that meet certain "safety" thresholds are still permitted. It basically comes down to we won't use them anymore against outmatched 3rd world adversaries, but if the balloon goes up against Russia or China then we'll use them. Russia and China didn't sign either so no surprise there's an out.

Anyhow, the point @TomS and I were trying to make is that if you're adversary is kind enough to present you with a long column of armor, it's pretty efficient to have a platform that can carry 16 or 30 CBU-105's and drop them in a pattern that's aligned to said column, like the Bone or the BUFF, or one hopes the Raider. As mentioned above, I've tested that capability with the -105 on one of the afore mentioned platforms. I know, after all the Arab-Israeli wars, DS, OIF who'd be stupid enough in 2022 to leave a big nice long convoy sitting out in the open after all of the lessons not to do that...

F-35s carrying 500lbs or even the new guided 250lb SDB is a low density, low loiter, low result against moving, smartly spaced, armor advances.

The Marines seem to like it. Fifteen years ago we trained on how to use GBU-12's and GBU-54's against moving targets, I'd hope the Marines still know how to do that today. Since this is a USMC Doctrine thread I added the point about F-35B's since using a single -105 to take out a single tank is way more expensive than a single GBU-12 just to throw a fig leaf at staying on topic. Now, if there's a denied environment GBU-53 is certainly better than losing a plane/pilot.

Bombers are wasted of CAS.

Compared to what? It's always an opportunity cost situation, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. The folks making decisions still seem to think it's worth while, maybe they know something we don't...

As the DARPA description points out use from the air applies for MADFIREs. A bonus of countering SAMs from altitude one could conclude. A standoff, high altitude dedicated CAS able to loiter and single plink would is a future. OIF was long long ago.

additionally, SOCOM has not canceled the requirement for an aerial gun and if anything they want more of them. A single A-10, AC-130 replacement would satisfy some in AF/SOCOM/Joint community who are not part of the cult of the Lightning II.

If I had a dollar for every DARPA project that would change the world... Don't get me wrong, the stealth thing was pretty good, and the AI dogfighting things shows some promise (full disclosure, I went to grad school at Purdue with Animal and he later flew chase for a few of my missions before he went to TPS).
 

jsport

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A fan of SFW personnally, but it is a 70s tech and requires direct overflight. Also new production of any cluster munition of which SFW is, is now banned internationally. Current munitions are maintained but no new production.

As am I, I've used them in real life. Only the munition dispenser needs to fly over if the WCMD version (CBU-105) is used, which I have. The -97 would need to be dropped closer as it's unguided. As for the convention/treaty, we didn't sign it, when we said we'd abide by it there were all kinds of weasel words that give us an out, and cluster munitions that meet certain "safety" thresholds are still permitted. It basically comes down to we won't use them anymore against outmatched 3rd world adversaries, but if the balloon goes up against Russia or China then we'll use them. Russia and China didn't sign either so no surprise there's an out.
To repeat from Textron documents, no new production.
To repeat there is no genuine standoff, ie obsolete.
Anyhow, the point @TomS and I were trying to make is that if you're adversary is kind enough to present you with a long column of armor, it's pretty efficient to have a platform that can carry 16 or 30 CBU-105's and drop them in a pattern that's aligned to said column, like the Bone or the BUFF, or one hopes the Raider. As mentioned above, I've tested that capability with the -105 on one of the afore mentioned platforms. I know, after all the Arab-Israeli wars, DS, OIF who'd be stupid enough in 2022 to leave a big nice long convoy sitting out in the open after all of the lessons not to do that...
especially after the recent Ukr experience, no columns will be presented as easy tgts-thus the need for standoff gun.
F-35s carrying 500lbs or even the new guided 250lb SDB is a low density, low loiter, low result against moving, smartly spaced, armor advances.


The Marines seem to like it. Fifteen years ago we trained on how to use GBU-12's and GBU-54's against moving targets, I'd hope the Marines still know how to do that today. Since this is a USMC Doctrine thread I added the point about F-35B's since using a single -105 to take out a single tank is way more expensive than a single GBU-12 just to throw a fig leaf at staying on topic. Now, if there's a denied environment GBU-53 is certainly better than losing a plane/pilot.
The cult of the Lightning II is real. As stated many times before the AF admits the thing can't even fly below 1k' with full load at a reasonable speed w/o falling out of the sky. CAS is eliminated in the US w/o the gun toting A-10.
Bombers are wasted on CAS.

Compared to what? It's always an opportunity cost situation, sometimes it is, sometimes it isn't. The folks making decisions still seem to think it's worth while, maybe they know something we don't...

If there is balloon going up, then using bombers on dispersed vehicles is a waste.
As the DARPA description points out use from the air applies for MADFIREs. A bonus of countering SAMs from altitude one could conclude. A standoff, high altitude dedicated CAS able to loiter and single plink would is a future. OIF was long long ago.

additionally, SOCOM has not canceled the requirement for an aerial gun and if anything they want more of them. A single A-10, AC-130 replacement would satisfy some in AF/SOCOM/Joint community who are not part of the cult of the Lightning II.
MADFIRES is real.
 

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It seems to me ‘stand-off gun’ is a contradiction in terms and that the USMC can meet its CAS goals with LGBs or else SDBs if true standoff is required. It’s odd how you mentioned that F-35 is low density and low loiter and then declare that using bombers for CAS is a waste. IMO, less of a waste than a dedicated CAS platform incapable of anything else. I think the cost effective way of dealing with targets in permissive environments would be gunship kits for the KC-130 fleet, and I believe the USMC is doing this to some degree.
 

jsport

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Why are there Ac-130s then? GBs have a place in BAI and SEAD but CAS needs plinking ie the A-10. F-35 is low density (expensive fewer being purchased) and low loiter compared to the A-X proposal. Bombers are even less available and necessary for Strategic bombing. USMC KC-130 carrying a 30mm in a door and some cargo door deployed bombs and wings is fine for LIC but not in HIC. KC-130 are refuelers first.
 

TomS

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additionally, SOCOM has not canceled the requirement for an aerial gun and if anything they want more of them. A single A-10, AC-130 replacement would satisfy some in AF/SOCOM/Joint community who are not part of the cult of the Lightning II.

1) SOCOM does not use its gunships to engage armored vehicles in defended airspace. Because...

2) SOCOM is deeply worried about gunship survival in even semi-permissive environments. Which is why the new gunships have Hellfire, Griffin, and possibly other PGMs.

3) SOCOM is looking at a smaller Armed Overwatch aircraft to supplement the gunships and drones in special operations (meaning permissive air threat) environments. Guess that isn't required on that aircraft. A gun.

This is the reality -- even SOCOM isn't sold on guns as a better solution for most missions. And in an environment where there might be a stronger air defense threat than MANPADS and small arms, no one likes the idea of using guns as anything but a last-ditch option. Even if you designed a clean-sheet CAS aircraft it probably would not have a gun.
 

jsport

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additionally, SOCOM has not canceled the requirement for an aerial gun and if anything they want more of them. A single A-10, AC-130 replacement would satisfy some in AF/SOCOM/Joint community who are not part of the cult of the Lightning II.

1) SOCOM does not use its gunships to engage armored vehicles in defended airspace. Because...

2) SOCOM is deeply worried about gunship survival in even semi-permissive environments. Which is why the new gunships have Hellfire, Griffin, and possibly other PGMs.

3) SOCOM is looking at a smaller Armed Overwatch aircraft to supplement the gunships and drones in special operations (meaning permissive air threat) environments. Guess that isn't required on that aircraft. A gun.

This is the reality -- even SOCOM isn't sold on guns as a better solution for most missions. And in an environment where there might be a stronger air defense threat than MANPADS and small arms, no one likes the idea of using guns as anything but a last-ditch option. Even if you designed a clean-sheet CAS aircraft it probably would not have a gun.
Some years back AFSOC was pushing for a freakin railgun on AC-130s. AFSOC has proposed using a AC-130 mounted DEW on armored vehicles. Some at AFSOC may want to stay in permissive environments others rememeber what happened in Desert Storm and want gunships to survive and fight in HICs. For sure AFSOC has pitched operating the Spectre at 25k ' or higher. That is standoff gunnery. Pretty sure their is no concensus at SOCOM w/ AFSOC wanting to operate gunships in all environments. MADFIRES can defeat SAMs so absolutly deserves consideration...period.
Turbofan duration, and altitude in the mentioned A-X replacement for the A-10 and AC-130 would seem to be well worth contemplation..
 
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TomS

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Operating the gunships at altitude is why they are adding so many non-gun PGMs.
 

jsport

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respect ya TomS, but MADFIRES (a gun launched PGM) is generally superior in range than any glide bomb. A mix of round/missile is generally the future.
 

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additionally, SOCOM has not canceled the requirement for an aerial gun and if anything they want more of them. A single A-10, AC-130 replacement would satisfy some in AF/SOCOM/Joint community who are not part of the cult of the Lightning II.

1) SOCOM does not use its gunships to engage armored vehicles in defended airspace. Because...

2) SOCOM is deeply worried about gunship survival in even semi-permissive environments. Which is why the new gunships have Hellfire, Griffin, and possibly other PGMs.

3) SOCOM is looking at a smaller Armed Overwatch aircraft to supplement the gunships and drones in special operations (meaning permissive air threat) environments. Guess that isn't required on that aircraft. A gun.

This is the reality -- even SOCOM isn't sold on guns as a better solution for most missions. And in an environment where there might be a stronger air defense threat than MANPADS and small arms, no one likes the idea of using guns as anything but a last-ditch option. Even if you designed a clean-sheet CAS aircraft it probably would not have a gun.
Some years back AFSOC was pushing for a freakin railgun on AC-130s. AFSOC has proposed using a AC-130 mounted DEW on armored vehicles. Some at AFSOC may want to stay in permissive environments others rememeber what happened in Desert Storm and want gunships to survive and fight in HICs. For sure AFSOC has pitched operating the Spectre at 25k ' or higher. That is standoff gunnery. Pretty sure their is no concensus at SOCOM w/ AFSOC wanting to operate gunships in all environments. MADFIRES can defeat SAMs so absolutly deserves consideration...period.
Turbofan duration, and altitude in the mentioned A-X replacement for the A-10 and AC-130 would seem to be well worth contemplation..
Some years back Russia hadn't invaded Ukraine, and China wasn't knocking on Taiwan's door, the US was still in Afghanistan and ISIS was an active threat being countered by US forces requiring low and slow CAS in a permissive environment.
 

shin_getter

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I do wonder if a gunship can be used for counter UAV overwatch. The cost of such a vehicle would be insane though, but there may be no better solution for some missions.

Still need to figure out what kind of collateral damage is more acceptable: laser or airburst autocannons
 

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