Senate The Weekly Discussion of Military Technology

Discussion in 'Community' started by Mr44, Nov 27, 2003.

  1. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    This is, indeed, where it gets interesting--interservice rivalry aside.
    ;)

    That stated, let's have at it!

    Well, the problem still comes down to the ammo, not the weapon, as you detailed above.. Blaming the weapon is rather shortsighted, and even the ammo's weakness only manifests itself in specific situations.

    However, as I've noted in the above thoughts, the Army has shown little interest in addressing the inherent problems associated with the M855 cartridge, favoring spending billions on the abortive XM29 OICW and the current remnants of that project over seriously looking into changing the current standard-issue loading. According to the information that I have access to, the Mk. 262 cartridge was developed predominantly by the Naval Special Warfare Department, with input from the Green Berets and Delta Force operators, in addition to cooperation from the U.S. Marine Corps' Reconnaisance members. The actual Department of the Army itself has only shown what appears to be a detatched interest in the project...

    Again, I don't have any meaningful clearances, but that's the picture I've been able to put together based on the information that has presented itself to me.

    While it is also my position that the M855 loading is to blame primarily for our recent instances of lousy terminal ballistics, the trend toward short-barreled carbines does not address this problem. If anything, it excaserbates the shortcoming, making it an even greater liability.

    Fielding the 12.5" barreled XM8 will not address the clear problem that we are presented with currently.

    For example, in Somalia, the Rangers were using M16's, and still experiencing "shoot throughs" on unarmored Somalis..It wasn't just the M4's..

    True. However, the book Blackhawk Down notes that various Delta Force operators using CAR15s and M4s had an even higher number of 'failures to stop' than the Rangers and others equipped with the M16A2. This propensity towards ineffectiveness has continued in Afghanistan, where the shortcomings of the M4 and M4A1 carbines have been well-documented as of late. Add on top of this the extended ranges of combat in many parts of Afghanistan, and the M4/M855 combination becomes a literally dangerous combination. As such, there have been "an inordinate number of M14s deployed in that theater" according to a recent-returnee from Enduring and Iraqi Freedom from...the 101st, I think. It was either that or the 82nd. I'll have to ask the guy next I see him.

    Anywho, the point remains. While infantry engagements most frequently occur within 300 yards, the M4 carbine/M855 ammo combination is simply unable to offer consistantly lethal terminal ballistics beyond approximately one-third of that distance. This is a shortcoming that the M16 parents of the M4 do not generally have, and that--again--the proposed XM8 weapons-system does nothing to address on the individual, general-issue level.

    While it is often cited that most engagements take place within short-ranges, one must question if this is by virtue of the engagement itself, or perhaps because of the inherent shortcomings (no pun intended) of the range at which we are capable of prosecuting a small-arms combat action due to the increasing fad in favor of short-barreled carbines and lack of deployment of more appropriate ammunition. I suspect that while the environment does play a very important role in such statistics, the simple fact that most of our mainline Army is unable to effectively engage targets at more than short range is a meaningful factor as well...

    As I have pointed out previously, there have been confirmed headshots by Marine riflemen in Iraq at traditionally unheard-of range with M16A4 rifles and magnified optics that I am not aware of the Army being able to match. Take with at least two grains of salt, as I've not actually researched the Army's performance at range with the M16 rifle in Iraq...
    :)

    The muzzle velocity of the M16 is ap
  2. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Hey, great points Brett..Good discussion..

    However, as I've noted in the above thoughts, the Army has shown little interest in addressing the inherent problems associated with the M855 cartridge

    Except you fail to mention that with the XM29/XM8 program, the Army is also researching a completely new 5.56mm bullet/cartridge combo, that addresses the problems you just mentioned

    Remember, the problems with the SS109 rnd were a result of its original 80's design, as adopted by NATO..

    As such, it was standardized by DOD, and every branch followed..

    The upcoming (X)M8 will be fielded with this new cartridge, and if past history is any judge, the new bullet will cascade to every service..

    The new round is lighter, with faster burning propellent, and should be similar in performance to the older, 55gr bullet..

    It simply isn't just adopting technology for its own sake, but increased performance is the driving force. Even if a branch never adopts the new rifle, everyone benefits..

    The 'Corps has essentially invented over-the-horizon warfare, and was the first to start regular training in urban warfare, in addition to starting to train all of its personnel in basic hand-to-hand combat.

    I don't know about this at all..I will give you the regular HtH training..Just recently has the Army adopted the old regular "Combatives" training..

    However, it was the Army, using the British methodology, who pioneered modern littoral warfare during WWII..(having an almost 3-1 lead in amphbious landings over the Marines ;) )

    It was the Army, during the late 50's/early 60's who developed the "3rd" dimenson" of the battlefield, by introducing the Airmobile concept..

    It was the Army, who studied Nazi tactics, and created modern close air support(which was resisted by the new, post war Air Force )

    MOUT training, I'm not sure..this requires further study...However, it has always played a part at NTC/Fort Irwin...

    However, the Army's marksmanship program has always turned out inferior marksmen than the Marine Corps', and this is as true today as it was in 1991, 1968, 1950, 1944, ad nausium.

    While I see your point, it still applies to static shooting..

    Here, what you are failing to address is that the Army has the capabilities for greater specialization..

    I would wager that the Army's six heavy combat divisions alone would surpass the entire Marine Corps manpower level..

    This doesn't take into account the light divisions, specialized brigades, and Ranger/Airborne units..

    Yes, some of that above is hyperbolic, but it is important to compare apples to apples..

    infantry training is comparable in both services, but the edge would have to go to the Army, because of its adaptability..

    Again, it has been my experience that the Marines are simply too rigid ( we went through two inter-service traing excercises with the Marines, one at Ft Polk/JRTC, the other at Ft Sill-those stories are for another time ;) )

    Keep in mind, every Army infantryman who wants to can go through Airborne, Air Assault, etc...

    In fact, Rangers and the 101st are required to go through this trainining..(which is more than just jumping out of planes, but the ultimate in infantry tactics..

    Your average finance clerk in the Army isn't going to get this training, but it isn't required for them to..

    Your point about M-14's illustrates this perfectly..Yes, the Army has re-fielded a fair number of 14's.. For snipers..

    And I'm not talking about the dedicated snipers who use Remingtons, who also exist..

    I'm talking about the local procurement of M-14's to the best shots in the platoon..That way, you get the optimal mixture of response..

    While it is admirable that some Marines got off some headshots in the short time they were in Iraq ;) The 1 or 2 confirmed kills were really nothing but bragging rights..

    The Army has the resources to field the weapons that actually get the job done..

    The Apache issue is more political, but this is long enough....
  3. General Cargin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 1999
    star 4
    What sorts of problems has the Osprey program encountered? You mentioned basic flaws which should be easy to overcome.

    When, if at all, is the Osprey expected to enter service? I've seen conflicting reports about the status of the project, to the point that I don't really trust any story I see on the matter anymore. Yet, on the flipside, all I've seen indicates the Osprey will, if the problems can be worked out, a magnificent upgrade to vertical envelopment capability.
  4. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Hey GC!

    while BB will have more info, you can read the report on the Osprey here:

    Osprey report

    Significant flight limitations were placed on the FSD V-22 in OT&E to date, including:

    -not cleared to hover over unprepared landing zones

    -no operational internal or external loads or passengers

    -moderate gross weights only

    -not cleared to hover over water.




    The main problem with the machine is related to the actual physics of its operation..

    The Osprey suffers from what is called "hover downwash." When the props are being tilted into position, the downward force completely destroys the control surfaces..As a result, the Osprey flips over and drops..

    The problem lies in overcoming this condition.

    You see, in 1986, the original cost was supposed to be 24 million per unit, with 923 units to be built..

    Which was well worth the cost for what it provided..

    However, the latest cost is 80 million dollars per unit, for the current prototype..

    The vehicle still isn't fielded, except for Special Operations, so we don't know the final cost..

    For comparison, the upgraded UH-60 SeaHawk can be purchased for 12 million per unit..

    So the Osprey at 80million, has a speed of 240 kts, and carries 18-24 troops

    The SeaHawk at 12million, has a speed of 193 kts, and carries 12 troops..

    What capabilities does it really provide?

    Secondly, the V-22 is HUGE... With its wingspan, it is about as wide as three UH-1's put side to side..

    It is supposed to carry counter measures,(and this is my specualtion) but the thing would make an easy target for ground to air missles and RPG's.. Especially when it is hovering..

    Granted, much of the blame for the program rests with the Commander of the Marine unit who was testing the Ospreys..He falsified records to make it appear that the program was on schedule.. So how much was error, and how much was technical failure? I don't think we know..
  5. seeker_two Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2003
    star 3
    Thanks for the invite, Brett...

    If the US would take a hint from the Russians & redevelop the 5.56 the way they did the 5.45x39, then the M-16/M-4 system would be a much better combat weapon. And you won't need a ton of batteries to make it work, either...

    As for barrel length, I'd rather see us adopt something like the FN-2000 bullpup if a short rifle is needed. The 5.56 needs as much barrel as it can get for velocity. And sight radius isn't as much of a problem w/ the use of a low-power optic like the ACOG (no batteries--tritium for low light).

    I'd rather have a .308, but I'd settle for a FN-2000 in a pinch...
  6. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    I must commend you on your decision to open this thread, as this is a great conversation.
    :D

    Anywho...

    Except you fail to mention that with the XM29/XM8 program, the Army is also researching a completely new 5.56mm bullet/cartridge combo, that addresses the problems you just mentioned

    Interesting... The provided literature from Heckler & Koch made no mention of such a new ammunition type. Mush be an in-house Army project. At any rate, that is most heartening to hear, although why the new cartridge was not developed years ago is still beyond me.

    And this isn't an Army-bashing statement, mind you, it's a DoD-spanning critique... We knew in Mogadishu that the M855 wasn't as good as it was supposed to have been. That no meaningful effort was put out to address the problem by any branch of service until 2001-2003 is nothing short of puzzling.

    This cartridge is in great need, if reports from 'the front' are to be believed, and it is my opinion that at this point, it has been fairly well-established that simply wounding an Islamic radical (or most any quasi-religious terrorist, for that matter) simply will not do. These people only stop when they're dead. Ergo, we need to facilitate the process for transferring them to such as state with the utmost alacrity and dispatch by developing ammunition that has a greater degree of success against our opponents.

    Remember, the problems with the SS109 rnd were a result of its original 80's design, as adopted by NATO..

    As such, it was standardized by DOD, and every branch followed..

    Agreed. On top of all that, the initial testing showed that it was going to be the next great whiz-bang, with allegedly better range and terminal ballistics (apparently, the simple fact that it was eight grains heavier automatically caused everyone to assume it'd perform a little more like the old 7.62x51mm NATO) than the M193.

    But then again, the M16 was originally supposed to be "so efficient as to be self-cleaning"...
    [face_plain]

    The upcoming (X)M8 will be fielded with this new cartridge, and if past history is any judge, the new bullet will cascade to every service..

    The new round is lighter, with faster burning propellent, and should be similar in performance to the older, 55gr bullet..

    It simply isn't just adopting technology for its own sake, but increased performance is the driving force. Even if a branch never adopts the new rifle, everyone benefits..

    If the new five-five-sixer turns out to be an improvement, I will be duly extatic. However, I am still a big skeptic of the XM8 weapons-system itself, and just hope that the bit-pushers don't see fit to shove it onto everybody, regardless of needs and/or wants to the contrary.

    I don't know about this at all..I will give you the regular HtH training..Just recently has the Army adopted the old regular "Combatives" training..

    I'm not familiar with "Combatives" training, but as far as I'm concerned, you can never know too much self-defense.
    :)

    I'm not sure over-the-horizon warfare is something that the Army would be terribly concerned about, in all fairness, as it is essentially the current scheme for amphibious operations on a digital battlefield in which the 'big-guns' fire support platforms of the battleship and other systems are no longer a viable presence (as we've decommed our Iowas).

    However, it was the Army, using the British methodology, who pioneered modern littoral warfare during WWII..(having an almost 3-1 lead in amphbious landings over the Marines ;) )

    However, those landings were made possible because of Marine Corps research into the viability of amphibious landings that took place after the British proclaimed that they were 'necessarily unfeasible' in the First World War. Essentially, looking at Galipoli and why it failed, and then planning and theorizing about how to actually make such a landing work.

    These
  7. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    Blargh. My post took so long to type that there were half a dozen new ones in here by the time I was done!

    The generic problems that the Osprey faces have been outlined above, but there are a couple of other things that haven't been worked out yet either. One has to do with the refueling system, and I know almost nothing about that, but the other is related to the hydrolics of the thing's tilt-rotors. As I undestand it, they haven't figured out how to keep the things both light and strong enough to meet fuel efficiency and durability requirements.

    As for the capabilites that it will provide, the numbers that Mr44 posted more or less speak for themselves... The ship will be faster and carry more than a conventional helicopter, and thus be able to execute the airborne insertion of Marines and light equipment at greater range in less time than can be achieved currently. In addition, the capability for the Osprey to airlift the M777 LWH (Light Weight Howitzer) in addition to other large gear that the existing CH-46E cannot move.

    Anywho, Seeker, you're welcome, and welcome aboard!

    Personally, I'm not a fan of bullpups, but the inherent design philosophy is admittedly sound. The only real problems come in when balance, trigger pull (bullpups are supposed to be notoriously unpleasant in said respect), and ambidexterous use (hot brass into your neck if you're a lefty) rear their heads.
  8. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Sound discussions all around BB...

    The only thing I have to add is that I guess that's why we have branches, instead of amorphous groups like say, the Republican Guard.. ;)

    Each Branch certainly represents its inherent strengths..(and yes, that includes the Air Force :p )

    next, Personally, I'm not a fan of bullpups.. The only real problems come in when balance, trigger pull (bullpups are supposed to be notoriously unpleasant in said respect), and ambidexterous use (hot brass into your neck if you're a lefty).

    I agree..

    Welcome aboard Seeker! another convert from Lit, eh?

    First Ender goes back to Lit, then another comes over from it.. It must be some sort of cosmic balance at work...

    Anyway, Seeker, you might have missed our previous discussion on the NATO SS109 rnd.

    The rnd was actually developed in the late 70's, and adopted as the NATO nation standard in the 80's.. It was designed to defeat common body armor that was worn by the Soviets..

    Of course, we all know the rest.. The important thing to recognize that it wasn't simply a US invention.

    Also, keep in mind that the Russian rnd has its limitations. (nothing is perfect)

    Mostly, that space that is so effective at tumbling, makes the bullet shed energy rapidly, with a resulting decrease in terminal energy..

    Although, according to my own philosophy, this wouldn't matter so much at close combat range..

    (of course, the Russian's have an AP version of the 5.45mm, but then you run into even more over-penetration..)

    who knows...

  9. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Oooooh, Army vs USMC!!! :eek:

    FIGHT! FIGHT! FIGHT!

    E_S
  10. MasterAero Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 23, 2002
    star 4
    Cool thread!

    Thanks for the link to the V-22 report. In my previous job, I was a designer on the V-22's younger civilian sister (The Bell 609). That report will make some interesting reading. We faced many of the same problems with the 609 that the V22 has. Of course the 609 isn't a military craft so it didn't have to be built to withstand the punishment. I think the problems the V22 is facing will be worked out and it'll be a great aircraft to have around.

    Link to 609
  11. seeker_two Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jan 3, 2003
    star 3
    Mr44: True about the Russian 5.45 round, but the Russians made it for use at close (< 200 yds.) range engagements--where it's still known as the "poison bullet". Past that, the Dragunov's 7.62x54R round takes over. (BTW, I'm glad to see that the US is adopting a Russian tactic & putting a "sharpshooter" w/ the M14/21 in each team for long-range engagements.)

    As for HK's new 5.56 round, (if it's the one I'm thinking of) it's developed to be an armor-piercing alternative for the Beretta M9 pistol for rear-echelon personnel (REMF's, if you will... :D ). FN developed a similar round for the P90 and the Five-seveN (that's the way they spell it.) I've shot both before, and they're impressive in the penetration department---for .22's. I like larger bullets, though... [face_devil]

    Info on these can be found by searching
    The Firing Line
    or
    The High Road

    Hope this adds to the discussion...
  12. Lord_Fett Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Feb 14, 2002
    star 4
    Great thread.This makes me remember how Portugal´s military is so "old".For instance the G3 is our main infantry weapon(although the government is making studies to evolve to a new weapon).Our MBT his the M-60(with some imporvments).We only have two submarines(dated from the 60s)although three more will be bought.Basically our military is ****.And we are the country with more personnel in peacekeeping operations of the EU.


    Now to the subject-most countries are using the 5.56mm rounds in their weapons,although some still maintain the 7.62 round.It appears that the midlle response is being developed-the 6mm round.

    A great site for future warfare:G2mil
  13. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    Oh good lord, that's all we need (another AP round). What we need is soft-tissue damage, and that either means controlled expansion or dramatic fragmentation. Defeating body armor with shouder-fired weapons sould be a secondary concern after fightstopping capability has been taken care of satisfactorily.
  14. Saint_of_Killers Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    Well, if it weren't for all those dumb rules about what sorts of bullets militaries can use. Our police can use hollow point ammo on our own citizens, but our military has to use FMJ ammo against enemy soldiers. I think that part of international law needs a serious update. Let the military use hollows or hotloads or whatever it takes to do the job.
  15. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    Actually, we do use some hollowpoint rounds in a handful of sinper rifles. Match-grade hollowpoints are designed not to expand, but to change the center of gravity in the bullet in flight.

    I think the international laws have more restrictions on rounds 'intended to maim or cause undue suffering' or somesuch thing.

    But, by and large, I agree. Nations (all nations, not just ours) should be allowed to use whatever kind of ammunition they deem necessary or suitable for the optimum defense of their own troops. Be they FMJs, JHPs, soft-points, or what have-you.
  16. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    It's the same laws which prevent torture. Basically, that you can't use rounds designed to maim or destroy tissue first and foremost (as opposed to just kill).

    E_S
  17. Saint_of_Killers Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 5
    But the best way to kill is to cause massive tissue damage.

    And there's a big difference between torture and using rounds that 'cause undue suffering'. Torture occurs when you have a prisoner subdued and he's no longer a threat. At that point it's wrong to inflict more damage, because you've achieved your goal of defeating him(by making him surrender). But in a combat situation, where somebody's shooting at you, there's no such thing as 'undue suffering'. If someone is trying to kill you, any suffering they experience in retaliation is definately due. The most effective means to stop an enemy should be available to our military. You shouldn't worry about being nice to someone who's TRYING TO KILL YOU.

    Besides, it's all semantics. Dead is dead. Does it really matter what condition the body ends up in? And wouldn't massive tissue damage be more likely to cause shock, thus blocking out the pain, than, say, a neat little puncture wound which could take awhile to bleed out?

    And there's other weapons which do just as much 'undue suffering', like shrapnel and incendiaries.

    There's definately a place for rules and law in warfare. You can't have armies targeting civilians or torturing people. But when it comes to enemy military personel who have not surrendered or been captured, all bets are off.

    At least that's the way I, with absolutely no experience and only academic knowledge on the subject, see it.
  18. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    Believe you me, you aren't alone.

    I just like the comparison that an intercontinental ballistic missile with a "bunker-busting" H-bomb warhead is perfectly acceptable. This, used against a bunker filled with troops and supplies, would instantaneously vaporize the targets and leave the impact zone readioactive for decades.

    In stark contrast, a 60 grain, soft-point 5.56x45mm bullet is not acceptable, because it expands and fragments to more than its original diameter, causing a large wound in a human being. This person would most likely be killed in short order, assuming a military-standard shot to the center of mass or upper central nervous system. The lasting results are a spray of blood and bone and/or tissue fragments and an inch-wide exit wound.

    So, let's summarize, shall we?

    -Acceptable weapon-
    *Totally destroys a multi-mile radius.
    *Renders it completely uninhabitable for decades.
    *Can potentially spread radioactive detritus into non-combat zones.
    *Allows for virtually no chance of a surrender or capture of enemy personnel.

    -Unacceptable weapon-
    *Puts a roughly one to one-and-a-half in hole in an opponent.
    *Renders a multi-mile zone fairly noisy for a short period of time.
    *Can potentially spread trace elements of nonfatal material over the immediate area.
    *Allows for enemy soldiers to surrender rather than be shot, or for wounded enemies to be captured and treated.

    Does anybody else see the strange juxtapositions of morality here?
  19. General Cargin Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 15, 1999
    star 4
    Yep. Why not just go back to the original cartridge used by the M16 in the 1960s? If I recall correctly, that round barely skirted international treaties on FMJ bullets. I seem to recall reading that the lead core had a very thin copper jacket, and the muzzle velocity heated the lead almost to the point of melting, and on impact, the jacket would fragment, leaving behind a rather nasty mess for combat surgeons to sort out if a soldier ever got to an aid station or MASH unit.

    Of course, whether such a round is practical now is up for debate.....
  20. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    well, to be fair, modern focused low yield nukes have a blast radius measured in feet, not miles..

    Some nuclear weapons now have a smaller blast radius than our large conventional bombs...

    But your point is valid...

    We will just have to see about the new XM8 round, won't we.. ;) (which is not designed as an AP round)

    XM8!

    I'm still trying to find information on the new bullet system, appearantly it is being developed jointly with Winchester, with the focus on "being lighter and more effective"
  21. Darth_Asabrush Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2000
    star 5
    I hear the Challenger Mk II is a rather good tank.
  22. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    Still no mention of the new cartridge, sadly. I'd checked that link myself at an earlier date and saw no mention of it then, either.
    :(

    I wonder if Winchester would have info?
  23. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Darth,

    Challenger II is an extraordinary tank..

    Its armor is extremely effective, being of the same type as the M1A2, except without the M1's DU reinforcement..

    The Challenger's best feature is its electric control system, which eliminates the weaknesses of standard hydraulic systems..

    Its weakness though, is its gun..

    For some reason, the Brits like to use the older rifled main gun..basically, the challenger fires a big bullet which is spun for stability..

    I think this has to do with tradition, because the rifled guns have been made at the Royal Ordinance factory for decades..

    The most modern ultra-high velocity rounds are fired by smooth bore guns, and every other Western nation as switched to smooth bore for their tanks..
  24. Brett_Bass Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 22, 2003
    star 4
    Does the Challenger II use a rifled 105mm cannon or a rifled 120mm version a la the Abrams (save for not being smoothbore)?
  25. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Its a 120mm, only rifled.. Which I believe makes it the only nation to use such a weapon..

    (rifled 105mm still exist, of course)

    Jane's indicates that the L30 rifled gun was part of the politcal package of the tank, as the gun is manufactured at the Royal Ordinance Factory..(keeping the tank local, so to speak..)

    Why Royal Ordinance didn't switch to smooth bore, I don't know(cost to re-tool the works maybe?)

    I'm sure the round would have to be close in performance to other Western penetrators, it would be interesting to see a comparison..