Senate The Weekly Discussion of Military Technology

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

  1. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Man. I just don't know. :p FWIW POTC mostly got it right. Nobody engages in long-range cannon duels there; its all about trying to board the other guy.

    In other news, Aviation Leak published a piece on the US MiG fleet a few months ago that I saved. I don't think too much of Bill Sweetman as an author usually, but this was quite interesting, I thought:

    We didn't know what 90% of the switches did

  2. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    That's a funny article. I especially like the tale about the Soviet flare projector vs the Sidewinder missile. It just about summarizes how the old Soviet garbage managed to stay marginally effective, and I think it relates to what we were talking about with the cannonballs above. Soviet flares were effective against the Sidewinder back then, not because of any design purpose or capability on the part of the Soviets, but because they were so cheaply made, so dirty, and no two were alike, the Sidewinder loved them.
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah. It explains why we eventually started designing IR missiles that could engage from all angles; you could tell the missile to look for the actual body heat of the aircaft, which would probably be a lot more uniform than engine exhausts and flares.
  4. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    It also illustrates how in-depth intelligence gathering operations can be, even at the smallest, most mundane level. Who would have thought that capturing a simple flare projector at the time would have resulted in such a technical change? I think the article also highlights the last gasp of the two trains of Cold War thought- being the West's "few in number, but highly advanced" pathway, and the Warsaw Pact's reliance on sheer numbers, but basically junk pathway. Obviously, NATO won that ideological battle.
  5. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, I'm not entirely sure that was the reason, but it sounds reasonable enough. And you're correct about the rest.
  6. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Heh. Well, it certainly has to be one of the reasons....
  7. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    In other news, it looks like the Chinese company AVIC-(Aviation Industry Corporation of China) has purchased the Finnish shipbuilding company Deltamarin for about 51 million US dollars. So far, it looks like Deltamarin's focus has been heavy civilian cargo ships and such, which would certainly fit within China's long term goals of increasing such production for its military. Since Finland has always officially represented a traditional neutral buffer between NATO and the Warsaw Pact, despite it being more aligned with the Soviet Union out of necessity, (before becoming aligned with the EU after the Cold War) I wonder how much impact a Chinese presence in Finland will have in both Western Europe and Russia?
  8. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Well, strictly speaking it isn't a "presence" in the traditional sense-not like the PLAN has a squadron in Finland or anything :p . China needs maritime trade in general for reasons beyond the military; purchasing a cargo-ship company isn't too bad an idea for them. As for the effect-I'd say not very much. Sure, the Chinese can maybe have this company build solely for them (unlikely, as that'd be a lot of money lost) but probably they won't, and it's not like NATO couldn't just capture the shipyard for themselves in a war.
  9. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I was thinking more in terms of technology creep though. Being based in Finland, and being part of the EU, I'm sure the old Deltamarin had access to the latest in ship building technology. Now that a Chinese company has bought the Finnish company outright, I'd wager that this is going to change. I don't know much about the specific shipbuilding process, but let me use something like the GPS system that large ships use to navigate around the world as an example. NATO isn't going to allow something that has potential military uses to fall into uncontrolled hands, and in fact, there are regulations that prevent this that currently exist. It's like the flare projector example above.

    Sure, even without taking over the actual company, there was nothing that prevented China from simply buying a heavy transport and reverse-engineering it, but 1)export restrictions probably would have acted as a barrier to the most advanced technology, and 2)there is a light year difference between disassembling a finished product and "guessing" how it works, vs being in on that product from the beginning at the design and fabrication phase. It is just going to be interesting to see how the EU and the US act toward a Chinese-owned Deltamarin company. If any trade war heats up, then Deltamarin is going to be treated as a pariah, even without factoring in any kind of secondary military concerns that may come into play.

    Russia also has a hand in this poker game as well. Finland always played a balancing act between the East and the West, even continuing past the collapse of the Soviet Union. If X amount of Finnish heavy import/export now gets diverted to China instead of Russia, especially coming from Russia's "front door," it could be a a three-way trade war in this area, or even cause for Russia and the EU to become more closely aligned. The economy of St Petersburg, which is arguably Russia's most important city after Moscow, is irreversibly linked to Finland. Now, the fact that China bought one company in Finland isn't cause for anarchy, but the fact that it's a shipping company is symbolic for the region.
  10. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Eh, I suppose. I don't see it really making a whole lot of difference in the long run, though. Plus of course it's limited in terms of high technology transfers to yesterday's news, if other countries feel it's appropriate. Isn't like anybody'll be sharing jack with this company after this. Too much perceived/real opportunity for patent infringement for most businesses, IMO.
  11. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, that's exactly it. It's going to be important to see how future business dealings are viewed, not within the company, but from outside. But the entire paradigm is changing. What we're seeing here is the foundation of a new cold war, and I'm using that term in the sense of having major powers slug it out by using third party puppets in an economic sense. I'd say prior to this, the Chinese government engaged in targeted investment and resource allocation to have a hand in foreign companies. It would have been unheard of, probably even as recent as last year, for China to buy a company like this outright, especially a regional company which sits at a major power's front door.

    Let's say that unemployment within St Petersburg rises even 1% because of this. How is Russia going to react? How is the government of Finland, which has an economy which is a mixture of free market and central control, going to react to an influx of cheap workers viewed largely as disposable by their own central government? The area where it is going to make a whole lot of difference in the long run is that this probably isn't an isolated incident, it represents a more direct modification in how China is going to conduct business moving forward. The negative consequence for China is that projecting a more direct footprint around the world, instead of remaining as "shadow investors," is exactly that-governments are going to react in more direct ways.
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Just because the company is now owned by a Chinese company doesn't mean there's going to be an influx of cheap workers (I presume you mean into Finland?). I'm not really seeing how Russian unemployment would be affected by this, either-it's a Finnish company. I really don't think that being Chinese-owned=a footprint. The Finnish government still controls how the company conducts itself within Finland, and probably with other countries as well. That's not going to change.

    Now, if the Finns had given China a base, or something, I'd agree. But no. This is just globalization.
  13. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Well, I don't think you're addressing some key differences. It's not just a "Chinese company." AVIC- the company that bought out Deltamarin- is state controlled by the government of China, and AVIC itself answers to Chinese military control. In the West, the idea of globalization means that say, McDonald's, a private company, might buy out a local chain in India to increase market share there. But it's not like the US government controls the daily operations of McDonald's. Even with that idea, there is some spill-over with political concerns as it relates to criticism of globalism. But the US doesn't have companies controlled by the premier and/or military command. But this is why a Chinese state controlled company actually buying out a foreign one does represent a direct Chinese footprint, because it would be the equivalent of the US Joint Chiefs directly buying a company for the sole use of US Special Operations Command. Would a military base suddenly pop up? Maybe, maybe not-leaning toward probably not. But it now becomes no less a strategic asset than if one did.

    Secondly, AVIC is a Chinese defense company. So even without state control, it would be like Lockheed-Martin suddenly buying a Turkish pharmaceutical company. The immediate question would be, how does controlling a company that makes vaccines in Turkey fit within Lockheed-Martin's defense focus?

    Russian unemployment would come into play because all the resources will be diverted to China, which both directly and indirectly impact employment. Directly, actual production jobs will shift from Russian employees, who now cross over the border to work, to lower cost Chinese transplants. Secondly, it will impact the secondary market, because if Russia used to plan on buying 10 fishing boats from Deltamarin, and 6 of those are now shifted to China, then Russian fishermen will have to fight for the remaining 4 boats.
  14. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Or...just buy them from somebody else. ;)

    And again, the company is still going to be subject to Finnish and EU laws, unless of course AVIC doesn't want to do business with Europe at all. It's pretty severely constrained in what it can and cannot do. I'm pretty sure that if Finland or the EU had any serious concerns about a Chinese company buying it they'd have refused to let it happen.

    Anyway... :p

    Some interesting factoids from our hiatus:

    Railgun reaches velocity of 5600mph

    Lockheed-Martin readying HULC for 2013 deployment rotation

    The railgun won't be with us anytime soon I think (need new ship hulls to put it in, after all) but HULC is moving surprisingly fast. The fold-up dirt bike idea is interesting; while the article mainly emphasizes the speed of maneuver possible, one of my only real worries about exeskeletons is what the hell you would do if one or several went down. I'm sure these things are not exactly lightweight and you'd be one slow target with it still attached to you. But you could just cimb on your dirtbike and get out of Dodge now.

    The constant push for "it can let you carry heavier things!" kinda irritates me as well. Sure, you can load the hell out of it...but why not keep the load as light as possible so the HULC is operating at maximum power-work ratios? That'd extend battery life, as well as what you could potentially get it to do.
  15. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Well, you know its not that simple. If Finland and Russia had a production agreement, then simply saying "they could go elsewhere" doesn't address the complete impact. It's like if your neighborhood grocery closed down, and the only answer was "well, you can still drive 5 miles to the new Wal-Mart." Yeah, it's an alternative, but it's not an even trade, if you know what I mean.

    Yeah, the HULC is a pretty exciting concept. The US Army in particular, is really giving a future emphasis on rapid deployment and the like. This also goes back to the jet pack concept for the "sky troopers." It's science fiction, but it's still in development, and last I read, the Army seems to think it can be perfected in a reasonable amount of time.
  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Oh lord. The jet pack :p I still don't think it's very practical. The dirtbike the HULC can apparently move around is a way better means of battlefield mobility, IMO. Sure, it's not as fast, but at least you're still on the ground if it stops working.

    Man, maybe we get get some new Hackworth/Dragonskin/etc. lovers in here now that we've moved. :p

    Saw this a few weeks ago:

    Not really sure how practical it would have proven...I'm kinda curious about this with a V hull against IEDs-you could get the height of an MRAP without trouble, and also probably armour the crap out of it.
  17. Blue_Jedi33 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 12, 2003
    star 5
  18. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    It's interesting to think how much influence DARPA has in turning what is theoretical into reality. I'd say besides perhaps NASA/CalTech's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, DARPA is probably the most powerful scientific design studio in the world, and I'd wager 99% of people aren't even aware of the agency. But if you think about it, DARPA implemented the rough draft of the internet...the first unmanned drones, the liquid cooled laser that was popularized in the movie Real Genius, the annual driverless car competition, and so on... all the way up to concepts like artificial intelligence. I think DARPA has been so successful because it's largely unfettered by political constraints, and since it reports to the Department of Defense, it really isn't limited by individual military branches, either.

    At least one of those robots, the LS3 walking "pack mule" is quite close to actually being fielded. At least two of the prototypes successfully completed real world trials and were covered in various "Military Times" newspapers.The main problem with the LS3 robot wasn't related to the AI, but that it supposedly sounds like a heard of elephants walking through the forest. As such, improvements are being looked at to make it more quiet. Starting early next year, I believe the LS3 model is going to be making tours around various military bases in different areas to get broad exposure to various climates and such. Knowing how much troops like to give nicknames to various equipment models, hopefully, someone in the process will call the LS3 "Gonk." That way, "Gonks" will serve along side of US military personnel.
  19. TheShinyLightsaber Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    Sep 3, 2012
    star 1
    Wars are won and lost with intelligence, communication, leadership, and firearms.

    Things that go BOOM instead of BANG are just icing on the cake, a lifeline when the bullets are few, and the odds not in your favor.
  20. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    @Mr44 and @DarthBoba could learn from this very sage advice, ShinyLightwaffle!
  21. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Be extremely subtle, even to the point of formlessness. Be extremely mysterious, even to the point of soundlessness. Thereby you can be the director of the opponent's fate.

    So anyway, moving on- It looks like the Australian parliament just ratified the final leg of the US-UK-AUS defense trade treaty. Basically, what it means is that the three nations now don't have to get export licenses to transfer most (except for a few categories) military equipment/technology. Legally, the agreement is open all three ways, so UK and AUS military companies will be able to solicit direct bids to the US Defense Department. Practically, it was noted that 50% of the equipment that both the UK and AUS use already comes from the US. But overall, the move is going to foster standardization between the 3 countries, which is an interesting prospect. In the long term, I could see all three adopting single examples of things like web gear, or transport trucks, or the like. The area were variation will still happen is specific combat technology, but It also depends on how much consolidation occurs between the remaining defense companies. The US will probably continue to adopt the ultra high tech/expensive stuff, with the UK MOD and the ADF choosing a lower cost variation of the same.

    This announcement also comes on the heels of the recent UK-Europe merger collapse and continued re-alignment between the UK-US. Moving forward, NATO is going to have a vastly different environment as an alliance. On one hand, the US-UK-AUS are going to represent one pillar... (which would also include Japan, which already has a similar agreement with the US) With France and Germany forming a tenuous pillar themselves...and then the remaining nations bouncing between the two sub-pillars as it suits them.
  22. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    So, piggybacking on the announcement contained within the above post, there are all sorts of things coming out of Australia that relate directly to the ADF and the defense trade treaty.

    It looks like Australia is interested in the US Army's JLTV (Joint Light Tactical vehicle). The JLTV is kind of a replacement for the Humvee, but that doesn't really describe the vehicle itself, which is more like an armored rally truck on steroids.

    Under the ADF's capability plan, Australia asked for input in the engineering phase of the new vehicle. That phase is finished, but the Australian government is now comparing the JLTV to benchmark blueprints of a not-as-yet-built Australian vehicle. However, it would be extremely expensive for the ADF to build a model on its own. So right away, the possibility exists that the US Army and the ADF would use the same next generation vehicle. (along with the US Marines, which are piggybacking an order of 5,000 off of the army contract)
  23. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Just figured Id let everyone know Im gonna be at jrtc for the next two weeks or so. Replies will be forthcoming then.
  24. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Have fun. Hopefully, it won't be too swampy. And besides, I now get 2 weeks of unfettered access to any argument. I'll just put it out there that your silence for the next 2 weeks indicates complete and total agreement to whatever I post...rights reserved... Muh ha ha....
    DarthBoba likes this.
  25. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I'll just edit your posts to be correct. :p