Senate The Weekly Discussion of Military Technology

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

  1. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    So, not so much a high tech based announcement today, but an intriguing one none the less. The Brazilian ministry of defense has announced that it has selected the FN Minimi to replace all of the Brazilian military's standard machine guns. Brazil has the largest armed forces in South America, and while it doesn't face many external threats, it has had 4 governmental coups spread over the late 19th and 20th centuries. On its own, the announcement isn't very notable. The Minimi is a solid weapon, used by numerous militaries, etc.... Although it is interesting that Brazil is replacing larger 7.62mm weapons with the Minimi, which means that Brazil will field almost exclusively the 5.56mm caliber (except for special uses).

    However, what is notable about this announcement is that Brazil selected an outside manufacturer to supply this replacement. Ever since WWII ended/the Cold War began, Brazil has always tried to represent a third choice for military industries, kind of like an independent movie studio vs the mega movie studios. Brazilian companies probably reached their height the 80's, when Brazil actually supplied Iraq with around 40% of its equipment used in the Iraq/Iran war as well as Desert Storm. Since that time, not very many end users have selected Brazilian armaments. I think pre-Desert Storm, Brazil had some 8, 9 or more armament companies...Currently, I think it's down to 2. Brazil still has Imbel Co, which is its largest company. Imbel produces Brazil's infantry rifle-the IA2, but I'm pretty sure that only the Brazilian military uses it. Apparently Imbel either couldn't handle the additional production of a machine gun, or couldn't do it in a cost effective manner.

    So the fact that Brazil turned to FN to produce its latest light machine gun represents another move toward total consolidation among defense companies. There are only a handful of defense companies left, and these companies are controlling a increasingly larger share of what weapons are used by the world's armies. I suppose having fewer companies that produce weapons results in more control and stability, as well as fewer weapons themselves, but having fewer companies also means that the influence is concentrated among a few key companies in the military-industrial realm.
  2. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, its honestly depressing. The "giant program that never works out" started with the A12 at the end of the Cold War, and just seems to have kinda snowballed from there; I think one of the chief causes is that there's just no competition, or rather, very little. You see a big defense contract these days in almost any category and you can take a guess at who the primary competitors are going to be.
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    So, India now has the Admiral Gorshkov after five years of negotiating with Russia:

    Russia sells Cold War relic finally

    Not much to say here, beyond that I hope India is aiming towards eventually developing its own carriers and using this to get operational experience in the interim.
  4. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    2.3 billion dollars for a 26 year old aircraft carrier..... Yeah, I hope there is something related to operational experience here, but it certainly won't be in actual carrier design......

    I suppose more than anything, it looks like more of a 2 billion dollar test bed for the MiG-29K, which is...eh...costly, to be polite.
  5. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, did Russia ever actually operate the K? Had the impression the Flanker carrier variant won that battle as well.
  6. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I think the Su-33 was the Russians used at first, but now that their service life is about up they're going to switch to the MiG-29K.
  7. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    That's true, AR, but do you think it's a good switch? The Su-33 is certainly on par with the MiG variant.-well, at least both are kind of equally past their "prime" born on date.

    The Soviets never put as much stock into naval aviation as the US, in particular, but NATO in general, traditionally has. The air interceptor branch always got the lion's share of resources, with the Soviet navy (not including the submarine corps) always being an afterthought. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, I think Russian naval aviation has gotten even less resources. So I'd say the reason the switch was the result of the Indian navy. I don't think the Russians were ever able to sell the Su-33 to any other country in any quantity that mattered. At least with the Indians keeping the MiG's production line open, the Russian navy can buy them on cheap, and kind of screw the Indian military over in the process.
  8. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Eh, I don't think I'm knowledgeable enough to compare the Su-33 to the MiG-29K. As for the Soviets not putting as much importance into naval aviation, doesn't that stem from the fact that the Soviet navy was mostly a defensive force meant to guard the home waters? Just like how the Imperial German Navy could never hope to match the Royal Navy in strength, the Soviet navy couldn't hope to match the U.S. navy in carriers even if they tried. So I think their putting more emphasis on submarines and land based anti-ship bombers made sense.
  9. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Poor access to open oceans in wartime was part of that-same issue Germany had in WW2; no ports that weren't interdictable from England.
  10. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    So, this came down yesterday:

    MV-22 as an aerial refuelling station

    I think its a pretty clever idea, especially if we ever wind up operating the America LHAs as miniature aircraft carriers. Load them with JSFs, five or six MV-22s as tankers, and some ASW helicopters and you'd have a pretty capable miniature task force.
  11. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Why doesn't the Air Force switch over to the probe-and-drogue method of aerial refueling? If a F-22 had a refueling probe, then it'd be able to refuel from carrier planes or the MV-22, allowing Navy ships to extend its range.
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Because USAF tankers can self-deploy just fine, and probe/drogue would destroy the F-22's stealthiness.
  13. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Aren't there retractable probes for some aircraft? Shouldn't be that different from the way the missile bays or the gun door open and close.
  14. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Sure, but it still begs the question of "why" when a tanker can self-deploy along with the F-22s. The fewer seams and moving parts you have on a stealth aircraft is generally better.
  15. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    So, this is another question with a small focus, but Boba, have you seen any of the new M320 grenade launchers? (maybe they're not even that new anymore).

    I happened to see an announcement that the Army was replacing all of the iconic M203's to a newer version based on Heckler & Koch's model. I don't recall any testing notices or trials, so this was a bit of a surprise. The overall cost of the switch is extremely low, so maybe it was a no brainer? H&K's AG36 still uses the same projectiles in the same manner, the only difference is that the new M320 can be used as a stand alone model. But what doctrine or small unit tactic supports a grenadier with a detached grenade launcher?

    I might see a role in ultra-small, multi-role units like a Ranger squad or A-team where the stand alone launcher would be a back-up weapon, but this is also addressed by simply having it mounted on a rifle. I believe the SCAR has its own GL anyway, unless H&K's version also fits on it, where the 203 didn't?
    Last edited by Mr44, Dec 5, 2013
  16. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Yeah, I've seen a couple. The main reason for leaving it detached (which a fair number of grenadiers do) is that the 203 and 320, as they do lob explosives around, are pretty stringently controlled in use compared to a rifle-I've only seen HE and HEDP (high explosive and high explosive dual purpose) issued on my first and third of four deployments; also, both make the M4 fairly forward heavy and (the 203 in particular with its barrel clamp) less accurate. So if you're not necessarily gonna be using it much (or at all) you may as well leave it off; the grenadier just becomes rifleman #2 with the option of being able to employ grenades if its needed/allowed.

    Also, thanks to its "swivel" action, where it opens to the side instead of forward, longer grenades can be used in comparison to the M203.
  17. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, I guess the side swivel action makes sense if it came time to replace 203's anyway. Longer range and all of that. I was going to mention the (slight) reduction in accuracy with the old 203, but it never was that much of huge issue, especially during combat purposes or qualification time. It's not like an SDM has a grenade launcher mounted on it.....

    The HK version is less streamlined that the M203, and always has been going back to when the UK adopted it. Does the slight increase in weight (plus the additional forward "handle") negatively impact its use in MOUT environments? Or has standard use switched to just about every grenadier simply using it dismounted from the M4 anyway?
  18. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I'd imagine the weight increase would negatively affect in a MOUT environment, especially in terms of reaction time, if you'd been moving and fighting for really lengthy times..and of course that'd negatively impact launcher accuracy as well. I'm not sure how many units are allowing it being used detached, but its definitely a trend down here at Stewart.
  19. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    Yeah, but that makes up for the fact that everyone has to 1) sing the Dogface soldier song in the morning, and 2) anything to make the time standing around in the acres and acres of asphalt in the Georgia heat as cool as possible.
    DarthBoba likes this.
  20. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    yeah...my light brigade has made giant strides away from the unthinking mech lifestyle, thank God. We just need better training facilities and a real MOUT site especially down here.
    Mr44 likes this.
  21. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I don't know... Are there still trailer parks outside of the main gate that would put any state of the art MOUT facility to shame? Get the BDE to chip in a dollar each, and you could probably rent out 3 mobile homes to destroy and still allow for a tidy profit for the owners. I forget the main highway, but look to the Kelly Dr area. Instant SW Asia conditions, minus the mountains.... :(
    DarthBoba likes this.
  22. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I'm surprised Watertown outside of Drum doesn't rate its own humanitarian assistance force to be honest :p
  23. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
  24. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    As the article indicates, the NRO is actually quite effective at combining research along with the spy stuff that is their mission. Obviously, the various partnerships are win-win for both, but it has to involve a bit of plausible deniability for the other parties involved....(University of Berkley administrator- "NO, Berkley does not condone spying....er, except when we get to piggyback off of it.....)

    Although the controversy about the octopus image is rather silly, considering that is an internal thing, since the agency doesn't exactly have an advertising budget. (more like an anti-advertising one)
    DarthBoba likes this.
  25. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I think the article makes a pretty clever point about where exactly the only tentacle actually touching Earth is located.