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C3 Howitzer Replacement

GK .Dundas

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FJAG said:
They definitely use the M777 which has replaced the older (and heavier) M198 155mm howitzers. I think all of the M198s are probably gone now-- even the three battalions of the 14th Marine Regiment, the Marines' reserve artillery regiment in the Marines' reserve division--the 4th Marine Division--are two M777 battalions and one HIMARS battalion. (Showing once again that reservists can handle M777s and HIMARS) I think the 105s are long gone.

:cheers:
I seem to recall that the Marines retired all their 105's and standardised on the 155 towed gun retiring at the same time the M109s.
 

MilEME09

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So the question becomes how do we convince our overlords to buy a couple regiments of M777's from the USMC
 

blacktriangle

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MilEME09 said:
So the question becomes how do we convince our overlords to buy a couple regiments of M777's from the USMC

Tell them that the howitzers vote Liberal.
 

MilEME09

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GR66 said:
Give the Reg Force M777's to the Reserves and top them up with used guns being divested by the USMC.  Then give the Reg Force the LAV-based 105mm system (https://ndiastorage.blob.core.usgovcloudapi.net/ndia/2004/armaments/04_Vickory_105mm_Indirect_Fire.pdf) as a purchased from Canada solution to the lack of a survivable self-propelled gun.

56 round magazine, 42 charges, its the arms industry's equivalent of hotdogs and buns never being equal.

Seriously though if we could buy two or three regiments of M777s off the USMC, that would be enough to equip the entire RCA both reg and reserve with enough guns. Would be an easier sell then buying brand new 105 spgs.
 

GR66

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MilEME09 said:
56 round magazine, 42 charges, its the arms industry's equivalent of hotdogs and buns never being equal.

Seriously though if we could buy two or three regiments of M777s off the USMC, that would be enough to equip the entire RCA both reg and reserve with enough guns. Would be an easier sell then buying brand new 105 spgs.

But if it's true that a towed gun isn't survivable in a conflict with a near-peer enemy (as several arty types on here have suggested) then does outfitting the entire RCA with M777's make any more sense than outfitting our infantry with Lee Enfileds?

To be honest I think even outfitting our Reserves with M777's is likely more politically expedient window dressing than logical military planning.  If to be survivable in a real conflict our artillery has to be mobile and if realistically Canada's only likely to be able to deploy a Battle Group or Brigade Group at most (and assuming that we don't have the cash/personnel/training/support capacity for multiple systems) they possibly a better course of action would be to make the tough decision as to whether a 105mm Howitzer or 120mm Mortar best fulfills the role of indirect fire support for a Brigade Group and equip the Reg force with a LAV mounted variant of that weapon and the Reserves with a wheeled-vehicle mounted version of the same weapon.

This would provide the Reg Force with self-propelled indirect fire support with the same mobility as its APCs and a common chassis for support.  The reserves would have the same type of weapon to train on (allowing for easier augmentation of personnel), a self-propelled capability so that they would be survivable in a conflict if mobilized as complete units/sub-units and a commonality of ammunition supply between both the Regular Force and Reserves.

It might not be the most cost effective solution in terms of procurement costs but would likely provide a more effective military force.  It would be great to have a full mix of 155mm Howitzers, 105mm Howitzers and 120mm Mortars in both self-propelled and towed versions to best meet any possible scenario, but we all know that's not going to happen, so why not try to maximize our capabilities in the most likely situations?
 

FJAG

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GR66 said:
But if it's true that a towed gun isn't survivable in a conflict with a near-peer enemy (as several arty types on here have suggested) then does outfitting the entire RCA with M777's make any more sense than outfitting our infantry with Lee Enfileds?
...

Most people on this site know by now that I'm a strong advocate of firstly making the three regular force brigades asymmetric by turning them into one light, one medium and one heavy brigade.

Currently the US Army fields M777 with their medium SBCTs and, in part, with their light IBCTs. While there are still many M119 with IBCTs (at the rate of two M119 batteries and one M777 battery in each IBCT fires battalion) the US is eyeing replacing them all in the future (primarily because of range and terminal effect issues. See e.g. https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18550/us-army-eyes-replacing-its-105mm-and-155mm-towed-howitzers-with-one-new-cannon See also https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR2100/RR2124/RAND_RR2124.pdf)

In that respect I favour a common gun for our light and medium brigades which currently would be by grouping all of our M777s in 2RCHA and 5RALC, each with three six-gun batteries). That would eat up all of our current supply of M777s so we could use more for the school, as training equipment for reserve units designated to "round out" or "reinforce" 2RCHA and 5RALC and as strategic spares. Let's say two to three dozen all told. If I truly had my way I'd explore a way of mounting an M777 on a LAV chassis to provide enhanced mobility for the medium brigade group while keeping the parts common.

This would probably be the least expensive option for upgrading our light and medium brigade groups to an equipment standard close to that of our nearest ally.

:pop:
 

Loachman

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Petard said:
This?

Excellent system with a dirt simple fire control system, capable of firing Stryx anti-tank mortar bombs, and has all the advantages of a closed system in a CBRN environment
Chance of replacing C3 = zero

Possibly.

The bottom half is right, not entirely sure about the top - it was a few years ago and there were soooo many nice things to look at.

I might be able to pick it out of a line-up, though.
 

Loachman

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dapaterson said:
If the RCAF had to pay its pilots awaiting training for 4-5 years, I am certain that (a) they would streamline their rather oversized BTL, and (b) they would fix the pipeline and capacity problems that bedevil tham.

It's two, and perhaps more, years from Wings Grad to start of Chinook course alone, as of a month or two ago.
 

Petard

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A couple of things to consider is the guns’ laying system and ammunition

The Cdn M777 is not exactly the same as the US variant, as the Cdn version uses the LINAPS system to determine fixation and orientation, as part of occupation, and then for laying the gun on target. It is similar to the system used on the British Light Gun, and is not at all like the US TADS on their M777. It also makes use of inertial navigation  in case of GPS jamming. Both result in a gun that is essentially ready to lay on a target as soon as it’s disconnected from its prime mover.

There have been a number of advances in 105 ammunition that could improve the capabilities of most 105 howitzer fleets. For example, the US M119 fleet would especially benefit from using the South African Igala family of projectiles and propellant; why the Americans won’t pursue that is anybody’s guess, mine is that it has to do with licensing agreements
Even the Israeli LAHAT missile could be fired from most 105’s, and guided to target by any number of off gun platform devices, including UAV’s

BTW, the 120 SP that Loachmen mentioned, although old (IIRC the design is close to 30 yrs old) it has a crude but very fast and effective laying system. Besides being able to fire a lot of the newer ammunition types coming into use, it can fire the older Stryx mortar bomb, which is still effective against most armored vehicles, even some with active protection systems. Older dismounted 120’s could fire all those types of ammunition too

So even a somewhat older system could be made useful, again, by making it faster to come into action, and more versatile with newer ammunition
 

GR66

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FJAG said:
Most people on this site know by now that I'm a strong advocate of firstly making the three regular force brigades asymmetric by turning them into one light, one medium and one heavy brigade.

Currently the US Army fields M777 with their medium SBCTs and, in part, with their light IBCTs. While there are still many M119 with IBCTs (at the rate of two M119 batteries and one M777 battery in each IBCT fires battalion) the US is eyeing replacing them all in the future (primarily because of range and terminal effect issues. See e.g. https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/18550/us-army-eyes-replacing-its-105mm-and-155mm-towed-howitzers-with-one-new-cannon See also https://www.rand.org/content/dam/rand/pubs/research_reports/RR2100/RR2124/RAND_RR2124.pdf)

In that respect I favour a common gun for our light and medium brigades which currently would be by grouping all of our M777s in 2RCHA and 5RALC, each with three six-gun batteries). That would eat up all of our current supply of M777s so we could use more for the school, as training equipment for reserve units designated to "round out" or "reinforce" 2RCHA and 5RALC and as strategic spares. Let's say two to three dozen all told. If I truly had my way I'd explore a way of mounting an M777 on a LAV chassis to provide enhanced mobility for the medium brigade group while keeping the parts common.

This would probably be the least expensive option for upgrading our light and medium brigade groups to an equipment standard close to that of our nearest ally.

:pop:

For the highlighted part I honestly don't see a Heavy Brigade happening.  I think Tanks and heavy APC's are waaaayyyy down on the capabilities shopping list for the foreseeable future.  It doesn't help that those items are offshore purchases.

What could possibly be done though is a properly-equipped and fully manned LAV-based Medium Brigade and an air-transportable Light Brigade.

The M777's could be grouped into a single Artillery Regiment to support the Light Brigade.  It could have 3 x 8-gun Batteries or 4 x 6-gun Batteries for a total of 24-guns with enough left for training and spares.  Having 4 x Batteries would allow three Batteries to rotate readiness in line with the 3 x Light Infantry Battalions and have the 4th for deployment in Latvia (or wherever else it might be needed).

In my mind then the Medium Brigade would go for a LAV-mounted indirect fire weapon for commonality of vehicle and mobility.  If it was felt that sticking with the M777 across the board was more important than fleet commonality then maybe we could go for something like the M777 Portee (http://www.military-today.com/artillery/m777_portee.htm).  I haven't seen any proposals for a LAV-based M777 system so likely there are weight issues with that concept.
 

MilEME09

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I think a heavy APC died with the CCV program which would of allowed one brigade to be a heavy tracked brigade.

I truly wonder though is if maybe we have to many projects on the go at once and thus slow the delivery of everything?
 

FJAG

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GR66 said:
For the highlighted part I honestly don't see a Heavy Brigade happening.  I think Tanks and heavy APC's are waaaayyyy down on the capabilities shopping list for the foreseeable future.  It doesn't help that those items are offshore purchases.

What could possibly be done though is a properly-equipped and fully manned LAV-based Medium Brigade and an air-transportable Light Brigade.

The M777's could be grouped into a single Artillery Regiment to support the Light Brigade.  It could have 3 x 8-gun Batteries or 4 x 6-gun Batteries for a total of 24-guns with enough left for training and spares.  Having 4 x Batteries would allow three Batteries to rotate readiness in line with the 3 x Light Infantry Battalions and have the 4th for deployment in Latvia (or wherever else it might be needed).

In my mind then the Medium Brigade would go for a LAV-mounted indirect fire weapon for commonality of vehicle and mobility.  If it was felt that sticking with the M777 across the board was more important than fleet commonality then maybe we could go for something like the M777 Portee (http://www.military-today.com/artillery/m777_portee.htm).  I haven't seen any proposals for a LAV-based M777 system so likely there are weight issues with that concept.

We could actually form a "heavish" brigade right now using the tanks we already own (which should all be grouped into one regiment albeit it will be a mixed bag of A4s and A6s) and two battalions of LAV6.0s (although I'm not a fan of mixing LAVs with tanks in a peer conflict - but they would be better than nothing). You could even use M777s for artillery although that too creates a risk IMHO.

Let's cut to the real issue however; with 37 M777s we simply do not have enough for three full regiments with 3 x 6 gun batteries each. Assuming we want to fully equip a heavy, medium and light regiment with guns we would need at least another half dozen M777s and another eighteen of something (either light 105s or 155s for the light brigade or 155 SPs for the heavy brigade) The math requires it.

The only way that the math works now is if we say conclusively, that we will never ever have to deploy three brigades, or have to replace combat losses in a hurry, or have enough guns left over for training nondeployed units or for an increase in training replacements. Effectively SSE puts very modest deployment requirements on the Army. We can easily sit back on our butts and say we don't need any more gear because we're never really planning on going to war in a serious way anyway. IMHO, the SSE and the Army's view right now is a very Pollyannaish one of the threat and how you really achieve deterrence--and our enemies will see it that way as well. Si vis pacem, para bellum has been a mainstay adage respecting deterrence for almost two thousand years. The modern equivalent is: The gold standard of deterrence and assurance is a defensive posture that confronts the adversary with the prospect of operational failure as the likely consequence of aggression We're not doing that. We're signalling: C'mon in. We're a push over

:cheers:
 

MilEME09

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To reinforce the idea that mobility is needed on the modern battlefield. This video was recently posted of a skirmish in kashmir. It is 2:45 long, and counter battery fire starts landing near the end if the video.

https://www.funker530.com/indian-artillery-engages-pakistan-military-position-receives-counter-battery-fire/

Shows that if your going to be towed, you better know how to dig in.
 

FJAG

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To get back to my position that we need armoured self-propelled guns to support our heavy brigade(s) (yes I know we don't have one but we bloody well need them).

The Australians, who do not need to concern themselves about Russians in Latvia, have upped the ante on looking at Korean K9 self propelled howitzers (and K10 self propelled ammo limbers) under licence in Australia as part of their "Protected Mobiles Fires" program under their Force Structure Plan 2020/Defence Enterprise initiative.

https://militaryleak.com/2020/07/05/australia-army-to-procure-additional-regiment-of-self-propelled-howitzers-sph/?fbclid=IwAR3-v0VIvDpyhtG5yidbYWwvdWNDTRKs9yE6UmV9G5hZEKXZfYeZh3nuBFc

The Australians three Reg F brigades are essentially symmetrical and are termed Multi-role Combat brigades with a mixture of tanks, mechanized and light infantry and light guns. Each of its three armoured (or cavalry or light horse) regiments has one M1A1 Sqn and 2 ASLAV sqns. Under the FSP 2020 there are plans to update equipment over time with new tanks, IFVs and new recce vehicles as well.

Australia intends to pump an additional AusD180 billion into its defence budget over the next ten years.

China says:

But If Australia wants to provoke China, China is also ready to defend itself. Australia is only a follower of the US and its capability in the South China Sea will be limited despite the new plans, they said.

https://www.globaltimes.cn/content/1193392.shtml

I reiterate - Amongst other gear we desperately need, we need heavy brigades for Europe with M109 variants (and for the reasons I've said too often to count, they should be reserve units). Anything else (while more affordable and easier to maintain) would be almost useless in a modern peer-to-peer war.

:cheers:
 

Colin Parkinson

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Looking at the imagery online, it looks like the US has considerably numbers of M109/Paladins in reserve at the desert storage grounds. We could lease enough to have a full gun battery (go for 8) and training battery (go for 6) plus ammo carriers. They can be considered "Interim" vehicles while we consider a long term replacement, which means we will likely end up buying them outright in 15 years. This avoids our effed up procurement process, allows us to train with our allies and meets US demands to increase spending, while making them money. Not the first time we leased guns from the US either. 
 

a_majoor

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Going a bit sideways on the discussion, the USMC is currently looking at mobile artillery systems to compliment their renewed focus on being much faster and lighter (elimiinating tank battalions, for example).

https://seapowermagazine.org/marine-force-design-2030-reduce-tube-artillery-increase-rockets-missiles/

Marine Force Design 2030: Reduce Tube Artillery, Increase Rockets, Missiles

In contrast, the Corps plans to increase its rocket artillery batteries from 7 to 21. These batteries are equipped with the Lockheed Martin-built M142 HIMARS (High-Mobility Artillery Rocket System). The Corps intends to create batteries of anti-ship missiles such as the Raytheon’s Tomahawk Maritime Strike Missile and the Kongsberg/Raytheon Naval Strike Missile. These missiles will enable Marine expeditionary forces to operate in contested littoral environments.

While we may not require an anti ship missile, a weapon with similar parameters will allow our depolyed forces to hold enemy assets at risk even deep in their rear areas, and the ability of these types of rounds to seek out their targets in the terminal phase will also be a huge bonus against mobile or protected targets.

Certainly the ability to leverage purchaes with the USMC for economies of scale and lower unit costs, and interoperability with one of our allies should be a consideration. Many other allied nations also use HIMARS as well, so it isn't like we are using a weird and unique Canada only system. The evolution of artillery is moving away from tubes (although using hypersonic rounds patterned arfter the proposed railgun rounds could change that as well - a 155 cannon could have it's range extended to 70km, for example), so unless the discussion is for some sort of ultra mobile 105mm cannon (such as prototypes developed to fire from HMMMVW chassis), a straight replacement with another 105mm towed artillery piece is rather pointless.
 

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a_majoor

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The fact each round costs $300,000 makes this a somewhat less than feasible replacement, but otherwise the range, accuracy and ability to destroy hard targets like tanks would make this a useful addition to the artillery park. A program to identify ways to reduce the costs would make this even better:

Weapons: Video Gamer Special

https://strategypage.com/htmw/htweap/articles/20200724.aspx

The Israeli manufacturer of the Spike NLOS (Non-Line Of Sight) long-range (25-32 kilometers) missile has entered into a joint production deal with a Polish firm to provide Spike NLOS for use in Polish “tank-destroyer” vehicles. These would be equipped with eight missile launchers and communications equipment enabling the vehicle crew to get target information from front line troops, UAVs or other aircraft. With these capabilities the NLOS vehicles could launch surprise mass attacks on distant enemy armor.

Spike NLOS does not rely on a laser designator or GPS to get to its target. Instead the missile has an encrypted data-link with the launching vehicle that puts the missile close enough to the targets for the onboard target detection and recognition system to identify tanks and attack.

The Polish tank-destroyer vehicle concept came about in part because the Polish army still has hundreds of operational Cold-War era tracked and wheeled IFVs (Infantry Fighting Vehicles) that can be transformed into Spike NLOS vehicles. Some of this old armor can be converted into reload vehicles, quickly replacing the empty launchers with missiles. The launch vehicles contain a three-man crew along with all the communications and fire control equipment needed to take fire requests, coordinate with other launch vehicles and, as commanded, launch Spike NLOS missiles at distant targets. The launch vehicles would rarely get close enough to enemy tanks to come under fire and the long range of Spike NLOS enables many launch vehicles, dispersed over a wide area, to quickly launch a mass attack on groups of enemy tanks and other vehicles. All these extra capabilities are expensive and each Spike NLOS missile costs about $300,000 each.

and

This special operations solution was developed by the Israelis when they merged Spike NLOS missiles with off-road vehicles to produce a version of Spike NLOS that can be quickly mounted on an off-road vehicle which can then be transported by air (inside a small transport or slung under a helicopter) to a remote location and driven further into hostile territory to provide round the clock availability of precision missile fire against small stationery or moving (in a vehicle or on a motorcycle) targets day or night. This mobile Spike NLOS capability is available in different size pallets that contain four to eight Spike NLOS missiles plus the control equipment and radio. Like other versions of Spike NLOS, it is much easier for troops to become proficient operating Spike NLOS by practicing using computer simulators and the more user-friendly design.

The airmobile Spike NLOS system was first available using the Israeli Tomcar off-road vehicle. This 750 kg four-wheel “dune buggy” design has been around since 2005 and is regularly used along the Israeli southern border with Gaza and Egypt. Tomcar is exported to many other nations for special operations forces or border patrol in rough terrain. The latest version of Tomcar is a two-seater vehicle built with a flatbed in the rear to carry cargo. This vehicle can carry eight Spike NLOS weapons plus the control system. Even lighter systems are available carrying only four (or even just two) missiles. This is similar to the new Polish system but without the additional communications and fire control capabilities, plus the armor protection against small arms and shell fragments. U.S. SOCOM (Special Operations Command) has long been an avid user of such lightweight cross-country vehicles and might eventually try this pallet-based version of Spike NLOS.

 

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Colin Parkinson

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I disagree that a towed 105mm system is pointless. It is highly unlikely that any of the other systematic failures in the Reserves are going to be fixed soon, that would allow us to run a more complex system. It is very likely that the C3 is going to suffer another major failure point, causing the remaining guns being withdrawn from active service within a decade or less. At which point we have nothing to fall back onto and people will get the message that they are not needed and quit. A new (or new to us) 105mm gun system would not strain our logistical systems and it would mean we have actual tubes to call upon if the poop hits the rotary device with little warning. I don`t think the day of the tube is over yet and we might be able to lease/buy M119's from the US and/or have them licence built in Canada. We could also acquire replacement M101A2 from South Korean reserve stocks and have them refurbished over there. 
 
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