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January 12, 2007

H&I* Fires, 12 JAN 2007

Open post for those with something to share, updated through the day. New, complete posts come in below this one. Note: If trackbacking, please acknowledge this post in your post. That's only polite. [Admittedly, I'm fibbing. Trackbacks are still broken]

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This is something John’s covered before. But it was prominently on The Keith Olberman Show last night and I found another report on it today: Reactive armor to beat RPG and ATGM, and more specifically the TROPHY system developed by Israel, that the Army refuses to buy and deploy in Iraq.

Yeah, throwing material in the way of oncoming missiles is a good idea. That's the idea behind the CIWS the Navy uses. In the right circumstances it’s a great idea. Is a Striker or Bradley MICV in a market full of people and with a bunch of dismounted infantry walking patrol such a circumstance? Doesn’t the utility of something like this in the current conflict have to be decided with that as a factor? Just blindly saying “We want the best for The Troops” is not actually doing what is best for the troops.

It also makes a lot of a very old problem. If it wasn’t designed and built by ‘Muricans we ain’t buying. Was ever thus. There’s some good reasons, and some terrible ones, for doing it this way. But that’s for another day.
I think we have a new job for the old F-14s. Why ugly up an F-15 by putting a huge missile under her when the Tomcat was already designed to carry something monstrous and provide area defense?
Putting a PAC-3 (Patriot, advanced capability---meaning it has, among other refinements, an anti-ballistic missile capability) missile on a plane for CM and TBM defense? Brilliant. Putting it on an F-15? Not so sure it’s brilliance even if they were the vehicle of choice for the old ASAT system.

Now, would we really need such defense? That’s another post for another day, or at least to be argued in the comments.
Something to think about from the boys (and at least one girl last time I checked) over at Crooked Timber. Again, I go so you don’t have to.

Don’t agree with it. The simple Prisoner’s Dilemma from game theory comes to mind---with a modification for small group benefit against large group benefit. Or, say, you know the other guy is limited to bargaining and are therefore being a royal pain getting more than you could otherwise? Wouldn’t it be nice for the other guy to have a trump card to make you play fair? Or how about simply not being able to compromise, which, while speculation only, may be the problem with ‘reconciliation’ in Iraq right now? Those situations DO come up in real life and in international relations.

But it never hurts to question yourself about biases you carry.
Klingenschmitt, the Navy Chaplain who insisted on pray 'In Jesus' Name', is out of the Navy.

Email today: starting tomorrow I shut up again. Hope your week wasn't that bad, Boss

My week was fine, thank you. And initiating H&I Fires is now your *job*, night owl. -the Armorer



I think the Patriot-on-a-Mudhen vs. a Tomcat has to do with the level of sophistication of the launch platform. The F-14 is (or was) years behind the A/C model Eagles, to say nothing of the E models. That's one of the reasons the 'Cat had two seats--it takes two to fly the jet and run the systems thanks to their design, not necessarily their sophistication (less user-friendly equals more hands/eyeballs required).

The Eagle started with the premise that a one-man jet needed a cosmic system to allow one guy to fly AND fight AND maximize the system's capabilities, which are formidable, and made even more so by the digital "backbone" in the jet that allows for rapid and frequent upgrades, software changes and capability expansion. The E-model went to two seats not due to design but due to capability--the radar/sensor/multi-weapon choice suite is beyond the ability of one guy to FULLY exploit.

Now, the F-14 may have been re-wired over the years to approach the F-15C/E's abilities, but I doubt it. That said, the F/A-18 is a design whose philosophy much more closely mimics that of the Eagle. However, the Mudhen, I think, has a greater payload capacity and is thus better for hauling a Patriot to the launch parameters the engineers are considering.

So, to cut to the chase, I think the Eagles offer both a more modern system that is easier to integrate with another system never originally considered for air launch and the aerodynamic capability (thrust-to-weight ratio, sufficiently structurally robust to carry large payloads, etc.) to get it to where the users need it to be effective. -Instapilot


I got a job!!!!!!! - FbL


Another "Macho Dem." (see here for context) - FbL


Ry - on the issue of TROPHY, I've got some sources. IIRC, we are quietly buying Israeli kit (not just ammuntion, either) but we aren't buying Israeli kit that doesn't do what we need. We've got people who looked closely at TROPHY, and it didn't pass muster for a number of reasons, not least the unfortunate characteristic of collateral damage to exposed troops and nearby civilians, a subject already mentioned by MajMike, I believe. There is plenty to indicate now that the manufacturer is trying to win politically, via PR, what they were unable to accomplish on the merits. -the Armorer


*A term of art from the artillery. Harassment and Interdiction Fires.

Back in the day, when you could just kill people and break things without a note from a lawyer, they were pre-planned, but to the enemy, random, fires at known gathering points, road junctions, Main Supply Routes, assembly areas, etc - to keep the bad guy nervous that the world around him might start exploding at any minute.

Not really relevant to today's operating environment, right? But, it *is*

The UAVs we fly over Afghanistan and Pakistan looking for targets of opportunity are a form of H&I fires, if you really want to parse it finely. We just have better sensors and fire control now.

I call the post that because it's random things posted by me and people I've given posting privileges to. It's also an open trackback, so if (Don Surber uses it this way a lot) someone has a post they're proud of, but it really isn't either Castle kind of stuff, or topical to a particular post, I've basically given blanket permission to use that post for that purpose. Another term of art that might be appropriate is "Free Fire Zone".

Comments on H&I* Fires, 12 JAN 2007
MajMike briefed on January 12, 2007 08:03 AM

don't forget that reactive armor poses its own threat to of our own dismounts and/or civvies who happen to be in the vicinity...

Oldloadr briefed on January 12, 2007 08:16 AM

You all have brought up 2 very interesting, and seemingly related, issues. However, as has been said before, besides the free speech/expression/religion issue, the Klingenschmitt case also involves long standing restrictions on how active duty personnel exercise their rights of speech, petition and assembly. As long as I can recall (back to 1975), active duty personnel have never been allowed to participate in any form of political assembly or public speaking while in uniform. Now, maybe the good chaplain’s superiors did have it in for him, but that is even more reason for him to protest within the rules. BTW, I agree with his basic point, but I also agree that the Navy has to not only maintain good order and discipline, but also avoid the appearance to the public of a politicized military service. Now, all that said, I think the Nave screwed up by charging him with failure to follow the order of his superior rather than relying on the fact that he appeared at a public protest in uniform. I predict that, at some point, it will be ruled that the order of his superior was not lawful and therefore he was under no compulsion to obey.

Oldloadr briefed on January 12, 2007 08:26 AM

I just realized that I wasn't clear in saying I was comparing the Klingenschmitt issue to the Rumble in the Blogosphere here:

BillT briefed on January 12, 2007 08:32 AM

The Rooskies started fielding anti-ATGM projectile-based reactive armor for the T-90 just before the Soviet economy imploded. It utilized a series of UV sensor (not IR; UV spoofers are few and far between) to detect launch plumes and triangulate the incomer -- if it wasn't closing with the tank, the system went back to passive search mode.

Sounds like the Israelis took the basic idea and carried it further. We had the same opportunity in the '90s, but didn't follow up because the world was now all lovey-dovey and Congress was too busy divvying up the imaginary Peace Dividend to countenance testing it, let alone fielding same...

Sigivald briefed on January 12, 2007 01:45 PM

If it wasn’t designed and built by ‘Muricans we ain’t buying.

Well, to a point, yes. But ain't the M-240 and M-249 Belgie guns?

(Not to mention the occasional MP5, the Ranger/Seals with their M3 aka Carl Gustaf,

J.M. Heinrichs briefed on January 12, 2007 01:46 PM

When you read Professor Quiggen again, you might also check the relevant commentary at His pronouncements are quite often the source for unintended amusement.


Sgt. B. briefed on January 12, 2007 02:42 PM

Re: Reactive armor...

As I sat in the gunner's position of my mount (Bradley MICV), I wondered the same thing regarding my protection against ATGMs and RPGs.

I will be keenly learning the counter-measures, and, no, I'm not going to share the "word"...

ry briefed on January 13, 2007 01:09 AM

JMH, dude, I thank you so much for providing high powered rebutle to Quiggin. I don't know how many hours I've lost wrestling with issues he and the others over there present. It never hurts to have someone nudge me along. Thankee sir.

"Well, to a point, yes. But ain't the M-240 and M-249 Belgie guns?"
And there was much handwringing over that wasn't there? Once in a while we seem to buy stuff, but mostly not. Why build Standard when the Brits already had a battle tested system? Why not use Cheiftan MBTs instead of following MBT80 to the Abrams? We wants our own stuff built here at home.

And yes, it was mostly an over generalization but not by much. Something like the Rhinemetal big bore guns and the JSF programme aren't the order of the day on this side of the Pond.

"I will be keenly learning the counter-measures, and, no, I'm not going to share the "word"..." Dang. Glad you aren't, but dang. I'd love to know. Take care of yourself Sgt. B. You're in our prayers, dude.

ry briefed on January 13, 2007 01:24 AM

Oh, I even got slapped down by Dusty. I'm moving up in the world.;)
"So, to cut to the chase, I think the Eagles offer both a more modern system that is easier to integrate with another system never originally considered for air launch and the aerodynamic capability (thrust-to-weight ratio, sufficiently structurally robust to carry large payloads, etc.) to get it to where the users need it to be effective"
Probably. I was kinda thinking that you were pulling for the AF out of service rivalry until here. Still could be. :0). BUt this actually is a bit to chew on.
I was also thinking along the lines of do we have enough airframes to add one more mission to the Eagle? They can't be everywhere. Limited number of airframes and little money likely available to allow us to buy the numbers we really need to allow for this.
Area defense like this is what the F-14 was totally designed for. Flying some kind of anti-missile CAP could be a real low stress on airframe type mission so the age and stress showing on the 'Cats is less a factor. Plus it allows the 15's to go do their real job: air supremacy. It might cost a little more. Another engine upgrade and some electronics tinkering(the 14's a big girl and open to mods) and it might allow us to keep the 15 doing the job she was really intended for: kicking booty.
Note: I'm not a fan of jack-of-all trades swiss army knife-ing of platforms across the board. Some specialization is absolutely necessary in my opinion.
But thanks Dusty, that's definitely something to think about.

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