UK Defence Forum

News, History, Discussions and Debates on UK Defence.

Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Contains threads on British Army equipment of the past, present and future.
Voldemort
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: 26 Jul 2018, 06:32
Location: Finland

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Voldemort » 14 Jul 2019, 13:03

mr.fred wrote:https://ukdefenceforum.net/viewtopic.php?f=42&t=376&p=93270#p93270
Lord Jim wrote:We need to make a step change in the weight of artillery we use with the 120mm Mortar replacing the 81mm weapon at Battalion level in most units and replacing the 105mm Light Gun with a highly mobile, possibly air transportable 155mm weapon.

I’m sure that I’ve asked before, but why do we need this? Why do we need to encumber our light forces with bigger and heavier ordnance, and bigger and heavier logistics demands?


Because of firepower and logistics go hand in hand? This must be a rhetorical question. Where is the gap in logistics? Is it the formations logistics, is it the ability to project the formation abroad? What?

mr.fred
Member
Posts: 668
Joined: 06 May 2015, 22:53
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby mr.fred » 14 Jul 2019, 13:34

Voldemort wrote:
mr.fred wrote:I’m sure that I’ve asked before, but why do we need this? Why do we need to encumber our light forces with bigger and heavier ordnance, and bigger and heavier logistics demands?


Because of firepower and logistics go hand in hand? This must be a rhetorical question. Where is the gap in logistics? Is it the formations logistics, is it the ability to project the formation abroad? What?

Not rhetorical. Why do we need larger artillery pieces for forces which are already running a constricted logistics train? Light forces are deployed by air or sea, in inaccessible terrain which limit the logistics you can supply. If you could easily supply more logistics you wouldn’t be using light forces.

Voldemort
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: 26 Jul 2018, 06:32
Location: Finland

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Voldemort » 14 Jul 2019, 13:40

mr.fred wrote:
Voldemort wrote:
mr.fred wrote:I’m sure that I’ve asked before, but why do we need this? Why do we need to encumber our light forces with bigger and heavier ordnance, and bigger and heavier logistics demands?


Because of firepower and logistics go hand in hand? This must be a rhetorical question. Where is the gap in logistics? Is it the formations logistics, is it the ability to project the formation abroad? What?

Not rhetorical. Why do we need larger artillery pieces for forces which are already running a constricted logistics train? Light forces are deployed by air or sea, in inaccessible terrain which limit the logistics you can supply. If you could easily supply more logistics you wouldn’t be using light forces.


It limits their combat power and utility. Mortars, even heavy ones aren't excessively logistics hungry. Foot mobile units in harsh terrain are good for guerrilla war but that's about it. Time has driven past those formations in symmetric combat.

mr.fred
Member
Posts: 668
Joined: 06 May 2015, 22:53
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby mr.fred » 14 Jul 2019, 14:03

Doesn’t having no guns, or guns with no ammunition, restrict your combat power and utility further?

With the mortars, when do they go from logistics hungry to excessively logistics hungry? What defines when they become excessive?

Voldemort
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: 26 Jul 2018, 06:32
Location: Finland

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Voldemort » 14 Jul 2019, 16:32

mr.fred wrote:Doesn’t having no guns, or guns with no ammunition, restrict your combat power and utility further?

With the mortars, when do they go from logistics hungry to excessively logistics hungry? What defines when they become excessive?


That depends on the situation.

RetroSicotte
Site Admin
Posts: 2382
Joined: 30 Apr 2015, 18:10
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby RetroSicotte » 14 Jul 2019, 18:38

I don't think there's anyone on this planet could legitimately look at the Royal Artillery's capabilities right now and say with any sanity that sticking to just 81mm and 105mm is the best way forward.

One look at Ukraine will evaporate that thinking in an instant.

Voldemort
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: 26 Jul 2018, 06:32
Location: Finland

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Voldemort » 14 Jul 2019, 19:09

RetroSicotte wrote:I don't think there's anyone on this planet could legitimately look at the Royal Artillery's capabilities right now and say with any sanity that sticking to just 81mm and 105mm is the best way forward.

One look at Ukraine will evaporate that thinking in an instant.


Amen brotha!

mr.fred
Member
Posts: 668
Joined: 06 May 2015, 22:53
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby mr.fred » 14 Jul 2019, 19:52

RetroSicotte wrote:I don't think there's anyone on this planet could legitimately look at the Royal Artillery's capabilities right now and say with any sanity that sticking to just 81mm and 105mm is the best way forward.

One look at Ukraine will evaporate that thinking in an instant.

I would say it depends on the context.
For a start, the RA don't operate 81mm mortar. It's an infantry weapon
Secondly, anyone sending light forces into a Ukraine-like situation needs their head examined, save perhaps in concert with much more heavily equipped formations.
For Mechanised and armoured formations, 155mm seems like the go-to calibre for field artillery and you can make the case for 120mm mortars mounted on vehicles.
Just 81mm and 105mm would be foolish, but equally rushing to only 120mm and 155mm ordnance without thinking through all aspects of the choice would seem careless at best.

Voldemort
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: 26 Jul 2018, 06:32
Location: Finland

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Voldemort » 14 Jul 2019, 20:18

mr.fred wrote:
RetroSicotte wrote:I don't think there's anyone on this planet could legitimately look at the Royal Artillery's capabilities right now and say with any sanity that sticking to just 81mm and 105mm is the best way forward.

One look at Ukraine will evaporate that thinking in an instant.

I would say it depends on the context.
For a start, the RA don't operate 81mm mortar. It's an infantry weapon
Secondly, anyone sending light forces into a Ukraine-like situation needs their head examined, save perhaps in concert with much more heavily equipped formations.
For Mechanised and armoured formations, 155mm seems like the go-to calibre for field artillery and you can make the case for 120mm mortars mounted on vehicles.
Just 81mm and 105mm would be foolish, but equally rushing to only 120mm and 155mm ordnance without thinking through all aspects of the choice would seem careless at best.


Obviously best case would be all four, 81-105-120-155. Finland is moving to 81-120-155 in the near future.

mr.fred
Member
Posts: 668
Joined: 06 May 2015, 22:53
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby mr.fred » 14 Jul 2019, 21:12

Voldemort wrote:Obviously best case would be all four, 81-105-120-155. Finland is moving to 81-120-155 in the near future.


Why keep the 81mm?

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 3061
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Lord Jim » 14 Jul 2019, 21:34

In the other thread my main argument was for the current vehicle mounted 81mm Mortars to be replaced by a 120mm weapon. AS mentioned these would be operated by the Infantry not the Royal Artillery. I think we all agree that 155mm is the way to go for the Royal Artillery Regiments supporting our Armoured Infantry Brigades and possibly our planned Mechanised Brigades. In addition we have the MLRS Regiment available to support these two types of formation as well as the two Royal Artillery Air Defence Regiment.

The current Heavy AS-90 and MLRS are suitable for working with the Armoured Infantry Brigades but are not the types of weapon needed for the Mechanised Brigades. With the latter an argument can be made that to have a 155mm that is able to operate effectively with latter requires a wheeled based platform. It has been discussed elsewhere that this needs to be a truck based weapon rather than a better protected one based on the Boxer for example. The best option though for providing artillery support to he Mechanised Brigades would be a high mobility platform using the MLSR system, similar to the US Army's HIMARS, but using the chassis already in use with the British Army. The Range of he MLRS gives it the capability to support the Brigade whilst it operates in a dispersed manner over a large area. It would also be vulnerable to less opposition systems again dur to its range. This will only increase with the new munitions being developed for the MLRS in the US.

There are a couple of important gaps in our capabilities when it comes to Artillery and these are a precision fire capability for our 155mm platforms and a cargo round carrying intelligent sub munitions for the same weapon. Both of these have been on the Royal Artillery's wish list for some time but lack of funding and support from the wider MoD have prevented their purchase. Both of these weapon systems have shown their value in recent conflicts though more use has been made of the precision type. A third capability is also in development which needs to be seriously looked at and that is that of sub calibre rounds that greatly increase the range of platforms like the 155mm.

Providing fire support for lighter, high readiness intervention forces poses a more difficult issue. At present this is provided by the Infantry's own 81mm Mortars and 105mm Light Guns of the Royal Artillery. The ability of the former to be man packed means it still has a role, but both the UK's 3 Cmdo and 16 AA have access to vehicles that could carry and operate a 120mm weapon. The 105mm has been a very good weapon but is totally out classed in todays conflicts except possibly COIN operations. The logical replacement is the latest version of the M777 which has similar mobility but provides far greater fire support at longer range and is more flexible. It can easily be moved around by the RAF's Chinook and again both 3 Cmdo and 16 AA have access to platforms that can tow and transport the crew and ammunition available. If a HIMARS style platform were adopted, this too would be available to both these formations.

The UK is at a crossroads with how it conducts indirect fire support for its formations. On the whole its current equipment is not truly up to the job of fighting modern high intensity warfare. We need systems that are more mobile, have longer range and are able to use both precision and intelligent cargo rounds, and of course we need that last two items as well. But these are only a part of a larger need covering target acquisition, logistics and the means to counter the oppositions capability by both hard and soft means. The Ukrainian conflict has reminded us of the effectiveness of modern artillery and greater priority needs to be given to ensuring the UK is equipped to provide the support the rest of the Army and Royal Marines need.

mr.fred
Member
Posts: 668
Joined: 06 May 2015, 22:53
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby mr.fred » 14 Jul 2019, 22:09

Lord Jim wrote:The 105mm has been a very good weapon but is totally out classed in todays conflicts except possibly COIN operations.

Totally outclassed by what?
Lord Jim wrote:The logical replacement is the latest version of the M777 which has similar mobility but provides far greater fire support at longer range and is more flexible.

"Similar" covers a multitude of sins. You could equally accurately state "Substantially greater transport, manning and logistics burden, while providing only a modest increase in range."

I'm quite irked by the way the people advocating heavier use terms like "The only logical choice" "anyone with any sanity" "must be a rhetorical question". You still haven't answered the question I posed. I doubt that you ever will. Instead you divert onto what the armoured/mechanised force must do, or simple "bigger = better" statements without any justification.

User avatar
clivestonehouse1
Member
Posts: 28
Joined: 25 Jun 2019, 19:34

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby clivestonehouse1 » 15 Jul 2019, 00:34

What about AMOS or Dragon Fire mkII ?

Sent from my SM-G965F using Tapatalk

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 3061
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Lord Jim » 15 Jul 2019, 01:52

Well as the heaviest artillery available to 16 AA and 3 Cmdo though latter may possibly have access to NGFS against a peer opponent hey would at the very least be opposed by 122mm Field guns and 122mm MLRS with the strong possibility they would also be facing 152mm and large MLRS systems. To this you can add the very effect breech loading SP 120mm Gun/Mortars that are available in large number and so on. These two formations are going to be the first units to arrive in theatre in any crisis and will have to face all level of opposition. They both need increased fire power across the board with artillery support being one of them.

AS for the increased burden of the M777 over the 105mm light gun, it is not as great as one might think. There is only a nominal increase in the number of crew required, but the vehicles used to tow and support the 105mm LG can also be used to support and tow the M777. The range with basic ammunition may only provide a modest increase in range by developments are in hand to enable the M777 to engage targets over 50Km. In addition the ability to fire precision and smart cargo rounds provides a substantial increase in capability and flexibility.

At present the M777 is in a class of its own when considering light weight 155mm artillery, and unless both 16AA and 3 Cmdo are going to switch to self propelled artillery then I do see it as the only logical choice. If one thought out of the box then the French Brandt 120mm rifles mortar could replace the 105mm light with its similar performance and ability to fore more types of ammunition, but in a much lighter package.

in any future high intensity conflict I see a high probability that we will be fight under contested airspace at best. Our existing reliance on air support at the expense in the investment in artillery need to be revisited. The Israelis learnt the lesson the hard way in 1973 where their lack of sufficient Artillery and reliance on the Air Force, when the latter's effectiveness was reduced by the Egyptian and Syrian GBADS, had a serious impact on the ability of the Israeli Army to operate effectively in the initial stages of the way especially in the Sinai.

Voldemort
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: 26 Jul 2018, 06:32
Location: Finland

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Voldemort » 15 Jul 2019, 05:43

mr.fred wrote:
Voldemort wrote:Obviously best case would be all four, 81-105-120-155. Finland is moving to 81-120-155 in the near future.


Why keep the 81mm?


We have 81mm at company level where they are the superior choice. Having firing units down to coy level we have much better ability to support combat in large area versus having only few firing units at battalion or brigade level. A battlegroup in theory can support combat in 9 different places with indirect fire, your battalion can support only on axis and and unit at a time. That's why we have 81mm mortars at company level. 81mm is the best caliber in kills/ton of ammo and has the smallest safety distances allowing infantry to hug the enemy and still shoot them with mortars.

Lord Jim,

120mm doesn't need to replace 81mm 1:1. During WWII Finland had mixed mortar companies for a while. Just think what you could do with one with, say, 4 heavy mortars and 6 light mortars or push 81mm down to coy level and have a heavy mortar company per battalion like we do. Also 155mm doesn't need to replace 105mm 1:1. It actually baffles me why you've dropped your 60mm mortars. Your companies and battalions might need to fight in a more dispersed manner than before and that calls for more organic support lower in the echelon because of uncertain connections to the higher echelon caused by the distance and enemy actions. See the attached picture that shows a Finnish jäger company. Sure, I know it's apples and oranges.
You do not have the required permissions to view the files attached to this post.

Online
abc123
Senior Member
Posts: 2084
Joined: 10 May 2015, 18:15

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby abc123 » 15 Jul 2019, 09:43

IMHO, 60 mm for platoon/company level, 81 mm for battalion level and 120 mm for brigade level- light forces. On the other hand, especially in mechanised units, having a 120 mm in a battalion level would be a good choice.
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

Voldemort
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: 26 Jul 2018, 06:32
Location: Finland

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Voldemort » 15 Jul 2019, 10:37

abc123 wrote:IMHO, 60 mm for platoon/company level, 81 mm for battalion level and 120 mm for brigade level- light forces. On the other hand, especially in mechanised units, having a 120 mm in a battalion level would be a good choice.


That is debateable. By brigade level light forces I assume you mean atleast 16th and 3Cdo, but you also mean those in 1st Division which have no real structure and are just assortment of infantry battalions without supporting arms?

Online
abc123
Senior Member
Posts: 2084
Joined: 10 May 2015, 18:15

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby abc123 » 15 Jul 2019, 11:57

Voldemort wrote:
abc123 wrote:IMHO, 60 mm for platoon/company level, 81 mm for battalion level and 120 mm for brigade level- light forces. On the other hand, especially in mechanised units, having a 120 mm in a battalion level would be a good choice.


That is debateable. By brigade level light forces I assume you mean atleast 16th and 3Cdo, but you also mean those in 1st Division which have no real structure and are just assortment of infantry battalions without supporting arms?


Yep, at least 16th and 3rdCdo, because these other "brigades" I don't even consider as real brigades, as you said- they are more just a groupings of infantry battalions.
Fortune favors brave sir, said Carrot cheerfully.
What's her position about heavily armed, well prepared and overmanned armies?
Oh, noone's ever heard of Fortune favoring them, sir.
According to General Tacticus, it's because they favor themselves…

Voldemort
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: 26 Jul 2018, 06:32
Location: Finland

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Voldemort » 15 Jul 2019, 12:05

abc123 wrote:
Voldemort wrote:
abc123 wrote:IMHO, 60 mm for platoon/company level, 81 mm for battalion level and 120 mm for brigade level- light forces. On the other hand, especially in mechanised units, having a 120 mm in a battalion level would be a good choice.


That is debateable. By brigade level light forces I assume you mean atleast 16th and 3Cdo, but you also mean those in 1st Division which have no real structure and are just assortment of infantry battalions without supporting arms?


Yep, at least 16th and 3rdCdo, because these other "brigades" I don't even consider as real brigades, as you said- they are more just a groupings of infantry battalions.


In that case considering the logistical capabilities (and pre-positioning!!) of 3Cdo I see no reason why they couldn't have it all. In Norway they can have all the mortars in the world they want, deploying elsewhere with their ATVs they can haul massive amounts of gear and logistics isn't probably why they couldn't have 81mm at coy and 120mm at Bn. I don't see 3Cdo as "light infantry" in the normal meaning of the word. They're infantry with ATVs, having vehicles is the baseline and either having heavy vehicles or no vehicles at all are what give the denominations, light, Strike, armoured, mechanised and so forth. Infantry needs vehicles, period. No matter how much people screech about "close and impassable terrain" they still need vehicles, this is not 30 years war for god's sake!

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 3061
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Lord Jim » 15 Jul 2019, 20:44

I agree with you Voldemort in most regards. The paper published by RUSI on how the "Strike" Brigades should be organised, equipped and used suggests using mortars up to 120mm even below Company level. They suggest that each Mechanised Company should be broken down into three, eight vehicle combat teams as follows:

Command Boxer with RWS equipped with HMG.
Boxer with gun and/or missile SHORAD mounted in turret.
2 Boxer APCs with RWS equipped with HMG carrying dismounts.
2 Boxers IFVs equipped with turret mounted CTA40 cannon and twin ATGMs, carrying dismounts.
Boxer with 120mm Mortar.
Engineering Boxer with Dozer Blade and with RWS equipped with HMG.
in addition there would be four Javelin launchers distributed amongst the dismounts.

The Brigade would be supported by HIMARS and a truck based 155mm gun system using the same platform as the HIMARS and the support units operating with the Brigade.

I strongly recommend people read the RUSI article in the Strike Brigade tread within the Personnel and Units category.

mr.fred
Member
Posts: 668
Joined: 06 May 2015, 22:53
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby mr.fred » 15 Jul 2019, 23:02

I’m not sure about this company level business, when you can concentrate at battalion for training purposes then attach to sub units as required

Voldemort
Member
Posts: 82
Joined: 26 Jul 2018, 06:32
Location: Finland

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Voldemort » 16 Jul 2019, 06:17

mr.fred wrote:I’m not sure about this company level business, when you can concentrate at battalion for training purposes then attach to sub units as required


As a commander I'd rather have my very own mortars that attend battalion's common mortar training every now and then but spend most of the time with the company. Less attaching, more organic. Attaching as required doesn't teach them cooperation with and within the company. As many assets organic as possible. Maybe few comms stations aswell.

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 3061
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Lord Jim » 16 Jul 2019, 17:33

That was the idea behind the Combat Team principal put forward by RUSI. I think we have gone full circle here and we need to continue this back in the Wheeled APC thread.

mr.fred
Member
Posts: 668
Joined: 06 May 2015, 22:53
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby mr.fred » 16 Jul 2019, 19:27

Organic artillery does mean better co-operation with the sub unit they are part of, but it makes cross-posting them to other sub-units more difficult. If you have one of your companies resting or otherwise in reserve, their support weapons go too. With support weapons at the battalion level you can can redirect and reinforce with your supporting arms much more freely.

Lord Jim
Senior Member
Posts: 3061
Joined: 10 Dec 2015, 02:15
Location: United Kingdom

Re: Royal Artillery/Royal Horse Artillery future developments

Postby Lord Jim » 16 Jul 2019, 20:56

But surely the support companies have to rest and rearm as well, in which case they are offline for a period of time to. In addition the companies should have artillery support from at least some of the Brigades tube artillery and possible the rocket artillery held in reserve. With this All Arms Combat Team idea, with them operating in a dispersed manner, they need organic fire support for immediate use. The operational doctrine of these teams and the "Strike" Brigade as a whole will be very different from the traditional formations the Army has used in the past. Just the use of a wheeled medium platform is new. Add to that the need for the Brigades supporting arms including its artillery to also be wheeled means the manual is only now being written. How the Artillery is used could also have a bearing on the whole branch as we move forward and look to replace the AS-90 and heavy tracked MLRS.


Return to “British Army”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Bob_Cat_Bob and 0 guests