Thursday, September 9, 2010

'Space' Warfare XII: Surface Warfare


Ask, and ye shall (sometimes) receive: A reader emailed asking me to discuss future ground war. This I will take a bit more broadly as warfare fought on habitable, shirtsleeves planets, including sea and air operations. Warfare on non-habitable planets is an ambiguous case, with features of boarding operations in space.

I intended to deal first with the space context. But y'all want grunts, preferably in power armor, supported by coolific armored vehicles and aircraft, with subs and trimaran assault cruisers out to sea. Which brings us to something that has not been tested yet. What happens when post industrial forces fight each other?

We don't know, but we have seen this movie before, in flickery black and white a hundred years ago. Industrial age Western armies had shown how well they could scythe down waves of natives, usually. The general prognosis was that 1900-modern weapons were so accurate and effective that when turned on each other they would pretty much wipe each other out, and quickly.

The Next War would be a come-as-you-are war, settled in months if not weeks by whoever ran out of arms and ammo first, if it weren't won a week earlier by strategy and tactical execution. 1870 was the prelude; 1861-65 merely an example of a semi-modern war fought entirely by blundering amateurs.

It did not work out that way in 1914, so I hesitate to say it would work out that way now, or in 2114. What might happen, in fact, is broadly what happened in 1914: Everyone goes to ground.

The general principle of future surface war, it seems to me, is that if you are caught out in the open you are headed for the celestial choir. This goes for guerillas, it goes for power armor troops, it goes for laser armed tanks, trimaran cruisers, aircraft, and spacecraft in low orbit. Give precision weapons a clear target and they will take it out.

Thirty meter mecha, sad to say, make for very clear targets.

Reconnaissance robotics, on the other hand, will be hard to take out. They can be very small and stealthy, making the Predator look like a B-36. So you should have plenty of scouts, including a robotic fly on the wall of the other side's headquarters. Your intel problem is noise - the more raw intel, the more noise. Any AI good enough to cut through it is an intelligence officer, not a piece of equipment.

A tank backed into the underbrush is still effective, because it is hard to find, and you may only find it when it opens up on you. A tank on the move has a target painted on it. This, I think, is the real advantage of power armor troops: Compared to tanks they are stealthy, and can slip through environments where a tank would draw attention and fire.

I expect power armor to be relatively light. At minimum you want enough to stop small arms fire, shrapnel, and the like. The maximum of useful armor is reached when a hit would kill you anyway, like getting hit by the equivalent of a truck. Against lasers this may mean the point at which you cook inside your armor, not good.

Future war may well be 'slow,' because the mobility of power armor troops is essentially foot mobility, with enhancements like powered roller skates. Mobility is limited behind the front as well, because truck convoys will be conspicuous targets even hundreds of km behind the lines. Logistics too will have to be stealthy.

It is easier to have a Ho Chi Minh Trail in the jungle, so one thing timeless will be the supreme importance of ground and the physical ecosystem. This of course gets interesting on habitable planets other than Earth.

Some kinds of fortifications might remain valid, basically because dirt absorbs a lot of damage points. Yes, there are bunker busters and Thor bolts, but the point is that such big powerful weapons are costly to deploy, carried by vulnerable platforms, and can be engaged by defensive fire. This could be the saving of large naval surface combatants, hard to sink except by massive attack that overwhelms their defenses.

The one way to achieve rapid, heavy movement, whether logistic or an actual assault, is to ramp up the noise level so high that the enemy's sensors are saturated, and nothing (you hope) is in 'plain sight.' If you are right you get blitzkrieg; if wrong you get the Somme.

Large scale surface war may thus have an alternating rhythm - weeks or months of stalking, skulking, and skirmishes along the front, interrupted by episodes of sheer rock & roll, perhaps to cover the fast movement of a truck convoy up to the front, where it will disperse itself and go to ground.

All of this takes place, or doesn't, against the background of nuclear weapons. The constraints on mobility in 'conventional' warfare could make it indecisive enough for the great powers to engage in it without risking a nuclear exchange. As in the 18th century they would be fighting for provinces, not national survival.


Now for the space context. If suitable planets are limited - say, Earth and terraformed Mars or Venus - politically balkanized planets are to be expected, unless you go mid 20th century retro and have the American Empire a Federation. Certainly on Earth itself you can plausibly expect Great Powers, with great power militaries.

In a few-worlds setting, space itself will be off in the background. India is not going to get in a major tussle with Olympus Mons; both have bigger problems much closer to home. And India and China are not going to take their arguments to the asteroid belt, at least not in a big way, because money spent on deep space forces comes out of much more critical surface, air, and Earth orbital forces.

This can have advantages for space-centric settings, because you can let the major Earth powers stalemate each other, keeping them off the deep space chessboard.

In the classic operatic setting of many colony worlds, it could be a different matter. Uniform planets are rightly bashed, and I've bashed them myself. But in such a setting I think politically unified planets will be common, perhaps the norm. In the colonization era everyone can have their own planet, and later on, even if local fissures develop - and they will - any planet that can present a united front enjoys a huge advantage in interstellar power politics.

Or putting it another way, any planet that cannot present a united front is at a huge disadvantage, drawing plot complications like flies. And here we are.


I could make the many and salient arguments for peace, but I know they would fall on deaf ears, so we'll go straight to comments.


The image comes from this futurist blog.

829 comments:

«Oldest   ‹Older   801 – 829 of 829
Rick said...

And #801, to say welcome to another new commenter!

Wars fought entirely on one planet are more likely than planetary invasions if only because they include wars fought on Earth. But whether post industrial powers can fight each other 'seriously' without wiping each other out is an interesting problem.

Milo said...

Rick:

"Wars fought entirely on one planet are more likely than planetary invasions if only because they include wars fought on Earth."

And tavern brawls happen more often than world wars. But it's still the latter that people usually write about.

Al said...

If your PD can shoot down all of an invaders drop pods, I have a feeling it can also shoot down any unfriendly ICBMs as well. If this is true it makes wars between major powers more likely.

On a different note: If a planet only has a few domed cities (ie the Moon) , how would you go about bombing it from orbit? Doing too much damage to a city's dome would just kill everyone in it, and a dead population isn't good if you're trying to conquer the planet(oid).

On the other hand, if all you want is resources I guess it wouldn't be such a bad idea.

Byron said...

Please remember that ICBMs aren't the only way to deliver nukes. There are plenty of ways that ABM PD couldn't stop, such as cruise missiles, or even truck bombs. And only one has to get through to kill the target.
Bombing a planet with domed cities is easy. Wipe out the defenses, and order them to surrender. They simply have no choice. There's not many places to hide in, and you can blow any dome that resists wide open.

Al said...

Darn blogger didn't post my comment. Oh well.

"Bombing a planet with domed cities is easy. Wipe out the defenses, and order them to surrender. They simply have no choice. There's not many places to hide in, and you can blow any dome that resists wide open."

Basically what I said was that there are a number of situations in which this would not work. The cities could see surrender as worse than the consequences of continuing to fight, or a dictator could contue fighting against all reason (think Hitler). Finally, a politician who orders the obliteration of whole cities could get thrown out of office in the next election.

PS. Good point about the ICBMs.

Rick said...

Welcome to yet another new commenter!

There is another very important difference between ICBMs (or nuclear bombing from space) and dropping troops - the differing impact of attrition.

If my PD can inflict 30 percent casualties on your troops during initial drop, you will think long and hard about it. If I can inflict 70 percent casualties, you will only do it in a desperation situation (and invading a planet is an unusual desperation measure).

But 30 or even 70 percent attrition against a nuclear strike is No Big Deal; you are still left smoking and glowing. So a defense that effectively precludes a landing is still far short of effective nuclear defense.

KraKon said...

"f your PD can shoot down all of an invaders drop pods, I have a feeling it can also shoot down any unfriendly ICBMs as well. If this is true it makes wars between major powers more likely.

On a different note: If a planet only has a few domed cities (ie the Moon) , how would you go about bombing it from orbit? Doing too much damage to a city's dome would just kill everyone in it, and a dead population isn't good if you're trying to conquer the planet(oid)."

Most of my setting is like that, with the larger cities moving underground rather than getting wider.

"On the other hand, if all you want is resources I guess it wouldn't be such a bad idea."

It's still better to have the mines intact and if possible with functioning mining equipment .

"If my PD can inflict 30 percent casualties on your troops during initial drop, you will think long and hard about it. If I can inflict 70 percent casualties, you will only do it in a desperation situation (and invading a planet is an unusual desperation measure)."

War itself is desperate, so desperate maneouvers in that sense are all relative :)

To take one example, island hopping during world war II inflicted heavy casualities on American troops (and even larger on the defending japanese). Even so, assaults were conducted regularly.

PS; Rick, I've tried messaging you through lyonesse and it didn't work. :/ Any other method to contact you directly?

Milo said...

Rick:

"But 30 or even 70 percent attrition against a nuclear strike is No Big Deal; you are still left smoking and glowing."

No, some of my cities are left smoking and glowing.

If you launched 10 nukes at 10 of my cities, and I shoot down 70%, then I lose only 3 cities.

If you launched 10 nukes all at the same city, then I'll lose that city... but it's only 1 city.

Planets have many cities. Even in the Cold War, MAD relied on the potential for many many nuclear explosions, not just one or two.

Unfortunately, invasions also rely on the potential for landing many many troops, in which case you can probably also manage many many nukes...



Al:

"On a different note: If a planet only has a few domed cities (ie the Moon), how would you go about bombing it from orbit? Doing too much damage to a city's dome would just kill everyone in it, and a dead population isn't good if you're trying to conquer the planet(oid)."

You can still bomb any weapon they bring outside the dome, crippling their military ability. You can also forbid all travel in and out of the dome so as to lay siege to it. You may then need troops to actually hold the dome, but that's occupation/insurgency business. The lack of orbital fire support for the counterinsurgency could make things trickier, though.



KraKon:

"It's still better to have the mines intact and if possible with functioning mining equipment."

Mines are likely to not be inside the main dome at all. The mines could have their own pressurized areas for human workers, but much of the work will be robotic or in spacesuits and rovers.

Hence, smashing the dome won't hurt them. Even inside the dome, you can crack it in such a way that citizens die while machines that can survive depressurization remain capturable.

Milo said...

Another question: would the defenders' soldiers deliberately choose to make their stand inside the dome, knowingly endangering their own populace through urban warfare?

The only reason this would actually annoy the attackers at all is because they have compunctions against killing civilians. So, essentially you're using human shields. Not something current opinion looks kindly upon.

Byron said...

The dome is an even more extreme example of my initial point about ground defenses being useless without space defenses. There's no atmosphere to hide behind so ships can get lower and don't have to deal with blooming, there's little surface cover, and it's easy to threaten the dome with annihilation. Also, worlds without atmospheres tend to be smaller and have lower orbital velocities, making ASAT missiles less effective. Defense would likely rest on lasers and coilguns. I've done a lot of thinking about this in the past, and in some ways it's the best scenario for the attacker.
Plus, munitions can come in cold.

Milo, the problem with ICBM defenses is that if one warhead can take out one city, then what's to stop the enemy from building enough missiles to overwhelm your defenses. It does have to be perfect, or close enough to be really expensive to overwhelm. ICBMs aren't that expensive, and if 1 out of 100 gets through, then they need 100 per city. Missile defense has to be a lot better than pod defense no matter what.

Rick said...

KraKon, my Lyonesse addy should work - I am horribly behind on answering email, so the malfunction may be mine.

A nuclear warhead is (very roughly!) the size and mass of a soldier, and delivering either one costs more or less the same. So if you can land a battalion on a planet with enough survivors to fight, you can hit the planet with a few hundred nukes; if you can land a regiment you can hit it with a few thousand.

Byron said...

Actually, the nuke's a good bit smaller. Maybe a quarter of the profile, or less. And it doesn't have to be stopped at the end, so it's harder to shoot down.

Milo said...

Byron:

"tend to be smaller and have lower orbital velocities, making ASAT missiles less effective"

"Lower orbital velocities" still means kilometers per second. Your missiles are still going to be pretty deadly if they hit, and they'll be easier/cheaper to launch.

Geoffrey S H said...

Given the "industrial scale of space" discussion, and the talk of how infrastructure won't be there is large quantities until possibly even after the plausible mid-future... it seems that this entire concept, even building up the forces to bombard a world will probably be so far beyond the mid-future, we can't even imagine what it will look like, even if attacking a world from orbit with spacecraft is plausible (which assumes that world won't have manufactured defence platforms and missile platforms outnumbering you 10 to 1 or more by the time your force arrives)...

Byron said...

Luke, if you're still lurking here, I'm working on a spreadsheet for space combat and would like your help on penetration calculation. I wasn't sure how else to get in touch.

jollyreaper said...

Fights between peer or near peer competitors will not go the way either party expects; I imagine the start of WW IV (WWIII being the Cold War) being something like the start of WW I; lots of dashing manouevre then everyone gets bogged down, with the fight devolving into unexpected directions and desperate schemes floated to break the stalemate.

I would also posit that if there has been a long period of peace before the fight, the initial flurry will involve the destruction of outdated and unrealistic models of combat, the winnowing of flawed technologies that were some general's pet project, and the rapid firing of peacetime generals who prove they can't hack it in the field.

We've seen this sort of thing happen before, leaders who couldn't handle the politics of the peacetime military are suddenly thrust to the forefront because, for all the shortcomings of their genteel manner, they can win battles.

Rick said...

The current era has already had a long period of peace, so far as main force combat between developed-world forces is concerned. How much has there been since 1945?

jollyreaper said...

follows General Senger und Etterlin’s main battle air vehicle concept: The main battle air vehicle uses ground tactically without relying on it for mobility.


I'm scratching my head at this one.

The general dictum is you cannot hold ground from the air. Air power works best at interdicting movement. From WWII to Gulf War 1, air power can deny open movement of military columns on the road but cannot dislodge a formation that's dug in. Air power can interdict the supply lines leading to a dug-in force, reducing their combat effectiveness before friendly forces make their attack.

I'm scratching my head with regards to the air mobile tank they're talking about. Right now tanks are heavy because that's what it takes to mount enough guns and armor to remain combat effective. The sort of engines and rotors it would take to lift a main battle tank would be like a flying crane. And even if it were possible, self-deploying air-mobile armor would remain incredibly vulnerable to enemy aircraft and anti-air weapons.

Here's the paper I found discussing the topic. I'm reading it now.

http://cgsc.cdmhost.com/cdm4/item_viewer.php?CISOROOT=/p4013coll3&CISOPTR=1904&CISOBOX=1&REC=1

Heavy lasers can be built and have their coverage extended through a series of relay mirrors, which can be virtually disposable by being mounted on drone aircraft, balloons or fired into space on


I'd thought about this. Coordination would be impossible if they were all manned systems but computers could probably handle the workload. And yes, cheap mirrors would make the whole thing cost-effective.

Long range fire support will also be decoupled from the battlefield, "artillery" will be based on things like railguns mounted on ships (the proposed USN railgun program envisions firing at targets over 300km away), hypersonic cruise missiles launched from CONUS and appearing over Iran within two hours or even converted ICBMs raining programmable sub-munitions over the battlefield less than 30 minutes after launch (15 minutes for SLBMs).

The big game-changer I'm seeing is very accurate employment of artillery fire. Even with forward observers, artillery fire is more a matter of educated guessing and luck. With advanced communications, artillery will be employed with the same precision as the sniper's bullet. Imagine the game-changer of a battery firing three salvos and every round arriving on a picked target.

jollyreaper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
jollyreaper said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anonymous said...

My Take: Wars of drones are boring. Wars of drones puts the emphasis on the every-smaller as lice infect drones with nannites and/or your DCS (Drone Control System) gets spoofed, jammed or fried.
I also see a very bad trend (Supported by _Wired For War_) in that drones are largely specializing out into categories that come under basically: EOD RC tank, EOD sub, HK Flying Drone. None of which are useful in a civilian context all of which are deadly to the development base of a non-militarized society whose R&D (university lab) centers are not funded by the military. If you want to have robots, go whole hog and make them stand up and do things in a 'universal laborer' fashion that makes sense for peace time use: pick cabbages, build houses, do roadway repair. And -then- make them into soldiers. This is far more useful than it sounds because it allows the robots to interact with anthropomorphic specialized function devices. Like doorknobs and steering wheels/gas pedals. All of which will be critical for early space colonization efforts because you're not going to be sending dumb-labor into space atop Conestoga Rockets. And so automation of the ditchdigger roles as manpower magnification (24hr shifts of human teleo or template operated robot labor) will be critical to setting up habitats in meteorlogically or biologically unsafe environments.
Most importantly, because the EMP which will fry a robot will also likely rad casualty a human (see radars that kill rabbits on the runway as interceptors lift off) it's easier to see them both being interactively subjected to similar kill effectors rather than exclusively forced into combat controller:cannonfodder roles.

Anonymous said...

I also believe that the key to any surface war (and what made the Star Wars PT laughable) lies in the high frontier acknowledgement of the dominance of space. While the orbital shooters with their rods from god may be vulnerable to EML or DEWS based counter fire directly over a defended hemisphere, if there are no 'shields', then ultimately the longer reach (skip rounds across the atmosphere or use high yield nukes to poison cobalt-salt the land) of space assets and relatively fixed locations of the ground forces will lead to space based dominance. Defeat the fleet or watch the tanks roll over your feet.
That said, the question becomes how you control what you conquer because, at interstellar distances, you may be quite a few YEARS out from your next wave of reinforcements. Can 40,000 troops (2 modern divisions) control a population of 40 million, 400 million, 4 billion? It may well come down to leaving the population in place or even allowing them to rewrite their own constitutional manifesto rules so long as they pay taxes to whomever takes over management roles.
This implies a far different standoff vs. close control method of overseeing civilian non-combattants and theoretically points to the importance of securing key facilities as resources so that insurgent operations don't become the norm as the old regime's loyalists sabotage what they cannot hold.
Conversely, if you are facing a contested high-intensity threat which is going to return for their world as soon as they aren't too busy elsewhere, you may want to raid-and-raze, pillaging what you can and then leaving a despoiled world behind you with the civilians okay but their industry in ruins.
At this point I should also mention that the easiest way to make people ineffective warriors is to make them sick and thus I personally believe that M-class worlds will be -completely- and aggressively terraformed, down to the microbial level, to make sure that we are not walking into a biohazard environment our bodies are incapable of dealing with. This will be the reality of living in a universe where it is quite likely that we -are- alone as the span of time isolates civilizations and even life itself, from active co-presence within reach of each other. Seeding the atmosphere with killer nano-virus is a great way to also butcher a threat which is too huge for your nominal invasion force to occupy and pacify. While providing room for resettlement by your own, overpopulous society.

Anonymous said...

Nuclear strike is needless if the rounds impact at anything like orbital speed of 7+km/sec, all surfacelevel buildings would be vaporized by kinetic impact. That said one of the key differences of a military from a mob is the ability to mass and defeat in detail with controlled logistics determining maneuver. With space warfare extending to orbital drop, it becomes nearly impossible for the PD scenario to work because I can drop -anywhere-. If you cannot take out the invasion fleet as it hovers, darksided, behind the local moon, you likely cannot catch a swarm of variable trajectory insertion dropships that plant a battalion each in undefended areas and then march to the city they need to strike. In this, modern maneuver warfare concepts look for what are called 'surfaces and gaps' as part of the operational art by which they attack where key centers of gravity can end the war. They do no dissipate forces into tackling their opposite numbers because attrition is a function of engagement and a contempt of engagement leaves enemy forces in the field without effective coordination if you take out their political or military leadership. One of the vulnerabilities of a 'chain of command' being that things like logistics require an order to be issued from the next level up. If the order isn't issued, the field units cannot simply summon the POL to move on a threat outside their AO.

Anonymous said...

Actually, if you look at the battles from Falaise to Khafji, the emphasis is one of attrition through mass and intent, not denial of maneuver outright.

We didn't pick up the attack on the Saudi town with E-8s or fighters, we did it with emplaced seismic detection devices which puts paid to the concept of airpower even detecting the threat in time to engage it is flawed.

Indeed, the USMC who had forward security elements in the empty border town ran an EX later on in the 90s where it was shown that the very incompetence of the Iraqis in combining their force movements to create shock and tempo in fact made it impossible for airpower to engage all threats simultaneously and this was what let them ease across the border.
What The Corps testers found was that if you run small units at high speed with significant time:space separations, the very act of annihilating one or two creates sortie intervals which in turn allows the others to gain time of advance needed to reach their objective.

OTOH, the notion that you are going to be able to -hold- once there (exposed, without elaborate camouflage, an empty town) was also disproven in that Marines in a single building called in supporting air and quickly made life painful for Iraqi forces such that the Saudi National Guard had relatively little trouble dislodging them from their positions. Where real attrition takes place is always in rout. Because everybody turns their backs and that triggers a combined panic/hunter instinctive response in humans which accounts for upwards of 70% attrition, even without traffic channelization as at Falaise.

Ground forces serve to attract enemy response, fixing them in place (Ardennes) and it is this response which focusses combat airpower on the engagement with lethal saturation of fires. But the fires can be applied equally to enemy ground units in-place positions (denying them the ability to hold terrain) or to maneuvering elements trying to contain a penetration.

Where air fails utterly is in open field maneuver where -everything- is in motion. And there isn't time or FAC-A/SCAR coordination assets to cover all threats.

It is for this reason that mechanized forces will continue to be useful where small signature boot elements cannot summon the mobility to create large opening movements that define maneuver warfare under 'breakout' conditions.

So long as you don't demand decisive engagement, you can quickly interleave forces to a level where it becomes impossible to define threat:friendly positional data without massive (vulnerable) networking and/or longdwell (from space) sensor resolution.

Byron said...

Kurt:
Most importantly, because the EMP which will fry a robot will also likely rad casualty a human (see radars that kill rabbits on the runway as interceptors lift off) it's easier to see them both being interactively subjected to similar kill effectors rather than exclusively forced into combat controller:cannonfodder roles.
No, it won't, or if that much power is required, the weapon won't be deployed as such. Otherwise, we would use them now. EMP is only useful against unshielded targets, and hardening isn't that difficult.

Nuclear strike is needless if the rounds impact at anything like orbital speed of 7+km/sec, all surfacelevel buildings would be vaporized by kinetic impact.
That's a very large kinetic. 7 km/s (which is on the high side for an LEO kinetic) is only 5.4 Ricks. So for 1 kiloton (which is quite a small nuclear weapon) you need a 180 ton kinetic. Also, they don't behave the same way on impact.

With space warfare extending to orbital drop, it becomes nearly impossible for the PD scenario to work because I can drop -anywhere-. If you cannot take out the invasion fleet as it hovers, darksided, behind the local moon, you likely cannot catch a swarm of variable trajectory insertion dropships that plant a battalion each in undefended areas and then march to the city they need to strike.
This is a baseless assertion. There's a massive difference between hitting the fleet in high orbit (hovering isn't even in the picture) and hitting the pods. One involves long transit times by ballistic projectiles. The other is no harder than modern BMD. As to the specifics of your plan, PD ranges are on the order of 500 km+, so that's a lot of marching. Maneuverability isn't going to help, unless the drop pod is also a plane. In which case, it's vulnerable to SAMs. Then you have to march overland faster than the defender, and defeat whatever force he has there. And that force didn't have to be shipped across interplanetary space. Good luck with that.

(Mass of buzzwords deleted.)
That's ignoring a lot of practical problems with this. You're assuming they can be overcome without addressing the specific objections raised above.
See this for more details.

Anonymous said...

Finally, I would like to comment on some of the drivers for vehicle combat we are likely to encounter in a normalized spaceflight ground combat condition.

On the ground, off the roads, everything gets dirty, fast. This means that everything has to be ruggedized to be function as much as survivable. This will have enormous effects on the likely 'ball turret' laser weapon which many might imagine as zapping threats from the horizon line.

Nor is this dirtside problem solely one of vehicle systems as the air itself is often filled with low altitude pollutants, dust and moisture, directly effecting propagation as beam weapon attenuation.

Similarly, EM guns will only achieve range with guided rounds if they accept the huge costs of both accumulative capacitor banks needed to run the weapons and the increased shock hardening of rounds to a 60,000G+ level when firing at 3-5,000m/sec. minimum for truly extended ranges.

Neither of which is all that important if you have overhead as your principle 'outer air battle' attritor to approach air and ground forces (excepting the condition of similar to Guadalcanal where the Navy bugged out in fear of subs and carriers).

Sans the need for air defense or high signature mass hard target attack, tanks will acknowledge the reality that you -don't- need a main tube for 70% of your targets, whether you are pushing a 30-40mm autocannon round through a wall to void out the insurgents defending an upperfloor from friendly infantry or engaging a softskin logistics vehicle.

This has the nice effect of boosting total round counts onboard and enabling autoloading with belted ammunition.

High pressure (LP electrothermals as much as EMLs) tubes will only be necessary if you are lofting rounds over the local horizon to SPH ranges of 30-40km with targeting to support it. For 10-12km distances, soft-launch of PGM at mortar like muzzle velocities (600-700m/sec) will do because you will be using top attack to get past the frontal arc of modern MBT. A 90-105mm payload bus weapon, coaxed with a 30-35mm autocannon gives a robust LOS/NLOS engagement option for a multitude of targets whereas M1 Abrams today are more or less mobile pillboxes if their main tubes are taken offline and they are reduced to rifle caliber MGs.

Anonymous said...


Even with synthetic nanotube composites, you cannot protect an entire armored fighting vehicle equally and so 'brilliant' top attack with SFW or BONUS type guided EFPs or minimissiles will become the norm as it allows for tank vs. tank sneak-games based on first-sight/won-fight conditions rather than slugging matches at ballistic-overmatch (penetrates frontal armor) ranges.

To defeat top attack, you will see APS or Active Protection Systems, take over as the principle 360` upper-hemisphere protection with miniature mechanical kill interceptors firing against everything from other tank rounds to RPG/LAW successors and ATGW.

Defeating APS will be a matter of busing out more submunitions from your lofted rounds than the enemy can knock down (MRSI makes this fairly simple if magazine expensive).

Overall, the certainty that orbital NGS = air superiority by default plus the lookdown targeting options inherent to optically invisible (electrochromic camouflage) UAVs that aren't engaged by interceptors will mean that you don't use dead-mass armor on tanks that have to be delivered across tens of lightyears from a ship of limited portage mass and volume.

If Armor isn't necessary then you will see a shift in the ratio of Firepower/Protection/Mobility emphasis which leads to MUCH lighter AFV.

Which may in fact be shipped as components (front end = power and drives, back end = crew and weapons) to simplify airlift by heavy VTOLs.

If you've seen the Halo Scorpion, imagine that vehicle as a plug'n'play composite of 5-7 ton vehicles that when linked together become a tank.

In turn, this will mean you fight from longrange and rely on directional microwave or laser comms to ensure secure, netcentric, control of over the horizon fires with mounted infantry light forces relying on the immediacy of fires from tank centerpiece support forces rather than have your armor exposed, leading the way. With say, less than 20 vehicles dispersed throughout the battlefield, you have to combine fires, not forces, to either support distributed (hard to predict = hard to stop) infantry attack. Or saturate high threat counterattack by similar mechanized opfors.

Forces will fight using cellular doctrine, like a sponge, where the enemy is allowed to soak up so much terrain until they are surrounded by threats which fire -inwards- to create overwhelming attrition.

Michel Babun said...

Military bases provide the accommodation to the one or more military unite. Military bases also provide food, water, treatment, and shelters during the siege. Every state has one or more military bases.

Benjamin Ethan said...

I hop for share your Site here . Share great information about your blog, Site really helpful for us . We read your Site, share most useful information in Site. Thanks!

38 Special Brass

«Oldest ‹Older   801 – 829 of 829   Newer› Newest»