The Lay of the Land in HX Program in January 2021

The air force and ministry of defense are getting ready to send final request for tender by the end of this month. We got some inkling what the bid entails from Foreign Military Sales permit from US Congress in October 2020: as planes go either 64 F-35 As or 72 Boeing F/A-18 E/F/Gs (50 Es, 8 Fs and 12 Gs respectively). This along with various munitions and equipment (no mention there about AMRAAMs or JATMs though). JATM should be available by 2021, so it should be available for US planes in HX competition, when 2025 comes along. Obviously MBDA Meteor will be integrated to F-35 by that time too, so it could be outside chance fo BWR-missile. The Lockheed asks for 10,6G€ and Boeing 12,5G€ for the packet. There is no same kind of data from European competitors.

F/A-18 C (Legacy) Hornet taking off in ACE17. Own photo

As always, left side of political spectrum is complaining about the price tag associated with the HX-program, and how the money could be spent much more sensibly on X, Y or Z. There has also been calls to limit the HX program to 40 fighters and other such, mostly meant for own voters kind of stuff. Also limiting to 40 planes have been quoted because “Finland doesn’t want to go on offensive war.”

Over the weekend Finnish Broadcasting Corporations Swedish language side started making noises about “not having honest discussion about HX program”. They quoted professor Hiilamo about the level of discussion. I’m sure prof. Hiilamo is bees knees in his own field, social policy, but as his beef with the HX program centers about it’s costs and not so much about the why and how many? Of the matter.

The “YYA-sopimus” people (agreement on friendship, co-operation and assistance) [The agreement that made Finladisierung the thing in 1960’ies] folk would sleep much better, if there was “only a few” fighters, say max 24, and they would only have defensive missiles. The cause of this is: “our fighters will be shot down in few minutes anyhow” and “money would be much better spend on [insert your pet cause here]”. I have proved in various simulations that even a quite limited technically advanced fighter force will be able to conduct effective defensive counter air against technologically near peer larger air force. Also this YYA people would only consider fighter that is made in Sweden, because of neutrality.

This message was brought to fore by bunch of wellmeaning fools (Kansan uutiset is far left paper associated with Finnish Vasemmistoliitto, a part little right from communist and left of socialists). who wanted to take a time out in HX-program. They feel that more comprehensive evaluation of defense policy and broader options. (Maybe they would like to see Russian and/or Chinese “peace”fighters in place of western “oppressor” fighters).

Other folks, so called “S2A missile people” see that it would be better to spent the odd G€ to get the surface to air defense into top notch. This would not of course be bad way to go as such, and with enough missiles and launchers would create a hefty size AD bubble around the vital parts of Finland. This would of course mean that Finnish Defense Force would loose the much of the capability to project power especially into Åland Archipelago and more broadly into the Baltic sea. This would mean that Finland would in essence drop the Åland neutrality agreement. This would be very costly exercise in Finnish blood, as by agreement FDF would have to take Åland back in some time frame.

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Virolaisten sotarobotti esittäytyy

Virolaisella Milrem Robotics yrityksellä on uusi kiinnostava tuote, joka julkaistiin kuluvalla viikolla. Type-X combat etäohjattava/robottitankki. Firman sarjassa on myöskin telaketju kantojuhta, joka on tarkoitettu periaatteessa kantamaan ryhmän vermeitä ja muuta raskasta kalustoa, jolloin säästetään taistelijoita.

Type X sensijaan on “land loyal wingman” eli miehitetylle tankille tai miehistökuljetusajoneuvolle tarkoitettu siipimies, joka parantaa miehitety tankin selviytymiskykyä ja laajentaa tankin havaintokuplaa. Alustan aseet ovat etäohjautuvia, koska Lännessä on lähes tunteellinen suhtautuminen autonomisten aseiden itsenäiseen tulenkäyttöön. Tämä on arvovalinta, ei niinkään teknologinen rajoitus. Epäilen, että raskaasti häirityssä ElSo tilassa saattaa, ainakin pidemmillä matkoilla, tulla vaikeuksia datan kulussa molempiin suuntiin. Alusta pystyy liikkumaan autonomisesti joko “seuraa johtajaa” tai weipointtien kautta.Laitteen toiminnalisuutta ohjataan joko paikanpäällä tabletilla tai suunnittelutyökalulla esikunnassa.

Tyyppi-X painaa noin 12 tonnia ja sen pituus on 6m leveys vähän vajaa kolme ja korkeus 2,2 metriä. Verkkosivu ei ilmoita millaisella tornilla mitat pitävät paikkaansa, mutta se ei ole asiassa nyt niin kauhean tärkeää. Voimanlähde on diesel-sähköinen, ja niin hiljainen, että se ei varoita lähestyvästä robotista.

Aselavettina Type-X on riittävän vakaa aina 50mm automaattikanuunalle asti, ja siihen tulee etäohjattu asetorni. Lisätulivoimaa tuo geneerinen 7,62 konekivääri. Aselavettina se on siis ajateltu NATO-maiden arsenaaliin sopivaksi ja kyseinen 50mm automattikanuuna lienee Bushmaster III kanuuna, josta on suunnitteilla moinen vähän karkeareikäisempi versio. Luonnollisesti aijemmat 25mm ja siitä ylöspäin olevat Bushmasterin aseet käyvät myös. ensimäisenä tulee versio 30mm automaattikanuunan kanssa.

Suunnittelukonseptina on ajateltu, että Type-X tarjoaa mekanisoidun jalkaväen taisteluajoneuvon tai vastaavan tulivoiman tai sen ylittävän tulivoiman. 50mm automaattikanuuna on luonnollisesti vaarallinen myös tankeille sivulta päin ammuttuna. Vaunu on suojattu venäläisen 14,5x114mm konekiväärin tulta 200m päästä ammuttuna vastaan (STANAG 4569). Koska vaunun sisällä ei ole herkkiä ja pehmeitä ihmisiä, vaan laitteita, lienee tuommoinen hieman kevyempi suoja riittävä Type-X vaunulle. Valmistjan mukaan Type X:ssä on haettu ennenkaikkea liikkuvuutta.

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A LOOONG overdue post about the Kauhava 2020 airfair!

There was nice crowd on Saturday and Sunday on site! It was nice to visit the airfield again. When I was A kid many of my friends’ fathers worked there, so we went there quite often. Also my late grandfather used to be flight instructor there. Own photo

This post has been long overdue! Reasons for this has been my studies for engineering degree, and family life. But without further ado, let us get into business!

SAAB GlobalEyen takaa aukenee näkymä SAABin nurkkaukseen kauhanan Plataa.Screenit ja kaksikerroksinen edustustila kuuluvat valmistajan panostukseen HX-asiassa.

All the HX candidates were present, but unfortunately Eurofighter Typhoon only with small stand and a model of Typhoon There were two fluing planes, but no to really talk to. SAAB was all out again and had MARVELOUS! area. One could sit in JAS-39 E GRIPEN cockpit and there was also flying example on the site.

Gripen’s front profile and some arsenal (mockups) to carry. The centerline pylon is a new one. There are 4 SDB and two Mk 82 bombs on centerline. There seems to be a IRIS T missile on the wingtip station, doesn’t look quite 1:1 to other examples I have seen, so it MIGHT be a towed decoy too.
There was a mockup, where you could climb in also present, so that you can get the feel of the real thingy! (own photo)

SAAB was also responssible of maybe the biggest news splash of the Kauhava 2020 airfair: They announced their decoy/jammer UAV (sort of a missile, sort of a drone, but EW/Jammer as a payload) After this addition to cababilities, Gripen E should be at par or better with all the other HX-contenders. Do not get me wrong: JAS-39 Gripen E is a great fighter! But it was lacking in capability to jam enemy radars without being itself in the harms way. AREXIS EW/jammer pods are a great system, but they were carried by the plane, so at very least home-on-jamming missiles would be a serious threat to jamming Gripens.

SAAB’s Magnus Skogberg dropping the LADM bomb. Even though the matter seems pretty trivial, stand off jamming capability is essential for ground strike and suppression of enemy air defenses missions. Lack of this capability was, IMHO, the biggest flaw on Gripen HX bid. Everything else seems to be top notch! (own photo)

Also a big first was SAABs Global Eye in Kauhava! Two of these (mini)AWACS planes are in the bid for HX-program. System like this extends the detection range of radar network out to 450km and also close to ground. The Global Eye is maybe the special strength of SAABs bid: It offers capabilities nobody else comes close to offering. On a side note, Finnish procurement plan for HX-program is about 20% too low: No HX contender has been able to provide the asked “full capabilities overhaul” within the 10G€ cap. So I think there will be haggling about this and that on 2021. These kinds of capabilities don’t come cheap. but you cant get them when you need them otherwise. Also I will be doing a longer post on Global eye in the spring.

Global Eye from the hind quarter. The plane is large when compared to the fighters next to it, but it brings a lot of power multiplication into the play. (own photo)

Dassault was also present in force! They had brought Armee del Air acrobatics flyer with them! The French bid is, for some unfathomable reason, seen as a bit lackluster by the general audience, but Rafale does everything the the peers do, and while carrying a lot of ordnance! Rafale is optimized striker, but it that does not deduct of her air to air capabilities. Rafale is agile fighter that would be a good fit for Finnish Airforce as well. On the plus side you get all the common NATO armaments and a few extras that the French make better! For example HAMMER guidance kits for bombs and MICA missiles. MICAs can do some really clever tricks with electronics of the Rafale to enhance the fighters capabilities.

Rafale C in acrobatics liverie.

Dassault tells that MICa missiles can be fired over the shoulder of the plane, and be guided by somebody other than the original firer to target. So this might play out like something like this: target pops up behind and to the side of the Rafale. Second Rafale might be behind but out of range to shoot, so the first Rafale can fire a MICA over to the side and behind and the second Rafale can guide it to target, so that 1st Rafale can start evading.

Dassault had a lot of interesting info about Rafale and nEuron UCAS system. It seems that HX fighter is going to fly with unmanned partners before 2050 is with us! Rafale too would be good fit for Finland. (own photo)

So that said, Rafale is an exellent fighter in her own right, but how I see things, it does everything well, but there is no catch. I do not know what there might be for Dassault and French government to sweeten the deal and to bring that little something extra. It might be something EU-policies related, it might be something to do with defense and security aspect of EU. But as I said, if it is in hardware or capabilities, I do not have knowledge of this.

Rafale is a great fighter jet, but Dassault offer doesn’t seem to have “the extra catch” visible. Unless of course it is something else….. (own photo)

The flight performance of the Rafale dispaly was suberb. You can view it on a link HERE

Boeing and F/A-18 E/F/G was also present in strenght and I had good fortune to speak about Loyal Wingman (Air power teaming system ) as well in Boeing booth. At this stage Loyal wingman is not, yet, part of HX-bid but very likely be part of future MLU update. Loyal wingman is basically a unmanned fightersize and capable drone. It’s main duty is to fly forward of the controlling fighter and use it’s sensor suite to pick targets for the fighter.

F/A-18 E and Loyal wing man. This will be a dynamic duo, as Loyal wing man gets more flight ours under its wings. (Own Photo)

What is also significan, IMHO is that as Alan Garcia confirmed, that Super hornet Block III CAN fit quad missile pylons. They are not in offer to finland, but never the less be great asset: AMRAAM is not heavy, but they are bulky, pylons can carry upwards of 1500kg of ordnance, but it has to be rather narrow. This would, even if you can only carry the quad pylon on inner wing stations, missile count of Rhino from 12 to 16. Well, more likely 12 still, but with some other doo hikeys.

The E/A-18 E/F/G family would indeed be battle proven and viable concept that has been designed to fight well in combination. (own photo)

The extra interest in Boeing offer is the E/A-18 G Growler. It is worlds most advanced electronic attack platform. Growler would really be game changer in our neck of woods if push comes into a shove. All HX candidates can do self protection, some of them can even do escort jamming. But Boeing’s bid has the only dedicated EA platform to do it.

The F-35 Lightning II is the perceived forerunner of the race for the laymen: It is low observable platform, that will have a lot of users around the world and Europe. It is the marvel of best American engineering money can buy. It can do a lot by virtue of its shape and sensor package, but there are some limitations.On the other hand, the low observable engineered shape goes to naught if you start hanging all kinds of ordnance into the wings.

Scott Davies told about Lockheed Martin F-35 A fighter. The catch with Lockheed martin is Low observable and maybe the most advanced sensory fusion of the Hx candidates. (own photo)

Lockheed Martin and F-35 has taken a lot of FLAK internationally and nationally with it’s bid. There has been nasty lobbying incident, the fighter has been too expensive and too slow, it can’t carry enough ordnance and there has been all kinds of delays in the procurement. Some, if not most, is about making headlines, and rest is maybe not as dramatic. Developing a new fighter and making it top notch is time consuming and expensive.

The price of F-35 A has come down considerably, and is about the same as with the other HX fighters. There are clouds in horizon for F-35 though. IR Array and multistatic radar technology goes forwards by leaps and bounds, so low observable might not be the winning bet for all times to come. Now I’m not saying F-35 is one trick pony, but it may well see her margins of excellence diminishing.

Eurofigter Typhoon didn’t have sales people on the site because of COVID-19, but I’m quite sure they are still wanting to participate and push Typhoon forward. The catch with Typhoon is for the Finns the access to Britain’s national intelligence satellite network, which would bring ISTAR capabilities for FDF.

This time it was German Typhoon that was in Kauhava. Eurofighter is indeed European fighter. It is in use all around the continent, and is the the worlds premiere Air to Air fighter. (Own Photo)
Posted in HX-ohjelma, ilmavoimat, in English | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Vetoomus HX-hankkeen kasvattamisen puolesta

Jos haluat liittyä vetoomuksen allekirjoittaneisiin, laita viesti, niin liitän sinut joukkoon.

Arvoisat Tasavallan Presidentti, Puolustusministeri sekä kansanedustajat,

Koska eri HX tarjouskilpailuun osallistuneiden valmistajien tarjoukset ovat olleet noin 10-20% arvioidun 10 miljardin euron summan yli, on pääteltävä, että HX hanke on alimitoitettu noin viidenneksellä. Edelleen Suomessa HX-laskelmissa käytetty 64 hävittäjän määrä tulee Pariisin rauhansopimuksesta vuodelta 1947, jossa Suomi pyrittiin riisumaan käytännössä aseista. Tarkoituksena näillä rajoitteilla oli varmistaa Suomen tilan haltuunotto tai käyttö tarpeen vaatiessa Neuvostoliiton toimesta. Suomessa käytetty 64 hävittäjän määrä perustuu tarpeeseen riisua ilmavoimat koneista, ei tieteelliseen arvioon todellisesta kone tarpeesta. 

Konevalmistajien analyysiin perustuva noin 1-2 miljardin lisärahoitus vaaditaan, että voidaan katsoa F/A-18 C/D kaluston kyvyt korvatun täysimääräisesti. Koska kuitenkin olemassa olevan kaluston määrä on myös alimitoitettu, täytyy Suomen tehdä merkittävä lisäpanostus Ilmavoimien kykyyn toimia koko Suomessa.  

Ilmavoimat on tärkein ja nopein tapa projisoida voimaa sekä Suomen alueella että Suomen lähialueille. Erityisesti Ilmavoiman kyky torjua pinta-aluksia Pohjois-Itämerellä ja Saaristomerellä on ensiarvoisen tärkeää ajatellen Ahvenanmaan alueen puolustusta ja hallussapitoa kriisiaikoina. Pirkkalan lentotukikohdan hävittäjälaivueen lakkautus on luonut vakavan tyhjiön Suomen lounaispuolelle. Kun yhtälöön lisätään erilaiset vieraiden valtioiden valmistelut ja toimet alueella, lisää tämä sodan riskiä.  

Näiden seikkojen takia, haluamme me allekirjoittaneet että:

  • HX-ohjelman konemäärä kasvatetaan 104 koneeseen
  • HX-ohjelman budjetti nostetaan 15 miljardiin euroon
  • Ilmavoimat avaavat uudelleen Kauhavan ja Pirkkalan tukikohdat

Itsenäisyyspäivän tienoilla 2020 

Allekirjoittaneet:

Tomi Hämäläinen, turvallisuusasiantuntija, ins-AMK.

Antti Rinne, Tele- ja turvasuunnittelija, DI, Lapua

Posted in HX-ohjelma | 2 Comments

reblog ON THE FRONT LINES OF GREAT POWER COMPETITION IN EUROPE: ADVICE FOR TACTICAL-LEVEL LEADERS

Linkki alkupeeräiseen artikkeliin TÄSSÄ

On July 29, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper unveiled a new plan for European Command’s force posture, which will result in the reduction of 11,900 troops currently stationed in Germany. Of those troops, a little under half will be repositioned across Europe while the remainder will redeploy to the United States and subsequently conduct rotational deployments to Europe. This decision follows an extensive DoD-wide review optimizing US military force posture within the strategic environment of great power competition.

Discussion about great power competition currently dominates national security and defense strategy forums. There are open questions about what great power competition actually is (and what it is not), how it will manifest in particular regions, what it means for particular US armed services, and even whether it really constitutes a strategy. These discussions are undeniably important, but they also tend to take place from a strategic perspective. What does great power competition mean two levels of war removed from such a lofty vantage point? What will leaders at the tactical level need to do in order to succeed in this new era?

Competing with Russia at the Tactical Level

Company-level leaders will likely spend at least the next decade of their careers preparing to fight and win ground wars in contested environments—especially in Europe, where the Army is likely to have a more central role than in the Indo-Pacific, with its comparatively more significant maritime domain. So, what should tactical-level leaders preparing to deploy for a rotation to Europe expect to encounter in that theater?

Russia, of course, remains the Army’s most direct competitor in Europe. Forward-positioned Army aviation and armor forces constitute critical capabilities for countering Russian threats to European territorial integrity and US national interests. While the 12th Combat Aviation Brigade is permanently assigned to Ansbach, Germany, no armored brigade combat team has been permanently stationed in Europe since 2014. Russia’s invasion of Crimea that same year, however, reversed America’s decision to retrograde its armored forces. In an effort to reestablish deterrence following this invasion, the United States sent small numbers of tanks to Europe for short deployments throughout 2015.

The following year brought significant changes to the US force posture in Europe. A seminal 2016 report by the RAND Corporation war-gamed a hypothetical Russian invasion of the Baltic states and found that Russian forces would reach the outskirts of the Estonian or Latvian capitals within sixty hours—and perhaps in as few as thirty-six. The report further assessed existing NATO defenses would be completely overwhelmed and that the alliance would have to launch a bloody counteroffensive to eject Russian forces from the Baltics. RAND ultimately recommended that NATO position a force of approximately seven brigades, augmented by airpower and fire support, in the Baltics to prevent them from being rapidly overrun by a Russian attack.

NATO had arrived at similar conclusions and solidified the Enhanced Forward Presence initiative at the July 2016 Warsaw summit. This involved the assignment of four multinational battalions—separately led by German, British, Canadian, and US forces—to Poland, Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; it was the largest addition to the NATO defense posture in a generation. In 2017, the Army contributed additional forces by executing its first nine-month heel-to-toe deployments of armored brigade combat teams and combat aviation brigades to Europe. The armor rotations will likely continue in the near term, even as discussions between DoD, Congress, and NATO allies continue regarding drawdown of US forces in Germany and the potential establishment of a permanent US base in Poland.

This is the operational environment tactical-level leaders will find when they get to Europe. It is also one that will see them occupy more traditional roles at the tactical level as part of conventional, combined arms teams than has been the case during the long years of America’s post-9/11 wars. Despite this, the qualities required of “strategic lieutenants” in Iraq and Afghanistan remain important. Junior leaders must still be educated in strategy, history, and current affairs to make informed decisions when they find themselves at the forefront of the US military’s place in great power competition.

Learning the Terrain and the Enemy

Preparation for a deployment to Europe should begin with every soldier understanding the tactical, operational, and strategic environment into which the unit will deploy. Leaders should leverage their unit intelligence sections to provide background briefings in addition to the doctrinal outputs from the intelligence preparation of the battlefield process. The intelligence section’s early provision of friendly and enemy equipment recognition guides will assist every soldier in distinguishing friend from foe. Understanding the capabilities and limitations of friendly force equipment will ease future planning for partnered training events in theater.

Additionally, leaders and the intelligence section should together analyze the terrain of their future area of operations and prepare maps and graphics for anticipated training areas. Germany’s Hohenfels Training Area, Bulgaria’s Novo Selo Training Area, and Poland’s Drawsko Pomorskie and Bemowo Piskie Training Areas and Miroslawiec Air Base are among the most commonly frequented by units deploying to Europe. The brigade’s geospatial-intelligence cell should distribute standardized tactical maps of central Europe and the Baltic states that clearly illustrate avenues of approach suitable for wheeled and tracked vehicles. Furthermore, units should study battles fought on the same terrain to accumulate historical context and lessons learned. World War II’s Eastern Front offensives coupled with Cold War planning to secure key terrain like the Fulda Gap are useful in informing the way we conceptualize today’s strategic environment and concerns with the Suwalki Gap. Additionally, the Soviet Army’s Vistula–Oder Offensive in January 1945 serves as a particularly useful case study to help armor leaders visualize a combined arms attack across Belarus, Poland, and Ukraine into Germany. The Army University Press even offers free virtual staff rides of the Battles of the Marne (1914) and Stalingrad (1942–1943) to facilitate historical analysis of European warfare. Table-top exercises to study these battles can be incorporated into existing company and battalion leader professional development programs to build readiness. Because terrain does not change much over time, junior leaders’ investment in terrain analysis is almost guaranteed to yield future dividends.

However, future Russian military operations in Europe will likely look much different than those executed in the past. Therefore, historical study must be accompanied by thorough examination of emerging Russian military technology and tactics. Russia’s campaigns in SyriaLibya, and Ukraine’s Donbas region provide insight into how the Russian military fights in the modern age, task-organizing electronic warfare at the lowest echelons, for instance, and incorporating private military companies as force multipliers. Within Europe, the Russian military has also leveraged well-coordinated intelligence collection and information operations against US and NATO forces to discredit them. As such, even company-level training can yield strategic consequences if thoroughly exploited by the Russians. The battalion staff and company leadership should therefore explore how to best allocate the unit’s intelligence collection and analysis capabilities across the formation and manage the unit’s digital footprint. Rotational units may conduct exercises on NATO’s eastern flanks not far from Russian training sites; such proximity inherently puts friendly units at risk of Russian intelligence collection and information operations.

The unit intelligence section owns the lion’s share of creating shared understanding of Russian military capabilities and vulnerabilities, but the unit should also liaise with other organizations in the intelligence community particularly the Defense Intelligence Agency and National Ground Intelligence Center, to obtain classified intelligence reports and briefings on the current enemy situation, Russian order of battle, and hybrid warfare. These agencies may even be willing to host site visits for unit leaders or, at a minimum, participate in classified video teleconferences to brief unit leaders on their future area of operations. Unit leaders could then maintain relationships with the agencies’ European threat analysts throughout the deployment and provide bottom-up refinement of their intelligence assessments. Such collaboration will only benefit both the Army and the intelligence community over time.

Leaders at the battalion or brigade level should also contact Army FAOs—foreign area officers—at the European embassies in countries where the unit will deploy. FAOs can bridge military and political considerations, providing strategic insight beyond the usual purview of a brigade combat team. FAOs can also coordinate briefings with an embassy’s Office of Defense Cooperation and Defense Attaché Office and might provide recommended readings that unit leaders can incorporate into leader professional development programs.

Basic Deployment Readiness for the European Mission

Although “readiness” has been the Army’s watchword nearly a decade, it includes theater-specific considerations for rotational deployments to Europe. Company leaders in Europe-aligned units, therefore, can begin pursuing the qualifications and licensing necessary to mobilize for deployment. The standard qualifications for a unit mobility officer, hazardous material, vehicle drivers’ licenses, and government credit cards should be supplemented by international drivers’ licenses, training for contracting officers, and disbursement of funds, along with arranging for diplomatic clearances. Additionally, identifying soldiers in the unit who speak European languages can inform manning for liaison officer positions and build the capability to read local open-source material in the unit’s future area of operations.

Lastly, studying successful previous rotational deployments and partnered training events can ease the workload of training management during the deployment. As institutional knowledge of these rotational deployments is still somewhat limited, unit leaders should look to previous units’ experiences to inform the preparation for their own.

Leadership Calculus

This great power competition environment, with its reduction of traditional “combat deployments,” places rotational training events in higher regard. Tactical leaders face an incredible leadership challenge when determining how to prepare and deploy soldiers to these events. As defense budgets continue to contract, the Army must retain strategic and operational flexibility to provide its stabilizing influence on global affairs. Readiness to deploy composes a large portion of this flexibility. While it is impossible to be 100 percent ready at all times, tactical leaders must understand that while they are not actively deployed, they will likely be training or assisting their higher headquarters to train. They must understand further that while officers and senior noncommissioned officers rotate through units frequently, their lower ranking noncommissioned officers and lower enlisted soldiers do not. It is the tactical leaders’ burden to shoulder this understanding and responsibly steward soldiers’ time in the garrison environment, with the knowledge that near-constant rotational deployments and training cycles likely lay ahead. Communication of the long-range training calendar to soldiers and their families can help manage expectations and prepare the force for increased operational tempo. Any type of predictability that unit leaders can provide is critical.

Given the constraints that a typical brigade combat team’s training cycle levies upon its members with respect to field time and time away from family, considerations must be made to fully understand the impacts of training decisions made. An unfortunate truth of being assigned to an armored brigade combat team is the necessity of longer-duration training events given their cost. Thus, tactical-level leaders should maintain a pulse on their formations in multiple ways. Command climate surveys, family days and activities, and simple off-duty interactions between members of the unit can enable leaders to understand these impacts. Successful management of time at the small-unit level leads to more productive soldiers.

The role of tactical-level leaders in an era of great power competition is important—and challenging. They face a complex and uncertain operational environment and a highly demanding operational tempo during rotational deployments. It is likely that they will be left with fewer and fewer resources to complete their tasks as hard decisions are made about future budget allocations. Yet despite these challenges, it is important to realize that they are surmountable. These rotations are at the very center of great power competition, and their strategic implications are vast. Leaders at the tactical level have a contribution to make, and the US military’s effectiveness in this new era will hinge, in part, on their ability to adapt to and succeed in this dynamic operational environment—on the front lines of great power competition.

Maj. Brigid Calhoun graduated from the US Military at West Point in 2011 and served in the 173rd Brigade Combat Team (Airborne) as the brigade assistant S-2, the 1-503 Infantry Battalion (Airborne) S-2, and military intelligence company commander. She is currently pursuing a master of policy management from Georgetown University as part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Internship Program.

Capt. Alexander Boroff is a fellow at the Modern War Institute at West Point. He is an armor officer currently serving in the Joint Staff Public Affairs Office as part of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Internship Program. His previous publications include topics such as general organizational leadership in public and private sectors, as well as Army reconnaissance training. He tweets at @UnsolicitedArmy.

The views expressed are those of the authors and do not reflect the official position of the United States Military Academy, Department of the Army, or Department of Defense.

Posted in armeija, Baltic situation, in English, Reserviläiset, Sodanajan toiminta, Suuri peli, War in Baltic Region | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Armeijan ampumataulut täytyy muuttaa!

SRA taulu sekä PaHun tuore rintarengastaulu valmiina palvelemaan ammunanharrastamista. Oma kuva.

Rupesin tässä ajattelemaan, insinöörityön lähtökohtia miettiessäni, että kotoiset ampumataulut opettavat ampumaan A2 Keltaista, mistä suunnasta hän ikinä hyökkääkään, väärään paikkaan.

Ennekuin nyt tyrmäät ajatuksen suorilta, niin kuuntelepa perustelut ensin: Kun ajatellaan normi SRA tai ns rintarengastaulua, pyritään ampumaan vihollista vitaaleille: sydämen, aortan ja keuhkojen kohdille. Siis aikalailla massan keskipisteeseen, mutta vähän yläpuolelle. Tässä ei mitään vikaa, mutta kun A2 Keltainen on raukka- sekä epäurheilijamaisesti peittänyt nämä vitaalit sekä idässä että lännessä ns “Strike plateilla” ei melko täydellisen luotisuojan antavilla inserteillä. Nämä antavat, jos .30 tai tai 7,62mm väljyykisistä puhutaan, suojan aina 30-06 panssarinläpäisyluoteja vastaan. Ainakin läntisillä suojilla. Wikipedia artikkeli erilaisita suojaustandardeista englanniksi.

Kuvassa kolme Pininterestistä napattua geneeristä brittitaistelijaa. He eivät liity asiaan mitenkään muutoin, kuin että heillä on päällään Osprey suojaliivien, tai LuSun perusosa: Se osa jonka alle NIJ IV tason suoja pujotetaan. Kuten huomaatte reunimmaisilla taistelijoilla, NIJ IV levy peittää hyvin tarkkaan tuon vitaalien ampuma-alueen. Olkapäille ja kaulalle on saatavilla kaulukset, jotka kestävät kyllä sirpaleita, mutta eivät luoteja .357 magnumia enempää.

Kuten edelläolevasta kuvasta näette, Väinö Linnan Tuntemattomassa sotilaassa antama “tähdätkää vyönsolkeen” neuvo on erittäin pätevä: Sinne ei ole saatavilla levyä, vain tuo noin NIJ III tason pehmeä suojaus. Tälläisesta NIJ III suojasta uivat läpi kaikki nyky rynnäkkökiväärien luodit.

Luotisujalevyn, jenkkilässä SAPI-levyn, koko on medium kokoisella käyttäjällä  241 x 318 mm. Eli suurinpiirtein A4 koon paperi (210x297mm), SAPI, tai joku sen jatkokehitelmistä, peittää juurikin tuon mainitun vitaalialueen taistelijoilta sekä edestä että takaa. Tämä alue on SRA tauluun suhteutettuna suurempi kuin A-osumien ala (150x280mm). Kun SRA taulun C-aluekin on maksimissaan 250x400mm ei tuon SAPI levyn takaa löydy paljon tilaa edes C osumille.

Eli siis: Suomalaisia sotilaita ei kannata opettaa lyttäämään luoteja vastustajan rintaan, mistä ne eivät, ainakaan ensimäisillä kolmella-neljällä osumalla mene läpi, vaan kannattaa opettaa “tähtäämään vyönsolkeen”.

Niinsanottu “SPOL-taulu” antaa hieman paremman harjoituksen ammuntaan, koska A alue ulottuu suhteellisen alas taulussa. Spol taulussa ei ole myöskään tähtäämistä helpottavia/ohjaavia valkoisia merkintöjä, joten se palvelee kohtuu hyvin myös hyvinsuojattujen taistelijoiden nynnistämistä.

Ammuttu SPOL taulu Defendo Green lähitaistelukurssilta Oulusta keväältä 2018. Oma kuva

Elikkä minusta kannattaisi harkita taulujen muuttamista siten, että ne, ainakin puolustuvoimissa, ohjaisivat ampumaan SAPI levyjen alle. Valkoisia tähtäysympyröitä olisi helppo sijoittaa tauluun kaksi. Toiden vyönsolkeen ja toisen vitaaleille. Itse olisin tähtäyspaikan opettamisen mahaan kannalla, koska kauempaa on vaikea todeta vihollisesta minkälaiset suojat tällä on tai on olematta. Siksi olisi kustannustehokkainta opetella ampumaan alas.

Posted in Aseet, Aseet ja varusteet, Epäselvää ajatustenlentoa, henk.koht, Jotain aivan muuta, SRA, varusteet | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Gripens on Haukkavuori

This is the last instalment of SEAD/ Air to ground scenario against Russian installations on Suursaari (Hogland) island. If you want to read about the premises of the scenario, the basis is HERE.

First three quite important things that you should take into consideration in this video and appraisal.

  • Command Modern Warfare does not have SAAB GlobalEye in the database. Thus I use older iteration of same platform, Eriye as a replacement. eriye is at least ten years older technology and not based on Gallium electronics so performance with Eriye is significantly less than with GlobalEye
  • Command modern warfare does not have AREXIS jammerpod in its database. Thus it is not available for this scenario.
  • thirdly We have no way of knowing what kind of loadouts SAAb and SwAF and FAF are thinking for their Gripen E/F fleets, and Gripen may not be that requeted for platform, in Command that it might get loadouts late and they might not be all that accurate.

That said, Eriye really gives advantages due it’s threat library in recognizing installments like radars on Suursaari, but does not really help in picking the Air defense batteries out of the foliage. That is but a secondary thing, considering the AWACS real use of Battle space management and airborne early warning. In passive realm, there is just not that much it can do from that kind of range.

Of course, the SDB-39 glide bombs have a nice range, they are stand off weapons, and are quite handy in dispatching troublesome air defense bubbles, but they do require quite big salvoes to do the trick properly. In fact the expenditure was quite high, 48 and 45, on two latter runs of the scenario. I even had to bring in the last resort flight groups with cluster bombs and Mavericks. This is because of absence of offensive jamming on Gripens part. (I hope AREXIS comes into the CMW soon) Also the simulation is quite adept so that it doesn’t try to hit targets like radar installation with cluster munitions, but reserves them for air defense sites.

As you can see, the casualties were rather light, and came after a lot of missile fire from the VVS. This might also be contributed to absence of offensive jamming on Gripens part. AREXIS will take care of this, but as mentioned it has not been modeled into the Command modern warfare.

Gripens turn on whack-a-mole in Eastern Gulf of Finland. Quite a good run, and lots of hard knocks to see.

One more thing hard to fathom is how much inferior SAAB Gripen seems to be in Command Modern Warfare as compared to Typhoon and Rafale particularly. It picks the targets rather late from the ground (even though Litening pod should not be a slouch). This might be bias, (I don’t think so), or it might be because Gripen E is lesser known and to some extend still in production. It is after all totally new platform. So it might be downplayed a bit. I do get that the nosecone is of a smaller diameter, so the radar cannot physically have as many elements as the eg Typhoons radar have (they do come, after all, from same company, Leonardo, so difference in competence should not be there)

So Gripen does a good job on cleaning the AD bubble over southern Finland. Eriyes range is indeed impressive to see on the map. Even if Gripen is the smallest munitions carrier in HX-program it does a nice job.

Posted in Baltic situation, Buildup to war, hypoteesitilanne, ilmavoimat, in English, simulaatio, Skenaariot, Sodanajan toiminta, Sotapelit, Suomi ja Ruotsi, War in Baltic Region | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Typhoons over Suurkylä

This is second to last installment over Ground/SEAD mission over Suursaari area. The general plan is laid out HERE if you like to read the general plan before googling the video.

Typhoon is the thoroughbred, well at least the most optimized, A2A platform of the the HX bunch. To be clear every platform in the bunch can do everything pretty well, but the optimization is where the devil truly lies. But as with all modern fighters the HX-winner is supposed to be able to do everything “well enough” to be a feasible platform in most eventualities.

Some info on HX-proposal. The SPEAR 3 and SPEAR EW feature heavily on video. Own Photo.

As I told in Rafale post earlier The optimization in Typhoon is quite evident: Canards are quite small and way to the front, as compared to Rafale and Gripen, and also there is way more wing area (50-51,2 m2 depending on source, Rafale has 45,7 m2 and Gripen 30 m2) to give lift and maneuverability to platform. The cross-play with wing area, maneuverability, carrying capacity, and service ceiling is complex one, but as a rule of a thumb lighter plane with bigger wings can go higher, than heavy one with stubby wings. But wings cause drag as they create lift, so it really is not a straightforward exchange. For our purpose, Typhoon can go highest of the HX-candidates, almost to 20km, and thus has corresponding advantages on missile ranges. (Again, rule of a thumb: Every 6km of height, double the range of a A2A missile.)

Some info about the SPEAR family. Own photo.

Although in this scenario there is not really need for Meteors or any other A2A missiles, they are as always carried. Another intresting point in simulation is that Command Modern warfare appreciates DASS as not having as good as threath library as SPECTRE or BARRACUDA. DASS does detect the threats just as far off as Rafale and Lightining do, but identifies them significantly later. (Again, commercial product, maybe 75% accurate, so not word of God.) Also what is peculiar, DASS doesn’t seem to pick up anything passively: You have to turn CAPTOR on to get contacts on VVS installations.

The video about Typhoons doing DEAD against facilities in Suursaari. Own production.

Never the less. Tyhoons did really good over Suursaari. This is because of outstanding performance of SPEAR EW and SPEAR 3 missiles. Granted you use a lot of them. but that is sort of the purpose of this kind of missiles: They are way cheaper than cruise missiles, they do a lot less damage, but you can saturate the air defense so that when SPEAR 3s come out rom behind the electronic warfare or jamming screen, you just don’t have enough time to take down all of them. After you have annihilated the air defense, you can use relatively cheap ordnance to dispose the rest of targets.

So expenditures after three rounds, it takes a lot of SPEAR 3 to get by.

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Some heavy Breezes from North

Dassault Rafale is, in my humble opinion, the dark horse of the HX-campaign. Dassault does not toot their own horn that vigorously, but their product is top of the line. And If one considers JUST the interdiction/Close Air Support or general ground splashing would be the contested winner of the the bunch: Great load carrying capability, and good range. Maybe a bit on the slow side, but still a great asset all around.

Also I read yesterday from Kauhava airshow pages, that Rafale is going to have a performance there in 28-30.8.2020 (28th to 30th of August for Anglican world). Kauhava is sort of my home base, as my very late Grandfather was a flight instructor there during the wars and into 1950’ies.

This scenario is https://epamuodikkaitaajatuksia.com/2020/05/06/blind-mans-bluff-in-suursaari-casino/ . In this scenario Finnish Air force is destroyng Area surveillance and and area missile threat to southern Finland and surface vessels in middle-eastern Gulf of Finland area. Read the article linked, to get a more comprehensive view.

Rafale B in Rovaniemi May 2017. Photo my own

Rafale is meant to be Armee del Air’s primary fighter for untill 2050ies, and has enjoyed some export successes internationally. It shares the common origins with Eurofighter typhoon, but as when the French wanted to go towards strike fighter optimized platform, the British wanted to have air superiority optimized platform. This is visible on the positioning and size of Canards: Typhoon has them far in the front and relatively small for speed and manouverability, Rafale has the canards close to the main wings and quite large for carrying capability.

Sidewiev of Rafale B in ACE 2017 in Rovaniemi. Own photo.

As for the task in hand Rafale has a quite good selection of AS weaponry and , most notably the SCALP EG/ Storm Shadow stealth cruise missile. This will be used to take out the Pantsir and TOR systems protecting the S-300 and Air surveillance radar, and of course the anti ship battery. After that French AASM/HAMMER glide bombs with M82 500lb (250kg) warheads will be used. There will not be aerial threats present.

In some discussions there has been a concern about “Rafale only uses French weapons. The point is not quite as important as it would seem on two accounts: Firstly Weapons like Meteor ARE integrated to Rafale platform, and as Meteor will be the BWR missile of FAF, (barring the selection of F/A-18 E/F/G) you can’t really say that you are married to French weapons manufacture. (MBDA is pan-European company). Also as AASM/HAMMER is clearly superior in performance to PAVEWAY-series, you MIGHT want to use them anyway. Also as a side note Meteor is itself compatible with earlier AMRAAM data link, so you are sort of married to western technology than a certain manufacturer. This MIGHT affect FAF if Finns want to use airborne anti ship missiles, because then Rafales are sort of married to Exocet-missiles. Although I’m sure that with time and money you can get anything integrated.

Again the 59N6 Protivnik sees the Rafales pretty much as soon as they have left the aerodrome and risen to sufficient height to have cleared the radar horizon. This demonstrates the problem with this kind of radar amply: It makes all kinds of transporting and shift of airborne assets more costly, as the planes have to fly low and use more fuel.

Single Rafale B detected, but not identified at about 133 NM out at about 17500 feet by 59N6 Protivnik. Rafale’s SPECTRE starts to see the same targets about the same time, so it is radar horizon thing.
All the players are in field. The SSM system is analyzed, all else is still speculation.

One thing about the video: The lost Rafale C. I have no clue WHY it started doing honor laps around the island. I had ordered it away, and to drop a couple of AASM on the S-300. It did neither. So it is quite possible, that it is just a hick up in the simulation. I do know SPECTRE system is really top notch protection suite, but obviously you cannot rely on it keeping your plane safe no matter what. It seems to me that when planes are flying in formations of 3 Command lets the one fly off to some direction, and it is quite hard to command single plane (if it is a part of the flight) to change directions. Thus I think 2 losses for Rafales in rundown are due the simulation SW, rather than the plane.

The Pantsir’s are unable to engage the SCALP EGs with missile, but they can try to shoot them down with cannon fire when they come into electro-optical systems range. This capability could further deteriorate if sufficient water vapor was present in air. Say fog or rainfall. Pantrirs are capable of engaging AASM HAMMERS with missiles from further out, but this capability might be neutralized with sufficiently powerful and right directional jamming.

After the Pantsirs are down taking the S-300 and rest of the assets on Hogland is pretty straightforward practise. You can quite handily pull this off by use of AASM Hammers: When you drop a salvo, 5 pieces of ordnance, the last usually get through after the Pantsir has exhausted missiles and guns.

Video of Rafales on Hogland. it is over 36 minutes long.
As I mentioned second Rafales lost in round 2 and 3 are, IMHO, due to simulation software’s peculiarities. The defenses can be taken apart by many ways. Usually I use SCALP EGs, expensive, but tried the saturation too with loads of AASM-54s. Also as a note. 3rd round last two planes were airborne over AFB, but did not take part in the fight.

Also Millenium 7* history tech, a fellow you tuber who makes really good technical/historical evaluation of the aeroplanes present in HX-competition released a video on Dassault Rafale on 29.7.2020. I link it here, so you can have a look.

Posted in HX-ohjelma, in English, Skenaariot | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Lightning Strikes on Lounatkorkea

This time it is F-35 lightning IIs time to try their hand in blind man’s bluff in Suursaari/Hogland strike.

This video was delayed in making, because I dropped my mic, and it did not survive it. Now I got a new and better one.

Finland has been offered as a part of the HX-fighter replacement program F-35 A fighters which leave something to be desired in Command modern warfare context: They do not have any kind of SEAD/DEAD configuration in database (as I’m writing this in June 2020, this might change) One COULD use F-35I configuration maybe but as this is not offered to Finland and relies heavily on Israeli systems, so I feel it is not fair if I take this version in simulation. I have toyed around with British F-35 Bs, and their SPEAR EW expendaple jammer drones. But I declined to use them in this scenario. As a compromise I picked Norwegian F-35 A variant which at least had the JSM, joint strike missile available. I will also note that HARM-ER will be adopted for F-35 use. but is not available currently in Command Modern Warfare.

The F-35 A is by concept very different beast from all other HX-candidates. it is the only low observable, RCS is about 0,35 squre meters, fighter in the bunch. Which is not to say that others are high observable, at or about 1m squre. Even though RCSs is about one third of the other candidates, does not mean that F-35 can only be picked at one third of the distance the others can. It is about half the distance in reality. Inverse square law is after all function in distance and RCS. On rough terms every time the distance to radar doubles energy that gets reflected back to radar is divided by four. If F-35 A are only using their internal bays, they can be picked at 70 nm, and if they are in “beast mode” all the way to 100 nm. So stealth helps, but not that much in this scenario. They are flying more or less straight on the radars, so the RCS should be at its minimum.

Another point with F-35 A is the absence of jammers: IF you are employing a fighter that lives and dies by the stealth, mounting evermore powerful jammers that radiate like there is no tomorrow would defeat the purpose of stealth. They CAN however jam with their radar, so I use that option as default.

As you can see, Russian AD uses a lot of missiles when it tries to keep the S-300 and radar alive. And usually, if they are smart, the F-35 can escape harm. Sometimes thoug they fly into the sea area between Hogland and the two small islets to south, and are shot from three directions, which usually means casualities.

The video is not of any of previous, but it goes about as well as it usually goes, so I think it is really very good summary of what usually happens.

In English this time with all JSM loadout, 4 per plane.
Posted in HX-ohjelma, SEAD, simulaatio, Skenaariot, Sotapelit | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment