Categorie archief: International

contributions for English readers. both from DutchForce21 and guest blogs.

out-of-the-box solution: LAHAT missile & NEMO mortar!

the continued reliance on close air support – a capability that kept ground troops safe in Afghanistan and Iraq – was a “flawed assumption” for future campaigns.

In my last post I wrote about the necessity to repair the teeth of the Dutch Lion. I argued that the Ministry of Defense often “brags” about number of “Main Weapon Systems” (in the sense of the platforms” but in fact these systems/platforms lack weapon systems, and are often only armed with self defense turrets/guns. The Dutch armed forces – especially the land forces lack offensive capability and depend completely on others and “Airpower” which is an illusion.

Last week these claims I make for years now (to death mans ears some officers are laughing it away, and politicians… well they are just that…) But now a British active duty Brigadier acknowledges these claims….

“Brigadier Simon Humphrey said budget cuts and an over-emphasis on low-end insurgency operations have left Nato forces at risk of being “overwhelmed in the early stages of a high-intensity conflict”.
….
He added that the continued reliance on close air support – a capability that kept ground troops safe in Afghanistan and Iraq – was a “flawed assumption” for future campaigns.

….

An accompanying video presentation declared that “Nato’s rocket and gun platforms are outnumbered, outranged and outgunned by all their likely peer adversaries. The enemy would overwhelm our forces with greater range, volume and access to large-calibre munitions.

“A rocket engagement with a mix of sensor fuzed, thermobaric and proximity munitions against dispersed Nato battle groups would be devastating.” ”

Normally our officers won’t listen, they are proud of their work. They have (when there is money left) some exercises where they “show- off” that the units and Main Weapon Systems” (namely the Boxer, Fennek in it’s strange configurations) Perform well. Their scenarios are met…. Don’t ask how they do it… but they say they do. Well I’ve read some reports about it.. they create a scenario where there (limited) “capabilities” for offensive operations fit in… the scenario… “beautiful weather” scenarios they are. If all goes well, all goes like they planned it… the mission will be accomplished… Sort of Battle of Arnhem scenario… but what if there is a SS Pantzer division in the neighborhood? But now a British respected high ranking (and responsible) Officer claims the same…. So will they believe and act now? (I hope for the best, but expect the worst……)

With this post I want to deepen the concept I foresee with an out-of-the-box approach. This approach is needed in my opinion as a measure to give especially the light infantry forces a defensive and offensive system to decrease dependence on Combat Air Support and third nation capabilities. A combination of the NEMO and LAHAT missile.

Feasibility

In my latest post I mentioned two specific systems: NEMO and LAHAT and the combination of them which is possible…. I asked IAI (a couple of years ago) for this possibility and they replied that since the missile is designed as a Multi-role system it will be possible.

Excerpt from my email questionnaire to IAI:

LAHATlauncerquad

Q: “Could the Nemo (from the Finnish company Patria) fire the LAHAT? Because that would be very interesting to give the Nemo a multi-purpose function. 

A:  “The LAHAT in the canister version may be launched from any platform including the NEMO. The LAHAT in the canister only weights 16 kg, the length is 1 meter and the diameter 12cm. The electrical interface of the LAHAT Interface Unit (LIU) and the platform is very simple. The LAHAT firing envelope is very wide and tolerant and doesn’t request very accurate positioning of the vehicle or complicate operations by the operator”.

Patria, the creator of the NEMO mortar probably wasn’t aware of this but I received this reaction from them:

“I’ll pass the information you sent to our engineers and let’s see what comes out of that. And many thanks!”

Unfortenately I never received any response from the engineers… But the reaction of IAI is clear: Since this is cleared out: the other decision-making factors not included factors like:

  • Political willingness,
  • industry interests
  • The will to do things differently out-of-the-box (imo a real problem in the military). I once had a discussion about the Fennek… to better arm some of the vehicles (with a 25-35 RCWS) to have more Direct-Fire Support firepower for light infantry, recce units etc. the discussion and arguments moved from it isn’t technical possible (definetly wrong-it is why should they otherwise develop the Fennek Stinger WP with a weight of 1500kg?) to >>> There wasn’t a “political” request to do this.. so according to this officer the politicians are leading in what is needed to equip our forces… While imo the military should show to politicians – this is wat’s needed – if not these are the consequences > for your responsibility (towards the soldiers lives and people. But it seems to me the military is lacking the capability to think outside of the box…

It is possible and a real viable solution for countries who currently lack the firepower generated by medium combat vehicles, tanks, a lack of non-availability of Long Range Guided Weapons (LRGW). This combination offers a multi-role solution for several shortfalls. This system can be used in the

Direct Fire-Support function and Indirect Fire-Support function combined from one platform!

The 120mm Patria NEMO mortar.  This system is unique in its capabilities. Of course there are other mortars with a little bit the same capabilities but they are lighter, slower or less capable. Here are some of the features about the turret which is light and compact and easily installable on light, tracked chassis (even like the BVS10 Viking) or wheeled armored vehicles in the 6×6/8×8 class or even boats:

  • A lightweight structure, requiring little space within the platform and, therefore, adjustable for older chassis
  • High rate of fire
  • Rapid response
  • Shoot and scoot
  • Minimal crew (driver + 1 Nemo weapon officer + 2 loaders)
  • Direct fire capability
  • Direct lay capability
  • Suitable for all standard 120 mm smoothbore mortar ammunition
  • Full 360° traverse
  • Joint operations between Patria Nemo and Patria Nemo Navy units
  • A Range of +10km
  • Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact (MRSI, so shoot several rounds, and let them come on the ground at about the same time)

Picture 811

What to choose for the Dutch Armed forces?
Well, the best option would be the AMV from patria itself. But unfortunately, the Dutch military burdened our country (and thus their own operational soldiers) with the Boxer 8×8 vehicle which is even in it’s unarmed configuration overweight, to slow and to expensive. Since these units are intended to support the “light” infantry units (if I had anything to say) My pick would be the BVS10 Viking version. But besides that there is another option… a containerized version…….(isn’t that awesome?) This option could fit on Trucks, Amphibious landing boats (for example LCVP or even faster boats like the Watercat M16, and ofcourse as a base security guard C-RAM system.  I believe the BVS10 Viking would have my preference above the armored truck since it will be better suited for the working environment.

BVS10VikinNemo

Nemo_BvS10

Some of the options this containerized version will give a defense force…… I can tell you It opens a lot of potential… for C-RAM, Base defense, Amphibious and Littoral warfare, Special Forces support…

Patria-Nemo-Container-6 

Nemo_container

 

  • Multi functional LAHAT Missile – JOINT weapon system of choice!
  • My personal favorite however is the Semi Active Laser (SAL) guided LAHAT missile. Because of it’s “low-cost” and multi function / joint capabilities. It has a very low weight (about 13kg) and excellent range about 8km). What is needed is a sytem of “connected” sensors & shooters. Sensors can be handheld, drone, helicopter, (any aircraft with a IR targeting system / Laser Designation System), Mast mounted, vehicle mounted. So the shooter platform doesn’t really have to be the guiding one, guidance can be given by any available sensor platform. The same missile can be used to equip many different platforms:
  • Tanks and NEMO mortars:Unique in its kind, it’s the only missile both capable of firing from a launcher and from a 105 / 120mm gun.  The LAHAT missile is already integrated on Leopard 2A4 tanks as shown in the video here. The LAHAT missile is put in a canister which can be handled as normal ammunition onboard a tank/mortar carrying vehicle. In theory even 105mm artillery guns can be equipped with this as a direct fire solution if needed. Range about 8km.

Lahat_Firing_Leopard_2A4

This out-of-the box solution needs to be arranged also in a organizational way.. These kinds of systems aren’t just “artillery” “Indirect Fire-Support” capabilities but in reality, direct fire-support solutions. This requires that the way of operating, organizing and supporting these units needs, from the bottom up, a maneuver oriented organization.

I believe it should be directly under the battalion commanders control. (through the Combat Fire Support Company (or how the RNLMC thinks it should be called… 😊) It should fit within the DutchForce21 infantry battalion structure. And I promise, I will create a TOE for this…

DutchForce21 plans for:

  • 4 Light Infantry bataljons (marines and air maneuver)
  • 1 Paracomando bataljon (taking NEMO with them is not an option, lightweight vehicles with 81mm mortar and LAHAT launchers will (something like this? RAM KM3)

LAHAt Launcher 2quad

  • 4 Mechanised Infantry bataljons… Yes they can have the NEMO mortar as well….

The Fire Support Companies for both Mechanized and Light Infantry will be different. I come later to that.

Part 3: How to repair the teeth of the Dutch Lion

I wrote a series of three blogs, one about the statistical situational of the personnel of the land forces so Land forces command and the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. The second blog is an explanation of the Dutch current lack of offensive and eventualy defensive capabilities. In it’s current form it is only able to operate in peace support or police / military training missions and with doing that depending on Airpower and support from other countries. The third piece has some suggestions of what to do to repair these deficiencies and to (re)create teeth…. of the Dutch Lion.

 

And this is the fun part I now give a free advise to the Dutch Land forces… and politicions working on their new goverment… where they promised during the elections to make a real effort of investing in Defense… because they see that the world isn’t that safe… if it ever was..

What the Netherlands Defense forces (on land) need is a combination of capabilities which overlap each other. If we take the worst case scenario – High intensity conflict – you need a combination of systems which are capable of supporting each other on the battlefield. Probably in a dispersed way So no high value targets of massed groupings of units as a sitting duck.

So IMO we do need a system with connected capacities to create an “imaginative” umbrella. An umbrella which is both defensive and offensive. We need:

Direct fire support systems:

  • Heavy caliber = 120 – 140mm main armament (that’s what it really means😊) to be found on (heavy, medium and light) Tanks, and Tank-killers (also wheeled variants available).
  • Lahat_Firing_Leopard_2A4

    The LAHAT missile launched from a German Leopard 2A4 tank..

  • Medium caliber = 20 – 40mm main armament to be found on Infantry Fighting vehicles, Direct Fire support vehicles (also wheeled 4×4, 6×6, 8×8 and 10×10 vehicles available, so also to support Light infantry or Wheeled infantry units.)
  • Small caliber = 0,5 Machine guns, remotely controlled or manual fitted as main weapon on Combat Service Support (CSS) vehicles as it is now, or as secondary armament on Combat Support (CS) vehicles.
  • Multi purpose grenade launchers = 25 – 40mm remotely controlled or manual, fitted as main weapon on Combat Service Support (CSS) vehicles as it is now, or as secondary armament on Combat Support (CS) vehicles.
  • Hand-held grenade launchers (for example 40mm) Infantry weapon
  • Sniper rifles and in some cases Anti Material Rifles (20mm)
  • Assault rifles Infantry 7,62mm standard (a higher standard than the current 5,56mm standard, because of increased range and effectiveness.

Guided Weapons against land targets:

  • Short Range: with a range up to 1km, to be employed by light infantry (YES, we already have these 😊) Pantserfaust and Carl Gustav.
  • Medium Range: with a range up to 2,5km, to employed by light infantry and dismounted (wheeled/mechanized) infantry (We have these as well 😊) Fire & Forget capability Spike MR.
  • Long Range: A capability to be able to fire against targets within a range of 8km this would be a new capability for the Dutch armed forces. They did have the TOW missile from the PRAT YPR vehicle but it had an effective range of 4km. This capability will give maneuver unit the etch against enemy forces because you will be able to hit others while they aren’t normally capable of hitting you back. This would be a decisive capability especially for the Wheeled and light infantry because they normally lack the power of tanks. There are several interesting systems, I would suggest to take two types the Extended range (>8km) and the Non-Line of sight (NLOS) with a range of about 25km. The first one is really essential, the second one would give our forces more punch and lowers the risk. Because we (our soldiers) can strike at a greater range than the enemy would be able to do:
    • Extended range: There are several capable options so there shouldn’t be a predefined option.

Multi functional LAHAT Missile – JOINT weapon system of choice!

LAHATlauncerquad

 

My personal favorite however is the Semi Active Laser (SAL) guided LAHAT missile. Because of it’s “low-cost” and multi function / joint capabilities. It has a very low weight (about 13kg) and excellent range about 8km). What is needed is a sytem of “connected” sensors & shooters. Sensors can be handheld, drone, helicopter, (any aircraft with a IR targeting system / Laser Designation System), Mast mounted, vehicle mounted. So the shooter platform doesn’t really have to be the guiding one, guidance can be given by any available sensor platform. The same missile can be used to equip many different platforms:

  • Helicopter: Even the lightest helicopters can be equipped with long range strike assets, a quadruple launcher weights only 75kg. So this weapon can be used on the LSH and Apache helicopters. In the latter’s case it means that our Apache can fly much further (because of lower weapon loads) while being equipped with a bigger ranged weapon then the current Hellfire missiles (which by the way outprice the LAHAT. Hellfire missiles cost about $ 68.000 a piece versus the LAHAT for about $ 20.000. Because LAHAT would be used by both Land-, Air-, and even Sea command’s it will probably mean we can buy more missiles at lower prices and with less cost for support,  training, storage and other facilities. The range fired from helicopters is about 13km.
  • Drone’s: there are plans underway to integrate LAHAT on Drones. Because of the weight this can be done on both fixed wing and vertical lift drones. And we even don’t have to use the Heavy and over expensive American options, the Dutch military (Air Force is favoring… as usual) The range is also about 13km.
  • Tanks and NEMO mortars: Unique in its kind, it’s the only missile both capable of firing from a launcher and from a 105 / 120mm gun.  The LAHAT missile is already integrated on Leopard 2A4 tanks as shown in the video here. The LAHAT missile is put in a canister which can be handled as normal ammunition onboard a tank/mortar carrying vehicle. In theory even 105mm artillery guns can be equipped with this as a direct fire solution if needed. Range about 8km.
  • Land vehicles:  The LAHAT missile can be put on a “load” platform with several quadruple launchers (weighting about 75kg per for missiles) Or be put in special launchers which can be fired and reloaded under armour. For example in the excellent Israeli RAM MKiii AT version. Range about 8km.
  • Fixed installation / compound C-RAM system: It creates a defensive shield of about 8km surrounding the compound which can react within seconds after sight of incoming enemy fire.
  • Navy applications: There are several potential navy applications thinkable:
    • Main weapon for patrol boats: with quadruple launchers or other form of launching system fixed to a Remotely Controlled Weapon System (RCWS) armed with a 20 – 40mm medium caliber gun or a small caliber gun 0,50 caliber.
    • Amphibious fire support and littoral warfare: The Current Dutch LCVP’s and LCU’s could take quadruple launchers on deck. But in the future it would also be usefull to use Fast attack craft equipped with 120mm NEMO mortar, so such a vessel can be used in both a indirect and direct fire support function. In the Artillery list more about NEMO. The LAHAT will give a patrol-, amphibious- and littorals force hugh potential and fighting power, which also means security and protection for the soldiers. This also means the high value targets like amphibious ships and frigates can keep out of close range from the shore while giving the landing force a direct reaction capability which also safes on artillery and support weapons/munition onboard the ships.
    • strb2010_20100224_1563248721

      For Amphibious operations and Littoral operations the RNLN / RNLMC team need more and better equiped small vessels like this Alucraft Watercat M18

    • Defensive use: as secondary weapon in the C-RAM and “swarming boats” roles on bigger ships like frigates, replenishment ships and amphibious vessels. This option could even be used on “civil” merchant vessels in the case of anti-piracy or convoy duty.
  • Non Line of Sight (NLOS): this type is somehow able to fill a gap between MLRS and LRGW functions) The Spike NLOS has a range of about 25km, is wire-guided and it is also possible to use for both strike and reconnaissance functions. While flying over / towards a target it films everything on it’s way, so it would be an interesting ISTAR asset. The missile can be re-tasked during flight. This weapon can also be made available in a helicopter version and can be used to equip vessels and small boats.
  • images

 

Artillery: Indirect fire support systems:

  • 60mm Mortar not very much to talk about here. Range about 1km
  • 81mm mortar This should become as it used to be, the indirect fire support weapon for the light infantry only. So the amphibious-, air maneuver- and para commando infantry units as well as some for special forces operations should be integrated in the lowest possible level, the fire support company of the infantry battalions (or groups). Range about 5,6km.
  • 120mm mortar; These towed 120mm mortars could remain (at least in a more modern version) range 8,1km But I would want to make a strong argument to integrate a new system here in the Netherlands inventory.

 

I would ask your special attention for a very versatile system: the 120mm NEMO mortar

Picture 811

The 120mm Patria NEMO mortar.  This system is unique in its capabilities. Of course there are other mortars with a little bit the same capabilities but they are lighter, slower or less capable. Here are some of the features about the turret which is light and compact and easily installable on light, tracked chassis (even like the BVS10 Viking) or wheeled armored vehicles in the 6×6/8×8 class or even boats:

  • A lightweight structure, requiring little space within the platform and, therefore, adjustable for older chassis
  • High rate of fire
  • Rapid response
  • Shoot and scoot
  • Minimal crew (driver + 1 Nemo weapon officer + 2 loaders)
  • Direct fire capability
  • Direct lay capability
  • Suitable for all standard 120 mm smoothbore mortar ammunition
  • Full 360° traverse
  • Joint operations between Patria Nemo and Patria Nemo Navy units
  • A Range of +10km
  • Multiple Round Simultaneous Impact (MRSI, so shoot several rounds, and let them come on the ground at about the same time)
BVS10VikinNemo

the BVS10 amphibious Amored vehicle could be operational in more roles than currently available. There is this 120mm NEMO mortar version for example.

This weapons is really multifunctional and it’s ability to have Direct fire support is especially enhanced because it is also able to fire the LAHAT missile with a range of +8km[i].

 

  • 105mm Howitzer Not in service at the moment, This could be a capable addition for the Dutch land forces. It’s a light system and could be deployed anywhere even under a medium sized helicopter and in an amphibious role. There are interesting systems on the market which give this weapon a range almost equal to heavier 155mm artillery pieces. One of these sytems is the Suith-African Denel Developed Lion.. (attractive name for the Dutch isn’t it😊)
  • 155mm Howitzer: The current heavy (and I mean really heavy) 155mm Pantzer Houwitzer 2000 is a development from the Cold war. The Dutch army has 60 systems in it’s inventory but only uses 18 of them. (plus some for training I believe). But as I said, they are to heavy. To be honest they can only be used in support of the mechanized 43th Brigade with it’s leased tanks and CV9035 Infantry Fighting Vehciles. The other units won’t receive support from this because they will be to heavy for expeditionary warfighting. The only alternative now are the old 120mm towed mortars but these have realy limited range. So best option would be to take a proven 155mm howitzer which is able to support wheeled and light infantry maneuver verywhere. I believe that one of the qualifications should be that it could be flown into theater, that will be able to support amphibious landings.
  • MLRS

 

I think every General, with or without an armchair, could understand and affirm that this situation is untenable. The time to change is NOW! Or as  John Kotter  puts it:

 

[i] https://www.dropbox.com/s/pg7rbqpzxuugv8s/lahat%20%281%29.pdf?dl=0

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/LAHAT

 

 

 

 

Part 2: Offensive capabilities: Toothless = useless!

I write a series of three blogs, one about the statistical situational of the personnel of the land forces so Land forces command and the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. The second blog is an explanation of the Dutch current lack of offensive and eventualy defensive capabilities. Here is part two.

Part 2: Offensive capabilities needed: Toothless = useless!

Besides looking at the “numbers” or to be more specific: “number of soldiers” in fighting and support functions, one other very – not to neglect area – are the weapons and systems they need to fight. We can be short of the capabilities of the Dutch Army and marines to fight (battles not Peace support missions): almost none. And then I’m not talking about the lack of reserve parts, lack of training hours/days and the lack of oil/fuel (and in this case personnel).

The Dutch armed forces lack the capabilities to fight. They can do peace (support) missions, “police” or “training” missions but they can’t do what they are meant for. Especially the Land forces. There is one Brigade which has some form of fighting power, the 43th Brigade with their CV9035 vehicles with 35mm canons. we lease a couple of tanks, and they have support of 120mm (oldies) and 155mm Artillery pieces. On paper… very posh paper (of the Dutch Ministry of Defense) they also have Fennek MRAT, Fennek Mortar and Boxer 8×8 vehicles but all of these aren’t able to fire on the move or only have defensive weapons…. Our Fennek MRAT can only deploy in ambush.. were the soldier have to leave the vehicle to fire his or her missile (1 launcher 2 vehicles with total 10 missiles….) run back to safety… and move on.. This isn’t ofcourse what the army is telling our parliamentarians. (if they even care about it….) If parliamentarians and their political assistants where smart AND interested they would have noticed that while first the Boxer was the only vehicle capable for the MRAT role, but then suddenly the Fennek was capable as well. In between, sort of secretive they changed the specs… and there you have it, the Fennek MRAT was borne. No instead they are only creating lists of “Hoofdwapensystemen” hmmmm.. a Dutch word and I tell you what it means: “Main Armament/Weapon systems”.

Main Armament/Weapon systems Lists

With the word “Armament” or “weapon” you create the illusion that it is about some form of deadly overwhelming and of course hyper modern piece of art… system. (Because that’s also what they claim, for our boys and girls only the best is good enough….. we don’t want to bring them into dangerous situations now do we?)

The use of these words put politicians (and civilians) on the wrong track. They read the number of main armament/weapon systems and think… owh do we have that much? No problem… The parliamentarians do look at the “availability” numbers (which are shockingly low), but there isn’t a list that measures effectiveness and “capabilities”.  So we have to consider that most of these systems on these lists don’t really have offensive capabilities. The tooth has fallen out of the lions mouth.

The Dutch Toothless Lion

What do I mean with: ‘the tooth has fallen out of the mouth of the lion’? (Yes we have an Orange Lion as a mascot😊)? Let’s briefly go down the list:

Capacity / weapon system availability Observations
Tanks (direct firing range 3km Some, only for 43th brigade with some tanks leased from the German Bundeswehr. We sold ours (about 100 directly after modernizing them to the 2A6 standard) for peanuts to Finland.
Close range air defense /(PRTL/Cheetah 35mm) Sold to Jordan (directly after modernizing them to the newest standard) ncluding all 35mm cartridges which where initialy the reason for buying the specifacly adapted CV90 “35” with extra costs.Instead of the standard available 30mm or 40mm as the Sweden have themselves.
Multiple Lounge Rocket System (MLRS) We had some good systems bud sold them because we thought we didn’t need it. These we also sold for peanuts to Finland.
PH2000 155mm Self-propelled Howitzers YES, finally we have a lot of them, 60, of which only 18 in use.. Oh, and they are so heavy they probably can’t support the 11th, 13th Brigades and the RNLMC…They have to do with old 120mm mortars..
Long Range Anti Tank / PRAT (TOW) The Dutch Army doesn’t have these Anti Tank weapons anymore. There currently is no capability of firing on-the-move + firing (and reloading) from under armor! We do have the small Fenneks with Spike missiles (placed on an imperial on the Roof.. for goodness sake☹) but they only have a range of 2,5km. And they go in small numbers. So no, we don’t have any relevant capability anymore.
120mm mortars Low availability, the whole ground forces Army and Marines have to share the same small number of mortars. So limited availability and I have to say, limited range.

These weapons form the backbone of Dutch Artillery while they used to be the heavy weapons of infantry battalions. No smart ammunition. Also no direct fire capability.

81mm mortars Reasonably available within infantry units, no smart ammunition available.
Medium caliber weapons  – only CV9035 There are only 2 battalions equipped with these vehicles. This means that only the 43th Brigade has these offensive capable vehicles. The other “wheeled” Brigade has to do with unarmed  or lightly armed (say 0,50 caliber) machine guns. What about the fighting capability of the Wheeled and Airmobile units?
Small caliber weapons These are normally fitted to a lot of the “Main Armament/Weapon systems” BUT purely in a defensive / supportive role. And this is the main problem for the Dutch land forces.

only one comment for the pictures here… (lose) promisses nothing more…

In my opinion this is a very scary situation. In a realistic and modern combat scenario we… the Dutch… won’t have a chance, without the help of others. It’s not even so we don’t have enough… we don’t have it!

Dutch armed forces need tooth ‘and’ tail

I write a series of three blogs, one about the statistical situational of the personnel of the land forces so Land forces command and the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps. The second blog is an explanation of the Dutch current lack of offensive and eventualy defensive capabilities. In it’s current form it is only able to operate in peace support or police / military training missions and with doing that depending on Airpower and support from other countries. The third piece has some suggestions of what to do to repair these deficiencies and to (re)create teeth…. of the Dutch Lion.

Part 1 Statistics and ratios: tooth-to-tail

A comparison of the Royal Netherlands Marine Corps(RNLMC) and the Land Forces Command (CLAS) is in my view appropriate. Since both organizations operate on “land”, and provide most of the fillings / units in the framework of international missions. One other reason I would like to do this is because, how “well meant” the use of military for peace building is, the real purpose of the military is to be a “security” instrument in the hands of the democratic elected government… with my own words added … in the best interest of the people. In short military are there to fight… and win, when the situation and circumstances are unknown. So a military which can only be “employed” under normal or best calculated circumstances, is not able to do the job.

In my opinion there are two important factors for an effective fighting force. I deliberately not talking about others like, training, doctrine, organization command&control, logistics (in the sense of how to organize it). The two factors I want to talk about now is the Tooth to Tail ratio and the offensive capabilities of the Dutch armed forces as it is. In my last blog I already mentioned an overall vision for what is needed for an expeditionary capable force. In this blog I want to focus on the land forces capability especially. There is some overlap.

‘With the word “Armament” or “weapon” you create the illusion that it is about some form of deadly overwhelming and of course hyper modern piece of art… system’.

Tooth to Tail ratio

To calculate the tooth-to-tail ratio I look at some numbers/details of the ministry of Defense below. If we share the other units by the number of personnel assigned to the maneuver units, for the CLAS we see a ratio of 1 to 3.8, and the RNLMC 1: 0.87 or in other words behind each “individual” combat Army/CLAS soldier (tooth) there are 3,8 supporting soldiers (tail). While with the RNLMC the ratio is 0.87 supportive soldier. Of course we have to note here that the RNLMC are supported (on operations) by Army supportive soldiers as well.

 

2013 overview

Maneuver units in 2013 Formation formation% Battalions % of battalions
CLAS 3841    72,6% 7    77,8%
RNLMC 1452    27,4% 2    22,2%
Total 5293 100,0% 9 100,0%

 

I have looked into figures from 2013 and 2014. I didn’t have time to look into newer numbers but we can imagine that it will be significantly harder after the implementation of cuts and the number of soldiers leaving the armed forces.

 

2014 overview

Maneuver units in 2013 Formation formation% Battalions % of battalions
CLAS 3325   69,6% 7    77,8%
RNLMC 1452   30,4% 2    22,2%
Total 4777 100,0% 9 100,0%

 

But if we look at the proportions of the armed forces as a whole … then something is still not right. The CZSK has around 7914 soldiers with about 2,800 Marines. The CLAS has around 18,546 troops … If we want to know the right operational output, we see that only ¼ of the maneuver units among the 21,346 soldiers are belonging to the Tooth of the military. 75% or ¾ of the military operates within the CS, CSS, administration, training and so on. I deliberately not looking into the figures of the civil staff, the MOD and it’s services and the Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) and Royal Marechaussee (Military Police force a semi military unit with mostly civil security tasks like protection of the Airports and borders).

Totals Maneuver vs Other

Operational Command Total servicemen % Maneuver % Other %
CLAS 18546   86,88 3841 72,6 14705 92,12
NAVY(RNLMC) 2800 12,12 1452 27,4 1258 7,88
Total 21346 100,0 5293 100,0 15963 100,0
25%   75%

 

But there is more, If we look at the individual components, we see that the CLAS scores lower than 25%, with only 20.71% and 51.86% for the Marines (RNLMC). That makes you wonder doesn’t it? Of course I know the Land forces have a lot more, Staff, Special Forces, CS and CSS units. Beside CLAS has a lot of nonmilitary tasks and is responsible for the (civil) security regions and the National Reserve. But still…..

Totals CLAS vs RNLMC

Operational Command CLAS RNLMC
  Serviceman % Serviceman %
Maneuver 3841 20,71 1452 51,86
Other 14705 79,29 1348 48,14
Total 18546 100,0 2800 100,0

 

Oh yes, the reaction of the military and politicians will be… yeah but look at how other countries do it! Well that’s not going to help us when we need military units with accompanying capabilities.

 

 

concurrency explained with a joke!

This isn’t about a train… this is about concurrency.. and in that sense it isn’t funny at all! because the “civilized” world called “the West” under command of the USG and all her Western vassal states promote this as the new way of developing things… with the JSF, LCS and many other great examples of how not to engineer things… but because they have the marketingtools and the US Congress on their side.. they keep on going… on the same track! so much for smart thinking and smart buying.

Watch this movie: Wonderful Engineering

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“The overlap of development with production and operations results in the need to manage a concurrency program and conduct retrofits on jets with life-limited parts or impacts to capabilities. For the F-35 program, concurrency phases out with the completion of SDD. Block 3i DT&E full Certification is planned by 3rd Qtr FY15, and Block 3F DT&E full Certification is planned by 4th Qtr FY17.”

life-limited parts or impacts to capabilities: this means… a costly retrofit…. or downgrade the capabilities of the JSF aircraft.. Both have happened many times. still the RNLAF (and many other)  guys keep on promising mountains of improved capabilities versus 4th generation aircraft. Totally ridiculous isn’t it? but our politicians eat it like sweet cake.

(you can scroll down the list… and this isn’t all, since this report there have been new issues, and there will come a lot more…..and some of the issues are military secrets so aren’t counted in this list. All because of the amazing concurrency..trying to fix a bug in production!

Now look at what this leads to…. in the case of the JSF!

Total cost of corrections to upgrade Block 1, 2 to Block 3 standard US AIR FORCE only (F-35A): US$ 1.389.388 between FY2013 and FY2020

Total cost of corrections due to concurrency US AIR FORCE only (F-35A) : US$ 1.296.458  between FY2013 and FY2020

Source: US DOD, JSF Program Office. http://www.saffm.hq.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-140310-042.pdf  (page 207-212)

One wouldn’t believe, when you couldn’t read it in an official document, 240 items highest priority only (so, what lower priority items there are????)

Description:

This effort (MN-F3516) funds retrofits due to concurrency changes to correct deficiencies discovered after DD-250 of the last aircraft in a given Low Rate Initial Production (LRIP) lot. This includes modifications required to extend aircraft service life currently limited by low-life parts, and relieve capability limitations driven by concurrency of production with development. The concurrency funding line will procure the highest priority modifications from the Tri-Service Modification Prioritization List, as soon as they become supportable from an engineering, production, and installation standpoint. The list is vetted by the Services  and Partners every 6 months to ensure the list accurately reflects existing requirements as well as emerging issues. Per-kit costs will vary for each modification being implemented, and in some cases will also vary for aircraft from different LRIP lots to implement an individual modification. For FY16, the highest priority modifications will directly support USAF IOC, Block 3i, and tactics development. The following modifications will be the highest priorities for accomplishment throughout the F-35A CTOL fleet using funds from this Budget Activity.

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a known troubled software program… F-35 Officials Cancel Cyber Test! ofcourse the JSF

Just a small addition from my part. the article on War is Boring blog from the hand of Dan Grazier says enough.

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The military services and defense contractors have a long history of working and lobbying to avoid realistic operational testing of new weapons systems.

…The military services and defense contractors have a long history of working and lobbying to avoid realistic operational testing of new weapons systems. A common claim is that testing of this kind is too expensive and adds unnecessary delays to an already lengthy weapons acquisition process.
In fact, the most recent industry effort to avoid realistic testing resulted in a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act requiring DOT&E to “ensure that policies, procedures, and activities implemented by their offices and agencies in connection with defense acquisition program oversight do not result in unnecessary increases in program costs or cost estimates or delays in schedule or schedule estimates.”

However, these claims are false. The Government Accountability Office recently released an audit showing that operational testing does not cause significant cost increases or schedule delays in major weapons programs.

The Pentagon and defense contractors will continue to avoid independent, realistic testing out of their own self-interest. The GAO said it well in its recent report — “postponing difficult tests or limiting open communication about test results can help a program avoid unwanted scrutiny because tests against criteria can reveal shortfalls, which may call into question whether a program should proceed as planned.”

The JSF is tested on large scale… and it delivers many faults, issues and even some which are probably not possible to make it work. (the result is many times visible in decreasing KPI and technical performance measures). If they continue with a full open vulnerability test of the various software risks.. it could be so obvious the US has to stop the full JSF production… program. This area also touches the sovereignty question i raised time and time again about the JSF. Not only it’s the USG who decides if and when we operate the JSF (fleet consisting of a mere 35 + 2 test aircraft) we are depending on the World wide web to support the ALIS system and send and receive the always needed EW database.. without this the whole aircraft is useless and unable to operate… It probably still is able to fly… just like all “operational” aircraft are able to fly… but an operational aircraft should…. operate and execute missions…right? So besides the our sovereignty is “deliberately” risked and sold to the interests of USG, we also have the high risk of becoming targeted by international criminal, terrorist or foreign hackers. All because the Air Force and Industrial contractors don’t want to risk their program being scrapped (for not or under performing). They just want their money and deliver an seemingly incapable aircraft which will need upgrades from now on to forever.

FIA Saab slide 8

Concurrency increases software risks and vulnerabilities – 
Many (Dutch political parties at least: VVD, CDA, NIFARP, the Dutch Defence industries JSF promo -team (with Mat Herben and many other bobo’s bragging about the JSF’s performance if it was already for real…) and even our own (destructive) influence of experienced fighter pilots of the RNLAF are all claiming that concurrency is the way to go. Our minister from the VVD party will frame the faults, errors and misjudgment and increased costs and time as “normal” to these kind of projects… and her fellow politicians from many parties will accept this for a fact. The strange thing is, there are many programs working fine… according to preplanned timelines and budgets. There can be some cost overruns, and increases of projected O&S costs… that’s not my point. framing these huge… gigantic cost overruns, claims of 40% lower O&S costs, decreasing capabilities (while fighter pilots still claim enormous improvements vs 4th generation fighters…) is based on… thin air. It’s complete nonsense. This card blanche to the Military Industrial Complex is the same reflex we see towards the banking sector… give them all, protect their bad behaviour and performance (they don’t deliver what they promise now do they?) and protect their money grabing cultures. There are always alternatives, whatever our minister is claiming.

These are the facts about the alternatives.

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….. In other words, acquisition decisions can be made based on performance achieved rather than capabilities hoped for.

This article supports my previous article:

European countries and their quest for sovereignty !

…. Clearly the design of ALIS and it’s vulnerabilities is seriously flawed… How can they use so much money and resources and deliberately risk hacks, and thus risking availability of JSF fighters for users concerned. Some countries have several different fighter aircraft. Others, like the Netherlands can only operate one type. the JSF. More on this, read my article: How can Air Force guys (and girls) be so ignorant? they use the OODA Loop… don’t they?

To the War is boring article, some quotes:

Realistic weapon testing has come under assault yet again. The troubled F-35 recently hit another snag when, as first reported by Politico, the Joint Program Office refused to proceed with the required cyber security tests of the F-35’s massive maintenance computer, tests needed to determine the computer system’s vulnerability to hackers.

The JPO argued that such realistic hacker tests could damage the critical maintenance and logistics software, thereby disrupting flights of the approximately 100 F-35s already in service. But that simply raises obvious and disturbing questions about what could happen in combat.

 

In theory, ALIS would identify a broken part, order a replacement through the logistics system, and tell the maintenance crews what to fix. Cyber tests are particularly important for the F-35, which is commonly referred to as a “flying computer.” The plane has approximately 30 million lines of software code controlling all of the plane’s functions, from moving flight surfaces to creating images in its infamous $600,000 helmet.

All this is tightly integrated with the ALIS program, which many consider to be the plane’s largest vulnerability. Should an enemy hack the ALIS system successfully, they could disable F-35 systems in combat, cause disastrous crashes, or ground the entire fleet.

Highly concurrent programs increase the risk that systems built early in the process will require expensive fixes or retrofits after problems are identified during subsequent testing. The Defense Department’s Undersecretary of Acquisition, Technology and Logistics reported to Congress that the costs of concurrency for the F-35 program last year were $1.65 billion. These costs include “recurring engineering efforts, production cut-in, and retrofit of existing aircraft.”

The report hardly painted a flattering picture of the practice.

Concurrent software development issues are hardly new. Frank Conahan, an assistant comptroller with the then-named General Accounting Office, warned against the practice in testimony before the Senate Armed Services Committee in 1990. Even then, nearly a decade before the Joint Strike Fighter program began, Conahan correctly identified software development as the one of the biggest risks to success in highly concurrent programs.

“If the software doesn’t work, then the weapon system as a whole is not going to work the way it should,” he said.

But because the F-35 is already in multibillion-dollar production employing thousands of people in hundreds of congressional districts, the plane has a great deal of political support. At least, that is the image Lockheed Martin wishes to cultivate.

Parts of the aircraft are built in factories all across the country before eventually arriving in Fort Worth for final assembly. Lockheed Martin says the F-35 relies on suppliers from 46 states and provides an interactive map touting this fact.

The reality is the majority of the work is done in only two states, California and Texas. Several states counted in the 46 have twelve or fewer jobs tied to the F-35. Still, there are precious few politicians willing to cast a vote that will be portrayed as “killing jobs” when campaigning for reelection.

A much better way of doing business is known as “fly before you buy,” the almost universal buying practice in commercial, non-defense procurement. Former Director of Operational Test and Evaluation Tom Christie says when done properly it “will demand the demonstration, through actual field testing of new technologies, subsystems, concepts, etc. to certain success criteria before proceeding at each milestone, not just the production decision.”

In other words, acquisition decisions can be made based on performance achieved rather than capabilities hoped for.

Just read the whole article on the War is Boring blog.

 

 

European countries and their quest for sovereignty !

The news which I will discuss later in this blog is very exciting. To be honest, this is news which I was expecting. This should have political impact all over Europe. But first some thoughts about Europe and why some countries sabotage European cooperation by choosing the JSF. European countries are all holding on to their sovereignty regarding European cooperation. For example the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP)  isn’t working because each country has its own agenda, it’s own interests. This is a fact. and for us, the European people this is very hard, because our security and our welfare is at stake. I often use the phrase:

“But there is one single interest all European countries share… we live on the same continent which is under threat at the moment.”

threats to europe

This is the most important interest we, Europeans share… only with European countries. Not with the US, not with South Africa or Brazil, not with Australia or Indonesia. Our governments, including the Dutch Government, have two strange habits.. which strengthen each other.  first, they claim that European countries have their own agenda and interests.. so better cooperation isn’t an option. Then they (at least a lot of the European countries) chose for to prioritize NATO and thus the transatlantic connection. I am very in favor of good relations within NATO. I See European cooperation within the cadres of NATO… don’t get me wrong… But i see it as an equal partner. Not just being some little vassal state… like we are now.  The strange thing is, that these interests should be prioritized by European leaders. But they don’t. These same leaders are also in favour of the devastating TTIP and other big trade deals. Why? Are the interests of industrialists and their shareholders more important than the interests of the European peoples? Can we eat exponential growth? Can we drink debt? Can we fuel our cars on legal disputes? Why do some countries, like the Netherlands, choose to be a vassal state of the United States Government? I say specifically government because i believe in the American people and the land of the free. But I see the USG has changed all that. The things President Eisenhower was warning us for. (Here you can find the written speech of President Eisenhower.)

This is what President Eisenhower warned us about:

…we yet realize that America’s leadership and prestige depend, not merely upon our unmatched material progress, riches and military strength, but on how we use our power in the interests of world peace and human betterment.

 

Throughout America’s adventure in free government, our basic purposes have been to keep the peace; to foster progress in human achievement, and to enhance liberty, dignity and integrity among people and among nations. To strive for less would be unworthy of a free and religious people.

But here we are. Completely like a vassal state of the USG, just like the old days:

vassal state is any state that is subordinate to another. The vassal in these cases is the ruler, rather than the state itself. Being a vassal most commonly implies providing military assistance to the dominant state when requested to do so; it sometimes implies paying tribute, but a state which does so is better described as a tributary state. In simpler terms the vassal state would have to provide military power to the dominant state. Today, more common terms are puppet stateprotectorate or associated state.

We give assistance to wars of the USG, didn’t we? Yes we did some good things in Afghanistan, and also in Iraq. But was it really necessary? We had to support the USG, why? because they defend us from Russia? Otherwise we would have spoken Russian today? You think I’m kidding/ This is exactly what many “transatlantic” thinkers are saying to me.. when i ask them why? Shouldn’t we think ourselves where and when, and whom we would fight? What are our interests (except the always important economic interests… of the high society rulers?

Then I read the following article of Giovanni de Briganti @ defense-aerospace.com

The F-35 is entirely dependent on the ALIS system for its maintenance, and on US-based software laboratories for its mission data loads, so that its operation requires secure and high-speed Internet links between its operating bases and the US. 

It is written in the following article see the first paragraphs here:

                US Software Stranglehold Threatens F-35 Foreign Operations

The unilateral decision by the United States to locate all F-35 software laboratories on its territory, and to manage the operation and sustainment of the global F-35 fleet from its territory, has introduced vulnerabilities that are only beginning to emerge. 

The biggest risk is that, since the F-35 cannot operate effectively without permanent data exchanges with its software labs and logistic support computers in the United States, any disruption in the two-way flow of information would compromise its effectiveness.

All F-35 aircraft operating across the world will have to update their mission data files and their Autonomic Logistic Information System (ALIS) profiles before and after every sortie, to ensure that on-board systems are programmed with the latest available operational data and that ALIS is kept permanently informed of each aircraft’s technical status and maintenance requirements. ALIS can, and has, prevented aircraft taking off because of an incomplete data file.

Short summary article:

  • USG decided unilateral that all software laboratories should be on US territory, also Operation & Sustainment (O&S) also managed from US territory.
  • The JSF needs permanent data exchanges, before and after every sortie
  • ALIS can, and has, prevented aircraft taking off because of an incomplete data file.
  • the volume of data that must travel to and from the United States is gigantic, and any disruption in Internet traffic could cripple air forces as the F-35 cannot operate unless it is logged into, and cleared by, ALIS.
  • “undersea Internet cables are surprisingly vulnerable.”
  • “Russian submarines and spy ships are aggressively operating near the vital undersea cables that carry almost all global Internet communications, raising concerns among some American military and intelligence officials that the Russians might be planning to attack those lines in times of tension or conflict.”
  • “ultimate Russian hack on the United States could involve severing the fiber-optic cables at some of their hardest-to-access locations to halt the instant communications on which the West’s governments, economies and citizens have grown dependent,”
  • If the F-35 performs as advertised, it should gather very argue amounts of tactical data during each mission – data that it will have to transmit to the software labs in the US so they can be used to update the mission data files, adding another large volume data flow in both directions.
  • The OT&E report mentions that “Maintenance downloads using the ground data receptacle … usually takes an hour, delaying access to maintenance information.” This is an indication of the data volume involved, especially as the upgraded ALIS runs on a standard Windows 7 operating system.
  • “Currently, the pilot debrief timeline is too long as it takes approximately 1.5 hours to download a 1.5 hour flight. This is unacceptable and [we] are in the process of fielding an improved system [which] will decrease the timeline to download mission data by a factor of 8, meaning a 1.5 hour flight will be downloaded in about fifteen minutes,” he told the Subcommittee on Tactical Air and Land Forces of the House Armed Services Committee on Oct 21.

international-maritime-route

For some people this still isn’t clear what the implications are.

  • The USG will manage the entire global fleet, and we are bound to their rules. And we will be able to operate only when and where the USG wants us to operate.
  • What we read here should have impact on decision making in Europe within each JSF partner country.
  • The non-U.S. operator will not be able to use its own intelligence data to update the EW system, or the “fusion engine” used to identify targets, or modify the system to defeat cyber threats, without the active cooperation of U.S. personnel in the Reprogramming Labs.
  • Our Aircraft can fly…. but they can’t operate!

Do we really want to be tight (forced) to this way of operation? With this system every European country, like the Netherlands, which is claiming they want sovereignty concerning EU foreign policy for example are willing to give away full sovereignty over our Air Force… and as we don’t have much more than an Air Force we have no other means.

Taking so much risk with the internet use for ALIS and the reprogramming labs and enormous data flows is incredible because we all know that hackers can… and will attack such systems.

What amazes me is the enormous arrogance of the Transatlantic proponents. Why do they think they are superior. Taking so much risk with the internet use for ALIS and the reprogramming labs and enormous data flows is incredible because we all know that hackers can… and will attack such systems. as the Chinese already have done. A different aspect (and risk) of using a public network infrastructure we know as ‘the internet’ is known in information security communities as “CIA”: confidentiality, integrity & availability. As the widespread and frequent problems of ‘man-in-the-middle’ attacks and ‘distributed denial of service’ attacks demonstrate, there are some risks associated with using the internet, despite security measures such as vpn tunneling, encryption, etc.

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Clearly the design of ALIS and it’s vulnerabilities is seriously flawed… How can they use so much money and resources and deliberately risk hacks, and thus risking availability of JSF fighters for users concerned. Some countries have several different fighter aircraft. Others, like the Netherlands can only operate one type. the JSF. More on this, read my article: How can Air Force guys (and girls) be so ignorant? they use the OODA Loop… don’t they?