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7 hours ago, BJE said:

I'd say that is the definition of "combined arms" which is required for success in ground combat. The Russian defeat north of Kyev was largely due to they not using it. It was kind of a repeat of First Grozny.


The ratio between infantry and armour can always be discussed. The Swedish Armour Brigades has had a ratio of 1:1 since the sixties, earlier versions had 1:2 and 3:1. What the right formula will be in the future remains to be seen.

Sure, I think it is a variant of combined arms but the issue is then what is going to engage and stress the defensive line. If there is no appetite or time to do it with infantry, then there is a temptation to spearhead with armour.

My answer is that this 'stressing' is probably best done with drone directed artillery and then infantry, but infantry using longer range weapons, i.e. snipers, ATGM, HMG/MMG etc. i.e. start a support weapons duel where you have more support weapons, more freedom to move them around, and more artillery support and spotting drones.

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2 hours ago, KV7 said:

My answer is that this 'stressing' is probably best done with drone directed artillery and then infantry, but infantry using longer range weapons, i.e. snipers, ATGM, HMG/MMG etc. i.e. start a support weapons duel where you have more support weapons, more freedom to move them around, and more artillery support and spotting drones.

Maybe, but I'm not convinced. "Stressing" a defensive line with long range direct fire is surely better done by something that also have good protection and mobility than by infantry on foot. Drones for spotting works for everyone, not just artillery and infantry.

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10 hours ago, bojan said:

As evidenced in Ukraine, does not really work if opponent has AD.

Yea, it's not really "wonder weapon". Though "suicide drones" like Harop are real danger to AD too. 

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40mm Bofors with 1970s era FCS on SP mount with prox ammo at Bn level will murder Harops and equivalent out of the sky. But ATM, only Svedes have dedicated 40mm armed AA vehicle (Lvkv 90) at a Bn level, so yes, those will be incredibly dangerous vs unprepared opponent.

 

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2 minutes ago, bojan said:

40mm Bofors with 1970s era FCS on SP mount with prox ammo at Bn level will murder Harops and equivalent out of the sky. But ATM, only Svedes have dedicated 40mm armed AA vehicle (Lvkv 90) at a Bn level, so yes, those will be incredibly dangerous vs unprepared opponent.

 

Also, economically only guns, lasers etc. are viable for defense, since using missiles that cost 10-20x the drone is not very sustainable. Although Israelis are willing to pay the price with Iron Dome intercepting rockets etc., but that is bit different issue. 

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Drone defense can only be successful as a multi-layered approach.

Under the assumption that armies that did away with SPAAGs like the Gepard will not revive them,

* EW assets are already used with reasonable results.

* That MANPADs are pissed away against <$5,000 drones can't make anyone happy (except the drone operator, of course, and manufacturers and their shareholders), but they will be used as long as nothing better is available on the frontline. Also, they are absolutely adequate for Bayraktar and similar medium size/medium altitude attack drones.

* 30 and 35mm KETF are about as good as 40mm 3P ammo, and about as expensive, but at least they work; the principal issue is the narrow field of view for the AFV crews. This will require assistance by drone-suitable sensors that can then oversteer the crew to guide them on the target. I'm convinced that modern IFVs will be upgraded with that kind of capability. That will at least give all mechanized formations a basic UAV defense capability, at least for the "low and slow" type of drones. If the drone isn't a drone but a loitering munition, you need fast response times or you're dead.

* For light infantry assisted rifles/MGs with EO sights that calculate aim points and have electronically controlled triggers seem to be the way to go, for short range defense.

* Medium range, I guess something like counter-UAVs will be needed, and then, probably, assets like dazzlers or HELs (even if we need bigger sharks for them). CUASs will have to operate at least semi-autonomously (user designates intercept target, CUAS then proceeds autonomously, possibly with an attack abort option for man in the loop control). Whether HELs really are the answer, I don't know. They seem to be awfully dependent on good weather.

* big/high altitude UAVs remain a viable target for classic air defense, even from a commercial pay-off perspective. Something like a GlobalHawk is more expensive than even a dozen SAMs

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Thing with 40mm is that old 1970s prox fused ammo works vs small drones and would be cheaper than 3P that is frankly overengineered for simple AD purposes as drone defense, which is really only reason why guns are relevant again.

IMO, if you don't want legacy, 40mm CTA with simple prox fused ammo would be close to ideal solution w/o breaking a bank. As added benefit with CTA is  that both guns and ammo are very compact, enabling large ammo load and preventing Bn level AD vehicle from turning into Gepard or 2S6 sized thing.

Edited by bojan
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I would welcome anything that turns legacy systems into viable assets. For most, however, I'm not really seeing it.

Case in point, CV90/40. A quite capable system, except that it has a rather narrow fiel of view (like all other IFVs that come to mind, don't get me wrong here). For a quick reaction if you are being surprised by the presence of a drone it is imperative that there be a sensor that can alert you about about the threat outside of your field of view, and guide you on the target.

That is the prime necessity.

Then you'd ideally have a fire control system that enables a high hit likelihood. CV90/35 air defense mode is a good example with 3D vector prediction for air targets. As long as you can get decent laser results the system can estimate the drone path through the air. This works better with targets that have a high inertia of course, but it'll do if the drone operator isn't aware of the imminent shootdown (which will usually be the case, since they are staring through straws as well ... think about it, with a 5° field of view as a human you'd be considered "legally blind" in many countries).

Then you'd want a suitable ammunition. KETF is, IMO, ideal - if you don't skimp on the muzzle velocity measurement and inductive programming interface (I'm looking at you, Belgian MOD!).  But I'll make my peace with any other munition that gets the job done. And that is airburst capability in sufficient proximity. Solid shots will typically have too big of a dispersion. So ... I'm not saying it has to be airburst --- but it has to be airburst. Whether you do it with a proximity sensor or through time fuze, I don't care.

40mm HE appears a bit of an overkill to me - but in a storm any harbor will do.

 

So, to turn the CV90/40 into a drone defender,

- you need some radar that can detect small UAVs (ideally it would have a dual function for an active protection system)

- you need to update the current fire control system to integrate that radar for override

- you might need to update the fire control system for better accuracy

- you need to acquire suitable ammunition in sufficient quantity

It isn't helped by the fact that the CV90 series is fragmented into so many different fleets (CH, DK, EE*, FI, NL*, NO) with different configurations, and that the 40mm L70 gun has fallen out of fashion in the last 40 years. It will require a substantial effort to achieve all this. But - maybe Sweden is now turning around and starting to take defense seriously again. For a long time, it wasn't - just look at the decay of the artillery branch in the country.

 

*) Yes, at this point they are still the same, but that'll change in the not too distant future with the coming Dutch upgrade.

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21 hours ago, BJE said:

You get some protection over the parts of the body where it is hard/impossible to stop a bleeding in the field. The arms and legs are seldom protected and a hit in those limbs will most likely make a soldier combat ineffective even if he or she survives.

Infantry won't be able to move forward during an artillery barrage just because they have body armour.

I agree and I am not suggesting men move forward during a barrage. Even with a futuristic type of powered, exoskeleton armor. I'm seeing a possible future scene where a powered, armored exoskeleton being overloaded with sensor, communications and, possibly, weapon(s) that the soldier ends up being enclosed in a motorized armored vehicle. With crew-served weapons having a turret in their vehicle. Hhmm, wonder what it will be called :)

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4 hours ago, Ssnake said:

...So, to turn the CV90/40 into a drone defender,

No, I am not thinking about turning every regular IFV into drone killer, but a fact that Swedes have dedicated AA version (Lvkv 90, which is what you have described, AD platform on common IFV hull and capable radar) at a Bn level, that fills most of the points you had about turning IFV into drone killer. If you need to turn IFV into drone killer I agree, through I don't think you need every IFV to be individually as capable vs drones as is dedicated vehicle. Have dedicated "Anti-drone vehicle", basically your bog standard IFV with required add-ons, but w/o dismounts (for more ammo carried, or maybe with few dismounts with MANPADS as additional layer of defense) at a Bn level battery of 6 (made out of 3 platoons of 2, so you can assign 2 to each company in the Bn). That should be enough vs small drones and loitering munition.

What should be done in addition is information sharing from Bn level AD to all other vehicles capable of engaging drones, but lacking their sensors (IOW regular IFVs). Again, it is not something that has to be really invented, Oerlikon "Gun King" FCS had that capability in the 1980s, sharing bearing for the detected threats to other vehicles over radio network, receiver vehicles getting bearing relative to the north of the expected threat. Today with GPS etc even more exact coordinates can be shared, to a point of real time updates of the target relative to a "receiver" vehicle, and once IFV crew has a bearing good thermals will detect even small drones at quite a distance, far beyond what naked eye can do and FCS can do the rest.

So two tier approach, IFV gets FCS capable of engaging such targets (well, most modern ones already are), and real anti-drone force is Bn level battery of dedicated, but still 95% common vehicles (which should reduce cost significantly compared to a real AD vehicles). Resist urge to make those vehicles into anti-helo/fixed wing platforms, they are not there for that, that is a level for a Bde level AD, as are larger drones.

As for infantry, no reason even regular infantry could have battery of those at Bn level.

Also combined arms, after all there is no real counter from infantry and vehicles to artillery, yet both survive on the battlefields saturated with artillery.

Edited by bojan
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Any thoughts about detecting small drones with next to nothing radar cross-section nor thermal signature?

Artificial vision has advanced a lot lately, as number-plate, and face-recognition systems show, and one could build a cluster of cameras in a dodecahedron-like arrangement that could provide 360 degrees horizontal by 180 degrees vertical fields of view.

As an example, just found this bird detection system for protection of airports and wind turbine farms.

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1 hour ago, sunday said:

Any thoughts about detecting small drones with next to nothing radar cross-section nor thermal signature?

Even small commercial ones are detectable by 1970s radars like Giraffe series. Also any decent thermals will be able to see them. Giraffe 75 radar can even detect individual birds at short range if low speed filters are off (and they would be for anti-drone work*). Generally, due the Giraffe 75 being pulse-doppler, anything with a propeller will be detectable even if stationary.

*Which does rise interesting point however, how do you distinguish between drone and bird, other than by having "signatures" of various drones stored in the database?

Edited by bojan
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The solution is to use a classifying neural net, which will be able to work on novel targets or non-targets.

It will obviously be more reliable if you have information from thermal and optical channels.

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20 minutes ago, KV7 said:

The solution is to use a classifying neural net, which will be able to work on novel targets or non-targets.

It will obviously be more reliable if you have information from thermal and optical channels.

If you had radar/thermal arrays on multiple vehicles and linked their data systems real time, that should enable a decent machine learning algorithm to improve ID accuracy (and also detect aerial vehicles with super-low signatures).

I figure that detection will never be 100%, ID will never be 100%, and destruction never 100%, but the winner of the Drone Wars will be the side that engineers the package better (package including manufacturing volume).

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17 minutes ago, sunday said:

Far enough?

Distances are classified unfortunately.

Quote

I think there are no small stealth drones in the market as of now.

Once you start putting "stealth" components on them price is going to snowball exponentially (since every stealth thing is going to degrade performances, so better motors will be needed, which means larger drone etc...), making them less numerous and making them worth expending AD missiles on. In which case it is not a Bn level problem anymore.

I would dare to say that most useful drones in Ukraine are probably commercial ones and Orlan. Because they are cheap enough to be really ubiquitous, and if you lost them so what, it is loss of few thousands of $ max, which is price of the few 155mm shells.

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2 hours ago, bojan said:

Distances are classified unfortunately.

Once you start putting "stealth" components on them price is going to snowball exponentially (since every stealth thing is going to degrade performances, so better motors will be needed, which means larger drone etc...), making them less numerous and making them worth expending AD missiles on. In which case it is not a Bn level problem anymore.

I would dare to say that most useful drones in Ukraine are probably commercial ones and Orlan. Because they are cheap enough to be really ubiquitous, and if you lost them so what, it is loss of few thousands of $ max, which is price of the few 155mm shells.

Orlan is bit more expensive, I also have bit of doubts about it's sensor set. Russia has had notoriously bad problems with e.g. thermal imaging. Some scathing things have come out from e.g. Sosna sights in tanks, which indicate quite bad problems in that area. 

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6 hours ago, bojan said:

Which does rise interesting point however, how do you distinguish between drone and bird, other than by having "signatures" of various drones stored in the database?

Aside from differing flight patterns (a bird will often drop a bit between wing beats for example) and radar returns off rotating drone blades, I wonder if painting a bird with a (harmless) low-power laser will cause it react and distinguish itself from a drone.

Another question - can a drone be made more birdlike in order to trick air defenses?  

Edited by glenn239
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2 hours ago, glenn239 said:

Aside from differing flight patterns (a bird will often drop a bit between wing beats for example) and radar returns off rotating drone blades, I wonder if painting a bird with a (harmless) low-power laser will cause it react and distinguish itself from a drone.

Another question - can a drone be made more birdlike in order to trick air defenses?  

Just use the birds...https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Birds_(film)

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6 hours ago, Sardaukar said:

Orlan is bit more expensive, I also have bit of doubts about it's sensor set. Russia has had notoriously bad problems with e.g. thermal imaging. Some scathing things have come out from e.g. Sosna sights in tanks, which indicate quite bad problems in that area. 

Orlan is about 5k a pop (price for Russian army), still quite cheap. It has comercial level sensors, but so does most of the drones that Ukrainians use.

IDK what problems with Sosna sight you mean, one local tanker that was at tank biatlon described it as having a better picture on TI channel than Lecrerc and FCS being quite good.

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