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NATO return to Cold War force structure


Martineleca

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There has been an order for RAM Block 2 for the Marine, which other than various clothing, load bearing and personal radio (which at least is a long-needed step) stuff is the only one of a score of projects out of the 100 billion funds that was supposed to be greenlighted still this year I'm aware of. There was also a government-industry meeting yesterday on how to improve ammo production capacities, which however seems to have resulted only in the need for more debate.

I nearly spit blood when on the eve of that meeting, SPD head Lars Klingbeil (actually one of the few dedicated pro-defense Social Democrats even pre-Ukraine) complained in an interview that industry hadn't reacted to Olaf Scholz' "turn of times" speech by rapidly building up capacities but rather adopted a wait-and-see attitude. Which turned out to be fully justified as Scholz' promise of "100 billion and two percent of GDP year for year from now on" was first discussed within the coalition in terms of whether developmental aid, cyber security etc. should also get a piece of the cake, then clarified to mean two percent including the 100 billion, then even that turned out to be met neither this nor next year because bureaucracy doesn't work fast enough, then the list of projects got cut after the Federal Court of Auditors pointed out shoddy budgetary writing, I cud go on nad on.

Edited by BansheeOne
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Poland approached it form exactly opposite angle - there's suddenly money for everything, let's scratch the procurement processes and just order everything at once, based on a vague idea of what the armed forces need. It put us in a peculiar point, where initial orders for the Korean Weapons TM are placed and KR plants are already working, while the technology transfers, setting up local capabilities, and actually defining and negotiating specification for future PL variants of all this equipment are still ongoing. No one can say with any certainty if it will be an enormous success, or even bigger flop at this time, but surely well be getting a lot of stuff.

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14 minutes ago, BansheeOne said:

There was also a government-industry meeting yesterday on how to improve ammo production capacities, which however seems to have resulted only in the need for more debate.

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On 11/27/2022 at 7:33 PM, kokovi said:

Makes no sense at all. First, Germany has the complete tank system knowledge on her own, it is very sad indeed that our government has decided to sell it out to France. Second, production of a handful of tanks per year will lead to a manufacturing process like in WW2 Germany. But in a war, you need the US mass production strategy from WW2.

But thats the point. We need equipment of a standardised type, we can all mass produce. Considering the legacy of military production in all our countries, thats going to be a tough sell unless we all come up with something we are all invested in.

Yes, politically it would be easier if we had a tank we contributed to on a single production line, like airbus. My idea is a bit different. Have all the European nations contribue to a single design and we all build production lines that, come an emergency, we can all start knocking them out. And whats more, have component manufacturers in ALL the nations, for set price contracts so they arent competing with each other. Its capacity thats needed, not competition.

No, ive zero expectations of it happening. Nonetheless, the absence of capacity must be addressed, and we cant expect to have Germany and South Korea or potentially the US provide all our needs in a crisis.

On 11/28/2022 at 11:05 AM, Ssnake said:

Arguably, we need more artillery, more air defense, more ammo. Not necessarily a lot more tanks.

We need capacity in multiple different areas, and whats more, a political mindset that sees such capacity as a bonus, rather than an unnecessary expense.

We had 30 years of peace and got used to it. Not surprisingly the mindset of indifference and fiscal prudence is proving hard to shake, particularly among voters that grew up after the cold war.

 

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7 hours ago, Huba said:

Poland approached it form exactly opposite angle - there's suddenly money for everything, let's scratch the procurement processes and just order everything at once, based on a vague idea of what the armed forces need.

Since Poland will be purchasing K2 tanks directly from South Korea and introduce the locally manufactured K2PL at a later time, are mixed units with both models expected to be formed, or will they be seperate considering the latter's superior armor and greater weight?

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1 hour ago, Martineleca said:

Since Poland will be purchasing K2 tanks directly from South Korea and introduce the locally manufactured K2PL at a later time, are mixed units with both models expected to be formed, or will they be seperate considering the latter's superior armor and greater weight?

Hard to say at this point, situation is, let's say, dynamic. There was a huge PL-KR conference today and the latest news are that apart from the 180K2 from Korea, another 320 K2PL  is to be produced there, and 500+ locally. According to the Armaments Agency, the exact configuration of K2PL is to be decided yet, and all the options are on the table, including another pair of roadwheels. Which is strange, cause there's also talk that the initial batch of K2 was to be modernized to K2 PL standard. Probably @Damian will explain it more in the Polish AFVs thread.

It's hard to say how the structures will look like exactly. 1000 tanks is just enough to equip 16 battalions of 56, meaning 4 per mechanized division of  1 armored and 2 mechanized brigades each - but that's just a speculation, and there are already some signals that the structures will be different.

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8 hours ago, Huba said:

According to the Armaments Agency, the exact configuration of K2PL is to be decided yet, and all the options are on the table, including another pair of roadwheels. Which is strange, cause there's also talk that the initial batch of K2 was to be modernized to K2 PL standard.

When first hearing about a seperate design with thicker frontal plate and seventh roadwheel to support the extra weight, I tought it would just be a Europeanized version of the Altay. Now it seems it will be very similar to the original K2, close enought to perhaps be called an upgrade, add-on armor is an option for strengthening the initial batch. 

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On 11/29/2022 at 9:42 AM, Ssnake said:

Well, from what I'm hearing from the German defense industry - and I'm not very widely connected, so it's just "one" data point - we're nine months into the war and there are still no orders for more 155mm rounds. A few days ago even the press, late to the show as ever, ran the story that we're down to two days of ammo in German stocks. It's absolutely insane.

I'm having a hard time believing that this is still incompetence rather than malice, knowing the "pacifist at any cost" predisposition of people like Rolf Mützenich, the puppetmaster behind our fabulously blonde defense mistress (center).

max_image_view-640f4f302dda4ee896e4aa5db

Even the UK is letting contracts to increase production.

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Well, there are some signals that there may actually be a change of course, and in some points I actually agree with the statements given by our defense minister in Wednesday's full-page interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. We don't really need yet another reform of structures, we need spares and consumables in sufficient quantity. If nothing else was done in the coming years, it would do more for overall readiness than anything that was done in the past 12 years.

What's grating on my nerves is the inability of the apparatus to realize the urgency of the matter. Place orders, then sort out the budget issues by rearranging priorities (or the default mode, budget inflation).

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3 hours ago, Ssnake said:

We don't really need yet another reform of structures, we need spares and consumables in sufficient quantity. If nothing else was done in the coming years, it would do more for overall readiness than anything that was done in the past 12 years.

I remember the awkwardness a few years ago when not a single working tank batallion could be assembled for NATO exercises due to a lack of spares, some of the companies were missing 11 000 pieces of kit that simply had not been ordered...

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5 hours ago, Ssnake said:

Well, there are some signals that there may actually be a change of course, and in some points I actually agree with the statements given by our defense minister in Wednesday's full-page interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. We don't really need yet another reform of structures, we need spares and consumables in sufficient quantity. If nothing else was done in the coming years, it would do more for overall readiness than anything that was done in the past 12 years.

What's grating on my nerves is the inability of the apparatus to realize the urgency of the matter. Place orders, then sort out the budget issues by rearranging priorities (or the default mode, budget inflation).

Funny thing, that the Ministry of Justice was under her command in the last legislation cycle. and was one of the big stopping blocks faced by the former defence minster in her attempt to improve things and streamline the process.

The apparatus has to follow the rules, otherwise the employees risk direct consequences for not doing so.

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1 hour ago, seahawk said:

Funny thing, that the Ministry of Justice was under her command in the last legislation cycle. and was one of the big stopping blocks faced by the former defence minster in her attempt to improve things and streamline the process.

That was because Defense was in the wrong hands. You gotta accept that you can't really allow reforms that might actually work if they come from the wrong people.

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1 hour ago, Ssnake said:

That was because Defense was in the wrong hands. You gotta accept that you can't really allow reforms that might actually work if they come from the wrong people.

And now she sends a letter to the minister of finance asking for extra money and makes that public. Just as the 2023 budget has just been finalized and she did not request any money for ammunition. This is just playing the political blame game. 

She needs to go and she needs to go quickly. Especially as Lars Klingenbeil would be the better person for the job and she did only get it because they needed another female minister. But her performance and her way of dealing with soldiers and employees of the Bundeswehr should see her fired instantly.

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From an external perspective, the fact that the base BW budget was actually decreased in 2023, and that even with the additional 100B Euro fund the 2% seems to be way way off is a little hard to understand - what seems to be the problem here? Inability to actually absorb the funds due to bureaucracy overhead? This was the central issue outlined in Perun's video about the German Armed Forces - but is there more to it?

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The argument is "2% on average for the next five years" (so, something like 1.7, 1.7, 2.3, 2.3, 2.0). And the argument is not entirely without merit as items like the F35 procurement are going to inflate one year's spending. The next question is, can the Western defense industry actually expand production significantly faster than the glacial procurement processes.

There's no denying that both procurement and industry have serious sclerosis issues, the latter undoubtedly a consequence of the former. You can't put a whole industry on, in essence, life support for 30 years and expect it to switch to wartime production mode on the drop of a hat when especially the hat isn't actually dropping but suspended on a tether that moves all over the place (with a dendency of lowering). The fundamental problem is a parliament that insists on year-to-year budgeting rather than spending in a way that there's actually a predictable demand to which production lines can be tailored.

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One wonders if Germany is beginning to understand that their "ethical" policy regarding export weapon sales means that they are likely to have significantly lower capacity to divert then they otherwise would have. 

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8 hours ago, Ssnake said:

The argument is "2% on average for the next five years" (so, something like 1.7, 1.7, 2.3, 2.3, 2.0). And the argument is not entirely without merit as items like the F35 procurement are going to inflate one year's spending. The next question is, can the Western defense industry actually expand production significantly faster than the glacial procurement processes.

There's no denying that both procurement and industry have serious sclerosis issues, the latter undoubtedly a consequence of the former. You can't put a whole industry on, in essence, life support for 30 years and expect it to switch to wartime production mode on the drop of a hat when especially the hat isn't actually dropping but suspended on a tether that moves all over the place (with a dendency of lowering). The fundamental problem is a parliament that insists on year-to-year budgeting rather than spending in a way that there's actually a predictable demand to which production lines can be tailored.

And as expected, Lindner would have nothing of it:

https://www.stern.de/politik/deutschland/bundeswehr--lindner-laesst-lambrecht-in-munitionskrise-abblitzen-32968036.html

A nice burn by the ministry of finance.

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2 hours ago, DB said:

One wonders if Germany is beginning to understand that their "ethical" policy regarding export weapon sales means that they are likely to have significantly lower capacity to divert then they otherwise would have. 

But these days no weapon system can succeed on the market without service in the army of its country of origin, I suppose the reverse could happen when the British adopted the Challenger 1 originally meant for export. The reason the Leopard, Abrams and recently K2 have so much success is because each model could count on robust native support for funding and testing, something that the former has steadily lost over the decades, resulting in limited production capacity and inability to ramp up even when political will is present.

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32 minutes ago, Martineleca said:

But these days no weapon system can succeed on the market without service in the army of its country of origin...

Lynx IFV? 

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53 minutes ago, Martineleca said:

But these days no weapon system can succeed on the market without service in the army of its country of origin, I suppose the reverse could happen when the British adopted the Challenger 1 originally meant for export. The reason the Leopard, Abrams and recently K2 have so much success is because each model could count on robust native support for funding and testing, something that the former has steadily lost over the decades, resulting in limited production capacity and inability to ramp up even when political will is present.

IRIS-T, Enforcer, anything that uses German components that has been prevented from export and now doesn't have German components, or soon will not have, and so on.

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3 hours ago, DB said:

One wonders if Germany is beginning to understand that their "ethical" policy regarding export weapon sales means that they are likely to have significantly lower capacity to divert then they otherwise would have. 

Rumor around here is that in previous years one potential export contract for Krab was blocked by DE, who refused to supply the engines for it. Fast forward to present, and otherwise excellent German engines and transmissions are perceived as liability. Also, in hindsight the 2012 decision to close PLs own tank engine producer PZL Wola was borderline criminal...

Edited by Huba
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21 hours ago, bojan said:

Lynx IFV? 

OK I was mostly thinking of MBTs, their protection and firepower require constant improvement to keep up with the competition, a significant part of the funds for this expensive process usually comes from long term development contracts with the home army.

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On 12/2/2022 at 12:15 AM, Huba said:

Rumor around here is that in previous years one potential export contract for Krab was blocked by DE, who refused to supply the engines for it.

Is that one reason why of the 700 new SPGs ordered by the Polish Army, the great majority will be K9s rather than the domestic Krabs?

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Going with K9 instead of Krab is quite controversial, but this particular factor was not important here - after all both vehicles use the same chassis with the same German engine, at least for now.
What is known is that PL sent a lot of our own Krab fleet to Ukraine. We donated 18 (out of 90) at the beginning of the conflict, and UA ordered additional 54, which seemingly have also been delivered already - meaning that these were also drawn from active units. HSW plant that produces Krab is apparently working in full swing to build more, but it seems that the production is fully destined for UA at this point (this part is not clear and neither MoD nor military press are really trying to clear that subject).
It looks like the idea is to give all Krabs to Ukraine, including the new production from 2023 at least, while PL army re-arms with K9s. Korea decided not to openly supply arms to Ukraine, and this approach somehow circumvents it. At the moment the announced plan is to buy 200 K9s off-the-shelf from Korea, followed by setting up local production of K9PL in PL. It is this second part that is hugely controversial. Initially the main argument for doing that (instead of expanding Krab production capacity) was K9A2s autoloader being seen as a huge advantage - but this was verified by the war in Ukraine, as the system in PzH2000 proved to be problematic to maintain, but more importantly had issues with  compatibility with various types of ammunition used. Latest news is that K9PL will be based on the A1 variant, but given that it really doesn't offer any improvement over the Krab, it remains uncertain how the local PL SPG production will look like in few years.

On an related note, here's a lengthy article about the PL-Korean military industrial cooperation plans and expectations. It's a bit rough on the language side, but quite informative:

https://defence24.com/industry/korea-or-nothing-the-only-and-last-chance-to-boost-the-polish-industry-commentary

 

Edited by Huba
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