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Subject: New Guns
Aussiegunneragain    11/7/2009 5:59:12 AM
Senator the Hon John Faulkner Minister for Defence Printer friendly version 20 Oct 2009 MIN3709/09 DEFENCE FIREPOWER TO RECEIVE MAJOR BOOST The Minister for Defence, Senator John Faulkner, today announced that the Government has given Second Pass Approval for a $493 million project to provide the next generation artillery system for the Australian Army. Senator Faulkner said the first phase of Land 17 (the Artillery Replacement Project) will provide the Army with four batteries of 35 M777A2 155mm Lightweight Towed Howitzers. “The Lightweight Towed Howitzer is the most advanced towed artillery system available in the world. It is air-portable under CH-47 Chinook helicopters and can provide a weight of fire not previously available to rapidly deployed forces,” Senator Faulkner said. “The second phase of the artillery enhancement will include the procurement of a self propelled artillery system, which will be capable of providing fire support to highly mobile mechanised forces. The artillery system will be further enhanced through the future acquisition of a digital terminal control system for the tactical control of artillery, naval and close air support fires by forward observers and joint terminal attack controllers. This element of the project will be considered by Government in the second half of 2010,” said Senator Faulkner. Senator Faulkner said these are high priority acquisitions which will provide improved protection and precision firepower to Australian soldiers, allowing missions to be carried out more efficiently, safely and effectively.
 
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hairy man       11/7/2009 9:44:24 PM
I thought we were only getting a small number of these guns, but according to this it is 4 x 35, 140guns.  Is that correct though?
 
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Volkodav       11/7/2009 9:54:34 PM
That would be 4 of 8 guns each i.e. 32 guns, with 3 guns remaining for trials and training.
 
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sinoflex       11/7/2009 10:07:58 PM
I wonder whether if Excalibur GPS rounds are included in the program cost.  They're pretty pricey, this article indicated a cost of $150k (Cdn $) in 2008 with the hope of dropping to $86k then ultimately $20k.  Hopefully, the more that are purchased the lower the price can go.
 
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Aussie Diggermark 2       11/7/2009 10:09:05 PM
Nope...
 
35x guns equals - 
 
2x batteries of 6 guns to be provided for 3 Brigade. (12 in total).
 
2x batteries of 6 guns to be provided for 7 Brigade. (12 in total).
 
1x battery of 6 guns for School of Artillery (53 Independent Battery - 6 in total). 
 
5x guns for RAEME Trade Training School and the maintenance "pool" of guns (ie to replace those from the operational batteries as they require major maintenance).
 
Gun battery sizes ain't changing... 
 

 
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Volkodav       11/7/2009 10:21:15 PM
Fair call, I wasn't sure of battery size but knew it was 6 or 8.  In the old old days it used to be a scale of roughly one battery per rifle btn providing one two gun section per rifle coy.
 
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Enterpriser       11/8/2009 8:36:19 PM

 Gun battery sizes ain't changing... 

The hell they arn't........the Brits and the Yanks both use 8 gun batteries for their towed artillery.
 
They also still have 'crazy notions' of providing 1 battery per manouvre unit. Which is clearly the wrong approach because according to Abe 6 guns can support the needs of the entire army - from training to independent fire support for 3 brigades across 4 continents!?!?!!
 
Brett.
 
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Volkodav       11/9/2009 6:14:52 AM
So doing the maths 3bde gets 4 guns per btn or one per coy and 7 bde are slightly better off with 6 guns per btn.  Seems a little under gunned to me.
 
How about three 8 gun bty's for 3 bde (total 24 M-777) while retaining two 8 gun M-198 bty for 7 bde for eventual replacement with a gun on truck solution (refubished M-198 or M-777 on Copperhead 6x6?).  How many battlegroups is 7 bde meant to have anyway?  If it is three, counting 2/14 LH , shouldn't 7 bde also have 3 bty?  Next step, with 5/7 RAR split into 5 and 7 RAR does this give 1 bde 4 battle groups?  Will we need 4 bty of SPG?
 
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StevoJH       11/9/2009 8:19:43 AM
From what I can see, 7th brigade has 3 Batteries of M198's? Or does headquarters battery have guns? I am assuming HQ battery is purely an admin formation though.
 
3 Batteries of 6 guns each would give 6 guns per battlegroup, 2 per rifle company.
 
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Aussie Diggermark 2       11/9/2009 8:53:53 AM



 Gun battery sizes ain't changing... 



The hell they arn't........the Brits and the Yanks both use 8 gun batteries for their towed artillery.

 

They also still have 'crazy notions' of providing 1 battery per manouvre unit. Which is clearly the wrong approach because according to Abe 6 guns can support the needs of the entire army - from training to independent fire support for 3 brigades across 4 continents!?!?!!

 

Brett.


Before you start frothing at the mouth, Brett, Abe clearly described the new "gun line" procedures, Army will be implementing with the new artillery system. I was also clearly referring to Australian Artillery batteries and addressing an apparent misconception that the reduced number of guns is leading to a reduction in the size of the Australian artillery battery. It is not. It is however leading to a reduction in the number of Australian Artillery batteries, unless follow-on phases of LAND 17 are authorised. 
 
Each battery of 6 guns will maintain 3x troops of 2 guns each. 3 Brigade maintains 3x infantry battalions, currently supported by 3x artillery batteries. These batteries are however equipped with 6x L-118/9 105mm guns. In future, under phase 1 of LAND 17, 4 Field Regt will be equipped with 2x batteries of 12x M777A2 155mm guns. Gun detachments will be generated from these troops depending on the fire support needs of the particular battalions. If a battalion needs 6x guns in support, that's what they'll get. If a brigade sized exercise or deployment for 3 Brigade, occurs then it will most probably be the case that an extra battery from 1 Brigade of SP guns is brought in anyway, as is the case in Afghanistan where towed and self-propelled guns are used in combination to maximise each other's strengths.
  
Artillery fire is about effects, not about who has the most guns and 12x M777A2 guns will be such an enormous boost in range and lethality compared to the L-118/9, that the reduced number of tubes isn't going to matter. Army is STILL getting an enormous firepower boost, with the M777A2 alone providing more firepower than the M-198 gun can manage. 
  
On top of which we are also getting self-propelled 155mm guns. This has been confirmed by Government.
 
The basis of provisioning for LAND 17 is for 3 artillery regiments, one of SP guns and 2 of towed guns, plus support batteries within each regiment. That is all the allocated budget from Government will cover. I too wish that one artillery battery per infantry battalion was the basis for provisioning, but the trade-off is the acquisition of self-propelled guns. If JUST M777A2's were acquired, it would probably be the case that 7x artillery batteries worth would be acquired. (Recall the 57x M777A2 DSCA announcement, much)?
 
The fact that SPG's are authorised however is the biggest boost Army has had firepower wise in years. SPG's offer SO much more firepower than towed guns and more than offsets the loss of a couple of extra batteries, IMHO... 
 
Any deployed force that is authorised to take artillery will be able to provide a package of however many guns may realistically be required and that is the whole point of LAND 17. Army is required strategically to be able to provide a brigade and a separate battalion group on operations for an extended period and support same. Nothing more. The LAND 17 package accomodates this strategic requirement, plus provides a sound basis for expansion if ever needed.
 
Is this acquisition sufficient for continental armoured warfare across the vastness of Australia? No, of course not, but Army and Government aren't trying to provide such a capability.
 
Frankly this attitude smacks of the "22 Tigers aren't enough", "59x Abrams aren't enough" type discussions to me.
 
Enough for WHAT I argue? If Government requires more from Army than is in it's strategic policy advice that it should damn well front up the resources to allow that to happen. 
 
Personally, I'm overjoyed that Army is getting M777A2 and K-9/PZH-2000 SP guns. I never thought I'd actually see the day...
 
 
 

 
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Aussie Diggermark 2       11/9/2009 8:57:00 AM

From what I can see, 7th brigade has 3 Batteries of M198's? Or does headquarters battery have guns? I am assuming HQ battery is purely an admin formation though.

3 Batteries of 6 guns each would give 6 guns per battlegroup, 2 per rifle company.


1 Field Regiment (Brisbane) has 2x batteries of L-118/9 105mm guns and 1x battery of M-198 155mm guns.

4 Field Regiment (Townsville/Sydney) has 3x batteries of L-118/9 105mm guns. 

8/12 Mdm Regt has 2x batteries of M-198 155mm guns. 

HQ Battery provides support and administrative functions, just like HQ Company in an infantry battalion does. It does not maintain any artillery guns itself. 

 
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