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Gun System For Robot Gunships?


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#1 Ivanhoe

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 1210 PM


With western militaries trending down to one infantry company per nation, I started thinking about how UCAVs will be developed to support those 100+ riflemen.

Manned A/C are trending like the F-35 for "CAS" (scare quotes due to the closeness of CAS from 35k ft altitude).

But a properly-designed and -built UCAV, at an affordable price tag and purchase quantity, could bring direct cannon fire onto OPFOR at quite close range.

 

Which raises the question of, what cannon? We now have reliable UCAVs that could barely carry an M240, but all that tech and infrastructure to deliver puny 7.62 seems ineffective. OTOH, sizing to a GAU-8 would be overkill (American, yes, but overkill).

 

Standard 20mm seems too light for hammering dug-in OPFOR. Folks seem to like the 23mm cannons. A feed drum with pure anti-personnel HE? Pair with say two ATGMs?

 


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#2 TTK Ciar

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 1305 PM

Flying makes a system expensive, and precludes significant mass budget for armor or weapons.

On the other hand, sensors and laser spotters can be made quite lightweight.

The winning combination, in my opinion, would be to put a camera, GPS and laser spotter on your flying drone, and make a ground-based 120mm mortar integral to the system (so it belongs to the drone operator, not to a separate mortar unit). Make it CNC, so that it is constantly and automatically tracking where the drone is "pointing" and can fire immediately when the drone operator decides to fire.

Then, when the drone operator pulls the trigger, they're not putting a few rounds of 23mm or 30mm on the target, but thirty pounds of HE and steel.

Putting the drone operator (and their mortar) close enough to the troops they are supporting would obviate time-of-flight delays.
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#3 Chris Werb

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 1434 PM

Automated 120mm mortars tend to be a bit on pricey side too, particularly if they're self propelled and turreted. That said, one automated (in aim only) 120mm automated system has already been used to defend US SF bases in the ME. 


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#4 Burncycle360

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 1521 PM

Small drones can't carry a cannon, and large drones aren't going to be organic to the company so they may not be around when you need them.

Situational awareness is the biggest thing they bring to the table, and with that you can vector in whatever supporting assets are available.  They're making VTOL fixed wing aircraft (think Scaneagle in size) with 12-20 hours endurance but without the need for the bulky launch and recovery infrastructure, so that might be viable at company level.


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#5 Ivanhoe

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 1916 PM

Doesn't have to be operated at company level. Just needs to be deployed as needed to support company or larger operations. Probably would be operated out of BCT and detailed to battalions and/or companies as appropriate to the AO.


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#6 KV7

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 2224 PM

If you want it armed, go for a rotary platform with an AGL. But it  would usually be better to use such assets for recon and directing artillery.


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#7 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 06 October 2019 - 2340 PM

USMC is looking at LW MLRS type weapons, since the M327 120mm mortar was an absolute criminal abortion of procurement and deployment.  Seriously, MF'rs should be going to prison for that bullshit clownshow. 

 

At the company and bn level, the weapons need to be ground based, they're just too heavy and there's no value in putting them on an airframe.  Hell, there isn't value in putting weapons on manned CAS platforms really.  The drive for hypersonic weapons potentially obviates the need for future light/medium strike aircraft.  Only deep (circa 500 miles or more) strike really makes sense for manned airframes,, depending on just how practical and what size the hypersonic weapons platforms turn out to be.  

 

But the US needs to really get a hold of it's MIC, we spend inconceivable amounts of money and get jack shit deployed that's useful.  So right now, no honest man can expect the taxpayers to continue to foot the bill for this buggery.  S/F....Ken M 


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#8 bojan

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 0452 AM

How do tou fuck up 120mm mortar that is already in use by a load of countries?
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#9 lastdingo

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 0641 AM

The typical approach is to drop unpowered guided glide bombs.

 

Regarding guns, the recoilless RMK 30 (originally developed for the German Tiger helicopter) might fit the role.


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#10 DB

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 0841 AM

How do tou fuck up 120mm mortar that is already in use by a load of countries?

Classically, you run out of money before you've finalised the selection process to define which sheep you need to be using as test subjects, so you never get to buy any.

Mortars, that is, nobody in the Army wants to buy sheep.
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#11 JWB

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Posted 07 October 2019 - 1120 AM

How do tou fuck up 120mm mortar that is already in use by a load of countries?

The mortar itself was not the problem. The problem was everything else in the system. 


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#12 EchoFiveMike

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 1621 PM

The over priced, under engineered jeep thing was a problem, the towed gun was a PITA to load onto a helo, it just wasn't a well thought out system.  Something less stupid would be to do a portee-type mount on a bespoke vehicle, with the ammo trailer designed to be loaded apriori on the helo first then connected to the vehicle while in the helo so that loading is not a royal CF.  Then for exfil, just drive the whole mess onto the helo, and you can offload at greater leisure in the rear.

 

Another issue was TOE, it was an artillery system.  It really belongs at the Bn or Bde level.  The USMC fetishes lightness, and we're going to wind up just being a force for policing the wogs.  S/F....Ken M  


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#13 Burncycle360

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Posted 08 October 2019 - 1647 PM

All this drama to fit into a V-22?


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