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How Important Is The Tow Missile On The Bradley?


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#1 Walter_Sobchak

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 2301 PM

I was scanning facebook and saw that someone had posted this picture of a Bradley with the same Kongsberg 30mm gun turret that is being fitted on the Stryker.  Would gaining a bigger cannon at the expense of the TOW missile launcher be a worthwhile trade off?  Has the TOW launcher on the Bradley been viewed as an important part of the vehicles capabilities by those that have operated it?  The TOW on the Bradley made sense back when the threat was a massive Soviet armored thrust through the Fulda gap.  I'm guessing these days it's a bit less essential and the cannon is the more important weapon on the vehicle?

 

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#2 KV7

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 2306 PM

I was scanning facebook and saw that someone had posted this picture of a Bradley with the same Kongsberg 30mm gun turret that is being fitted on the Stryker.  Would gaining a bigger cannon at the expense of the TOW missile launcher be a worthwhile trade off?  Has the TOW launcher on the Bradley been viewed as an important part of the vehicles capabilities by those that have operated it?  The TOW on the Bradley made sense back when the threat was a massive Soviet armored thrust through the Fulda gap.  I'm guessing these days it's a bit less essential and the cannon is the more important weapon on the vehicle?

 

28167722_2078718202348186_60547065040516

Maybe it is better, but not cost effectively better. If you want to engage IFV that the 25mm is too weak against, then the old turret is fine. If you want more CS capability, then add a RWS with an AGL or something.


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#3 Burncycle360

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Posted 25 February 2018 - 2308 PM

The launcher is external, they're not mutually exclusive.  You can have a bigger cannon and ATGM system, and IMO it's worthwhile to have the capability.


Edited by Burncycle360, 25 February 2018 - 2309 PM.

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#4 JasonJ

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0105 AM

I recall bradley mounted TOW being used on the building Saddam's sons were holding out in. I think the ongoing Syria conflict would argue to keep the TOWs on them too. Although, I suspect the entire system of intergrated combat fighting and logistics might find removing the TOWs to be a useful cost cutting means. I have no idea about the length of a TOW missiles shelf life, but if its coming up, avoiding to mass produce another batch of a 1000 of them could also be an incentive to remove them. Just my 2 cents.
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#5 KV7

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0146 AM

I recall bradley mounted TOW being used on the building Saddam's sons were holding out in. I think the ongoing Syria conflict would argue to keep the TOWs on them too. Although, I suspect the entire system of intergrated combat fighting and logistics might find removing the TOWs to be a useful cost cutting means. I have no idea about the length of a TOW missiles shelf life, but if its coming up, avoiding to mass produce another batch of a 1000 of them could also be an incentive to remove them. Just my 2 cents.

Keep the launchers but get a sensible mix and number of missiles, the thermobaric round in particular.
 


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#6 Ken Estes

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0151 AM

Depends how serious an opponent one might face. Eliminating the TOW on the IFV would allow an enemy of the US to concentrate on its main battle tanks as a primary target, leaving the lesser AFVs for a mopping up. That would not go well.

 

I recognize this outright because as an M48 or M60 tanker, I had to consider BMPs as lethal as T-62 inter alia, thus making the odds much stiffer.


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#7 methos

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0350 AM

The Kongsberg turret has been showcased at different expos with the Javelin ATGM, so add that and call it a day.


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#8 DougRichards

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0424 AM

Depends how serious an opponent one might face. Eliminating the TOW on the IFV would allow an enemy of the US to concentrate on its main battle tanks as a primary target, leaving the lesser AFVs for a mopping up. That would not go well.

 

I recognize this outright because as an M48 or M60 tanker, I had to consider BMPs as lethal as T-62 inter alia, thus making the odds much stiffer.

 

Nice observation

 

But given the cost of the TOW per round: would a turret mounting, say four Carl Gustav, (the rocket boosted version), be a viable alternative to the TOW?


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#9 Simon Tan

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0610 AM

A simple beam rider is very cheap. It is only expensive because of contract bloat.
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#10 lastdingo

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0655 AM

Let's keep in mind that such vehicles are supposed to transport infantry in battle.

The tendency to develop IFVs into mounted combat systems first and foremost is a most questionable one; they lack a MBT's protection by a long shot.

 

The more firepower a turret has the less volume is there for the infantry, and the more the turret system and its munitions cost.

 

Furthermore, dismounting infantry could employ man-portable or crew-portable ATGM systems.

So a reaction to hostile MBTs could be to smoke, dismount and set up ATGM while the vehicle dashes to permanent concealment or cover (to safety).

 

It doesn't need to be a vehicles vs. vehicles fight, and given the velocity of tank shells and the flimsy protection of IFVs against them it likely shouldn't be.

 

A reduced emphasis on mounted AT would also allow for ditching the expensive CITV from IFVs.


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#11 GARGEAN

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0820 AM

The more firepower a turret has the less volume is there for the infantry

Not entirely fair. TOW/Kornet launchers are externally mounted, thus not taking internal volume. Real questions here are external sizing and weigh. Also look at Bumerang-BM. It have pretty hard firepower with zero hull space consumption.

Real questions here are cost and doctrine. And are by far not worth ATGMless IFV. How many tanks Bradleys killed in Gulf again?
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#12 DB

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0849 AM

And by definition an IFV is not a simple APC. The clue is in the name.

http://www.military-...les/javelin.htm

The above article states thst Bradley can use Javelin already.
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#13 KV7

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0858 AM

If TOW is considered too expensive then Javelin will be by a large margin.


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#14 DKTanker

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0921 AM

 

The more firepower a turret has the less volume is there for the infantry

Not entirely fair. TOW/Kornet launchers are externally mounted, thus not taking internal volume. Real questions here are external sizing and weigh. Also look at Bumerang-BM. It have pretty hard firepower with zero hull space consumption.

 

Missile reloads have to go somewhere.  The launcher may well be external, but the missiles, stowed internally, take a fair amount of room.


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#15 lastdingo

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0922 AM

 

The more firepower a turret has the less volume is there for the infantry

Not entirely fair. TOW/Kornet launchers are externally mounted, thus not taking internal volume. Real questions here are external sizing and weigh. Also look at Bumerang-BM. It have pretty hard firepower with zero hull space consumption.

Real questions here are cost and doctrine. And are by far not worth ATGMless IFV. How many tanks Bradleys killed in Gulf again?

 

The supply of missiles inside typically takes away one ro two dismounts.


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#16 Mighty_Zuk

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0929 AM

The TOW itself is no longer worth the investment. Neither in development nor in procurement. Unless talking about using them in low intensity combat because it would be a waste to throw out the old ones.

 

Against modern tanks, the TOW just doesn't cut it. The Javelin needs to be upgraded to have a better range. Something along the lines of the Spike family, where the baseline version has a 5.5km range, and certain variants extend to 8-10km, and then 25-30km, because only the Javelin can reliably defeat the Afganit APS in development for the new families of AFVs of Russia. The TOW can't, and the hellfire is exclusive to the air arm for now. 

 

I personally think that going with this turret would be a mistake. An ATGM can only be externally mounted, where it is vulnerable, and an APS can only be added as an applique, rather than an integrated solution.

 

If the US can make a domestic version of the turret made for the Namer and Eitan, then I think that would be the best solution for the long term upgrade of the Stryker and Bradley.

 

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Just switch out the Spikes with Javelins, maybe replace the Trophy with Iron Fist if they like, remove the mortar, put their own sights, and that's it.


Edited by Mighty_Zuk, 26 February 2018 - 0937 AM.

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#17 GARGEAN

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 0944 AM

Missile reloads have to go somewhere.  The launcher may well be external, but the missiles, stowed internally, take a fair amount of room.

They can occupy supply truck. Four missiles only in tubes always better than no missiles at all.
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#18 lastdingo

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 1055 AM

Something along the lines of the Spike family, where the baseline version has a 5.5km range, and certain variants extend to 8-10km, and then 25-30km, (...)


I would regard the Spike SR as the baseline version now, it has 1.5...1.8 km range and needs no CLU. At the very least it's the shortest range fully developed version of the "Spike" branded missiles from Israel.

And I wouldn't expect any in-service Western ATGM to "reliably" defeat a new Russian APS. The purpose of the latter is to almost reliably defeat the former.

 

 

@Gargean; that's not how it's done, though. IFVs routinely carry ATGMs inside when they face mechanised threats, despite the secondary effects risks.

Part of the reason is that the infantry component of the IFV-equipped battalions routinely suffers from being understrength.

 

 

And I know the difference between APC and IFV, wrote a series of blog posts about the entire story long ago. My point is that people pay too much attention to mounted combat when looking at IFVs. The dismounted combat aspect is very important as long as IFV-equipped units don't get APCs or HAPCs for more dismount strength as well. MBTs can or could do almost all mounted combat themselves, without IFVs - especially now as 20 mm RCWS have become non-exotic.


Edited by lastdingo, 26 February 2018 - 1102 AM.

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#19 Gavin-Phillips

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 1215 PM

Keep the launchers but get a sensible mix and number of missiles, the thermobaric round in particular.

 

Interesting point there.  Without wishing to drag the discussion off the rails, has such an option as a thermobaric warhead ever been considered for the TOW missile?  Or was that kind of job/role taken by other missiles/weapon systems?


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#20 rmgill

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Posted 26 February 2018 - 1235 PM

For what it's worth, games like TacOps seem to demonstrate that the TOW capability was a nice punch by the IFV's on meeting enemy armor. IIRC, the Bradleys open up with a barrage of missiles at various targets and then you get the Tanks coming into range and starting their own target selections.  When I played my first few games with US vs Soviet armor in meeting engagements the barrage of TOW missiles was rather startling. 

How realistic that is, I don't know, but I've been given to gather that tac ops was on the higher end of the realism scale just based on users. 


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