The United States’ wartime customer service, they say, is lacking.
“We’re sending equipment,” Hayward said in an interview. “But have we decided not to do tech support?”
Importantly, Hayward said, it appears the Javelins sent to Ukraine do not include instruction cards directing military personnel to call a toll-free number if the weapons malfunction or otherwise require repair. He has opened several cases of them but found no such card, and training cadres across multiple units have told him they were unaware of any Javelin support line, he said.
Hayward characterized the call center as an important asset for U.S. troops unable to troubleshoot glitches on their own. That the Biden administration would not extend the same level of support to Ukraine, he said, is unacceptable.
Also missing from the Javelin shipments, Hayward said, are two computer-based programs the U.S. Army considers fundamental to its training curriculum for the system. One is a basic skills guide that details the multistep launch sequence. It’s required learning for American military personnel who specialize in such weapons. The other is a tactical training kit carried by U.S. troops during field exercises in which they simulate combat.
Ukrainian soldiers are adaptive and mostly make do, but many have received abbreviated training classes, typically lasting less than two days. (The U.S. Army’s Javelin training course is 80 hours.)
Importantly, Hayward said, it appears the Javelins sent to Ukraine do not include instruction cards directing military personnel to call a toll-free number if the weapons malfunction or otherwise require repair. He has opened several cases of them but found no such card, and training cadres across multiple units have told him they were unaware of any Javelin support line, he said.Hayward characterized the call center as an important asset for U.S. troops unable to troubleshoot glitches on their own.
Alright team, I owe you guys a thread on battle theory. Let's talk force employment and why no single weapon system is ever going to be a "game-changer" in modern war... at least between opponents who know what they're doing.
The key to understanding why is grasping the concept of the "empty battlefield," something which emerged in the late 19th century but which truly came into its own during the First World War.
Prior to WWI, armies stood out of the terrain. Soldiers wore bright uniforms, carried standards into battle, and little if any thought was paid to camouflage except by specialized units. If there was a battle going on, it was usually pretty obvious.
This all changed because the technology of warfare developed to the point that it was possible to kill any enemy that could be seen - and quite quickly. Armies had to start using cover and concealment to survive, and learn to operate under these new conditions.
This situation has continued - and developed further - into the modern day. Modern-day troops spend the vast majority of their time hiding. Even while attacking, soldiers and even armored vehicles will dash from cover to cover.
Command posts and logistical operations will be carefully camouflaged, and if possible dug in. They'll move frequently in case they're found anyways. Units will take care to minimize radio traffic to avoid being located by their electromagnetic signatures.
The end result of all of this is the modern "empty battlefield" - a situation where an entire army is folded into the nooks and crannies of the terrain, and the only things visible are the smallest movements, even when that army is on the attack.
What this means is that even with long-ranged, powerful and accurate weapons, most of a modern army cannot be attacked because it cannot be located precisely enough to strike.
And this is just basic, passive countermeasures. Modern armies also employ extensive active measures - jamming, counterbattery sensors, and air defenses, as well as survivability measures like armor and entrenchments.
As such even the highest-performance weapons struggle to find targets, their launchers can be located and destroyed, and the munitions themselves may be ineffective on impact - or even shot down en route!
So where does this notion of military "game-changers" come from? Well, one is wishful thinking by bad analysts. The other is from observing wars between incompetent armies.
If military forces can't implement the "modern system" of war competently - let's say they're rolling around with flags flying, leaving their vehicles in the open, not using adequate air defenses, or use unsecure communications - then they can be struck at will by modern weapons.
As such if you have two incompetent armies squaring off, the technical capabilities of weapon systems become very important because they're being used at proving-ground effectiveness. Thus some fancy new missile or cannon can actually be a game-changer.
But if everyone knows what they're doing, the technical capabilities of weapons actually become much less important. We've seen this in Ukraine, with the endless parade of Western hardware delivering little in the way of battlefield results.
Modern PGM (precision-guided munition) fights are reconnaissance based engagements first, communications second, actual explosives third. No wunderwaffe is ever going to change the outcome of this style of fighting.
This is going to be a long thread but it needs to be posted due to the sheer number of wunderwaffe weapons claims throughout militaries and twitter right now. Precision weapons are NOT game changing weapons. In fact in most cases precision weapons are inferior to dumb munitions.
What? How can this be? I have seen hundreds of videos of precision weapons wrecking Iraqi tanks, military bunkers, didn't you see the precision strike on that Syrian airfield? etc. etc. None of that shows the power of precision weapons. Because when viewed from above we see a bunch of buildings, cars, vehicles, and bunkers. Nothing inherently sticks out as particularly strike worthy.
See, when undertaking all of those strikes you've seen on video, there are important steps neglected from your viewing experience. How did they figure out that car had ISIS fighters in it? How’d they figure out that building was a Taliban bunker? How’d they know that group of people in the back yard were a terrorist gathering, not a wedding party?
For the Syrian airbase strike, closer analysis allowed us to determine which bunkers are occupied which ones were used purely for parts. Which buildings stored fuel, and which stored mission critical supplies for the airbases operation. Thus this strike shows the power of our reconnaissance and intelligence gathering capabilities and the strength of our kill chains.
Huh? Whats a kill chain? See, to use a precision weapon or even a dumb weapon effectively you must first find the enemy. Once found, you have to pass that information to both the person ordering and directing troop fire missions as well as the unit that will actually fire.
Then that officer must order the strike and the troops must undertake the strike. If performed seamlessly such fire missions can reliably take out the target; however, the time scale of opportunity depends upon how far away from your strike assets the identified target is.
The further away the target is, the more shorter the time in which it can be reliably struck, whereas point blank targets can be struck within much longer time periods.
So the kill chain consists of several parts:
1) Finding a possible target.
2) Sorting the targets to find the militarily important ones (vs civilian ones)
3) Communicating said information to command
4) Command processing the data, determining what, if any, strike assets are in range of said target
5) Command assigning an asset (if available) to engage said target
6) Command relaying the order to the specific fire asset
7) The fire support unit engaging the target
8) Munitions deployed on target.
In many militaries such chaining of data takes hours, sometimes even days. With delays of this timescale it is impossible to engage transitory targets even if your precision munitions are capable of engaging the target. Thus sending precision munitions to a military with a mostly Soviet era kill chain as described above, which takes hours to actually complete the full circuit, is less than meaningless, as dumb area effect munitions would be far more effective, as instead of sending a missile precisely to a spot valid an hour ago, wiping a whole grid square is much more likely yield some result.
This is why no matter what country the West has given precision munitions too, exactly none of them operate as effectively as the US military itself. Not because the munition is any different, but rather the kill chains are radically different. The US military with the worlds 1st, 2nd, and 3rd largest airforces has a capability no other country comes close to.
By having such large airforce elements the US can run 24/7 overwatch of entire countries, with strike assets never more than a few minutes out. Then with all the aerial SIGINT data collection we can mass our artillery and other ground based long range fire systems to most effectively massacre enemies that group up.
Further, almost all USA grunts have radioes and this allows individual fire teams to call on CAS literally at the moment of contact and the supporting fire can be there inside of a single minute in some cases, which is frankly unheard of in most militaries. Thus the kill chain can be as short as a grunt on the ground comes under-fire from a building, then he radios to an F-15E overhead the building the fire is coming from. The F-15E then at supersonic speeds races to the scene and levels the whole building with a JDAM, long before the occupants of the building had time to get out. This is ludicrously advantageous for US war fighters and is why the US places such extreme emphasis on SEAD and DEAD operations BEFORE beginning ground operations. For once the US controls the skies, their long range reconnaissance and continual overwatch with your fire support delivered in 5 minutes or its free doctrine can truly dominate the battlefield.
But here is the thing: No European country has this capacity. In Afghanistan it was a regular occurrence that even in AOs run by the Europeans that the Americans would still know more about the situation on the ground than the European militaries actually engaged in operations there. This was because of the raw number of reconnaissance and intelligence gathering assets that go far beyond any one else in the world. Not even Russia has this capacity. China doesn't even have the capacity for such a doctrine.
Ukraine absolutely positively does NOT have the capacity to use such a doctrine. They don't have the aerial dominance. They don't have the long range reconnaissance systems. They don't have the seamless kill chain that operates in time scales of seconds or at worst minutes. Thus precision weapons will NOT serve them well. In fact having fewer precision weapons than more dumb munitions is a massive handicap for the Ukrainians, and will lead to them being unable to effectively blunt Russian operations with raw fire.
What Ukraine needs is a metric shitload of dumb munitions, not any fancy western recon and precision weapons as the kill chain simply put isn't reliable enough for such operations. To better understand this look up the term RUK and reconnaissance strike complexes. Effectively the Soviets devoted a large amount of time and energy to studying the effect of PGMs and how to employ them properly, because they knew NATO had a significant advantage in them (as demonstrated during Vietnam).
In short, long range reconnaissance strike makes the war a game of hiding from your opponents recon assets while finding them with yours. If you don't have a massively well developed recon arm, you are doomed to be found first and promptly blown to bits.
Ex(?)-NATO military men are finding out the hard way that the Ukrainian military does not have the recon capabilities they are used to, does not have the short kill chains they are used to, does not have the fire support capabilities they are used to, and without this very complicated behind the scenes capability the vaunted PGMs of the West are largely useless.
Frankly, NATO should be embarrassed by this whole clusterfuck, as they spent 8 years training the Ukrainians and knew better than anyone else in the world their flaws, and they still didn't notice the most obvious gaping flaws in the kill chains and thus didn't understand that PGMs and NATO weapons are not the best suited for the AFU. European countries should have a wake up call if they are paying attention, as Ukraine is showing how utterly useless PGMs are without such aerial dominance that the US and the US alone can bring to the table. If Poland was asked to defend itself, it would find itself unable to bring the bulk of their PGMs to bear in an effective manner unless the US rides to the rescue.
Even if all of Europe stood united (and spoke the same language) and pooled their capabilities flawlessly, they would still be a far cry from what is necessary to actually enact a proper long range reconnaissance strike doctrine. They need to invest heavily in recon assets at all levels from satellites, to planes, to helos, to ground force recon assets (this war has shown the value in squad level cheapo quad copter recon assets).
The US military needs to take to heart that numbers of recon and strike assets is absolutely critical. Downsizing their airforce in the quest of making every thing stealth is a liability as it compromises the overwatch capabilities and reduces the area that can be effectively controlled.
Yes, non stealth will take more losses but letting a company on the group get slaughtered rather than sacrificing ten airmen is a BAD cost benefit trade, and in war we are forced to make such trades. Reducing overall force count in the quest of stealth and lower aerial loss rates will naturally result in higher ground loss rates. We MUST not compromise our reconnaissance capabilities!
To anyone actually familiar with how this works everything in this thread is bog standard basics, yet everyone clamoring that one weapon, or one PGM will change this war is missing the fundamentals of how such modern wars are fought. Sadly MANY high ranking officers are missing this basic understanding.
Sorry again for the verbose reply, but people need to understand PGMs are one small part of a massively complex delicate kill chain, which if disrupted at any stage, prevents the effective deployment of the PGM. And Russia has capabilities to disrupt kill-chains at many stages.
The m198 was a better system for redundancy/robustness. it's like a Ford pick up. But is less easy to emplace/displace due to size.Apparently the M777 Howitzers are remarkably delicate high maintenance machines, kind of the opposite of Russian artillery and hardware:
View attachment 43293
Also, turns out each replacement barrel costs almost $1 million:
Canada will provide 10 replacement barrels for M777 howitzer artillery guns to Ukraine in new military aid valued at C$9 million ($6.9 million), the Canadian defense minister said on Wednesday.www.reuters.com
I'm curious about the explosion seen in this clip - is it from the RPG warhead exploding, or is that what reactive armour looks like when it's triggered?