Why Don't Western Armies Have an Array of Rocket Artillery?

Discussion in 'Land' started by Pathfinder, Mar 5, 2016.

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  1. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    As we all have probably observed western armies are not generally equipped with a wide range of Multiple Launch Rocket Systems. Generally they have one system, the American M270 MLRS unless they are former Warsaw pact states. What do you all think the reasoning behind this is? Why do other militaries like those of China and Russia have many different types of rocket artillery systems?

    Found this online:
    fartillery.jpg
    http://www.defenceiq.com/army-and-l...-artillery-vs-conventional-artillery-what-ar/
     
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  2. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    I wont pretend to know why Western Armies prefer gun artillery to rockets, but I have (had) a bone to pick with some of the points in the infographic - mainly recoil:

    ...

    Significant recoil, eh? Say hello to Hawkeye:

    Mandus Group: Artillery Solutions: Hawkeye 105mm Weapon System





    [​IMG]

    As for recoil on rocket artillery, well, they have a lot of it too. Guided rockets and artillery shells help mitigate recoil and keep the rounds on target. This HIMARS will demonstrate that:



    [​IMG]

    The semi-active laser guided Excalibur S track moving targets:

    Raytheon's New Excalibur S Brings Laser-Guided Dependability

    Excalibur S artillery shell can change course in flight -- Defense Systems

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    Recoil isn't too much of a problem for artillery accuracy anymore. Guided shells limit he risk of recoil at the expense of cost.

    No videos of Excalibur S, so here's one of Excalibur lb:





    ...

    But it's a good question to explore. In Europe, against a Russian threat, having mobile artillery wouldn't be a bad thing, though in the Pacific against China it's near useless unless one wants to go with this solution:

    [​IMG]

    Perhaps the reason Western militaries don't use a large variety of rocket artillery is two-fold.

    1. it's costly to field a large number of non-similar systems.
    2. The Western world's militaries favor air-support over artillery fire anyway.

    ...

    In NATO we have Poland's WR-40:
    [​IMG]

    Turkey's T-122:
    [​IMG]

    As well as a version of China's WS rockets and Turkey's own Toros Rocket System.

    Spain's Tereul:
    [​IMG]

    And the US M270 and Himars systems.
     
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  3. Atilla

    Atilla Major

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    The M-270 can fill many roles that are filled by different Soviet Rocket Artillery like smerch and uragan. I think 122mm rockets are too inaccurate that is maybe why western armies don't use them.

    In Turkey we have more rocket artillery than other western countries because we might not be able to guarantee air superiority all of the time and it also gives options to fire into enemy territory without sending an expensive F-16 and a highly trained pilot.
     
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  4. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    @Pathfinder what's you view on why the West doesn't have diverse rocket/missile artillery types?

    I'm leaning towards redundancy and threat profile as my two working hypotheses.

    I'll start with threat profile. Most of the Western Army's while occasionally prone to overseas conflicts, are more concerned with being defensive powers. Rockets are used to soften up static targets before an assault takes place, but with Europe being defensive in nature, they only need to beat-back invading forces, not capture parts of their territory either. In Ukraine we see two sides fighting an entrenched enemy, the need for rocket to soften them up is present.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Not having to soften up targets typically, or having other means to do so (more on that in a minute), rocket artillery becomes somewhat unnecessary based on the doctrine and tactics of the Western Militaries. Sure, a rocket a can demolish a Russian tank column rather handedly, but no Western nation is firing rockets into downtown Tallinn while there are civilians present, even if Russia has captured the city. The West has moved on from those types of tactics in favor of PGM strikes.

    Even in open spaces, where artillery would be most useful, the West has be more favorable to airborne artillery in the form of attack helos.

    Let's also remember that the Russian military, versus many of its Western counterparts, is still reliant on unguided, cheap munitions like rocket barrages or carpet bombing, as has been affirmed in Syria. So maybe this is their best option for attacking a target, especially one with air-defenses like Ukraine? The West doesn't need to do this because it has alternatives... as we'll now explore

    Rockets are used the same way PGMs, cruise missile and gun artillery are, they are used to soften up targets.

    The US uses these to prep an area for a ground assault, in place of rocket artillery:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Because it attempts to establish air dominance prior to a ground assault, and uses air-support as a critical tool, maybe the West is positioned better not to rely on rocket artillery?

    Also the situations matter. In Iraq the M270 was used offensively against the Iraqi army, that often was grouped enmass, This led to devastating attacks on Iraqi armor columns and earned the M270 its nickname, "steel rain."

    In contrast, there's little left to assault in Afghanistan. So rocket artillery is being used as a long-range counter-battery weapon and to suppress assaults before they start:

    [​IMG]

    Like gun artillery, it's still mainly defensive, not an offensive weapon:

    [​IMG]

    It's used the same as gun artillery, only at longer ranges and if air-support isn't a viability. But you wont see a rocket fired at a city, unlike smaller artillery shells or PGMs that can hit with greater precision, even with rockets like ATACMS being very precise.

    For me the reason seems to be that the Western Armies have other options that make rocket artillery types redundant. They don't need multiple types like Russia does with its military still reliant on older unguided munitions.
     
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  5. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    I agree, with the idea that western armies are more defensive and with the idea that they like precision guided weapons for various reasons including their effectiveness and also for publicity purposes. You won't see a western country flattening a city like the Russians did to Grozny in the Chechen Wars. I think another hypothesis could be that of tradition. In WW2 the allies did use rockets and so did the Germans but there is no way to compare this with how the soviets used them. The soviets had massive rocket bombardments and thus may have seen them to work very well both from an economic perspective and from a offensive military perspective.

     
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  6. Bob Hunter 45

    Bob Hunter 45 2nd Lieutenant

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    The machine battery fire control senior officer 1 26-1 "Obolon-A" - video review (Made in Ukraine.) - they only began arriving in Army.
     
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  7. Technofox

    Technofox That Norwegian girl Staff Member Ret. Military Developer

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    Sometimes it's fun to go back and reexamine what you've previously written and how it stacks up at a later date under different circumstances. In Iraq and Syria American and Jordanian Himars have been used to soften up targets in built-up areas leveraging the Himars' guided rockets.

    [​IMG]

    Unguided rockets are still a no-no when assaulting urban environments due to a risk to civilians and civilian infrastructure, but guided rockets are approaching safe levels when used within cities and we have seen Himars used during assaults in Syria and Iraq.
     
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  8. Pathfinder

    Pathfinder Lieutenant Colonel

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    Its a useful weapon but it may not be ideal in urban environments full of cities. A missile like that can wipe out a whole block of cheaply built 70's era Arab housing. I agree though we are getting there but we may need a specialized system.

    Something like a modernized Chinese Type 63 (unmodified range is 9 km) that fires guided missiles mounted on a Humvee or MRAP would be ideal. You don't really need a long range artillery system when fighting forces that don't have an air force or organized artillery.

    [​IMG]
     
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  9. BlueHawk

    BlueHawk Captain

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    Say if Russian war happens. All nation need to bring every ting you got. You can never know how long Russia can keep there air fleet up in the air. Pluss they have good air defence. Artillery will play a inporten role. But most likely missile and artillery will play a key role in the war.
     
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  10. YarS

    YarS Lieutenant Colonel

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    I think, Westies preffer aviation (with smart bombs and dumb pilots) becouse of political and cultural reasons. There are saying who serve in different branches: "Clever - in artillery, rich - in cavalry, drunkurd - in fleet, and fool - in infantry".
    Education level of west countries does not allow them to make mass artillery. They preffer to use money, not brains. "Donkey, laden with gold, can capture any fortress."
     
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