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Old 08-08-2017, 09:24 PM
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Default Long wars and industrial mobilisation

This article touches on some of the issues we T2Kers have been discussing for as long as this forum has existed.

Long Wars and Industrial Mobilisation: It Won't Be World War II Again
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Old 08-08-2017, 10:01 PM
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Interesting, but I disagree in some measure.

I don't think any arms producers (except for maybe shipyards) operate on 24/7 basis. There is thus a lot of "slack" built into the manufacturing base. Full mobilization will occur, but will take probably six months to a full year. A lot of government military contracts require maintaining manufacturing equipment from closed production lines in storage - mothballed. For example, when the B-1B production line was closed, Rockwell was required to mothball the production line equipment with the ability to reactivate production by a specified date (I think was either 6-months or one year).

At one time, the F-16 production line was supposed to be able to "surge" to over 600 fighters per year. I think the requirement for M-1A1s was to surge to well over 500, but I am not sure.
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Old 08-09-2017, 08:45 AM
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America now has only one tank factory at Lima Ohio. They haven't build a new tank from scratch at Lima since the mid-1990's as all tanks are reconditioned, but they are reconditioned to such a degree that they are practically new tanks.

M1 tank reconditioning at Lima averages half a tank per day (15 tanks a month). General Dynamics has stated that it can easily ramp that up to two and a half tanks a day (75 tanks a month). In wartime that figure could conceivably rise to over a 100 tanks a month. If we say that reconditioning takes the same amount of time as producing a new tank then that would be up to 1,200 tanks a year. Building another tank factory or re-commissioning the still existent Detroit Arsenal Tank Plant would not be that hard but it would probably take at least six months to either build from scratch or refit with the right machine tools and equipment. So with the right infrastructure it is possible that America could build up to 2,400 tanks a year after six months or so.


Some discussion on this here...http://forum.juhlin.com/showthread.php?t=4627
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Old 08-09-2017, 12:40 PM
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There are also a number of Ammunition Plants that are government-owned and government-operated or government-owned and contractor-operated

a few that I can think of are

Lake City Army Ammunition Plant
McAlester Army Ammunition Plant
Anniston Munitions Center
Crane Army Ammunition Activity
Scranton Army Ammunition Plant
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Old 08-09-2017, 07:23 PM
The Dark The Dark is offline
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Interesting, but I disagree in some measure.

I don't think any arms producers (except for maybe shipyards) operate on 24/7 basis. There is thus a lot of "slack" built into the manufacturing base. Full mobilization will occur, but will take probably six months to a full year. A lot of government military contracts require maintaining manufacturing equipment from closed production lines in storage - mothballed. For example, when the B-1B production line was closed, Rockwell was required to mothball the production line equipment with the ability to reactivate production by a specified date (I think was either 6-months or one year).

At one time, the F-16 production line was supposed to be able to "surge" to over 600 fighters per year. I think the requirement for M-1A1s was to surge to well over 500, but I am not sure.
Speaking as someone who has worked on refurbishment programs, in my experience there are always hurdles when restarting a product line, because parts or materials will have gone obsolete, drawings won't be totally accurate (there will have been "tribal knowledge" that either wasn't recorded or wasn't kept), and the knowledge base will be shallow because of loss of experts to retirement or transfer to other programs. One of the items I worked on was an auxiliary sight, a pretty simple piece of optics (i.e. no special coatings and low magnification). It required six or seven engineering changes to become manufacturable again, with problems ranging from dimensions that were unreadable because part of the drawing was blurry to needing to find a substitute material because the metal that was specified hadn't been manufactured since the end of World War II (and this was for production circa 2010).

While there's slack capacity in that nobody runs 24/7 shifts, there's often a shortage of trained labor even at current production levels, so ramping up will actually slow production while new people are brought up to speed on things like CNC operations, material handling procedures, and clean room requirements. Given the number of reservists that work for DoD contractors who would be recalled to active duty, the lack of a reserve of trained labor, and production bottlenecks at sub-tier suppliers, it could easily take multiple years for some production lines to be able to expand, since all items would need to expand; it does no good to double the production of Hellfire missile bodies if you can't make any more of the seeker heads, or the engines, or the fuses for the warheads, etc, etc. As it currently exists, the industrial system supporting the military is capable, but brittle.
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Old 08-09-2017, 07:53 PM
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Speaking as someone who has worked on refurbishment programs, in my experience there are always hurdles when restarting a product line, because parts or materials will have gone obsolete, drawings won't be totally accurate (there will have been "tribal knowledge" that either wasn't recorded or wasn't kept), and the knowledge base will be shallow because of loss of experts to retirement or transfer to other programs. One of the items I worked on was an auxiliary sight, a pretty simple piece of optics (i.e. no special coatings and low magnification). It required six or seven engineering changes to become manufacturable again, with problems ranging from dimensions that were unreadable because part of the drawing was blurry to needing to find a substitute material because the metal that was specified hadn't been manufactured since the end of World War II (and this was for production circa 2010).

While there's slack capacity in that nobody runs 24/7 shifts, there's often a shortage of trained labor even at current production levels, so ramping up will actually slow production while new people are brought up to speed on things like CNC operations, material handling procedures, and clean room requirements. Given the number of reservists that work for DoD contractors who would be recalled to active duty, the lack of a reserve of trained labor, and production bottlenecks at sub-tier suppliers, it could easily take multiple years for some production lines to be able to expand, since all items would need to expand; it does no good to double the production of Hellfire missile bodies if you can't make any more of the seeker heads, or the engines, or the fuses for the warheads, etc, etc. As it currently exists, the industrial system supporting the military is capable, but brittle.

This might be true with older equipment not built for decades, but not if we are talking about equipment currently being made or reconditioned such as M1 tanks.
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Old 08-09-2017, 09:06 PM
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Originally Posted by The Dark View Post
Speaking as someone who has worked on refurbishment programs, in my experience there are always hurdles when restarting a product line, because parts or materials will have gone obsolete, drawings won't be totally accurate (there will have been "tribal knowledge" that either wasn't recorded or wasn't kept), and the knowledge base will be shallow because of loss of experts to retirement or transfer to other programs. One of the items I worked on was an auxiliary sight, a pretty simple piece of optics (i.e. no special coatings and low magnification). It required six or seven engineering changes to become manufacturable again, with problems ranging from dimensions that were unreadable because part of the drawing was blurry to needing to find a substitute material because the metal that was specified hadn't been manufactured since the end of World War II (and this was for production circa 2010).

While there's slack capacity in that nobody runs 24/7 shifts, there's often a shortage of trained labor even at current production levels, so ramping up will actually slow production while new people are brought up to speed on things like CNC operations, material handling procedures, and clean room requirements. Given the number of reservists that work for DoD contractors who would be recalled to active duty, the lack of a reserve of trained labor, and production bottlenecks at sub-tier suppliers, it could easily take multiple years for some production lines to be able to expand, since all items would need to expand; it does no good to double the production of Hellfire missile bodies if you can't make any more of the seeker heads, or the engines, or the fuses for the warheads, etc, etc. As it currently exists, the industrial system supporting the military is capable, but brittle.
That's the same stuff hmg went through recreating the stg-44. https://youtu.be/iQxwVY7ziKs part 1
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Old 08-09-2017, 11:27 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark View Post
Speaking as someone who has worked on refurbishment programs, in my experience there are always hurdles when restarting a product line, because parts or materials will have gone obsolete, drawings won't be totally accurate (there will have been "tribal knowledge" that either wasn't recorded or wasn't kept), and the knowledge base will be shallow because of loss of experts to retirement or transfer to other programs. One of the items I worked on was an auxiliary sight, a pretty simple piece of optics (i.e. no special coatings and low magnification). It required six or seven engineering changes to become manufacturable again, with problems ranging from dimensions that were unreadable because part of the drawing was blurry to needing to find a substitute material because the metal that was specified hadn't been manufactured since the end of World War II (and this was for production circa 2010).

While there's slack capacity in that nobody runs 24/7 shifts, there's often a shortage of trained labor even at current production levels, so ramping up will actually slow production while new people are brought up to speed on things like CNC operations, material handling procedures, and clean room requirements. Given the number of reservists that work for DoD contractors who would be recalled to active duty, the lack of a reserve of trained labor, and production bottlenecks at sub-tier suppliers, it could easily take multiple years for some production lines to be able to expand, since all items would need to expand; it does no good to double the production of Hellfire missile bodies if you can't make any more of the seeker heads, or the engines, or the fuses for the warheads, etc, etc. As it currently exists, the industrial system supporting the military is capable, but brittle.
Now I have no experience with any of this, but I do have a question, how much lead time would be needed to ramp up? I wounder as some things I think there would be enough surplus in the system to deal with some shortages for example on my last deployment before I got out in 2010-11 we got .50 BMG ammo with the date stamp of 44 so if they are still pulling ammo made for WWII and it is still good I would guess that they have some surplus that could take up some slack if they decided early enough, but like I said I have experience with this so just guessing.
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Old 08-10-2017, 03:43 PM
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"The words of Winston Churchill in the House of Commons, recalling the mobilization challenge of World War I, apply here:

'Here is the history of munitions production: first year, very little; second year, not much, but something; third year, almost all you want; fourth year, more than you need.'"

Probably the best summary from the article, IMO as a Churchil-phile.
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Old 08-10-2017, 07:23 PM
The Dark The Dark is offline
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Originally Posted by RN7 View Post
This might be true with older equipment not built for decades, but not if we are talking about equipment currently being made or reconditioned such as M1 tanks.
The simple optical device was the Abrams' GAS (Gunner Auxiliary Sight). There were drawings that hadn't been updated since before the XM1 was tested.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CDAT
Now I have no experience with any of this, but I do have a question, how much lead time would be needed to ramp up? I wounder as some things I think there would be enough surplus in the system to deal with some shortages for example on my last deployment before I got out in 2010-11 we got .50 BMG ammo with the date stamp of 44 so if they are still pulling ammo made for WWII and it is still good I would guess that they have some surplus that could take up some slack if they decided early enough, but like I said I have experience with this so just guessing.
I had trouble getting .50 BMG back in 2012 when I needed to supply it to the firing range I had leased to be able to shock-test weapon sights. I was required by my contract to use ammo from LCAAP (to make sure the profile matched what the sights would experience in service); 5.56mm and 7.62mm were no problem, but .50 was short. It was only a few weeks delay, but I was only ordering a few thousand rounds. Around that time, LCAAP was producing about 1.4 billion rounds per year total, which is 0.2 billion rounds below their theoretical maximum capacity. In 2005 (which was the peak of ammunition demand since 2001), total ammunition demand exceeded capacity for both 5.56mm and 7.62mm. The total demand for 5.56, 7.62, and .50 was about 1.703 billion rounds of ammunition, and LCAAP was only able to produce 1.269 billion rounds that year, so overall reserves shrank by almost 450 million rounds.

For small arms ammunition, the biggest supply chain risks are the powder and primer. Only one powder manufacturer is approved (St. Marks Powder of Crawfordville, FL) and they only have one nitrocellulose supplier (Radford Army Ammunition Plant in Virginia). The primer is produced only by ATK, although they have multiple plants capable of producing it. Of the 13 chemicals in the primer, 4 are sourced only from China, 2 only from Mexico, and 1 only from Brazil, which introduces risk in the case of hostilities with those countries or with a country capable of interdicting supply lines.

The ability to expand small arms ammunition availability would depend on how willing the military was to use ammunition manufactured outside their control, because any project to expand LCAAP would require years to produce any significant amount of material. Early on, not a snowball's chance in hell. When the supply starts running short? Even if it's not done officially, there will be back channels procuring any ammunition they can get.
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Old 08-10-2017, 11:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Dark View Post
I had trouble getting .50 BMG back in 2012 when I needed to supply it to the firing range I had leased to be able to shock-test weapon sights. I was required by my contract to use ammo from LCAAP (to make sure the profile matched what the sights would experience in service); 5.56mm and 7.62mm were no problem, but .50 was short. It was only a few weeks delay, but I was only ordering a few thousand rounds. Around that time, LCAAP was producing about 1.4 billion rounds per year total, which is 0.2 billion rounds below their theoretical maximum capacity. In 2005 (which was the peak of ammunition demand since 2001), total ammunition demand exceeded capacity for both 5.56mm and 7.62mm. The total demand for 5.56, 7.62, and .50 was about 1.703 billion rounds of ammunition, and LCAAP was only able to produce 1.269 billion rounds that year, so overall reserves shrank by almost 450 million rounds.
I can tell you of at least one reason for that, politics. Trying to stay as non-political as I can but here we go. First a little about my back ground I was EOD then and so a lot of the ammo rules did not entirely apply to us. But one rule that we found just stupid was that if the ammo turned in by a unit leaving was not in the same condition it was issued in they could not reissue it and it had to be turned over to EOD for destruction. What they mean by same condition was if you got a 100 round belt of ammo and when you went red you loaded a round, but never fired a round and at the end of your deployment you clear the weapon and put the 99 round belt and one lose round in the ammo can, all the ammo is "bad", but if the troops had relinked that one round it is good for issue. With the 5.56 if it did not come back in the cardboard boxes it was unserviceable. So when ever we wanted we would go and pick up as much "unserviceable" ammo as we wanted we would go to the range and shoot as much as we wanted, and still my unit burned (in fire pits) hundreds of millions of rounds. They also told us that it was cheaper to just destroy it than it was to send it back to the states to be inspected and repackaged for reissue. My first deployment every single member of my unit got to fire several AT-4's for this reason as they were going to be destroyed anyway. I was Army, but work OGA (Other Government Agency) a lot (got loaded out to the State Department) and we had a USMC FAST (not sure what this stands for) company come through and took them to the range, and let them shoot our Barret M82 .50 Cal's. We thought it was very fun when they asked how many rounds they each got to shoot, the look on there face when we said as many as you want and opened the back of the truck that was full of boxes of "unserviceable" .50 Cal ammo.
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Old 08-11-2017, 06:36 AM
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The simple optical device was the Abrams' GAS (Gunner Auxiliary Sight). There were drawings that hadn't been updated since before the XM1 was tested.
The XM1-FSED was developed in 1977-78, that's 40 years ago.

So as I stated "this might be true with older equipment not built for decades, but not if we are talking about equipment currently being made or reconditioned such as M1 tanks". The M1 has been reconditioned for the past 20 years, if there were major problems redeveloping parts, metals etc for the M1 then this would not be happening.
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Old 08-11-2017, 01:58 PM
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The Naval War College Global War Games touched on this in 1988. Over the course of 1985-87 they gamed out a World War Three scenario till D+64 or so, but the 1988 Game was different. In 1988 the refs moved the time period ahead till D+75 and then created three possible scenarios' Stalemate, Red Dominant and Blue Dominant. From there the participants examined various likely outcomes. One of these included what a prolonged, non-nuclear, War would be like. From what I remember the general consensus was that it would take at least until D+135 for Blue to shift vital industries to a war time footing, beyond an increase of 15% or so from slack.

Here's a link to the relevant PDF.

https://www.usnwc.edu/Publications/N...ts/20-pdf.aspx

Benjamin
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Old 08-11-2017, 04:50 PM
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we had a USMC FAST (not sure what this stands for)
Fleet Anti-terrorism Security Team. They're intended for rapid reaction short term deployments to cover areas with temporarily heightened risk profiles.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RN7
The XM1-FSED was developed in 1977-78, that's 40 years ago.

So as I stated "this might be true with older equipment not built for decades, but not if we are talking about equipment currently being made or reconditioned such as M1 tanks". The M1 has been reconditioned for the past 20 years, if there were major problems redeveloping parts, metals etc for the M1 then this would not be happening.
This was part of upgrading M1s to newer variants. The GAS is what's in the little hole below the coaxial machinegun on all Abrams tanks. The problem was likely because it hadn't needed manufacturing since the original production run (we weren't even updating that part, just replacing ones that had become irreparably damaged and left in place on M1s that were now scheduled for upgrade as they got cannibalized for spares for more modern Abrams). My suspicion is that there was a stockpile of the old metal left, and someone got lazy and specced it in as the only acceptable material, then the drawing was left untouched for 35 years or so, at which point we went to make more of these sights and the stockpile was gone. It was only a small problem (there was a readily available substitute), but it needed a little bit of engineering time for the original material's characteristics to be researched and an adequate substitute found among currently-produced metals. The problem's going to come when spares stockpiles start running short, since there may be other things where a "lifetime buy" ends up not actually being a lifetime supply at higher operational tempos, and parts for an active piece of equipment might have had production line shutdowns for years or decades after that lifetime buy.

It's possible we're talking past each other, so if you were stating that parts currently being manufactured should be scalable to a higher production rate, then yes, I agree to a large extent. However, the point I'm trying to clarify is that even on items currently in active service, there may be components that haven't been manufactured in a long time, and those components may be difficult to re-start and to get to a decent volume of production.
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Old 08-15-2017, 04:13 PM
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Originally Posted by The Dark View Post
Speaking as someone who has worked on refurbishment programs, in my experience there are always hurdles when restarting a product line, because parts or materials will have gone obsolete, drawings won't be totally accurate (there will have been "tribal knowledge" that either wasn't recorded or wasn't kept), and the knowledge base will be shallow because of loss of experts to retirement or transfer to other programs. One of the items I worked on was an auxiliary sight, a pretty simple piece of optics (i.e. no special coatings and low magnification). It required six or seven engineering changes to become manufacturable again, with problems ranging from dimensions that were unreadable because part of the drawing was blurry to needing to find a substitute material because the metal that was specified hadn't been manufactured since the end of World War II (and this was for production circa 2010).

While there's slack capacity in that nobody runs 24/7 shifts, there's often a shortage of trained labor even at current production levels, so ramping up will actually slow production while new people are brought up to speed on things like CNC operations, material handling procedures, and clean room requirements. Given the number of reservists that work for DoD contractors who would be recalled to active duty, the lack of a reserve of trained labor, and production bottlenecks at sub-tier suppliers, it could easily take multiple years for some production lines to be able to expand, since all items would need to expand; it does no good to double the production of Hellfire missile bodies if you can't make any more of the seeker heads, or the engines, or the fuses for the warheads, etc, etc. As it currently exists, the industrial system supporting the military is capable, but brittle.
This is something I touched on in other Forum Threads (especially regarding steel production). Lean Manufacturing introduced in the Early 1990's really ate into excess manufacturing capacity. As a "for example," I'll discuss my best friend's employer Channel Lock Inc. Channel Lock is running 3 shifts a day 5 to 6 days a week. They could only squeeze out about 10% to 15% of additional production in the event of war. Building additional forges and adding CNC machines WON'T help because there isn't enough skilled labor now to run those machines. This is a product of the "outsourcing" of US manufacturing jobs since the mid-1980's. This also means that the powers who are at war will invariably need to take equipment out of mothballs to supplement what can be produced. This is a "real world" reason for older equipment showing up in the war zone. Just look at what showed up in Afghanistan and Iraq. I can imagine it would be FAR more pervasive in a major conflict.
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