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  #31  
Old 01-04-2019, 12:39 AM
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Ok, so the US military isn't likely to be beaten on the battlefield....
So don't try to.
Use economic warfare for a few years first to cripple the economy and make the US unable to sustain a large military.
Use social/cultural warfare to destroy the populations will to fight, even reduce their acknowledgement of the NEED to fight.
There's lots of ways to beat the US besides shooting at them. They just take a bit longer...
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  #32  
Old 01-04-2019, 12:56 AM
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It's worth looking at what's happening with NATO in Romania and Bulgaria at the moment as a possible contribution to any casus belli, particularly in light of Russian jets buzzing NATO warships in the Black Sea.
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  #33  
Old 01-04-2019, 01:48 AM
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I agree with some of this Raellus but I think you are being too critical of US capabilities.

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First off, let's look at Russian and Chinese capabilities.

Just a few years ago, Russia annexed the Crimea, and they recently blockaded the port of Mairupol, impounded Ukrainian naval vessels, and shut Ukrainian traffic out of the Sea of Azov. NATO didn't/won't do anything about it. If Ukraine can't extinguish a long-running ethnic Russian separatist insurgency (which benefits from thinly-veiled Russian military support), how could it stop a full-scale Russian invasion without direct NATO intervention?
The Ukraine could do little to stop a Russian advance on their territory, they are massively outgunned. NATO could do little to aid them and wouldn't as they are not part of NATO.

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Russia could retake the Baltic States in a matter of a few weeks and there's not much NATO could do to stop it. Estonia has no air force. The U.S. simply doesn't have enough pre-positioned heavy combat units in Europe to respond quickly enough and with adequate force, to turn back a Russian invasion. This isn't just some amateur military-buff's assessment- US military think-tanks have concluded as much.
Russia could take the Baltic States in a week as Estonia, Latvia or Lithuania have tiny and lightly armed militaries. NATO could do nothing to stop Russia doing it either outside air and naval attacks, although if NATO began mustering large land forces in Germany or Poland the Russians would likely retreat back to their border with the Baltics. They don't want to tangle with NATO and US forces beyond their own sphere of influence as they will lose.

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So that's where T2020 could start. The Baltic. Russian retakes Estonia and Latvia and NATO takes a belated stand on the Lithuania side of the Poland-Lithuanian border. Boom! WWIII. With the U.S. embroiled in a large-scale conventional war in the Baltics, China makes its play for Taiwan (and/or North Korea launches a second war of reunification) or, if that's too bold for your tastes, the Spratly Islands, attacking Vietnamese and Filipino navy vessels that arrive to assert their respective territorial claims.
Its plausible, but the Middle East is also very dangerous at the moment with ISIS on the retreat but still dangerous, the Arabs fighting proxy wars with each other and Iran and Russia causing trouble. Israel and Turkey could also be dragged into it.

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The Chinese navy is growing faster than the USN. The USN is aging and it's newest [littoral combat] vessels have been beset by all sorts of mechanical and systems and structural problems. The Chinese have a large and formidable coastal defense force and are rapidly developing a capable blue water navy. Any naval war fought in either/both of the China Seas will mean that the Chinese have interior lines of supply and access to numerous land-based aircraft. Their new anti-carrier ballistic missile could be a game-changer. In a similar vein, the Russians are rolling out hypersonic SSM/ASMs. Meanwhile, the USN still relies on the 40-year old Harpoon ASM.
China has greatly expanded its naval forces over the past 20 years. On paper its looks formidable, but there are flaws to their naval expansion. Chinese littoral forces will not come in range of US Navy warships unless the US Navy wants to engage them. US Navy aircraft, submarines and USAF aircraft are capable of picking them off at will from US carriers and land bases in the Pacific without China being able to do much about it. Quite frankly it would be a one sided slaughter if the US went full throttle at them. Also the Chinese cannot rely on the PLAAF to defend their ships close to China as the PLAAF is simply not good enough of an air force in equipment or experience despite the hype from Chinese propaganda. US Navy F/A-18E Super Hornet's and USAF F-22 and F-15E would wipe the floor of them and the Chinese probably know it.

To fully engage the US Navy out in the Pacific the Chinese need aircraft carriers and submarines, and a lot of them. The Chinese carriers are not capable of taking on US Navy carriers for a whole load of reasons, but principly because they don't have naval aircraft to compete with US Navy aircraft and their movement would be tracked by US intelligence resources particularly orbital satellites. US submarines or strike aircraft would blow them out of the water before they got in sight of Taiwan or the Philippines. Chinese submarine are also not a match for US submarines, and are also noisy and easy to track.

The Chinese DF-21D anti-carrier ballistic missiles threat is more an illusion than reality. The Russians tried this in the 1970's, gave up and switched their focus to the Tu-22M Backfire with supersonic nuclear missiles. China needs a powerful OTH radar, recon satellites, recon aircraft and submarines to all work in tandem to track the US carrier and hit it while its standing still about 1,700 miles offshore, and hope that the US carrier is not sailing full steam at 30 knots, and that all the US escorts with multiple anti-ABM missiles and ECM are asleep and that there is no clutter over the area. The OTH radar of questionable capabilities that China has constructed with Russian assistance in the Gobi desert would be vaporised long before the US sends its carriers in range of Chinese forces in wartime.

The Harpoon is an old missile but is still highly capable but it is now being replaced. The Freedom and Independence Class LCS are being fitted with new Norwegian NSM missiles. All US Navy combat aircraft and USAF and Marine aircraft are capable of firing the air launched AGM-84H/K SLAM-ER anti-ship cruise missile. It is an advanced anti-ship missile with a range of 170 miles and is considered the most accurate in US Navy service. The even more advanced AGM-158C LRASM or JASSM is currently entering service with a range of 300 miles, and potentially 1,000 miles, with US Navy aircraft. The AGM-158C can also be ship-launched and will probably be fitted to the Zumwalt Class destroyer and other ships. The Russians have had supersonic cruise missiles since the 1970's, they armed them with nuclear warheads as it was the only way they could attack a US Navy aircraft carrier and destroy it. But if you use a nuclear warhead against US forces you also risk a retaliatory American nuclear strike on you.


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I've already touched on some US weaknesses above. Here are some more.

The US still has the largest military budget in the world, but instead of investing in new and improved major systems like replacements for its aging Ticonderoga class guided missile cruisers, or M1 MBTs, or F-16s, most of that money is spent to pay for its long-running "War on Terror"- and most of that is for upkeep and maintenance on old, hard-working systems.

The USAF is currently facing a pilot shortage. The F-35 is a highly problematic airframe/avionics platform and there's not enough money in the budget to restart F-22 production. Instead, the USAF is looking at a program to replace it's 40-year old F-15 fleet with a new, upgraded model, the F-15X. The workhorse of the USAF, the F-16 is also getting old (airframes are approaching the end of their serviceable career). Meanwhile, the Chinese air force is steadily growing and modernizing. It's catching up qualitatively too- they're starting production of their own stealth fighter.
The F-35 is a problematic aircraft and is aerodynamically inferior to an F-16 with a GE engine and is dependent on its sensors. But its primarily a BVR fighter and strike platform, and its stealth will give it an edge over any other fighter. The F-22 is aerodynamically superior to any other fighter at the moment and with the F-35 is the only 5th Generation combat jet flying. Only the Su-57 is believed to be in the same class and it is a less powerful aircraft than the F-22 and it is still a prototype, and it is unlikely to be built in great numbers or exported by Russia. The only other fighter that could take on an F-22 at the moment in a BVR or WVR air duel with any confidence of defeating it is a Eurofighter Typhoon Tranche 3, which basically means that the only air force that has a hope of taking on the F-22 is the British RAF. In regards to combating any 5th generation aircraft coming online from Russia or China over the next decade, the US has been designing and developing their 6th Generation F-X since 2012.

The F-15X is in my opinion a good idea as its in the same class as the ex-Soviet Flanker variants which are the main BVR combat aircraft of the Russian, Chinese and many other air forces. An upgraded F-15C with a new airframe, more powerful engines, new sensors and the latest missiles would be a very effective way of countering the proliferation of Flanker variants around at the moment other than building more F-22's which would be a problem in itself as they would need an upgrade themselves which would not be cheap.

As regards to China well they can't build reliable jet engines because they weren't able to steal the technology from America and Britain that is needed to build them. Basically they haven't been able to copy the metallurgical and engineering processes needed, or can they manufacture the crystal nickle-steel that is needed to sustain them for 2,000 hours plus without fail. Chinese jet engines burn out after about 40 hours and fall out of the sky. China uses Russian engines which are not as good as American or British engines but still way better than Chinese ones. Until they manage to build a reliable jet engine I will reserve my opinion of Chinese aircraft.

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Lots of U.S. tanks and IFVs have a lot of hard miles on them, from deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, with replacements nowhere in sight. Thousands of new-ish MRAPs aren't going to help much in a conventional war against a modern foe like China or Russia.

These threads include links to various articles, mostly about Russian capabilities vis--vis the Baltics and NATO, some of which are referenced above:
The US hasn't built any new tanks since the mid-1990's, but with good reason as practically all their M1 tanks have been rebuilt to such an extent they are practically new tanks. They are also fitted with DU armour, which is about the strongest armour around and none have been lost to enemy action by a direct hit in their critical frontal armour. In 2018 the US Army and Marines had 2,831 M1 Abrams in service with another 3,500 held in storage.
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  #34  
Old 01-04-2019, 05:29 PM
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Originally Posted by Legbreaker View Post
Ok, so the US military isn't likely to be beaten on the battlefield....
So don't try to.
Use economic warfare for a few years first to cripple the economy and make the US unable to sustain a large military.
Use social/cultural warfare to destroy the populations will to fight, even reduce their acknowledgement of the NEED to fight.
There's lots of ways to beat the US besides shooting at them. They just take a bit longer...
Yep, but I'm trying to do a 'we are fighting US enemies in a foreign theatre after a nuclear exchange'. Even with a lot of weakening moves not much will make an effect before 2020. Maybe I should have thought 2025
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  #35  
Old 01-04-2019, 05:40 PM
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The Russian GDP, which is smaller than Spain's, is going backwards. They can't afford to outfit themselves with a division of their T-14s and have the Armata variants in the same division. Honestly, they have very little projection ability. Not only that but they don't want to. Crimea was transferred to Ukraine by Nikita Kruschev in 1957 from Russia and the Russians wanted it back. Ukraine has gone neo-fascist and actually is oppressing the Donbass Russians (I have a friend who is Ukrainian who tells me that their revolution was hijacked by the thugs from groups like the Azov Battalion and they now run the defence ministry). Russia, no good guy either, is just settling scores in its neighbourhood. They aren't interested in the old soviet defence-in-depth perimeter the soviets set up after The Second World War

For expansionism, as many people said, they key area is The South China Sea. However this area doesn't give us the armoured war that we are kind of after so it looks like we're going to have to fight on the Chinese mainland. I assume that Taiwan will be 'bounced' in a time coinciding with hawk governments on both sides.
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  #36  
Old 01-04-2019, 09:14 PM
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Maybe I should have thought 2025.
Makes a little more sense I think and certainly allows more time to set up the needed conditions.
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  #37  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:16 PM
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The Russian GDP, which is smaller than Spain's, is going backwards. They can't afford to outfit themselves with a division of their T-14s and have the Armata variants in the same division.
And they took the Crimea back, by force, and Ukraine could do nothing about it. You seem to think Ukraine didn't really want it, or care about the Russian smash-and-grab of Ukraine's sovereign territory.

The Russians don't need a division of Armata MBTs to retake the Baltic States. They could do it without a single T-14. They have an overwhelming military superiority over all three Baltic States combined. Yes, the Baltics are part of NATO, but NATO is a hollow shell of its former, Cold War self. The US has no prepositioned heavy divisions in Europe. The UK has one aircraft carrier and a steadily shrinking, aging navy. The German military is in decline. It can barely field a single squadron of combat ready aircraft, and major defects have been found in its Puma IFVs, it's newest destroyers, its E90 transports, and the G36! The Russians have been flexing on the Baltics for the last several years. They've been projecting military power in the Baltic to the point that Finland is considering joining NATO. They could reconquer the Baltics and NATO couldn't stop them. There's your T2020-'25 right there.

Seriously, don't take my word for it. Read some of the articles I linked to in the other thread I shared. I posted those a couple of years ago and, since then, not much has changed. If anything, with Brexit, NATO is more disfunctional that it was then.

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Honestly, they have very little projection ability. Not only that but they don't want to.
Neither of those statements is accurate. Were you forgetting the Russian forces currently operating in Syria? The same Russian air, sea, and land forces that saved the teetering Assad regime? If they didn't care about projection ability, why are they so desperately trying to hold onto their Mediterranean naval bases in Syria?

Putin longs for the days of Soviet (ne Russian) influence, in Europe and beyond. That's why he continues to flex on the Baltics, and support the Assad regime in Syria.

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Ukraine has gone neo-fascist and actually is oppressing the Donbass Russians (I have a friend who is Ukrainian who tells me that their revolution was hijacked by the thugs from groups like the Azov Battalion and they now run the defence ministry).
Your Ukrainian friend sounds like he has a strong pro-Russian bias. You might want to do a little more research on the 2014 Ukrainian Revolution and subsequent Russian-backed separatist movement.
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  #38  
Old 01-04-2019, 10:57 PM
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Putin longs for the days of Soviet (ne Russian) influence, in Europe and beyond.
You know this how exactly?
Note the media isn't exactly unbiased...
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  #39  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:38 AM
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You know this how exactly?
Note the media isn't exactly unbiased...
The western media.

Seriously, though- you guys are intelligent. Are you not following current events? Do you seriously believe Putin's propaganda? I can't believe that we're having this debate.

Anyway, I don't need the media to tell me what Putin's mindset is. Just take a look at his behavior, including but not limited to:
  • Russia's seizure (by force) of Crimea
  • Russia's continued support of separatists in eastern Ukraine
  • Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election (according to the CIA, NSA, and FBI)
  • Russian defense procurement and spending (the fact that they can't currently afford to purchase the various modern, offensive weapon systems that they want to is largely immaterial- the intent is there)
  • Russia's various shows of force, like it's recent staging of Blackjack strategic bombers from Venezuela http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...island-reports
  • Russian bombers have been flying right on the edge of Finnish, Swedish, UK, Canadian, and US airspace
  • Russia's direct military support of the Assad regime in Syria
  • Russia's blockade of Mariupol and seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels
  • Russia's militarization of the Arctic http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...improved-bases
  • Russia's attempts to woo Serbia https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s...-idUSKBN12Y1JX

Putin claims that most of this behavior is defensive in nature. He sees NATO and the US as an existential threat to Russia. This is clearly a Cold War mentality. So to is the concept of self-defense through the acquisition of buffer states (like Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, etc.), massive military- conventional and nuclear- strength, and power projection.

Bottom line Leg, are you saying that Putin doesn't long for the days of Soviet (ne Russian) power and influence in Europe and beyond? And you would know this how exactly?
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Last edited by Raellus; 01-05-2019 at 09:51 AM.
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  #40  
Old 01-05-2019, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
The western media.

Seriously, though- you guys are intelligent. Are you not following current events? Do you seriously believe Putin's propaganda? I can't believe that we're having this debate.

Anyway, I don't need the media to tell me what Putin's mindset is. Just take a look at his behavior, including but not limited to:
  • Russia's seizure (by force) of Crimea
  • Russia's continued support of separatists in eastern Ukraine
  • Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election (according to the CIA, NSA, and FBI)
  • Russian defense procurement and spending (the fact that they can't currently afford to purchase the various modern, offensive weapon systems that they want to is largely immaterial- the intent is there)
  • Russia's various shows of force, like it's recent staging of Blackjack strategic bombers from Venezuela http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...island-reports
  • Russian bombers have been flying right on the edge of Finnish, Swedish, UK, Canadian, and US airspace
  • Russia's direct military support of the Assad regime in Syria
  • Russia's blockade of Mariupol and seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels
  • Russia's militarization of the Arctic http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...improved-bases
  • Russia's attempts to woo Serbia https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s...-idUSKBN12Y1JX

Putin claims that most of this behavior is defensive in nature. He sees NATO and the US as an existential threat to Russia. This is clearly a Cold War mentality. So to is the concept of self-defense through the acquisition of buffer states (like Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, etc.), massive military- conventional and nuclear- strength, and power projection.

Bottom line Leg, are you saying that Putin doesn't long for the days of Soviet (ne Russian) power and influence in Europe and beyond? And you would know this how exactly?
Also the state sponsored assassination by poison and nerve warfare agent of Putin's critics and opponents in Britain, Russia and the Ukraine, and Russian spies trying to hack the evidence from files from chemical weapons labs in the Netherlands and Switzerland.
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  #41  
Old 01-05-2019, 03:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Raellus View Post
The western media.

Seriously, though- you guys are intelligent. Are you not following current events? Do you seriously believe Putin's propaganda? I can't believe that we're having this debate.

Anyway, I don't need the media to tell me what Putin's mindset is. Just take a look at his behavior, including but not limited to:
  • Russia's seizure (by force) of Crimea
  • Russia's continued support of separatists in eastern Ukraine
  • Russia's interference in the 2016 U.S. presidential election (according to the CIA, NSA, and FBI)
  • Russian defense procurement and spending (the fact that they can't currently afford to purchase the various modern, offensive weapon systems that they want to is largely immaterial- the intent is there)
  • Russia's various shows of force, like it's recent staging of Blackjack strategic bombers from Venezuela http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...island-reports
  • Russian bombers have been flying right on the edge of Finnish, Swedish, UK, Canadian, and US airspace
  • Russia's direct military support of the Assad regime in Syria
  • Russia's blockade of Mariupol and seizure of Ukrainian naval vessels
  • Russia's militarization of the Arctic http://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone...improved-bases
  • Russia's attempts to woo Serbia https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s...-idUSKBN12Y1JX

Putin claims that most of this behavior is defensive in nature. He sees NATO and the US as an existential threat to Russia. This is clearly a Cold War mentality. So to is the concept of self-defense through the acquisition of buffer states (like Crimea, Eastern Ukraine, etc.), massive military- conventional and nuclear- strength, and power projection.

Bottom line Leg, are you saying that Putin doesn't long for the days of Soviet (ne Russian) power and influence in Europe and beyond? And you would know this how exactly?
Well, after Gorbachev was promised that NATO 'would not move an inch closer' to Russia, the INF treaty being repudiated on technical grounds, NATO exercises being held constantly on their doorstep, their long time ally Syria being attacked by the west, Ukraine's behaviour (honestly, they're both as bad as each other. Ukraine is not an angel), Venezuela - another longtime ally - being under constant attack by the US and the US expanding to 800 bases world wide and having a war on their border and assaulting Russia's allies everywhere, and finally Russia and Serbia are probably the longest allies that have ties - Russia went into WW1 to save them and almost started a war when NATO attacked them in 1999, I'm not surprised they're sabre-rattling.

When the powers we dislike do anything it is because of dark designs, but when we empire-build it is because we believe in the liberal world order of law despite we consistently - without fail - install worse governments than the ones we outright depose without any legitimacy except 'it was presented to the voters as an ethical move'.

Russia, China etc are not angels in no way shape or form, but it is not they who have been at war for nigh on twenty years with half the world. It's about time for everyone to take a long hard look and take note that it was the USA and it's allies (I include my country) that has plunged this world into perpetual war after the Cold War, a war that we prolonged as long as possible to the point where we almost annihilated life on the planet
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  #42  
Old 01-05-2019, 04:56 PM
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Russia, China etc are not angels in no way shape or form, but it is not they who have been at war for nigh on twenty years with half the world. It's about time for everyone to take a long hard look and take note that it was the USA and it's allies (I include my country) that has plunged this world into perpetual war after the Cold War, a war that we prolonged as long as possible to the point where we almost annihilated life on the planet
I agree with you here, Chalkline. I am no American foreign policy apologist. As I pointed out in my last post, a large portion of recent Russian "aggression" stems from atavistic fears the Russians have harbored since the betrayal and existential crisis of Operation Barbarossa. Putin, for one, believes that the best defense is a good offense. That doesn't change the fact that Russia is behaving aggressively in Eastern Europe. To say that the Russians aren't interested in, or capable of, projecting power is simply inaccurate.

To get back to your original question, if you want to start your future T2K with a land war between Russia and the U.S.A., then you needn't look any further than Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. All the ingredients are already there.
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  #43  
Old 01-05-2019, 07:01 PM
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I'm saying in the west we're subjected to a LOT of propaganda.
Without a reliable source close to Putin himself, everything we think we know is only conjecture. Not a single person on this board really has ANY idea of what Putin thinks, believes and desires. We can make guesses, but we cannot know.
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  #44  
Old 01-05-2019, 09:44 PM
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I'm saying in the west we're subjected to a LOT of propaganda.
Without a reliable source close to Putin himself, everything we think we know is only conjecture. Not a single person on this board really has ANY idea of what Putin thinks, believes and desires. We can make guesses, but we cannot know.
One guess is that he wants to project an image of a personally macho manly moonshine-drinkin', Inuit-woman-killin', polar-bear-rapin' MAN! (old joke)
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  #45  
Old 01-06-2019, 08:03 PM
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The one thing everyone does know at this point is that Putin was to restore Russia as a first tier world power with closely aligned allies. He knows the former east bloc countries are a lost cause at this point, but he wants historically Russian territory officially part of Russia or closely aligned governments. The most obvious targets for expansion are the Baltic States and maybe Finland. He is not going further into Ukraine without stirring up a lot of trouble at this point.

Taking a step back, I think Russia will concentrate on expanding military influence in the West through sales and work on growing its ties with Syria, Iran, and Venezuela. Cuba is pretty much a write-off at this point, but Mexico, Brazil, Malaysia, and Vietnam are all attractive to Russian overtures. As funny as it may sound, I don't think Vietnam is much attracted to closer relations with Russia and instead is looking toward the west, especially the Philippines, New Zealand, Australia and the US. While many see a resurgence in a Russia-China alliance, I think Russia views China as a potential adversary just as much as it does the US and while it seeks to sell weapons to the Chinese, I don't think its goal is an alliance.
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:04 AM
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I'm sorry if I got a bit strident there guys. I got called a 'Russian appeaser' over at RPG.net and it got my back up
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Old 01-07-2019, 04:11 AM
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I'm sorry if I got a bit strident there guys. I got called a 'Russian appeaser' over at RPG.net and it got my back up
Actually, I think you were pretty much on point with your earlier comments. When we step back and look at the world from an unbiased viewpoint, there's plenty of good reasons why Russia might be just a tiny bit upset with the west and the US in particular.
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  #48  
Old 01-07-2019, 07:12 AM
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Back on Topic.

I think a 'Twilight 20x0' set on China's eastern seaboard might be an idea. An international coalition gets cut off after taking a large swathe of the area. This would have the flat terrain of China's coastal plain and the urban terrain of the various mega-cities
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Old 01-07-2019, 12:41 PM
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Actually, re-read the top message: "on topic" is a discussion of what things would appear in a modern Twilight:2020 that would need additional rules.

And I thought of one I don't think was covered: limits/capabilities on autonomous actions by unmanned vehicles.

The Israelis have a couple of (armed) ground vehicles capable or an amount of autonomy (it can navigate a track; stop and report if anomalies detected). Distinctly, it cannot attack automatically - but that is more a matter of programming than a lack of capability.

I also know there are other unmanned vehicles in the US, UK, and Russia with a mix of capabilities.

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Old 01-07-2019, 07:47 PM
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<snip>
The Israelis have a couple of (armed) ground vehicles capable or an amount of autonomy (it can navigate a track; stop and report if anomalies detected). Distinctly, it cannot attack automatically - but that is more a matter of programming than a lack of capability.
<snip>
Uncle Ted
To go further with this, the matter of programming is more to do with legalities and liabilities than any inability to create the software that would allow any unmanned vehicle autonomy in regards to attacking.
Another aspect of the situation is that in some cases communications difficulties have lessened human oversight of various robots used in combat zones so a push to have them able to "think" for themselves is not seen as a bad thing by some people.

There's enough research and even practical examples of target recognition software available to show that the idea is viable e.g. traffic monitoring systems that have the ability to single out specific vehicles such as heavy trucks using roads they aren't supposed to. Refining the abilty would probably be a case of using various sensors to get confirmation that the potential target is an armed enemy rather than changing the software.

Many people are not happy with the idea of "armed robots" let alone the idea of those "armed robots" having the discretion to attack as their AI decides... echoes of Skynet and the Terminator...
Do you remember back in 2007 in South Africa when a 35mm AA system opened fire on some troops and killed 9 of them and injured others? That AA system wasn't even autonomous, it apparently just glitched.
https://www.wired.com/2007/10/robot-cannon-ki/

But the push for combat robots with more autonomy was being pursued even with that sort of negative publicity.
https://www.wired.com/2007/10/roomba-maker-un/

The legal/liability aspect plays a big part as obviously very few governments want the bad publicity that would be generated if an autonomous unit shot innocent bystanders.
This is similar to what's happening in the world of self-driving vehicles. In industrial areas where there's no unauthorised & untrained personnel around they are in use and working well.
There's a great barrier to their introduction for private vehicle use though because governments have not yet defined who would be at fault if a self-driving car crashes into someone or something.
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Old 01-09-2019, 10:11 AM
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The US hasn't built any new tanks since the mid-1990's, but with good reason as practically all their M1 tanks have been rebuilt to such an extent they are practically new tanks. They are also fitted with DU armour, which is about the strongest armour around and none have been lost to enemy action by a direct hit in their critical frontal armour. In 2018 the US Army and Marines had 2,831 M1 Abrams in service with another 3,500 held in storage.
Sorry to get a little off-topic, but I have a question about DU armor. We know from vehicles and aircraft firing DU ammunition that DU is pyrophoric, which means that it tends to burst into a giant flaming mass when it penetrates a target. What happens if the DU layer of armor is hit by a good penetrator?
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Old 01-09-2019, 11:07 AM
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Sorry to get a little off-topic, but I have a question about DU armor. We know from vehicles and aircraft firing DU ammunition that DU is pyrophoric, which means that it tends to burst into a giant flaming mass when it penetrates a target. What happens if the DU layer of armor is hit by a good penetrator?
Good question and to be honest I don't know. I've been browsing around for a while and can't find an answer for you. Maybe the information is on some website but likely it is not as the composition of DU armor is highly classified defence material. However from what I've read and surmised the DU armor is fitted in layers with other extremely tough material such as Chobham or other ceramic materials, or is mixed with it when fitted to the Abrams tank making it less flammable. DU armor is concentrated on the frontal glacis of the Abrams and as far as I know it has never officially been penetrated by any type of tank round or missile ordinance. Only US Army and Marine Abrams tanks are fitted with DU armor and the US has not exported the tank fitted with DU armor to any country expect possibly Australia.
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Old 01-09-2019, 12:33 PM
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From a Quora article about the DU armor on the US M1 Abrams...

(Why is depleted uranium used in the Abrams new armor)

"The biggest drawback to DU armor was noticed during “blue on blue” fire during the Gulf War and the Iraq war - a DU penetrator passing through DU armor meant that higher levels of DU were present in the atmosphere of the tank immediately after it was hit, exposing the crew to higher levels of inhaled DU. So the greatest exposure was to tank crews was to those who were in a DU-armored tank hit with a DU round. Non-DU rounds (such as those used by the Iraqi army) were much less penetrating."

I found this in a Reddit article:

Solid uranium isn't all that pyrophoric, because that reaction is based on surface area. Uranium shavings or powder, like what you might get when machining it, are the real danger; that's why you operate the machines under oil or a non-oxygen gas (nitrogen and argon are common choices, I think). However, a sheet of uranium isn't going to be very enthusiastic about catching on fire, because only the very surface is subject to pyrophoricity.

(Since I am not a scientist, I make no claims about this; just passing it on. The article includes a picture of where the DU armor is (turret front).)

Uncle Ted

Last edited by unkated; 01-09-2019 at 01:08 PM. Reason: Added quote from second article
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Old 01-09-2019, 03:55 PM
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The Australian M1 Abrams do not have the DU armour composite, it was explicitly mentioned in the request by Australia that the tanks use conventional composite armour (i.e. non-DU armour).
Can't remember the source for that info but it was mentioned in a few of the defence magazines I was reading at the time of the Abrams purchase and there's likely to be something online about it.

Last edited by StainlessSteelCynic; 01-09-2019 at 03:56 PM. Reason: clarification
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Old 01-09-2019, 04:50 PM
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Going back to the original question of what's needed, one of the things that should have been in the previous editions (but wasn't) are active defense for tanks - systems like Drozd, Arena, Malachit, and Trophy.

It would be also interesting to me to see the up-gunned tanks being worked on (the Rheinmetall 130mm L/51, the 2A83 152mm L/45) and possibly some of the old guns that were being developed before APFSDS ammo became prevalent, like the XM291 140mm L/47 and the Leopard 2-140 L/50.



For small arms, one fairly recent development is Serbia's adoption-for-testing of the Zastava M17 in 6.5mm Grendel (essentially an AK platform, with 20-round straight mags and 30-round bananas). I recently found a photo of an information card from a trade show in Belgrade, and according to that it's 3.7 kg empty, has a telescoping stock with an overall length of 88-94.5 cm, barrel length of 41.5 cm, has over-and-under Pic rails on the handguard, and accepts either a .165 kg 20-round or .22 kg 30-round mag. Running it through FF&S, I get:
Wt 3.7 kg, Mag 20 or 30, ROF 5, Dam 3, Pen 2-Nil, Blk 6, SS 3, Brst 7, Rng 50.

There's mention of barrel lengths being available for CQB, Assault Rifle, and DMR use, but no other barrel lengths are specified on the sheet I've seen.
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:14 PM
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Unkated -- That second link pretty much had the information I needed (though I don't normally trust just one source if I can avoid it). But thanks!
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:31 PM
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The Australian M1 Abrams do not have the DU armour composite, it was explicitly mentioned in the request by Australia that the tanks use conventional composite armour (i.e. non-DU armour).
Can't remember the source for that info but it was mentioned in a few of the defence magazines I was reading at the time of the Abrams purchase and there's likely to be something online about it.
They do have DU armour but the Australian government won't officially confirm it.

I've suspected for some time that the Aussie tanks have DU armour and what has always made me think that is the weight of the tank they bought from the US. Here is a detailed explanation about why the Australian M1 Abrams are fitted with DU armour from someone who knows.

https://www.quora.com/Does-the-Austr...y-Abrams-tanks
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Old 01-09-2019, 07:42 PM
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Also a reply by an Aussie AFV commander on the same link contradicts the American tank commanders opinion and states that Australian tanks do not use DU armour. I much prefer the American tank commanders answer.
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:22 AM
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As of two years ago the ADF stated that the next batch of M1s will have DU and they'd like the old ones upgraded
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Old 01-10-2019, 03:25 AM
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The Morrow Project's superb system for settlements, tech levels and so on is something I think should be emulated. If you haven't seen it have look, it transfers easily to Twilight
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