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Mechs

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posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 01:08 AM
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This isn't about whether gundams would work in real life or anything like that.

I just recently found a group at www.mechaps.com that is trying to create a mech (about 5 meters tall, uses a 1500hp engine) and a lot of them were talking about military applications on their forums. Mainly the idea that it could be used in mountainous terrain such as Afghanistan where it is hard for tracked vehicles to maneuver.

Does anyone see a real application for this? It is cool enough that part of me is giddy like a kid, but I don't really know if there is a job for it...




posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 12:21 PM
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PBscientist,



Does anyone see a real application for this? It is cool enough that part of me is giddy like a kid, but I don't really know if there is a job for it...


I always prefer small and quadrupedal to enable easier production and more efficient loping movement. Of course something the size of a lion or a wolf is also not likely to be manned but it has the advantage of being akin to the Boeing Dominator styled approach to saturation coverage for idiotville locations like Lebanon where they gladly put themselves in amongst the collaterals and then snipe away.

That said-

www.gizmag.com...
www.gizmag.com...

Sure looks like the prototype for a Mad Dog to me...;-)

If I had to guess, I think that this kind of system MIGHT be the answer to light Cav/Scout/SOF forces which are now mounted in dunebuggies, Gators or on foot.

They may also have some minor advantages in FIBUA ops where they can see over obstacles and march across yards and fencelines etc. without quite as much destruction as a tracked vehicle walking through a wall might pose.

Up Hill, Down Dale... ainh. I still prefer the UAV+UGV option where possible and particularly bipedal mecha are not likely to be much less sensitive to ground clearance and balance issues than conventional wheeled vehicles.

If I am going to pop a gun bunny in some 'hill country' of North Eastern AfG "Plus 5 Miles" I would REALLY prefer to do it without walking into one of _his turf_ preset ambushes and that basically means a Netfire or Spike type weapon coming over a hill off of someone else' cue. Humans simply cannot cover terrain fast enough, with enough untouchability to be viable here and lord knows, upping the silouhette to 15ft is not going to help much if it merely puts a 'shoot me, I'm higher than the scrub brush and small pines' bullseye on the back of anybody associated with the platform.

I think the fascination most people have with these things is directly related to the notion that 'if it walks like us, it is us, sorta...' inherent to semi anthropomorphic knight-is-the-charge psychology. That or dinosaurs.

Either way, I don't see much reason inherent to putting a lot of weight on a small foot pad area and then daring someone to knock it off balance with a mine or ATGW (or mortar or RCL or SPR or or or).

Hmmmm... One last thing. If you can make these things stand to attention while supplying them with largely long range weapons systems utterly immune to same-horizon fires **and keeping the weight very low**; I _think_ you might be able to make a justification for a ranger replacement force inherent to rapid entry into a contested SPOD/APOD theater with an all-mounted force. Again, going back to the cavalry system but off the back of a C-17 short landed on some highway in the middle of BFE Ugly.


KPl.

mod edit: Added quote tags
Quote Reference (review link)




[edit on 17-8-2006 by UK Wizard]



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 01:20 PM
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Whoa Technobable.

While I think I agree with you CH1466.... what does FIBUA + RCL/SPR + SPOD/APOD stand for? If you don't mind explaining, I'm curious because I haven't seen those accronyms before.

As for the Land Walker, it looks pretty impressive right up until it starts moving. I get the impression, though, that it isn't good for much beyond flat pavement. And it's not exactly walking...

YouTube
YouTube

Anything big enough to carry the requiered gear: probably 2 crew (1 driver, one weapons officer), weapons and ammunition, armor, and an engine and fuel supply sufficient to move the thing around... is going to be really heavy. And all that weight is going to be concentrated on two small contact patches, which won't support you very well (people switch to all fours on rough terrain). So you probably won't be able to go those places where tracked vehicles can't... at least not quickly. Or you move fast and bounce the driver/operator all over the place so much he can't do his job. You're going to be a big, obvious, vulnerable target (tank armor is slopped to deflect attacks... your upright vehicle won't be so lucky).

So I don't really see an advantage to a "walker" over tracked military vehicles. And if you need to access rough terrain in a hurry, that's what UAVs/Helicopters are for... or maybe artillery - depending on what you're trying to accomplish when you get there.



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 02:01 PM
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Sad that the mech is on tracks.


It's not a true mech, the feet never leave the ground, and they're sure as heck not scraping the ground, so it's obviously on wheels.

The technology to make an efficient and effective mechanized bi-pedal, quad-pedal machine is just not here yet, and the powerplants that we have at our disposal are just not well equiped to move that much mass the way it should be moved to be effective in the targeted environment and to last long distances and time. Plus maintenance pretty much outweighs the benefits, the technology is just not here.

I'll tell you though, listening to that thing walk around made my day.
It's a joke of a mech, the mechs that I forsee coming of age in within this century, are those on quad-treads and have torsos with dual cannons for arms, instead of the standard single turret on a tank hull. More firepower, same mobility, and possibly more armor.

Shattered OUT...



posted on Aug, 7 2006 @ 02:19 PM
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Also be sure to check the pics and info in this thread.

I believe one was even sold on eBay.


As for being truly viable, I don't think we're quite "there" yet.



posted on Aug, 10 2006 @ 06:50 AM
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I've got a 'drawing board' project that I hope to replicate the 'Madcat' Battlemech out of Battletech and develop a fully autonomous robot (eventually) out of the basic chassis - planned to be 2-3 meters tall.

I'll have to check the status of electro-active polymers.... last I checked, they were nowhere near able to provide the amont of contraction power in a fiber necessary.... actually they weren't contraction fibers at all.

I saw some wires that contracted based on the use of two different metals... but most of those wore out after about a few thousand repetitions - which, if you're talking several hundred feet for one 'muscle' .... and the time needed to replace them verses the use you get out of them - not practical.

The power source I've thought about being a turbine engine designed to burn Denatured Isopropenol. However, if the 'hypercapacitor' concept yields enough power and storage capacity - it would be more viable than battery sources or liquid fuels.

I want to design it with the idea of working with my UCAV concept which I'm also designing with the idea of using it for establishing a tornado research grid across the midwest. The two would be capable of coordinating through wireless transmitters (duh) and launching strikes against designated targets completely independently of human input.

Pretty much a programming nightmare.... but it isn't anywhere near impossible. Besides the fact it will cost a HELL of a lot of money.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 12:24 AM
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Originally posted by ch1466
That said-

www.gizmag.com...
www.gizmag.com...

Sure looks like the prototype for a Mad Dog to me...;-)



Maddog....LOL

Ah CH is a closet Clanner. Tisk Tisk on the contractions. No self respecting Clanner would speak like a stravag freebirth! ROFL

Kidding aside, it does look like a MD, minus the bird legs and LRM20s.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 12:38 AM
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I would just like to point out that these people were laughing at these attempts on their forum. These people seem fairly realistic about what they are doing, and are willing to admit things like the fact that they aren't actually working on the mech itself right now and are focusing on their work environment so they can get ready for a new push (many BS groups forget about logistics, as far as I have seen). They are also pretty realistic about what they will be able to accomplish, saying that their primary goal in the short term is to make something that can be used in industry.

Maybe its just the want for this to happen coloring my vision, but I really think they might have a chance at this.



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 02:22 AM
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The Japanese have come a long way in robot technology. It just takes lots of time and persistence to get things right.

Although it is hard to find practicality in using Mechs... As you say, mountainous terrains would be applicable but maybe a good idea would be to combine tracks like those bomb squad robots for speed along flat terrain and when needed, shift to the good ol` faithfull legs.

Personally that mech in ch1466 links look a bit toyish. Big and slow. Anyone with an RPG could obliterate it with one hit.

I do beleive in time the technology could & would improve alot but as said earlier, bigger power to carry more weight is needed.

Did anyone see Matrix evolutions? Those exo-skeletons with cannons could be a more practical idea because that technology already exists and is quite reliable.

Please note that the pic is a toy but the idea is good.

www.spawn.com...

...Although dangling out the front might not be such a good idea



posted on Aug, 15 2006 @ 06:56 PM
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Originally posted by RedMatt
Whoa Technobable.

While I think I agree with you CH1466.... what does FIBUA + RCL/SPR + SPOD/APOD stand for? If you don't mind explaining, I'm curious because I haven't seen those accronyms before.



Don't hold your breath waiting for an answer. For reasons known only to CH1466, his post are often dense, Tolstoy-dian and replete with esoteric acronyms and jargon. Never have I seen him translate said acronyms either.

As nearly as I can discern CH1466, your overarching priority is post lengthy screeds that hardly anyone will read, let alone understand. While your at it, why not post in Esperanto too?

On the subject of mechs: The make little sense outside an anime convention.

[edit on 15-8-2006 by Number23]

[edit on 15-8-2006 by Number23]



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 02:35 PM
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RedMatt,



Whoa Technobable.


Google then XXXXX Acronym Definition. I'm sometimes a little slow to get back to these things.

FIBUA: Fighting In Built Up Areas. Also MOUT or Military Ops In Urban Terrain.
RCL/SPR: Recoilless (Rifle) and Special Purpose Rifle.*
SPOD/APOD: Sea or Air Points Of Debarkation.**

*Though anything which can overcome range with heavy caliber ballistics or an explosive warhead is probably applicable when firing from a ridgeline half a mile away; I'm expecting to see increased use of manportable ATGW and guided round or precision table cued Mortars where these are light/modular enough for teardown into subassemblies for extended marches. The folks in Iraq and especially AfG are slowly but surely learning that nothing they do in desultory engagements with RPK, AK-47 and even RPG is worth the hump to get the weight of ammo out of sanctuary territories and back. Our guys shoot straighter and have better fires discipline if not immediate supporting arty and air. Sooner or later they will twig to the notion that it's better NOT to expose themselves. And/or to engage with ONE heavy round that DOES hit vs. 100-200 bullets per man which do not. Then, assuming some 'nice sponsor' like China or Iran cares to supply the goods, we will start to take unmatchable attrition from surprise positions which kill 3-4 men even as the threat fades away.

**Though it's really an anachronistic doctrinal application of their force capabilities, the MEU/MAGTF is still basically at it's heart a harbor assault force and the Rangers are largely still nominally assigned the primary role of seizing airfields. Which is all well and good when you-

1. Have the time and zero-threat (coastal ASUW, mines etc.) to get into the theater the same way MacArthur did at Inchon, massing the forces to make the obvious happen while 'nobody dares' to say no.

2. Are not facing a credible mechanized or ballistic force threat or even a well prepared landmine+arty+LAW one which makes a monkey out of anyone trying to do the 'one Abrahms at a time' trick into a highly predictable debarkation zone. Or indeed to create ANY logistics heavy center of gravity by which to support the transit of maneuver elements to depth. If these mech units can lope at 30-40mph while maintaining a smaller stand-up footprint and equal or better weight/fuel economy to conventional vehicles; it is theoretically possilbe that you can make the initial assault force insertion, not only away from preregistered fire predictors. But also so deep that they don't _need_ the (themselves vulnerable) CS/CSS to 'go the distance'. _Drive_ to the sound of gunfire. But don't drive sp far your organic gas and guns cannot hold the ops tempo to suppress the idiots and speedbump units you meet while retaining sufficient reserves to still do the assault.

Again, I don't know that I find these all that much more effective than wheeled vehicles on the flat (lower silouhette, more internal cargo volume, superior CofG) but they certainly beat maintaining a peacetime force of worthless 'Airborne' capable units. Only to drop them in the north 40 of OIF-land where they are 'out of the way' like little children. Effectively sitting and do nothing because they /are/ 'boots on the ground' and thus effectively cannonfodder to any heavy mech force which cares to eat them up.

Replacing the 82nd or the Ranger battalions with say 100 Mech equipped 'fire scouts' might be the answer to both economic force structure changes and endowing mobile cavalry/screening force units with the ability to both heft sufficient weapons to kill off an equivalent cav unit in an armor vs. armor encounter (6-10 Javelin). Or to support heavy conventional Infantry with assault-gun equivalent breaching and suppressing firepower (40mm grenade launcher, FNMAG 7.62 with 2,000rds and SMAW or similar LAW plus Smoke). All while maintaining the mobility to get into or away from a given landing zone before indirect fires just /butcher/ everyone who has let themselves be fixed.

All the more so if they can be palletized as ready-to-walk teams with men pre-mounted so that they can be airdropped as LGOPs (Little Groups Of Paratroopers). Then they become a lethal decoy _distraction_ force, akin to what happened in Normandy and the amount of crap you have to do to get them into a truly hot theater, on the ground, and ready for action is _zero_.



As for the Land Walker, it looks pretty impressive right up until it starts moving. I get the impression, though, that it isn't good for much beyond flat pavement. And it's not exactly walking...


Yeah, 'The Land Shuffler' hardly sounds as impressive does it? It's a shame that these folks have probably never seen a steam locomotive to envision the efficiency of an eccentric drive arm on a rotary hinge to simplify the lift-thrust-step-thrust of true walking. It's equally obvious that, without independent stabilization, using the head as a weapons platform is going to be next to worthless from anything but a standing position.

I would also like to see the unit able to kneel to reduce signature levels and ease boarding. I would also expect them to be able to function as lift-loaders when required in supporting their own logistics (forklift or crane pallet swing) as when changing out missionized modular payloads. Both of which argue against the notion of side mounted guns and a forward cabin since they obviously not only raise the silouhette unreasonably but they push the CofG a long ways too-far forward and interfere with LOS coverage of the weapons themselves (given the head cannot turn, the guns can only be engaged by adjusting the facing of the mech as a whole).

So let's flip things around. Suspend the head between the legs to provide some added flank protection to the cabin and to the stride length without making it hard to mount the vehicle. Make it a pez-like rotating joint so that the crew enclosure and payload/power modules can be folded like like a collapsed vee between the legs to reduce carriage footprint during theater delivery. Use a fixed, flat, upper payload platform with the powerpack suspended underneath and behind a large, universal adaptor for quick changing (or rapid reloading) of mission systems without having to affix new power or hydraulics feeds to individual mounts. Kind of like a fifth wheel attachment for a trailer.

Flex the knee (either direction, though aft like a bird is probably best to provide a counterbalance arm to any forward weapons/arm mount weight) and put two big hydraulic pistons between the fixed upper payload platform and the upper legs so that you can literally force isometrically in opposition like an old man pushing on his thighs or knees to go from a compressed 'hull down' stance to a fully erect standing position (say 4-11ft). Consider mounting short (Tyranosaur like) arms with wheels as well as stabilizer pads from the cabin mandible area to enable 'walking on all fours' transit of significant slopes or the displacement of obstacles like brush or coventional masonry walls.

The broader stance will help fight against top weight while the ability to rapidly 'stack' weapons or load lifter (forklift or crane etc.) platforms ABOVE the crew cabin should significantly improve stability and sensor/weapon graze angles from either depressed or standing positions while keeping them out of the rider's FOV. Again, it potentially also allows the crewman to maintain step-down egress of the vehicle and a covered firing postion protection for his cab while servicing targets too.


mod edit: Added quote tags
Quote Reference (review link)



[edit on 17-8-2006 by UK Wizard]



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 02:42 PM
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Anything big enough to carry the required gear: probably 2 crew (1 driver, one weapons officer), weapons and ammunition, armor, and an engine and fuel supply sufficient to move the thing around... is going to be really heavy. And all that weight is going to be concentrated on two small contact patches, which won't support you very well (people switch to all fours on rough terrain). So you probably won't be able to go those places where tracked vehicles can't... at least not quickly. Or you move fast and bounce the driver/operator all over the place so much he can't do his job. You're going to be a big, obvious, vulnerable target (tank armor is slopped to deflect attacks... your upright vehicle won't be so lucky).


First off, the best armor is _distance_. Sufficient that you are not seen as you engage. The second best is 'layered' (dirt/walls/air/you) so that you are not forced to carry what the earth provides naturally. The third best is speed. So that you are never where they expect you and thus THEY have to displace (making themselves obvious as MTI separate from C3D) to come looking. Tanks lose on all three of these basic criterion because they are LOS weapons platforms designed to kill like vehicles. As such, they have lost 90+% of their original (WWI) role utility as _infantry support_. Because the essence of a tank is presence and where the tank is too expensive or too heavy to bring into theater in large numbers, you cannot count on that presence-as-mass to be intimidating or redundant enough to supply suppressive fires 'everywhere the enemy is' (or at least everywhere that your infantry find him).

That said, if I have two crew, I certainly expect to be able to guide/target if not fire on the move at significant speeds in support of a true Netfires-as-LRM capable weapons system with organic UAV targeting over the local horizon. IMO, this changes the system from an infantry support gun platform to a missileer since the only time I should be running /from/ something is if I cannot face it as an equal and it is chasing me. That should not be the case for anyone employing small arms.

Fire on the move specifically means a stabilized ride which I don't think is necessary for most infantry ops at least (weight of armor vs. weight of hydraulics package vs. weight of guns, I will take the longer reach.).

If I have one rider/driver/gunner, I expect to be hulldown firing between sprints to new cover, like any other infantryman except my guy will be firing OVER the LOS with a masted weapons package with minimal exposure to the vehicle. If you have troops forward and troops behind, the only exposure is during the dash between since the vehicle itself is relatively safe in terms of (supporting weapons) cross-fire.

OTOH, if I drop the crewing requirement entirely, then I can remove the cabin which, IMO, is the primary design compromise on the Landwalker platform.

In terms of displaced weight, I compare this to the area put down by an infantryman's '1 square foot' (size 11) with 70-90lbs of close quarters combat gear and 120 or more of field pack atop his nominal 170-180lb frame. As such, ground pressure of a weight optimized endo may actually be lighter (at least on both feet), so long as I can make direct survivability vs. mobility vs. firepower trades like any other AFV. Transfering the resulting load through 2X3 footpads.

I do like the idea of small wheel groups on a common shaft/cog drive to avoid any attempt at scrambling forward while prone (or 'at heel' like a dog, when boarding transport) and would say that either by running-leap. Or exended-shock springstride you should be able to hop a significant trench obstacle or potentially batter down a small building wall or fence without necessarily compromising a gun-forward weapons package like a tank (or indeed the structure itself with a massive impact area) would.



So I don't really see an advantage to a "walker" over tracked military vehicles. And if you need to access rough terrain in a hurry, that's what UAVs/Helicopters are for... or maybe artillery - depending on what you're trying to accomplish when you get there.


I think a lot will depend on speed. As the Objective Force looks to a 40-50mph vs. previous 30-35mph average speed in the switch to wheels from track in conjoined (leap frog and overtake) maneuver, there may still be a tendency for 30-40mph infantry to be outrun. But if your mission is PURELY to sieze individual point objectives or form an 'observer force' able to mark targets and harass isolated enemy units with overwhelming local firepower (4 vehicles X6 Javelin = 24 vehicle kills, almost simultaneously) in adverse terrain as commando-mechs, then yes, there -may- be a role for them. Because you are not replacing wheeled vehicles as battle bus APC. You are replacing infantry as dismounts unable to walk more than about 4mph with all their 'camping gear' (and no, it doesn't matter if the Gator takes the gear, you are still fighting with one and supporting with the other, neither of a complimentary speed:weapons system hardness/silouhette factoring).

Imagine the scene in BHD where they have to play chicken with the Toyota Technical and the .50 HMG. Now, instead of 5.56mm and 40mm M203 with Interceptor level body armor, provide 2,000rds of 7.62mm in some kind of standard LMG opposite a 'multicaliber' weapons system (Common Shell Size with variable payload sabot/full size rounds) able to fire both 20mm hypervelocity and 40-60mm explosive/cannister rounds. OVER as much as around the corners of buildings. Further, imagine that your vehicle is proof against 12.7mm in all arcs and 14.5mm across the front. And that it can both make smoke and fire grenades with cheap (Javeline CLU level) I2R technology to see through it.

Landwalker, being some 1,000kg, is 9 times lighter than even the lightest M113A3. If, I can jam 9 effectives and a squad leader into each APC and, by weight, I can put 7 M113A3 or 70 men into a C-17 for each M1A2 I pull off of the deployment list. Yet the next challenge is not mass but AREA. Assume that each powered down Mech covers the same footprint as 4 men. And that you can put 300 men into a C-17 (60,000lbs @ 200lbs per man). 75 Mechs X 2,200lbs = 165,000lbs. Drop that down to 2/3rds the loaded weight of an M1A2 (134,000lbs) to ensure you have some decent range and not too much stress on the airframe. .66 of 67 tons = 88,000lbs. 88,000lbs / 2,200lbs = 40 mechs.

Which would you rather have. 300 men who move all of 64mph in a 16hr one-day march at walking pace with all of 120lbs of payload capacity and a 5.56mm primary weapons system?

4 M113A3 which move all of 640 miles per day (40mph X 16hrs) with 36 men and perhaps 1,500lbs of heavy auxilliary weapons?

1 M1A2 which moves all of 90-120 miles 'between refuelings' (30mph X 3hrs) and NO supporting infantry to protect it from flank attack?

Or...

40 Mechs. Each with the equivalent of an infantry heavy weapons section in firepower and ALL TEETH in terms of applying that firepower without having to debuss the effectives into dismounts? Each able to move /between/ engagements at the same 640 miles per day as the APC. But able to do so like 'this' (gangsta hands: fingers spread in all directions). While maintaining full ability to network as much as 'combine' arms over datalink from different MEP configured individual units.

mod edit: Added quote tags
Quote Reference (review link)



[edit on 17-8-2006 by UK Wizard]



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 02:43 PM
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CONCLUSION:
Ironically, one of the key elements of the (pre-Clan) Mechwarrior universe is the projection of force as either an attempt to 'raid' a given world, stealing such technology as you can while despoiling the factory that made it for other's use. Or as a 'change of management rather than hostile takeover' stylistic approach to leaving the existing civil infrastructure alone while coopting it's production to your more permanent access. This means that border worlds are constantly in flux while military operations and unit structures are more like those of independent regiments and brigades of colonial England, functioning as discrete 'fire brigades' in putting out little conflagrations and kicking out squatters rather than being optimized for than anything like true, full-frontal, warfare.
IMO, 4GW is about to be replaced by 5GW in much the same manner: "Take what you need but let sleeping dogs lie." as a function of overwhelming force applied to usurp control of given resources (say nuclear programs or overwatching terrain subject to rocket bombardment of key civillian settlements) without actively 'changing anyones mind' about who is in control vs. who should be.
In this kind of warfare, characterized by short, sharp, actions that seek to project force beyond the linear, you have to be able to assert total tactical dominance over the LCD threat (irregular infantry and civillian militias) both by the ability to be places where they have not thought to mine and boobytrap or stage ambushes (walking thru yards instead of down streets). And via the ability to _individually_ absorb such direct fire (LMG and AR with the odd LAW) as they choose to 'die trying' apply. So that, KNOWING they are outclassed. And KNOWING that you will soon be gone. They have the _incentive_ to simply 'keep their opinions to themselves' until you go.
At the same time, there is a definitive baseline need to be able to, if not maneuver with then at least /avoid mass slaughter at/ the hands of regular maneuver forces. And in this, again, the basic mobility of a 30-40mph 'every man a vehicle' system. Along with the increasing sophistication of firepower inherent to fire and forget, indirect, weapons systems (he who follows fastest dies first), means that smaller is better. If there are enough of you to achieve the Normandy Effect of LGOPs.
While the road to getting there may or may not involve 'mechs as walkers' (which are no better than ATV or 'dunebuggies' in the sense of ultimate mobility or weapons platforum utility but may have an advantage in LOS elevation); by shrinking the assumptive unit-force requirements to the level of the single-mounted infantryman as an effective combatant, you allow the potential of shrinking force size overall, which can only be a good thing in a bloated military vastly over-exposed on the battlefield.
More importantly, you also cannot discount the likelihood that a 'little boys must have their toys' effect (as an adolescent experiment in anthropomorphic macroscaling, if it looks/acts semi human it will arouse a chimp-looks-in-mirror expanded conceptual curiosity about _human replacement_ systems), could lead both technologically and psychologically to the acceptance that smaller, more cost-effective, quadrupedal walkers 'might be an even better idea'. As they can negotiate complex human environments like stairs, chairs, doors and windows, even walls (like giant spiders), without the slope and manipulator reach limitations by which even the best, packbot type, current UGV/ROV are restricted in their ability to interact our most simplistic structures and habitations.
Make a mech work at man-scale and you remove MAN from the battlefield completely. Even as you create the basis of a slave labour force by which to compete with the likes of ant-cultures like the Asians with a 'nothing cheaper than free' capitalism.


KPl.



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 03:09 PM
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For any who are interested or have serious ideas in this sort of topic, should really check out the:


Individual Mechanized Armor & Future Warfighter Research Project


Much of this thread that you all have contributed, would make a great ground work for that project, as well as add source material. Thank you for your patience in this unscheduled interruption.








posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 07:30 PM
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Ok well Yall have some good ideas but why dont we go from the ground up here
Ill go through the Basics of Designing a Mech
*Powerplant - Damn near impossible with today's tech but if a new type of power plant (nuclear, electric or good old gas) that is 10x more powerful is devolped we could see that a reality.
*A2(Arms and Armor) - this i believe is going to somewhat hard because each mech's A2 is going to be extremely heavy because in tomorrow's battlefields are going to require either
A. A Bigger cannon on ANY armored Vehicle
or
B. A New type of Munition that can peirce the Growing inches of tank and arty armor
and finaly design
*Design - First of all, i think that a Quad is going to be the most efficent because it has
A. more stabibly excuse spelling
B. Can hold more for basicly the same speed as a Bipod.
C. This also means that our mech can hold a heavier Cannon which makes an artillery Mech possible

A note on that Matrix Mech; I liked the Design but its center of gravity was all to high. Lowering the powerplant makes it less vunerable to fodder taken by this machine and it wont tip as easily. And yes i do Know that would make it slightly more vunerable to mines, explosives. But if we to have a war with say ...CHINA...
these things would be lethal due to the fact that they would be super tanks. I evison a Battlefield were massive mechs Fought Mile Long Battles with advanced Missiles and Cannons. Mechs So Big they could Crush an APC or Light Vehicle.

LongDistance Travel - This is the only Hurdle i have had a problem with My Massive mechs Could never hope to fit into anything of Todays likeness. Even Bipodals Have issues related to this...

The other idea i have of Future Mechs is Light an Apache On legs. A support Option that travels with the troops Like a metal Gear..?



posted on Aug, 16 2006 @ 09:32 PM
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ch1466,

First note: I didn't mean to imply tanks as effective platforms for a rapid-reaction force. They're too heavy, to costly, and too maintenence intensive for such a job (though I consider tanks as a whole obsolete at this point, but that's for another thread...). However the armor concepts, particularly trying to deflect rather than absorb hits, are still usefull even if you're scalling down to 12.7mm protection.

Second, distance *is* the best armor, but you can't always depend on it. If you're a hostile force charging into someone else's backyard, and they know you favor ranged fights... they're probably going to wait until you're close enough to hit with RPGs/ATGMs or IEDS. Or both at at the same time. Hezbolla's initial raid into Israel being a perfect example of this, when they lured the Merkavas into anti-tank mines and ATGMs.

Tank style "semi-mobile fortress" armor isn't worth the effort. But having sufficient armor (ERA for RPGs, ballistic protection up to 12.7/14.5) to survive the first exchange is going to be very useful.

As I see it, the goal is to absorb the hit and prevent the second. With systems like Boomarang and HALO (locate firing source through acoustics) IR sensors (spot the muzzleflash) and radar (track incoming rounds), networked through all your vehicles, triangulating the point source of the attack should be possible in a matter of moments. And once you've got the spacial cooridnates shared, every weapon you've got can be pointed at the attacker.

So when the guy who fired the ATGM at you ducks to avoid the spray of 7.62mm autofire (and is pinned down) he gets hit with an airburst 40mm grenade or FAE-loaded 60/81mm mortar moments later. He hits you once... You hit him once... and it's done. And hopefully gunner #2 will see this and decide he doesn't want to give away his position.


I'll agree that UGVs are probably better for this kind of exchange because it's okay if the first shot kills your Gladiator, saving you the need for armored protection (no one dies if it's destroyed) - as long as you're left with enough guns to fire back. But I can't see a walking vehicle having any advantage over a wheeled/tracked platform.

The added height for "extended horizon" viewing is nice, but can easily be matched with a sensor mast, without exposing the entire platfrom while "looking around." And when your sprinting mech trips at 40mph, it's falling a substantial distance before crunching into the ground. Not to say tracked/wheeled vehicles don't flip or roll, but it's less likely and will cause less damage.

And walking just isn't efficient. You've already converted from reciprocal to rotational motion (bouncing pistons => connecting rods => crank shaft) or started with rotational (turbine => power out), why add weight and complexity to convert back? And why replace a wheel (nice and simple) with joints, lever arms, and the complex INS and counterbalance systems needed to keep the thing upright at speed? For given requirements (speed and weight carried) a wheeled/tracked solution is almost certainly going to be cheaper/lighter/simpler than a bipedal competitor over similar terrain.

[edit on 17-8-2006 by RedMatt]



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 05:43 AM
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Red Matt,

>>
First note: I didn't mean to imply tanks as effective platforms for a rapid-reaction force. They're too heavy, to costly, and too maintenence intensive for such a job (though I consider tanks as a whole obsolete at this point, but that's for another thread...). However the armor concepts, particularly trying to deflect rather than absorb hits, are still usefull even if you're scalling down to 12.7mm protection.
>>

APCs and Wheeled Vehicles without tanks are just targets if they get into a direct fire battle with anything bigger than an RPG. I would be the first to advocate a mixed system of light tankettes (UGV Wiesel) and various combinations of 120mm auto mortar and towed or onboard Netfires systems. But ONLY on the assumption that the tankettes carry both 30-40mm -and- hypervelocity ATGW. And ONLY on the proviso that they travel in the van as a speedbump to direct combat by the indirect fires vehicles with PLENTY of all weather ISR to watch the flanks. Because as soon as you cross the LOS horizon with a conventional _mechanized_ force, you had either better be able to win mile per second KE slugging matches. Or ready to lose and lose and lose vehicles.

>>
Second, distance *is* the best armor, but you can't always depend on it. If you're a hostile force charging into someone else's backyard, and they know you favor ranged fights... they're probably going to wait until you're close enough to hit with RPGs/ATGMs or IEDS. Or both at at the same time. Hezbolla's initial raid into Israel being a perfect example of this, when they lured the Merkavas into anti-tank mines and ATGMs.
>>

Sun Tzu said don't hit the enemy where he is strongest. The question being whether you can hit where he is weak and then _run away_ before strength flows to the point of attack. Why should the bloody guerillas be the only ones who get to use alinear/assymetric style warfare?

>>
Tank style "semi-mobile fortress" armor isn't worth the effort. But having sufficient armor (ERA for RPGs, ballistic protection up to 12.7/14.5) to survive the first exchange is going to be very useful.
>>

XM8 Buford from FAS.

>
Its unique features include an autoloader for the main gun, a three-man crew. and the use of modular appliqué bolt-on armor that is not used in a load-bearing application. The armored gun system used titanium appliqué armor. The M8 can be fitted with three levels of protection:
Level I against splinters
Level II against armor piercing small arms and small cannon fire
Level III against cannon up to 30mm
...
The AGS is not a tank -- it may look like a tank, but it's not a tank. It's a thin-skinned vehicle with a gun on it. The vehicle was designed to support the infantry from a position where it can fire and be behind dirt with an elevated gun and to fight in areas where its not going to run into tanks. It has more than one role, and it just doesn't kill tanks. It kills other kinds of targets. It has to be able to bust bunkers, shoot into bunkers, go into urban areas and shoot into windows, and have a round that will spray shrapnel -- that will "take out" people who are firing hand-held weapons or machine guns. US forces using enhanced direct-fire weapons such as the Armored Gun System would fare better than forces equipped with current firepower.
>

www.fas.org...

AT BEST, it will only match the ability of the M2 Bradley when it comes to protection levels. And when it is so fitted, it's no longer airdrop capable. More importantly, they call it a light skinned vehicle (as I recall Buford was based on M113 automotive components, the Stingray on Bradley but it could have been the other way around) and then they say that it is intended to fight from behind berms which suggest a prepared position rather than mobile warfare from a forced entry condition. And they suggest that it 'doesn't just kill tanks, it has other roles too'. Naming roles and missions for which a breach loaded automortar can function equally well as an _assault gun_ while IGNORING the fact that the automortar can also loft rounds 10km or more down range. Engaging tanks without ever crossing a LOS horizon line.

Let's be horribly frank here. The M8 is to the T-55 what the Sherman was to the Tiger. Vs. one of the OLDEST tanks on the international market; it is a one-hit victim. EVERY TIME. Which means if you get hit, you're dead. No questions asked. No survival likely.

While if you are using a softmount L7 or the new version XM35, you are looking at MV's in the >
As I see it, the goal is to absorb the hit and prevent the second. With systems like Boomarang and HALO (locate firing source through acoustics) IR sensors (spot the muzzleflash) and radar (track incoming rounds), networked through all your vehicles, triangulating the point source of the attack should be possible in a matter of moments. And once you've got the spacial cooridnates shared, every weapon you've got can be pointed at the attacker.
>>

Not in an AGS/MGS. So sorry. Ain't gonna happen. You've seen what happens when a threat has a chance to layer multiple fires onto preregistered killing grounds. The 'best army in the world' got their noses pushed in. You go light and you have to think Biplane vs. Dreadnaught. Accepting that you ARE GOING TO LOSE major numbers of vehicles. And arming and equipping them to match. 30-40mm guns on small (low silouhette = easy to reverseslope or obstaclize net) and FAST (50-70mph) tankettes which conventional tanks manual slew cannot track easily. And with no manned-sytem volume to thin the armor protection from the inside. Such that at least your frontal arc is good to 40-50mm in an _airlanded_ if not dropped vehicle that can debark from a plane in platoon strength.

>>
So when the guy who fired the ATGM at you ducks to avoid the spray of 7.62mm autofire (and is pinned down) he gets hit with an airburst 40mm grenade or FAE-loaded 60/81mm mortar moments later. He hits you once... You hit him once... and it's done. And hopefully gunner #2 will see this and decide he doesn't want to give away his position.
>>

Thanks to the death of LOSAT and the forever-limbo'd CKEM; ATGW are still largely subsonic/transonic and thus defeatable with basic countermeasures. Heavy guns are not. If you bring 5X 105mm and the enemy LIVES with 100X 120 or 125mm _you are gonna lose_. Heck, you could bring 5X M1A2 to the fight and you are STILL _going to lose_. In a forced entry situation where you are setting down BEYOND the enemy expectation of fighting position coverage, 'starting deep' rather than -going there-, you have to be able to run. So that you can mass fires not forces. But /in running/ you have to expect to run INTO threats which create a great deal of pandemonium and attrition in your cav screening force, largely because you cannot avoid the LOS battle and will always be tumbling into meeting or ambush fights. Which means debarking them in numbers sufficient to sustain operations. 'Light' then benefits you two ways: Tanks per C-jet. And MOBILITY (sustained 50mph for 200-300nm) so that you can aggressively 'flow' your forces around likely strongpoints to have the ability to turn the flank and roll up ambushes by the likes of Fedayin irregulars.

[edit on 18-8-2006 by ch1466]



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 05:44 AM
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DO NOT put your supporting elements up in the van and then expect them to survive first-contact engagements. Their entire mission in life is to deliver plunging attacks on threats which FIX THEMSELVES trying to bushwack your lead armor team. If you cannot stand the notion that that lead force is then effectively being used as bait, you'd bloody well better pull the men out of those vehicles.

>>
I'll agree that UGVs are probably better for this kind of exchange because it's okay if the first shot kills your Gladiator, saving you the need for armored protection (no one dies if it's destroyed) - as long as you're left with enough guns to fire back. But I can't see a walking vehicle having any advantage over a wheeled/tracked platform.
>>

Walking vehicles have men. Men can be commanded by generals on the facetious assumption that 'only an expert' will not throw their lives away (and maybe if you live long enough, you can become a general too). ROVs are 'commanded' by tech specialists who can give their loyalty to a civillian commander by-contract as much as by fiat. The Generals realize this. And are scared pissless of being rendered obsolescent in their own pointless power games.

Men who /get to the fight/ can do things that Armor which _does not_, cannot. Thus you have the benefits of a manned system on the acquisition side of the chain of command. And the benefits of a _deployable_ armor system for the operational one.

Whether these devices are seen more as extra-large exoskeletons (man wears it). Or as vehicles unto themselves (man sits in it) remains to be seen.

I think that the first units to employ these will again, not be elements close to the fight but ones already on the periphery of warfighter justification as airborne units about to be further displaced by 'objective/medium' combat brigades essentially all driving around on wheeled vehicles.

Under such conditions, if you could _keep the weight down_, while providing superior mobility to LIGHT INFANTRY deployment, you might have an edge just large enough to survive. Because (by and large) you aren't fighting ATGW. You are fighting small arms. In this, the walker is replacing, if anything, the old motorcycle units. Giving the man the ability to at least attempt to employ his weapons separate from the act of maintaining balance and directional control of his mount.

>>
The added height for "extended horizon" viewing is nice, but can easily be matched with a sensor mast, without exposing the entire platfrom while "looking around." And when your sprinting mech trips at 40mph, it's falling a substantial distance before crunching into the ground. Not to say tracked/wheeled vehicles don't flip or roll, but it's less likely and will cause less damage.
>>

I agree about the masted system. Which is part of why my universal mount platform is on the top, above the cabin. Such lets the pilot 'swing low' with decent top attack protection and the ability to shoot-over-roofs.

If they are 'elite troops' and ONE goes down, they morn and get drunk while secretly pleased to think that they would /never/ get into a situation where they make that kind of stupid mistake.

If (on foot) they are caught like deer in the headlights of an ambush on the AfG border where NONE can blitz the ambush ring, then perhaps a whole squad or Team is lost. If another unit plays cavalry-to-the-indians as a direct rescue insertion because they can't /run/ fast enough, from far enough away, to break the ambush from the outside. Only to have their chopper also get gunned down in a preplanned flak trap.

Who is left to get drunk and carry on the tradition of believing it could never happen to them?

That said, IMO, the big factor for crash survivability is going to be having the cabin tear free before the rest of the machine comes down around it, either crushing it directly or acting like a hammer to bash it into the ground. If you sit in a cabin between wide-stance legs CARRYING your cockpit slung underneath a hardback, then the distance is lower. Even as the mini-forearms can help slow and stabilize the operator unit as a controlled skid when body tilt indicates a fallover conditon is imminent. And sheer or explosive bolts can separate the driver from the legs pushing on over to the ground when worse does come to worst.

>>
And walking just isn't efficient. You've already converted from reciprocal to rotational motion (bouncing pistons => connecting rods => crank shaft) or started with rotational (turbine => power out), why add weight and complexity to convert back? And why replace a wheel (nice and simple) with joints, lever arms, and the complex INS and counterbalance systems needed to keep the thing upright at speed? For given requirements (speed and weight carried) a wheeled/tracked solution is almost certainly going to be cheaper/lighter/simpler than a bipedal competitor over similar terrain.
>>

A wheeled solution for a one-man elite infantry walker is going to be an ATV. And ATV, even on big balloon tires, puts all of about 4 square feet of road-meets-rubber surface footprint down. And then, through the act of friction with deep tread, it tears /further/ into it's standing ground displacement weight as it tries to accelerate forward from that same patch of snow/mud/water. Short of switching to bandtrack and hybrid drive on a mini Bv206 or Viking, this is not efficiency.

OTOH, walking is actually _very_ efficient. Provided your stride length matches at least half the distance travelled by one rotation of ALL the tires. And your compress-extend action is strong enough to generate a matching stride from the lagging foot as a function of plunging loads (stamping) changing, through the act of compression, to a rotating load and then to a thrusting one.

In this, the bigger pad area of a walker translates to 6+ ft of grounded area _even on one foot_.

I admit there is an inherent weakness to the change from thrusting motion to rotary one. But no more so, IMO, than that of stepping down a highspeed shaft through a transmission to a lower speed torque. And then redirecting one rotary axis of rotation through to another via a transaxle/universal after 10-20ft of HEAVY drive shaft.

In this, I see the actual motive empowerment of the vehicle coming from dual electric motors running the hips. And a secondary hydraulic system EXTENDING the shins. With the locomotive style eccentric drive shaft extending down to the knees _solely for timing_ on a free rotation joint that follows the motion of the upper hip rotation on a sequenced cycle. The neat thing being the there is only a limited mechanical 'connection point' between any or all of the drive systems and each can be located RIGHT AT the point where force is applied to generate motion. This distributes weight in the same way that muscle groups on the human body does with hydraulic lines equating to blood vesseles in supplying individually redundant (two per side behind armored greeves) smart-actuators for a purely mechanical 'bone' which is in fact a nested shock absorber strut of it's own.

If you have 'active suspension' inherent to energy recovery on the down thrust recharging the main leg and use the hydraulics solely for the 'quick twitch' leap off acceleration, you may get very good mpg @ mph efficiencies.

Now, on Employment:



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 05:45 AM
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1. IF it's a commando unit, why not make stylistic comparisons with known commando actions from history? SAS didn't 'own' an airfield. They ran jeeps down it, strafing airplanes shooting up structures while secondary units on long overwatch stood off to provide mortar and point-precision fires. Scared the crap out of the Germans. _Because they weren't expecting it_. And gave a huge morale as well as physical hit to their belief in a contiguous line. Why NOT a similar 'thunder run' on an airfield? Especially when standoff weapons mean Javelin Mk.2 with thermobaric warheads and GPS/INS coordinate homing as provided by an overhead micro UAV that literally snapshots all buildings on the field? You run past, see what kind of fires you take, and then use 'LRM' shooters to take out at least the frontal facades of those structures which have a high firing rate concentration.

2. WHY CARRY CAMPING GEAR!?
The essence of the 'brave soldier' is that he runs/rides/drives TO the sound of gunfire. He does not walk. This may well have to change if my ideal of COE comes to pass. Because you will want to maneuver aggressively to a point where the enemy ahead of you in fact crosses a given terrain choke AFTER you have gotten there to blow his attempt at a small ambush rearguard action. But the important thing to realize is that, if you are moving at 30-40mph into or out of contact, with your enemy; in a single hours run you can be back at base camp (or a heavy vehicle or a secure extraction point) without EVER having exerted yourself to the extent that you are burning water and muscle tissue you can't afford to lose in desert heat. This changes the entire nature of infantry operations. As we have come to see that the soldier is no longer considered 'expendable' as the most basic unit of force. And thus he cannot be /left/ in a given position where he is harassed allllll the way in. And allllllll the way out. i.e. he is no longer an _occupational_ force metric. If he is not, then he had jolly well better be able to function usefully as a strike system. And that means heavy fires delivery to targets at sufficient depth as to NOT risk the delivery system or base which brought him to the fight.

3. Economics of Mobility.
The original idea of the Objective Force was this-

>
The Army Vision includes a Brigade structure and organization which is crucial to the Army’s strategic responsiveness goals of deploying, from the CONUS base to global theater of operation, one (1) Brigade within 96 hours, one (1) Division within 120 hours and five (5) Divisions within thirty (30) days. The air transportable Interim Brigade Combat Team (IBCT) is intended to be capable of deployment to anywhere on the globe in a combat ready configuration. The range of tasks to be accomplished by the IBCT requires a family of vehicles that are air transportable, capable of immediate employment upon arrival in the area of operations, and have the greatest degree of commonality possible. Force effectiveness is achieved by an organization built around mounted and dismounted infantry enabled by a family of internetted platforms and situational understanding.
>

Of note is that the Brigade is the second largest force structure under a division with 2-4 battalion elements (the smallest unit the Marines consider capable of independent ops) so that the glutinous pigs of the Army can basically continue to maintain a HUGE force structure beyond any reasonable assumption of funding or threat. Grab for the whole pie and get a fistful of slice is how I've heard it rendered.

Logistically, a Battalion is typically around 800 effectives with added staff and support units, bringing it to around 1,000 men. 1,000 men X200lbs (_naked_ of equipment) = 3.5 C-17s. 4,000 men = EIGHT HUNDRED THOUSAND POUNDS. 14 Planes.

Each man needs 1,000lbs per week of deployment sustainment in water and rations no field commander wants to deploy with less than 30 days of operational sustainment. 3X1,000lbX1,000menX4 battalions= 12 million pounds or 120 plane loads.

NOW we can start adding basic TOE equipment. 4 battalions with 2 companies each of 4 platoons of mounted soldiers on 10 vehicles comes to 320 vehicles _just in one Brigade_. If each vehicle weighs 15 tons (highly unrealistic but absolutely necessary to enable further theater transport by C-130), you are talking on the order of 4800 tons or 9.6 MILLION pounds. Which is another 96 planes.

Now let's throw in some basic GTFWTM on the order of 10-ton-miles (POL, spares, ammunition) of operational maneuver freedom. So that if you have an expectation of a 300-400nm advance, you are looking at 10X400 = 4,000 tons or /another/ 8 million pounds/80 planes of load.

ALL THIS (310 aircraft loads) you want to be shove up to 11,000nm around the world in 96 hrs. When the U.S. only has 120 C-17s _total_ (admittedly with another 60 on order) all with preexisting AMC requiremetns. And these are capable of 450 knots of cruise or roughly 24hrs EACH WAY just to reach a given theater. At the same time, we are losing all the Starlifters and about half the C-5 fleet to fatigue while CRAF rots in a wallow of power politics on leasing vs. ownership and KC-X is equally mired in the proprieties of contractual law.

In 1990-91, in support of ODS, we flew 548,000 short tons of equipment and 500,000 personnel to the ME. The first action, from initiation of deployment to combat took six months. In 2003, for OEF, those numbers were down to 158,000 men and 222,460 short tons _IN TWO YEARS_ of 'preparation'.

If you want to get there quick, every man has to be an effective weapons system unto himself. He cannot depend on the RTFA fireteam concept. He has to be able to fight on his own with _heavy weapons_ (Interceptor+1.5 gallons of water+2 days of MRE + 8 mags + medkit + 4-6 grenades + one round/belt for the crew served + batteries + ground cloth/poncho= 120lbs. X4 Javelin = 193lbs) to support ranged engagements with both mechanized and irregular forces. And he must do so with a platform that doesn't expend tons of armor and drivetrain enclosing a hollow volume that is _empty_ during combat as with an APC and dismounts.

ONLY by magnifying the importance of the individual infantryman can you DROP (drastically, a 'Company' might consist of 50 men, a Platoon having four sections or squadrons of 4 men each) the deployment numbers from the top of the TOE down to the bottom.

If you want to call a brigade composed of 800 men (4 companies per battalion, 4 battalions per brigade) then maybe Objective Force can work. Assuming you only deploy single battalions of 200 men online at a time. And each one of those is supported logistically on a week to week basis of into-out-of high intensity operations until the LMSRs can find a suitable SPOD to unpack the rest of the 30 day sustainment package and whatever secondary (heavy maneuver or fires) systems _cannot_ be treated like 'light mechanized infantry'.

The difference is that the Brigade is a unit force construct which CAN incorporate disparated (direct/indirect/CSS) formations. IF you don't want to play that game, then it is better to be honest about what you're doing and return to 6-8 companies per battalion (Alpha thru Hotel + India as HQ&M) and simply admit that we can no longer deploy massive force constructs with heavy weapons like we once did. At least not as 96hr 'Brigades' which are ass-u-me'd to be able to engage in heavy maneuver actions with main force elements of a threat nation that owns 3rd generation Eastern or 4th/5th generation Western MBT based systems.

Because whether you think that AGS/MGS is capable of direct-fire surviving that kind of threat. Or you believe the song-and-dance which is FCS, you are _just plain wrong_ to take manned 20 ton _light skinned vehicles_ into same-horizon combat with heavy enemy armor.

Period. Damn. Dot.


KPl.



posted on Aug, 18 2006 @ 05:20 PM
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ch1466,

At what point did we switch from chassing the Taleban into the hills, to a modernized "plan 1919" pitting mechwarrior units against Warsaw forces?

If you're arguing COE, why are you even commiting ground forces, along with the transports needed to deploy them, and recover them when they bite off more than they can chew? Why not deploy a pair of J-UCAS with CBU-105 + Longshot (160 smart skeet total) for your standoff attack mission against enemy resuply/reinforcement convoys. Fly in and out faster than any ground unit will ever move, and glide your weapons in from a greater distance than they can shoot back from.


A force intended to chase down Hezbollah/Taleban isn't going to be worried about T-series tanks because those forces have never depolyed armor. AKs, ATGMs, RPGs, IEDs... thats the threat we're worried about on this kind of mission (i.e. "low intensity conflict"). IEDs can usually be jammed, ERA/light armor is sufficienct protection for most RPG/ATGMS (not all), and bait UGVs you don't have to worry about protecting at all.

But that's a lightweight rapid reaction force I'd never commit to an army-vs-army battle 'cause it'd loose.

That said, it's time to get back to our regularly scheduled Mechs:

I think your prosed drive mechanism actually sounds pretty interesting. I can't quite picture it but it at least sounds viable. And linear motors + capacitors (See Bose's suspension system for an example) could capture and recycle energy that would otherwise be lost cusioning your movement. I still can't see it matching wheels/band tracks, but it's definitly better than anything else I've heard/seen suggested.

Problem: how much bouncing is our pilot going to have to endure? And will he still be able to fight after being "shaken, not stirred," while his legged mount goes *bounce* *bounce* *bounce* accross the battlefield at 40mph or more? And how is all that shaking going to affect the machine's reliability/mainainence requirements?

Problem: visual limitations are going to slow you down. To demonstrate, duct-tape the lenses of a pair of sunglasses, put them on, and try to sprint accross the front yards of your neighboors. Have medical personal standing buy.

Darpa's grand challenge was a decent example of what kind of visual informaion computers can handle right now: the lead vehicle "spooked" when it reached the finish line and had to decide if that was an "obstacle" that could be passed. And wheeled vehicles have a bit advantage here: put one wheel in the wrong place, and you've still got 3 points of stability. All the computer needs to do is stick to "sufficienlty wide and flat" for navigation purposes.

A biped Mech commits it's entire weight to one foot, so you'll want to make sure the computer puts that foot in the right place. And taking that much time to think about where you're walking (not running) is going to slow you down alot. Especially in the rough terrain that is supposed to be adventageous for this vehicle.

The alternative is to run and stumble-stumble-fall all over the place. The crash-absorbtion ideas you suggested will probably save the pilot. But it's going to be embarrasing to loose a chunk of your attack force because your mech's LIDARs didn't spot the gopher holes/loose sand/mud/tree root/etc. in time, and I doubt you can build an intertial counterbalancing system that could save you from a 40mph faceplant.



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